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November 29, 2015

Open Thread 2015-45

News & views ...

Posted by b on November 29, 2015 at 17:38 UTC | Permalink

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So Syriza turning out to be at best inept and at worst wolf in sheep's clothing, much as NC warned, is an example of NC being wrong/duplicitous? Okay. And yet again, saying that Sanders is the least toxic (by a good measure) viable candidate is not the same as endorsement. And despite what you claim, Sanders is sufficiently a threat to the establishment that he will never be allowed to get the nomination.

Posted by: Plenue | Dec 7 2015 16:22 utc | 201



The Troika did everything they could to box in Greece. MSM dutifully followed the party line. NC never took note of this (despite commentors bring this to their attention), just parroting MSM criticisms.

TPTB let it be know that they would bring the full weight of their power to defeat Syriza's defiance. Left poodles everywhere were warned off - support for Syriza would be toxic. They wouldn't win and their eventual capitulation would cause you to lose credibility.

Like many, I was appalled at Yanis' first news conference because it seemed that he had indeed capitulated (e.g. renaming "the Troika" to "the institutions"). But he was actually proceeding with the ardently pro-European/pro-democratic plan that he had previously laid out (which the press derived as "game theory"). The Greeks hoped to up the political risk so as to force a real negotiation. But they never got enough support form the left to make that possible.

In addition, Yves admitted at one point that she had some kind of grudge against Yanis. She said that, in a personal interaction (which she would not detail), he had misled/lied to her.

And I didn't say that NC was wrong about the outcome. In fact, I likened their "win" to that of the USA in the Iraq War. Once the left poodles were suitably intimidated, the outcome was never in doubt.

Sanders is the least toxic viable candidate.... he will never get the nomination

That's exactly what critics of Sanders from the left have been saying! Support for Sanders is a dead end. NC - supposedly independent and a champion of the realist community - has dismissed this concern.

But lately, even Lambert has started to ask: um... where's the MOVEMENT for change? Sanders isn't building one. He will, in the end, endorse Hillary when the Republican boogieman is identified. Then it will be all about defeating Republicans: "hold your nose and vote for the lesser evil".

... not the same as endorsement.

NC has all but endorsed Sanders. That makes their pretended neutrality grating (to anyone that is not a Sanders supporter or a NC fanboi).

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Note: NC's support for "Black Lives Matter" shows a similarly pro-Democratic Party attitude. To me, the BLM moniker is perfect for channeling anger into identity politics and thereby strengthening the Democratic Party. The focus should be the police state (which affects us all), not identity politics.

Despite (rightly) criticizing the "institutional left"/"fake left" as sell-outs, and being reminded in comments about how the duopoly compromises democracy, NC political positioning remains centered on the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 7 2015 18:15 utc | 202


"NC political positioning remains centered on the Democratic Party."

It's like you don't even read NC. They've longed voiced the hope that the Democratic Party goes the way of the Whigs.

Posted by: Plenue | Dec 8 2015 4:17 utc | 203

Plenue: They've longed voiced the hope...

Yeah, but they will never take the lead. They default to 'OVERTON WINDOW' politics every time. I think they fear being labeled as fringe.

I don't hold that against them EXCEPT when they are not upfront about their biases and their influence (naively? inadvertently? I'm not so sure anymore) blocks change.

Also note: there is a big difference between blog posts and comments. I imagine that most followers of the blog don't generally read the comments so they don't see the push-back on certain issues.

To fanboi's, of course, NC can do no wrong.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 8 2015 18:42 utc | 204

Minor correction: should be: "... helps the establishment to block/subvert change."

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 9 2015 4:00 utc | 205

There is no push back, because there's nothing to push back against. In both blog posts and the comments section, which both Smith and Strether take an active part in, they consistently condemn the Democrats.

"It could astonishingly be the case that there are some things that are so loathsome that you can't even get Democrats to do them." - Yves Smith

"Democrats are always 'fighting', presumably because the phrase focus groups well. But they're never winning!" - Lambert Strether

And which is it? Have they endorsed Sanders or not? Because if they have than by definition it can't be true that they "never take the lead". Of course the reality is that they haven't , they merely recognize he is bringing a much needed change in dialogue and forcing other candidates to at least pretend to feint to the left. When he loses the nomination I expect they'll encourage people to vote Green (or any other independent party) out of simple protest. I well remember how after the mauling the Democrats took in 2014 NC was one of the few places that actually understand why it happened; ie the Democrats suck and many voters understood that.

