May 062019

James Ensor The intrigue 1890


The Fight to Defend the Conscience of America (Hayase)
Bolton and Pompeo, Rachel Maddow’s Latest Resistance Heroes (ZH)
Trump Says Mueller Should Not Testify Before Congress (Ind.)
The Big Lie That Barr Lied (McCarthy)
Trump Says 10% China Tariff Rising To 25% On Friday (ZH)
US, Russia Butt Heads Over Venezuela (AFP)
US Deploying Carrier, Bombers To Middle East To ‘Deter Iran’ (R.)
US May Review Ties With Countries Deemed Anti-israel (R.)
Engineers Say Boeing Pushed To Limit 737 MAX Safety Testing (ST)
Boeing Knew Of 737 MAX Safety System Glitch Year Before Deadly Crash (AFP)
Bernie Sanders Says Obama’s Presidency An “A+” Compared To Trump (Hill)
Bernie Sanders Calls For Breaking Up Big Agriculture Monopolies (AP)
Climate Change and the Nobel Prize in Economics (Steve Keen)
The End of Ice (IC)



“..we are now clear what this US extradition case against Assange is all about. This prosecution of Assange and the detainment of Manning are assaults on our conscience.”

The Fight to Defend the Conscience of America (Hayase)

America represented a new land for freedom-loving people around the world to come together in, to form a new union governed not by the King, but by a rule of law. Yet, despite these ideals, America was never a democracy. From the onset, it contained internal contradiction manifested in the genocide of natives, the slavery of blacks and the suppression of women. But the words in the Declaration of Independence were a promise and the Constitution was meant to be its fulfillment. The conscience of ordinary people was a vital link that could fill the gap and create a democracy. Out of conscience springs the power of We the People that could truly perform checks and balances of our government.

When the laws themselves become unjust, conscience reminds us of our duty to break these laws in order to uphold our ideals. In our history, we have seen individuals who fought to keep those words of promise through their acts of civil disobedience. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who demonstrated extraordinary courage for the struggle of Black people to fight against racist laws once said: “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘It it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

Decades after the civil rights movement, a young US soldier in her act of delivering information to WikiLeaks, risked her life to carry on this American tradition of civil disobedience. As a consequence, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison and served seven years until her sentence was commuted in 2017. Now, by refusing to testify against a publisher at a secret grand jury targeting WikiLeaks, she is once again sent back to jail. After having witnessed Manning confessing her role as the WikiLeaks whistleblower at her court-martial, the late attorney Michael Ratner acknowledged how locking her up “for even a day is to lock up the conscience of our nation”. [..] So, we are now clear what this US extradition case against Assange is all about. This prosecution of Assange and the detainment of Manning are assaults on our conscience.

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Someone find a toilet to flush that woman through.

Bolton and Pompeo, Rachel Maddow’s Latest Resistance Heroes (ZH)

This is were three years of failed Russiagate conspiracy theorizing and fixation leads you — into the arms of fanatical endless war proponent John Bolton: “John Bolton God bless you, good luck..” one can now hear on “resistance” network MSNBC prime time. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is now championing neocon national security adviser John Bolton’s “humanity” given he apparently went loose cannon this past week, vowing to confront Russia over Venezuela even as his boss President Trump downplayed Moscow’s role in the crisis after a Friday phone call with Putin. “This is what John Bolton, human being, thought his job was this week,” Maddow said on her show Friday night.

Both Pompeo and Bolton had clearly gone a bit rogue with their overly bellicose Venezuela comments, while Trump appeared to be more restrained — and for Maddow this was of course cause for championing the neocon interventionist line: “Hey, John Bolton, hey, Mike Pompeo, are you guys enjoying your jobs right now?” she questioned. On Friday Trump had said following the phone call, Putin is “not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen in Venezuela, and I feel the same way.” Maddow, who once prided herself on slamming and deconstructing Bush-era regime change wars, now finds Trump not jingoistic enough. She stridently questioned:

“How do you come to work anymore if you’re John Bolton? Right, regardless of what you thought about John Bolton before this, his whole career and his track record, I mean, just think of John Bolton as a human being. This is what John Bolton, human being, thought his job was this week.” She further cut to a clip of Bolton criticizing Russia’s alleged military involvement in Venezuela to prop up Maduro, because apparently uber-hawk Bolton is now a “fearless truth-teller” in Maddow’s world. “You thought that was your job,” Maddow said. “But it turns out not at all, not after Vladimir Putin gets done with President Trump today.”

