Links 7/31/15

. You too can play at being the IMF!

BBC

Financial Times

George Washington

Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

Daily Kos

Financial Times. Central bankers of emerging markets countries have been complaining aobut Fed-induced hot money flows for years, and the Fed has acted as if it has nothing to do with it.

Sydney Morning Herald (EM). An amazing story. And it could never happen here.

Financial Times

Nikkei

Financial Times

Sydney Morning Herald (EM). Note that Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has been saying this for years.

Guardian (furzy mouse)

‘ BBC

New York Times. Get what this means: conditions are so bad and jobs are so scarce that poor migrants from Africa don’t see any hope in Europe. They transit through it to the UK.

Bruegel. More important than the title would lead you to believe. The first bank bail-in in Italy was supposed to his junior bondholders. But they were spared.

Grexit?

Bloomberg. First sentence: “The troika has a new enforcer: Alexis Tsipras.” He also looks like he’s aged five years.

Christian Science Monitor (IsabelPS)

Financial Times. There is more to this than meets the eye. See the post by Nathan Tankus.

We pointed out earlier (and most pundits did not notice) that the IMF had clearly rearranged the game board by withdrawing €16.5 billion from the “second bailout” because it says conditions have deteriorated in Greece so much that it needs to make a new assessment. That means the Eurozone countries on their own will have to pay off ECB debt that matures August 20. That is a much more immediate roadblock than what the IMF needed to participate in the third bailout, since the Eurozone countries, particularly Germany, do not want to fund Greece unless the IMF is there as enforcer and validator.

Telegraph. If you read the reports carefully, the IMF wants both commitments to serious Greek reforms and debt reductions. But notice the IMF is not insisting on haircuts, and Merkel already agreed to debt reductions. So the IMF and the Europeans are arguing at most on how much to extend maturities, defer interest payments and cut interest rates, none of which cost much in domestic political terms. So despite all the effort to depict this as a fight of the titans among the creditors, in fact, the party that needs to move much more from its current position is Greece.

Pieria

New York Times

Gulf Times (Sid S). But this comes after his “red line” promises….

Wall Street Journal. Important. Discusses who was marginalized in the preliminary deal for the third bailout.

Prothema (Sid S). OMG you need to read this interview:

Guardian (furzy mouse)

Ukraine/Russia

Associated Press

International Business Times. This is the best Kiev can do? A guy driving a truck of stuff like hand grenades?

Syraqistan

Haaretz. As I dimly recall (and feel free to correct me) the IDF has actually been trying to ride herd on the settlers but the local police undermine their efforts.

Juan Cole (resilc)

New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Counterpunch

Gizmodo. And while we are at it, what is the deal with the proliferation of excessively shiny, no smell garbage trucks that ride around Manhattan in the evening? I never see any of them actually picking up garbage, and I’ve even seen some circle a block while making no stops at all…

Imperial Collapse Watch

Intercept

Trade Traitors

Nikkei. I have no idea if the Japanese reporting tracks the English, but the “just say no” is very powerful in Japanese. Akio Morita and Shintaro Ishihara so-authored “The Japan that Can Say No” as an argument in the 1980s for a Japan that was more assertive on the international stage. It was a best-seller in Japan. Ishihara, who is a flamboyant extremist, then wrote “I Still Say No” which also became a best seller but from what I could tell, just about no one in the West had heard of the book when it was hot (the ability of the Japanese to impede the transmission of widely-known information in Japan to gaijin was a great mystery to me in the days I had close dealings with the Japanese. I have no idea to what degree they’ve been able to maintain that). That is a long-winded way of saying that the “just say no” is a dog whistle saying that Japanese politicians should step up and say no too.

Scoop News (William E)

Fiscal Times. As we’ve been saying, delay puts the deal at risk

Salon. A must read. Li: “Key sentences: ‘Hillary has accomplished nothing substantial in her life. She’s been pushed along, coasting on her husband’s coattails, and every job she’s been given fizzled out into time-serving or overt disaster.'” Also concurs with our call that Hillary will bow out due to health issues.

Alternet

NBC (furzy mouse)

Jane Hamsher. This is really too bad, but at least the core writers will carry on at Shadowrproof and the archives will be preserved. I’m saddened not only at the fact that Jane will no longer be leading the effort but the subtext that her age is somehow a negative: “pass the torch…. time to hand over the helm to new, young energetic voices.” She’s had protracted health issues, and those are simply draining. I can only dimly recall what it was like getting mono at the age of 32. But she also spent the earlier part of her career in Hollywood, and when she was kind enough to have me as a house guest, she said that one of the things that drove her out of that business was that women over 40 were seen as having no reason to exist. By contrast, I’m just a tad older than Jane, and I find there are far too many important things that need to be said, and we need as many liked minded people as we can find to say them.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Alternet

Guardian

Financial Times (Adrien)

Financial Times

MarketWatch. Anyone who can only shake tens of thousands out of a bank isn’t a threat. A junior investment banker extorts more in bonus.

Wall Street Journal

Bloomberg (furzy mouse)

Class Warfare

Techdirt (Chuck L)

Cathy O’Neil

Alternet

Economist

Bangor Daily News (Chuck L). Today’s must read

Antidote du jour (alex):

SCN_0052 links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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144 comments

  1. john

    In my local state of MA, I love my local state house rep. Colleen Gary.

    However, check this out. While taking away a law that punishes whites in their cars…

    She raises the state-wide Massachusetts fee for jay walking from $1, which in her own words is “not worth collecting.

    This next article quotes a local city luminary Elliott (or was it with one t this time? I won’t check on priciple.) as saying the kids are “brazen” and then quotes him twice in a row that this is a “problem… a real problem.”

    Someone must have really mean-mugged him bad.


    *bonus, read through to see the discoherent miscopy in the article on the webpage with no transition

    Here’s an article I’ll read right after posting this on her re-election debate…

    More alarmingly, while people on her FB page (one personal and one for the formal office) deny race has anything to do with it, she simultaneously passes this.

    Raising general non-sense terror fears about traffic disruption during social protest.

    Yes, I am being vocal on her FB page. “What do you call someone who isn’t jay walking? Loitering.”

    I also pointed out that the rich section of our town’s streets are choked with jobless women walking their dogs in the middle of the road, but because they are rich and white nobody sees a problem with it.

    Nice.

    Finally, I find the orwellian saga concludes with an endoresement from same paper to the
    genuinely nice person who is my elected representative.

    Notes from the mill city of Lowell, home of child industrial textile labour. We have a museum to industry.

    Lowell High School students are 67% minorities.

    44% of Massachussetts school children are on free or reduced lunch programs. In Lowell it is 68%.

    Kind and good people are applauding both sides of this without the first idea what it all means.

    The other half are openly talking about how great it would be to run over children and using racial euphemisms like ‘frivolous law suits.’

  2. john

    Oh, the deep irony of being.

    Her opponent is Cathy Richardson, of a tremendously nice family, who ran an ice cream stand I walked to in first and second grade, for free.

    She has recently been accused of not caring for her horse through the whole winter, and a photo of a 29 year-old horse’s back and ribs is available here.

    Co-incidentally this is the town’s republican chairman of the selectmen.

    Oh, and Lowell Mass. is famous for the following films… “Cracktown, USA” “The Fighter”, and “The Invention of Lying”

  3. abynormal

    a teeenie detail about Shell –Last week, the Obama administration granted federal permits that clear the way for the oil company to begin drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The company is only permitted to drill the top sections of its wells because it lacks the equipment to cap the wells in case of emergency. The ice breaker carrying the required capping stack for the wells, had been receiving repairs to its damaged hull in Portland and is now trying to leave the port. Once the Fennica is at Shell’s drill site, Shell can reapply for federal approval to drill into hydrocarbon zones in the Chukchi Sea.
    UPDATE 6:48 PM PDT: The 13 #ShellNo climbers have come off the bridge. Now all eyes on Pres. Obama to save the Arctic.