As for BLM, that bears all the hallmarks of being a genuine popular movement, which is only now being hijacked by elites. A process, oh look, NC has most definitely talked at length about. Dismiss it as identity politics if you want, but it certainly matters to the people being disproportionally gunned down by cops.

You also have a very bizarre perception of the Eurozone crisis and Greece. You seem to think the Troika is reasonable, and that if faced with sufficient unified opposition it will relent. That makes you as naive as Syriza. The Troika is a group that has literally removed democratically elected governments that opposed it in the past, and doesn't even listen to its own personnel; the research arm of the IMF is now saying that austerity doesn't work and the Troika still doesn't care. Syriza didn't understand who they were dealing with, Varoufakis left in frustration after realizing that and now Tsiripas has betrayed his own people (after a show of popular support for opposing austerity, no less). The idea Syriza failed because it didn't get sufficient support from the Left reminds me of how Democrats always respond with scorn and blame the "dumb voters" for their defeats. No, they lost because their plan sucked, and worse they had no backup plan.

Oh, and Smith has no personal grudge against Varoufakis. She had professional interactions with him once and came away with a dubious opinion of him. You might know this, if you bothered to actually read NC (or turn you filters off when you do read).

Posted by: Plenue | Dec 9 2015 4:36 utc | 206


There is no push back, because there's nothing to push back against.

Fanboi LOL: no push-back
There is plenty of push back. Yves had to close comments to her Greek posts due to all the push-back. And I provided examples of Sanders-related push-back in my earlier comment.

Have they endorsed Sanders or not? Because if they have than by definition it can't be true that they "never take the lead". Of course the reality is that they haven't , they merely recognize he is bringing a much needed change in dialogue...

As I wrote: they have ALL BUT endorsed Sanders. That leads to a very interesting question: why haven't they just endorsed Sanders? They seem to want to have it both ways: support Sanders and protect against backlash when he proves to be the 'sheepdog' that critics say he is.

Fanboi LOL: much needed change in dialog
What good is the "dialog" when it ultimately channels people to Hillary?

Its easy to see that once a vile Republican front-runner has been identified, the Left will be all about defeating him/her and will: a) turn to a 'proven' candidate (Hillary) and b) dismiss any attempt to build a third-party challenge.

BLM ...all the hallmarks of being a genuine popular movement... dismiss it as identity politics if you want...

I didn't say it wasn't a popular movement, nor did I dismiss it. I said that it has been channeled INTO identity politics - which plays into the hands of the duopoly.

Note: I discussed my objection to the narrow "BLM" label with Lambert who fully supported the "BLM" moniker. At the time, I thought his defense of "BLM" was a knee-jerk lefty reaction to the hate for the Movement. But I have come to believe that there is a consistent pro-'institutional left' bias at NC.

Oh, they'll rail against the 'institutional left' from time to time, but it seems like a love-hate relationship. And by "institutional left" I mean Democratic Party progressives (of course) that b!tch but never really challenge the 'Blue Dogs'.

... which is only now being hijacked by elites. A process, oh look, NC has most definitely talked at length about.

Fanboi LOL: talked at length about
Well, they have talked around it mostly - talking about the difference in BLM's approach to Sanders and Hillary, for example.

Eurozone crisis and Greece

Fanboi LOL: repeating NC talking points
You seem to think the Troika is reasonable ...[and]... if faced with sufficient unified opposition it will relent...
You are parroting Yves resistance is futile stance. And please explain what will defeat unreasonable, tyrannical governance other than unified opposition.

Smith has no personal grudge against Varoufakis.

OK, "grudge" may be too harsh. And it is certainly admirable that she informed readers about it. But I think she was inclined to view anything that Yanis was doing in a unfavorable light.

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For all the snark, NC doesn't seem to have actually reached a higher level of consciousness. The vibe is: we know better but they can't seem to recognize false choices or foresee predictable failures.

IMO Yves is great at ferreting out corruption and regulatory failures but she fears losing credibility if NC seems too radical. This 'credibility trap' means that NC political positions are consequently more timid than is appropriate. But the earnestness with which NC defends their positions makes it appear that that the timidness is deliberate.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 9 2015 7:19 utc | 207


I wrote a long-ish reply that I hope will appear soon.

In any case, I should add that I understand the fanboi-ism for NC. I learn a lot there (and a few other websites) after the 2008 GFC. It was a period that opened my eyes, and anyone that has gone through that experience will be grateful to those that led them through it.

