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friendly_iconoclast

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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 12:47 PM
Number of posts: 11,634

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IMF: austerity measures would still leave Greece with unsustainable debt

Source: Guardian(UK)

Greece would face an unsustainable level of debt by 2030 even if it signs up to the full package of tax and spending reforms demanded of it, according to unpublished documents compiled by its three main creditors.

The documents, drawn up by the so-called troika of lenders, support Greece’s argument that it needs substantial debt relief for a lasting economic recovery. They show that, even after 15 years of sustained strong growth, the country would face a level of debt that the International Monetary Fund deems unsustainable.

The documents show that the IMF’s baseline estimate – the most likely outcome – is that Greece’s debt would still be 118% of GDP in 2030, even if it signs up to the package of tax and spending reforms demanded. That is well above the 110% the IMF regards as sustainable given Greece’s debt profile, a level set in 2012. The country’s debt level is currently 175% and likely to go higher because of its recent slide back into recession.

The documents admit that under the baseline scenario “significant concessions” are necessary to improve Greece’s chances of ridding itself permanently of its debt financing woes.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/30/greek-debt-troika-analysis-says-significant-concessions-still-needed



Grexit seems inevitable
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Jun 30, 2015, 03:49 PM (15 replies)

It's a slow day over at the Gun Control Busy Box

Seems "My Fantastic Career in The Air Force Is Why You Should Follow My Advice
About Guns" isn't quite pulling in the crowds after some ...inconvenient... details
were pointed out by several other posters, as see:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172170317#post5
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Jun 28, 2015, 04:15 PM (0 replies)

On processed pork shoulder meat in a can, and why we're getting it:

As a counter to embarassment. A widespread, yet unacknowledged, embarrassment
about being fooled - because some so wanted to believe something was true
they left healthy skepticism behind.

Embarassment over being taken in by a fake PSA, and not realizing it was staged
even as some GC&RKBA regulars recognized that it was phony:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1017253473

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172168674

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1017&pid=271286

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172163317#post10

The alert reader will note that many of the other group's stalwarts (including
a rather outspoken host, who also recommended it) got taken in:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=thread&address=1017253473&info=1#recs


Seems none of the folks that were so impressed a few months ago care to discuss it
now. Posting here at GC&RKBA, now, would be a natural occasion for some
inconvenient questions.

Now we are (again) getting hit and run posts, and posts from members who have rarely, if ever,
posted here before.

I find that rather interesting...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sat Jun 13, 2015, 07:31 PM (17 replies)

Revealed Emails Show How Industry Lobbyists Basically Wrote The TPP

(This got locked in LBN, so I'm reposting it here)

From Techdirt:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150605/11483831239/revealed-emails-show-how-industry-lobbyists-basically-wrote-tpp.shtml

Back in 2013, we wrote about a FOIA lawsuit that was filed by William New at IP Watch. After trying to find out more information on the TPP by filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and being told that they were classified as "national security information" (no, seriously), New teamed up with Yale's Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic to sue. As part of that lawsuit, the USTR has now released a bunch of internal emails concerning TPP negotiations, and IP Watch has a full writeup showing how industry lobbyists influenced the TPP agreement, to the point that one is even openly celebrating that the USTR version copied his own text word for word.

What is striking in the emails is not that government negotiators seek expertise and advice from leading industry figures. But the emails reveal a close-knit relationship between negotiators and the industry advisors that is likely unmatched by any other stakeholders.

The article highlights numerous examples of what appear to be very chummy relationships between the USTR and the "cleared advisors" from places like the RIAA, the MPAA and the ESA. They regularly share text and have very informal discussions, scheduling phone calls and get togethers to further discuss. This really isn't that surprising, given that the USTR is somewhat infamous for its revolving door with lobbyists who work on these issues. In fact, one of the main USTR officials in the emails that IP Watch got is Stan McCoy, who was the long term lead negotiator on "intellectual property" issues. But he's no longer at the USTR -- he now works for the MPAA...

