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

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 22 September

by Fran Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:14:52 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1931 – Birth of Fay Weldon,an English author, essayist and playwright, whose work has been associated with feminism.

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


The Salon has different rooms or sections for your enjoyment. If you would like to join the discussion, then to add a link or comment to a topic or section, please click on "Reply to this" in one of the following sections:

  • EUROPE - is the place for anything to do with Europe.
  • ECONOMY & FINANCE - is where you find what is going on in finance and the economy.
  • WORLD - here you can add links and comments on topics concerning world affairs.
  • LIVING OFF THE PLANET - is about the environment, energy, agriculture, food...
  • LIVING ON THE PLANET - is about humanity, society, culture, history, information...
  • PEOPLE AND KLATSCH - this is the place for stories about people and off course also for gossipy items. But it's also there for open discussion at any time.
  • SPECIAL FOCUS - will be up only for special events and topics, as occasion warrants.

I hope you will find this place inspiring - of course meaning the inspiration gained here to show up in interesting diaries on ET. :-)

There is just one favor I would like to ask you - please do NOT click on "Post a Comment", as this will put the link or your comment out of context at the bottom of the page.

Actually, there is another favor I would like to ask you - please, enjoy yourself and have fun at this place!

Display:
 EUROPE 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:53:20 PM EST
Czech Republic 'planning to delay signing Lisbon treaty' - Times Online

EU leaders are said to be furious that the Czech Republic is planning to delay signing the Lisbon treaty for up to six months even if the Irish vote "yes" in their referendum next month.

The country might even try to delay it until after the British general election campaign when a Tory victory would see the question put to voters by David Cameron.

Nicolas Sarkozy, who helped to draw up the treaty after the French and Dutch voted against its predecessor, the EU Constitution, has warned Prague that it faces "consequences" if it does not swiftly follow an Irish "yes" with its own ratification.

The outburst followed a private warning from Jan Fischer, the Czech caretaker Prime Minister, to his EU counterparts over dinner at their summit in Brussels last Thursday, it has emerged.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:01:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Czech delay could mean British referendum on Lisbon Treaty - Telegraph
David Cameron might be able to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty because the Czech Republic will probably delay its ratification of the agreement until after a general election in Britain, European Union leaders have been told.

Jan Fischer, the Czech prime minister, has privately warned other EU leaders that a legal challenge could impose a "long delay" on his country's ratification, perhaps until after the British election, widely expected next May.

Mr Cameron has pledged to put the Lisbon Treaty, formerly the European Union's constitution, to a popular vote in Britain as long as it has not been ratified by all 27 member states. If every country has given its approval and the Treaty has officially come into force, Mr Cameron's options would be extremely limited.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh. Crap.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:02:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cool; both Czech and Brit can leave the EU.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 04:35:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Russia's Medvedev to make historic state visit to Switzerland | France 24
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to discuss the economic crisis, among other bilateral issues, with his Swiss counterpart when he makes the first state visit of a Russian President to Switzerland on Monday.

AFP - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to discuss the economic crisis, bilateral issues and the reform of the G20 with his Swiss counterpart when he makes a state visit to Switzerland Monday, said a Swiss government spokeswoman.
  
Medvedev is scheduled to meet Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz Monday when they will also broach topics surrounding "security policies in Europe in reference to Switzerland's mandate as a mediator between Russia and Georgia," said the spokeswoman.
  
Bern has been representing the interests of the two countries in their respective capitals.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French Clearstream trial: timeline of key events - Telegraph
France's "trial of the century" will open in Paris on Monday when Dominique de Villepin, a former prime minister, stands accused of running a smear campaign to destroy Nicolas Sarkozy's bid for the presidency.

Below is a timeline of key events.

January 2004: Then-Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin asks a retired general to investigate lists naming people alleged to have secret accounts with Luxembourg clearing house Clearstream used to hold bribes.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:02:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France's Epic Political Rivalry: Villepin on Trial Over Alleged Plot to Slander Sarkozy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Secret bank accounts, forged lists of names, ex-spies -- and two political rivals who wanted to destroy each other. The trial of France's former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin starts on Monday. His involvement in a financial scandal earned him the personal enmity of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

It is a first for France's Fifth Republic, a legal drama of historic dimensions and a personal showdown between the current president and his former archrival in the French conservatives. On Monday, the trial begins of the former prime minister -- and with it a media storm.

