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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 11:34:54 AM EST
Anti-piracy deal referred to European court: theparliament.com
The EU has confirmed that Europe's highest court will rule on the legality of the controversial anti-counterfeiting trade agreement (Acta).

European trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said on Tuesday that the European court of justice would be asked to assess whether Acta "is incompatible - in any way - with the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms".

This will include freedom of expression, data protection and the right to property in case of intellectual property, he said.

Supporters argue that the agreement will help tackle piracy and illegal file sharing online, but there have been public demonstrations across Europe amid concerns over freedom of information on the internet.

Parliament's rapporteur on Acta, British MEP David Martin, welcomed the decision, describing it as an admission by De Gucht that "there are still many question marks about Acta and what the implementation of the agreement, as it stands, would mean for citizens and for the freedom of the internet".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:07:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This could get interesting. I can't imagine that the ECJ can rule without demanding to see the negotiation protocols, which the EU (and all other parties) have refused to release to date.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Companies 'not helping themselves' in combating counterfeiting: theparliament.com
A conference in Brussels was told that many companies 'don't help themselves' when it comes to combating piracy and counterfeiting.

The two-day conference, organised by the European commission, heard that 'financial incentives' could be offered to enterprises to help them deal with the growing problem of fake goods.

A scheme, piloted in Italy, was cited as an example of 'best practice' in tackling counterfeiting and also raising public awareness of the problem.

The initiative cited at the conference on Tuesday has been piloted by the Italian intellectual property office.

Gianluca Scarponi, representing the organisation, said, "What happens is that we make them an offer they can't refuse use the capital generated from applications for patents and designs and, basically, give it back to enterprises."

We apologize... normal service resumed asap etc...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:11:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we use the capital generated from applications for patents and designs and, basically, give it back to enterprises.

Translation: "We take the revinue from everyone's application fees and give it to a few favored corporations."

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 10:30:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama praises Merkel's euro crisis leadership - The Local

Despite plenty of transatlantic tensions over the eurozone debt crisis, US President Barack Obama phoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel to congratulate her on concluding a new Greek bailout deal.

The White House said late Tuesday that "the president thanked the chancellor for her leadership and welcomed last night's agreement in Europe on a new rescue programme for Greece to help reduce its debt to sustainable levels."

"The president and chancellor agreed that the planned EU fiscal pact, recent actions by the European Central Bank and reforms by Spain and Italy have also been positive steps in addressing the eurozone crisis," White House spokesman Jay Carney added.

But back home the reaction to the new €130 billion Greek bailout deal, agreed by the eurozone's finance ministers Tuesday morning, has been less friendly.

Prominent Merkel-ally Wolfgang Bosbach, deputy parliamentary leader in the chancellor's Christian Democratic Union, has already announced that he would not vote for the new package.

"We're marching with great strides towards a union of liability, and we're burdening future generations with risks that I find unjustifiable," he told the Passauer Neue Presse.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Expel Greece - a cure worse than the disease | Presseurop (English)

The truth is no one really believes in this illusory firewall which sacrifices intellect on the altar of imagination. If they did, the European Union would not have decided to grant yet another colossal loan to Greece on 21 February, and there would be no talk of a new federal EU architecture, with nation states handing over more sovereignty to a European government. Progress has been slow, no one has tackled the crux of the problem (the issue of the EU resources required to conduct an effective investment programme).

At times you could be forgiven for thinking that the governments of "major" countries are waiting for Greece to go bankrupt before building the Union they want to construct. This is the thesis advanced by economist Kenneth Rogoff, in an interview with Spiegel: once Athens has been expelled from the union, the impetus of the crisis can be used to accelerate the construction of a United States of Europe. But can a new union be built on the ashes of Greece? And what kind of union would we have had without the pressure of the Greek crisis?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:29:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A union of countries who all have a positive trade balance with each other.....somehow

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:19:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a union without trade balances, because it is, umm, a union. Is Glasgow compatible enough to your place or have they got a trade balance deficit? Silly question in an area with the same currency and in, er, a union, isn't it?
by Katrin on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 06:05:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An area with "no fiscal transfers" is an area with trade balances.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 06:16:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. And it doesn't work. So what does that tell us?

Sigh.

by Katrin on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 06:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it tells us that we need to turn the Eurozone Periphery into a pile of rubble comparable to West Germany ca. 1948, in order to recreate the conditions for the Wirtschaftwunder. Then it will be right and proper for Germany to engage in fiscal transfers like the Marshall Plan.

Oh, and engaging Germany in a war like the US war in Korea in 1950 wouldn't be a bad thing either, since the war drive would increase German demand for periphery products.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 06:26:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That could work, if you find enough militarists in Germany.

The other way is the transfer union. I don't believe in a third option. Even Swabian housewives get sooner or later that breaking up Europe would be even nastier. It will be too late and too little and I have no doubts as to who exactly will have to pay for it, but it will come, because it must.

by Katrin on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 07:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can break the Euro without breaking the EU.

All that requires is admitting that the Euro was a bad idea from the get-go.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 08:04:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Euro as executed was a bad idea.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 08:05:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Euro as written was a bad idea.

So bad, in fact, that you can pretty much use it as a rule for how to set up currency unions: Do everything the opposite: Put the limits on state surpluses instead of deficits, put the limits on current account rather than sovereign balances, have parliament control the central bank instead of the other way around. And so on and so forth and etcetera.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 08:14:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In an ideal world there would be enough good will to break the euro in an orderly way. I don't see any good will, so I assume that they will take the easier way, which is keep the euro. But I agree, the thing was a bad idea.
by Katrin on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 10:16:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How can you break the Euro in an orderly way with all those Target2 balances building up?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 11:25:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some sort of haircut probably. With a lawn mower. Irrelevant, though: I don't believe that's the way we are going.
by Katrin on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 11:36:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By going Full Argentina and telling the ECBuBaIMF to fuck off and die.

Oh, you meant "orderly" as in "in ways that will not cause systemic insolvencies?"

Three years and a lot of euros late for that.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 11:48:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean "orderly" as in not breaking the EU.
by Katrin on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 11:51:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then I fail to see any problem with the Argentina Alternative.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:47:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. too many hard feelings.
  2. It would lead to two currency blocks, and in between would be France. No good.
I really don't think we need more centrifugal force in the EU.
by Katrin on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 04:21:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would lead to two currency blocks, and in between would be France.