    “To all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.” Obama
    :`(

    1. Tertium Squid

      From the article:

      After the rig passed through, a cheer of appreciation for the climbers and kayakers rang out from the onlookers, along with shouts of “Thank you!”

      Guarantee you that the republican right would not celebrate such a defeat.

  4. Gius Marcus Julii

    Regarding the Refugees at Calais, no one has considered that major climate change is once again moving populations. It’s happened before.

  5. Victoria

    This is more of a request than a comment: From food to rent to heating and commuting costs, everything is going up, and surely that’s as great a factor in the pain of the most-of-us as pay. I am certainly all for the $15 movement and also for tax reform that more fairly distributes wealth. But what about cutting cost of living? Is there anything posted/published on good ways to do that? If you have anything to share on that, I’d be very much obliged.

    1. jrs

      Well the problem there is whether the costs are going up due to real shortages (so California which produces much of the nations produce is in drought, and maybe it’s natural food should be getting more expensive). And more shortages may be the future.

      One clear way to cut cost of living not related to real shortages though: the rent is too damn high, remove the rentiers. For instance even rent in the typical sense, remove the housing speculation by investors and maybe the cost of housing rent doesn’t go up so much (it’s only been as much as deliberate policy to encourage this speculation).

      So yea I think some basic costs can be reduced (those with excessive rent components – healthcare is surely one as well, I.P ever more so with trade agreements). But a lot of things are if one is honest about it, under priced considering their externalities, cheap industrially produced agriculture is under priced considering the environmental harm. So price it for the externalities (which means it will be priced higher) and redistribute income.

      1. lord koos

        If the drought continues in California, prices for many vegetables, fruits and nuts will be on the moon… in another few years almonds will be something only the wealthy can afford.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          From what I have learned, loss of (industrial or agricultural, or industrial-agricultural, as in industrial-food) production is one of the necessary, though not sufficient by itself, conditions for hyperinflation.

        2. Crazy Horse

          Studies have shown that squirrels like today’s featured furry friend have spacial memory capabilities that put MIT graduate students to shame. Perhaps as nuts become more precious due to the loss of the California central valley aquifer, we can train them to find hidden nuts for us.

          Worked for the Military when they trained dolphins as silent underwater demolition suicide bombers.

          There is no limit to human ingenuity.

    2. craazyman

      If you’re hot you can move in with me. That should save a few bucks, But you’d have to cook and clean while I channel the universe.

      If that’s not an appealing way to save money, 1) move to a less expensive abode, 2) drink $4 wine. It works as well as $40 wine, 3) ride the bus. It’s fun! Look out the window at all the colors and faces on the street. You can’t imagine what you’ll think. 4) eat sardines. they’re cheap and healthy. 5) don’t visit a psychiatrist or a psychologist or a psychoanalyst. You’ll save enormous amounts of money that you can spend on nice shoes. 6) walk around for entertainment. don’t waste money on fancy dinners with boring conversation.

      1. abynormal

        ha! cartoon i got this am: “I pray I get cremated. It’ll be my last chance at a smoking hot body”

        1. craazyman

          You mean you don’t look like Scarlett O’Hara?

          Are you less than 150 lbs? You might be hot.

      2. apber

        Yes, sardines are great, especially with a hot mustard. But stay away from the Pacific ones unless you want a cesium induced cancer within 10 years.

        1. susan the other

          Whatever happened to sardines from Scotland; can’t get em anymore… they were super good.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      You must be mistaken, Victoria. According to the financial “press,” the fed has been unable to generate meaningful “inflation,” though they have labored heroically for the last ten years to fulfill their self-imposed mandate to create 2% of it per year.

      If you persist in thinking that the cost of living IS actually going up, you should deal with it in the same way that the fed and the financial “press” do.

      Ignore it or substitute.

      1. lord koos

        As long as the official inflation rate is calculated without accounting for energy, food and housing costs, everything is peachy. The fact that those three things are crucial to life, well let’s just not talk about it.

        1. Andrew Watts

          The inflation rate is what the rich bondholders and the oligarchy are concerned about. The increasing cost of food, energy, and housing only affects the little people. As the late and exceptionally great George Carlin put it,

          “They don’t give a f— about you. At all, at all, at all.”

          Why so many people continue to believe otherwise proves that the vast majority are intellectually dim and ordinarily docile creatures in their natural habitat.

    1. Danb

      Paglia actually says, “In the same way, Sarah Palin, who I had great hopes for as a dynamic new type of frontier-woman politician, was way too reactive with the media. She was fighting with bottom-ers half the time, and they dragged her down to their level. “ Because we are supposed to conclude that Palin had so much new to offer if only low-life meanies like Katie Cuoric would have had the decency not to have asked hostile questions! And what’s a “Frontier woman politician” other than Paglia trying to be confounding and profound but simultaneously revealing her talent for intellectual chicanery and insipidness?

      1. Inverness

        When Paglia provides cultural criticism, she can be fascinating, such as her recent talk about Shakespeare’s female characters at the Stratford festival (on youtube) or her book “Break, Blow, Burn,” which provides classic 20th century poems with her insightful close-reads. She has pored through the canon and has a rich understanding of fine arts and literature, and wants to democratize this knowledge. Fine goals.

        When it comes to politics…I wish people would stop consulting her. Sometimes she makes sense (presidents should have gravitas, Obama’s drone strikes are a tragedy), other times she suggests that Trump is a worthwhile candidate because he reminds her of Vaudeville. Or that Scott Walker was right to take on the unions.

        1. jrs

          She approaches politics from some type of artistic standpoint, but for the 99s, though they have little influence, politics is not a movie or the theater or a music video. Politics actually MATTERS, at the minimum it is quality of life, at the maximum it’s life and death.

        2. jrs

          I do get the feeling she worked very hard for her liberal arts understanding. But she’s just as likely to side with or oppose a political trend for aesthetic as for any other reasons, so Trump or Palin can suddenly become aesthetically pleasing (granted most of the Dems she criticizes most richly deserve it).

    2. dcblogger

      I can’t believe that Cfdtrade is lining to Paglia in a complementary way. Paglia is vile, Professionally vile.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        We linked to her before and said she had risen from the crypt….

        People who are erratic (and she is, she has some remarkably acute observations alongside colorful rubbish) force you to think. I’d rather have someone who is pointed even when wrong than bland corporate-speak.

  6. mark

    Re Trophy hunting in cross hairs. The following didn’t seem to get much attention at the time.

    “Yellowstone National Park’s best-known wolf, beloved by many tourists and valued by scientists who tracked its movements, was shot and killed on Thursday outside the park’s boundaries, Wyoming wildlife officials reported.

    The wolf, known as 832F to researchers, was the alpha female of the park’s highly visible Lamar Canyon pack and had become so well known that some wildlife watchers referred to her as a “rock star.” The animal had been a tourist favourite for most of the past six years.”

    Perhaps because it happened Inside the boundaries of the USA, it was found acceptable.

    I can’t see much difference.

    1. abynormal

      heartbreaking.
      Wolf trapping in Montana kicks off on Saturday. It’s the state’s first such trapping season since the animals lost their federal protections last year after almost four decades on the endangered species list.

      Hunting is under way for the predators in Montana and neighboring Idaho and Wyoming, and at least seven of Yellowstone’s roughly 88 wolves have been shot in recent weeks while travelling outside the park.
      ***
      Marc Cooke with the group Wolves of the Rockies alleged hunters were targeting collared animals.
      “The proportion of collared wolves is too high to believe this is not being done deliberately,” Cooke said. “It’s wrong, and the world needs to know this.”

      1. OIFVet

        The Minnesota dental superhero claimed he didn’t notice the collar on Cecil. I recall reading an article about the killing of a collared wolf, ( I think 832F) where the killer also claimed that he didn’t notice the collar. Apparently American hunters are cursed with universally bad eyesight, but manage to get lucky and hit their targets nonetheless. Amazing folks, really.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          But it was “legal.” He had all the required “permits.”

          At least he hasn’t claimed that he “feared for his life.”

          Yet.

