Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Bernanke was just more politic

Posted by Charles II on July 20, 2015

People have been roasting Paul Krugman because he advocated that Greece give the EZ the finger and then saying he questioned the government’s competence when it failed to do so.

Ben Bernanke, Brookings:

This week the Greek parliament agreed to European demands for tough new austerity measures and structural reforms, defusing (for the moment, at least) the country’s sovereign debt crisis. Now is a good time to ask: Is Europe holding up its end of the bargain? Specifically, is the euro zone’s leadership delivering the broad-based economic recovery that is needed to give stressed countries like Greece a reasonable chance to meet their growth, employment, and fiscal objectives? Over the longer term, these questions are evidently of far greater consequence for Europe, and for the world, than are questions about whether tiny Greece can meet its fiscal obligations.

What Bernanke is saying is that unless there’s a major course correction, Europe is likely to fall apart. But he manages to say it soothingly, talking about taking regional growth and trade balance into consideration when demanding a timetable for fiscal balance. As Krugman points out, he’s calling the German approach to Greece as based on a far more Serious level of incompetence than negotiating without a parachute during freefall. Bernanke just knows how to say it more soothingly.

It’s a shame that Bernanke won’t set his hair on fire, which is what the situation calls for.

Posted in economy, Greece | Leave a Comment »

Guardian dresses Ukraine rebels in Soviet uniforms to get us into the Cold War spirit

Posted by Charles II on July 17, 2015

Click to expand

 

Guardian_calls_rebel_troops_Soviets-7-17-15

Jesus. What is going on at The Guardian? This breathless bit of reporting is (a) of video that was shown a year ago, though NewsCorp dug up a few additional minutes, (b) manages to go further over the top than the Torygraph, which they link, and (c) adds  leaked draft of the findings of the Dutch Safety Board”– while not asking American intelligence to release what it knows. Do we really need another but of deniable and anonymous information when there are almost certainly satellite photos of the missile launch– photos which according to some sources show the troops in question to be wearing Kiev uniforms.

Maybe it’s time to go OffGuardian.

Posted in media, Russia, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Behold the corncockle

Posted by Charles II on July 16, 2015

The Corncockle

The Corncockle

From Patrick Barkham of the Guardian

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

And German roaches are the proprietors

Posted by Charles II on July 15, 2015

Krugman, NYT:

So we have learned that the euro is a Roach Motel — once you go in, you can never get out. And once inside you are at the mercy of those who can pull your financing and crash your banking system unless you toe the line.

Posted in Europe, Greece | Leave a Comment »

Media reports to the contrary, global warming is still on

Posted by Charles II on July 15, 2015

Jim Wild, Lancaster University:

Recent headlines are warning that the Earth will enter into a “mini ice age” in about 20 years because the sun is heading towards a period of very low output. Here’s why this scenario is extremely unlikely.

So what about global climate change? If solar activity is falling, and that has a cooling influence over the UK and Europe, isn’t that a good thing?

Unfortunately not. The overwhelming consensus among the world’s climate scientists is that the influence of solar variability on the climate is dwarfed by the impact of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Most calculations suggest that a new “grand solar minimum” in activity would have a cooling effect that would temporarily offset just a few year’s worth of the warming due to the emission of carbon dioxide by humans.

We may well be heading towards a period of low solar activity, but a new mini ice age seems very unlikely at this point.

Briefly, the last Little Ice Age was probably due more to volcanic activity than to fluctuations in solar output.

Expressing my outrage with those who twist scientific work into support for the petroleum industry’s profits is impossible without swearing.

For that matter, suppose we are going to have a Mini Ice Age. Shouldn’t we should be saving fossil fuels for when we’ll need them? But for hypocrites, there are no boundaries, no reason, nothing except their narcissistic pursuit of planetary destruction.

Posted in environment, global warming, liars, science and medicine | 1 Comment »

Greece: #thisisacoup

Posted by Charles II on July 13, 2015

#thisisacoup

Coup_against_Greece

(Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio News)

Interview with Varofiakis here:

HL: What was it like? Did you like any aspect of it?

