Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Peter Dorman — Why Varoufakis’ Job Was Impossible

Difficult to do political theater and be an effective negotiator simultaneously.

Why Varoufakis’ Job Was Impossible
Peter Dorman, Professor of Political Economy, The Evergreen State College

William K. Black — President Obama Should Apologize for Labelling Americans a Murderous Mob

Bill smacks down President Obama as a shill for the financial oligarchy.
This column was prompted by Charles M. Blow’s excellent column about the slanderous way that the term “lynch mob” is used by the right-wing to denounce Americans whenever we protest police violence against (primarily) people of color. The protesters want justice. They do not want to lynch anyone. The same is true of the American people’s demands that the banksters be brought to justice.
President Obama, however, began his term of office by slandering the American people who wanted him to restore the rule of law and bring the banksters to justice. Simon Johnson and James Kwak, the authors of Thirteen Bankers, cite Obama’s claim to the 13 bankers at the infamous March 31, 2009 meeting so close to the start of his term of office that he was all that was protecting them from the public’s “pitchforks” as the defining event of the administration on financial issues.
When the political authority has to protect the security services and the plutocrats from the wrath of the people, the end is nigh. The wheels are coming off. The only what that the those in power can save the system is by imposing an authoritarian state through total surveillance and persecution of dissent. When dissenters become enemies of the state, the liberal democracy is dead.

New Economic Perspectives
President Obama Should Apologize for Labelling Americans a Murderous Mob
William K. Black | Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC

Bill Mitchell — A “Budget Responsibility Lock” – a ridiculous proposal

Technocrat smackdown.
If you have read Caplan’s book you will understand that these free-market zealots have a basic, inbred hatred for democratic choice and believe it interferes with the purity of the market and its ‘value free’ determinations.
It is a particularly odd argument when you think about it. The idea is that voters basically misunderstand economics and so pressure politicians to make poor decisions about matters relating to employment, immigration, growth, welfare etc.
But if we are so riddled with these misunderstandings how could we be trusted to ‘vote’ in the free market properly, when the optimality of that institution-free arrangement requires us to be rational decision-makers with perfect (or rational) foresight?
Caplan fudged the answer to that question by arguing that mostly we are rational – when it hurts us in dollars not to be. But apparently we are dichotomised individuals who jump from cool-headed rational decision-making when buying milk to irrational and fanciful ideas when supporting political decisions [that affect one's economic future].
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
A “Budget Responsibility Lock” – a ridiculous proposal
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Dollar slide accelerating

So is that because it's getting easier to get? Harder to get? Technicals? Fundamentals?

Seriously, it looks like the dollar's rally is over at least for now. USDCAD at a 3-month low. AUDUSD getting there, too. Even euro off the mat.

Are you trading this? Making money? Wating for the "technicals?"

Come on, people.

Well that didn't take long. Useless Varoufakis pretty much kicked out. Tsipras should resign now, too. Party of NO BALLS!

Looks like Yanis Varoufakis just got demoted, which basically means, like, he's kicked out. He comes back from Riga with his tail between his legs.

An anti-austerity economist who has angered peers with his brash style, Varoufakis is facing calls to quit after returning from a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Riga isolated and empty-handed while Athens scrambles to avoid bankruptcy. Read more.

But what was he supposed to come back with? All he had from Day 1 were empty threats. I hope this guy doesn't play poker; he'd be lucky to leave with his underwear still on.

Now Tsipras should resign, too, because he's gonna promote the same class of useless wimp to that position and expect results that are going to be unattainable. The Germans must be beside themselves with laughter.

Varoufakis lost,  Tsipras lost, Syriza lost, the Greek people lost, Europe lost...they all lost the day Tsipras got elected and said "Greece will not leave the euro." Bingo. You. Are. Done.

I called it here from Day 1.

What a bunch of pansies.

Another Liberal Class of ball-less, gutless, pansies selling out again.

I may go back to voting. You know, I gave that up after Obama. No reason to vote. However, now I am thinking of going back and I am going to vote Conservative across the board. I am going to vote for the rightest of right wingers that I can possibly vote for. At least that way I can see the person's eyes who's about to take everything from me. It's a lot better than being stabbed in the back.

And now that I've said that...

Get ready for Hillary.


What is the libertarian Levin complaining about? I would think that the City of Baltimore has to look like a libertarian paradise this week.