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He’s just trolling them now: “No redos for the Dems!”

Trump Says Mueller Should Not Testify Before Congress (Ind.)

Donald Trump has urged Special Counsel Robert Mueller not to testify to the US Congress about his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president’s latest comments arrived after he said he would not allow former White House counsel Don McGahn – a prominent figure in the special counsel’s nearly 400-page report – to testify to the House as it continues probing election interference and the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian operatives. “After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats & 49 FBI Agents – all culminating in a more than 400 page Report showing NO COLLUSION – why would the Democrats in Congress now need Robert Mueller to testify,” Mr Trump said in a tweet.

“Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion?” he continued. “There was no crime, except on the other side (incredibly not covered in the Report), and NO OBSTRUCTION. Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!” The special counsel’s report found numerous examples of potential obstruction of justice on the part of the president, including instances in which he asked Mr McGahn to fire Mr Mueller after his appointment in 2017.

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“Barr has known Mueller for nearly 30 years..”

It’s Mueller’s team, not the man himself, who have added the “confusion”.

Still wondering at what point the Dems are really going to turn against Mueller.

The Big Lie That Barr Lied (McCarthy)

Barr has known Mueller for nearly 30 years; when Mueller was the Criminal Division chief in the Bush 41 Justice Department, he reported to Barr, who was attorney general. It should come as no surprise, then, that Barr was not getting his information from Mueller’s staff; he was getting it from Mueller directly. Nor should it come as any surprise that, before releasing his March 24 letter to the public, Barr gave Mueller an opportunity to review it; nor that Mueller declined that opportunity — given that he knows Barr well, and knew Barr would not misrepresent the report (especially given that the report would soon be public).

Three days after Barr announced the report’s conclusions, Mueller sent his letter, undoubtedly written by his staff. Mueller could simply have called Barr on the phone, as he has done a million times; but the staff’s partisan Democrats wanted a letter, which makes for much better leak material. (The letter was, in fact, strategically leaked to the Washington Post Tuesday night, right before Barr’s Wednesday morning Senate testimony.) The day after receiving Mueller’s March 27 letter, Barr called Mueller and pointedly asked whether he was claiming that Barr’s March 24 letter articulating Mueller’s findings was inaccurate. Mueller responded that he was making no such claim — he was, instead, irritated by the press coverage of Barr’s letter.

Mueller suggested the publication of additional information from the report, including the report’s own executive summaries, to explain more about why he decided not to resolve the obstruction issue. But he did not claim Barr had misrepresented his findings. Again, Barr’s contact was with Mueller, not Mueller’s team. His exchanges with Mueller gave Barr no basis to know about any objection to his description of the report’s findings — from Mueller or anyone else. The fact that Mueller’s staff was leaking like a sieve to the Times, the Washington Post, and NBC News does not mean they were sharing with the attorney general what the Times described as “their simmering frustrations.” That is what Barr said in answer to Crist’s question about the report’s findings. But to avoid the misimpression that he was parsing words deceptively, Barr volunteered his perception that Mueller’s staff wanted more information from the report to be publicized.

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Xi can’t afford to lose face.

Trump Says 10% China Tariff Rising To 25% On Friday (ZH)

So much for months and months of constant leaks, headlines, tweets, and press reports that US-China trade talks are going great, and are imminent amid an ocean of “optimism” (meant solely to sucker in amateurs into the most obvious bull headfake since 1987). Just after noon on Sunday, President Trump tweeted that 10% tariffs paid by China on $200 billion in goods will rise to 25% on Friday, and that – contrary to what he himself and his chief economist, Larry Kudlow has said for months, talks on a trade deal have been going too slowly. And, just to underscore his point, Trump also threatened to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $325 billion of Chinese goods “shortly.”