    2. nobody

      Wolves are lower in the charismatic megafauna hierarchy. And I wonder what an appropriate analogue to American Dentist In Zimbabwe would be for Wyoming.

      “The Science Of Why You Are So Upset About Cecil The Lion”:

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      What was especially horrible about the lion kill was that they dragged an animal carcus behind a jeep to lure the lion out of the protected park. That is what I read anyway. I will never understand the mind of a ‘thrill kill’ hunter. Kinda satisfying to see the dentist had to close his office due to public outrage.

      That’s sad and pathetic about the wolf. My bet is that the story was buried because … NRA/Rancher Lobby. US News outlets only carry sanitized info now.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        ‘…lured out of the protected park…’

        It’s part of the same fractal reality where, to extract information, we moved subjects out of inconvenient places, to where business was easier to get done.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          +100 Rendition tie-in. Equating the US Govt to this morally bankrupt hunter. Sounds about right.

          1. Emma

            Perhaps a little harsh but interesting nevertheless. Mental-Dental Nuts has been conditioned to ‘Stand Your Ground’ and act (not think, but act…..) like he’s free but it’s a free using lethal force. It’s the Hobby-Lobby way of running things like Moms With Guns in the kitchen. It’s not Deneuve or Cotillard. And you can forget Paradis too, it’s simply Palin. And that’s no cointreau on ice! It’s the pack-heat and shoot-to-kill in the center of the world on our kitchen island stuff. This way, the heat of the oven is avoided. That’s for fully-fledged idiots like Huckabee. There’s no table, ie. the ‘heart and soul’ of the kitchen everyones invited to. No, it’s just one big whopper of an island. In reality, it’s not trigger-happy Winnie The Pooh and Tigger stuff, it’s trigger-happy win-the-shit stuff, Mother f*****s! Will it change? No. Captain Kirk never got Spock and his powers of perception, did he? So out of chaos, chaos prevails. Think Grapes of Wrath in a Maelstrom. Personally, I’d opt for The Grapes of Rumpy-Pumpy or a Wrathful rumpy-pumpy instead!

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        “Kinda satisfying to see the dentist had to close his office due to public outrage.”

        Can you imagine making an appointment for a filling at your local “Gentle” Dental franchise and having this guy take a seat and rev the drill? Must be a nightmare in the ADA PR department about now.

        While it’s VERY small consolation, Cecil may have gotten the last laugh THIS time.

        1. Llewelyn Moss

          Perfect tag line for his office sign: “We Cater to Cowards — Brave Lions We Massacre.”

          Extradition will be the last laugh hopefully.

        2. hunkerdown

          Nah, professional associations will simply exercise the moral turpitude clause, excommunicate him as a “bad apple”, and leave him to the whims of the public, not because of what he did, but because the Bizniz Community needs the TPP more than they need this guy.

          Working with quicksilver does things to the mind, you know.

      3. Crazy Horse

        Here in Wyoming one drives up a progressively more beautiful valley on a rough dirt road that ends at a hot spring. At about mile 13 there is a private inholding graced with a huge metal building sufficient to house 50 horses. Staging ground for Safari Club International elk hunts.

        In the early history of the region the US Secretary of War mounted a hunting expedition from the railhead far to the south. It took 70 mules to carry their provisions, primarily because 40 of the mules were required just to haul the whiskey. When the expedition finally reached Jackson’s Hole, there lay a swath of dead elk, deer, antelope and bear 20 miles wide all along their path.

        Things haven’t change much. But it was OK back then because none of the dead animals had a collar.

    4. Brindle

      I think the the general public’s perception of lions is different compared to wolves. Lions are “majestic” and “noble”, whereas wolves are deemed less so by too many. I was lucky enough once to see a wolf in the wild in Minnesota. Shooting a wolf is one thing but trapping is just cruel and horrible.

      1. abynormal

        Agree. among our collective weaknesses…we suffer selective memory. we were taught well…decimate and forget.

        Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;
        And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

        As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
        For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

        Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;
        And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.

        The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
        Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and get food of thine own.

        Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle — the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.

        And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair.

        When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail,
        Lie down till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail.

        When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar,
        Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war.

        The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home,
        Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come.

        The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain,
        The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again.

        If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay,
        Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away.

        Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
        But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man!
        If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride;
        Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide.

        The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack.
        Ye must eat where it lies;
        And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies.

        The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf.
        He may do what he will;
        But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill.

        Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling.
        From all of his Pack he may claim
        Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same.

        Lair-Right is the right of the Mother.
        From all of her year she may claim
        One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same.

        Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own:
        He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone.

        Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw,
        In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law.

        Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they;
        But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!
        Kipling

  7. Eric Patton

    Sorry, I must disagree about the Paglia interview. However, the comments section to that interview is must-read.

  8. mad as hell.

    After Firedoglake Jane Hamsher“.
    I always enjoyed the comments after their well written articles. Until the comments started becoming heavily laced with how to’s. Like putting cinnamon on a roll or planting petunias. I wondered wtf am I reading and who is the audience here. I voted with my feet!

  9. Whack-a-nun

    Describing Sister Joan Chittister as a women’s advocate is dumb. Chittister is taking the orthodox Vatican position. The guys in the curia in Rome will tell you the same thing: The means of life is as much a part of Vatican Doctrine as the right to life. That’s because Vatican Doctrine conforms to human rights law. The means of life is the Vatican’s term for economic and social rights.

    Funny thing is, you never hear word one about that in the US, not in sermons, not in K of C meetings. Chalk it up to US-led mass murder/torture/rape of liberation theology proponents. The Vatican learned their lesson and shut up about unauthorized human rights in the USA.

    1. savedbyirony

      Not so. Joan Chittister has spoken and written volumes as an advocate for the empowerment of females, often at odds with RCC institutional doctrine, talk and treatment regarding them. (She has in fact gone so far as to publicly and courageously speak out in favor of the ordaining of women.) This is a brief example of her ideas and how some of them compare to the hierarchy’s, including Pope Francis, who may be for helping the poor but when it comes to females and poverty his views differ considerably from Chittisters.

  10. [email protected]

    I just LOVE that definition of ordoliberalism:

    Government intervention in the economy should, according to the ordoliberal tradition, aim to allow the market to function in a manner akin to the textbook assumption of perfect competition.

    In other words, government interference in the marketplace to insure no government interference is required.

    Only a completely dead-brained conservative could look at that and fail to see the glaring contradiction therein.

    1. Ulysses

      Yes, the ordoliberalism piece has many sage observations:

      “But inflexible rules are highly fragile to unforeseen events. Nobody knows the events that are going to occur in the future. Nobody knows their kind. Nor their intensity. Nor their location. Policy rules that do not retain flexibility to unforeseen events are not worth the paper they are written upon.”

      I do feel part of this whole mess is influenced by real cultural differences. I well remember, my first couple of years in Italy, being constantly surprised at how often Italian officialdom was able to cut the Gordian knots of bureaucracy– by applying common sense and compassion to particular circumstances. I have never seen this flexible, humanistic approach back here in the States! Indeed, U.S. authoritarians often strain to interpret “the rules” in a manner designed to greatly increase the misery of the weak and vulnerable.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Inflexible policy rules, without common sense officialdom, are like excessive government intervention in people’s lives.

      2. financial matters

        Italy may prove to be the next challenge to the euro.

        “Sooner or later the dogmatists in Brussels will have to call Italy to account under the Excessive Deficit Mechanism rules.

        When the Brussels bullies call them up to demand more austerity, Italy would be best to flex its muscle. It is too big for the Troika to steam roll.”

        ———–

        From Ingham “When the extremes of these limits are reached -that is to say, in hyperinflation and debt deflation – the struggle may give way to a rebalancing of the power relations and a new settlement.”