Former Prime Minster Dominique de Villepin and a handful of prominent fellow defendants are faced with charges relating to their role in the shady Clearstream scandal. If Villepin is found guilty it would mark the political demise of a man who in February 2003, as French foreign minister, gave an outstanding performance at the UN General Assembly in New York when he outlined "Old Europe's" opposition to the US plans to invade Iraq.

Now the gifted poet and author of historical works is seeing his past finally catch up with him. The Clearstream affair first came to light in 2004 with allegations surrounding accounts at a subsidiary of Deutsche Börse, the German stock exchange. Lists suddenly appeared which seemed to prove that members of the elite of French society held secret accounts with the Luxembourg-based clearing house -- including President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then a cabinet minister.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Offensive start for Villepin on first day of trial | France 24
A trial pitting President Nicolas Sarkozy (right) against his arch rival, former PM Dominique de Villepin (left), opened on Monday amid questions of whether de Villepin can get a fair trial with the sitting president as a plaintiff.

One of the most acrimonious rivalries in recent French politics got under way Monday with the opening of a trial in which former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is accused of plotting to defame Nicolas Sarkozy before he became president by falsely accusing him of receiving kickbacks.


As Villepin arrived at the courthouse on Monday flanked by his wife and children, he insisted that the case was being propelled by Sarkozy alone.

 

"I am here because of one man's will," he said upon arriving at court. "I am here because of the dogged determination of one man, Nicolas Sarkozy."

 

"I will come out of this a free man and exonerated," he told reporters. "I know that truth will prevail."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
De Villepin attacks Nicolas Sarkozy as Clearstream trial begins - Telegraph
Dominique de Villepin, the former French prime minister, lashed out at his rival Nicolas Sarkozy as he went on trial on charges of plotting to smear the president.

"I am here because of the will of one man, I am here because of the dogged determination of one man, Nicolas Sarkozy," he said before entering the courtroom.

"I will come out of this a free man and exonerated," he said, adding that "I know that truth will prevail."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clearstream flashbacks on ET: here and here.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 02:15:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Berlusconi advocates creation of `core Europe' if Ireland says No again

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has suggested that if the Irish people vote against the Lisbon Treaty a second time, a group of European Union member states should move to create a "core Europe" in order to implement the treaty.

"If the Lisbon Treaty on EU reform does not pass, we need to completely revisit the current functioning of Europe to create a core of states that operate beyond unanimity," said Mr Berlusconi on Friday (18 September) at a press conference after meeting with Premier Slovenian Borut Pahor, according to Italian state broadcaster RAI News 24.

Mr Berlusconi says a 'core Europe' will need to be built if Ireland says No again

Mr Pahor was in Italy for a working visit to discuss greater economic co-operation between Rome and Ljubljana, talks on companies from the neighbouring entering foreign markets jointly, and the drafting of budgets in the current economic crisis.

"Europe cannot truly take decisions because decisions must be taken unanimously and that cannot continue," said Mr Berlusconi.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:03:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, what we need is a charismatic leader, a decision maker, a man undistracted by mere nationalist concerns, maybe a man who can never go back to his country.

His demands are small, a discreet but regular supply of young girls is the merest bauble he could ask that we, a grateful europe, should supply for the benevolence of his grace.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 05:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not as if this idea is even new:

Multi-speed Europe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Multi-speed Europe or two-speed Europe (called also variable geometry Europe or Core Europe depending on the form it would take in practice) is a concept that has been debated for years in European political circles, as a way to solve some institutional issues. It is currently possible for a minimum of eight EU member states to use enhanced co-operation, but this has not yet been used.

German Wikipedia dates the discussion to 2003.

