Monday News and Open Thread

President Obama just held a news conference on ISIS. I only caught the last 10 minutes. He said we would continue what we've been doing, and that we can't defeat ISIS militarily, we have to defeat their ideology.

Update: The part of his speech I missed: "We will do more to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria." I think that's a waste of resources -- there is no "moderate" opposition.

In Iraq news, the Iraqi military dropped a bomb by mistake on Baghdad, killing and wounding civilians. Iraq says its Russian fighter jet malfunctioned, releasing the bomb.


The South Carolina Senate voted today to take down the Confederate flag.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has filed a motion for new trial. It's a "placeholder" motion and does not contain specifics.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

< Egypt Bans Reporters' Use Of ISIS Terminology
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    The Europeans, particularly (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 04:42:23 PM EST
    Mrs. Merkel, seem to be trapped in amber.  While the financial  crisis of Greece now presents no good solution, there are less bad ones.  But, the European financial wizards are set on punishing the "predatory borrowers" of Greece.   And, they do not like the Greek government.

    Greece has had to meet debt commitments even though its economy is in a depression--not the best of times for more austerity.  In Euro zone's best interests, steps need to be taken to get Greece back on track.  

    The bailout creditors should make the debt more manageable, spreading out re-payment as well as providing more debt relief.

    The economics and the politics are aligned--forcing Greece into a position that prompts a rise in extremists (with over 25 percent unemployment), is not going to pay the creditors.  Stable economies in Europe are also of interest to the US--not a bright idea to wait and see what happens, Although  no doubt Congress will be happy to provide military assistance should that be useful (e.g. Ukraine).

    My thoughts, from a previous Open Thread: (none / 0) (#7)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 05:46:57 PM EST
    Paul Krugman, who's clearly aligned himself with the Greek people in their confrontation with "The Troika" (the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank), likens Angela Merkel, et al., to a medieval doctor who demands that his patients acquiesce to being bled repeatedly, regardless of current conditions and circumstances, and heedless of the potential adverse consequences:

    "[T]the campaign of bullying -- the attempt to terrify Greeks by cutting off bank financing and threatening general chaos, all with the almost open goal of pushing the current leftist government out of office -- was a shameful moment in a Europe that claims to believe in democratic principles. It would have set a terrible precedent if that campaign had succeeded, even if the creditors were making sense.

    "What's more, they weren't. The truth is that Europe's self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients -- and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding. A 'yes' vote in Greece would have condemned the country to years more of suffering under policies that haven't worked and in fact, given the arithmetic, can't work: austerity probably shrinks the economy faster than it reduces debt, so that all the suffering serves no purpose. The landslide victory of the 'no' side offers at least a chance for an escape from this trap."

    I agree with Krugman on this one. The tough austerity measures adopted by Greece thus far at the EU's behest, which were supposedly intended to spur its economic reform and recovery, have instead mired that country in its eighth consecutive year of economic contraction, one which is fast approaching free fall. The Greek economy shrank by 23% between 2008 and 2014, and anemic or no economic growth has been projected for 2015. And the country's public workforce has shrunk correspondingly by 30% during that same period.

    Unemployment in Greece more than tripled in the subsequent five-year period following the first implementation of austerity measures in 2007-08, rising from 7.7% in 2008 to 24.3% in 2012, and the nation's long-term unemployment reached 14.4%. And in a country where access to medical care is linked directly to one's employment, the austerity regime imposed upon the Greek people by their creditors has left nearly one million of the country's 11.2 million citizens with no access to healthcare whatsoever.

    Indeed, the startling collapse of the once-admired Greek public health system, which is entirely due to a lack of requisite funding, has created a devastating domestic health care crisis of rather tragic proportions. Rates for infant mortality, HIV infection and suicide have soared. Even malaria, once all but eradicated in Greece thanks to the public health sector, has since made a startling rebound.

    Clearly, there is little if any likelihood that a small nation like Greece will ever be able to repay its enormous $313 billion debt to its foreign creditors. And to a great extent, those creditors themselves are responsible for having encouraged the profligate spending policies which led to Greece's massive indebtedness in the first place. Debt relief has to be a real and substantive part of any economic aid package to that stricken country.