        1. James Levy

          This may sound like hokey 19th century metaphysical baloney, but I wonder if Italy has the will to resist. I think it may have the capacity, and certainly it has a large enough economy for its collapse to badly shake all of Europe. But do the people with their hands on the levers of power over there have the guts and the stick-to-it-ive-ness to challenge the Euro? I thought the Greek politicos under Syriza did and I was dead wrong. Counterpunch ever other day has a screaming expose of why Bernie Sanders doesn’t have the will or the guts to challenge the status quo here because deep-down he’s a lesser of two evils guy. It’s like asking why the French, who fought with such awesome tenacity 100 years ago in 1914-16 collapse in 1940? Societies seem to reach a point where they simply lack the will, the fortitude, whatever you want to call it, to defend themselves.

          1. Robert Dudek

            It’s because in ww1 the Germans never quite got to Paris, whereas the Nazis made it there surprisingly fast.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not just government intervening to make sure no government intervening.

      It’s about capturing it so it intervenes when the overlords need intervening, and does not intervene when them need no intervening.

      Greed is neither conservative nor liberal.

      The goal is two-way intervention….e.g. letting some fail (or causing some to fail) and preventing others from failing.

      Right now, they need the government to be active, to be aggressive in getting ‘free trade’ pacts passed. The government needs to intervene or persuade other governments.

      1. susan the other

        Ordoliberalism is meaningless. It is the job of government to plan ahead. Which implies they will be interacting with the economy. Else why bother to plan? Ordoliberalism as practiced by Schaeuble is simply a mandate to protect the Core. The depression gets worse? No matter as long as the Core is stable. But what about this Herr Schaeuble: What happens when China stops buying German cars? What happens when trade agreements fail completely to force anyone to buy your highly industrialized, energy dependent, manufactures – no matter how finely engineered they are? What planning have you indulged in secretly to actually save the Core when the shit hits the fan? Because Germany is highly vulnerable to alles in ordnung when it starts to die. So at least Germany will get a taste of its own medicine.

        1. susan the other

          And don’t forget to consider some secret government bunds, Mr. Finance Minister, to help Germany roll over its debt for paying off Russia and fixing up East Germany and the city of Berlin. Nor disregard the very serious problems you will have financing the rescue of Berlin and all its beautiful new buildings, and old buildings, when the ocean rises even so little as 10 feet due to the stubborn insistence on competitive capitalism and the inevitable use of fossil fuels. Things are kinda bad, Wolfgang, for ordnung.

          1. susan the other

            Sorry. One more thing for you to ponder. Antitrust laws lead to competition which leads to productivity which turns back toward consolidation and ends up at monopoly. So the competition thingy is absurd.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The only useful productivity we should seek is this: how do we get the same amount of happiness with lower natural resource input.

              I don’t know if that kind of productivity leads to consolidation.

              On the other hand, consolidation, if that means fewer people, is to be done through family planning, in parallel with the kind of productivity mention at the beginning of this comment.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think what concerns me is that the problem is bigger and wider than just competitive capitalism, as Bolshevism was not against the use of fossil fuels when the USSR was around, nor is the pragmatic ‘communism/socialism/confucianism’ of China.

            Something about human nature that transcend all the isms…something like greed, anthropocentric arrogance, etc.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Don’t know about the government over in Berlin, but over here, we are planning. The government is planning, big time, with a few ready-to-be-fast-tracked trade pacts….in secrecy to save the world from China.

    3. jrs

      Actually it would be probably consist of things like anti-trust, if it was consistently implemented, encouraging competition and all that. I don’t see that as being so bad.

  11. eFFFFFfffffff

    Odd framing of the Human Rights Council grades. The headline only mentions surveillance but the flunking grades that the US got encompass lack of command responsibility, legalized torture, gun violence, indefinite detention, and government barriers to victim redress.

    Ten unsatisfactory grades out of thirteen would flunk you out of Corinthian. The big picture here is a US state that fails to meet its responsibility to protect. If this was Africa, Obama would be in the dock at the ICC.

  12. savedbyirony

    Joan Chittester, O.S.B., past president of both the LCWR and her community of Benedictine Sisters in Erie, PA has been saying such things for years and years. She is also not shy over talking about population, birth control and the multifaceted potentials of women and girls (many of which the RCC hierarchy works to suppress, including female ordination- which brought both she and her community into serious hot water with the CDF a few years ago) as well as about the environment. (In this regard, many catholic sisters’ organizations are decades ahead of the Pope and his recent encyclical in both word and actions.)

    Anyone interested in the Benedictine way of life might try checking-out her “Wisdom Distilled for the Daily”. She has written many books on various topics, but this one gets much to the heart of her life’s philosophy, leadership vision, and experiences living one particular RCC women’s religious community.

  13. Brindle

    re: NSA’s 9/11 Coverup

    Along with what former Sen. Bob Graham has been saying, it seems a reasonable conclusion that elements of Saudi Arabian govt. were involved in the 9/11 plot. What was U.S. intel doing?

    —Precluding ineptitude leaves us with a more disturbing scenario. That the calls from San Diego were intentionally ignored. In other words, certain people didn’t want them investigated—

    1. James Levy

      When the implications of who was involved, or might be involved, or knew more than they were telling us (Pakistani and Saudi Intel, the Saudi Royal Family, Mossad, German Intel) started to take shape it probably scared the daylights out of the mid-level NSA bureaucrats who were putting the picture together. Would you want to pass that up the line? Would your boss’s boss want to go to the Bush White House with that information? Better to ignore, obfuscate, and delay in the hopes that the whole thing blows over. And when it didn’t, you can always fall back behind an almost impregnable wall of secrecy to cover your dereliction of duty.

      1. susan the other

        And don’t forget the heavy handed intimidation of everyone in government with the anthrax scare. Congress was probably threatened directly by the war mongers in addition to blowing anthrax thru the vents.

      2. prostratedragon

        Recall, this is the same Khalid al-Midhar, known to be a relative and at times tenant of the owner of the phone that Bamford’s article centers on, who U.S. intel “lost” at the end of the Al Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, which they were monitoring. He and Nawaf al-Hazmi arrived in San Diego a couple of weeks later.

        That chain of events has always inclined my thinking away from the simple covering up of incompetence.

    2. Christopher Fay

      And the U. S. government was involved too as the Neo-Con[men] were now in government and they got excellent what they wanted, a Pearl Harbor type event

  14. Vatch

    Of relevance to the articles about the migrant crisis that are in today’s links:

    “I am 20 years old, born in a very big family of 35 siblings,” Ms. Ayo told UNFPA. “My father had 18 wives, and my mother was the second to last one… Because we were a big family, we always lacked the basics in life, especially school needs… That is one of the reasons I decided to go on family planning.”

    She initially encountered opposition. “At first I was discouraged by my friends, who said using contraceptives is not good for women as it could make one sterile,” she said, describing a common – but incorrect – belief about family planning.

    But Ms. Ayo persisted. She received family planning counselling from social workers with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), whose work in Kiryadongo is supported by UNFPA. “They gave me different options,” she said, and chose a contraceptive method that best worked for her.

    “I have completed my senior [term], and now I’m waiting to go to university while the girls who rejected family planning conceived, became teenager mothers and dropped out of school.”

    1. IsabelPS

      18 wives, it means her father was a rich man, probably a very rich man in his community. I am glad that she had a chance to acquire a different notion of “basics in life” to include school needs.

  15. optimader

    Asking DTrump if he endorses big game hunting/what his opinion of people that engage in the activity will be the ringer question in a debate

      1. cnchal

        . . . While The Donald is a dignified-enough dad not to blast his own progeny, he did say, “I am not a believer in hunting and I’m surprised they like it.”

        I suggest The Donald should genetically test his boys, to find out if he is their true father. He was probably too busy cooking up a deal to notice their birth.

        1. optimader

          A tone deaf superficial response that demonstrates an aptitude for politics.

          Some people hunt for food, it is what it is. That is not equivalent to having professionals track wild and endangered trophy animals for a fee for the purpose of enabling someone to then step out of the Range Rover to assassinate it.