With the tariff rate on numerous goods originally set at 10% and set to more than double in 2019, Trump postponed that decision after China and the US agreed to sit down for trade talks; following Trump’s tweet it is now confirmed that trade talks have hit an impasse and that escalation will be needed to break the stalemate. It was as recently as Friday that Vice President Mike Pence told CNBC that Trump remained hopeful that he could strike a deal with China (at the same time as he was urging for a rate cut from the Fed). Curiously, on Wednesday, the White House – clearly hoping to sucker in even more naive bulls to buy stocks at all time highs – said the latest round of talks had moved Beijing and Washington closer to an agreement. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “Discussions remain focused toward making substantial progress on important structural issues and re-balancing the US-China trade relationship.”

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Pompeo and Lavrov meet this week. The latter is the far superior diplomat.

US, Russia Butt Heads Over Venezuela (AFP)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Sunday for Russia to get out of Venezuela, while his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, called on Washington to “abandon its irresponsible plans” in the crisis-wracked country. The push and shove set the stage for a Pompeo meeting with Lavrov in Finland this week, and belied the conciliatory tone taken by US President Donald Trump on Friday after what he said was “a very good conversation” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The top level contacts follow the failure of a US-backed uprising this week aimed at ousting Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, which Pompeo has blamed on Russia.

The secretary has said Maduro had been ready to flee to Havana but the Russians, who had flown military advisers to Caracas to shore up his socialist government, talked him out of it. “The Russians must get out,” Pompeo said in an interview Sunday with ABC’s “This Week.” “I’m going to meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov in recent days. It’s very clear, we want the Russians out, we want the Iranians out, we want the Cubans out. It’s very clear,” he said. Trump undercut Pompeo’s position on Friday, telling reporters that Putin had assured him “he is not looking to get involved in Venezuela other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela.” “And I feel the same way,” Trump added.

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So after that complete failure in Venezuela, they turn against a country they could never defeat even in the best of times. Putin and Xi will tell them all about it.

US Deploying Carrier, Bombers To Middle East To ‘Deter Iran’ (R.)

The Trump administration is deploying a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East in response to troubling “indications and warnings” from Iran and to show the United States will retaliate with “unrelenting force” to any attack, national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday. With tensions already high between Washington and Tehran, a U.S. official said the deployment has been ordered “as a deterrence to what has been seen as potential preparations by Iranian forces and its proxies that may indicate possible attacks on U.S. forces in the region.”However, the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States was not expecting any imminent Iranian attack.

Bolton – who has spearheaded an increasingly hawkish U.S. policy on Iran – said the decision, which could exacerbate problems between the two countries, was meant to send a “clear and unmistakable message” of U.S. resolve to Tehran. Though he cited no specific Iranian activities that have raised new concerns, Iran has recently warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it was barred from using the strategic waterway. About a fifth of the oil consumed globally passes through the strait. “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said in a statement.

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And here’s why there’s that new Iran threat.

US May Review Ties With Countries Deemed Anti-israel (R.)

The United States may review its ties with countries it deems as being anti-Israel after what a U.S. envoy said on Sunday was a shift in policy toward equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a March speech that anti-Zionism – opposition to Israel’s existence as a homeland for the Jewish people – was a form of anti-Semitism, or hostility toward Jews, that was on the rise worldwide and that Washington would “fight it relentlessly”. The State Department’s special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, Elan Carr, said this U.S. position could spell reviews of ties with foreign governments or leaders.

“The United States is willing to review its relationship with any country, and certainly anti-Semitism on the part of a country with whom we have relations is a deep concern,” he told Reuters during a visit to Israel. “I will be raising that issue in bilateral meetings that I am undertaking all over the world,” he said. “That is something we are going to have frank and candid conversations about – behind closed doors.”

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This is not a little business dispute. 346 lives were lost because of this.

Engineers Say Boeing Pushed To Limit 737 MAX Safety Testing (ST)

In 2016, as Boeing raced to get the 737 MAX certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a senior company engineer whose job was to act on behalf of the FAA balked at Boeing management demands for less stringent testing of the fire-suppression system around the jet’s new LEAP engines. That June he convened a meeting of all the certification engineers in his unit, who collectively agreed with his assessment. Management initially rejected their position, and only after another senior engineer from outside the MAX program intervened did managers finally agree to beef up the testing to a level the engineer could accept, according to two people familiar with the matter. But his insistence on a higher level of safety scrutiny cost Boeing time and money.