    To insist otherwise, and instead demand that the Greeks implement even more draconian austerity measures, as Chancellor Merkel and her allies are doing here, is at once morally reprehensible, fiscally irresponsible and politically reckless. Is she soon going to peddle the same snake oil to the much larger countries of Spain and Italy, whose own economic recoveries have been hampered -- if not hamstrung -- by the fiscal austerity bandwagon that's still all the rage in conservative financial circles?

    Because despite what its advocates are claiming, there is very strong evidence that these austerity-based policies have been entirely counterproductive to conservatives' own publicly stated goals of restoring economic vitality in the wake of the 2008-09 economic recession. While financial institutions which precipitated that severe economic downturn with their own reckless and misleading banking practices were bailed out, it's been citizens themselves who've taken it on the chin, having had to absorb the resultant costs of those bailouts.

    More importantly, we need to remember that it really wasn't all that long ago when Europe was a seething caldron of conflicting nationalist ambitions, which produced the sort of destructive rivalries that twice plunged the world into catastrophic world wars during the three decades between 1914 and 1945, and which resulted in nearly 80 million people losing their lives.

    And in that regard, we should further realize that it was the insanely punitive fiscal policies imposed upon the German Weimar Republic by the Allies in the wake of the First World War, which eventually prompted the political ascendancy of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, who quite simply availed themselves of the political opportunities presented to them by the Great Depression, the effects of which had hit Germany particularly hard.

    Politics and economics are not mutually exclusive social disciplines, because working class resentments and nationalist fervor have shown a remarkable tendency throughout history to become intertwined and take firm root during times of economic distress, dislocation and hardship.

    NATO and the European Union, borne from the ash heaps of that 30-year disaster, offered Europeans of all nationalities a real opportunity to move beyond the often petty but entirely deadly squabbles that have plagued their history, and into a more enlightened era.

    It would be a shame to see that this pan-European and trans-Atlantic alliance collapse, due primarily to the willingness of Germany, far and away the EU's largest and most prosperous member, to once again throw its weight around the continent, much as it has in times past.

    All this does is reaffirm for many European skeptics -- whose numbers included more than a few former East Germans -- the very real fears which were first expressed by them 25 years ago, when they publicly doubted the conventional wisdom of allowing for Anschluss, the reunification of the German Democratic Republic (East) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West), in the wake of the Warsaw Pact's collapse.



    As long as we are talking about Germany (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 06:14:41 PM EST
    and war debt, let us not forget the enormous amount of German debt that was forgiven following WWII. Greece, by the way, was one of those countries who forgave German debt from the war. Perhaps Germany should repay that money now.

    As Thomas Piety said in an interview In Die Zeit:

    ZEIT: But we Germans have already reckoned with our own history.

    Piketty: But not when it comes to repaying debts! Germany's past, in this respect, should be of great significance to today's Germans. Look at the history of national debt: Great Britain, Germany, and France were all once in the situation of today's Greece, and in fact had been far more indebted. The first lesson that we can take from the history of government debt is that we are not facing a brand new problem. There have been many ways to repay debts, and not just one, which is what Berlin and Paris would have the Greeks believe.

    "Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations."

    A larger excerpt from this interview can be found at Digby's place.


    That's true. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 06:52:59 PM EST
    Under President Truman's Marshall Plan, NATO countries at the 1953 London Conference agreed to forgive 50% of Germany's outstanding debts, with the rest was restructured so that the country could repay it over a much longer period of time. In fact, those debts were still being paid off as of a decade ago.

    Even Greece, which saw its pre-World war II population reduced by 8% due to the April 1941 German invasion and subsequent three-year occupation, forgave 50% of the debt Germany owed that country.

    What was good for Germany in 1953, ought to be good for Greece in 2015.



    Donal Trump Tweet (none / 0) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 04:03:55 PM EST
    #Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican Illegals because he is married to a Mexican woman.

    It has been deleted, but this guy...