          DTJr justifies assassinating elephants as the only way to scientifically manage elephant populations that will otherwise destroy their local ecosystem. Of course we know elephant populations were at great risk before the noble Europeans started arriving in the 19th Century with large bore rifles to assist Mother Nature. Apparently the extraordinarily large sums spent on luxury trophy hunter “safaris” could not be allocated to more humane management techniques (relocation/habitat reconstruction).

          Guys like DT Jr this cant just cant acknowledge their satisfaction is derived from killing (when the odds are heavily stacked in their favor) and instead have to rationalize some bizarre high minded purpose to the pursuit.

    1. craazyman

      The professional hunter whose client shot Cecil makes some good points in an interview. Hunters are often some of the most avid and concerned naturalists and environmentalists. I used to do fly fishing, not so much recently, but I enjoyed it very much, although I did feel pangs of guilt at catching the fish and even went so far as to research the biology of fish to understand their capacity for pain and panic. Interestingly, so did the fishing guides I met. They were universally thoughtful and articulate about the relation between fishing and general fishery stewardship and they felt a profound sense of environmental responsibillty, not only to be good stewards of the fisheries they used, but to be proactive environmentalists overall.

      Likewise, responsible hunters are often the best stewards of nature, since they understand in a way city and suburbanites don’t, the cycles of nature and the fragility of overstressed ecosystems. They also see first hand the results of animal overbreeding in nature when natural predators are absent. Deer in particular will overbreed and get mangy, diseased and will starve to death. Is it better to thin the heard with responsible hunting? Or let the deers overpopulate into misery. In trout fisheries, fly fisherman are usually very concerned about preservation of the trout population through highly regulated stream access (in public fisheries, I’m not talking private fee-based fisheries).

      Anyone who doesn’t know this sub-culture does not frankly understand how thoughtful and intelligent it can be. Conservationism in general has been tremendously supported and advanced by responsible hunters and fishermen. I think this guide and his client are getting a very bad rap — from people on the internet who go to the supermarket and get hamburgers and veal, by the way. Then light up the grill and slap on the meat, and complain about evil guys like the hunter and his guide.

      1. Vatch

        You make some good points. We should emphasize the point that responsible hunters never hunt endangered or vulnerable species. In other words, no lions, tigers, rhinos, or elephants, among many others. They also never hunt from airplanes or helicopters.

        1. craazyman

          that is correct. they would not.

          full disclosure: i have never hunted iin my life but I did catch a butterfly once in a net. that’s about it. I dont think I would enjoy hunting. Fishing is OK. I enjoy that — fly fishing only. eating the fish is OK too but I always let them go, mostly because I wasn’t prepared to bring fish home with me. I just enjoyed wannderinng alone in the woods and the creeks

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I guess you’re being serious here, but they tied a dead animal to a truck and dragged it around to “lure” a lion to kill. I don’t know how you even call that “hunting,” let alone “responsible hunting.”

        And, presumably, “avid and concerned naturalists and environmentalists” could spot a collared animal even if the great white american hunter could not.

        Not to mention the fact that Cecil was so easy to identify that even tourists could and did do it.

        The “thin[ning] the heard [sic]” explanation is the “I feared for my life” justification of hunting world. Herds (or prides) of endangered species don’t require thinning. But, if the experts are to be believed, said “thinning” will continue apace since Cecil’s cubs will now be killed by the remaining males in an effort to establish a new leader.

        1. optimader

          The “thin[ning] the heard [sic]” explanation is the “I feared for my life” justification of hunting world. Herds (or prides) of endangered species don’t require thinning

          Correct, they need larger habitat so they don’t have to aggregate in reserves to avoid being blasted. Surely it may be a case that certain species might exceed the carry capacity of their local habitat. So why is that? a bit of root cause analysis would be in order here.
          Move them and rehabilitate habitat.

        2. OIFVet

          The experts are correct, the new males kill the cubs in order to induce estrus in the females. On average, for every dominant male like Cecil getting killed, 8 or 9 more lions die. Trophy hunting is definitely murder, not conservation. 60 years ago there were 500,000 lions in Africa. Now there are 20,000 to 25,000 left. If this happened to a human ethnic group we would call it a genocide. But since it’s lions, we don’t.

      3. optimader

        I think a guide that drags an animal carcass on the perimeter of a preserve , presumably to lure a Lion, then chaperones an ahole dentist around so he can step out of the vehicle to shoot it as a “Trophy Animal”, strip its skin off and leave the carcass is a false equivalence w/ hunting in the traditional sense. Suggesting they are conservationists challenges credulity.

        A hunter that actually hunts a deer and kills it for food, or for that matter even a fisherman who in your example uses a local guide to fly fish at least give the animals a chance. If the animal looses, their destiny is to end up as chow.

        As full disclosure, I haven’t any inclination to hunt or fish, nor do I begrudge those that do for food. I will be the first to the dinner table (it’s organic!) for venison or freshly caught trout, walleye, salmon etc. That said, do I think hunting/fishing for food (or catch and release in the case of fishing) extrapolates to it being normal behavior to spend ~$50K to have “Trophy Animals” baited/lured for convenient presentation to some ahole to assassinate, then have it’s skin stripped/head chopped off, carcass left to rot?
        No , not so much.

        1. craazyman

          I dont eat much meat at all, but I;m not vegetarian & I’ll enjoy a good organic burger with sauuteed onion and mushrooms. I recall a sentence from Thoreaus Walden where he said he wasn’t much of a fisherman any more before he started talking about fishing in the Milky Way among the pebbles of stars. He didnt elaborate, but maybe he didn’t have to. It gets like that. He was a wacko anyway

          What about Catch and Release Lion Hunting with Kevlar body armor and helmets. The hunter tracks and subdues the lion with expert wrestling maneuvers and grips, pinning it to the ground. He must hold it immobile for 3 seconds to get an official “kill”. Then he releases it back to the jungle or grassland, or wherever. Then he runs like hell. This can be captured by a professional videographer as a form of trophy. A fake lion fur can also be manufactured from synthetic fibers as a formal commemoration.

          This wold not work with elephannts or hippos. there, the hunter would simply have to make physical touch , then run like hell. That wold be considered a “kill”

          These are not species with natural predators necessarily, but they mostly mind their own businesses, except the lions. They viciously attack and kill almost any form of meat. But nevertheless, the hunter would have to be in excellet physical condiition and there would be no excuses directed at a bad gunsight in the event of a miss

          1. optimader

            I might see the case if the odds are leveled, Lets say Lion and Trophy Hunter w/ sharp wooden stick of choice.. Let the sport of herd “culling” go either way.

            BTW, I think its a bit of a misnomer to tag Lions as being vicious . Lazy might be a more accurate description. Given the opportunity to eat the dead Gazelle by the waterhole instead of chasing one down, they would sooner chow down on the dead one, then take a well deserved, undisturbed nap under the tree passing gas from the fetid meat.
            If they are famished and there is no dead Gazelle then the next order of business is the limpy one w/ the infected hoof.

            Last choice is tangling with a healthy one w/ sharp hooves and filled with adrenaline.

            Lions are congenitally not looking for a fight because if they get injured, break a tooth, get hoofed in the shoulder w/ a resultant broken bone or bloody infected wound , they are basically fckd. The Cowardly Lion from W of Oz is probably a more apt description. Path of least resistance is the Lion’s motto.. punctuated w/ easy food, naps and sex. A lot like Chicago cops as I knew them. Avoid confrontation and paperwork, eat and catnap to be fresh on the moonlight job.. Driving the wrong way down a one-way street at 2AM? They’d sooner look at your license to see which way to point you or throw your keys in the sewer and take your beer of course.

            1. craazyman

              i read on the internet that the women lions do the hunting. mostly at night. the dudes lay around and get waited on hand and foot. that sounds good to me.

              The other lion insights I got were from the old movie with Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas where they were African pro hunters out to kill a man eating lion who ate a bunch of African villagers. There were some hilarious lines in the screenplay, althouugh I’m not sure they were supposed to be hilarious. One can only wonder what a director like Ed Wood would have done with a project like that. Probably put a fake lion head on a dog and had it run around, dubbing in the roaring

              1. optimader


                By analyzing samples of the hair and bone of the lions, researchers were able to estimate that one lion likely ate 11 humans and the other consumed 24 people during the animals’ final nine months
                WTF, hows that possible?.