Unless Germany - and by Germany I mean the BundesBank - decides to unconditionally support French membership of the common currency with the full power of the ECB's printing press, France will drop out of the Euro no more than five years after Greece does.

Given the crop of nutcases currently staffing the BuBa, I would not place any expensive bets on that proposition.

I really don't think we need more centrifugal force in the EU.

I find it difficult to imagine that it would be a greater source of centrifugal force for Europe that Eurozone members strategically default and devaluate than it would be to continue to subject them to the whims of the insane asylum that passes for a central bank in the Eurozone.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 24th, 2012 at 09:16:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless Germany - and by Germany I mean the BundesBank - decides to unconditionally support French membership of the common currency with the full power of the ECB's printing press, France will drop out of the Euro no more than five years after Greece does.

Well, The Bundesbank did exactly that in 1992/3. The buck stopped with France.

But it's not clear they would do it now. The only reason would be that Germany needs France as the useful idiot in the strong currency zone in order to have any chance of convincing the rest thet the strong currency zone is a necessary feature of the EU.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 24th, 2012 at 09:36:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1. As opposed to the hard feelings already developed?

I mean, if Greece agreed to subject itself to two years of high-grade IMF treatment rather than default two years ago it was in order to avoid hard feelings. Also, apparently to take Barroso and Bini Smaghi's words at face value, in order to preserve democracy in Greece. See how well that's worked.

2. You mean the current policy path doesn't lead to two currency blocks (or a much diminished Euro bloc serially shedding members) with France a borderline case?

I believe you missed the evolution in real time of my Euro crisis scorecard. We had been predicting an endgame with a small core Euro and France on the boundary for a long time before France fell off the core last August.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 24th, 2012 at 09:33:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we assume that the current policy can be maintained, you are right. It's a policy that too few people benefit from, though (including in Germany). I don't believe it can be maintained for much longer.
by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 05:32:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question is less whether it can be maintained - it obviously can't - and more how ugly its failure is going to be.

If it's pushed to the point where blood starts flowing in the streets of Athens, we'll be struggling to keep the Union alive, nevermind the Euro.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 05:37:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect when that happens the EU Council may just decide to strip Greece of its voting rights according to Article 7 and get on with their business...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 05:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not only Greece. It would be a coup that would quickly spread to more countries. Do you really see that this can be enforced? I don't.
by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 06:09:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the common currency was half of a good idea.

if the other half (fiscal union) had come first, or at least simultaneously, it would have had a chance to resist world market attacks, as is, it's a pacifist at a massacre.

it was rankly stupid 'blue sky' optimism to think that we could have one sans the other, and now it's a lead zeppelin, because it was symbolic union, not real, as it would have been if both parts had been legislated.

whether this was opportunism or a giant duh will maybe come clearer as wonks wonk out the details, mostly of the cui bono variety!

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 10:28:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
An area with "no fiscal transfers" is an area with trade balances.

True, but this fails to distinguish between transfers by governmental organizations, (evil taxes), and transfers by private corporations, (virtuous profits). So housewives, especially of executives of companies with trade surpluses, and all who aspire to their wealth and status, find fiscal transfers repugnant - stealing from the virtuous wealthy to give to the feckless poor.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 10:43:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
`Trade war' fears as Moscow aviation meeting debates ETS | EurActiv

As a `coalition of the unwilling' meets in Moscow to debate retaliatory measures against the EU's inclusion of airlines in the Emissions Trading System (ETS), a senior Airbus executive has warned of a `trade war'.

"Certain countries are opposing ETS which could cause manufacturing industries problems in terms of future orders and you can see the potential for a trade war, specifically with the Chinese," said Paul Nash, head of environmental affairs for Airbus.

"We're obviously concerned because the big growth industries today are Asia and South America so it could certainly impact us," he told EurActiv.

But industry opinions are divided between short-haul companies that may charge customers as little as 30 cents a flight to compensate for carbon charges and long-haul carriers, which the EU says may pass on ticket price hikes of between €2 and €12, despite one US government-funded report predicting a potential €2 billion windfall from the ETS for airlines.

"We rather regret the turn this [Moscow meeting] is taking because there are moves within the International Civil Air Organisation to find alternative market-based mechanisms," said John Hanlon, the secretary-general of the European Low Fares Airline Association.

"My understanding is that the Commission would be prepared to amend their legislation providing these alternatives achieved the same carbon reductions," he added. "The noises offstage are unwelcome and obstructive to that process."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Germany is now opposed to merger of EFSF and ESM
Berlin says it does not want to discuss the merger  of EFSF funds and the ESM; Angela Merkel does not want any complications that might get in the way of the Bundestag's approval of the Greek programme; there is no likelihood now of a summit agreement on an EFSF/ESM merger, but Germany remains willing to talk abou this later in March;the Dutch have changed position, and now support the merger; Agustin Carstens calls for more rescue efforts, as a pre-condition for more IMF help;says a merger of EFSF and ESM would not be enough; CACs are approved by Greek parliamentary committee, and to be voted on by the full parliament later today; Antonis Samaris invites outsted MPs back in if they support reform programme; the Dutch finance minister expressed doubts about the Greek progamme; Clive Crook argues that the Greek deal will not stop the confidence crisis; Germany's tax revenues slow considerably in December; Werner Mussler says France will be the litmus test of the new EU budget rules; Wolfgang Proissl calls on Draghi and Weidman to repeat a Trichet-Weber type confrontation; Nomura explains the broken monetary transmission channel; a BIS study establishes a Reinhart-Rogoff type debt rule for the private sector; Wolfgang Munchau says it is ultimately not in Germany's interest to run excessive and persistent trade surpluses; Sebastian Dullien and Ulrike Guerot argue that the Germans are digging in over austerity, and the best way to coopt Germany is to advocate EU-level investment programmes, and a shift in taxation power to Brussels.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:29:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wolfgang Proissl calls on Draghi and Weidman to repeat a Trichet-Weber type confrontation

Huh?