...Perhaps the most incredible, is the email from Jim DeLisi, from Fanwood Chemical, to Barbara Weisel, a USTR official, where DeLisi raves that he's just looked over the latest text, and is gleeful to see that the the rules that have been agreed up on are "our rules" (i.e., the lobbyists'), even to the point that he (somewhat confusingly) insists "someone owes USTR a royalty payment." While it appears he's got the whole royalty system backwards (you'd think an "IP advisor" would know better...) the point is pretty clear: the lobbyists wrote the rules, and the USTR just put them into the agreement. Weisel's response? "Well there's a bit of good news..."


Searchable versions of the emails are available through the Electronic Frontier Foundation's
website:

https://www.eff.org/cases/ip-watch-v-ustr

https://www.eff.org/document/foia-released-emails-between-ustr-and-lobbyists-searchable-1-4

https://www.eff.org/document/foia-released-emails-between-ustr-and-lobbyists-searchable-2-4

https://www.eff.org/document/foia-released-emails-between-ustr-and-lobbyists-searchable-3-4

https://www.eff.org/document/foia-released-emails-between-ustr-and-lobbyists-searchable-4-4


Us proles need to remember that we're not important enough to see these drafts- nor are
Congressional aides, for that matter

But lobbyists are...


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Jun 10, 2015, 03:49 PM (7 replies)

Confidential USTR Emails Show Close Industry Involvement In TPP Negotiations

http://www.ip-watch.org/2015/06/05/confidential-ustr-emails-show-close-industry-involvement-in-tpp-negotiations/

Note: also covered in LBN:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141113732

While a full range of stakeholders would be affected by the outcome of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement under secret negotiation by the United States and a dozen trading partners, corporate representatives have had a special seat at the negotiating table, as shown by hundreds of pages of confidential emails from the US Trade Representative’s office obtained by Intellectual Property Watch. The emails give a rare and fascinating perspective on how policy is developed in the trade office.

Years into the negotiation, the TPP is said to be nearing completion and is the subject of a US congressional debate over renewal of fast-track negotiating authority for the president (limiting Congress to a yes or no vote). But the TPP text has never been made available to the public of the countries negotiating it, except through periodic leaks of parts of the text, making these emails timely for the debate.

Through a US Freedom of Information Act request, Intellectual Property Watch has obtained some 400 pages of email traffic between USTR officials and industry advisors. Most of the content of the emails is redacted (blacked out), but they still give insight into the process.

http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/USTR-FOIA-Mar-2015-1-of-4.pdf

http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/USTR-FOIA-Mar-2015-2-of-4.pdf

http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/USTR-FOIA-Mar-2015-3-of-4.pdf

http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/USTR-FOIA-Mar-2015-4-of-4.pdf


A searchable version of these is available via the EFF:

https://www.eff.org/cases/ip-watch-v-ustr

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Jun 9, 2015, 04:24 PM (0 replies)

Revealed Emails Show How Industry Lobbyists Basically Wrote The TPP

Source: Techdirt

Back in 2013, we wrote about a FOIA lawsuit that was filed by William New at IP Watch. After trying to find out more information on the TPP by filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and being told that they were classified as "national security information" (no, seriously), New teamed up with Yale's Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic to sue. As part of that lawsuit, the USTR has now released a bunch of internal emails concerning TPP negotiations, and IP Watch has a full writeup showing how industry lobbyists influenced the TPP agreement, to the point that one is even openly celebrating that the USTR version copied his own text word for word.

What is striking in the emails is not that government negotiators seek expertise and advice from leading industry figures. But the emails reveal a close-knit relationship between negotiators and the industry advisors that is likely unmatched by any other stakeholders.

