Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis — Greek default does not equal Greek exit

Yanis speaks (20 February 2012).
To conclude, Europe’s optimal strategy is to let Greece default, to allow the Greek government to find ways to live within its tax take for the next year or so and, at the same time, work out the overall solution to the euro crisis that was promised last year and never delivered. A Greek default will provide the clarity and the time-space to do this properly. The other two alternatives (more bailouts or a Greek exit) constitute cruel, unnecessary and unusual punishment. For the whole of Europe.
It's what he is still saying.

ht Clonal

Interview: Greek Bailout Saved Bankers, But Punished the People — TeleSUR interviews Turkish economist Ozlem Onaran

As Greece prepares for a referendum on further austerity proposals, teleSUR explores the legitimacy of the Greek debt.
Interview: Greek Bailout Saved Bankers, But Punished the People
TeleSUR interviews Turkish economist Ozlem Onaran

Barkley Rosser — Who Are The Very Serious People (Greece Edition)?

Barkley Rosser smacks down Tyler Cowen and Fred Hiatt.

Who Are The Very Serious People (Greece Edition)?
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Dylan Matthews — "For Germans, economics is still part of moral philosophy": why Germany won't help Greece

Meet ordoliberalism. Neoliberalism is amoral, but ordoliberalism is stringently moral. It's perhaps no coincidence that the German Schuld means both debt and guilt, and therefore sin. "Ordoliberalism" also indicates the German fixation on order and orderliness (rectitude). Were Americans would say, Everything is OK, Germans say, Alles ist in Ordnung.

This means it is going to be very difficult to get a workable deal with respect to Greek unsustainable debt that German politicians can stomach themselves and also sell to their constituency, since the only way to deal with debt that is not payable is to write at least some of it down. This is an underlying reason for the seemingly unreasonable demand for a level of austerity that makes debt repayment unsustainable for the Greek economy.

"For Germans, economics is still part of moral philosophy": why Germany won't help Greece
Dylan Matthews

teleSUR Military-Style Tactics Used Against Ferguson Protests, Report

More US soft power down the drain, as if there were any left in Latin America.
The police deliberately denied Ferguson protesters the right to free speech using military-style tactics of crowd control last summer, the U.S. Justice Department says.
Military-Style Tactics Used Against Ferguson Protests, Report

Alberto Nardelli — IMF: austerity measures would still leave Greece with unsustainable debt

Secret documents show creditors’ baseline estimate puts debt at 118% of GDP in 2030, even if it signs up to all tax and spending reforms demanded by troika
The Guardian
IMF: austerity measures would still leave Greece with unsustainable debt
Alberto Nardelli
ht Clonal

ekthimerini — Turkey says 'ready to help' Greece out of economic crisis Reuters

Turkey on Tuesday said it was "ready to help" Greece out of its escalating financial crisis as its embattled neighbor edged closer to default.
"We are ready to help Greece survive its economic crisis with cooperation in tourism, energy, trade," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in the capital, Ankara.
"We want Greece to be strong...
Therefore Turkey will be positive toward any proposal for cooperation," he said in televised comments.
Davutoglu added that a Turkish delegation would travel to Greece for a high-level cooperation meeting as soon as possible to consider joint steps on the financial crisis....

Gary Hart — America’s Founding Principles Are in Danger of Corruption

Four qualities have distinguished republican government from ancient Athens forward: the sovereignty of the people; a sense of the common good; government dedicated to the commonwealth; and resistance to corruption. Measured against the standards established for republics from ancient times, the American Republic is massively corrupt.
From Plato and Aristotle forward, corruption was meant to describe actions and decisions that put a narrow, special, or personal interest ahead of the interest of the public or commonwealth. Corruption did not have to stoop to money under the table, vote buying, or even renting out the Lincoln bedroom. In the governing of a republic, corruption was self-interest placed above the interest of all—the public interest.
By that standard, can anyone seriously doubt that our republic, our government, is corrupt? There have been Teapot Domes and financial scandals of one kind or another throughout our nation’s history. There has never been a time, however, when the government of the United States was so perversely and systematically dedicated to special interests, earmarks, side deals, log-rolling, vote-trading, and sweetheart deals of one kind or another.
What brought us to this? A sinister system combining staggering campaign costs, political contributions, political action committees, special interest payments for access, and, most of all, the rise of the lobbying class....
The question is: By adhering to its highest principles and ideals, will America continue to have the moral authority to lead all people of goodwill? The answer remains to be seen. And that answer will have much to do with whether we have the courage to drive the money changers from the temple of democracy and recapture government of the people, for the people, and by the people.
In addition to the rise of the national security state, and the concentration of wealth and power in America, no development in modern times sets us apart more from the nation originally bequeathed to us than the rise of the special interest state. There is a Gresham’s law related to the republican ideal. Bad politics drives out good politics. Legalized corruption drives men and women of stature, honor, and dignity out of the halls of government. Self-respecting individuals cannot long tolerate a system of election and reelection so dependent on cultivating the favor of those known to expect access in return. Such a system is corrosive to the soul....
Gary Hart: America’s Founding Principles Are in Danger of Corruption
Gary Hart | former United States senator from Colorado

Greece: On Behalf of Europe … Jessica Desvarieux interviews Michael Hudson and Bill Black

Video and transcript

Michael Hudson
Greece: On Behalf of Europe …
Jessica Desvarieux interviews Michael Hudson and Bill Black

Matthew Dal Santo — Greek debt crisis: the failure of the euro wasn't just predictable, it was predicted

The worst of it is that all this - the acrimony between Brussels, Berlin and Athens; the misery induced across Greece by depression-era levels of unemployment - was not just entirely predictable but actually predicted.
Anyone who subscribes to the London Review of Books will have noticed the reappearance over the weekend of the 1992 essay 'Maastricht and all that' by Wynne Godley....
Interesting to peruse the comments. The commenters are completely clueless.

The Drum | Opinion
Greek debt crisis: the failure of the euro wasn't just predictable, it was predicted
Matthew Dal Santo | Danish Research Council post-doctoral fellow at the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen

Pratap Chatterjee — EuroZone Profiteers: How German and French Banks Helped Bankrupt Greece

Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and a Nobel Prize winner in economics, wrote in the Guardian newspaper today. “It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks.” 
A recent CorpWatch report - The EuroZone Profiteers - can help shed further light on this matter. While it’s true that corrupt Greek politicians borrowed billions for shaky government schemes from these banks, there was a very good reason that the financiers made these rash loans: they were under pressure from European Union bureaucrats to compete in a global marketplace with U.K. and U.S. banks....
EuroZone Profiteers: How German and French Banks Helped Bankrupt Greece
Pratap Chatterjee, CorpWatch Blog
ht Don Quijones at Raging Bull-Shit

Timothy B. Lee — The euro was a big mistake, and Greece is paying the price

Not the best analysis around, but on the right track anyway.