Proissl calls on Weidmann and Draghi to avoid a remake of the Weber-Trichet-confrontation

Commenting in Financial Times Deutschland Wolfgang Proissl calls upon Jens Weidmann and Mario Draghi to work on avoiding another damaging confrontation as their predecessors Axel Weber and Jean-Claude Trichet had had. Proissl argues that the initially good relations between the presidents of the Bundesbank and the ECB risk turning sour because of a series of policy decisions the ECB has recently taken against the Weidmann's will. Among them are the second surprise interest rate cut in December, the extremely generous conditions of the 3yLTRO's, the imposition of a senior creditor status of the eurosystem for its Greek bonds and the attempts to earmark future profits from Greek bonds for governments so they can pass the money on to Greece. Weidmann has started to come out publicly against those decisions thus risking to put the Bundesbank back into the dissident role unable to form coalitions as was the case under Weber. Proissl calls on both central bankers to work out a mature relationship because working against each other damages the euro and the prospect for both to be successful on their respective jobs.  

Ah, okay.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 04:22:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's simple enough: Weidman needs to sit down and STFU while the sane people are talking.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 05:31:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sane people get to talk?

... Who knew?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 06:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Point.

Saner, then.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 08:11:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Typical centrist fallacy:

 >Proissl calls on both central bankers to work out a mature relationship because working against each other damages the euro and the prospect for both to be successful on their respective jobs.<

That ha nothing to do with a mature or immature relationship or any personal relationship, but with a genuine policy conflict.  

by IM on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 10:15:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the BuBa is not just a branch office of the ECB, then? If there can be a "genuine policy conflict" it rather suggests that the relationship is more equal than that between superior and subordinate.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 11:51:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Weidmann - member of the governing council and Draghi - another member of the council have a conflict on policy.

As you know there are some presidents of regional federal reserve banks who disagree with Bernake on policy being more "hawkish". That still doesn't change the status of these federal reserve banksa as mere branches of the fed.

by IM on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 11:56:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And fortunately, Bernanke understands both the nature of that relationship, and the fact that the inflation extremists are objectively wrong in their policy recommendations - their recommended policies will not achieve their stated objectives.

It remains to be seen whether Draghi will display similarly astute analysis and slap Weidman down for being a dangerous idiot. Though we may not get to see the answer for ourselves because, unlike the BuBa, Draghi seems to actually respect the confidentiality of ECB deliberations (that the BuBa demanded back when the ECB was formed).

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:56:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But who is right or wrong is not the point here. A superior, a equal, a subordintae can all be wrong or right.

Dragi and Bernanke deal both with equals and Bernanke can't just order any dissident on the Federal Open Market Committee to change their votes: and he can't order them to shut up either: the hawks like to go to the press.

So the relationship is just the same: Bernanke and Draghi both must gain a majority on in one case the governing council, in the other case the open market committee.

So yes, the bundesbank is quite like the federal bank of philadelphia.  

by IM on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 04:26:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that the rules of the ECB do indeed say that the members of the governing council can't go to the press unilaterally. A rule that the BuBa demanded when they joined. And a rule that the BuBa is the most prolific and conspicuous violators of.

But apparently It's OK When You're The BundesBank.

At this point, I'm seriously supporting a blanket financial sector berufsverbot for anybody who's ever been employed at a position of trust with the Bundesbank. That institution is rotten to the core and needs to be purged.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 24th, 2012 at 09:07:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the hawks like to go to the press.

That is rather the problem. As, as Jake points out, that is an open breach of collegiality which generally only Bundesbank officials engage in.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 24th, 2012 at 09:30:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look perhaps I misinterpret the situation in the US, but as far I understand it, hawks tend to be presidents of the fed of St. Louis or so. And of course they talk about their monetary policy preferences and predict inflation right around the corner. Yglesias complains every month or so about a regional fed president seeing imaginary inflation.

Generally speaking the Bundesbank was modeled after the federal structure of the fed and the ECB on the Bundesbank. Only more so.

by IM on Fri Feb 24th, 2012 at 10:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Fed doesn't have the collegiality agreement that the ECB has. You can bet your bottom dollar that if the French or Italian central banker were to come right out and call for unconditional defense of low sovereign bond rates, the BuBa would howl and whine about how he's prejudicing the independence of the ECB.

The BuBa is behaving like the New York Fed did prior to the New Deal. In case anybody is wondering, that's, eh, not high praise.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 03:57:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... the correct term for Weidman and his kind isn't "inflation hawks." It's "inflation neurotics."

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 04:01:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just don't see why the BuBa's howling and whining should impress anyone, unless they WANT to be impressed. ("Dear fellow-citizens, we would NEVER, it's all the Germans' fault").
by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 05:18:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because Germany is the country that gets to decide whether the Euro lives or dies. If Germany stops its protectionist wage-dumping and colonial attitude, the Euro lives. If it doesn't, the Euro dies. Or, if you want to put it in neolib newspeak terms, Germany is the most solvent member of the Eurozone.

That makes the BuBa wankery carry a certain weight among those who want the Euro to keep living, because they will need to appease the wankers in question if that is to happen.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 05:34:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wrong. You imply that Germany was isolated and pursuing a policy that all (or most) other countries object to. This is absolutely not the case. Jerome is right: if you all tell us to play fair or else be called nazis, Germany will play fair. C'mon, why don't you do it?  
by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 06:01:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Fed doesn't have the collegiality agreement that the ECB has.

So you want to argue now that the heads of the regional feds do have the right to go the public on their opinion of monetary policies opinion but the heads of the euro system member banks don't? That the ECB is actually more centralized then the Fed?

by IM on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 08:46:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the agreement the BuBa insisted on when they joined.

And that they're the most prolific violators of.

Does it make sense? No, arguably not. But the BuBa stopped making sense back in the mid-1920s when it swallowed the Austrian koolaid, so "it makes no fucking sense" is not in any way in contradiction of "the BuBa insisted on it."

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 08:59:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that - off topic really -, but everybody was fine at the Reichsbank until Schacht did take over in 1923?

Now that is a new interpretation.

And while there does exist a rule about confidentiality of meetings, you seem to turn this rule into a gneral gag rule for central bank presidents. I don't think that is right.

by IM on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 10:23:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To say that "everything was right" with the Reichsbank prior to Schacht is, what is that work, oh yes, a complete and utter straw man.

