Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.
<< Previous 20 Next 20 >>

More notes on Piketty's Capital

by Cyrille Wed May 21st, 2014 at 02:01:50 PM EST

Right, I have now finished the book, for which I already published two sets of notes on the way (here and here).

However, there is so much material for discussion in the book after the point where I stopped my notes that, to make it a bit more readable, I will split the final notes in two more installments. I therefore return to part 3, looking at inequalities, from Chapter 9 onwards, and will stop at the end of Chapter 11.

Piketty being the specialist of inequality, there is little surprise that he gives a very good description of its historical evolution.

It's hard to pinpoint one thing in particular, but despite having over the last few years read each of his papers or articles that came my way, I kept finding things I did not know, that will probably alter my views of economics and politics in the future, even if I don't necessarily know in what way yet. For instance, I did not realise that Germany's top 1% had a markedly higher share of revenue than in any other continental Europe country. It is also interesting to look at the very different evolutions of minimum wages in France and USA (although that had very little impact on inequality at the very top, which is what took off of late).

Read more... (4000 words in story)

A MEP spying for Russia?

by DoDo Mon May 19th, 2014 at 01:40:36 AM EST

Hungarian far-right MEP suspected as Russian spy | EurActiv

The Hungarian chief prosecutor has sent an official letter to European Parliament President Martin Schulz, with a request that MEP Béla Kovács, from the far-right party Jobbik, be stripped of his parliamentary immunity, in order to allow the judiciary to investigate him over suspicions of spying for Russia.

The extremity of the far-right's new Russia-friendliness notwithstanding, I think this story is best interpreted as an experimental election campaign attack on Jobbik by authorities completely in the control of PM Viktor Orbán's ruling Fidesz. In general, the EP election campaign in Hungary is interesting for lopsided positions.

Read more... (3 comments, 811 words in story)

From baronial estate to science campus

by Ted Welch Sat May 17th, 2014 at 03:40:16 PM EST

Near me in Nice is Valrose park and chateau, which used to be owned by Paul von Derwies, the financial advisor to Tsar Alexander II, who made Derwies a baron. But, it's suggested, the established aristocrats in Nice didn't accept the new baron, so he built this spendid place above Nice - and them.

But it's now the base of the university of Nice Sophia Antipolis and the home of the science faculty.

Read more... (19 comments, 756 words in story)

You Think It's Time To Buy Shares?

by afew Fri May 16th, 2014 at 10:21:14 AM EST

From Jamie Lowry at Pieria:

The record amount being borrowed by investors is a worrying sign for markets

Keen students of behavioural finance may not be too surprised to learn that, over time, margin debt levels have tended to be at their highest just before markets crash while, just before markets take off, investors tend to have net cash in their trading accounts. According to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which publishes monthly data on the subject, net debt currently stands at record levels.

Now, in theory, investors could borrow money from their brokers and just let it sit in cash and the NYSE would still report that as a build-up of margin debt. To take this possibility out of the equation, therefore, a better way of considering the issue is to look at investors' `free credit balance', which - put simply - shows how much money they have borrowed specifically to buy shares.

See the lovely chart below the fold:

Read more... (43 comments, 172 words in story)

Oui ? Non - to simplistic conspiracy theories

by Ted Welch Tue May 13th, 2014 at 02:58:51 PM EST

I'm happy to see the sceptical responses to Oui's recent diary  

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2014/5/6/10530/80669

Spell it out to me like I'm five, please. Maybe I'm missing something incredibly, obviously self-evident, but right now I'm not seeing much of a red thread between your links. Nevermind a coherent story.

JakeS


I long gave up even trying to divine Oui's own thoughts from posts broken up by his links scattergun and trying to follow the connect-the-dots hints.

DoDo

I thought maybe I was being over-critical of his response to a comment of mine - which, unfortunately, led me to spend far too long responding to it in this diary.

