Links 4/7/15

Science Daily

Reuters

Bloomberg

FT. And definitely not German banks.

Independent. Not, however, so incompetent that he didn’t have £50,000 of loose cash lying about!

Reuters

The New Yorker. “I don’t know where this money went.”

Reuters

NYT

Counterpunch

David Sirota, International Business Times. It’s gonna be like Nixon; Watergate was in his second term.

Grexit?

FT

Bloomberg

Telegraph

Stratfor

Guardian

 LRB

Sober Look

Hurriyet Daily News

BBC

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Yahoo News

Raw Story (furzy mouse)

Photography is Not a Crime

Techdirt

Syraqistan

WaPo

McClatchy

Politico. Et tu, Upchuck?

BBC

Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

FT

Bloomberg

Steve Keen, Forbes

Global Post. So much for “soft power.”

Asian Correspondent

Cambodian Daily

South China Morning Post

South China Morning Post. “[D]riven by worker shortages and government subsidies.” Worker shortages?

Class Warfare

New York Times

WSJ. With handy charts.

Scientific American

The New Yorker

 WSJ. I guess they’ve never heard of the Grateful Dead….

Seattle Times

Southern Poverty Law Center

ENENews

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

animal-friendships

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

63 comments

  1. James Levy

    I wonder some times if people like Larry Summers understand that when they talk, they reveal more than they probably want to. When you unpack what he said, he admitted that: 1) the IMF and World Bank exist to exert US power, not aid development or stabilize the global economy; 2) any help China or other nations give to developing nations is an ipso facto threat to what US elites perceive as “the national interest.” All that is implied directly in what he said. Of course, if you fed back his own line to him, he’d deny and prevaricate like crazy, then get angry, then get condescending and dismissive. But it is clear that anything Washington does not control is anathema to Washington. If Chinese investments ended Ebola tomorrow, Washington would perceive it as a defeat.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘A wealthy Saudi family from Khobar, the Gosaibis, made billions of dollars. The family business was known as AHAB—the Ahmad Hamad al-Gosaibi Brothers.’ — New Yorker article

    It was named after Ray Stevens’ 1962 novelty song, Ahab the Arab.

    Who says our head-choppin’ Saudi buddies don’t have a sense of humor?

    1. susan the other

      good article, it read like gossip… especially when Stewart blamed the fall of Lehman for all of his banking woes… which could have been true

  3. fresno dan

    Ed Snowden tells John Oliver: ‘They are still collecting everybody’s information, including your dick pics’ Raw Story (furzy mouse)

    Do you have a dick that could be taken to be a fanatical Al Qaeda dick?
    Does your girlfriend have Muslim boobs?
    NSA is checking your porn for subversives. Because there is no better way to catch a terrorist than by his/her genitalia…

    1. sid_finster

      The NSA doubtless has the greatest porn collection in all the land.

      Imagine the money they could make by monetizing it! Not to mention the data mining and blackmail possibilities!

      “Your dick pics are helping fight the deficit. Dick pics for freedumb!” Cue patriotic music.

      1. SYnoia

        Imagine the funding the NSA could get by offering congresspeople the opportunity to have their genitalia viewed by their voters….

  4. Jim Haygood

    From the NYT:

    The new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, [is] trying to marshal a bipartisan coalition for his bill to force President Obama to send any agreement with Iran to Congress for approval.

    Remember that hokey-oldey piece of parchment locked safely in a glass case in Philadelphia? It says, ‘The President … shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.’

    We’ve moved on, comrades. Now the president does as he pleases, while the Senate fecklessly writes bills to express their disapproval. Oh well, at least they have a nice gym to work out their frustrations. After that, they head for the Senate Hair Care shop to get re-coiffed. It runs deficits of about $400,000 annually, says the Columbus Dispatch:

    Our distinguished Senators: doin’ good by lookin’ good.

    Got hair spray?

    1. Ed

      You are half-right, but the Old Constitution is poorly understood.

      A Treaty is the law of the land, and supercedes federal and state law. Because the President making treaties that overrided federal and state law would be a problem, the Constitution as written requires approval of the most of the state legislatures. Instead of being sent to the state legislatures directly, the federal Senate stands in for the state legislatures, since the Senators are selected by the state legislatures as their delegates in the federal capitol. As the primary lawmaking bodies, state approval is necessary.