What I said was that the Bundesbank has been insane ever since Schacht. That does not imply any endorsement of its pre-Schacht behaviour above and beyond the endorsement generally implied by noting that someone does not need to be committed to a mental institution.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 01:13:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Schacht could well have be insane, if narzissmen and opportunism can be driven to insane heights. What he wasn't, especially after 1933, was conventional liberal economist and certainly not a austrian.

I don't know if the method he used after 1933 - mefo bills .- was fiscal or monetary stimulus bit certainly wasn't the liberal orthodoxy of his day.

So he should - if we look only at central bank policy - a man of your tastes.

by IM on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 01:44:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In ordinary economic terminology, mefo bills are monetary accommodation of fiscal policy.

They were also done by the Treasury, not the Reichsbank.

Schacht's economic policies are a mixed bag, but that's somewhat beside the point, as we were discussing the aetiology of the institutional insanity of the BuBa. And while the hardening of the Reichsbank's anti-inflationary dogma might have happened under Schacht, a single man does not make history.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 01:57:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Reichsbank:

http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Funktionsweise_der_Wechsel.png&filetimestamp=201 10509102445

The readiness of the Reichsbank to discount made the bills of exchange of the technically private mefo work.

So you want to trace the origin of the institutional ideology of the german central bank back to the end of the great inflation but treat anything between 1933-1948 as an aberration.

by IM on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 02:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Schacht didn't invent the mefo bills. Woytinsky did, for his stimulus programme.

Woytinsky hatte in Die Arbeit (Heft 3, 1932) erläutert, in welcher Weise die nicht untergebrachten Anleihestücke "den Banken als Unterlage für eine Zwischenfinanzierung der Arbeitsbeschaffung dienen" sollten: "Von den mit den Arbeiten betrauten Unternehmern werden Wechsel auf die als Träger der Arbeiten in Betracht kommenden öffentlich-rechtlichen Körperschaften gezogen." Die Banken könnten diese Wechsel einlösen und ihrerseits "bei der Reichsbank diskontieren". In der Resolution vom 13. April 1932 fehlte jedoch der entscheidend wichtige Verweis auf die Diskontierbarkeit bei der Reichsbank. Es hieß nur: "Soweit die Anleihestücke noch nicht in vollem Umfange auf dem Kapitalmarkt untergebracht sind, sollen sie den Banken als Unterlage für eine Zwischenfinanzierung der Arbeitsbeschaffung dienen."[11]
Insbesondere Tarnow war entschieden gegen den Kompromiss mit der Anleihe gewesen. Und Woytinsky hatte immer wieder betont: "Krisenbekämpfung heißt aber Arbeitsbeschaffung. Und wer Arbeitsbeschaffung sagt, der hat von der Kreditschöpfung gesprochen."[12]

Note that the öffa bills and mefo bills are only necessary to circumvent the equivalent of a debt-brake and the like.

I would have tried to post a translation but I don't know how it works--the instructions telling me that it is easy with the Firefox extension doesn't make me much wiser. Can someone explain?

by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 02:17:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 02:18:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did say nothing of inventing. I justed pointed out what he practiced as head of the Reichsbank after 1933. And what he practiced had not much to with the post war Bundesbank dogma or the austrian school.

Woytinsky couldn't even get a majority inside the social democrats for the WTB plan, mostly because Hilferding was opposed.

by IM on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 02:28:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And that's all one needs to know about social democrats, isn't it?
by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 02:38:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. They listened to the expert and the expert was Hilferding and Hilferding said no. Was it really that far-fetched to listen to Hilferding?

At same time a certain Mosley did leave the labour party, because they would not listen to his keynesian proposals. And in 1932, Roosevelt attacked Hoover because the deficits were to high.

by IM on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 02:44:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Woytinsky was an expert too, so that argument doesn't convince me. One should think the SPD could have learned it by now, though.
by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 03:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hilferding had, since the publication of Finanzkapital in 1910 a big standing. We shouldn't ignore that fact.
by IM on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 06:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. They listened to the expert and the expert was Hilferding and Hilferding said no. Was it really that far-fetched to listen to Hilferding?

Yes. It was blatantly obvious to anybody who had eyes to see with that only massive state intervention in support of full employment could ever have any hope of pulling the country out of the crisis.

Major industrial depressions where not, the official version of history notwithstanding, a new and exciting development at the time. There was the next best thing to a century of empirical evidence that laizzes-faire did not, and indeed could not, work.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 03:46:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Go here to download the extension. Firefox will install TribExt.

Your screen should now be glowing orange and emitting a low hum. Do not worry, this is normal. But it's advisable to put on latex gloves before touching the keyboard.

Select, on its html page, the text you want to translate, and right-click (Windows). The option Translate appears in the menu. It opens a new page with the text to be translated on the left. Beneath it, a drop-down menu allows you to define its language. On the right, the empty frames have English defined beneath them, by default.

When you have "German" on the left and "English" on the right, click the "Translate" button between them. The right-hand frames will fill with Google Translate's translation. Check it carefully. To correct, click within a frame and edit appropriately.

When finished, click on "Copy output and close". You can then paste into your comment or diary. The two texts will be html-formatted side by side with link above, as you may have seen here or there in green and yellow.

 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 02:49:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My screen is glowing orange and emitting a loud grrr. The keyboard has eaten the gloves. Which html page?