Read more... (6 comments, 3227 words in story)

Going Offshore: Pfizer's Merger AstraZeneca and Taxation

by Oui Tue May 13th, 2014 at 05:20:14 AM EST

Pfizer Inc. moving corporate HQ to the UK for reasons of taxation, offering $106bn to buy UK competitor in a transaction to circumvent the US tax system. Real patriots these Republican @sses ...

Offshore Cash Hoard Expands by $183 Billion at Companies

(Bloomberg) Mar. 8, 2013 - The largest U.S.-based companies expanded their untaxed offshore stockpiles by $183 billion in the past year, increasing such holdings by 14.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Apple Inc (AAPL). and Google Inc (GOOG). each added to their non-U.S. holdings by more than 34 percent as they reaped the benefits of past maneuvers to earn and park profits in low- tax countries. Combined, those three companies alone plan to keep $134.5 billion outside the U.S. government's reach, more than double the $59.3 billion they held two years earlier.

 « click for more info
Developments in offshore wealth, expertise of Mitt Romney, Bain Capital at all. (Bloomberg)

The build-up of offshore profits -- totaling $1.46 trillion for the 83 companies examined -- is increasing because of incentives in the U.S. tax code for booking profits offshore and leaving them there. The stockpiles complicate attempts to overhaul the tax system as lawmakers look for ways to bring the money home and discourage profit shifting.

The ability to defer U.S. taxes until profits are brought home, the ease of shifting profits to low-tax countries and the world's highest statutory corporate rate have all contributed to the growing stockpiles outside the U.S.

A report last year by analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM). estimated that all U.S.-based companies had $1.7 trillion in accumulated offshore profits. In the data compiled by Bloomberg, 83 companies had about 75 percent of last year's total, which suggests that the total for all companies now exceeds $1.9 trillion.

General Electric Co (GE). again leads all U.S. companies with $108 billion held offshore, up from $102 billion a year earlier. Pfizer Inc. is second with $73 billion, followed by Microsoft, Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and International Business Machines Corp. The data comes from companies' annual regulatory filings.

Pfizer to Make AstraZeneca Takeover Case to Parliament

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (1 comment, 771 words in story)

Meet the Americans Who Put Together the Coup in Kiev

by Oui Tue May 6th, 2014 at 10:05:30 AM EST

Fran's earlier post today ...
Haven't seen this site before, don't know how reliable it is, but it still makes interesting reading:
Meet the Americans Who Put Together the Coup in Kiev

No surprise here!

Read about USAID and the linked NGOs operating in the Ukraine in my earlier posts. From Fran's first link ...

Many of Hromadske's journalists had worked in the past with American benefactors. Editor-in-chief Roman Skrypin was a frequent contributor to Washington's Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and the US-funded Ukrayinska Pravda. In 2004, he had helped create Channel 5 television, which played a major role in the Orange Revolution that the US and its European allies masterminded in 2004.

Senator John McCain chairs the parallel International Republican Institute, with a board that stretches from his longtime advisor and a paid lobbyist for Georgia, neocon Randy Scheuneman.

Revisited: Engineering 'People's Revolutions' - A Color?
USAID funding a network of interlocking NGOs - Chesno (Honestly), Center UA and Stop Censorship, to name a few
Confirmed: Omidyar's NGOs Clearly Partner in Regime Change
Embarrassment to GG, MW of The Intercept: Omidyar Co-funded Ukraine Revolt

The earliest propaganda footage and photo's of "snipers" at Maidan Independence square were shared between RFERL and the pro-West Ukraine's Pravda:

    Photo's of police with yellow armbands were released on a phony website: "Украинской правды" which translates as "Ukraine's Pravda."

Diaspora haven 'freedom fighters' USA ...  Northern Ireland (IRA) - Chechnya (freedom fighters) - Iraq (Chalabi) - Iran (MEK) - Libya (Khalifa Hifter) - Syria (SETF) - Ukraine (UCCA)

Andrij Dobriansky is an executive at Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)  

Remarks on the Conference 'Ukraine's Choice' (2004) -- By Krystyna Litton

On Friday, December 10th, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) held a conference entitled "Ukraine's Choice". The conference attempted to assess Ukraine's geopolitical orientation, civil society, and economy after the presidential elections.