      I would argue the direct election of Senators alone, so that the states are reduced to unequal electoral districts for one of the houses of Congress, have made this provision dead letter. But the states have not been the primary lawmaking bodies in the US for almost a century. Instead, agreements with other countries that would change federal laws are sent through Congress as if they were a straightforward change in federal law. Trade agreements such as NAFTA, for example, are not really diplomatic agreements. Legally, and mostly practically, they are changes in federal law covering regulation of corporations, and thus are passed as laws by the both houses of Congress.

      As head of the federal bureaucracy, the President has some ability, limited by legislation, to order the bureaucrats around directly and that is what executive agreements entail, hence no legislative involvement. What you are pointing too is that the federal bureaucracy has gotten so powerful that what goes on in the federal legislature is mostly irrelevant now, and what goes on the state legislatures entirely irrelevant. The relationship between the federal executive, the federal legislature, and the states is completely inverted from that envisaged in the Old Constitution. The confusion is that this was done mostly through changes in the unwritten portion.

      1. Bill Smith

        “A Treaty is the law of the land, and supercedes federal and state law.”

        A treaty does not supersede federal and state law.

        A treaty requires the Congress to pass enabling legislation to do that. And that enabling legislation has to be constitutional.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If it does not say someone other than the President shall not make treaties, does it mean Congress can make them?

      2. hunkerdown

        A Treaty is the law of the land, and supercedes federal and state law.

        I’m not even going to give you half credit for superseding State law since you couldn’t spell supersede. Explain where Reid v. Covert became dead law, or stop venting your crack-addled smarm.

        1. vidimi

          i’m baffled how you consistently get away with ad hominem attacks without so much as getting called out on it. your posting pattern reveals you as a misanthrope.

        2. cripes

          Supercede has occurred as a spelling variant of supersede since the 17th century. Both are correct.
          Attacking someone’s spelling rarely makes a persuasive argument.

      1. craazyboy

        A Senator enters the barber shop and takes the throne.

        Barber: How would you like your hair cut today, Senator?
        Senator: Mind if I filibuster that question?
        Barber: Not at all Senator. I bill by the hour.

      2. ambrit

        Then there was the tonsorial parlour in Paris that catered to the ‘elites.’ It had trap doors at the feet of the customers barber chairs. For a fee, a demimondaine would pop up underneath the apron that covered the customers attire, all hidden from view of course, and minister to the manly needs of the clientele. I believe that a pre WW1 French minister died of a heart attack while enjoying the varied delights of this establishment.
        If only Puritan D.C. had such an arrangement for the Congress and Executive, the “Little Blue Dress” might not have exerted its’ baleful influence, and a cigar would still be just a cigar.

  5. David Mills

    Flashback… sorry. Is the antidote a re-run? because that cat really looks like Jabba the Hutt. I’m getting all nostalgic.

  6. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: New Jersey Cops Tried Confiscating Cameras After Mauling Man to Death With Police Dog Photography is Not a Crime

    “The incident took place Tuesday after police responded to a call of a disorderly person.

    Big difference between disorderly PEOPLE and disorderly GOATS in New Jersey. I guess even the cops didn’t feel they could sell a “he tried to eat my gun” story. I wonder if the Washington Post printed the mauling story.

    “Have you misplaced a goat? If so, the police department of Paramus, New Jersey would like a word.

    The Washington Post reports that local cops recently apprehended a goat they described on Facebook as “disorderly.”

    Multiple witnesses accused the goat of head-butting the door of a residence and running wild in the road, police said. It took three officers to bring the rampaging animal under control, at which time he was wrapped in a curious yellow cape, according to an impromptu mugshot.

    The goat — which remains unidentified — was not injured during its apprehension.

    If you recognize this shit-stirring goat (who is very bad at breaking and entering), please the Paramus police.”

    Cute “Officer Friendly” pic. Maybe people will feel so good about the goat, they won’t even think about the mauling.

    1. fresno dan

      The way the video was displayed on the news report was very annoying – by breaking it up instead of just playing it straight through, it appears to make the mauling look less outrageous than it was.
      Again and again you see that police are not overseen. Courts have clearly ruled that people have a right to photograph them, but rights not administratively enforced by FIRING police that try and confiscate cameras are rights that don’t exist.