The euro was a big mistake, and Greece is paying the price
Timothy B. Lee
ht Brad DeLong

Matias Vernengo — Greece on the verge

I discussed to a great extent the debate between Sergio Cesaratto and Marc Lavoie on the nature of the European crisis, that is, whether it is a balance of payments crisis or a monetary sovereignty one.
Cesaratto argues that a balance-of-payment crisis is possible in a currency union, and that the financial crisis of the Eurozone is indeed such a balance-of-payment crisis....
Yet, as noted by Lavoie, the Eurozone crisis seems to have been caused instead mainly as the result of an initial banking problem, which transformed itself into a public debt problem. In other words, the currency issue, and the functioning of the monetary union seem to be at the core of the crisis, not a balance of payments one....
My argument, discussed briefly here before, is that the Cesaratto and Lavoie hypotheses are one and the same. The balance of payments and the monetary sovereignty views of the European crisis are two sides of the same coin.....
Naked Keynesianism
Greece on the verge
Matias Vernengo | Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

Bill Mitchell — So-called ‘free trade’ agreements should be strongly opposed

My header this week is in solidarity for the Greek people. I hope they vote no and then realise that leaving the dysfunctional Eurozone will promise them growth and a return to some prosperity. They can become the banner nation for other crippled Eurozone nations – a guiding light out of the madness that the neo-liberal elites have created. While Greece battens down against the most incredible attack on European democracy since who knows when – perhaps since the Anschluss that led finally to war breaking out a year later in Europe, one wonders how low the Brussels elite will go to preserve control of the agenda. 
They clearly lost control on Friday when the Greek leadership decided to go back to the people to determine whether they wanted more poverty-inducing austerity. In response, the Brussels gang along with their Washington mates at the IMF have come out with personal attacks, lies, threats and ridiculous dissembling. But that is what happens when bullies can’t bully. But while these events are rather extraordinary in historical terms, other insidious attacks on democratic rights and choice are on-going. One of the more startling attempts to undermine the capacity of elected states to deliver on their mandate to their electorates and hand over almost absolute power over the state to international corporations is the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
So-called ‘free trade’ agreements should be strongly opposed
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Nicola Sturgeon breaks ranks with European leaders and calls for debt relief for Greece

Scotland's First Minister says that an alternative to “piling austerity onto more austerity” must be found
Butterfly Rammy
Nicola Sturgeon breaks ranks with European leaders and calls for debt relief for Greece
Liam O'Hare
ht Clonal

Yves Smith — Greece Asks for Last Minute Deal Before Bailout Expires

Letter embedded at the end of the post.
Naked Capitalism
Greece Asks for Last Minute Deal Before Bailout Expires
Yves Smith

Tim Worstall — But this is impossible under modern monetary theory!

Or perhaps we should revise that to a “this is impossible under a deeply deluded understanding of modern monetary theory”. For there’s a certain segment of the populace who insist that banks just make up money out of thin air.
"There’s a certain segment of the populace who insist that banks just make up money out of thin air." That would include the Bank of England.

See my comment there.

Adam Smith Insitute
But this is impossible under modern monetary theory!
Tim Worstall

Leticia Miranda — How States Are Fighting to Keep Towns From Offering Their Own Broadband

More fascism corporate statism.
Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission voted to ease the way for cities to become Internet service providers. So-called municipal broadband is already a reality in a few towns, often providing Internet access and faster service to rural communities that cable companies don’t serve. 
The cable and telecommunications industry have long lobbied against city-run broadband, arguing that taxpayer money should not fund potential competitors to private companies.

The telecom companies have what may seem like an unlikely ally: states. Roughly 20 states have restrictions against municipal broadband....

G.C. Harcourt — Review Article of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

This paper can be downloaded without charge from The Social Science Research Network Electronic Paper Collection
UNSW Business School Research Paper No. 2015 ECON 10 
Review Article of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty 
G.C. Harcourt 
ht Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution

Zoltan Jakab & Michael Kumhof — Banks are not intermediaries of loanable funds – and why this matters

Problems in the banking sector played a critical role in triggering and prolonging the Great Recession. Unfortunately, standard macroeconomic models were initially not ready to provide much support in thinking about the role of banks. This has now changed, with many new papers that study the interaction of banks with the macroeconomy. However, as emphasized by Adrian, Colla and Shin (2013), there are many unresolved issues. In our new paper “Banks Are Not Intermediaries of Loanable Funds – And Why This Matters” (Jakab and Kumhof (2015)), we argue that many of them can be traced to the fact that virtually all of the newly developed models are based on the intermediation of loanable funds (ILF) theory of banking. 
In the simple ILF model, bank loans represent the intermediation of real savings, or loanable funds, between non-bank savers and non-bank borrowers. Lending starts with banks collecting deposits of real resources from one agent, and ends with the lending of those resources to another agent. In the real world, however, banks never intermediate real loanable funds, an activity that, correctly understood, can only amount to barter. 
Rather, the key function of banks is the provision of financing, meaning the creation of new monetary purchasing power through loans, for a single agent that is both borrower and depositor. Specifically, whenever a bank makes a new loan to a non-bank customer X, it creates a new loan entry in the name of customer X on the asset side of its balance sheet, and it simultaneously creates a new and equal-sized deposit entry, also in the name of customer X, on the liability side of its balance sheet. The bank therefore creates its own funding, deposits, through lending. It does so through a pure bookkeeping transaction that involves no real resources, and that acquires its economic significance through the fact that bank deposits are any modern economy’s generally accepted medium of exchange. 
This understanding of the function of banks, which we will refer to as the financing and money creation (FMC) model, has been repeatedly described in publications of the world’s leading central bankssee McLeay, Radia and Thomas (2014a,b) for an excellent summary. What has been challenging is the incorporation of these insights into macroeconomic models....
To summarize, banks are not intermediaries of real loanable funds, they do not collect new deposits from non-bank savers. Instead they provide financing, they create new deposits for their borrowers. This involves the expansion or contraction of gross bookkeeping positions on bank balance sheets, rather than the channelling of real resources through banks. Replacing intermediation of loanable funds models with financing and money creation models is therefore necessary simply in order to correctly represent the role of banks in the macroeconomy. But it also addresses several of the empirical problems of existing banking models.
Bank of England | Bank Underground
Banks are not intermediaries of loanable funds – and why this matters
Zoltan Jakab & Michael Kumhof

Merijn Knibbe — Breaking: ECB states that Euro is reversible and not irrevocable

Breaking (and I can’t stress enough how important this is): the wound is really deep, as the ECB changed its mind in a fundamental way. Up till now the ECB has been adamant. THE EURO IS IRREVERSIBLE, adopting it is irrevocable. But they changed their mind (and historians of course knew better all the time). Yesterday, an interview with Benoît Cœuré, one of the highest ranking civil servants of the ECB, started with this sentence: La sortie de la Grèce de la zone euro, qui était un objet théorique, ne peut malheureusement plus être exclue. Translation: Grexit can’t be excluded, anymore....
Real-World Economics Review Blog
Breaking: ECB states that Euro is reversible and not irrevocable
Merijn Knibbe

Chris Dillow — Inequality, the state & the left

"The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie" wrote Marx and Engels: "The working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes." There has always been a strong strand of libertarianism within Marxism.

A big reason for this is that the rich often have the power to ensure that the state operates in their own interests. The revolving door between Whitehall and big business ensures that policy favours the latter. The fact that the government wants to create jobs and a tax base makes it want to protect business confidence. And globalization and/or neoliberal ideology lead to a reluctance to tax the rich heavily.
In the face of pressures such as these, I fear that the statist left is often guilty of wishful thinking - of what I've called Bonnie Tyler syndrome, of holding out for a hero who can wield the state for egalitarian purposes. 
But this is naive: what we saw this year in Ferguson only confirmed what we saw during the miners' strike - that, in the wrong hands, the state will be viciously regressive.
Rather than merely hope that the state can be grasped by good people, the left needs to think differently. What we also need are horizontalism or what Erik Olin Wright has called (pdf) interstitial transformations - self-help groups independent of the state which can grow to supplant capitalism or at least act as a counterweight to capitalistic pressures.
Stumbling and Mumbling
Inequality, the state & the left
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Times of India — Greece orders banks closed for a week, worried citizens empty ATMs; Indian markets spooked

In the first market reaction to the growing risk of a Greek euro exit, the single currency tumbled in Asia on Monday morning.