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 Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:20:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue only became current after the Nice Treary. Before that there was hope of being able to advance in unison.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 04:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Greater EU harmony with foreign service, says diplomat

EUOBSERVER / SHANGHAI - An EU diplomatic service would greatly help the bloc define more unified positions when dealing with external countries says the European Commission's top representative in China.

Ambassador Serge Abou also sees future EU ambassadors becoming "primus inter pares [first among equals]" in areas of EU competence, when compared to member state diplomats working overseas.

Serge Abou, European commission ambassador to China

"Their role will not be to represent the view of France, Germany or Spain but to represent the views of all of us [27 member states]," the Frenchman with over 35 years experience working in the European Commission told EUobserver in a recent interview.

The commission currently has over 150 delegations overseas, primarily dealing with issues where member states have handed authority over to the Brussels-based institution.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:05:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Report: Independent Experts Blame Georgia for South Ossetia War - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

An EU expert commission has put the blame for last summer's South Ossetia war on Georgia, but also holds Russia partly responsible, SPIEGEL has learned. The findings, which are still under wraps, are likely to reignite the debate on the causes of the war when they are published.

The independent commission appointed by the European Union to investigate the war between Georgia and Russia last summer has concluded that Tbilisi is responsible for causing the five-day conflict, SPIEGEL has learned.

According to diplomats in Brussels who are familiar with the contents of the secret document, the EU experts also assign part of the responsibility for the war to Russia, however. The report, which stems from an initiative by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his colleagues from the Benelux countries, concludes that Moscow escalated the conflict through its massive deployment of troops.

The international commission, which is headed by Heidi Tagliavini, wants to keep its findings under wraps until next week because the Swiss diplomat first wants to present the controversial results to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. After that, the ambassadors of the 27 EU member states in Brussels and the Georgian and Russian governments will be simultaneously informed of the commission's findings.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU turns blind eye to 'inhuman' Italy-Libya migrant pact, watchdog says

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - While Italy's policy of intercepting and returning migrant boats to Libya - in breach of international and European law according to a new report - dumps potential refugees in a country where they cannot make asylum claims and are arrested, kept for ransom and in some cases simply left in the desert to die, the EU remains keen to move forward with enhancing ties with Tripoli.

A 92-page Human Rights Watch report, released on Monday (21 September) as EU justice and home affairs ministers were gathering in Brussels for their monthly meeting, with immigration high on the agenda, examines what it describes as the "brutal" treatment of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Libya through the eyes of those who have managed to leave and are currently in Italy and Malta.

"Conditions ... generally qualify as inhuman and degrading," the report accuses.

"One member state is going out and openly violating international law by intercepting migrants and maybe many refugees, sending them off to undergo degrading treatment, giving them no opportunity to seek asylum," Bill Frelick, author of the report told EUobserver.

"Can Europe wash its hands of this?" he asked.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:09:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian cabinet minister accuses Left of plotting coup - Telegraph
An Italian cabinet minister sparked outrage on Monday when he accused Left-wing critics of Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, of plotting a "coup".

Renato Brunetta, the public administration minister and a member of Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party, said the Left should all "go away and die".

Mr Berlusconi, 72, has been dogged by scandal for the entire summer-long scandal and insists that all the claims are all part of a plot to discredit him.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:11:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing we haven't read before from the EuroTrib expert reporting byline of DoDo

Trains in Spain signal the future - BBC News

The 0830 service from Madrid to Barcelona departs promptly and without fuss.
With no lengthy check-in queues, and a slick security control, many passengers had turned up at the Spanish capital's Atocha rail terminal at the last minute, safe in the knowledge that they would still catch their train.
On board, continental breakfast and the morning newspapers are digested, as the city suburbs whizz by. At this hour, the clientele are mostly business-types - people who would previously have made the trip by air, but now prefer the train.
"Door-to-door, I find the train is faster," explains Francisco Lopez, travelling to meet new work colleagues in the Catalan capital.


Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:55:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they couldn't help:

BBC NEWS | Europe | Trains in Spain signal the future

"The Spanish model is very different from the populist approach of France - where passengers pay lower fares for a lower standard of service," explains Prof Josep Sayeras of the Esade Business School in Barcelona."