The AEI is one of the largest public policy think tanks in Washington, DC. The conference was also sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Freedom House, the International Republican Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Among speakers were well know politicians and researchers such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, Radek Sikorski, Vyacheslav Briukhovetsky, the chief of staff for Viktor Yushchenko Oleh Rybachuk, Adrian Karatnycky of Freedom House, Paula Dobriansky and others.

...
Any relationship? WhoIs Paula J. Dobriansky ... appears to be daughter of anti-communist Lev E. Dobriansky.


Did we mention Poland's FM Radek Sikorski and spouse "first lady" Anne Applebaum.

Comments >> (29 comments)

Letter from Italy

by melo Mon May 5th, 2014 at 10:43:05 PM EST

Beppe Grillo is the only 'politician' that I know of calling for a 'citizens' income', but not as a permanent unconditional human civil entitlement. He advocates E1000 a month (with some saying it's possible just to fork over E600 realistically), and the conditions are that you use the time granted of three years to re-educate yourself in a new skill, and that upon refusal of the third job offer you forfeit the payment. The chief reason Beppe touts in advocating this policy is to disempower the race to the bottom in value of labour, to remove the employment 'blackmail' that forces workers (and their unions) in heavily polluting steel factories for example to fight environmental rules that are shutting down plants (such as the most recent in Piombino, on the Tuscan coast). The ugliest town I have ever seen, especially seen from the sea on the ferry to Elba. They would rather keep their jobs and die at 55 from the toxins, a Sophie's choice nightmare.

Read more... (17 comments, 1667 words in story)

MIT at Flood Level

by gmoke Sat May 3rd, 2014 at 04:45:50 PM EST

On Friday, May 2, 2014 FossilFreeMIT (http://www.fossilfreemit.org) declared a flood zone all around their campus at Hurricane Sandy strength plus projected 2050 sea level rise to publicize their divestment campaign.  It was also a good advertisement for the same weekend's annual Sustainability Conference focusing on resilience and coastal cities.  Here's how the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer looks under this climate change scenario.

Kerry Preaching Policy Contra Russia @Atlantic Council

by Oui Thu May 1st, 2014 at 01:24:11 PM EST

Kerry should experience a warm bath here as I have referred to the right-wing Atlantic Council and its harsh statements of containment for Putin's Russia in a New Cold War. The US wants to reduce its military presence in Europe and has set policy for NATO members to increase investments in its military: Navy, Air Force and Army. The Ukraine is an ideal nation to illustrate the "Imperial Danger" of the Russian Bear. A dangerous path to create division between new and old Europe, when did we take this path before? Rumsfeld in the lead-up to the Iraq War ...

Secretary Kerry at the Atlantic Council's "Toward a Europe Whole and Free" Conference

Thank you all for the privilege of sharing some thoughts with you at this both timely and very, very important gathering. It's my privilege to be able to be here, and I'm particularly happy to be here with so many of my colleagues, both our foreign ministers and defense ministers who are here. We had a chance to chat briefly out there. We have been meeting regularly along the trail, and I have come to admire and respect each of them for the clarity of their vision and for the way in which they have been really prescient on many of these issues.

I love the new digs and thank all those who are responsible for that. And also, Fred, thanks so much for your leadership and for the tremendous work that is being done at the Atlantic Council lately, the success of this particular conference but also the work, the groundwork you've been laying, and the focus that you have had on the criticality of the NATO relationship, the European relationship, which, as we know, thinking back to comments of the near past about Old Europe and New Europe and other times things that have been floating out there over these last years, this discussion is even more timely and relevant.

 « click for more info on New Atlanticists
John Kerry delivered the confrontational call in a speech to the
Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, DC.
(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

This year marks a number of different milestones that are really worth remembering, obviously beginning with the fact that it is 65 years since Secretary of State Dean Acheson and his European counterparts came together to sign the North Atlantic Treaty. And it's been 25 years, amazingly, since the fall of the Berlin Wall. And that wall, as we all know too well, symbolically and literally divided East and West and Europe.