And this is rich coming from the state subsidized billionaire VP of the Baltimore Orioles:

"...living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state..."

LOL! Where is it? The police had to immediately turn the situation over to state level authority and the Maryland National Guard.

Libertarians are all delusional.

Developing Markets Steel


Monday, April 27, 2015

Costas Douzinas — A Very European Coup

This is why Syriza’s negotiating strategy has to play to the European gallery and not just to the suits in the conference room. The aim is to persuade people to put pressure on their own governments or change them in the coming elections.
Insightful article that covers a lot of ground.

Greece Reporter
A Very European Coup
Costas Douzinas | Professor at the Birkbeck College of the University of London and the Director of Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities
ht Clonal

Anthony Scaramucci: More connected than smart

The iconic show, Wall Street Week, whcih was hosted by the late Lou Rukeyser has been recreated as a result of the backing of Wall Street pretty boy and social butterfly,  Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci is also the host.

Scaramucci is like the Street's community organizer, founder of the SALT Conference, which is an annual hedge fund showcase in Vegas where all the hedgies get together to discuss their typically out of paradigm ideas. (Like buy gold, several years ago or, short Japanese government bonds.)

Scaramucci also is co-head of Skybridge Capital, which I don't think manages any money, but is more of a fund of funds that raises capital and doles it out to his rich hedge fund buddies.

I was up at their offices several years ago and me with Scaramucci's partner, some young dude who said at the time that he heard of MMT, but was not looking to get into any new verntures. I was pitching them on an MMT fund that I wanted to launch. (No, it wasn't a TV show for Scaramucci to star in.)

Below is the latest episode of Wall Street week. It was sent over to me by Scaramucci's P.R. girl. Watch the beginning. Scaramucci goes on a little depressing rant that includes all the usual out-of-paradigm shit about how the U.S. is broke and we're drowning in debt and we don't save enough. Yada, yada, yada. All, pure gold standard crap. Totally wrong and inapplicable as anyone other than Peter Schiff should know by now.

This proves once again you don't have to know very much to make lots of money on Wall Street.

Roland Fryer, AEA Clark Medalist 2015


Roland Fryer, Clark Medalist 2015
American Economic Association Honors and Awards Committee
April 2015

Brazil Analysis: Upper Middle Class Demonstrations Against President Dilma Rousseff (2) — Sharmini Peres interviews Alfredo Saad-Filho

PERIES: Now, tell us a bit more about why during the success, during the growth period when the economy was doing so well why the PT, Workers' Party--more left-thinking, more socialist in their outlook--was unable to deliver programs and support to the poorest in the country. Particularly given Lula took office on the Zero Hunger campaign, which was partially successful. But it abandoned those programs towards the time when Dilma Rousseff took power. Why did that happen?

SAAD-FILHO: The social programs implemented by the Lula administration, and by the Dilma Rousseff administrations, have been very successful. The Bolsa Familia programming in particular was launched as you mentioned by Lula under the previous name of Fome Zero, Zero Hunger program. And it now covers 14 million families in Brazil. That is about a quarter of the population of the country directly benefit. These are benefits that are very small, but they are significant for people who earn very, very little. And they also provide a bedrock of demand for the economy.

There are other social programs as well including social security, including health, including a significant expansion of education at all levels and so on. So these programs were large and they were successful. They were also cheap. There's a limitation to the social programs of the PT, is that they usually did not have a sufficient amount of resources to transform the life chances of many of the poor. Although they did transform the life chances of many people who previously could not go to university but now they can, because the expansion of the sector [inaud.] quotas, and people who could not have accessed health services but now they can because of a substantial expansion of health provision in the country.

These were successful programs and they deserve to be commended, except they were limited to some extent and they should have been backed up by a significant expansion of infrastructure as well. This is [inaud.] missing, in my view.
Real New Network
Brazil Analysis: Upper Middle Class Demonstrations Against President Dilma Rousseff (2/2)
Sharmini Peres interviews Alfredo Saad-Filho, Professor of Political Economy at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and formerly a senior economic affairs officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Lars P. Syll — Life among the Econ

Humorous Axel Leijonhufvud quote. Another keeper.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Life among the Econ
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Disingenuous, back-stabbing Obama lobbying harder than he's ever lobbied before for this big business corporate welfare giveaway

President Obama is pushing hard for passage of the TPP trade deal. Never mind the fact that he spoke out against such deals when he was candidate Obama. It's just another example of his shameless backstabbing and insatiable penchant for neoliberal "change."