Less than a month after his peers had backed him, Boeing abruptly removed him from the program even before conducting the testing he’d advocated. The episode underscores what The Seattle Times found after a review of documents and interviews with more than a dozen current and former Boeing engineers who have been involved in airplane certification in recent years, including on the 737 MAX: Many engineers, employed by Boeing while officially designated to be the FAA’s eyes and ears, faced heavy pressure from Boeing managers to limit safety analysis and testing so the company could meet its schedule and keep down costs.

That pressure increased when the FAA stopped dealing directly with those designated employees — called “Authorized Representatives” or ARs — and let Boeing managers determine what was presented to the regulatory agency. “The ARs have nobody supporting them. Nobody has their backs,” said one former Authorized Representative who worked on the 737 MAX and who provided details of the engineer’s removal from the program. “The system is absolutely broken.”

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They knew, and still a plane crashed. Then they really knew. But they still let another plane crash. Time to go after these people personally.

Boeing Knew Of 737 MAX Safety System Glitch Year Before Deadly Crash (AFP)

Boeing engineers identified a fault with a pilot warning system on its 737 MAX aircraft in 2017, a year before the deadly Lion Air crash, the company said Sunday. Boeing said that management was unaware of the issue until the crash in Indonesia, which killed 189 people, and the planes were not grounded until after another of the type operated by Ethiopian Airlines went down several months later, leaving a further 157 people dead. According to Boeing, a supposedly standard piece of equipment that tells pilot about disagreements between angle of attack (AOA) indicators – which measure the plane’s angle vis-a-vis oncoming air to warn of impending stalls – did not in fact activate unless an additional optional indicator was purchased by airlines.

That left airlines that did not buy the optional indicator – including both Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines – without the safety feature. Faulty angle of attack indicator information may have played a role in both of the deadly crashes, causing the 737 MAX anti-stall system to unnecessarily activate and push the nose down toward the ground even as pilots fought to maintain altitude. “In 2017, within several months after beginning 737 MAX deliveries, engineers at Boeing identified that the 737 MAX display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements,” the aircraft manufacturer said in a statement.

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Bye bye Bernie, we hardly knew ya.

Sarah Abdallah has this covered: ”Obama gets an “A+” for bombing #Libya to smithereens and turning what was once Africa’s most prosperous country into a balkanized, failed state now ruled by jihadists who sell Black Africans in open air slave markets.”

Bernie Sanders Says Obama’s Presidency An “A+” Compared To Trump (Hill)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 presidential contender, said Sunday that he wouldn’t give former President Barack Obama a “grade” on his presidency. Speaking to ABC News’s “This Week” host Jon Karl, Sanders conceded that Obama gets an “A+” in his book compared to President Trump. “Barack Obama was a very, very good president,” Sanders said. “What grade would you give him?” Karl asked. “I’m not going to give him a grade,” the Vermont senator continued. “Compared to the guy you have in the White House now, I’ll give him an A+.” Karl then noted that Trump and Republicans have expressed eagerness to run against Sanders and his ideology as a socialist, and asked Sanders if it was time for him to “disavow that label.”

“Anytime you do things for the people and you stand up to the wealthy and powerful, you’ll be labeled this that and the other thing,” Sanders said. “All of the issues that we have talked about, these are ideas that in one form or another are in fact supported by the American people.” Polls have repeatedly showed Sanders, who lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016, as a front-runner in the 2020 race. He is expected to go head-to-head with Obama’s former Vice President Joe Biden, who has worked to tie himself closely to the former president since launching his campaign.

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After the arms industry, Big Ag is the biggest power block.

Bernie Sanders Calls For Breaking Up Big Agriculture Monopolies (AP)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday proposed a sweeping agriculture and rural investment plan to break up big agriculture monopolies and shift farm subsidies toward small family farmers. “I think a farmer that produces the food we eat may be almost as important as some crook on Wall Street who destroys the economy,” Sanders said during a campaign event in Osage, a town of fewer than 4,000 people. “Those of us who come from rural America have nothing to be ashamed about, and the time is long overdue for us to stand up and fight for our way of life.” Sanders’ plan expands on themes that have been central to his presidential campaign in Iowa since the start, including his emphasis on rural America and pledge to take on and break up big corporations.