                !

              2. optimader

                i read on the internet that the women lions do the hunting. mostly at night. the dudes lay around and get waited on hand and foot. that sounds good to me

                As it should be. Would be even better if the lady lions had opposable thumbs so they could make rum drinks for those hot afternoons.

            2. craazyman

              whoa! this is incredible.

              The movie was based on a true story. In 1898, two lions in Kenya ate 35 people.

              “In March 1898 the British started building a railway bridge over the Tsavo River in Kenya. The project was led by Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson. During the next nine months of construction, two maneless male Tsavo lions stalked the campsite, dragging Indian workers from their tents at night and devouring them. Crews tried to scare off the lions and built campfires and bomas, or thorn fences, around their camp for protection to keep the man-eaters out, to no avail; the lions leaped over or crawled through the thorn fences. After the new attacks, hundreds of workers fled from Tsavo, halting construction on the bridge. Patterson set traps and tried several times to ambush the lions at night from a tree. After repeated unsuccessful endeavours, he shot the first lion on 9 December 1898. Twenty days later, the second lion was found and killed. The first lion killed measured nine feet, eight inches (3 m) from nose to tip of tail. It took eight men to carry the carcass back to camp. The construction crew returned and completed the bridge in February 1899. The exact number of people killed by the lions is unclear. Patterson gave several figures, overall claiming that there were 135 victims.”

              Later research evidently put the total at 35.

              At any rate, I’d grab the rifle and fire. I’m just being honest, as long as it was self-defense that is. I wouldn’t go out of my way to shoot any of them unless they started it.

              1. OIFVet

                Patterson’s book is better, IMO. Even though the colonial Brit sahib attitude is a bit much at times (see the Appendix).

      4. OIFVet

        Predators did great job of controlling prey populations and thus keeping them healthy. Then we came along and thought we could do a better job than Mother Nature, or so the argument goes. The fact is that we destroyed predator species, thus throwing off the balance, and all so that ranchers wouldn’t have to spend extra effort and money in protecting their herds. And so that trophy hunters could mount the most magnificent specimens over their fireplaces, or make rugs of them. For such naturalists, they just have to destroy the best representatives of a specie, which is hardly what I would call conservation.

        Don’t get me wrong, my family has hunted for generations, but we eat what we kill. When it comes to predators, I hunt them with binoculars and long lens camera. That way the next guy that comes along can enjoy them as well. And the best representatives of the species can keep passing on their genes, so that their offspring can keep the delicious deer populations healthy for those of us who enjoy eating them.

        This is the long way of saying that trophy hunting as preservationism is the most obnoxious excuse for murder for the thrill of it. Don’t buy that bunk.

      5. ShamanicFallout

        Yes, Conservation of course. That is why they hunt. It is such a shame that these thoughtful lion-hunter conservationists are getting such a bad rap from idiot hamburger-eating suburbanites.

  16. DJG

    Camille Paglia and the liberal pile-on: I’m always amazed at liberal disdain for Camille Paglia. In this interview, she’s extolling Media Benjamin and Code Pink (another group that liberals get all sniffy about).

    What Camille Paglia has been pointing out for years is stagnation. One symptom, very telling:

    “Rockefeller collected abstract art. It’s hard to imagine a Republican politician today–or actually a Democrat either–as an art collector. He was such a sophisticated, genial man, but today he would be considered a RINO by many Republicans–Republican In Name Only. It’s unfortunate, because there was value in that old WASP patrician style–where people were born to wealth and privilege and yet they devoted their lives to public service.”

    We have a government of hollow men. Why do we expect results? It is as if we have developed a habit of mind and are unwilling to see that the elites are corrupted to the level where acquiring a David Hockney painting would be a point of rebellion against their corporate morality, such as it is.

    Fantastic comment about Republican candidates and “excessive boyishness.” (Think Paul Ryan, too.)

    1. Vatch

      Art collecting can be extremely profitable for the ultra rich. Buy a painting for $ 1 million (or whatever), wait a few years for it to appreciate in price, get it appraised for $ 10 million (or whatever), donate it to a museum, get a huge tax deduction without the need to pay any capital gains tax on the huge increase in price. And appear to be generous in the process.

      1. vidimi

        that’s sort of the way it goes but not really. at least not the “for it to appreciate in price” part.

        in reality, art auctions are notoriously secret therefore, you can bid crazy prices for artwork that you are selling. the trick is to have the auction house take a fixed commission (i.e. the accomplice bonus for the driver of the getaway car) and be clever about concealing that you owned the artwork in the first place.

        so if you owe a few hundred million in taxes and still have one of the thousands of original picassos you inherited lying around, take it to auction through a company in belize. agree to pay the auctioneer 20,000 and buy it back for 180m. then donate it to your local art museum and not only take care of your taxes but enjoy your new status as a benefactor.

        1. optimader

          the other notorious secret is the prevalence of forgeries so…
          …auction the copy and keep the original in the basement next to the butter pickles

        2. optimader

          On auction houses, there are some diamonds in the rouges gallery, Leslie, very, cool honest entrepreneur

          She had the vision to start snagging architectural artifacts in Chicago for the price prying it off the wall when oh so many historic building when under the ball and built it up to a juggernaut biz.

          Coys of Kensington is a sleazy object lesson for caveat emptor
          , is an axample of one the the sleaziest.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      He was such a sophisticated, genial man, but today he would be considered a RINO by many Republicans–Republican In Name Only.

      Nelson Rockefeller was considered a RINO in his own time by Goldwater and his ilk. Today even Goldwater himself would be suspect.

  17. Unorthodoxmarxist

    Yves, did you see Beppe Grillo’s on-point criticism of Tsipras?

    “It would be difficult to defend the interests of the Greek people worse than Tsipras did,” Grillo wrote. “His refusal to exit the euro was his death sentence. He was convinced that he could break the marriage between the euro and austerity, but ended up delivering his country into Germany’s hands, like a vassal.”

  18. Uahsenaa

    re: Japan and TPP

    I did a quick search of the Mainichi, Asahi, and Yomiuri and couldn’t find anything specifically relating to Vietnam or Malaysia, though what struck me is how much the reportage in all three really hammers on the issue of specific tarifs on ag products. Also there is that I found interesting for the way it frames how “trade frictions,” as the article says, have evolved over the years. If you were to translate it straight up, word for word, it might read as “look how far we’ve come from the 80s and 90s when we were practically at each other’s throats.” It characterizes the TPP as “twenty years in the making” but does so explicitly in terms of the long history of trade friction between the US and Japan over ag and auto. Then, lo and behold, you look in the rest of the paper and what do you see but a number of articles about concessions in ag and the auto industry. Read between the lines.

    As for translation, something I can explain in detail! With most languages, “what gets translated” is a pretty simple function of negotiating with the author and maybe his/her publisher and then finding a publisher in an Anglophone country to put it out. With Japanese, it’s more a function of established relationships between Japanese and international publishing houses, which means the publishers themselves have far more say about what does and does not get translated. The second axis of control is the Japan foundation, which is the primary giver of grants for various arts/humanities related projects, and its aims are specifically to promote a positive image of Japan abroad. You’re far more likely to get funding to work on a translation of, say, Kawabata Yasunari than Yumeno Kyusaku, whose vision of a modern Japan is incredibly bleak and, like the Marxist writers who likewise never get translated, presents the effect of Japanese culture on the human psyche as oppressive at best. Can’t have that getting out.