Stock markets also fell sharply, with Tokyo, Sydney, Shanghai and Hong Kong each sinking more than 2 percent by Monday afternoon.
In India, the benchmark BSE sensex tanked over 535 points and the NSE nifty slid below the 8,300 mark in opening trade today on across-the-board selling by participants, PTI reported. Brokers said widespread selling by investors as well as funds, in line with a global sell-off on fears that Greece may default on a debt repayment and crash out of the euro zone, soured the mood.
The Times of India
Greece orders banks closed for a week, worried citizens empty ATMs; Indian markets spooked

Rahul Manchanda — The Moral Imperative of the BRICS Paradigm

Nineteenth century historian Lord John Dalberg-Acton said, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
This has never been more true than with the case of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and the power they hold over world governments and their people.
In one way or another, they have acted intentionally (or unintentionally) to subvert nationsand their constitutional governments, monarchies, duly elected leaders, the major media, and any and all guardians of people’s human rights and civil liberties.
This is the global problem we are all facing now – there is currently no competition to the IMF and World Bank in the global marketplace for credit, loans, issuance of money and capital, the power to grow and develop economies, project finance, and to stay competitive with the influx of much needed capital to house, clothe, educate, or feed the people of the world.
The stranglehold that the IMF and World Bank wield over the world has given rise to impossible debts to be paid by Second and Third World nations.
This in turn has led to a stunting of economic growth in the wake of stringent austerity programs, leaving 99 per cent of the world’s wealth in the hands of a few plutocrats/oligarchs.
A by-product of the above is the resulting currency wars, which are now bringing us all dangerously close to nuclear cataclysm with the aggressive advancing of NATO in the Ukraine to Russia’s borders, and with the Greece-EU standoff – which is now pushing Athens closer to the BRICS format of doing business.
Currency wars have invariably followed an attacked nation’s general refusal to join the IMF global banking cartel, instead choosing to maintain its own banking sovereignty.
Such was the case with Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other nations; future targets of NATO aggression include Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Russia, which overtly or covertly backs them all....
Breaking the monopoly on power.
...there has been a marriage of corporate/banking interests with government in the US, resulting in a fascist, dictatorial, insensitive federal and local government, supplanting the people and their human and civil rights with the awesome power and cold-bloodlessness of an authoritarian state....

The BRICS Post | Opinion
The Moral Imperative of the BRICS Paradigm
Rahul Manchanda | US-based attorney and civil rights activist

WikiLeaks — US, Saudis Planned to Topple Syria's Assad in 2012

Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, and Britain were involved in a secret 2012 deal to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Sunday. 
RELATED: Saudi Cables: We Have Ten Times More, Says Wikileaks ​"Saudi has been one of the dogs of the United States in the Middle East on a leash, and you think the man is walking a dog, but sometimes, if it is a big dog, the dog starts pulling a man," Assange told Russia 1 TV. 
Last week, Assange’s whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released a batch of more than 60,000 of what it said were classified Saudi diplomatic cables. ​The leak aimed to prove that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had a secret deal to topple Syria’s President Bashar Assad as far back as 2012.
WikiLeaks: US, Saudis Planned to Topple Syria's Assad in 2012

Sputnik Headlines


Obama, Hollande Discuss Reboot on Greek Financing Package

NSA Spied on Every Major Company in France - WikiLeaks

ISIL Kicks Out Taliban, Captures Vast Territory in Afghanistan

US Needs War Every Four Years to Maintain Economic Growth – Belgian Analyst

Athenian Democracy vs. Neoliberal Gods

Monday, June 29, 2015

Christian Rickens — Greece's Referendum: The Price of Five Years of Cowardice

Much of Europe is outraged by Alexis Tsipras' decision to hold a referendum on reforms in Greece. But how did the euro zone allow an economically irrelevant country of 11 million to bring the common currency to the brink? Through cowardice.
Der Spiegel piles on.

Spiegel Online
Greece's Referendum: The Price of Five Years of Cowardice
Christian Rickens | head of SPIEGEL ONLINE's business and economics desk

See also

Opinion: We Are Living in the Anti-Europe By Dirk Kurbjuweit

RT — Greece closes banks, imposes capital controls

In light of a lack of a foreseeable resolution to the Greek crisis, two of the Eurozone’s strongest economies, France and Germany announced that they will hold an internal crisis meeting on Monday. 
President Francois Hollande will have discussions with “restricted cabinet” ministers on Monday for an emergency session. 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to meet with German parliamentary parties to discuss German policy in relation to the Greek crisis. 
Meanwhile, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has told the newspaper Bild, that Merkel holds the “keys in her hand” to secure a deal with its international lenders....
Greece closes banks, imposes capital controls

Michael Hudson — The Greek Debt Crisis and Crashing Markets

Eurozone financial strategists made it clear that they wanted to make an example of Syriza as a warning to Spain’s Potemos party, and anti-euro parties in Italy and France. The message was supposed to have been, “Avoid our austerity and we will cause chaos. Look at Greece.”
But the rest of Europe is interpreting the message in just the opposite way: “Remain in the eurozone and we will only create money to strengthen the financial oligarchy, the 1%. We will insist on budget surpluses (or at least, no deficits) so as to starve the economy of money and credit, forcing it to rely on commercial banks at interest.”
Greece has indeed become an example. But it is an example of the horror that the eurozone’s monetarists seek to impose on one economy after another, using debt as a lever to force privatization selloffs at distress prices.
In short, finance has shown itself to be the new mode of warfare. Resisting debt leverage and financial conquest is as legal as is resisting military invasion.
The Greek Debt Crisis and Crashing Markets
Michael Hudson

Colette Browne — EU leaders will come to rue heavy-handed approach to debt crisis

In the end the Greeks were left with no choice. They had to use the nuclear option when it became clear that Troika technocrats are not interested in negotiating, but view them as nothing more than a Vichy government in place to rubber-stamp their policies....
Clear reference to the Nazi Occupation in case you missed it. No one in Europe would. Germany is coming in for it.

Independent. i.e.
EU leaders will come to rue heavy-handed approach to debt crisis
Colette Browne
ht Clonal

See also
Every year, on October 28, Ohi day is celebrated in Greece and by Greek communities around the world. The word ‘Ohi’ means ‘No’ and commemorates the rejection of the ultimatum made by Mussolini to Greece on October 28, 1940. He had sent a message to Ioannis Metaxas, the Prime Minister of Greece, which offered this choice to Greece: either be occupied peacefully, or be invaded forcefully. Metaxas was said to have a replied with a single word: ‘Ohi’. That day, Italy invaded from Albania, while crowds gathered on the streets of Athens to euphorically chant “Ohi! Ohi! Ohi!” 
The event has been mythologized quite a bit (Metaxas was actually a rather nasty dictator himself and his reply was probably more than just a laconic “No”), but the symbolism of a nation deciding for itself has prevailed. It was a moment of great dignity, moral courage and the assertion of one’s right to self-determination in the face of foreign occupation. As secular national holidays in Greece go, it is up there with Independence Day in terms of importance.
Open Democracy
The symbolism of NO in Greece
Alex Sakis

Back to a WWII mindset. Get job, eurocrats. Instead of creating unity, you brought bitter division and unforgotten memories of Nazi and Fascist oppression. Greeks are not going to forget this anytime soon, and the rest of the world is watching raw neoliberalism in action and thinking fascism.