(I found out that I had Firefox 8 and the extension for 10., but I fixed that now. I don't know how to get a html page though.)

by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 03:37:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just the original web page where the text to be translated is.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 03:52:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
,,Aktive Konjunkturpolitik" in der Weltwirtschaftskrise - Solon-Line.de % u201D% u201EAktive economic policy in the Great Depression - Solon Line.de
Woytinsky hatte in Die Arbeit (Heft 3, 1932) erläutert, in welcher Weise die nicht untergebrachten Anleihestücke "den Banken als Unterlage für eine Zwischenfinanzierung der Arbeitsbeschaffung dienen" sollten: "Von den mit den Arbeiten betrauten Unternehmern werden Wechsel auf die als Träger der Arbeiten in Betracht kommenden öffentlich-rechtlichen Körperschaften gezogen." Die Banken könnten diese Wechsel einlösen und ihrerseits "bei der Reichsbank diskontieren". In der Resolution vom 13. April 1932 fehlte jedoch der entscheidend wichtige Verweis auf die Diskontierbarkeit bei der Reichsbank. Es hieß nur: "Soweit die Anleihestücke noch nicht in vollem Umfange auf dem Kapitalmarkt untergebracht sind, sollen sie den Banken als Unterlage für eine Zwischenfinanzierung der Arbeitsbeschaffung dienen."[11]Woytinsky had explained in Die Arbeit (Issue 3, 1932), "serve the banks as a basis for interim financing of job creation," the manner in which the non-accommodated bond pieces should be: "Of the charge of the works contractors changes are as the carrier the work taken into consideration in public-sector entities. " The banks could redeem these bills and "discount them at the Reichsbank . The resolution of 13 April 1932, however, lacked the essential and the reference to be discounted at the Reichsbank. They said only: "As far as the bond sites are not yet accommodated in full on the capital market, the banks are to serve them as a basis for interim financing of job creation." [11]
Insbesondere Tarnow war entschieden gegen den Kompromiss mit der Anleihe gewesen. Und Woytinsky hatte immer wieder betont: "Krisenbekämpfung heißt aber Arbeitsbeschaffung. Und wer Arbeitsbeschaffung sagt, der hat von der Kreditschöpfung gesprochen."[12]In particular, Tarnow had been decidedly against the compromise with the bond. And Woytinsky had repeatedly emphasized: "fighting the crisis is job creation, and who says job creation speaks of the creation of credit.." [12]

It works. Thanks Afew.

by Katrin on Sat Feb 25th, 2012 at 04:19:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 11:35:19 AM EST
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / IMF: No money for Greece until Europe boosts its firewall

BRUSSELS - One of the many loose ends to the Greek bail-out agreed in the early hours of Tuesday (21 February) is the lack of a firm commitment from the International Monetary Fund, pending a decision by eurozone leaders next week to merge the firepower of two bail-out funds.

According to eurozone finance ministers, the IMF is expected to make a "significant" contribution to the €130bn bail-out. German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble on Tuesday spoke of €13bn plus another €10bn from the first Greek programme committed in 2010 that have not been paid out yet.

But IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Tuesday said "significant means lots of things" and that the contribution will be decided by the board of the institution mid-March. That means the final decision will be taken after an EU summit next week when eurozone leaders are to discuss raising the joint €500bn ceiling for the two bail-out funds - the temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

"The IMF board will have in mind the overall programme but also additional matters such as the proper setting up of a decent firewall comprising of EFSF and ESM as considered today, but not concluded today," Lagarde said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:33:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Christie: Buffett Write a Check, 'Shut Up' - Bloomberg

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who called for the nation's wealthiest people to pay more taxes, should "just write a check and shut up."

"I'm tired of hearing about it," Christie told CNN's Piers Morgan in an interview that aired last night. "If he wants to give the government more money, he's got the ability to write a check. Go ahead and write it."

Christie, a 49-year-old first-term Republican known for a blunt and caustic style, has proposed a 10 percent income-tax cut for every New Jersey resident. Democrats who control the Legislature say his plan would favor the rich. A family with a $50,000 annual income would pay $80 less under his plan, while someone earning $1 million would save $7,200, Democrats say.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:41:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The grasp of the US political-economy by Republicans never ceases to amaze.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 05:39:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stocks Return More With Dem in White House - Bloomberg

While Republicans promote themselves as the friendliest party for Wall Street, stock investors do better when Democrats occupy the White House. From a dollars- and-cents standpoint, it's not even close.

The BGOV Barometer shows that, over the five decades since John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, $1,000 invested in a hypothetical fund that tracks the Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) only when Democrats are in the White House would have been worth $10,920 at the close of trading yesterday.

That's more than nine times the dollar return an investor would have realized from following a similar strategy during Republican administrations. A $1,000 stake invested in a fund that followed the S&P 500 under Republican presidents, starting with Richard Nixon, would have grown to $2,087 on the day George W. Bush left office.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China Manufacturing Data Show Risk of Deeper Slowdown on Exports: Economy - Bloomberg

China's manufacturing may shrink for a fourth month in February, indicating the world's second- biggest economy remains vulnerable to a deeper slowdown as Europe's crisis caps exports and the housing market cools.

The preliminary 49.7 reading of an index from HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Markit Economics today compared with a final 48.8 in January. A number below 50 points to a contraction. January and February economic data are distorted by a weeklong holiday.

China is cutting banks' reserve requirements from Feb. 24 to support an economic expansion that Nomura Holdings Inc. estimates may be 7.5 percent this quarter, the least since the global financial crisis.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:44:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Classic case of 'Beggar Thy Neighbor' coming back to bite you in the ass.  China has lots of unmet domestic demand.  That demand cannot be tapped because of Top/Down Industrial Policy impoverishing the workers, keeping their wages artificially low, who create the goods and services (wealth.)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 05:38:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it could be met by a change in that policy, but...

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 10:49:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Bank Says ECB to Wind Down LTROs After Three-Year Loan - Bloomberg

The European Central Bank's second tranche of three-year loans next week may mark the end of its "generous" provision of long-term funding, according to Deutsche Bank AG. (DBK)

While markets are hoping for "a continuation of the program through the rest of the year," another large long-term refinancing operation, or LTRO, after this one "seems unlikely," London-based Deutsche Bank chief economist Thomas Mayer said in a note to clients today.

"We expect the more hawkish ECB council members, coming mainly from the AAA-rated countries, to oppose continuing generous LTROs on the grounds that these operations will reduce adjustment pressure on both governments and banks," Mayer wrote. "Unless the euro crisis deteriorates significantly further," Deutsche Bank expects the ECB "to wind down these operations" after the next three-year operation, he said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:44:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After loaning out a trillion at a 3-year term, why would there be any need for more?