The article highlights numerous examples of what appear to be very chummy relationships between the USTR and the "cleared advisors" from places like the RIAA, the MPAA and the ESA. They regularly share text and have very informal discussions, scheduling phone calls and get togethers to further discuss. This really isn't that surprising, given that the USTR is somewhat infamous for its revolving door with lobbyists who work on these issues. In fact, one of the main USTR officials in the emails that IP Watch got is Stan McCoy, who was the long term lead negotiator on "intellectual property" issues. But he's no longer at the USTR -- he now works for the MPAA...

...Perhaps the most incredible, is the email from Jim DeLisi, from Fanwood Chemical, to Barbara Weisel, a USTR official, where DeLisi raves that he's just looked over the latest text, and is gleeful to see that the the rules that have been agreed up on are "our rules" (i.e., the lobbyists'), even to the point that he (somewhat confusingly) insists "someone owes USTR a royalty payment." While it appears he's got the whole royalty system backwards (you'd think an "IP advisor" would know better...) the point is pretty clear: the lobbyists wrote the rules, and the USTR just put them into the agreement. Weisel's response? "Well there's a bit of good news..."

Read more: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150605/11483831239/revealed-emails-show-how-industry-lobbyists-basically-wrote-tpp.shtml



Us proles need to remember that we're not important enough to see these- nor are
Congressional aides, for that matter

But lobbyists are...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Jun 9, 2015, 04:08 PM (23 replies)

"Third Way®" types don't want to discuss the last year of M.L. King, Jr.'s life

They'll praise MLK to the skies in general terms while repeatedly
quoting his speech at the 1963 March on Washington. They'll denounce his asassination.

All these things should be done, and it's good of them to do so-but it's not enough.

Ignoring or eliding the last year of Dr. King's life is to ignore or elide a vital part of the man.
I invite you to read on:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125355148

The Story Of King's 'Beyond Vietnam' Speech

Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Beyond Vietnam" was a powerful and angry speech that raged against the war. At the time, civil rights leaders publicly condemned him for it.

PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's new documentary, MLK: A Call to Conscience explores King's speech. The film is the second episode of Tavis Smiley Reports. Smiley spoke with both scholars and friends of King, including Cornel West, Vincent Harding and Susannah Heschel.

By the time King made the "Beyond Vietnam" speech, Smiley tells host Neal Conan, "he had fallen off already the list of most-admired Americans as tallied by Gallup every year." Smiley continues, "it was the most controversial speech he ever gave. It was the speech he labored over the most."

After King delivered the speech, Smiley reports, "168 major newspapers the next day denounced him." Not only that, but then-President Lyndon Johnson disinvited King to the White House. "It basically ruins their relationship," says Smiley. "This was a huge, huge speech," he continues, "that got Martin King in more trouble than anything he had ever seen or done."








https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/publications/autobiography-martin-luther-king-jr-contents/chapter-31-poor-peoples

From "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.":


Chapter 31: The Poor People's Campaign

We have moved into an era where we are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society. We are still called upon to give aid to the beggar who finds himself in misery and agony on life's highway. But one day, we must ask the question of whether an edifice which produces beggars must not be restructured and refurbished. That is where we are now.

...We intended to channel the smouldering rage and frustration of Negro people into an effective, militant, and nonviolent movement of massive proportions in Washington and other areas. Similarly, we would be calling on the swelling masses of young people in this country who were disenchanted with this materialistic society and asking them to join us in our new Washington movement. We also looked for participation by representatives of the millions of non Negro poor-Indians, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Appalachians, and others. And we welcomed assistance from all Americans of goodwill.