Jean-Claude Junker hurls insults at Greece

Mike Whitney — Putin Gobsmacks Uncle Sam … Again

Two days before the swaggering Sec-Def touched down in Germany, Gazprom announced that it was putting the finishing touches on a massive deal that would double the amount of Russian gas flowing to Germany via a second Nord Stream pipeline. The shocking announcement made it look like the clueless Carter had no idea what was going on and that his efforts to isolate Russia were a complete flop. And, make no mistake; the deal is huge, big enough to change the geopolitical calculus of the entire region. Robert Morley explains what’s going on in a recent article at The Trumpet:
“Once this pipeline is finished, almost all of Eastern Europe can be completely cut out of the gas picture. There will be no need for any gas to transit through Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Belarus, Hungary or Slovakia.” (Gazprom’s Dangerous New Nord Stream Gas Pipeline to Germany, The Trumpet)
Yep, Ukraine is out and Germany’s in, which means that Washington’s plan to extend US hegemony by driving a wedge between Russia and Europe is down the plughole. 
Judo expert Putin has done it again; he waited until the eleventh hour to pull the rug out from under the blustery Carter, and now he’s sitting back enjoying the show. Is it any wonder why Carter’s been running around Europe with his hair on fire?....
Putin Gobsmacks Uncle Sam … Again
Mike Whitney

Janet Allon — Paul Krugman: What Happens When the West Imposes Endless Crippling Austerity on a Country

Krugman: Don’t be taken in by claims that troika officials are just technocrats explaining to the ignorant Greeks what must be done. These supposed technocrats are in fact fantasists who have disregarded everything we know about macroeconomics, and have been wrong every step of the way. This isn’t about analysis, it’s about power — the power of the creditors to pull the plug on the Greek economy, which persists as long as euro exit is considered unthinkable.

So it’s time to put an end to this unthinkability.
Paul Krugman: What Happens When the West Imposes Endless Crippling Austerity on a Country
Janet Allon

Iain Macwhirter — If I were Greek I'd vote No and leave the EU

Neoliberalism versus democracy:
Suddenly we see a new and disturbing political reality. Governments of small countries are expected to accept their the strictures of Brussels without even seeking the endorsement of their voters. The EU might not like democracy, or Syriza, but a referendum was a sensible way out of the deadlock.
If Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras had simply accepted the ultimatum with which he was presented last week it would mean not only radical cuts to pensions, health care and all forms of social support, but also decades of economic depression; all of the things he was elected to reject.

He had to have support from the Greek people if he was to sign this deal. And so he requested it, to the undisguised fury of the Troika. "Don't think you'll get the same deal now," says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as if it were talking to a recalcitrant child.

Many of us wondered why on earth the EU was imposing yet more austerity on Greece. After five years of this "criminally irresponsible", policy as the economist Joseph Stiglitz has called it, Greek debt has only increased from 133 per cent of GDP to 176 per cent while the economy has shrunk by 25 per cent. This is worse than the Great Depression.

Rarely in history has an economic policy so comprehensively failed. The Troika - the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF - know they will never get back the money they spent bailing out, not Greece, but their own private banking systems. The money is gone and should, like sub-prime mortgages, never have been lent in the first place.

But now we know this isn't about debt recovery. It is about disciplining a recalcitrant government, forcing it to accept a programme of restructuring that imposes neo-liberal values of privatisation, radical cuts in state provision, labour market reforms and an institutionalised debt servitude.....
This is now a Europe in which banks are bailed out but not small countries, where countless billions in taxpayers funds are mobilised to gratify the material lust of a financial kleptocracy while democratically elected governments, honouring their manifestos, are expected to accept the dictates of an unelected bureaucracy.

Stuff it. If I were Greek, I'd vote No and leave.
Herald Scotland
If I were Greek I'd vote No and leave the EU
Iain Macwhirter
ht Clonal

Alexrpt — Simple thought: Why can the UK have a Brexit referendum without consequences, but Greece cannot have a vote on an EU proposal for austerity?

Cameron has promised a UK referendum on EU membership…no one at Brussels questions the policy. Greece decides to hold a referendum and EU / IMF / ECB move quickly to punish the country.

Peter Spence — The world is defenceless against the next financial crisis, warns BIS

The world will be unable to fight the next global financial crash as central banks have used up their ammunition trying to tackle the last crises, the Bank of International Settlements has warned....
Gee, governments might have to pull out their Keynes and rely on fiscal instead.

Oh wait, it gets worse.
This problem [of low interest rates] is compounded as the world’s populations continue to age, the organisation warned, making debt burdens harder to bear. Yet politicians have relied too much on temporary growth boosts by using debt, rather than making painful choices, said the BIS.

Mr Caruana said that during booms, workers and capital are shifted to slow-growing sectors, with a “long-lasting negative” impact on productivity growth. “Misallocated labour needs to move from these sectors to other parts of the economy,” he said.

The BIS said that the current turmoil in Greece typified the kind of “toxic mix” of private and public debt being used as a solution to economic problems, rather than making the proper commitment “to badly needed” structural reforms.

Mr Caruana said that policymakers must now focus on the supply side of the economy, introducing the right reforms, rather than continue to lean on debt which will inevitably undermine growth.

The Telegraph
The world is defenceless against the next financial crisis, warns BIS
Peter Spence, Economics Correspondent

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard — Greece threatens top court action to block Grexit

Greece has threatened to seek a court injunction against the EU institutions, both to block the country's expulsion from the euro and to halt asphyxiation of the banking system.

“The Greek government will make use of all our legal rights,” said the finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis.
“We are taking advice and will certainly consider an injunction at the European Court of Justice. The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it. Our membership is not negotiable,“ he told the Telegraph....
Greek officials said they are seriously considering suing the European Central Bank itself for freezing emergency liquidity for the Greek banks at €89bn. It turned down a request from Athens for a €6bn increase to keep pace with deposit flight.

This effectively pulls the plug on the Greek banking system. Syriza claims that this is a prima facie breach of the ECB’s legal duty to maintain financial stability. “How can they justify setting off a run on the Greek banking system?” said one official.
The Telegraph
Greece threatens top court action to block Grexit
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
ht Clonal

Aditya Chakrabortty — This referendum is a fight between the Greeks and Europe’s cruel capitalism

On Sunday the people of Greece can hit back at the eurozone’s busted economic system that is slowly strangling them. Their battle is ours too.

The Guardian
This referendum is a fight between the Greeks and Europe’s cruel capitalism
Aditya Chakrabortty | senior economics commentator for the Guardian
ht Clonal

Telegraph — George Osborne spearheads assault to stop Greece 'suicide'

Elite freak out underway as Sampson Syriza pulls down the pillars. Shades of Lehman looming.
George Osborne on Monday led attempts to strong-arm Greece into voting for a bail-out package as he warned that a Greek exit would threaten Britain’s financial stability.
Britain joined Germany, France, Italy and the European Commission in telling the Greek people that refusing austerity measures in next Sunday’s referendum would catapult them “from the eurozone and from Europe".
Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, warned the Greeks – who are on Tuesday night expected to default on a €1.5 billion (£1.1 billion) loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – not to “commit suicide” by rejecting the proposed €12 billion loans-for-reforms package. The threat comes despite voters being asked only whether they support the bail-out.
Some £36 billion was wiped off the value of major British companies on the FTSE 100 as markets slid around the world, while Greeks queued in their thousands at cash machines, petrol stations and supermarkets for a third day....
Hold strong Syriza. Democracy is working.