It's been 15 years, and 10 years, and 5 years since then that NATO has welcomed new partners into the post-Cold War era. And as we have expanded as an organization, as NATO has expanded as an organization, I think it's safe to say we have also expanded democracy, prosperity, and stability in Europe, and we have opened new opportunities in order to be able to advance security even further, and we have spurred economic growth around the globe.

VIDEO: Secretary Kerry Delivers Remarks at a Atlantic Council Conference


Old Europe and Disillusionment of America

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (1033 words in story)

Is Ukraine a Failed State?

by ManfromMiddletown Wed Apr 30th, 2014 at 01:15:25 PM EST

Weber defined the State as:

human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory. Note that 'territory' is one of the characteristics of the state. Specifically, at the present time, the right to use physical force is ascribed to other institutions or to individuals only to the extent to which the state permits it. The state is considered the sole source of the 'right' to use violence.

More detailed definitions exist, but all, at their core, fall back upon this basic definition.  For better or worse, only states have a "license to kill."  The moment that other groups attempt to take up this power for their own, the state is failing.  The moment that they have, it seems far to say that the state has failed.

Read more... (56 comments, 626 words in story)

LQD Europe's two-faced approach to Energy Policy

by melo Mon Apr 28th, 2014 at 04:49:18 PM EST

Beppe Grillo's Blog

We have to be very careful to ensure that these funds are not handed out to the energy giants. If they mistakenly invested their money into fossil fuels, then that's their problem. Any small Italian businessman who makes a bad investment certainly cannot demand that the State reimburse his losses so we don't see why De Benedetti, Conti and Enel should be allowed to do so. Angelo Consoli, Director of Jeremy Rifkin's European Office

(more below...)

Read more... (2 comments, 1296 words in story)

German Documentary About Deadly Sniper Attacks in Kiev

by Oui Mon Apr 28th, 2014 at 08:23:02 AM EST

In the days following the deadly sniper attacks in Kiev, I wrote about this horrible event that was decisive in the ousting of Ukrainian President Janukovich. On February 21, the agreement between the Western powers, Ukraine's government and Russia as witness, was shredded within hours after signing.

Who Were Snipers In Kiev Massacre - A CIA-Svoboda False Flag Op?
How the Events of Sniper Fire In Instytutska Street Unfolded

Todesschüsse in Kiew - Wer ist für das Blutbad vom Maidan verantwortlich

(DasErste.de Monitor-M) - Snipers were on top of buildings all around, some protesters were shot from behind, from top floors of Hotel Ukraine. The hotel was heavily guarded by the group Maidan protesters, it was their HQ and media centre, the wounded were brought inside for treatment.

Georg Restle: ,,Die Krise in der Ukraine ist noch lange nicht vorbei. Dies haben uns die Bilder aus dem Osten des Landes von dieser Woche gelehrt. Und auch die Propagandaschlacht geht weiter. Eine der zentralen Fragen ist dabei, wer ist verantwortlich für das Blutbad, dem im Februar Dutzende Demonstranten und Polizisten zum Opfer fielen, und das schließlich zum Sturz des Präsidenten Janukowitsch führte? Wer also waren die Todesschützen auf dem Kiewer Maidan? Die vom Westen unterstützte Übergangsregierung hat sich letzte Woche festgelegt: Präsident Janukowitsch und seine Sonderkommandos tragen demnach allein die Schuld für die Toten. Doch an dieser Version gibt es jetzt erhebliche Zweifel, wie die Recherchen von Philipp Jahn, Olga Sviridenko und Stephan Stuchlik zeigen."