2015 is going to be an interesting year, when the trillion needs to be paid back.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 05:50:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Index.hr: Treća intervencija u nepuna dva mjeseca: HNB prodala 131 milijun eura da spasi kunu
To je već treća HNB-ova intervencija ove godine i to u nepuna dva mjeseca. Prva HNB-ova ovogodišnja intervencija bila je 4. siječnja, kada je središnja banka prodala 197 milijuna eura po prosječnom tečaju od 7,532527 kuna za jedan euro, čime je povukla 1,48 milijardi kuna.
Third intervention in less than two months: Croatian National Bank sells 131 million Euro to defend the kuna
This is the third intervention by the CNB this year in less than two months. The first was on January 4, when the central bank sold 197 million Euro at an average exchange rate of 7.53 kuna to a Euro, that is 1.48 billion kuna were withdrawn.
Croatia, as an accession country, is required to maintain a peg to the Euro. The recession has been hitting Croatia hard and the currency policy is suicidal. When the kuna is under downwards pressure it should be the ECB to defend the peg, and the HNB when the kuna is under upwards pressure.

Eventually the unsustainable defence of the kuna exchange rate will stop and the kuna will collapse. This will happen no later than when the HNB runs out of Euro reserves, which may be in the process of happening. And then the HNB will have no reserves to help the country access essential imports.

Let's at least hope that they don't do as in Russia in 1998: get an expensive IMF loan and squander it defending the exchange rate for a couple of weeks so that wealthy people in the know can get their money out before the final collapse.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 09:41:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's really worth a diary, if you could.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 11:35:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 11:36:22 AM EST
BBC News - Journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik die in Homs

Two prominent Western journalists have been killed in the Syrian city of Homs in the latest violence which left 60 people dead across Syria on Wednesday.

Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, an American, and award-winning French photographer Remi Ochlik died when a shell hit a makeshift media centre in the Baba Amr district.

Troops are shelling opposition-held areas of Homs, besieged for weeks.

...Ms Colvin and Mr Ochlik were reportedly staying in a house in Baba Amr that was being used by activists as a media centre when it was hit by a shell on Wednesday morning.

Rockets were also said to have hit the building's garden when people tried to flee afterwards.

At least two other foreign journalists were wounded, activists said.

One was named as British freelance photographer Paul Conroy, who was working with Ms Colvin, and Edith Bouvier of the French newspaper, Le Figaro. Ms Bouvier was said to be in a serious condition. The dead and the injured journalists are said to have been taken to a field clinic in Baba Amr.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:36:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia, Iran Oppose Foreign Interference in Syria | Russia | RIA Novosti

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke out on Wednesday against foreign interference in Syrian internal affairs, the Kremlin said.

 

Medvedev and Ahmadinejad discussed the "dramatic situation" in Syria in a telephone conversation, where both presidents "urged the resolution of the current crisis by Syrian people using only peaceful means and without any foreign interference," the Kremlin said in a statement.

 

"The sides agreed that the main goal today...is to prevent a civil war in the country, which may destabilize the situation in the whole region," the statement said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:10:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a longish interview with the russian ambassador on Radio4 yesterday which I caught cos I was in the car.

His position was the the Syrian opposition are al Qaeda and that western support is hypocritical. Especially when we claim that Syria is a dictatorship yet ignore Saudi Arabia etc etc.

Of course, he could just say it was opportunism on both sides, but I thought it was a more nuanced position than I'd previously understood from them

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S.: To Arm or Not to Arm Syrian Rebels, That Is the Question - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Feb 21, 2012 (IPS) - Just days before the opening meeting of the new international "Friends of Syria" in Tunis Friday, the debate over whether the United States should provide more support - including weapons - to opposition forces is gathering steam.

Over the weekend, two influential Republican senators called for Washington to provide greater material and other support, including arms, to rebel fighters associated with the opposition in an effort to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

"I am in favour of weapons being obtained by the opposition," said Senator John McCain, who accused Russia and Iran of arming Assad, during a visit to Kabul, Afghanistan.

"People that are being massacred deserve to have the ability to defend themselves," he declared, noting that Washington could provide arms indirectly through "third-world countries" and the Arab League.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:11:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arming OBL worked out so well over the years. Of course, the option of America minding its own stinking business is never an option.
by Andhakari on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 01:39:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We Imperial powers have the "White Man's Burden"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:25:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rudd departure shakes Australian government - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

Australia's government faces a mounting crisis after Kevin Rudd, the country's foreign minister, said he was resigning from his post over a widening rift with Julia Gillard, the prime minister.

"The simple truth is that I cannot continue to serve as foreign minister if I don't have Prime Minister Gillard's support," Rudd told a news conference late on Tuesday in Washington, where he had earlier attended a meeting of G20 foreign ministers.

Gillard said she was disappointed by Rudd's resignation and planned to hold a press conference on Thursday.

"I am disappointed that the concerns Mr Rudd has publicly expressed this evening were never personally raised with me, nor did he contact me to discuss his resignation prior to his decision," Gillard said.

Speculation has been rife in Australia that Rudd is planning to reclaim the prime ministerial post almost two years since he was replaced by Gillard in June 2010 after losing the support of Labor Party leaders.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:52:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She won't give Rudd any time to get his numbers.

Typical ruthless ALP politics.

Kevin Rudd Resigns | Julia Gillard Labor Leadership Challenge

The latest odds:

Labor Leadership vote - Monday, 27 February 2012:
$1.25   Julia Gillard    (in from $1.33)
$3.75   Kevin Rudd      (out from $3.15)

Australia's next Federal Election:
$1.30   Coalition         (steady)
$3.45   Labor               (steady)



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 05:42:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who care about ALP, I think we should be like Belgium, no government and still OK ;-) but we will end up with the monk.
by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 10:03:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
African envoy meets Senegal politicians - Africa - Al Jazeera English

The former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has begun meeting politicians in Senegal in an effort to resolve the West African nation's political crisis, amid continued violence in the capital, Dakar.

Opponents of President Abdoulaye Wade want him to step down instead of run for a third term in the forthcoming weekend's election.

Obasanjo met Idrissa Seck, a former prime minister and one of the leading opposition candidates, on Wednesday at a hotel in Dakar in what was the first of several such planned meetings.

The African elder statesman is in Senegal as the head of a joint mission between the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

After his meeting with Obasanjo, Seck said the opposition remained steadfast in their effort to get Wade to stop his candidacy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt-US Standoff Could Hit 40,000 NGOs - IPS ipsnews.net
CAIRO, Feb 22, 2012 (IPS) - The ongoing crackdown by Egypt's military rulers on a handful of civil society groups accused of receiving illegal foreign funds has far-reaching implications for the estimated 40,000 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the Arab world's most populous country.