  7. Jason Ipswitch

    I’ve always respected the BBC, but its Yemen coverage is awful. Almost a thousand words from the BBC on Yemen, and all about the evils of Saleh and the “tribal” Houthis. Saudi airstrikes are barely mentioned, and the thousands of casualties from the (US-supported) Saudi attacks aren’t mentioned at all. And when it works hard to avoid mentioning the airstrikes responsible for them. It doesn’t even list the Saudis or the GCC as a combatant! A sad state for a once-decent news service to be in.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One possibility is it was never decent – but the stuff it had to work with was never this weak.

  8. craazyman

    Watching stars form must make watching grass grow seem like the Indy 500.
    It must take a lot of patience to watch stars form.
    “Well guys, there’s today’s pic. See you all in 18 years!”
    18 years later.
    “Well guys, look at that! It looks like a donut, doesn’t it. Let’s take another pic.”
    18 years later.
    “Yeah, it’s a donut all right. Anybody up for shuffleboard?”
    hahahaha hahahahahahah fucccinA! too hilarious. Science! Seeing the Mind of God!

  9. Jackrabbit

    A friend of mine who lives overseas uses WhatsApp (now a Facebook company) to stay in touch with family and friends in the US. I noted that “if you’re not paying for it, YOU are the product.” Her guffaw betrayed her thought: that’s sooo tinfoil-ish.

    This new barbie will likely find a similar public acceptance. Why should anyone be concerned? They have nothing to hide. And the services they get for free (communication, robo-babysitting) is more valuable to them than any personal info they may be giving up.

    There is little thought given to what it means when scaled to millions of people and households. When information on that scale can be sifted and culled. When that info might be used in unexpected or nefarious ways.

    Many people excuse their lack of concern (and imagination) with platitudes like “its always been like that”. There has always been rich and poor – inequality is normal! There has always been government abuses of power, etc. But what we are seeing today is qualitatively different. On a different scale altogether.

    Some people understand the need for vigilance and demand safeguards. But many others just shrug (or guffaw), blind to any possible danger. There are many reasons for this, but our dumbed-down educational system seems like part of the problem. And I doubt that magical talking dolls will help to create critical thinkers.

    But I should think positive! Robo childcare might help government to save money by cutting back on early childhood services even more. And might ease the burden on harried workers so they can work more or better. So ‘Spy Barbie’ could be great for our economy as well as our security. Especially for the wealthy who OWN our economy. And THAT’s what’s really important.

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    H O P

  10. Roqeuntin

    What does it say about the Japanese system or the neoliberal model in general in that they have handled Fukushima worse than the USSR handled Chernobyl? Granted, Chernobyl was a completely avoidable man-made catastrophe and Fukushima was the result of a tsunami, but TEPCO seems to have been all around worse than the Soviet government in the aftermath. That bar wasn’t set very high either, or at least it didn’t seem that way at the time.

    1. Jackrabbit

      Fukishima was operating well beyond its expected lifetime and despite protests from many groups concerned about dangers of nuclear power stations in Japan that use old technology and are poorly sited (making them subject to earthquakes, tsunamis, etc).

      So I see Fukishima as more ‘man-made’ than natural disaster.

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      H O P

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Was it the arms race’s draining of resources, CIA’s pop culture or the disaster of Chernobyl that finally led their subjects to lose faith in Bolshevism/Communism/Socialism?

      What lesson can we learn to apply it to Capitalism?

      1. susan the other

        What a great question. For me at least, because I generally think capitalists are irresponsible to society because they are so focused on skimming their profits and socializing their losses. And when you look at Chernobyl, obviously that’s not how it went down. We are left to assume that Chernobyl blew up because nobody cared and/or nobody could afford to do proper maintenance.

        1. Jess

          Actually, from a documentary I saw, the Chernobyl explosion and meltdown was the result of an unauthorized test procedure that went wrong and nobody knew how to react fast enough to the unanticipated result.

  11. craazyboy

    “Larry Summers: The Past Month May Go Down as a Turning Point for U.S. Economic Power Bloomberg”

    Summers rings FIRE alarm! After decades of awesomeness, March 2015 was a totally crappy month.

    News at 11:00

    1. susan the other

      Larry is forced to speak so cautiously that he never makes any sense at all. It’s Karma.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Turning point for US economic power…Larry Summers.

    Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank – for member countries to borrow in another currency …it’s unavoidable, it seems…except those imperialists.

    Still, we are a long way from having to peg our currency to a hegemon’s money. That would be a day of reckoning, as we won’t be able to just print at will, but to go where the hegemon is going. The hegemon can print at will though. That’s its hegemonic privilege, backed by its hegemonic awesomeness.