Obama says that trade is "inevitable." No, it's not. Certainly not this kind of trade: secret deals that circumvent our own domestic laws and regulations on environment, labor (even child labor), patents, net neutrality and so forth?

News flash, Mr. President...in a vast, highly productive and technologically advanced economy like the U.S. there is pretty much ZERO need for trade deals. It would be much easier and more in the interest of our country and society to just have the government ensure that the residents of our nation have sufficient incomes to enjoy the fruits of their own labor.

We have 46 million people on food stamps, millions of homeless and millions more without the basics. Do we really need to be working to implement policies that feed, clothe, house and raise the living standards of foreigners so our industries can profit? Couldn't our industries profit just the same by selling their product to Americans who have labored to create that very output?

It's maddening to see the president lobby so hard for a deal that likely won't benefit a single American worker. In the decade of the 1970s the nation created 19.4 million jobs with a labor force of only 100 million. There was no TPP or NAFTA. It was also a time of heavy unionization.

Then NAFTA went into effect in January 1994 and from that point on through the end of Clinton's second term the economy created 18.4 million. Less jobs than the 70s and most of those jobs had nothing to do with NAFTA. It was the Internet and dot-com explosion and the whole, Y2K investment boom.

Furthermore, NAFTA's rollout was over a period of 10 years so, what has happened since? I'll tell you what has happened. Nothing. Since 2000 we created only 10 million jobs. Ten million jobs in 15 years with a labor force that is 50% larger that the labor force in the 1970s. Some job creator.

Let's not forget to mention, too, that real wages have declined. Labor's share of national wealth has shrunk and actually, it has never been smaller than it is today. Some boom. Some benefit.

For this we need more trade agreements?

I get even more upset when I see organizations like the creepy Third Way supporting this. The Third Way is to policy what Scientology is to religion. It's like a cult, disguising itself with very "reasonable" sounding ideas that people have been  brainwashed to believe in. Things like debt reduction (to save our kids and grandkids...yeah, right) grand "bargains," to strip Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from our seniors.

The Third Way is nothing more than an insidious, slick, propaganda operation aligned with the Powers that Be: the same forces that want to dismantle the social safety nets. Their policies are policies of enrichment for the few and lack for everyone else.

The President, Fix the Debt, The Third Way, the Republicans...we are clearly so outnumbered and outgunned that it's a fucking joke, but at least if we're going to go down we can go down swinging and not like a bunch of pansies.

If we know what the consequences of these policies will be (which, we do) and know how to make some money off them at least we can create some wealth and protection for ourselves as it all comes tumbling down.

Get ready, because it's coming.

Russia Beyond The Headlines — New website offers 3 centuries’ worth of historical statistics on Russia

A new electronic archive has been launched, making it possible to trace the social and economic development of Russia's regions over the past three centuries.
The Electronic Repository for Russian Historical Statistics was proposed and created by Gijs Kessler from the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam and Andrei Markevich from the New Economic School in Moscow.
“Unfortunately, until now Russia’s historical experience has largely remained outside the sphere of interest of global historians, primarily due to a shortage of data. As a rule, data about Russia is either missing from historical inter-country databases or is very incomplete,” the authors of the project say.
Data is gathered on a standard program, which includes seven principal lines of inquiry (population, labor, industrial output, agricultural output, services, capital, land) and for five cross-sections of Russian history (1795, 1858, 1897, 1959, 2002).
Statistical data for the 18th-21st centuries derives from various published and unpublished sources, and is standardized and arranged into a database.
The data for the Electronic Repository for Russian Historical Statistics was collected and processed by two groups of researchers in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2010-2014.
Russia Beyond The Headlines

Joe Firestone — Indicting the Trans – Pacific Partnership: Even One of These Counts Is Sufficient to Vote to Kill It!

To really appreciate what a travesty the TPP is, and the scandal of the failure of our Congress to reject it, and the “Fast Track Authority“ sought for it, out of hand, I’m going to list 23 negative consequences that would likely follow from it. Any one of these, would, by itself be sufficient for any representative of the people, Senator or Congressperson, to vote to kill it.
Send it to your congress-critters.