Best line:
Greece on Monday published the ballot paper for Sunday’s vote, with No, or Oxi, at the top. The word carries powerful resonance in Greece from the day in October 1940 when it refused Mussolini’s ultimatum.
If this weren't so pitiful, I'd be laughing. The eurocrats are getting what they deserve. And no, they are still not willing to compromise one inch. That's the real neoliberalism on display. It's like catching a monkey by putting a banana in pot. The monkey grasps the banana and won't let go, so it is caught by its own greed.

The Telegraph
George Osborne spearheads assault to stop Greece 'suicide'
Matthew Holehouse, Brussels, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Justin Huggler, Berlin and Steven Swinford

Ian Traynor — Alexis Tsipras must be stopped: the underlying message of Europe's leaders

The cards are now on the table.
Germany’s vice-chancellor has become the first senior EU politician to voice the private views of many - that the Greek PM is a threat to the European order....
That was clear from the trenchant remarks of Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice-chancellor and the head of the country’s Social Democratic party. He coupled the Greek situation with last week’s foul tempers over immigration and said that Europe faces its worst crisis since the EU’s founding treaty was signed in Rome in 1957.

Gabriel was the first leading European politician to voice what many think and say privately about Tsipras – that the Greek leader represents a threat to the European order, that his radicalism is directed at the politics of mainstream Europe and that he wants to force everyone else to rewrite the rules underpinning the single currency.

The unspoken message was that Tsipras is a dangerous man on a mission who has to be stopped.
The Guardian
Alexis Tsipras must be stopped: the underlying message of Europe's leaders
Ian Traynor
ht Clonal

Roger Farmer — The Economics of George Orwell

Without agreeing with Coyle and Farmer about keeping some version of an economics based on homo economicus, that is, methodological individualism, rationality and utility maximizing, rather than jumping into an unclear assumption of homo socialis, I agree that there is a danger of authoritarianism creeping in when individualism as foundational is abandoned. 

But as we have seen demonstrated abundantly, methodological individualism based on free choice and freedom from restraint can also be used to rationalize institutionalization of asymmetric power, which is authoritarianism under the guise of liberalism.

Individualism as foundational is unrealistic because humans are social, hence heavily influenced by social relations, structure and interdependence, including culture and institutional arrangements. 

But homo socialis is complex and needs to be approached carefully in order to avoid cognitive-affective bias, oversimplification, generalizing, etc. in arriving at an appropriate theory of human being to ground a sociological economics and political economy that is sufficiently realistic to yield more satisfactory results than the now dominant approach. 

For example, by focusing on too limited a sample, it is all to possible to fashion a theory based on Western civilization and culture that excludes the bulk of humanity in an age of emerging nations and increasing emergence in the complex adaptive system that constitutes the global village. 

I don't think that behavioral economics as it presently exists is necessarily the place to begin, and there are many reasons to suspect it is limited in this regard since it is coming from the same place. Economics needs to be set in a larger context.

Roger Farmer's Economic Window

Joseph E. Stiglitz — Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy

The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics....
We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. The IMF and the other “official” creditors do not need the money that is being demanded. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the money received would most likely just be lent out again to Greece. 
But, again, it’s not about the money. It’s about using “deadlines” to force Greece to knuckle under, and to accept the unacceptable – not only austerity measures, but other regressive and punitive policies....
The not-so-hidden agenda.

Good post, especially considering most of what is published at Project Syndicate is neoliberal nonsense.

Project Syndicate
Europe’s Attack on Greek Democracy
Joseph E. Stiglitz | Nobel laureate in economics and University Professor at Columbia University, was Chairman of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and served as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank

See also
Nobel laureate tells TIME that the institutions and countries that have enforced cost-cutting on Greece "have criminal responsibility"Time
Simon Schuster

Dominique Moisi — Renovating the World Order

Professor Moisi is more optimistic than I am about the possibility of establishing a new world order. The problem is that presently there is no basis for a world order in agreed upon values and shared interests. Post WWI and especially post WWII, the West imposed its vision through superior power. This vision was not only narrow but also biased toward Western values and interests. That order is now breaking down, and there is no clear way forward. The result is widespread disunity and unrest, and even chaos in some places, the emergence of a new arms race and increasing danger of war.

Project Syndicate
Renovating the World Order
Dominique Moisi | Professor at L'Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), is Senior Adviser at the French Institute for International Affairs (IFRI) and a visiting professor at King’s College London
Moisi was a co-founder and is a senior advisor of the Paris-based Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI), Pierre Keller Visiting Professor at Harvard University, and the chairholder for Geopolitics at the College of Europe, the oldest educational institution in European affairs, in Natolin.[2] He is also a Fellow at CEDEP, the European Centre for Executive Development. Moïsi regularly contributes op-ed articles and essays to the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, the Project Syndicate as well as Die Welt and Der Standard. — Wikipedia

Martin Feldstein — What is Full Employment?

Loony tunes for your amusement.

"What is full employment." It's when wages that have been stagnant or fallen during a recession begin to recover.

Project Syndicate
What is Full Employment?
Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics at Harvard University and President Emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research, chaired President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984. In 2006, he was appointed to President Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and, in 2009, was appointed to President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Currently, he is on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Group of 30, a non-profit, international body that seeks greater understanding of global economic issues.

Dan Steinbock — The Beginning of the AIIB Epoch

Emergence in a complex adaptive system. Adaptive rate and return on coordination increasing.
The launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank heralds a new era in which international multilateral institutions are no longer owned, controlled and operated by advanced economies alone.
For years, the G7 nations have pledged substantial governance reforms in international multilateral institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. But the promises were left unfulfilled, not least because these organizations are dominated by American, European and Japanese interests, as reflected by their voting quotas, investment allocations and the nationalities of their leaders.
In this context, the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank represents the needs of emerging countries which have been failed by the international multilateral institutions that were created and remain frozen in the mid-1940s...
Over the past few years, the White House has seen the BRICS’ New Development Bank as a potential threat to the existing multilateral organizations. It is pushing for a trans-Pacific trade bloc, which excludes China. And it has opposed the reserve currency status of the Chinese yuan.
As a result, senior US figures have argued that Washington has mishandled its response to China’s efforts to serve as a “responsible stakeholder” in the world economy. Among others, former secretary of Treasury Lawrence Summers has said the US cold-shouldering of the AIIB may be recalled as the moment America “lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system”....
The Beginning of the AIIB Epoch
Dan Steinbock | research director of international business at the India, China and America Institute (USA) and a visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and EU Center (Singapore)

The original version was published by China Daily on June 29, 2015.

See also

Recalibrating the ‘Pivot to Asia’: Behind the 7the Sino-US Strategic & Economic Dialogue

While ratcheting down the military confrontation, it is too little, too late. China is already arming up and the PLA is under no illusions about US objectives as long as its policy is global hegemony.

Alex Andreou — Where Is My European Union?

I am not in the deluded camp who think that national sovereignty is a magic bullet that will restore some nationalist utopia which only ever existed in our minds. Governments have been captured by corporate interests, so completely and at every level, that all EU exit changes is the field on which necessary battles must be fought. No flag provides protection from that, however tightly we wrap ourselves in it.

Neither do I want to suggest that the project hasn't been a success. Before it was captured by this fatal monetarist fever, it achieved decades of unprecedented peace and prosperity, extraordinary advances in working and consumer rights, and a mingling of cultures and populations which has enriched us all. But I know, in my heart, it is now irrevocably damaged...
The side which supports saying "yes" to the disgraceful agreement being offered, in exchange for staying in the Euro, paint it in two ways: First, as a battle between certainty and uncertainty. But that is misleading. Because, by examining our country's trajectory over the past five years, the certainty being offered by a "yes" is a certainty of more misery, more poverty, more humiliation, more degradation. Those recommending "yes" to taking more of the medicine being extended to us, do so in the full knowledge that this medicine is poison.