Thousands of NGOs - engaged in everything from nature conservation to eradicating illiteracy and sheltering women from domestic abuse - are collateral damage in a row that threatens Egypt's longstanding relationship with the U.S.

"This dispute is affecting all NGOs in Egypt that rely on foreign donors for grants," the director of a Cairo- based non-profit organisation told IPS. "Unless it is resolved soon, hundreds if not thousands of NGOs will be forced to shut down."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:55:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 11:36:52 AM EST
EU commissioner calls for 'break' from oil dependence: theparliament.com
EU commissioner Siim Kallas says that Europeans should break their "almost complete dependence" on oil to fuel road transport systems.

Speaking in Brussels, the Estonian official said this is all the more important as oil was "likely" to become more scarce in years to come.

Addressing a conference, he said, "Our transport system has developed against a background of generally cheap oil, expanding infrastructure and limited environmental constraints.

"We must now adapt to a very different set of conditions."

He added, "Oil is likely to become scarcer in the years to come, demand remains strong and markets as volatile as ever - just look at how little it takes to send oil prices shooting higher with events in a country such as Libya.

"So reliable alternatives need to be in place."

Goes on to "alternative fuels" but doesn't say what they are exactly. Erm, agrofuels?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, always the sticking point.

I still wanna know if you can create a combustible fuel like a butane or an alcohol by electrolysing non-oil sourced chemicals

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:28:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, we can. There are plenty of ways to do it. The trick is finding the most economic, scalable one. There are modified Sabatier processes on trial that use water plus carbon dioxide plus energy to synthesise methane; and various other things going on too, such as modified artificial photosynthesis, to synthesise carbon-neutral hydrocarbons.
by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 05:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's a good way to utilize surplus PV and windenergy. After all, they always tlak about the boom and bust of renewables, this is a way to eliminate

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 06:58:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Largely, yes, probably. It's potentially an extremely effective thing to deploy on the grid, to take advantage of times of very very cheap electricity.

But ...

at the moment, any kit we do have, tends to be optimised to be very energy-efficient during use. Which gives exactly the wrong cost profile - high capital cost, low running cost - the sort of cost profile best suited to kit that runs constantly, all the time.

It's all a bit of a work in progress. Everyone knows is a potential major money-spinner, if a patentable, scalable, affordable solution is found. Chemists - start your engines!

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 01:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Landscape fire smoke contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide

Worldwide, smoke from landscape fires contributed to an average of 339,000 deaths per year between 1997 and 2006, according to new research published in Environmental Health Perspectives and released today during the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia were the hardest hit by fire-smoke deaths, with an estimated annual average of 157,000 and 110,000 deaths, respectively, attributable to landscape fire smoke exposure, said researcher Fay Johnston, who represented a global team at the 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

"It's time to look at deforestation impacts on fires, which in turn affect human health," said Johnston, a research fellow at the Menzies Research Institute, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.

Johnston and her co-authors specifically assessed the health impacts of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers, an important byproduct of landscape fire smoke.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:58:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Taking the Earth's pulse with new economic and environmental index

A growing world population, mixed with the threat of climate change and mounting financial problems, has prompted University of British Columbia researchers to measure the overall 'health' of 152 countries around the world.

Encompassing both economic and ecological security, high-income countries were ranked among the least healthy overall. Many countries in South America performed well, offering future generations better financial, food, water, and energy security.

The top five performing countries are Bolivia, Angola, Namibia, Paraguay, and Argentina, while the bottom five performers are Jordan, the Republic of Korea, Israel, Kuwait, and Singapore.

"We hear that countries are suffering financially every day in the news," says Rashid Sumaila, director of the UBC Fisheries Centre, "but that only tells half the story. Piling up ecological deficits is just as concerning as piling up financial deficits - both have consequences for future generations."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:00:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
USA, European Union Sign Organic Foods Trade Partnership
NUREMBERG, Germany, February 22, 2012 (ENS) - As of June 1, 2012, organic products certified in Europe or in the United States may be sold as organic in either region under a new partnership agreement signed last week in Nurember at the BioFach World Organic Fair, the world's largest trade show for organic products.

All products meeting the terms of the agreement can be traded and labeled as certified organic produce, meat, cereal, or wine.

The organic food sector in the United States and European Union is valued at roughly 40 billion euros (US$53 billion) combined, and rising every year.

This partnership between the two largest producers of organic foods in the world takes EU-U.S. agricultural trade relations to a new level of cooperation. It is intended to establish a strong foundation from which to promote organic agriculture and the growing organic industry.

Formal letters creating the partnership were signed by Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development; Kathleen Merrigan, U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary; and Ambassador Isi Siddiqui, U.S. Trade Representative chief agricultural negotiator.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:04:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gazprom Accuses Ukraine of Gas Siphoning | World | RIA Novosti

Ukraine illegally siphoned off up to 40 million cubic meters of Russian natural gas for Europe over several days this month, Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Wednesday.

Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko said this January that Ukraine was seeking to cut Russian gas imports to 27 billion cu m from 52 bcm. Gazprom reacted then by saying the current contract did not stipulate unilateral changes in gas purchase volumes.

"Ukraine kept up to 40 million cu m of gas for several days [in February]. This causes financial and reputational damage to Gazprom," Miller told President Dmitry Medvedev.

Several European countries said in early February they had faced shortfalls in Russian natural gas supplies, as a severe cold spell hit Europe, with temperatures plunging to below 30 degrees Celsius. Italy resorted to crisis measures to reduce the consumption of gas and maintain supplies to domestic customers.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, we're back to this again, are we ? {y a w n}

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:29:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German Government cuts solar subsidy by up to 30%
Big stand-alone plants are to receive over 30% less in electricity prices, 15 percentage points more cuts than hitherto set. Medium-sized plant prices are cut 25% (-10 additional points). Small arrays: 20% (-5 additional points). ...