NC thinks Bernie is opening eyes. But even if Bernie does open some eyes, it is likely to only for Hillary's benefit. Eight more years of cringe-inducing Democratic Party BS - a 'win' for the duopoly and further descent down the rabbit-hole of economic malaise and militarism.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 9 2015 7:55 utc | 208

@ Jackrabbit | Dec 9, 2015 2:55:52 AM | 208

What I found with Yves Smith was she assembled a superb 'search engine' to ferret out factoids leading up to the economic crisis 2007-8 but failed to conclude or even summarise outside the dispensing of platitude. A summary or conclusion would require having a valid economic foundation based on an operative theory, all Yves has is neoliberal theology; thus the failure of her book and her website as well. Yves does a fair job of reproducing what the traditional WSJ once did but even so the illumination is feeble when not shallow. Yves certainly does not walk on water without getting wet, that this oversight seems the only consideration makes that site, Yves and her bordello of commentariat forgettable.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Dec 9 2015 10:05 utc | 209

in re 204, 209 --

All NC has is "neoliberal theology"? A quotation or two illustrating this might be nice. Instead of being what, the vanguard of the proletariat, the Iskra of finance? 74.4 million visitors sure sounds like total failure to me.

So, let me see if I can get my head around this. Instead of paying attention to the links and analysis they came for, Naked Capitalism's readers should rummage through the comments and endure the carping of you and your Four Sock Puppets of the Apocalypse. Failure to do so is sustaining capitalism as we know it.

Since we have no context -- a link would be nice -- for any of the statements against Naked Capitalism, our "long-time posters" might as well be sock puppets. So is there push back against the push back?

Posted by: rufus magister | Dec 9 2015 13:14 utc | 210


NC is neoliberal? Now I really have seen it all. Also, 'bordello' again. I know b doesn't like personal attacks and insults in his comments, but you're an asshole, guy.

Posted by: Plenue | Dec 9 2015 22:13 utc | 211

@rufus magister 197, who asks "what's not to like?"

While I believe NC's positives far outweigh their negatives, they tend to be as irrational concerning climate change and global warming as just about all left wingy sites. And also about as censorious - my last comments not to be censored can be seen here, where I was reasonably polite in correcting a BIG LIE ("Each new study shows AGW is WORSE than previously believed.") repeated by "wbgonne" (who may or may not have believed his BS).

"wbgonne" goes on to request "Yves, have you considered banning AGW deniers?" Apparently, he/she got his wish (note, though, that I reject the insulting and obfuscating "denier" label), at least applied to myself, but still posts at NC. Apparently, BIG LIES by the likes of a "wbgonne" don't get punished, though the bringers of bad news (for the ruling paradigm) do get punished. Indeed, at least one of my comments was censored in that "last diary". (A reply to Bart Fargo.) The censors just couldn't wait.

Since those unpleasant exchanges, I come across this youtube video, which takes on the question of how climate science went so far off the rails. See . You need to follow the money, to understand how things could get so whacked. (See also discussions of failed science process at Denis Rancourt's web sites: and

(Also, it's not just the science that is corrupted, but also some of the "packaging" or framing by non-scientists that's so duplicitous, and reflective of a hidden agenda. See the Donna LaFramboise' 50-1 interview here.)

Posted by: metamars | Dec 28 2015 17:57 utc | 212

in re 212 --

You're barking up the wrong tree. Are credentialed climate change deniers better or worse than crackpots?

The list you cite in your NC comments hits all the biggies amongst the “lukewarmers”: Freeman Dyson, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer etc. Here’s a handy article on The Great Global Warming Swindle from Rationalwiki that lists them and their various varieties of advocacy, paid and freelance.

On the point of how lucrative climate science is, here's something nice and tidy and convenient, not buried in hours of tedious YouTube clips (hey, you got cool music vids or amusing and uplifting animal clips, bring it on). From Ars Technica

To sum up: climate research doesn't pay well, the amount of money dedicated to it has been shrinking, and if the researchers were successful in convincing the public that climate change was a serious threat, the response would be to give money to someone else. If you come across someone arguing that scientists are in it for the money, then you can probably assume they are willing to make arguments without getting their facts straight.

I was blissfully unaware of Donna LaFramboise. She apparently has had a minor but active part in the smearing of PSU's Michael Mann in "Climategate." I wonder who pays better, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (where she worked until 2001) or the Heartland Institute, at whose conferences she has appeared?

Posted by: rufus magister | Dec 29 2015 0:54 utc | 213

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