During his Sunday speech, Sanders outlined the dire circumstances confronting rural America — population decline, school and hospital closures and rising addiction and suicide rates in many rural counties nationwide — as the impetus for his policy. His plan includes a number of antitrust proposals, including breaking up existing agriculture monopolies and placing a moratorium on future mergers by big agriculture companies. He would also ban “vertically integrated” agribusinesses — companies that control multiple levels of production and processing of a product. One of his competitors in the Democratic race, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, included several of those antitrust planks in the agriculture policy she released in March.

But Sanders’ policy is more expansive than just targeting major agriculture corporations — he’s also proposing greater government involvement in setting price controls and managing supply and demand of agriculture commodities. His plan calls for a shift from the current farm subsidy system toward a “parity system,” which means “setting price floors and matching supply with demand so farmers are guaranteed the cost of production and family living expenses.” Critics of the farm bill have argued that the current government subsidy system favors large family farms and corporate farms over small family farms, and Sanders’ policy aims to make that distribution more equal.

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Don’t think my friend Steve used to talk much about the topic, though a bit more recently, but this is a good find.

Nordhaus got the Fauxbel BECAUSE of his climate change work, and it’s a complete shambles. Who, me, surprised?

Climate Change and the Nobel Prize in Economics (Steve Keen)

The policy action that the Gilet Jaunes oppose, and the policy inaction that Extinction Rebellion deride, are both the products of economists—and most specifically, the economist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on Climate Change, William Nordhaus. Nordhaus agrees that man-made Climate Change is happening—he is not a “Climate Change Denialist”. However, his research actually encourages policymakers not to take the action that Extinction Rebellion demands, or anything like it. He instead recommends managing Global Warming so that the Earth’s temperature will stabilize at 4 degrees above pre-industrial levels in the mid-22nd century.

Figure 1: Slide 6 in Nordhaus’s 2018 Nobel Prize Lecture (annotated)

Nordhaus also argued that the policy Extinction Rebellion recommends, of restrict Global Warming to 1.5 degrees—even if it is done over the next century, rather than the next six years as Extinction Rebellion demands—would cost the global economy more than 50 trillion US dollars, while yielding benefits of well under US$5 trillion. How is it possible that the optimal temperature for the planet is 4 degrees above pre-industrial levels—and that damages from that level of warming would amount to under 10% of global GDP—when it would also be “catastrophic to all life on Earth”?

Figure 2:Slide 7 in Nordhaus’s 2018 Nobel Prize Lecture

How is it possible that Global Warming of 1.5 degrees would reduce global GDP by a few trillion US dollars—less than 5% of what it would have been in the absence of Global Warming—while the policies to achieve that limit, even if executed over a century rather than just five years, would cost over ten times as much? It isn’t. Instead, either Extinction Rebellion’s claims are vastly overblown, or Nordhaus’s estimates of the economic damages from Global Warming drastically understate the dangers. Both are possible, of course. But categorically, Nordhaus’s estimates of the potential economic damage from Global Warming are nonsense. They are also one of the key reasons why policymakers have not taken the threat seriously. If Extinction Rebellion is going to make policymakers take Climate Change seriously, then one of their first targets must be Nordhaus and his DICE model.

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So you got this former war reporter saying:

“A willingness to live without hope allows me to accept the heartbreaking truth of our situation, however calamitous it is. Grieving for what is happening to the planet also now brings me gratitude for the smallest, most mundane things..”

But that of course is entirely useless to a teenager.

The End of Ice (IC)

Dahr Jamail’s latest book, “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption,” stitches together personal introspection and gut-wrenching interviews with leading climate experts. The rapidly receding glaciers of Denali National Park, home to the highest peak in North America, inspired the book’s title. “Seven years of climbing in Alaska had provided me with a front-row seat from where I could witness the dramatic impact of human-caused climate disruption,” Jamail writes.