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lower standard of service!!??

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ELECTIONS IN EUROPE
Germany

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:54:17 PM EST
The World from Berlin: 'Socialists and Communists' Must Not Be Allowed to Rule Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The leader of Germany's business-friendly Free Democratic Party says he will not form a ruling coalition with the Social Democrats, no matter what happens at the upcoming elections. German commentators on Monday contemplate the difficulties facing all the parties in forming viable alliances after Sunday's vote.

It had been nicknamed the "traffic light coalition" but now one of the partners in this potential political alliance has given it the red light. The prospective coalition is named after the colors associated with the German political parties -- red for center-left Social Democrats, yellow for the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) and green for, unsurprisingly, the Greens.

Whether the coalition could ever come to fruition anyway is obviously dependent on the outcome of German federal elections to be held this coming weekend. However, at a party conference held by the FDP over the weekend the party seemed to rule out any kind of alliance with the SPD. The Social Democrats, who have been steadily gaining in the polls as the election nears had been making overtures toward the FDP.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:06:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:54:44 PM EST
EUobserver / Brussels to propose new powers for financial supervisors

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Three new supervisory authorities in the areas of banking, insurance and securities look set to gain important powers under proposed legislation to be published by the European Commission this Wednesday (23 September).

Current drafts of the legislation bestow the three authorities, whose job will be to supervise individual financial institutions, with a co-ordinating role in emergency cases such as the shutting down of stock markets or calling a halt to short selling following a terrorist strike.

The new authorities look set to gain powers to settle disputes between national supervisors

Final negotiations on the format of Wednesday's publications have yet to be finalised, with commission cabinet heads meeting this evening before commissioners give their final seal of approval on the texts.

As the legislation currently stands, the authorities will also be mandated to rule on disputes between home and host national supervisors, for instance on the need to recapitalise a cross-border bank.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:59:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Limit EU Bank Bonuses Even if US Doesn't: Barroso - Financials * Europe * News * Story - CNBC.com

The European Union should go ahead with imposing limits on bankers' bonuses even if the United States does not after this week's G20 summit in Pittsburgh, European Commission president Jose-Manuel Barroso said on Sunday.

"It would be interesting, important, useful to have if possible the same rules in the world (...) to have the Americans at our side," he told the France TV5 television station.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:09:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Op-Ed Columnist - Reform or Bust - NYTimes.com
In the grim period that followed Lehman's failure, it seemed inconceivable that bankers would, just a few months later, be going right back to the practices that brought the world's financial system to the edge of collapse. At the very least, one might have thought, they would show some restraint for fear of creating a public backlash.

But now that we've stepped back a few paces from the brink -- thanks, let's not forget, to immense, taxpayer-financed rescue packages -- the financial sector is rapidly returning to business as usual. Even as the rest of the nation continues to suffer from rising unemployment and severe hardship, Wall Street paychecks are heading back to pre-crisis levels. And the industry is deploying its political clout to block even the most minimal reforms.

The good news is that senior officials in the Obama administration and at the Federal Reserve seem to be losing patience with the industry's selfishness. The bad news is that it's not clear whether President Obama himself is ready, even now, to take on the bankers.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:11:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G-20 Is Urged to Raise Bank Reserves - NYTimes.com

FRANKFURT -- World leaders at the Group of 20 meeting this week should force banks to build up their reserves substantially to avoid another acute financial crisis, a leading association of regulatory experts said Monday.

Lurking behind the appeal from the European Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee, a panel of academics and former regulators, is a fear that the political momentum for deep-seated reform may be waning as the financial crisis ebbs. Although a recent meeting of G-20 finance ministers in London discussed ideas for increasing the reserves that banks must hold against losses, there was little sense of urgency. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said he wanted to see a final agreement by the end of next year.

Harald Benink, a professor of banking and finance at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and a member of the shadow committee, said the global effort to revamp banking regulation had slowed badly as officials became bogged down in debates over executive pay. But only higher reserves will avoid future crises, he said.