YV: Oh well a lot of it. But the inside information one gets… to have your worst fears confirmed … To have “the powers that be” speak to you directly, and it be as you feared – the situation was worse than you imagined! So that was fun, to have the front row seat.

HL: What are you referring to?

YV: The complete lack of any democratic scruples, on behalf of the supposed defenders of Europe’s democracy. The quite clear understanding on the other side that we are on the same page analytically – of course it will never come out at present. [And yet] To have very powerful figures look at you in the eye and say “You’re right in what you’re saying, but we’re going to crunch you anyway.

HL: You’ve said creditors objected to you because “I try and talk economics in the Eurogroup, which nobody does.” What happened when you did?

YV: It’s not that it didn’t go down well – it’s that there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. … You put forward an argument that you’ve really worked on – to make sure it’s logically coherent – and you’re just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven’t spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem – you’d have got the same reply. And that’s startling, for somebody who’s used to academic debate. … The other side always engages. Well there was no engagement at all. It was not even annoyance, it was as if one had not spoken.

Posted in abuse of power, economy, financial crisis, Greece | Leave a Comment »

Reddit: Mainstream hate

Posted by Charles II on July 12, 2015

Keogan Hankes, Gawker:

One section of the Web forum is dedicated to watching black men die, while another is called “CoonTown” and features users wondering if there are any states left that are “nigger free.” One conversation focuses on the state of being “Negro Free,” while another is about how best to bring attention to the assertion that black people are more prone to commit sexual assaults than whites.

But these discussions aren’t happening on Stormfront, which since its founding in 1995 by a former Alabama Klan leader has been the largest hate forum on the Web. They’re taking place on Reddit…

Along with countless others with entirely different interests, Reddit increasingly is providing a home for anti-black racists — and some of the most virulent and violent propaganda around. In November 2013, a hyper-racist subreddit called “GreatApes” was formed. Users posted epithet-strewn links to “news” stories of dubious origin that riffed on long established stereotypes about the black community. GreatApes was wildly popular and grew quickly, expanding into a much larger Reddit network called “the Chimpire,” which was organized by a user known only by his or her posting name of “Jewish_NeoCon2.”

These gruesome videos show black men being hit in the head repeatedly with a hammer, burned alive, and killed in a variety of other ways. The subreddit’s banner features a cartoon of a black man hanging, complete with a Klansman in the background. One fairly typical user, “Bustatruggalo” applauded the graphic violence as “[v]ery educational and entertaining.” He or she continued on a separate thread: “I almost feel bad for letting an image like this fill me with an overwhelming amount of joy. Almost….”

Others, like user “natchil,” were looking for still more. “Where is watchjewsdie?” this user wondered.

Condé Nast, one of the largest mass media companies in the United States, acquired Reddit in 2006, although the Internet company still operates independently.

Let’s hope that Conde Nast votes Reddit down.

Posted in computers and software, racism | Leave a Comment »

Thieves fall out in Ukraine

Posted by Charles II on July 12, 2015

Alec Luhn, The Guardian:

Tensions have been rising between the government and the Right Sector militia that has helped it fight pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

A Right Sector spokesman, Taras Kuzyak, told Ukrainian media on Sunday that seven infantry fighting vehicles had blocked the entrance to Right Sector’s base near the town of Skole in Lviv region, adding that law enforcement was similarly cutting off access to other Right Sector bases in western Ukraine.

The move came after a gunfight broke out on Saturday, when about 20 Right Sector gunmen arrived at a sports complex controlled by MP Mikhail Lano. They had been trying to stop the traffic of cigarettes and other contraband, a spokesman for the group said.

Kyiv Post version here.

Gazeta version, as translated by Fortruss here.

Posted in Russia, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Greece Was Doing Better Before It Joined The Eurozone

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 12, 2015

euro-hurting-greece

Something you won’t see on network TV anytime soon:

Greece GDP per capita nearly tripled in the 15 years prior to it Greece adopting the euro. It has been a disaster since then. Maybe the crisis is about the idea of the euro, not just about Greece.