    Like I say, we are fortunately a long way from that.

    1. craazyboy

      The Brics and others forming “trade blocs” where they agree to accept each other’s currency to settle accounts[instead of dollars] is a much larger impact on dollar hegemony than lending a few non-bucks to the third world.

      But the creation of a non- western banking infrastructure is necessary for both. So if we need to worry about something, I’d say the formation of a faux World Bank is a stepping stone to a faux BIS. Then global demand for non-bucks increases – and global demand for bucks (and treasury debt for the excess) decreases.

      1. psychohistorian

        It is interesting that you call the AIIB a faux World Bank.

        I think it is more accurate to say that the AIIB is a sovereign (MMT like) based bank and the World Bank is a private (not MMT like) based bank.

        1. craazyboy

          True. I was just making a fuzzy comparison there – similar mission.

          So maybe it’s like an IMF, except they make loans to countries before they have too much debt to pay back. However, I think the verdict is still out whether the PRC will lend the bank the PRC printing press with no strings attached.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Anti-QE on a global scale:

    The decade-long surge in foreign-currency reserves held by the world’s central banks is coming to an end.
    Global reserves declined to $11.6 trillion in March from a record $12.03 trillion in August 2014, halting a five-fold increase that began in 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    China cut its stockpile to $3.8 trillion in December from a peak of $4 trillion in June, central bank data show. Russia’s supply tumbled 25 percent over the past year to $361 billion in March, while Saudi Arabia, the third-largest holder after China and Japan, has burned through $10 billion in reserves since August to $721 billion.

    “The swing in global foreign exchange reserves is one key measure of the global liquidity tap being turned on and off,” Albert Edwards, a global strategist at Societe Generale SA, wrote in a note on March 6. “When a regime of loose money suddenly ends,” emerging-market asset prices “are usually one of the first casualties,” he said.

    Loose money, loose women, free beer — all drying up. Are the good times gone for good?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The idea is to use the global reserve fiat currency for facilitating international commerce, but much of it is parked or locked up at the Treasury.

      1. [email protected]

        Since fiat currencies are infinite, there is an infinite amount of ours “locked up at the Treasury”, while only a finite among is at large. To say “much of it” is anything severely understates its size. In an alternative model, the Treasury has none of the currency. The currency comes to exist at the moment the Treasury gives it to entities other than itself, and ceases to exist when the Treasury takes it back in. The two models function essentially the same, but each is better at demonstrating different features of the currency. The idea that the Treasury has some finite amount of currency is useful only in scarce-currency economics, and is not applicable to fiat currencies.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          As related to international commerce, it can be too much of it belonging to other countries if it means we have lost too many jobs when we say we must run current account deficits for it to function as the global reserve currency, separate from how much we can create.

    2. craazyboy

      Point of accuracy:

      Albert Edwards (isn’t that pipe tobacco?) mixes together CB reserves from trade sures with excess banking reserves from excess QE. One would hope the “experts” could get this right maybe???

      1. Jim Haygood

        Edwards speaks of ‘foreign exchange reserves’ — a big component of developing country total reserves, but quite small in the U.S.

        Figure 12 of this briefing by Dr. Ed Yardeni shows that forex reserves (almost all in USD) are 80% (and falling) of total Bank of China reserves:

        By contrast, forex reserves are a trivial 0.43% of the Federal Reserve’s assets. We don’t need no stinkin’ foreign currency.

        1. craazyboy

          Finally re-read this. I think Edwards is referring to hot money flows – they deplete foreign exchange reserves when they flow back out. ‘Course excess QE in the US caused some of the flow in. (The BRICS and Korea where complaining about that back in 2012 – Bernanke told them to use cap controls. I decided it’s still not time to buy a foreign bond fund. Now my fav foreign bond fund owns half the Ukraine. I’m never gonna be able to buy anything) .

          But in the previous two paragraphs I see hints that falling oil prices, perhaps reduced trade may be an reason for falling reserves. Then China has a stealth bank bailout in progress.