Bill Mitchell — The Job Guarantee would enhance the private sector

Since Bill is the originator of the MMT Job Guarantee and its chief spokesperson through The Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), you probably want to read this if you are at all interested in MMT.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The Job Guarantee would enhance the private sector
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Sunday, April 26, 2015

AFP — Seven in 10 Greeks want a debt deal, survey finds

Only minority support for Grexit.

The Pennisula
Seven in 10 Greeks want a debt deal, survey finds
ht Conal

Analyze Greece — Ögmundur Jónasson: Social Justice Is The Key For A Left Government

Tackling a serious economic crisis is difficult for all governments, whether they are left wing or right wing. It is important for everybody to be aware of this, politicians and voters alike. 
There is, however, a fundamental difference between the right and the left in this respect: Their objective is not the same. Of course politicians in general want to succeed in their endeavour to get their country out of serious trouble but they tend to evaluate the situation differently. This depends on their political conviction. Left wing, socially responsible forces, above all want to preserve, if not strengthen the social fabric of society – the welfare system - while the right wing under such circumstances is likely to use the crisis for system change, i.e. to marketise and privatise the system.
Disaster capitalism versus progressive reform.

Analyze Greece
Ögmundur Jónasson: Social Justice Is The Key For A Left Government (January 28, 2015)
ht Jan Milch
Icelandic politician Ögmundur Jónasson (born 17 July 1948), was the former Health and Interior Minister for the Icelandic left government between 2009-2013. He has been active in various grass-root activities, a prolific commentator and public speaker. As minister, he gained international attention in connection with three issues. First, he proposed measures designed to protect children from the harms of violent pornography as part of his broader support for human rights and women’s rights. Secondly, he rejected a plan by Chinese business tycoon, Mr. Huang Nubo, to purchase a huge tract of land in the North East of Iceland attracting much geopolitical and media attention. Thirdly, he refused all cooperation with FBI agents who arrived in Iceland in 2011 —on the pretext of investigating an impending hacking attack on Icelandic government computers— and directed them to leave the country because he believed that they were, in fact, engaged in a broader swoop to gather intelligence on WikiLeaks in trying to frame its founder Julian Assange.

Business Insider — The bottom is in for oil prices: 'A lot of people are throwing in the towel.' (USO, OIL)

Business Insider
The bottom is in for oil prices: 'A lot of people are throwing in the towel.' (USO, OIL)
Myles Udland

Zero Hedge — Un-Pax Americana: Where One Can Find US Special Ops Around The Globe

The budget for Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., which dispatches elite troops around the world, jumped to $10 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, from $2.2 billion in 2001. Congress has doubled the command to nearly 70,000 people this year, from 33,000 in fiscal 2001. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force provide further funding.
Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, for example, are stationed in the Baltics, training elite troops from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia for the type of proxy warfare Russia has conducted in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
But the vast majority of special-operations missions involve coaxing and coaching foreign forces to combat extremists the U.S. considers threats.
Hybrid warfare.

Zero Hedge
Un-Pax Americana: Where One Can Find US Special Ops Around The Globe
Wall Street Journal

Heather Cox Richardson — Bobby Jindal just splintered the GOP: The unholy alliance between Fox News and the 1 percent can no longer stand

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s op-ed in the New York Times marks the whimpering end of an unholy alliance. The letter itself was a ham-handed attempt to capture the 2016 evangelical vote before Sen. Ted Cruz does. But the very crudity of his piece revealed that the union at the heart of Movement Conservatism is ripping apart.

In his op-ed, Jindal undertook to explain to business leaders how Movement Conservatism works. Its political strategy, he lectured, “requires populist social conservatives to ally with the business community on economic matters and corporate titans to side with social conservatives on cultural matters.” The governor is right: Since the 1980s big business interests have managed to secure policies that have concentrated wealth at the very top of the economic ladder, and they have managed their coup only with the help of the votes of social conservatives.
But Jindal’s hyperbolic posturing as he warns “any corporation” “bullying” social conservatives into accepting same-sex marriage to “Save your breath,” reveals a touchstone moment: This grand alliance is over....
What follows is a must-read on the history of US politics, and the GOP in particular, since the Eisenhower administration.
Seeing such a caricature of the bargain that made Movement Conservatism succeed could create the magical moment in which the party finally rejects the devil’s bargain it struck in the 1950s.
If only.

What is especially revealing is that the situation which Americans find themselves today is not the result simply of ignorance but also of political manipulation of prejudice and bigotry.