With vividly descriptive storytelling, Jamail pushes further north into the Arctic Circle where warming is occurring at double speed. He surveys rapid changes in the Pribilof Islands, where indigenous communities have had to contend with die-offs affecting seabirds, fur seals, fish, and more — a collapsing food web. The story continues in the fragile Great Barrier Reef, utterly ravaged by the warming ocean. South Florida is faring no better: Jamail finds that 2.46 million of the state’s acreage will be submerged within his lifetime. Experts are aghast everywhere Jamail visits. In the Amazon, rich in biodiversity, the consequences are especially enormous.

[..] The threat of looming biosphere apocalypse is deeply troubling, panic-inducing, and this all-encompassing environmental, economic, and spiritual problem leaves one feeling helpless and grief-stricken. “The End of Ice” takes on the full weight of the catastrophe at hand. Jamail carries the reader’s emotional pain by acutely expressing his own. “A willingness to live without hope allows me to accept the heartbreaking truth of our situation, however calamitous it is. Grieving for what is happening to the planet also now brings me gratitude for the smallest, most mundane things,” Jamail explains. “I have found that it’s possible to reach a place of acceptance and inner peace, while enduring the grief and suffering that are inevitable as the biosphere declines.”

“The End of Ice” readers won’t find calls for technology-based solutions, politicians, mitigating emissions, or the Green New Deal to save us. “This global capitalist experiment, this experiment of industrialization and burning fossil fuels rampantly is an utter, abject failure,” Jamail told The Intercept. He believes it is time to start adapting. We should act like the climate crisis has arrived and, most significantly, reconnect to the planet.

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Jun 092015
 June 9, 2015  Posted by at 4:57 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , ,  Comments Off on Why Greece Must Leave

John Vachon Five o’clock crowds, Chicago 1941

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel published a piece in the Guardian last week that instantly revived our long nourished hope for the European Unholy Union to implode and be dissolved, sooner rather than later. The two gentlemen propose a ‘radical’ reform for the EU. Going a full-tard 180º against the tide of rising euroskeptism, the blindest bureaucrats in European capitals are talking about more centralization in the EU.

Here’s hoping that they follow up with all the energy they can muster, and that we’ll hear a lot more about the ‘reforms’ being proposed. Because that will only serve to increase the resistance and skepticism. Let them try to ‘reform’ the EU. We’re all for it. If only because if they do it thorough enough, referendums will be required in all 28 member nations, which all need to agree, in a unanimous approval vote.

The gents know of course that that is never ever going to happen. So sneaky ways will have to be found. Something Brussels is quite experienced at. They’ve shown many times they won’t let a little thing like 500 million citizens get in their way. We’re curious to see what they’ll come up with this time.

Meanwhile, though, the rising skepticism threatens to rule the day in many countries, and Greece is by no means the leader in the field. Germany has a rising right wing party that wants out (just wait till Merkel leaves). Marine Le Pen has vowed to take France out as soon as she gets to power, and she leads many polls. Britain’s Ukip is merely the vanguard of a broad right wing UK ‘movement’ that either want out or have treaties thoroughly renegotiated.

Portugal’s socialists are soaring in the polls on an EU-unfriendly agenda. Spain’s Podemos is no friend of Brussels. In Italy, M5S’s Beppe Grillo has gone from skeptic to outright adversary over the past few years. There are varying levels of antagonism in all other countries too.

Now obviously, not all countries in the union carry the same weight, politically speaking (why do we so easily agree that’s obvious, though?). You have Germany, then a big nowhere, then France and Britain.

Greece, equally obviously, has no say. They can elect a government that wants to change things even just at home, and be told no way. If Germany would elect such a party, all EU policy would change in the blink of an eye. A true union of sovereign nations it therefore is not. And that of course was never possible, it was just something people wished for who never contemplated the details or consequences.

Still, given that the whole project has always been represented as a one-way street from which escape is not possible, the weight of the smaller nations should not be underestimated. Perhaps all it will take is one defector to make the entire edifice unstable. Statements to the contrary are made only by people who eat hubris for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If either France or Germany leave -the former looks far more likely right now-, it’s project over. The same would probably hold for Italy. Spain would be a grave blow. Britain might be quite a bit easier (no euro), though negotiations -let alone referendums- over treaties could cause a lot of havoc and unrest. While various bigwigs try to fool you into thinking that letting small nations leave can be ‘ringfenced’, that is utter nonsense, they have no way of knowing.