"The subsidy is still too high" says Holger Krawinkel with the Federal association of consumer advocates. "According to our calculations, roof-top arrays would still be profitable with 15 cents. For large plants 10 cents would suffice."

by epochepoque on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 06:36:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 11:37:14 AM EST
The Local - Swiss spend most on English but lag behind

Despite spending more on teaching the language than the top four countries, Switzerland ranked only eleventh in an international survey comparing English proficiency levels among adults.

A study last year by Education First, a company specialised in teaching English across the world, compared results from 44 countries, with Norway achieving top marks, online news website 20 Minutes reported.

Switzerland was beaten by Poland, Malaysia, Austria and Germany, as well as by more obvious contenders such as the Netherlands and Sweden.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:25:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where was the UK in the list?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 06:21:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you check the map in the report, it looks like they didn't include the U.K., Ireland, or Greece (nor, strangely, Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia).
by gk (gk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 06:34:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Germany urged to end sex offender castration

Europe's top human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, has urged Germany to end the practice of surgically castrating sex offenders.

The council's anti-torture committee said such voluntary treatment, albeit rare in Germany, was "degrading".

In Germany no more than five sex offenders a year have been opting for castration, hoping it will lower their sex drives and reduce their jail term.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:40:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see what the problem is, if it's an opt in solution for sex offenders. I don't know what the results are in Germany but I read an interview with a guy who'd had it done here and he said it was marvelous to be freed of a life shattering compulsion

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:31:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientists regenerate a plant -- 30,000 years on

Russian scientists have grown flowering plants using seeds stored by squirrels 30,000 years ago and preserved by the Siberian permafrost, a new study showed, in what may become a key experiment in the race to revive ancient species.

The seeds of the herbaceous Silene stenophylla are by far the oldest plant tissue to have been brought back to life, according to lead researchers Svetlana Yashina and David Gilichinsky of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The latest findings could be a landmark in research of ancient biological material and the bid to potentially revive other species, including some that are extinct.

The scientists highlight the importance of permafrost itself in the "search of an ancient genetic pool, that of preexisting life, which hypothetically has long since vanished from the earth's surface".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:59:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bugger that, we want a mammoth !!

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:32:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Male Y chromosome extinction theory challenged

Men may not become extinct after all, according to a new study.

Previous research has suggested the Y sex chromosome, which only men carry, is decaying genetically so fast that it will be extinct in five million years' time.

A gene within the chromosome is the switch which leads to testes development and the secretion of male hormones.

But a new US study in Nature suggests the genetic decay has all but ended.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 03:08:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Macho Gardening | Harpers

The Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University declared the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which burned through the latex gloves of the researchers assigned to pick it, to be the hottest pepper on earth. "There will be a run on seeds and plants," predicted grower Jim Duffy. "Like Cabbage Patch dolls right before Christmas."


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 05:13:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I fully support the CPI at NMSU.

Not being an S&M kinda guy, I do not ever intended to eat one of them things.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 05:33:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's funny how it works. A few years back people said a million scovilles would kill. Then the naga chilli came along and you can now buy dinners in restaurants that boast it's "flavoured" with nagas. You can buy sauces with ratings in the millions and I'm sure there must be people who eat it neat.

So, why not have something madder ? Good luck, my digestive system decided years ago that deathwish chilli was not for me and I have reluctantly agreed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 03:35:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once food is spiced beyond a 'mild' level of heat it's impossible to taste anything but the hot.  At which point why not just eat the chilies directly?

(He asked, rhetorically.)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 11:34:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two things. Cooking times and sensory manipulation.

Cooking long enough violates the volatile oils and leaves a more subtle range of tastes. Sensory manipulation is achieved by blending two or more types of chili musically: so you get top notes, mids and bass effects. This is while eating - another set of musical notes appears in due course.

It is even possible, for the experienced chilista, to decide whether sweat will break out on the pate, the forehead or the entire face - and even predict the location of a breakout of blushing blotchiness.

Everything I cook draws inspiration from East of Italy - and you can keep going as far as Hawaii but no further. All the spices you need come from Eurasia and and the islands.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 12:26:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cooking long enough violates the volatile oils

???

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 12:27:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"to break in upon or disturb rudely" which is not what you want if you are vapourizable - speaking from the volatile oil's perspective.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 01:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fox host Lou Dobbs slams Arrietty and The Lorax for 'liberal agenda' | Film | guardian.co.uk

Conservative filmgoers beware: Hollywood is after your children (again) with the release of two new films that shamelessly deliver a pro-liberal message.

The Secret World of Arrietty, Studio Ghibli's animated take on The Borrowers, is an insidious polemic that encourages class envy and redistribution of wealth. Meanwhile, Dr Seuss' The Lorax is yet another example of environmental radicalism, according to Lou Dobbs of the Fox Business Network.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 07:48:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can skip the HouseTrip ad at the beginning, but I found that a bit interesting, too.  Here's a video about someone planted "gardens" in potholes.



'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 09:39:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BREAKING NEWS: Error Undoes Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Results | Science Insider
Physicists had detected neutrinos travelling from the CERN laboratory in Geneva to the Gran Sasso laboratory near L'Aquila that appeared to make the trip in about 60 nanoseconds less than light speed.

[...]

According to sources familiar with the experiment, the 60 nanoseconds discrepancy appears to come from a bad connection between a fiber optic cable that connects to the GPS receiver used to correct the timing of the neutrinos' flight and an electronic card in a computer. After tightening the connection and then measuring the time it takes data to travel the length of the fiber, researchers found that the data arrive 60 nanoseconds earlier than assumed. Since this time is subtracted from the overall time of flight, it appears to explain the early arrival of the neutrinos.

It's still not too bad for Geneva to L'Aquila.....
by gk (gk) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 10:04:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 11:37:43 AM EST
The Local - Brigitte Bardot offers support to Le Pen

Former actress and model Brigitte Bardot has sent a letter to French mayors asking them to help far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen get the crucial 500 signatures she needs to stand in the country's presidential elections.

...She asked them to lend their support so that Marine Le Pen could be part of the elections, which are due to be held in two rounds on April 22nd and May 6th.

Bardot, who now devotes her time to animal causes, said Le Pen "defends animals and has the courage to give our country, France, its proper place in the world."

"I therefore ask them [mayors] to have a bit of courage for once in their lives and to do their duty," she wrote.

Mayors are reported to be delighted.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 22nd, 2012 at 02:20:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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