    I keep reading that his supporters are basically saying they love the guy because of his business sense and that he says what most people are thinking but are too scared to say in a PC world.


    Two things about that (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 04:24:33 PM EST
    its what more people than you think would say privately and Trump is doing the likes of Cruz and Huckabee a huge favore by making them look less crazy by comparison.  Meaning they are not literally howling at the moon.

    In other news beautiful women can't be funny but rich guys can definitely be stupid tools.


    Trump really (none / 0) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 05:10:48 PM EST
    has his hands full trying to make the likes of Cruz and Huckabee look less crazy.  Scott Walker is trying to eat wedding cake and not have to bake it--his sons are "disappointed" in Dad's opposition to the Obergefell ruling, calling for an amendment to the US Constitution.

     Sort of like when Barbara Bush indicated that she was pro-choice to soften George HW Bush's pro-life position (when he became a presidential candidate).   Walker may be able to make this work with his Joni Ernst Iowans, but, then, again, they may fault him for being a bad parent, what with those progressive family values and all.


    They (none / 0) (#4)
    by FlJoe on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 05:05:57 PM EST
    don't even try to hide it any more. 5 unspoken rules for covering Hillary
    The Clinton rules are driven by reporters' and editors' desire to score the ultimate prize in contemporary journalism: the scoop that brings down Hillary Clinton and her family's political empire.
    . What the hell are they teaching in J school these days?

    Is this journalism or big game hunting? "Fk the ethics we are going to bag a black rhino". Like addicts they can't help themselves,

    As a reporter, I get sucked into playing by the Clinton rules. This is what I've seen in my colleagues, and in myself.

    Lee Bright (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 05:18:07 PM EST
    SC state senator. I think this is the same guy that said the people in Charleston who were murdered stood in line and waited to be shot. Great going SC on having this moron as one of your state senators.

    I presume he was one of only 3 no votes (none / 0) (#12)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 07:04:42 PM EST
    The SC Senate voted 37-3 (with 6 not voting) this afternoon to move the bill along to take down the flag. They will vote again tomorrow and you should expect the outcome to be the same.

    The House will likely take it up on Wednesday.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 07:15:52 PM EST
    I never thought the senate would not vote to take it down. It's the house that's always been the big question mark to me.

    He is worth watching (none / 0) (#14)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 07:13:24 PM EST
    if you like Sunday morning money grubbing TV evangelists. He's currently in the wrong business.

    I especially enjoyed "And then Friday night I watch the White House be lit up in the abomination colors"

    He was on a holy roller roll.


    What a sad dark world (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 07:28:25 PM EST
    a person must live in to call rainbow colors "abomination colors"

    ... same-sex marriage to this attempt to relegate the Confederate flag to the state museum. What a piece of work!

    He made me laugh. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 07:30:30 PM EST
    All I could think is he's doing a great job rounding up votes for Hillary because it's all over social media.

    He's deliverance on steroids.


    Tiny little short fingers (none / 0) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 07:33:18 PM EST
    you know what that means

    I really love (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 06:11:05 PM EST
    Really? (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 07:01:49 PM EST
    this is who we are?  Really?


    When Josh Joseph went to visit his friends Darren and Hayli Frank in Spring, Texas, there was no way he could ever have anticipated the kind of hateful actions they would be subjected to as a result. Josh is black, and the Franks are white. No big deal, right?

    Darren Frank owns a Chevy truck valued at $50,000. He parks the truck in his driveway. Always has. And it had never been a problem until his friend Josh came to visit while looking for a job in the area. When the family awoke the morning after Joseph arrived, they found it spray painted with some of the vilest, most hateful things you can possibly imagine, including "n****r lovers" and "KKK."

    Welcome to Murica, Cap'n, ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 07:10:09 PM EST
    ... and the home of real Muricuns. Nathan Bedford Forrest would be so proud.

    Say what? (none / 0) (#15)
    by lentinel on Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 07:15:07 PM EST
    Iraq says its Russian fighter jet malfunctioned, releasing the bomb.

    So...The Iraqis are buying fighter jets from...Russia?

    Probably with our tax money.

    Gotta love it.

    Thanks for everything, W.