Bobby Jindal just splintered the GOP: The unholy alliance between Fox News and the 1 percent can no longer stand
Heather Cox Richardson

Russia Beyond the Headlines — Putin confesses he expected radical upturn in relations with West after fall of the Communist regime

Putin and the then U.S. president George Bush had "an excellent relationship," Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov recalled.
However, the U.S. came to believe by that moment that Russia "entered a regime of colonial democracy, that we sort of got hooked on International Monetary Fund injections and that the experts' community must continue teaching us how we should further develop our economy and where we should pump our oil," he said.
"On the surface, though, everything looked extremely tactful: they would pat us on the shoulder and cheer us up: guys, your are sort of moving in the rights direction," Ivanov said.
Russia Beyond the Headlines
Putin confesses he expected radical upturn in relations with West after fall of the Communist regime

Adam LeBor — For Nazi Industrialists And Hitler's Banker "All Was Forgiven"

...excerpt from TOWER OF BASEL: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World by Adam LeBor. Reprinted with permission from PublicAffairs. 
Zero Hedge
For Nazi Industrialists And Hitler's Banker "All Was Forgiven"

See also

Grasping Reality
Weekend Reading: Benito Mussolini (1932): What Is Fascism?
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

RT — Putin accuses US of backing North Caucasus militants

"At one point our secret services simply detected direct contacts between militants from the North Caucasus and representatives of the United States secret services in Azerbaijan," Putin said in the film, released by Rossiya 1 TV channel on Sunday.
"And when I spoke about that to the then president of the US, he said... sorry, I will speak plainly, he said, "I'll kick their asses", Putin recounts his conversation with George W. Bush on the issue. A few days later, he says, the heads of Russia's FSB received a letter from their American counterparts, which said they had the right to support opposition forces in Russia.
"Someone over there, especially the West's intelligence services, obviously thought that if they act to destabilize their main geopolitical rival, which, as we now understand, in their eyes has always been Russia, it would be good for them. It turned out, it wasn't," Putin muses, saying he had warned the West about the possible dangers of supporting terrorists.
Another juicy tidbit.
Putin also discussed the challenges he faced when he first became President. When the interview's host suggested that a group of oligarchs was in charge of Russia in the end of the 1990s, Vladimir Putin did not contradict. "They came to my office, sat in front of me and said, "Do you understand you will never be the real president?" We'll see, I told them", he recalls. When asked about it, he didn't elaborate on how he dealt with the oligarchs in the end, simply saying he "used various means."
Too bad US presidents just roll over before the US oligarchs, even if they had thought of bucking them in the first place. Probably never consider it considering where the money for campaigns comes from.

Putin accuses US of backing North Caucasus militants

A controversial Ukrainian website publishing personal information about ‘enemies of the state’ appears to have been run by a NATO cyber center in one of the Baltic states. The website went offline on Saturday following public pressure.
NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence – СCD-COE has been exposed as providing technical support for Mirotvorec, a website of Ukrainian nationalists running ‘enemies of the state’ database.
NATO trace found behind witch-hunt website in Ukraine

Supporting terrorism and fascism.

Brazil Analysis: Upper Middle Class Demonstrations Against President Dilma Rousseff (1) — Sharmini Peries interviews Alfredo Saad-Filho

SAAD-FILHO: ....What I think we can now see in Brazil, but also in Argentina and Venezuela, perhaps also in other parts of the world, is the emergence of a new right. A right wing that is organized, that has a mass base in the upper-middle class, that is structured by ideological demands for restoration of neoliberalism, strict neoliberal economic and social policies. And that claims for a return to their established privileges, which is a common picture in South America at least, and several countries of South America. It is certainly the case in Brazil.

My suspicion, and this is no more than a hypothesis that I want to throw out for discussion, is that this is a long-term political shift in the Southern cone, and certainly in Brazil itself. I think in the last 20 years we have seen a tremendous growth of the left leading to the election of four consecutive presidents by the Workers' Party. My suspicion is that this cycle of the left is now coming to an end.

PERIES: Now in reference to your article again, you say that there was, there has been no meaningful attempt to reform the constitution or the political system to challenge the ideological hegemony of neoliberalism. Whereas other countries, for example Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, one of the first things that they did upon taking power was actually to reform the constitution in the interest of the commons.

Now, Brazil didn't do this. And you pinpoint this in your article. And I was wondering if you could elaborate on that.