From a sermon in Memphis, during a sanitation worker's strike:

You know Jesus reminded us in a magnificent parable one day that a man went to hell because he didn't see the poor. His name was Dives. And there was a man by the name of Lazarus who came daily to his gate in need of the basic necessities of life and Dives didn't do anything about it. And he ended up going to hell. There is nothing in that parable which says that Dives went to hell because he was rich. Jesus never made a universal indictment against all wealth. It is true that one day a rich young ruler came to Him talking about eternal life and he advised him to sell all, but in that instance Jesus was prescribing individual surgery, not setting forth a universal diagnosis. If you will go on and read that parable in all of its dimensions and its symbolism you will remember that a conversation took place between heaven and hell. And on the other end of that long distance call between heaven and hell was Abraham in heaven talking to Dives in hell. It wasn't a millionaire in hell talking with a poor man in heaven, it was a little millionaire in hell talking with a multimillionaire in heaven. Dives didn't go to hell because he was rich. His wealth was his opportunity to bridge the gulf that separated him from his brother Lazarus. Dives went to hell because he allowed Lazarus to become invisible. Dives went to hell because he allowed the means by which he lived to outdistance the ends for which he lived. Dives went to hell because he sought to be a conscientious objector in the war against poverty.

And I come by here to say that America too is going to hell if she doesn't use her wealth. If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God's children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell. I will hear America through her historians, years and generations to come, saying, "We built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies. We built gargantuan bridges to span the seas. Through our space ships we were able to carve highways through the stratosphere. Through our submarines we were able to penetrate oceanic depths." It seems that I can hear the God of the universe saying, "Even though you have done all of that, I was hungry and you fed me not. I was naked and you clothed me not. The children of my sons and daughters were in need of economic security and you didn't provide it for them. And so you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness."
This may well be the indictment on America. And that same voice says in Memphis to the mayor, to the power structure, "If you do it unto the least of these of my children you do it unto me .






Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sat May 30, 2015, 04:36 PM (29 replies)

Can you tell the difference between Bush and Obama on the Patriot Act?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/29/quiz-tell-the-difference-bush-and-obama-patriot-act

There's a quiz, with nine statements about the Patriot Act from either the Bush or Obama
administrations.

You are asked which camp said what. I got five correct...





Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri May 29, 2015, 08:17 PM (7 replies)

False claims of racism against Sanders are coming from neoliberals who fear his message

Walter Benn Michaels explained it nicely:

Let Them Eat Diversity
On the politics of identity.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2011/01/let-them-eat-diversity/


What’s at the heart of your work is that equal-opportunity exploitation is what we’re moving towards, or at the very least it’s an ideological goal of the ruling class. So, what explains the shift in the way capital has historically acted — using racial and ethnic divisions to better exploit the working class?

Well, I think there’s absolutely no question that is true. Capitalism throughout the nineteenth century and through much of the twentieth was classically imperialist, which is basically impossible without racism, without a massive commitment to what amounted to European-American White supremacy. But one of the things that’s become obvious — leaving the racism question aside, leaving the discrimination question more generally aside, — is that the condition of capital changed fairly radically in the twentieth century. Of course, people have different accounts of why that is. Even those on the Left who agree that the falling rate of profit is central don’t agree on whether it’s a structural necessity or a contingent development. But almost everyone agrees that neoliberalism involved internationalization in a way that cannot be reduced to what imperialism was before and that it involved, above all, a kind of powerful necessity for mobility not of only of capital, but of labor.

Stalin famously won the argument but lost the war over whether there could be socialism in one country, but no one has ever been under the impression for more than a millisecond that there could be neoliberalism in only one country. An easy way to look at this would be to say that the conditions of mobility of labor and mobility of capital have since World War II required an extraordinary upsurge in immigration. The foreign born population in the US today is something like 38 million people, which is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Poland. This is a function of matching the mobility of capital with the mobility of labor, and when you begin to produce these massive multi-racial or multi-national or as we would call them today multi-cultural workforces, you obviously need technologies to manage these work forces.