Second, the choice is being painted as one between emotion and reason. It is, of course, not unusual for the established to be presented as reasonable and the radical as emotional. It is pretty much the whole basis of conservatism. But fear is also an emotion. And what drives the "yes" camp seems to be a very clear terror of the notion that the unknown might be even worse. It is the logic of locking yourself inside your cabin on the Titanic, because the lifeboats are small and the ocean frozen....
Sad but a good read.

Alex Andreou
ht Don Quijones at Raging Bull-Shit

Bill Mitchell — European Court of Justice effectively rules that Eurozone is a shambles

Bill looks at the law and EZ internal politics (power structure).

Cutting to the chase:
The fact that the ECB joined the Troika, which included the IMF, a non-European, non-elected, non-accountable organisation, is evidence of how far removed from a democratically-organised federation the Eurozone is.
I have no doubt that the ECB is acting as a fiscal authority, which the European Treaties explicitly banned. The fact that the European Court of Justice has conveniently overlooked the aberrant behaviour by the ECB, is like all things Eurozone, ad hoc.
Everyone knows that if the Bundesbank was to get its way, the Eurozone would have collapsed long ago. So the officials work at the margins to keep their ugly system alive and the European Court of Justice conveniently plays along to allow them to do that – while the elephant in the room – the lack of a true fiscal authority at the federal level – stomps on millions of unemployed and pensioners, and, in the case of Greece, destroys the viability of a nation.
Some time in the future, humanity will look back on this period as a Dark Age overseen by megalomaniacs parading as the Eurogroup or the IMF etc. All pushing the neo-liberal Groupthink and denying reality.
The European Court of Justice ratification of the ECB behaviour tells us that democracy is dying in the Eurozone as currently constituted and enforced by the Troika....
When we read the statements by the Dutch head of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem that the Eurogroup is an “informal body” which can decide what it likes, we know that democracy is in danger in Europe. Especially, when the Eurogroup takes instructions from the IMF....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
European Court of Justice effectively rules that Eurozone is a shambles
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

EU leaders simply delusional now. Do they really think people are believing their shit?

Here's what Merkel just said:

Is she delusional? Greece not willing to compromise? They fucking bent over backwards. Tsipras broke promises to his people left and right to try to please his EU masters. She's nuts!

Amazing what some backbone will achieve. Euro "bullies" now backtracking, lying, throwing love...

Amazing what some backbone will  achieve. Now the bulliies are getting nervous. Juncker lying and backtracking. IMF's Lagarde throwing some "love."

EU President Jean-Claude Juncker says he never wage and pension cuts. #Bullshit!

Begs Greek people to vote "Yes" on referendum to stay in the Eurozone. #ScaredShitless

Here's Lagarde:

But as far as we are concerned, Greece is a member of the euro zone. When they are prepared to talk, and to continue negotiations, we stand ready to do that. we have constantly in the last few days showed a lot of willingness to progress, flexibility in what they can adjust to. And we stand ready to continue to doing that. 

Willingness to progress? Flexibility? What a fucking joke.

Too bad Tsipras didn't do this right from the start.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Times of India — Why time will stop for a second on June 30

Meet the "leap second."

Times of India
Why time will stop for a second on June 30

Xinhua — China under pressure to meet fiscal revenue budget target

Looks like China is clueless, too, and thinks it needs revenue to fund itself.

China under pressure to meet fiscal revenue budget target

RT — ​‘Initiative is in ISIS hands’, coalition airstrikes not enough to win – Kremlin

This is almost certainly the reason behind Putin's recent call to Obama.

​‘Initiative is in ISIS hands’, coalition airstrikes not enough to win – Kremlin

Bill McBride — Sunday Night Futures: Greece and Puerto Rico

I hope Greece is ready with the Drachma (It seemed there was no way out four months ago).
Calculated Risk
Sunday Night Futures: Greece and Puerto Rico
Bill McBride

Bloomberg — Treasuries Surge With Aussie, Japanese Bonds Amid Greece Turmoil

Retreat into "safe assets." Markets spooking.
Treasuries surged along with government bonds in Australia and Japan, as Greece leader Alexis Tsipras’s decision to call a referendum on aid conditions scotched speculation the Mediterranean nation would reach a deal with creditors. 
Yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. notes headed for the biggest decline since 2011 as the impasse in Europe stunned markets that had become increasingly focused on both a resolution to Greece’s debt crisis and improving U.S. economic data. Stronger readings have boosted the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates as early as September as investors look ahead to June employment data due July 2. 
“When you don’t know a lot of what could happen, the standard and rational response is to reduce your positions, reduce your risky bets and park your money somewhere safer,” said Sam Tuck, a senior currency strategist at ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd. “The only thing we really do know is we don’t know a lot of what could potentially happen.”....
Treasuries Surge With Aussie, Japanese Bonds Amid Greece Turmoil 
Chikako Mogi and Kevin Buckland

Sputnik — Secret Russian Hypersonic Nuke Glider Can Pierce Any Missile Defense

Latest on the arms race. Oh, and China already has one that is operational.

Secret Russian Hypersonic Nuke Glider Can Pierce Any Missile Defense

Sputnik — US State Apparatus Using Crises Across Globe to Keep World on a Tight Rein

The US' totalitarian national-security state apparatus created during the Cold War in order to counter the Soviet Union is now doing whatever it takes to stay in power, by enflaming new crises across the world, Jacob G. Hornberger [American author and founder of The Future of Freedom Foundation] notes...
The American people should wake up and realize that they are "being had," Mr. Hornberger stressed. They should demand a dismantling of the US present totalitarian structure, including NATO and other dubious alliances.

"That would not only bring an end to the perpetual crisis and chaos, it would also provide the foundation of a peaceful, prosperous, harmonious, and free society," the author concluded.
What say, Bernie? We know what the rest of them say. Et tu, Bernie?
US State Apparatus Using Crises Across Globe to Keep World on a Tight Rein

RT — US a surveillance superpower spying on foes & allies alike – Assange

“The US is a surveillance superpower,” [Assange] told Rossiya-1 in an interview, slated to be broadcast later on Sunday.
“This country spends on surveillance 60 percent of what the entire world spends on espionage,” he said. “They spy on everyone, including their allies. And use the information for their political and economic goals.”
US a surveillance superpower spying on foes & allies alike – Assange

Belen Fernandez — The Honduran meltdown: Made in USA

Six years after the coup in Honduras, it's time for another history lesson. 
Al Jazeera | Opinion
The Honduran meltdown: Made in USA
Belen Fernandez, the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, published by Verso, and a contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine

Catherine Shakdam — Wahhabism: Religious deviance and fountainhead of radicalism & extremism

Muslims are caught in the eye of a ferocious storm as Islamic State’s legions spread fear across three continents. But anger has been misplaced as the real face of terror lies not with Islam but hidden in Saudi Arabia, where Wahhabism reigns all powerful....
This terror we have labeled as Islamic radicalism could not be further remote from Islam....
This Islam the world has come to loathe is in fact a perversion, which was born in the desert of Nejd in Saudi Arabia back in the 18th century. This ideology Muslims and non-Muslims alike have to come to fear and despise is but an engineered religious deviance rooted in hatred.