SAAD-FILHO: The PT administrations led by Lula and by Dilma Rousseff have been elected four times, consecutively, by much broader social and political alliances than those that elected the other left-wing administrations in Argentina or in Bolivia, or even Ecuador. And certainly Venezuela. The administrations led by Lula and Dilma had a strong base on the organized [inaud.] of course. But also, and primarily I would argue, on sections of capital that are involved with production for the domestic market and in some cases for export. These were the priority sectors for the government. They received the most government support, and in return they were the main sources of support, of financial support at least, and political support, for the PT.

But in this sense, the PT never had the authority, the latitude, the scope, to introduce broad-ranging political reforms. It never had the ambition either. Its ambition, since the early 1990s, has been to be elected to govern moderately. The PT is not, and it has not been for a very long time, a radical transformative party. It is a social democratic party that attempted to lead a reformist administration. That, in the context of Brazil, a country with some of the most severe inequalities in the world was reasonably successful and has achieved much that needs to be commended and recognized. But it was also limited.
Real News Network
Brazil Analysis: Upper Middle Class Demonstrations Against President Dilma Rousseff (½)
Sharmini Peries, Exec. Producer, TRNN interviews Alfredo Saad-Filho, Professor of Political Economy at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and formerly a senior economic affairs officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard — US to launch blitz of gas exports, eyes global energy dominance

The United States is poised to flood world markets with once-unthinkable quantities of liquefied natural gas as soon as this year, profoundly changing the geo-politics of global energy and posing a major threat to Russian gas dominance in Europe....

Gas frackers assembled at the world's "energy Davos" in Houston said exports could ultimately be much higher, potentially overtaking Russia as the world's biggest supplier of natural gas of all kinds.
Fracking, you see.

Driving the global price of carbon-based energy down.

What could go wrong?

Lots of info in the article if you aren't up on LNG.
A vault forward on this scale would establish the US as the leading energy superpower in both oil and gas, a revival that almost nobody could have imagined seven years ago when the United States was in near panic over its exorbitant dependency of imported fuel. It would restore the US to its mid-20th Century position as a surplus trading nation, and perhaps ultimately as world's biggest external creditor once again.
The down side. Fracking uses a huge amount of water, which is becoming short in supply in many regions. Then there is nimby.
John Hess, the founder of Hess Corporation, said it takes a unique confluence of circumstances to pull off a fracking revolution: landowner rights over sub-soil minerals, a pipeline infrastructure, the right taxes and regulations, and good rock. “We haven’t seen those stars align yet,” he said.

Above all it requires the acquiescence of the people. "It takes a thousand trucks going in and out to launch a (drilling) spud. Not every neighbourhood wants that," he said.

Certainly not in Sussex, Burgundy, or Bavaria.
The Telegraph
US to launch blitz of gas exports, eyes global energy dominance
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

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Bill Black — Obama & TPP: Every One That Doeth Evil Hateth the Light

President Obama wants the world to know that he takes it personally that the Democratic Party’s base opposes his latest effort to sell out the people of the world to the worst corporations through the infamous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal. Obama blurted out at a press conference a number of conservative Republican memes as his sole basis for pushing TPP. He then launched personal attacks on Senator Elizabeth Warren and labor leaders (without naming them). Obama, who is famous for keeping his cool when criticized by the GOP, is thin-skinned when criticized by Democrats. Obama never raged at the Republicans’ “death panel” attacks on him, but he raged at Warren as supposedly making an equivalently openly dishonest attack on TPP’s secret drafting process.
One of the most reprehensible aspects of TPP is that it is (still) being drafted in secret – that it from us, the people – but with corporate lobbyists literally drafting their wish list. Obama made the critical mistake of personally attacking Warren, which is roughly equivalent to a small town mayor launching a personal attack on Jon Stewart. You know the results will be that Stewart will wipe the floor with the mayor....
Serious smackdown. Bill gives Barack a "black eye."
Obama is the one who infamously told the bankers he was protecting them from the American people’s demands for the restoration of the rule of law so that the banksters would be held accountable for leading the fraud epidemics that drove the financial crisis and the Great Depression. Obama, being Obama, phrased that in the form of a vile slander of the American people, claiming that they wanted to use “pitchforks” rather than prosecutions.
TPP is the opposite of “free trade.” In the jargon of its economic supporters, it is a moldering midden hiding the secretly drafted “rent seeking” provisions designed to help CEOs enrich themselves at the expense of the people of the world. Adam Smith, who supported freer trade, warned over two centuries ago that when CEOs meet secretly it promptly turns into a conspiracy against the public interest and warned that CEOs use their power to aid their own interests at the expense of shareholders and the public. Smith’s warned that it “ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”
Similarly, the even more conservative Frédéric Bastiat famously warned:

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
TPP is the legal system designed to authorize plunder with impunity....
The roundhouse punch.
Obama did not simply allow lobbyists to largely draft TPP in secret – he classified their drafts – treating them as national security secrets. This would be downright funny if it were not so wicked....
Because "national security."