David Cameron tries to convince himself that he can get away with establishing some sort of status aparte for Britain, but others may want such a status too, and they may have a list of points they want to discuss if and when treaty changes are put on the table. Multiple that by 28 and before you know it either nothing changes, or everything does.

The Union was hastily and sloppily cross-stitched together when everyone was still exclusively dreaming more of mass lift-all-boats profits in the offing, than caring about the fineprint of compromise squared treaties or considering possible future consequences if and when the profits would turn out not to be unlimited. Ergo, everything that happens now is an improvised play performed by 28 at best mildly talented actors trying to convey an air of confidence. That’s all that is left.

Throw all this in a pile, and renegotiating any EU treaty will to a high degree of probability be akin to opening Pandora’s cesspit. And besides, any changes would never pass if a referendum were held. Macron and Gabriel are all too aware of this pesky factoid:

“What’s important is the project,” Macron said in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche. “Treaty change is a method that would ensue and that we have to prepare in due time,” he said, warning that European people would probably reject a new treaty if asked in a referendum.

Meanwhile, British demands to opt-out from “ever closer union” could be accommodated by a special “protocol” to the EU treaties, according to Manfred Weber, a Christian Social Union MEP who is a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But in return, Britain would have to accept losing its veto in areas where others forge ahead with deeper integration, the German MEP warned.

In 2005, both France and Holland rejected the EU constitution in respective national referenda. But Brussels just ‘forged’ ahead as if it didn’t matter. Today, however, let’s see them try that again.

Ten years ago, the profits were still in vogue. But things have changed, and problems are everywhere. Problems that Brussels seeks to ‘solve’ by gifting itself with ever more centralized powers. But the undoubtedly biggest problem of all they have is that not 10% of Europeans would vote to give them these powers. So please, please, try.

As for Greece, all the negotiations really are just a matter of fiddling while Rome burns. But that is not because Greece is in trouble; it’s because of what the EU has become. A club that depends on its ability to scare members into submission, the same vein the IMF operates in. The negotiations are about amounts of debt that were imposed upon Greece by the troika when it decided to bail out banks of Europe’s most powerful member nations and put the Greek people on the hook.

Europe’s high and mighty will yet come to regret the decision not to restructure these banks, because this will be the catalyst that blows up the Union. The reason why will become apparent as debt rises further and asset markets start falling off so many cliffs.

Greece should get out as fast as it can, all member countries should, especially the poorer ones. There is no benign or even economically viable future for any of them in the Union. A future inside the union is infinitely more frightening than one outside.

What is evident by now is that the troika creditors don’t come to the table to negotiate, they come to impose their will. And those countries that carry the most debt are most vulnerable to the threats flung across the table. If you don’t get out, in time Germany will decide what you can eat, what your children learn in school, and how you are to behave. You will no longer live in sovereign nations.

The eurozone must fail. And so must the EU. That is better for everyone who’s not inside the power circles, in the long term. What countries should do now is ‘ringfence’ themselves as best they can from the nuclear fallout the failure will lead to. Focus on resilience.

While the leadership everywhere dreams of ever more centralized power, economic reality dictates decentralization. It can only be halted through propaganda and violence. But that will merely be temporary.

Even if Brussels somehow ‘solves’ the Greece issue, others nations will follow, be targets of financial markets, and once it comes to Italy or Spain, who are both in very precarious places, the EU and the ECB are simply not strong enough to absorb the blow. And then where do you think that leaves you?

I’ve said many times before that all governments, power structures and supra-national organizations are a magnet for the last people you would want to lead them: sociopaths. That’s not an opinion, it’s a description of the dynamics of human group psychology. Greece itself before Syriza is a prime example of this.

The smaller the countries, states, regions that politicians are allowed to rule over, the less likely leadership posts are to attract sociopaths. Other considerations count too, remuneration, chances to forge ties with an elite and serve their purposes. Larger entities are certain to attract pathological minds. Exceptions to the rule are far and few between. Also: the more a society manages the field of propaganda, the likelier it is to get -and keep- a sociopath as its leader.

The US is a good example. So is the EU. And obviously, the IMF, World Bank, NATO, FIFA. We always fail at ‘doing large scale’ for the benefit of the people. The large the scale, the less the people benefit.