And while Greece has been suffering, guess who hasn’t been? That’s right, Germany:

But whatever its failings, the creation of the Eurozone has been a boon for Germany. As an export-driven economy, the common currency has provided Germany with captive export markets where it can sell its goods with no fear of its currency value rising against that of nations that buy its stuff. Germany has outperformed all other countries in the Eurozone since its creation, and there are structural reasons why that go beyond traditional images of German workforce discipline and superior engineering.

[…]

In Europe, the creation of a single currency has allowed Germany to avoid the need to adopt economic policies to manage the value of its currency relative to its trading partners. Since the creation of the Eurozone, Germany has been able to sell as much stuff as it wanted to across Europe with no resulting pressure on the Deutsche Mark, for the simple reason that there no longer is a Deutsche Mark. As an export engine, Germany has been able to build its manufacturing economy at the expense of other European economies with no fear of having to address a rising currency value.

So maybe a #Grexit wouldn’t be quite the disaster for Greece that the Germans claim it would be.

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The Limits Of Pacifism: Or, Why US Lefties Won’t Side With The Kurds

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 11, 2015

John Dolan just wrote an excellent article on his latest travels and travails.  Seems that, because of recent refugee and immigrant paranoia on the part of its leaders, he and his wife were forced out of the Republic of Macedonia for three months to its far more prosperous neighbor, Greece (and yes, Macedonia is a very, very poor place if Greece, among the poorest of the EU members, is richer by far).  Greece has also been blocking Macedonia’s entry to the EU, and would like Macedonia to change its name, for the understandable reason that Greece suspects Macedonia would like to eventually expand its borders to encompass those of the old Kingdom of Macedonia, which means that all of what is now northern Greece would get swallowed up by Macedonia. However, Macedonia is so poor right now that it’s hard to imagine it having the wherewithal to act on such nationalistic dreams during the lifetimes of anyone currently living.  Furthermore, paranoid officialdom aside, its people are friendly and hospitable and decent, per Dolan’s account.

Therefore, it’s not surprising to see him write, towards the tail end of his latest account, the following:

I’d like to end, for balance, with some sketches of suffering I saw among the Greek people. But I didn’t. They might be happening all around us right now; after all, I grew up in a miserably scared, penniless family that somehow managed to pass for average, so I know it can happen. All I know is that when we crossed the border from Macedonia to Greece, it was very clear we were passing from a genuinely poor country to one that seemed almost as wealthy as Italy. And one that has played a rather sleazy role in keeping Macedonia, the poorer country, out in the cold.

I’ve seen real suffering, real privation in Kurdish refugee camps for southern Iraqi Shia, in Timorese slums, in Kuwait Bedu shanty towns, and I’m pretty sure that, at least in this part of Greece that kind of suffering doesn’t exist. And yet everyone is extremely interested in Greece and were generally not very interested in anything I wrote about those places.

I’ve been trying to figure out why the problems of this reasonably well-off country have gripped so many of the progressives I know, while those of much more desperate and heroic places like Kurdistan seem to leave them cold. Part of it seems to be desperation for a leftist party that’s free of any taint of revolutionary violence. So you can cheer for Syriza, but not the YPG/PKK or Sinn Fein, both parties with far more noble and hard-won histories than Syriza’s. I find that odd, because I have no problem with revolutionary violence, and didn’t think most leftists did either. It seems they do, but maybe I’m too nearsighted an ant to get the big picture.

And that, I guess, is the lesson here, the one that applies to all genuine ant’s-eye view stories: An ant can’t see much.

Actually, most US lefties have problems with violence of any sort, unless it’s the stupid kind practiced by “black bloc” idiots, half of whom seem to be frat boys masquerading as lefty radicals but who really just want the chance to break a few windows and loot storefronts.  A long experience of seeing the US going to war for the wrong things and the wrong entities has made the US left embrace pacifism and reject armed and organized combat as a solution for anything. It’s even got to the point where confronting Hitler is falsely attacked by a growing number of pacifists as unneccessary and counterproductive.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

 
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