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Israel Is Not Our Partner for Middle East Peace

by Oui Tue Jun 17th, 2014 at 09:36:09 AM EST

Repeatedly US policy has aligned itself with Israel and repeatedly this has led to military and political failure. The last time the US decided otherwise was during the presidency of Eisenhower and the 1956 Suez crisis. Here we go again ...

BTW A strange message was sent by Israeli security reporter Yossi Melman:

    #Baghdad collapses. Shells on US & Iran Embassies
    Premier Maliki left. Chief of Staff escaped yo Germany.
    Heavy casualties to Iran forces.

NY Times - Sectarian violence returning to Baghdad with  extrajudicial killings and kidnappings

"The fighting is creeping closer to Baghdad and the offensive is being led by Sunni fighters drawn from the Sunni militant groups the 1920 Revolution Brigades and the Islamic Army, according to an Iraqi Intelligence source. Both of those groups have long had a presence in Diyala Province and were involved in some of the bloodiest fighting during the sectarian battles of 2005-2007. The 1920 brigades was formed from disaffected Iraqi Army officers who were left without jobs after the Americans dissolved the military in 2003."

Israel concerned about any US-Iran cooperation over Iraq

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (4 comments, 919 words in story)

Humans and hierarchy

by das monde Sun Jun 15th, 2014 at 09:49:41 AM EST

There was a brief incomplete discussion the other week here on macho dominance, hierarchy enforcement, power dynamics. I had lived pretty ignorant of social status games for long - but recently I realized that hierarchy interactions, instincts and emotions have to be taken seriously. Let me shake similarly your rational onlooker premises about power and human nature.

Read more... (132 comments, 1226 words in story)

Syria War and Shiite Government of Maliki to Blame

by Oui Sat Jun 14th, 2014 at 02:38:53 PM EST

In addition to a new article yesterday, the reporter followed the developments as the sectarian violence increased due to a failed policy of PM Maliki who has estranged the Sunni minority in Anbar province. Don't obfuscate the issue by denying the direct link to the Syrian civil war started three years ago. [Links added are mine - Oui]

See my earlier diary - Michael Ledeen from Trotsky to Mussolini - Our Freedom Betrayed.

What We Left Behind

(The New Yorker) Apr. 28, 2014 - When the last American soldiers left Iraq, at the end of 2011, the bloody civil war between the country's Sunni and Shiite sects had been stifled but not resolved. Now the sectarian violence had returned, with terrifying intensity. For more than a year, thousands of Iraqis, nearly all of them members of the Sunni Arab minority, had been gathering to rail against Maliki's Shiite-dominated government. Although the protests were mostly peaceful, security forces responded harshly, detaining thousands of Sunni men without charges and, in one encampment, touching off a spasm of violence that left hundreds of civilians dead. Across the Sunni heartland, north and west of Baghdad, the town squares filled with angry crowds, and the rhetoric grew more extreme. In Ramadi, protesters raised black jihadi flags, representing the extremist Al Qaeda offshoot that had dominated the city during the American occupation. "We are a group called Al Qaeda!" a man shouted from a stage in the protesters' camp. "We will cut off heads and bring justice!" The crowd cheered.

Speaking into the television cameras on Christmas, Maliki ordered the protesters to disband. Largely ignoring his own men's excesses, he claimed that the protests were dominated by extremists. "This site has become a base for Al Qaeda," he said, filled with "killers and criminals." Maliki ended his speech with what for him was a flourish of emotion, lifting a hand from the lectern. "There will be no negotiations while the square is still standing." [Another dark Christmas for Iraq's Christians]

In the protests at Ramadi, a Sunni member of parliament named Ahmed al-Alwani had inflamed the crowds, accusing Maliki of being in league with the Iranian regime, the region's great Shiite power. "My message is for the snake Iran!" Alwani shouted into a microphone, jabbing his finger into the air. Referring to Maliki and those around him as "Safavids" and "Zoroastrians," terms that denote Iranian invaders, he said, "Let them listen up and know that those gathered here will return Iraq to its people!"