    1. Clive

      Yes, definitely. It never ceases to surprise me how, even after figuring out the vocabulary and the grammar, there’s so much more work to do on the translation of what so many people would like to be able to understand — the media in Japan in general and newspapers especially. I suppose it’s just the Japanese version of what is culturally engrained in every country too. Someone said to me only today, referring to a news item we were discussing “I know it was in the Daily Mail, but…” — and we both knew exactly what was meant (what the Daily Mail is, who it speaks for and who it tries to speak to). All that “baggage” that gets brought to the table just through where an article appears, who and what the writer is, what the topic is and so on — and that’s what’s so hard not only for a non-native speaker, but also when, as like me, it’s been a while since I lived in Japan on a long-term basis. You start to miss out on that stuff which you just end up absorbing, like some sort of cultural osmosis.

      I was doing some research on the latest WikiLeaks today, without wishing to undermine the importance of it, there wasn’t actually that much which was revelatory in the revelations. I was trying to locate article which I’d read 10, maybe nearly 15 years ago on ECHELON, the grand-daddy of the NSA’s mass surveillance systems. Way, way back, ECHELON was used for industrial espionage — at the time when Japan was at the height of its technological supremacy. Japan and Japanese companies were big targets.

      But there was very little coverage in the Japanese media of this, it all kind of fizzles out after an initial flurry in the late 1990’s. But I did eventually find the article I was interested in ( — it’s so old you have to manually select the Japanese code page in your browser, remember that ?!) and I was struck by the passivity of it and I couldn’t with my limited background knowledge of the writer and the publisher figure out what the reason was. One bit that typified this was where it said that the US had leaned on NTT to stop its development of encryption technology. But it was like it had happened in a vacuum or on another planet. Who had applied the pressure ? Why had NTT complied ? To an “outsider” these unasked questions positively screamed out at you. But to whoever was writing the piece — and presumably, the intended readers — it was either something that you either weren’t bothered about or, more likely I feel, you just knew already and didn’t need it spelling out to you. Whichever, it doesn’t make for an easy translation !

      1. Uahsenaa

        Omg, Shift JIS… it’s so hideous to look at…

        And you’re right, it does have a weirdly passive quality to it: “ECHELON is considered to have come into existence in the 1970s” or “evidence pointing to the existence of ECHELON is seen here and there,” as if what we were talking about were fossils dug up in some remote quarry. Gee, how did that get there! I can honestly say I’ve never seen so many instances of the verb sareru (passive of the verb for “to do”) in my whole life. It’s quite strange.

        That said, it is a somewhat extreme example of a not uncommon form of bureaucratic doubletalk and also of a tendency in Japanese to state things existentially (“as for myself, there is a cat” – boku wa neko ga iru) rather than with some form of agency (“I have a cat” – neko o motte iru).

  19. Kurt Sperry

    I love this photo essay. An urban explorer stumbles on an abandoned aerospace facility for the Russian space shuttle. Amazing to consider we have today nearly state of the art spacecraft sitting derelict and forgotten, waiting to be destroyed as the building housing them eventually collapses on them from neglect. Like something from a futurist sci-fi novel.

      1. optimader

        Indeed an interesting and cool historical find, hopefully this Buran legacy is preserved instead of allowing the building to collapse in on itself which was the fate of another Buran example that was destroyed by neglect, as well as equally ignominious fates of others w/ the exception of the flighttest mule in a German museum..

        I remember this jalonik article, fun but one of those fatally flawed comparing apples and oranges what ifs????
        If you include the Buran’s test flight for two orbits, it flew once for something over 2 hours. The Space Shuttle flew 135 missions and something like 32,000 hrs. There is no point in making a comparison.

        The Buran designers did have the advantage of observing an operational SShuttle as it was only fielded something like or 7- 8(?)years after the first Shuttle mission, so I would hope they had some insights to gleen.

        The notion that the SS was a POS is overstated by some. It was incredible technology in it’s day, designed w/sliderulers w/ program funding kneecapped by the Vietnam War albatross.

  20. Gareth

    Even more curious, from a report by the Office of the Inspector General:

    “…Mihdhar and Hazmi boarded a flight in Bangkok, Thailand, for Los Angeles. They were admitted to the United States on non-immigrant visitor visas and authorized to remain in the U.S. until July 14, 2000. Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, they traveled to San Diego, California, where they were aided in finding a place to stay by Omar al Bayoumi. Bayoumi had been the subject of an FBI preliminary intelligence investigation that had been closed.

    In late May 2000, Hazmi and Mihdhar rented a room in the residence of an FBI asset.

  21. Ulysses

    Interesting comment about the art, and the decline of “noblesse oblige.” In the more affluent branches of my own family I see far too much cultural patronage, and far too little willingness to challenge the most predatory banksters, corrupt politicians, etc. It’s not like these people approve of the wolves of Wall Street, exactly, but they are afraid to challenge the people who control the institutions that manage their wealth.

    Nelson Rockefeller might have helped our society a lot more– by giving less money to the arts, and fighting more to undo the damages caused to the working classes by his robber baron ancestors!

      1. DJG

        Agreed. My comment, and Paglia’s observation, come from believing that training in the humanities is a necessity. The lack of openness on the part of our elites, their endless deal making, their lack of perspective, all of these come from not being inquisitive. Any appeal to the humanities or arts, except as some high-flying meaningless rhetoric, is considered unmanly or unseemly. Liberals now are focused on process process process, the minutiae of decision making, which is part of Obama’s appeal to them. John D. Rockefeller, for all his many flaws, founded a university, such as it is. What we now get are presidential libraries and foundations–with nothing inside.

  22. Synoia

    NEW DELHI — India’s conservative government has proposed a draft bill that would strip the country’s central bank of its independence by putting the power to set interest rates in the hands of politicians.

    Recognizing treasury and central bank functions are integral parts of government with fiat currencies?

    Interest rates in the hands of the elected instead of the unelected?

    Seems proper to me. Even if it is the conservative doing the changes. Please pass the popcorn, this appears as an interesting experiment.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some are elected by the people. They are the lucky people, if not always correct.

      Some are not elected.

      Some are elected by money. The people are not so lucky here.

      The compromise I propose, to the human nature of problem of ‘money corrupts,’ is to let one entity (the government and their hired experts) decides how much money to create, and another entity (the people) to spend it into existence.

      No conflict of interest there.

    2. abynormal

      save your popcorn:
      The Georgian parliament on Friday passed a bill that would strip the central bank of its supervisory functions over banks, a move critics say could erode its independence.

      The government denies the proposal is politically motivated.

      The former Soviet republic’s economy has been battered by a plunge in the Russian rouble and the conflict in Ukraine. Declining foreign investment and lower exports and remittances are also contributing to a rising current account deficit.

      “Such an experiment can seriously harm the banking sector, as well as the stability of the financial system,” said David Onoprishvili, an opposition member of parliament.(one across the bow)

      The International Monetary Fund, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Asian Development Bank and World Bank have called on Georgia to keep banking supervision inside the central bank.

      “We believe that enacting the amendments … would weaken the independence and quality of banking supervision in Georgia, threaten banking sector stability, and undermine prospects for sustained growth,” the institutions said in a letter to the prime minister and parliamentary speaker.

  23. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Palestinian baby burned to death in West Bank arson; IDF blame ‘Jewish terror Haaretz

    Gives new meaning to Huckabee’s recent “oven” reference. I guess one person’s “oven” is another person’s hand of “god.”

    “Long live the ‘Messiah’.”

    What kind of “god” “chooses” this kind of people?

    1. Uahsenaa

      If I had to guess, probably the same g-d who punishes Saul for refusing to slaughter all of the Amalekites and their cattle. Or the one who, in Judges, delivers the Hebrews into the hands of their enemies simply because they weren’t telling him what an awesome guy he is every hour of every day.

      People tend to forget that the g-d of the Israelites is quite often petulant and bloodthirsty.

      1. alex morfesis

        the adonis/adonai of many religions…

        the world brought to you by the unauthorized biography of auram/abraham…

        three wifes…many religions…8 children…

        islam, christianity, judaism, ba’hai…and a few others who are
        claimed to have spawned from the 3rd wife…

        don’t blame a higher power for any of the stupid things humans do….or allow to happen…no matter what you believe in…

        it is human hubris to believe any g-d (or g-ds or g-ddess) needs humans…or needs them to do anything for that g-d…

  24. Vatch

    How Zhou Qunfei became the world’s richest self-made woman Sydney Morning Herald (EM). An amazing story. And it could never happen here.

