The European Parliament debates Greece, Marco Rubio says he’ll end a university ‘cartel,’ Donald Trump keeps digging, plus more wingnuts…. (More)

“The final deadline ends this week”

Today’s big news is happening in Strasbourg, as the European Parliament debate what to do about Greece. Reuters has excerpts and the Guardian is live-blogging the debate with reactions from Greece and elsewhere. The Washington Post reports that European Council President Donald Tusk has set Sunday as the deadline for reaching a deal:

An emergency summit of European leaders called to salvage Greece’s financial rescue broke up acrimoniously late Tuesday night, with officials saying the country now has just five days to avoid bankruptcy.
“The stark reality is that we only have five days to find the ultimate agreement,” said a visibly irritated Donald Tusk, the European Council president. “Until now I have avoided talking about deadlines. But tonight I have to say it loud and clear – the final deadline ends this week.”

The New York TimesEduardo Porter reports that most economists agree on what must be done, but that may not matter:

The good news is that by now economists generally understand the contours of a successful approach. The bad news is that too many policy makers still take too long to heed their advice – insisting on repeating failed policies first.

“I’ve seen this movie so many times before,” said Carmen M. Reinhart, a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard who is perhaps the world’s foremost expert on sovereign debt crises.

“It is very easy to get hung up on the idiosyncrasies of each individual situation and miss the recurring pattern.”

The recurring, historical pattern? Major debt overhangs are only solved after deep write-downs of the debt’s face value. The longer it takes for the debt to be cut, the bigger the necessary write-down will turn out to be.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has already rejected a debt write-down, saying it would violate the rules of the 2010 and 2012 bailouts. But less than 10% of the money from those bailouts went to Greece; the rest was recycled back to European banks.

After listening to hours of yelling, I need a break:


“Within my first 100 days, I will bust this cartel”

Republican White House wannabe Marco Rubio thinks he’s found the solution to affordable college education:

On education, Rubio said he would establish a new accreditation process that would “expose higher education to the market forces of choice and competition” and create income-based loan repayment programs to make student debt more manageable.

“Our higher education system is controlled by what amounts to a cartel of existing colleges and universities, which use their power over the accreditation process to block innovative, low-cost competitors from entering the market,” he said.

“Within my first 100 days, I will bust this cartel by establishing a new accreditation process that welcomes low-cost, innovative providers. This would expose higher education to the market forces of choice and competition, which would prompt a revolution driven by the needs of students – just as the needs of consumers drive the progress of every other industry in our economy,” he said.

By “low-cost, innovative providers” he means online universities, whose graduation rates are abysmal. And most are anything but “low-cost,” charging up to double the tuition of public universities. Basically, he just wants to end President Obama’s “gainful employment” rule … the one that’s made online universities deliver or shut down.


“Tremendous infectious disease”

Republican WHannabe Donald Trump is driving the GOP debate on immigration, and yesterday he kept digging:

The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border.

The only part of that paragraph that’s true is the murder in San Francisco. But right wingnuts are hyping that tragedy for political gain


“A pure, unalloyed expression of trans-sectional rightwing assholery”

… exactly as they insist progressives have done in trying to remove the Confederate Flag from public property in the wake of the Charleston Massacre:

Marion County resident Chuck Pardee, one of several people who spoke at the meeting in support of restoring the flag, said that it should not have been singled out for removal.

“There have been enough atrocities taking place beneath each flag,” he said.

Ocala resident John Horrighs said removing the flag was “bowing to political correctness.”

No, that’s not Marion County, Iowa, where the Republican Party July 4th float included three Confederate Flags. It’s Marion County, Florida, where yesterday county commissioners unanimously voted to return the Confederate Flag to the county government complex:

County officials said the decision to remove the flag last week was in response to growing controversy surrounding the flag following the shooting deaths of nine black men and women at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17. The suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, had posed with a Confederate flag in photos posted on a website that displayed a racist manifesto attributed to him.

After the deadly shootings, Marion County’s interim county administrator, Bill Kauffman, consulted with County Commission Chairman Stan McClain and decided to remove the Confederate flag, which has flown outside the county’s government complex for more than two decades.

Within minutes of Tuesday morning’s vote, the Civil War-era flag was seen flying once again outside the government complex as one of the five national flags which have flown over Florida since European explorers first landed on its shores more than 500 years ago. The other four are Spanish, French, British and American flags.

Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall explains The New Lost Cause:

In the days since South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley got the ball rolling with her decision to support removing the flag from the state capitol, there’s been something else going in the North or at least in parts of the country outside the former Confederacy.

First there was GOP State Central Committee member Scott Veley of Berlin, Connecticut who started flying the Confederate flag outside his home. Veley said he was flying the flag so as “not give in to this Politically Correct absurdity – Flying the ‘Stars & Bars today in protest.” To their credit, state Republicans roundly condemned him. Then there was the firefighter in Minnesota who got in trouble for flying the flag on a fire engine in a Fourth of July parade. “I’m sick of the politically correctness,” said Brian Nielsen, “because they are trying to change too much in the United States. Me raising that flag had nothing to do with slavery. It had nothing to do with disrespect towards our vets. It was more of a statement against the PC.”

Though flag critics are right that the flag is inseparable from the history of slavery and white supremacy (indeed, its 20th century prominence is directly tied to being a symbol of ‘massive resistance’ to integration), there has always been a tension between the flag’s role as a symbol of sectional identity and explicit attachment to white supremacy. But with worthies like Veley and Nielsen in action we’re seeing something either genuinely new or at least with a decidedly new prominence: the flag shorn of all sectional affiliation, perhaps even a specific connection to slavery and boiled down to a pure, unalloyed expression of trans-sectional rightwing assholery.

And that’s never in short supply.


Good day and good nuts