Obama, al-Maliki discuss fighting al Qaeda

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (14 comments, 598 words in story)

Sun Money

by gmoke Thu Jun 12th, 2014 at 08:53:48 PM EST

Solar is power and currency not only as energy, electricity, heat but also as politics,  economics, and sociology.  Solar energy is, by definition, local production, swadeshi, what Gandhi called the "heart of satyagraha," soul force, non-violent action.

Gandhi would spin for an hour each day, usually producing a hundred yards of thread, and helped develop a simple spinning wheel (charkha) that allowed many to do the same. He believed that spinning was the foundation of non-violence. I believe this type of practical labor has to be the core of any sustainable ecological action.

We need a solar swadeshi, an ecological practice on a daily basis that allows us to live within our solar income. Gandhi used the charkha, the spinning wheel. What would be an ecological charkha, a solar charkha?


from http://solarray.blogspot.com/2005/05/solar-swadeshi-hand-made-electricity.html

Could we do with electricity what Gandhi did with cloth, at least for emergencies and disasters? Can hand-made electricity, 21st century khadi cloth, provide real electrical power to the people and a survival level of energy independence and autonomy?
from http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/11/10/919251/-Personal-Power-Production-160-Solar-from-Civil-Defe nse-to-Swadeshi

Here are some examples where solar energy is building economies that are closer to the practices of a Gandhian economics, a non-violent economics, a solar swadeshi, a kind of sun money.

Read more... (141 comments, 1127 words in story)

World Cup Betting

by DoDo Thu Jun 12th, 2014 at 03:41:54 PM EST

Which are your picks for group winners and second-placed?

What about the knock-out round?

Read more... (29 comments, 207 words in story)

Monetary policy in the Germany Media

by rz Thu Jun 5th, 2014 at 10:47:55 AM EST

As certainly everybody here knows inflation across Europe is running way below target. This month it has come in at only 0.5%. Now how did SPON (Spiegel Online) a big and influential news page react to this news? Well it gave us a report about Sparkassen-Präsident Georg Fahrenschon who demands higher interest rates...because currently the 'German Saver' is not high enough interests on his saving. And this is going to threaten peoples retirement savings.

Now, could it possible that low interest rates are a product of the collapsing European economy? Would it not be prudent focus on the amount of goos produced in Europe, instead of focusing on how much you get for your savings? Should we demand that you actually have to take some risk if you want to have a high interest rate?

Obviously, these are questions not asked in the German Media.

front-paged by afew

Read more... (70 comments, 545 words in story)

Keynes was wrong

by cagatacos Wed Jun 4th, 2014 at 01:54:26 AM EST

When, many years ago, I joined this site (at that time still will using my real name - such naïveté), I believed - very strongly, I might add - in two things:

  1. That the symbol at the top-left corner of this site was someting good
  2. That the debt overhang that I was forecasting (and correctly so) would end up in hyperinflation.

Clearly I was completely wrong on both counts. Regarding point 1, the EU and the Euro are destroying Europe in front of our eyes...

But I am here to talk about point 2.

I always looked at Paul Krugman as a man with the heart in the right place, but not understanding anything about economy (mind you, they give the economics "nobel" to all kinds of people - that is never an argument). How could he not see the coming hyperinflation? So I read him, with both love and contempt.

Again, I was totally wrong: it is quite obvious how things pan-out: Keynesian macro got things mostly right. It was really interesting to read Paul over the years and just see how his predictions turned out mostly right (and mine mostly wrong).

Now, I understand that this might be confusing: how can I suggest - in the title - that Keynes was wrong and say all this?

front-paged by afew

Read more... (57 comments, 1121 words in story)

Infrastructure against delays

by DoDo Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 12:57:55 PM EST

Low rolling resistance, long train lengths and high capacity are the main advantages of rail over other transport modes. However, in some situations, these same characteristics turn into disadvantages: for example, they can aggravate bottlenecks and cause delays to cascade. While at first sight, these situations may seem traffic nuisances to be addressed by more efficient dispatching, a truly efficient solution involves the construction of special infrastructure.

Below the fold, I will show three of these situations, explain why they are a special problem for railways, and show the respective solution, all of it thoroughly illustrated.