    Panegyrics about billionaires make me uncomfortable, and although it may be true that this couldn’t have happened here, some close approximations have happened here in the United States. Elizabeth Holmes probably didn’t start from as low a socio-economic position as Zhou did, but she is an example of a “self made” (nobody is really self made, but that’s a separate topic) billionaire. For more, see:

    This could be seen as a list of women who don’t pay enough taxes. A list of such men would be longer, of course.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you take, for example, 64 people and, let them go thru 6 rounds of ‘sudden death’ coin flipping, there will always be a winner at the end, every time you run this experiment.

      There will be always be one person who gets lucky 6 straight times (and 63 guaranteed failures).

      Now, if, instead of coin flips, one advances by guessing the right card from a deck of 52 cards, there is no such guarantee.

      Life is something in-between those two scenarios.

      Maybe she should really be worth $100 billion instead of $1 billion she is worthy now (she has failed to fully use her ‘luck’), or maybe she should really be worth only $100 million, instead of $1,000 million she has now (demonstrating her own hard work).

      As Vatch commented above, stories like this don’t really mean much. You run a thousand wild, wild China experiments, you are likely to run into outcomes like this quite often.

      It’s more of ‘You too can be rich’ or worse, ‘We all can all be billionaires if we work hard.’

    2. ada

      Holmes’s father was a high-ranking Bush 43 appointee, and her family comes from old-money. She developed none of the technologies in her startup, dropping out as a college freshman/sophomore and leveraging her family’s connections into publicity and money. Just taking a look at her company’s board of directors should tell you everything you need to know…

      1. Vatch

        Oh my. I guess Elizabeth Holmes is a little like Bill Gates, whose mother knew the CEO of IBM, because they were both on the same board of a charity.

    3. optimader

      Isn’t she the one who is so original that she has a penchant for wearing black turtleneck shirts?… D’oh!!!

  25. John Merryman

    Having spent my life in various family businesses, where management and labor sat across the dinner table and being labor, as I lack the hustle gene, I think that as our complex civilization appears headed for a serious breakdown, some elemental examination of the processes at work might help to clarify the reality.

    Reality is the dichotomy of energy pushing out and form contracting in, as two sides of the same coin. Energy manifests, form defines. Be it the energy of youth, versus knowledge of age, to galaxies composed of energy radiating out and mass falling in. So energy pushes from past to future forms, so form arises and dissipates, creating the effect of time. Consciousness goes from prior to succeeding thoughts, as these forms of the mind coalesce and then recede into the past. Tomorrow becomes yesterday.

    This goes to the dichotomy of conservatism and liberalism, in that liberalism is social expansion, while conservatism is civil consolidation. As the extremes are totalitarianism, or anarchy, it is best to keep this relationship in some manageable cycle, as per Ulysses comment about Italian officialdom not taking itself too seriously, versus the more brainless American examples(though as a wasp who mostly remains local, my experiences are of the more lenient sort).

    Over billions of years of evolution, we have evolved a central nervous system to process form/information and the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems to process energy. (Which tends to create a significant bias among the more cerebral for form over actual dynamics, as anyone trying to penetrate the world of high end physics and math will attest.)

    As cultural expressions of this relationship, government functions as the central nervous system of society, while finance functions as its circulatory system. What we now need to do is to configure these relationships so that they reflect deeper realities and not just our basic assumptions. Socially it is a bit like reconciling ourselves to the fact that the earth is round and not flat and that the sun, not the earth, is the center of the local gravitational system.

    Which is to say the we need to recognize that money, as a glorified voucher system, functions like blood in the body, but we currently treat it as though it were fat and try to store as much as possible. It is a contract, not a commodity.

    Yes there will always be differences among the various organs of society. For instance, the brain requires more blood and better circulation than the feet, but only marginally so. It would do the brain no good for the feet to rot off from lack of circulation. Nor should we use the financial system to store excess value, as that would be like fat in the arteries.

    This is not socialism. In fact, socialism, the idea that everything should be equal, is a valuable tool for the parasites who are robbing the larger body, as it gives an unworkable comparison. Society is like a house. Some rooms are public, some private and some are a combination, like the bathroom. It is a complicated relationship.

    So the point I see that our generation has to address is to learn that money, as the blood flowing through the system, is a form of public commons, not private property.

    Given the worst thing for a voucher system is lots of excess vouchers and as capitalism has metastasized from the efficient transfer of value, to manufacturing capital as an end in itself, this system is rapidly self destructing, so I’m just putting these ideas out as seeds to hopefully grow and advance the larger debate.

  26. Jim Haygood

    David Stockman rips the mismanagers of Social Security:

    The untrustworthies have goal-seeked their 2015 report to generate $1.425 trillion of payroll tax revenue 12 years from now. Yet based on a simple continuation of the deeply embedded 2.7% GDP growth trend of the last seven years, payroll revenue would come in at only $1.1 trillion in 2026, or $325 billion lower in that year alone.

    Instead of a healthy cushion of $2.4 trillion of assets (or two years outgo) as the untrustworthies projected last week, the fund balance would be down to just $80 billion at year-end 2026. Benefits would be automatically cut back to the level of tax revenue or by 33%.

    Jacob Lew is a Washington-Wall Street apparatchik who wouldn’t grasp the self-destructing flaws of trust fund accounting if they smacked him in the forehead. And the same is apparently true for the other trustees. Calling their mendacious handiwork the “untrustworthies report” is actually more flattering than they deserve.

    Stockman doesn’t even mention the $10.7 trillion negative net worth that they confessed to this year. Under federal sentencing guidelines, those responsible for this epic embezzlement could be sentenced to 258,634 years of imprisonment.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      $325 billion shortfall can be easily made up with 100 million new immigrants making (that is, contributing) $3,250 payroll tax revenue each.

      1. craazyboy

        If everyone starves to death, would that be bullish or bearish for the stock market? Will paying inflated burial costs for 80 million boomers mess up the national debt even worse?? Will burying the boomers create jobs? Maybe too many – and we get wage inflation???

        I need the answers to these questions before putting the nest egg into the stock market. Or bond market for that matter. I’m supposed to invest with low risk at my age. Cash is no good either with ZIRP and 8% annual medical inflation, not to mention prices going up whether we have inflation or not! How come all the SS gurus never see Medicare/Medicaid as a problem nowhere near the scope of the dreaded SS problem???? Will we get $1500/month to spend on pills, but have to live in a park and go dumpster diving for dinner????

        Surely someone knows the answers to these questions? I’m trying to figure my portfolio risk/reward ratio.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Speaking of wage inflation, has anyone done a study on the inflation(ex-wages)-adjusted present value* of owing a working serf, and how that has varied over the last few decades?

          *there is a formula for discounting the stream of future monthly payments made to a serf to its present day value. I am not that smart to post it here though.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What I am referring to here is, of course, the zero-money-down, payments spread over the useful life (you determine) of a serf that you or a corporation can buy these days.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “What happens when my serf is hurt?”

              “You can buy insurance for that.”

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                ‘What happens when my serf gets old?”

                ‘You make him or her buy his/her pension from the government. You might have to contribute a bit, but it’s well worth. Way better than the Ante-bellum way.”

  27. dcblogger

    . This has nothing to do with how you feel about Hillary Clinton, it has to do with how you feel about the NY Times lying to you.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Who is still being lied to by the NYT? I would have thought the Iraq War propaganda would have solved the problem. Personally, it’s amusing when the NYT goes after an Iraq War supporter.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Five-word summary of the Clinton campaign’s 25-paragraph letter: ‘I am not a crook.’

  28. Ulysses

    The Piranha Brothers, loosely modelled on the real-life Kray twins, are among my all time favorite MP creations!

  29. John Zelnicker

    Those new shiny garbage trucks could hold a ton of electronic snooping equipment including some that might be ineffective at larger distances.

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