  14. alex morfesis

    plan B opa opa opa

    so 300 billion…lawsuit in switzerland, argue constructive trust…duplicate lawsuit/arbitration City of London (the wittle one where the queen has to knock first)

    ask for injunction…until adjudication…ask the german claims against greece be held in abeyance…

    oh…and Jens…where did you come up with this make believe…unordered insolvency thing of yours…sign of fear it would seem to me…
    not that you are ever much afraid…

    although you seem to be afraid to put in your cv when exactly you did your internship at the Central Bank of Rwanda…one might think something more specific than 1993-1997 would be in order considering the facts of april may and june 1994…but then again, its not like the average american student can get staff from the Cleveland Fed to help with their term paper…so maybe you are a bit more equal than others after all…

    so who are you exactly jens…shouldn’t there be some rule in Alemania that people born april 20th should not hold public office…it’s not like your some kyffhauser pinchen lama kinda person…is it…???

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Turkey in panic over contraction in economic growth,

    A general question, not specific to Turkey alone:

    Is something a Ponzi scheme or just an addiction if you need more and more of it just to keep chaos at bay?

    1. hunkerdown

      The hallmark of an addiction is the *loss of control* over frequency, amount and/or duration of the behavior. The tolerance you describe is merely one component of the phenomenon.

      I suppose mens rea would make a pleasing criterion on which to split the two, but easily thwarted. Perhaps whether the sur is consumed (such as it is) or hoarded (including spent on valuables) would be a more useful benchmark in dividing the smelly people from the truly toxic.

  16. Oregoncharles

    Fukushima: ” molten fuel penetrated the bottom of the vessel… We don’t know… how much and where it moved.”

    China Syndrome. Or in this case, more like America Syndrome. As it says, theworst possible outcome.

    Sitting on the Pacific coast, I have a personal stake in this one. And all I can do is watch and shudder.

    Wasn’t all this more or less predicted?

  17. Oregoncharles

    – very disturbing for anyone who remembers the beginnings of modern feminism (aka Women’s Liberation). I’m older than either Emin or Kipnis, so I was a very close, sympathetic observer of the whole process. The article reads, to me, as a gigantic can of worms. The treatment of Kipnis is especially disturbing. I’ll try to play it safe – especially considering we’re well off NC’s normal topics – by suggesting some caveats:

    1) In the 60’s, students fought a long, hard battle to get school administrations out of their bedrooms and sex lives. Are you SURE you want to reverse that? (To be clear: this has much to do with HOW you go about placing new constraints.)

    2) A major tenet of Women’s Lib was that special protections for women – for instance, in labor law – were in practice restraints on them. Certainly schools should do what they can to protect students from violence or harassment, and they are not restrained by the strictures of criminal law; but how do we prevent these measures from infantilizing or otherwise restraining students?

    3) A corollary: College students are almost all adults, as are faculty members. Are we sure we want state institutions telling them whom they can sleep with? Is there a better way of preventing exploitation? (And an afterthought: sex is subversive. It will subvert virtually any rule against it, as well as the authority structures those rules seek to protect.)

    Two generations later, we’re still figuring out what equality means. Or trying. In that sense, the debate and confusion implicit in the article – and the whole issue – is a good thing: we need to address this issue. But we need to be clear what the issue is.

      1. Oregoncharles

        You’re welcome. It’s something I’ve been thinking about.

        I only wish some of the women commenters had also responded. Point of view counts for a lot on this issue.

  18. JTFaraday

    re: “Two Beds and the Burdens of Feminism,” The New Yorker

    “If “My Bed” turned blame and responsibility inward, “Mattress Project: Carry That Weight” directs them outward.”

    Amidst all the entirely too predictable and near jubilant hoo ha about the Rolling Stone Virginia rape story, I thought this article in Salon hit on an important part of the explanation– the need to select the perfect victim in order to be taken seriously, at all.

    “And the Jackie of the Rolling Stone article was also an ideal victim. Erdely wrote that she dumped out the alcohol she was given at the party, and described her as wearing a “tasteful red dress with a high neckline.” The selection of details and message from Rolling Stone was entirely unsubtle: Jackie was not that kind of girl. She wasn’t a victim who was asking for it.

    These are the same questions we see asked again and again in writing and reporting on sexual assault because these are the same questions that most people ask themselves when they hear that a woman or a girl has been raped. We vet our victims, and often find ways to blame them.”

  19. Chris in Paris

    re: U.S. announces first antitrust e-commerce prosecution

    DOJ anti-trust staffer: “I just got a mail from Amazon, they say some guys are fixing prices on posters in Amazon Marketplace”
    DOJ anti-trust attorney: “Amazon? I love Amazon!”

Comments are closed.