Both the international express (on the right) and a local (in the distance on the left) are stopped at red lights because a third train is crossing in front of them

Read more... (29 comments, 2592 words in story)

Syria Blow-back: French Jihadi Arrested In Brussels Shooting

by Oui Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 06:49:19 AM EST

h/t Tikun Olam - Under arrest in Marseille, France: Brussels killer of Israeli couple, who worked for Israeli intelligence, was French jihadi who fought in Syria last year.

Israeli PM Netanyahu feeding the Islamophobic trolls, blamed rising anti-semitism in Europe for attack on Jewish Museum in Brussels. Watch Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and all the idiots "protecting" Israel from Islam.

France arrests suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting

(Al Arabya/Reuters) - French police have arrested a man suspected of being involved in the shooting deaths last weekend of four people at Brussels' Jewish Museum, official sources in Belgium and France said on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Frenchman was arrested in the southern French city of Marseilles on Friday and had a Kalashnikov and another gun with him, a French police source said. The man, from the northern city of Roubaix, had been in jail in 2012. [Suspect was named as Mehdi Nemmouche]

French media reported that the man was suspected of having stayed in Syria with jihadist groups in 2013.

"This is a relief," Joel Rubinfeld, head of the Belgian League against Antisemitism told BFM TV, saying he had received confirmation of the news.

"But this is also worrying us ... it is is crucial that countries who have citizens who have gone to Syria take all necessary measures to make sure this does not happen again."

Mehdi Nemmouche, un Roubaisien djihadiste arrêté

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (7 comments, 714 words in story)

Counting the MEPs

by A swedish kind of death Sat May 31st, 2014 at 02:10:28 AM EST

We often hear about the great advances of the far right in the EP election, but seldom any concrete numbers. Now, I am a bit sceptical as we started hearing about this long before the election. Join me in estimating the numbers of MEPs each group will have after the sorting is done, and lets see if there really was a far right advance, and if so how big.

front-paged by afew

Read more... (79 comments, 881 words in story)

Perma-slump and Project

by afew Thu May 29th, 2014 at 02:41:44 AM EST

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has been consistently right about the euro, and he's right (no pun intended) again here:

Europe's centre crumbles as Socialists immolate themselves on altar of EMU - Telegraph

By a horrible twist of fate, Europe's political Left has become the enforcer of reactionary economic policies. The great socialist parties of the post-war era have been trapped by the corrosive dynamics of monetary union, apologists for mass unemployment and a 1930s deflationary regime that subtly favour the interests of elites.

He goes on to take François Hollande's performance as French President to pieces, and concludes:

Read more... (114 comments, 389 words in story)

Final notes on Piketty's Capital

by Cyrille Wed May 28th, 2014 at 09:34:59 AM EST

Here is the final instalment of my notes on Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. Like the previous ones (here, here, and here), it is cross-posted on my blog Anachronicles.

Chapter 12 sees Piketty going global. Having thus far kept a mostly national perspective, he now looks at capital at a wordwide level. That makes sense: colonies aside (and even they fell far short of today's cross-positions), major international investments is a relatively new phenomenon, as is the difficulty of associating a capital to a country.

This is another reason why the elevated levels of r (return on capital) could go on a bit longer: whereas developed countries are awash in capital, in fact probably have too much for their own good, this is not the case of the world as a whole -though the gap is less than one may have thought.

There, Piketty has an extremely interesting line of study. Having shown that the richest people saw their wealth grow faster than everyone else, he examined what caused this divergence (it is true both of highly concentrated and highly diversified massive fortunes, surprisingly) looking at the returns obtained by the dotations of various US universities. The picture is crystal clear: the bigger the amount to invest, the higher the returns it gets.

Read more... (12 comments, 3972 words in story)

More notes on Piketty's Capital

by Cyrille Fri May 23rd, 2014 at 01:34:12 AM 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).

front-paged by afew

Read more... (16 comments, 4023 words in story)

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.

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News and Views

 1-2 Septembre 2014

by afew - Aug 31, 61 comments

Your take on today's news media

 30-31 August 2014

by DoDo - Aug 29, 60 comments

Your take on today's news media

 Start the Week Open Thread

by Helen - Sep 1, 16 comments

Get set.....GO!!

 Weekend Open Thread

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