Was geschah am 20. Februar 2014 in Kiew? Aufgeheizte Stimmung, aus den ursprünglich friedlichen Demonstrationen ist ein Bürgerkrieg geworden. Teile der Demonstranten haben sich bewaffnet, rücken in Richtung Regierungsgebäude vor. In einzelnen Trupps versuchen die Demonstranten, auf die Instituts-Straße zu gelangen. Der blutige Donnerstag: Einzeln werden Demonstranten erschossen, viele von den Dächern umliegender Gebäude. Aber wer genau waren diese Scharfschützen, die auf die Demonstranten schossen?

Oleksandr Baschuk, Anwalt der Geschädigten (Übersetzung MONITOR): ,,Wir kommen alle an keine Ermittlungsprotokolle ran und wenn Sie mich fragen, gibt es dafür einen einfachen Grund, es wird nicht richtig ermittelt. Ich als Anwalt der Verletzten sage Ihnen, die Staatsanwaltschaft ermittelt nicht richtig, die decken ihre Leute, die sind parteiisch, so wie früher. Die wollen wie in der Sowjetunion oder unter Janukowitsch alles unter der Decke halten, so ist das."

Der blutige Donnerstag: Über 30 Menschen werden an diesem Tag in Kiew ermordet, ein Blutbad im Zentrum einer europäischen Großstadt. Unsere Recherchen zeigen, dass in Kiew schon Schuldige präsentiert werden, obwohl es auch zahlreiche Hinweise gibt, die in Richtung Opposition weisen. Spuren, die nicht verfolgt werden. Und möglicherweise gibt es auch noch andere Kräfte, die an den Schießereien beteiligt waren. Die Kiewer Generalstaatsanwaltschaft ist sich in ihrer Einschätzung sicher, wir sind es nicht.

Georg Restle: ,,Bei allen offenen Fragen, dass ein Vertreter der nationalistischen Svoboda-Partei als Generalstaatsanwalt die Aufklärung des Kiewer Blutbads ganz offensichtlich behindert, wirft ein schlechtes Bild auf die neue Übergangsregierung - und damit auch auf all jene westlichen Regierungen, die die neuen Machthaber in Kiew unterstützen."

Comments >> (1 comment)

Theories of Fear and Hope

by gmoke Sun Apr 27th, 2014 at 03:28:29 PM EST

Just read these two short books, pamphlets really or essays, both bookstore finds, one in the MIT Press bookstore hurt books and the other in Harvard Books remainder section, both from France:

The Administration of Fear by Paul Virilio with Bertrand Richard
LA:  Semiotext(e), 2012
ISBN 978-1-58435-105-4

The Path of Hope by Stéphane Hessel and Edgar Morin
NY:  Other Press, 2012
ISBN 978-1-59051-560-0

Virilio is a sociologist and urban planner and the book/pamphlet/essay is about the present as a manifestation of speed and terror based upon Hannah Arendt's and Günther Anders' idea "Terror is the realization of the law of movement" from their The Origins of Totalitarianism.  The title of the book/pamphlet is a play on Graham Greene's WWII espionage novel The Ministry of Fear.

Whether we like it or not, we cannot separate the magnitude of power, or success, from the magnitude of poverty, or finitude.  Our collective determination to separate them has led us to the third great fear, the ecological fear.  The Earth is too small for progress;  it is too small for instant profit.  Acceleration dominating accumulation ("just-in-time, zero stock") is making it implode before our eyes.  Consider the logics of distribution that we see today:  there are fewer and fewer warehouses, almost no stock, only the flow of goods.  You can see how acceleration, the pure speed of circulation, has overcome accumulation.  Turbo-capitalism has exploded the capitalism of accumulation and the major banks in favor of even larger banks that no nation state will ever be able to bail out.

Stéphane Hessel and Edgar Morin are both veterans of the French Resistance and fighters against what they call Vichyism, the collaboration with the Fascist occupiers.  Hessel wrote another short book/pamphlet/essay translated as Time for Outrage:  Indignez-vous! which was one of the European manifestations of political unrest in the year(s) of the Arab Spring, the Spanish Indignados, and Occupy Wall Street.  This book/pamphlet/essay is a follow-up with some recommendations of how to wrest control from the plutocrats:

A new and independent national policy is possible.  This political approach would follow the twofold principles we have set forth:  globalize and deglobalize, develop and envelop.  Deglobalization and envelopment, as we have pointed out, safeguard the vital interests of homelands and regions, while at the same time protecting living cultures.  This twofold principle is the basis for a political approach that guarantees links of global and national solidarity, fellowship among the various local collectives, and the benefits of local farming.

