Repost: Assange, Ryan, Eurozone, etc.

by Chris Sturr | August 17, 2012

Cover of The Environment and Economics

Lindsay Lohan and the Tsunami

 

(1) Lindsay Lohan and the Tsunami:  D&S collective member Bryan Snyder begged me to use Linday Lohan’s mugshot on the cover of the coursepack we’ve put together for his fall course in environmental economiocs. I demurred, and he sent a lovely Japanese woodcut of boats in a tsunami.  But there turned out to be room for Lindsay in one of the boats.  Bryan said when he first saw the cover he laughed so hard the dog became concerned. The mugshot is from her Sept. 24, 2010 arrest (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department). The woodcut is one version of “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). (N.B., as beautiful as the cover is, the book is not yet for sale to the general public.  It’s a dry run for a full-fledged reader in environmental economics that we hope to put out over the next year or so.)

(2) Mark Weisbrot on Assange in the Ecuadoran Embassy:  Nice piece by Mark Weisbrot on why Ecuador is right to protect Assange, and why the Brits would be wrong to try to extract him from the embassy:  Julian Assange asylum: Ecuador is right to stand up to the U.S.

(3) Paul Ryan and Insider Trading:  The Richomonder blog reported unusual stock trades made by Ryan after he’d been briefed with other members of Congress about the impending banking crisis on Sept. 18, 2008.  Then Talking Points Memo supposedly debunked the story (by checking in with someone from the Romney/Ryan campaign?). Then Brad DeLong debunked the debunking. More updates on the Richmonder; in short, the Romney campaign lied.

(4) Economists Repudiate Romney Campaign’s Interpretation of Their Work:  A great piece by Ezra Klein–Economists to Romney campaign: That’s not what our research said.  A white paper by economists affiliated with the Romney campaign, including Greg Mankiw (who miseducated a generation of Harvard undergraduates) and Glenn Hubbard (of Inside Job infamy), cites a bunch of studies to support its conclusions, but Klein contacted them and found out that they think their studies have been misapplied or misinterpreted by the Romney campaign.  Klein includes a clip of that scene from  Annie Hall in which the Woody Allen character is able to pull in film critic Marshall McLuen to contradict some blowhard in a movie queue who’s trying to cite him.

(5) BBC Infographic on the Eurozone:  I’ve been meaning to post a link to a pretty good infographic from the BBC entitled The Eurozone Crisis Explained (hat-tip to Wojtek of lbo-talk).  It looks like a pretty good explanation, but I didn’t think it quite captured some key factors, so I asked Jerry Friedman, who wrote an “Economy in Numbers” piece for our current issue on the eurozone crisis. Here’s what he had to say:

Wow!  They did a better job than I would have expected!
1. They are absolutely right that the problem is private borrowing not public sector
2. They are right to link this with rising unit labor costs.
3. They are right that austerity will make the economic crisis worse.
4. They are right to associate private borrowing with German trade surpluses.
Pretty good for mainstream journalists!
Still, they only get a B+ because they miss the context;
1. Differential changes in unit labor costs would not be a problem without the single currency.  If Italy had kept the Lira, etc., the adjustment could have come from the currency rather than by government (and the banks) trying to force an “internal devaluation” on the country.
2. There would be no public-sector borrowing problem if the ECB would buy government debt.
Want to see Jerry’s Economy in Numbers? Subscribe to D&S! 
(6) Jerry Friedman on Single-Payer on The Real News Network:  A series featuring frequent D&S author Jerry Friedman:  What a Single Payer Health Insurance Plan Looks Like.
That’s it for now.  Busy working on our Sept/Oct annual labor issue, which will have lots of great stuff, including articles by Katherine Sciacchitano and Greg Palast, and a special focus on education.
–Chris Sturr
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