Wahhabism is merely the misguided expression of one man’s political ambition - Mohammed Abdel-Wahhab, a bigot who was recruited by the British Empire to erode the fabric of Islam and crack the armor of the then-Ottoman Empire by breeding sectarianism and dissent. It is Abdel-Wahhab's alliance to the House of Saud that ultimately unleashed this now seemingly unstoppable evil we know today under the tag of Islamic radicalism.
If not for the Al Saud Royals' billions and the silence of Western powers, Wahhabism would never have crossed the deserts of Saudi Arabia. If not for the kingdom's lavish sponsoring of the Wahhabi school of thought, extremism would never have come to be in the first place....
Wahhabism: Religious deviance and fountainhead of radicalism & extremism
Catherine Shakdam, a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen

Al Jazeera — Anger in Moscow as Russian village prints own currency

It works, apparently too well for the authorities. 

They just need to realize that a token system isn't even needed, especially at this is level. It's the token system that the government is objecting to, not the actual credit for which it goes proxy.

I recall moving to a small town in Iowa and going to the hardware store to buy some stuff. When the charges were rung up, I presented cash. The owner was taken aback. You said that I lived in the town and had an account with 30 days to pay and they would send out a bill. I realized that this is just the way business is traditionally conducted and said OK. I didn't even have to sign to take the stuff and I had the receipt that I could compare with the tally when it arrived in the mail, even though store was only a block away.

I also recall a conversation with a neighbor some time later, when I was "accepted." He told me that he had moved there forty years ago from a neighboring town and still not considered as being "from here." He said that as far as the locals that are "from there" are concerned, you aren't from there if there's no one in your family in the cemetary. Most of the families go back many generations.

During the Great Depression, there was not much cash in farm country and business and daily affairs were conducted using credit. Apparently it worked for them, and they still like it that way.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch cracks down on fraud...wow. 243 arrested for $700 million in medical fraud. Banks do billions $$, get off with fines.

Wow. So happy our new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch is getting tough on fraud. She had 243 people arrested for a $700 million case of medical fraud.

National Medicare Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 243 Individuals for Approximately $712 Million in False Billing
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced today a nationwide sweep led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 17 districts, resulting in charges against 243 individuals, including 46 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $712 million in false billings. Read more. 


Hey,  $700 million is not peanuts, but what about the billions, no, tens of billions, hundreds of billions, TRILLIONS, that the banks committed and they get off with nothing but fines.

Shit...last month 5 banks pleaded guilty to currency manipulation and paid fines of $5.5 billion. If that was the fine imagine what the size of the fraud must have been?

Then there was Libor fraud, foreclosure fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, wire fraud, plus more in the past. Not to mention the fact they wrecked the entire global economy.

And what happened?

Nothing. Not a single bank executive was arrested.

What a sham.

Larry Elliott — Greece crisis could be a Sarajevo moment for the eurozone

Forget Lehman. Could this be the big one, speculates Larry Elliott.
A hundred and one years ago on Sunday, gun shots rang out in a city in southern Europe. Few at the time paid much heed to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife as they drove through the streets of Sarajevo. Within six weeks, however, Europe was at war.

Make no mistake, the decision by Alexis Tsipras to hold a referendum on the bailout terms being demanded of his country has the potential to be a Sarajevo moment. The crisis is not just about whether there is soon to be a bank run in Greece, although there is certainly the threat of one. It is not just about whether the creditors overplayed their hand in the negotiations, although they did. It is about the future of the euro itself....
It will be said in response that Greece is a small, insignificant country and that the single currency has much better defences than it had at the last moment of acute trouble in the summer of 2012. Diplomats in Europe’s capitals took very much the same view in late June 1914.
The Guardian
Greece crisis could be a Sarajevo moment for the eurozone
Larry Elliott | Economics Editor
ht Clonal

EURUSD, check out this 5-minute move!

Speaks for itself. Cha-ching!

Greek banks to stay shut on Monday. Capital controls imposed!

And they're sticking with the euro, which will be worthless very soon!

Euro opens...crashing! Down 150 pips (1.3%)

EURUSD getting crushed right now as prospect of Greek banks not opening tomorrow/implementation of capital controls.


Get my Forex trading course videos here. Only $250. There's big money to be made in the Euro's collapse!

Caleb Maupin — Bernie Sanders: Anti-Russian Propaganda and “Vermont Socialism”

The presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders — an anti-Russia, Israel-supporting politician from Vermont — revives an archaic feud among leftists. The old debate about “sewer socialism” is back.
In the early part of the 20th century, there was a broad movement of people in the United States who advocated the overthrow of capitalism. Among them were many revolutionaries like Eugene Debs, William Z. Foster, Lucy Parsons, and Paul Robeson.
However, there was another current of people who called themselves “socialists” but had no interest in revolution. They were called “sewer socialists.” The term originated in reference to Victor L. Berger, a “socialist” who ran on a platform of improving the city’s sewer system and eventually became the mayor of Milwaukee. The sewer socialists did not want to overthrow capitalism, but simply to be elected to local public office and improve government policy. They wanted to make a global system built on exploitation of people all over the world a little more comfortable for those living within the western economic centers.
The battle between these two poles of the left movement – with the revolutionary and anti-imperialist wing of socialism on the one hand and the “sewer socialist” wing on the other — played out on a global level. Commenting on the debate, Russian socialist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin described the trend this way: “The bourgeoisie of an imperialist ‘Great’ Power can economically bribe the upper strata of ‘its’ workers by spending on this a hundred million or so francs a year, for its superprofits most likely amount to about a thousand million… this little sop is divided among the labour ministers, ‘labour representatives’… labour members of War Industries Committees… labour officials, workers belonging to the narrow craft unions…”
In the modern United States, it isn’t sewer socialism but “Vermont socialism” that plays the role of the ‘Labor Ministers.’ US Senator Bernie Sanders is running for president, and openly describes himself as a “socialist.” Despite using this word to describe himself, with many well intentioned anti-capitalist activists supporting him, Sanders’ platform in reality articulates a strategy for strengthening global monopoly capitalism and its expanding militarism....
Crony capitalism and sewer socialism. I love it. Bernie is one of those "leftists" that mean well, but are centrists at best when it comes down to it.

New Eastern Outlook
Bernie Sanders: Anti-Russian Propaganda and “Vermont Socialism”
Caleb Maupin

The sunset of the capitalist system will be marked by a world war, just as its dawn — Andre Phephelov interviews Andre Fursov

Fort Russ
The sunset of the capitalist system will be marked by a world war, just as its dawn
Andre Phephelov interviews Andre Fursov, a historian and a specialist in shadow global elites
Translated by Kristina Rus

Here's who NY Times cares about: "Panic Among Hedge Fund Investors in Greece"


The NY Times writes this story on how the poor, privileged, entitled, hedge fund morons (who are totally inept as investors and need taxpayer support) are in a panic over their bad investments in Greece.

I guess we should feel sorry for them.

NOTHING about how the most vulnerable in Greece will be destroyed. How their life savings will be wiped out, no, FUCKING STOLEN, by these miserable financial criminals.


All the news that's fit to print?

More like, All the news that the elites would like to read about.

Peter Dorman — Greece: A Referendum on What to Do Yesterday

I think a referendum was appropriate, but perhaps a month ago, not now. (1) The creditors never negotiated; they never horse-traded compromises. That was obvious from the beginning, and glaringly obvious when they responded to Syriza's final offer, which tiptoed across some red lines, with even more demands. It was always take-it-or-leave-it. Tsipras and Varoufakis were not honest with the Greek people, in my opinion, by repeatedly making optimistic statements -- they should have said "we can't negotiate with these guys" and put it to a vote right away....
As for the IMF, it was no secret that there has been a lot of tension between the technical staff and the politicians at the top. They have a policy, established after the Argentine fiasco, of not lending to insolvent states, but instead requiring writedowns from the creditors. Ah, but the creditors in the Greek case are the banks and governments that installed the IMF directors, so the policy is being flagrantly violated....
Power politics and cronyism, hallmarks of the neoliberal order being imposed through globalization. Europe is only a test case.