OMG, the religious right was right. Obama is Satan!
TPP is a deal that Obama, the failed economists, and the CEOs knew could not survive the light. They were aware of the truth of Justice Brandeis’ famous observation that “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” TPP was drafted in secret to avoid that disinfectant. People who are doing straight up deals in the public interest would never allow lobbyists to draft the deal and would have welcomed criticisms of their drafts. The secret drafting of TPP largely by the CEOs’ lobbyists was designed to maximize the ability of CEOs to plunder...
Read the whole screed. It's Bill in all his awesomeness.

New Economic Perspectives
Obama & TPP: Every One That Doeth Evil Hateth the LightWilliam K. Black | Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC

The actual purpose of his column, however, was to smear any member of Congress (and he singled out Senator Elizabeth Warren as his example) who opposes TPP as not simply economically ignorant, “failing” a “no brainer” exam, but also engaged in “mendacity.” Given that mendacity is Mankiw’s primary area of expertise – and that President Obama soon joined Mankiw in claiming that Warren was lying in her criticisms of TPP – I thought someone should respond to Mankiw
Smackdown follows.

Bill fails Mankiew in Economics 101. As a former philosophy prof. I give him and F in Ethics 101.

Mankiw: "“it would be irrational for savings and loans [CEOs] not to loot.”

So it's OK.

Mankiw Mendacity and Morality and his League of Failed Economists

Saturday, April 25, 2015

telesur — Correa: Opposition in Ecuador Copying Venezuelan Opposition

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said the opposition is deliberately trying to provoke problems in the country by spreading rumors. Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa denounced efforts by the opposition in his country to copy the strategy of the opposition in Venezuela and try to destabilize his government and the country. “Let's not fool ourselves, what has happened in Venezuela, in Argentina, what they tried to do to Evo (Morales)... is the permanent mobilization, (the strategy of) attrition, trying to create incidents,” said Correa, referring to violent street protests in Venezuela in 2014 and the recent attempt to link Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to the murder of a prosecutor. “But we are going to show, like in Venezuela, we are more, many more,” the president told local media Friday. In an effort to provoke problems in the country, supporters of the Ecuadorean opposition have recently tried to promote rumors that the government was planning to freeze bank accounts in the country. Correa quashed those rumors, saying, “The only problem banks have (right now) is that they're making too much money.” In a deeply unpopular move, the government of Ecuador froze bank accounts in 1999 in an effort to save private banks, causing chaos in Ecuador's financial system.
Correa: Opposition in Ecuador Copying Venezuelan Opposition
El Telegrafo

Frances Coppola — The Swiss Have Eliminated The Zero Lower Bound

So, this is fun. Via Zero Hedge comes this report from a Swiss website, Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF). It seems that a Swiss pension fund tried to evade negative rates on deposits by withdrawing a very large amount of physical cash with the intention of vaulting it. But the bank refused to allow it to withdraw the money in the form of physical cash....
This could have far-reaching consequences. The monetary policy of the last few years has been hampered by the supposed existence of the “zero lower bound”, at which (it is assumed) everyone would opt for physical cash instead of bank deposits and bonds. We already know that the lower bound (if it exists) is actually slightly below zero, since it is the point at which the cost of negative rates on deposits and bonds starts to exceed the cost of holding physical cash (vaulting charges, theft risk and so on). But if investors simply cannot obtain large amounts of physical cash because banks won’t issue it to them, the slightly-below-zero lower bound cannot bind. In which case negative rates could be very negative indeed and no-one would be able to do much about it. There would be no need to abolish or tax cash, as Citi’s Willem Buiter suggests. It could simply be ignored. Welcome to the negative-rate universe.
The Swiss Have Eliminated The Zero Lower Bound
Frances Coppola

Does anyone else have the feeling that the wheels are coming off?