Just when its moment of glory seems to arrive, globalization will lead towards decentralization and protectionism. Just as stability leads to instability.

The EU’s socio-pathological trait is evident in the way the organization’s leaders deal with Ukraine, with the refugees off its southern coasts, and, inside its very borders, with Greek society, unemployment, hunger and hospitals. There is no compassion, no conscience.

In the EU, the idea(l)s have become the problems, argues Stratfor’s George Friedman:

Is The European Union Already On The Brink Of Inevitable Disaster?

The fact of the matter is that a free-trade zone in which the black hole at the centre, Germany, absolutely overwhelms all of its competition, and the competition can’t protect itself, is untenable.

[..] many of the great ideas that the European Union began with have turned, as it frequently happens in history, into the problems.

Q: [..] said a group of squabbling nations, and you’ve alluded to the history, from the Franco-Prussian wars right up to 1945, the history is very, very unpleasant indeed. Is the corollary that Europe will eventually descend back into war?

George Friedman: Well, the question is really has it ascended? From ’45 to ’92, Europe was occupied by the Soviets and the Americans. The fundamental questions of sovereignty were not in the hands of London or Berlin or Rome, it was in the hands of Washington and Moscow. In ’92, the Soviet Union collapsed, and for the first time since WWII, Europe became genuinely sovereign. And for 16 years, they made a go of it. For the last seven years, it’s been rather disastrous, and the question is, can they reverse it?

And if they don’t reverse it, what prevents them from returning to the kind of history that is normal in Europe? And what I’m arguing is that basically, the period of ’92 to 2008 was an interesting aberration. We are now back to the old normal, and how bad it becomes really depends on a bunch of (inaudible) issues. But first we have to really recognise that the Europe that was envisioned in the European Union is not going to return.

We had better not forget that. If Europe will never be what it was supposed to be, then why would anyone want to be part of it, apart from the few that profit most? If the corollary truly is that Europe will eventually descend back into war, isn’t it time to take care of your own? And isn’t that, really, what the Greeks are already trying to do today?

Very timely for this article, Tyler Durden posted a piece by Jeff Thomas today that delves deeper:

The New World Order – A Faustian Bargain

[..] most people in any given country seem to believe that the political parties that rule them do not collude in their own collective interest and against the best interests of their respective constituents.

Similarly, they are unlikely to accept that fascism exists in their country—that members of their favoured party collude with industries. Further, most people seem to disbelieve that the leaders of their own country collude with the leaders of their country’s enemies in such a way that might create loss or danger to their own people. This is naive. Such collusions are the norm rather than the exception.

Those who tend to be more informed, readily acknowledge that collusion exists between all of the above, to one degree or another. If this group errs, it is often in the opposite assumption—that the collusion is all-encompassing.

There can be no doubt that a New World Order is being sought by some—this has been made clear for at least a hundred years by many who regard themselves as an Elite. It is therefore an open secret.

In my experience in dealing with political leaders (and political hopefuls) from several jurisdictions, I’ve found there to be a consistent sociopathology (by definition, the desire for dominance over others, undeserved self-confidence, lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, lack of conscience, etc.).

Sociopaths are drawn to political leadership for obvious reasons. First, they’re prone to collusion, as they recognise that it may further their interests [..] Trouble is, the same sociopathology would drive the same individuals to seek to dominate each other.

It has been postulated by many that those who see themselves as an Elite are nearing the completion of what they perceive as world dominance. However, should they succeed, they will betray their partners the very next day, as it’s their nature to do so.

First, there most assuredly are extremely domineering forces (regardless of how closely associated they might be), which, in the near future, will do immense damage to the cause of freedom in the world, particularly in those countries where they are most dominant, or will become most dominant. Second, the situation does appear to be reaching a head.

The two greatest uncertainties will be how much damage will be done before the dust has settled, and how protracted the period of destruction and struggle for dominance might be. [..] The best that can be done is to work at placing ourselves as far outside of their sphere of influence as possible.

That describes how the EU functions, and why Greece -first of all, and first thing in the morning- needs to leave. There is no future in the EU that anyone wants to live in. It’s not a tide that will lift all boats, it will sink them.