Greece: A Referendum on What to Do Yesterday
Peter Dorman, Professor of Political Economy, The Evergreen State College

We can stop earth-killing asteroids. But how will we pay??? How fucking stupid are we becoming?

How fucking stupid are we becoming as a species? (Maybe a question for Roger Erickson.)

Newsweek (that magazine is still around?) poses this question on its cover: "How would we "pay" to protect ourselves from an "earth-killing" asteroid?"

So we'd limit ourselves to not making keystrokes on a computer when faced with planetary destruction? Suicide by stupidity.

Funny...we never do that when fighting war. Newsweek couldn't see that?

Former Finance Minister of Cyprus on the Greek crisis — Branko Milanovic interviews Michael Sarris

While on vacations in Greece, I had a chance today (Sunday 28 June) to have a long discussion with Michael Sarris who was Cypriot Minister of Finance between 2005 and 2008 when the Euro was introduced in Cyprus and then again Minister of Finance during the March 2013 crisis when Cyprus faced negotiations with “the institutions” very similar to those faced today by Greece. Very few people in the world have as informed and first-hand knowledge of the situation as Michael Sarris does. Here are my questions and his answers.
Global Inequality
Former Finance Minister of Cyprus on the Greek crisis
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

John Henley — Greece’s solidarity movement: ‘it’s a whole new model – and it’s working’

As well as helping people in difficulty, Giovanopoulos said, Greece’s solidarity movement was fostering “almost a different sense of what politics should be – a politics from the bottom up, that starts with real people’s needs. It’s a practical critique of the empty, top-down, representational politics our traditional parties practise. It’s kind of a whole new model, actually. And it’s working.”
It also looks set to play a more formalised role in Greece’s future under what polls predict will be a Syriza-led government from next week. When they were first elected in 2012 the radical left party’s 72 MPs voted to give 20% of their monthly salary to a solidarity fund that would help finance Solidarity for All. (Many help further; several have transferred their entitlement to free telephone calls to a local project.) The party says the movement can serve as an example and a platform for the social change it wants to bring about....
Socialism has to be grassroots, or it is just utopianism. Necessity is the mother of invention. Neoliberalism is creating its opposition and replacement along the lines that Marx predicted dialectically. What Marx could not have foreseen in his days was that this could happen peacefully through popular participatory democracy. But we aren't there yet and the neoliberal elite is far from having made its last stand.

The curious thing is that it was already done by American "hippies" in the Sixties and Seventies. "Hippy" was a derogatory term used by the Establishment; we called ourselves "freaks," because the objective was to freak "Them" out. Actually, we had to freak ourselves out first to get over the cultural and institutional baggage. The reason that this was curious at the time is that there was no material need for it. The protest was primarily anti-war but also against a culture and institutions that young people found boring and restrictive.

But a whole new underground economy was created that not only still exists but has greatly expanded. A significant part of it was also co-opted and integrated into the mainstream. For example, music became an industry. I recall a very successful musician and songwriter telling me in the Nineties that he had broken in back in the Sixties by loading up his car up with his records and traveling the country dropping in on DJs. He explained that this was no longer possible since music had become corporatized.

But the alternative economy is now a multi-billion dollar operation in the US that is still providing alternatives and innovating. Greece has the added impetus of material necessity that my generation did not have here in America. It was "revolution for the hell of it" — Abbie Hoffman. And it was a hell of party — in spite of the occasional tear gas and constant threat of being busted.
“This whole thing,” she said, “has made a lot of people very aware, not just of what they face, but also of what they can – and must – do. Expectations are going to be high after Sunday, but there are of course limits to what even a Syriza government will be able to do. It’s up to us, all of us, to change things. And honestly? This feels like a good start.”
Go for it! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

The Guardian
Greece’s solidarity movement: ‘it’s a whole new model – and it’s working’ 
John Henley in Athens
ht Clonal

I'm back from vacation and the news is even more depressing than when I left. But I "called" all of this.

Just came back from a week's vacation in Florida and I had a great time, but now I am back in this shit weather of New York City. I am really starting to hate it here, but I digress.

During my vacation I barely kept up with the markets and the news; especially the news because it's pretty much almost all bad and I didn't want any buzz kill to wreck my good time.

But, alas, I am back and scanning the media again and of course there is the Greece situation right out there in the forefront and it's really sad and depressing as all hell.

I'll start by taking some credit for predicting all this, to a "t."

Right from the election of Syriza and even before with the comments of then candidate, Alexis Tsipras, followed by the appointment of Varoufakis as Finance Minister, I said that Greece would cave to the Troika; that the last remaining wealth of the public would be stripped away and looted to pay the ransom that the banksters demanded.

Today we see that really accelerating to its final conclusion with the Greek government looking to shut banks and impose capital controls Monday morning.  (i.e. steal all the remaining cash.)

Now this is really sad and depressing on so many levels. It's depressing due to the weakness of Tsipras and the Greek government, which like so many others that have delivered false promises (Obama) and sold the people out on day one.

It's sad and depressing because of the callous and gluttonous voracity of the financial mafia who will stop at nothing and want everything despite their ineptitude and their orgies of destruction, which seemingly cannot be stopped.

It's sad and depressing on the loss of Greek sovereignty and the crushing down of the world's oldest democracy; of the crushing of democracy in general, universally, no matter how old and the sheer criminality of it.

Worst of all, however, it's sad and depressing due to the fact that we are witnessing THE MODEL that will be applied by the neoliberal criminals on the rest of us all over the world.

Make no mistake: the actions being forced upon Greece are meant to be a lesson to us all: that's what's coming our way unless we submit to the demands of this mafia and the corrupt governments they control (yes, the U.S. included, which may be most corrupt) and the lackeys who do their bidding and the law enforcement goons that fill their prisons with those who protest or refuse to submit and the armies they unleash--overt and covert--to plunder the wealth of nations.

This is the path via which, the general citizenry will be conquered, taken, enslaved, subjugated and consumed in every which way possible and it is under way as we speak and there is really nothing we can do about it.

Say good bye to Greece. Say good bye to Democracy. Say good by to us all and the way of life we have known.

On a bittersweet note there is one final irony to all this even though it's just a sort of mini, micro, "unintended consequences" thing, but at least it's something we can take a little solace in (or, better yet, make money in). That is, the vaunted euro, the thing that caused much of this misery--indeed, the thing that was CREATED EXPRESSLY as a vehicle so that the elites could steal--will go down in flames, perhaps collapsing to near-valueless in some months or at most a couple of years.

I feel sorry for the Greek people, who have been pleading for an end to austerity for so long and who have put false hope in disingenuous or timid leaders. The truth is, they have been so deluded they have not seen the poisonous nature of this currency and have not understood that it was really their mortal enemy, a Trojan Horse, all along.

For whatever reason, maybe past history of corruption under the drachma or, the inflation that the corruption seemingly always brought, the Greeks did not want to go back to the drachma. In the end I predict they will be begging for the drachma; it'll be their savior from the euro.

Make no mistake: the euro is going down. To zero, perhaps. To say the euro is getting harder to get is folly. Under the current arrangement, which necessitates that an elite few must figuratively and literally kill off everyone else for their corrupt gang to survive, and to have a currency based on this, basically means that the currency--the euro--is intrinsically worthless.