In the US this all began in a kind of powerful way with the Immigration Act of 1965, which in effect repudiated the explicit racism of the Immigration Act of the 1924 and replaced it with largely neoliberal criteria. Before, whether you could come to the US was based almost entirely on racial or, to use the then-preferred term, “national” criteria. I believe that, for example, the quota on Indian immigration to the US in 1925 was 100. I don’t know the figure on Indian immigration to the US since 1965 off-hand, but 100 is probably about an hour and a half of that in a given year. The anti-racism that involves is obviously a good thing, but it was enacted above all to admit people who benefited the economy of the US. They are often sort of high-end labor, doctors, lawyers, and businessmen of various kinds. The Asian immigration of the seventies and eighties involved a high proportion of people who had upper and upper-middle class status in their countries of origin and who quickly resumed that middle and upper middle class status in the US. While at the same time we’ve had this increased immigration from Mexico, people from the lower-end of the economy, filling jobs that otherwise cannot be filled — or at least not filled at the price capital would prefer to pay. So there is a certain sense in which the internationalism intrinsic to the neoliberal process requires a form of anti-racism and indeed neoliberalism has made very good use of the particular form we’ve evolved, multiculturalism, in two ways.

First, there isn’t a single US corporation that doesn’t have an HR office committed to respecting the differences between cultures, to making sure that your culture is respected whether or not your standard of living is. And, second, multiculturalism and diversity more generally are even more effective as a legitimizing tool, because they suggest that the ultimate goal of social justice in a neoliberal economy is not that there should be less difference between the rich and the poor — indeed the rule in neoliberal economies is that the difference between the rich and the poor gets wider rather than shrinks — but that no culture should be treated invidiously and that it’s basically OK if economic differences widen as long as the increasingly successful elites come to look like the increasingly unsuccessful non-elites. So the model of social justice is not that the rich don’t make as much and the poor make more, the model of social justice is that the rich make whatever they make, but an appropriate percentage of them are minorities or women. That’s a long answer to your question, but it is a serious question and the essence of the answer is precisely that internationalization, the new mobility of both capital and labor, has produced a contemporary anti-racism that functions as a legitimization of capital rather than as resistance or even critique.


Major social changes have taken place in the past 40 years with remarkable rapidity, but not any in any sense inimical to capitalism. Capitalism has no problem with gay people getting married and people who self-identify as neoliberals understand this very well. So I think the main thing to say there is that, maybe in the book a lot of the examples tend to be academic examples, but I think you can find examples in American society everywhere of the extraordinary power, the hegemony of the model of anti-discrimination, accompanied by defense of property, as the guiding precepts of social justice. You can see this in the study that people have recently been making fun of—the one that shows that liberals are not as liberal as they think they are. What it showed was that when people were asked about the question of redistribution of wealth they turned out to be a lot less egalitarian than they thought they were. People who characterized themselves as “extremely liberal” nevertheless had real problems with the redistribution of wealth. And someone pointed out, I think he teaches at Stanford, that that’s the wrong way to think of this, because yes it’s true that especially as people get more wealthy they tend to become less committed to the redistribution of wealth but there are lots of ways in which they become “more liberal”—with respect to gay rights, antiracism, with respect to all the so-called “social issues,” as long as these social issues are defined in such a way that they have nothing to do with decreasing the increased inequalities brought about by capitalism, which is to say, taking away rich liberals’ money.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed May 27, 2015, 11:41 PM (49 replies)

The Center for American Progress wants to merge the FBI and ATF

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/guns-crime/report/2015/05/19/111386/the-bureau-and-the-bureau/

The Bureau and the Bureau
A Review of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a Proposal to Merge It with the Federal Bureau of Investigation



And of course this has gotten support at the other group:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12628931

"ATF is too wounded to enforce gun-control laws"

I daresay ones' support (or lack thereof) for this idea coincides with your
view of this excerpt from the CAP blog:

The FBI is a politically strong and well-respected agency and is therefore able to operate above the fray of politics with adequate funding and resources.


Oh, I'm quite certain the FBI would handle the ATF's duties in the same 'above politics'
way it always has...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed May 27, 2015, 04:19 PM (44 replies)
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