As someone who went from the antiwar movement into the environmental movement into the local agricultural economy, there is much here to appeal to me.  Growing your own food is a radically (all puns intended) subversive act in this financialized and globalized society.  That 50% of the US population do it is an unrecognized constituency for change.

Read more... (649 words in story)

Are we on the eve of a turn in the Great Game?

by ARGeezer Sat Apr 26th, 2014 at 01:13:40 PM EST

Putin, Petrodollars and Canada's Useful Idiot   Counterpunch
by MURRAY DOBBIN (H/T melo for the original post in the weekend newsroom.)

Stephen Harper's embarrassing behaviour regarding the crisis in Ukraine -- demonizing Vladimir Putin and upping the rhetoric -- must be welcomed in the U.S. which created the crisis in the first place and apparently believes it still has something to gain by isolating Russia. But it is not clear that Harper even realizes -- or cares -- what the larger game is. And that game may include a Russia-driven shift in global currency allegiance that could devastate the economies of the U.S. and Canada.

....

It is arguable that push for the petroruble is a global issue many times more important to the U.S. than anything that happens in the Ukraine, but American efforts to isolate Russia is actually accelerating the process. The desire is also driving Russia to look to the east instead of Europe for its future prosperity -- aligning with China as both a market for its gas and a partner in undermining the petrodollar. China is already headed there. Its yuan is the second most used currency, ahead of the euro, in international trade settlements. China recently "opened two centers to process yuan-denominated trade flows, one in London and one in Frankfurt."

The emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are grouped under the acronym BRICS. According to journalist Peter Koenig: "Other countries, especially the BRICS and BRICS-associates (BRICSA), may soon follow suit and join forces with Russia, abandoning the `petrodollar' as trading unit for oil and gas. This could amount to tens of trillions in loss for demand of petrodollars per year." In which case, "leaving an important dent in the U.S. economy would be an understatement," says Koenig. "Along with the new BRICS(A) currency will come a new international payment settlement system, replacing the SWIFT and IBAN exchanges, thereby breaking the hegemony of... the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basle.

Read more... (79 comments, 809 words in story)

When "born monsters" try to get help, and society cannot provide it

by marco Tue Apr 22nd, 2014 at 07:38:51 PM EST

Last Sunday, the weekly American radio program This American Life did an episode about stories of people being threatened and punished with public shame.  The first segment in that episode was about the pernicious power of malicious online gossip in small towns.  While that segment was very good, the second segment stunned me:

Help Wanted

There's one group of people that is universally tarred and feathered in the United States and most of the world. We never hear from them, because they can't identify themselves without putting their livelihoods and reputations at risk. That group is pedophiles. It turns out lots of them desperately want help, but because it's so hard to talk about their situation it's almost impossible for them to find it. Reporter Luke Malone spent a year and a half talking to people in this situation, and he has this story about one of them. More of Luke Malone's reporting on this topic will appear next month on Medium.com. (27 minutes)

Luke Malone

Read more... (2 comments, 742 words in story)

Budapest Metro Line M4

by DoDo Mon Apr 21st, 2014 at 02:27:19 AM EST

A week before the parliamentary elections in Hungary, Budapest opened its fourth metro line (M4 or Green Line), a 7.4 km, 10-station all-subway connection between two railway main stations. The construction project has a 42-year history, which is explained by the fact that it has been a political pinball for most of the time and has been mismanaged spectacularly.

Station Kálvin tér (junction station with line M3)

Read more... (5 comments, 1068 words in story)

James Hansen at MIT

by gmoke Sun Apr 20th, 2014 at 09:06:07 PM EST

James Hansen visited MIT on April 15 and April 16 and gave two public talks.  One was for Fossil Free MIT (http://www.fossilfreemit.org), a new student group concerned with divestment, on the politics of climate change, "Combatting the Climate Crisis:  the Path from Science to Action," and the other was for the climate science community on "Ice Sheet Melt, Sea Level and Storms," the subject of a paper he is now working on.

The good news is that, according to Hansen, we do not have to worry about catastrophic methane releases from the tundra or ocean clathrates as the paleoclimate record shows there were no such releases in higher temperature periods.

The bad news is that, according to a paper Hansen is now working on, we do have to worry about the effects of ice sheet melt on ocean currents and thermoclines as well as the possibility of dramatic wind intensity increases in storms.  Again, based upon the paleoclimate and geologic record.

Read more... (2 comments, 1299 words in story)

Further notes on Piketty's Capital

by Cyrille Sun Apr 20th, 2014 at 12:28:43 PM EST

I published a first set of notes on the book a little while ago. I still have not finished it, but am now much further. It's still an excellent read that I would recommend to anyone.

Some of the slightly odd trends are maintained, but also the further developments answer several of the questions that came out of the first chapters.

Read more... (29 comments, 2694 words in story)

The US Government, the Ukraine and the truth.

by ARGeezer Fri Apr 18th, 2014 at 10:39:38 AM EST

Ukraine: Is Obama Channeling Cheney?  Yves Smith

In this Real News Network report, Michael Hudson discusses the news blackout in the US as far as critical developments in the Ukraine are concerned, and how the distortions and gaps in reporting exceed those in the runup to the Iraq War. From the top of the interview:

   Late last week, the German television program ARD Monitor, which is sort of their version of 60 Minutes here, had an investigative report of the shootings in Maidan, and what they found out is that contrary to what President Obama is saying, contrary to what the U.S. authorities are saying, that the shooting was done by the U.S.-backed Svoboda Party and the protesters themselves, the snipers and the bullets all came from the Hotel Ukrayina, which was the center of where the protests were going, and the snipers on the hotel were shooting not only at the demonstrators, but also were shooting at their own-at the police and the demonstrators to try to create chaos. They've spoken to the doctors, who said that all of the bullets and all of the wounded people came from the same set of guns. They've talked to reporters who were embedded with the demonstrators, the anti-Russian forces, and they all say yes. All the witnesses are in agreement: the shots came from the Hotel Ukrayina. The hotel was completely under the control of the protesters, and it was the government that did it.

    So what happened was that after the coup d'état, what they call the new provisional government put a member of the Svoboda Party, the right-wing terrorist party, in charge of the investigation. And the relatives of the victims who were shot are saying that the government is refusing to show them the autopsies, they're refusing to share the information with their doctors, they're cold-shouldering them, and that what is happening is a coverup. It's very much like the film Z about the Greek colonels trying to blame the murder of the leader on the protesters, rather than on themselves.

    Now, the real question that the German data has is: why, if all of this is front-page news in Germany, front-page news in Russia-the Russian TV have been showing their footage, showing the sniping-why would President Obama directly lie to the American people? This is the equivalent of Bush's weapons of mass destruction. Why would Obama say the Russians are doing the shooting in the Ukraine that's justified all of this anti-Russian furor? And why wouldn't he say the people that we have been backing with $5 billion for the last five or ten years, our own people, are doing the shooting, we are telling them to doing the shooting, we are behind them, and we're the ones who are the separatists?

I strongly suggest you watch the interview in full, or read the transcript here.

Comments >> (7 comments)
<< Previous 20 Next 20 >>

News and Views

 29 July 2014

by afew - Jul 28, 31 comments

Your take on today's news media

 28 July 2014

by afew - Jul 27, 43 comments

Your take on today's news media

 Monday Open thread

by Helen - Jul 28, 3 comments

Roll up roll up. Step right this way

 Weekend Open Thread

by Fran - Jul 26, 10 comments

It's open, please come in!

Occasional Series
Click for full list