"There is no point in doing anything but talking about how much capital banks need to have on hand," Mr. Benink said.



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 Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:11:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German bank makes needless $45 million payment to Goldman Sachs | Business | Deutsche Welle | 21.09.2009
The struggling HSH Nordbank - itself a recipient of billions of euros of government aid - wired $45 million to the American investment bank Goldman Sachs, although a deadline for the payment had passed.  

According to a German public radio report, Goldman Sachs had purchased insurance from HSH Nordbank against defaulting credits of another American investment bank, Lehman Brothers.

The HSH Nordbank was reportedly obligated to pay $45 million (30 million euros) in compensation directly following the Lehman collapse in September 2008.

Goldman Sachs, however, failed to demand the payment in time, waiting until November - some three weeks after the deadline had gone by.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:10:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nrc.nl - International - Royal family in firing line on spending cuts
Members of the Dutch royal family should have their budget cut, say many members of parliament.

Sometimes a financial crisis also affects members of the royal family. Following the oil crisis in 1973, queen Juliana swapped her Cadillac for a much more economical Ford Granada. She did not think it appropriate to continue driving around in a gas guzzler. But she also had another motive, according to the 2001 book Royal Motoring: she hoped for more privacy in a smaller car.

During last week's debate on the government's 2010 spending plans the question was raised as to whether the current financial crisis should also affect the royal family. Geert Wilders, leader of the populist Party for Freedom (PVV), began the discussion: "If everyone has to tighten their belt, does it apply to the royal family?" A 20 percent cut overall, which the government wants, must also be possible for the royals, said Wilders. "They're not the world's poorest."

They certainly are not. Queen Beatrix will receive 5.1 million euros from the state in 2010. Of this, 843,000 euros is salary and 4.3 million euro for expenses such as staff and equipment. Prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima each receive 248,000 euros in 'salary' and a joint 1.5 million euros for expenses. But opposition parliamentarians were more concerned about the increase in their personal allowance. Beatrix's income will rise by 30,000 euros and both the prince and princess will receive an extra 7,000 euros.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:12:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I detect agoraphobia in their jeans?

"[S]he hoped for more privacy in a smaller car." He hoped for more privacy at sea.

Royals win holiday photo court case, ahem, LOL

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 06:08:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ellen Brown: Landmark Decision Promises Massive Relief for Homeowners and Trouble for Banks
A landmark ruling in a recent Kansas Supreme Court case may have given millions of distressed homeowners the legal wedge they need to avoid foreclosure. In Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, 2009 Kan. LEXIS 834, the Kansas Supreme Court held that a nominee company called MERS has no right or standing to bring an action for foreclosure. MERS is an acronym for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, a private company that registers mortgages electronically and tracks changes in ownership. The significance of the holding is that if MERS has no standing to foreclose, then nobody has standing to foreclose -- on 60 million mortgages. That is the number of American mortgages currently reported to be held by MERS. Over half of all new U.S. residential mortgage loans are registered with MERS and recorded in its name. Holdings of the Kansas Supreme Court are not binding on the rest of the country, but they are dicta of which other courts take note; and the reasoning behind the decision is sound.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 03:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By law, I believe, the foreclosing entity needs to be able to produce the original deed and a verifiable chain of custody for that deed.  In their greed and arrogance, the mortgage banking industry apparently forgot that little nuisance of a fact.  Wheeeee! 60 million owners that hold their house free and clear. That should free up some money for consumption. Plus, we have finally actually discovered the true worth of most of the MBS backlog.  IT IS ZERO!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 08:52:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gordon Brown's plan for Chinese to put world economy back in balance | Business | The Guardian

Gordon Brown is to set out proposals at the G20 this week aimed at boosting Chinese consumer demand and ending the global economy's reliance on the American shopper.

The plan is one of the centrepieces of Brown's four-day economic and diplomatic blitz in the US at the UN general assembly in New York and the G20 in Pittsburgh.

Economists have long warned of the dangers of imbalances in the global economy - specifically huge trade surpluses and currency reserves built up by exporters such as China, and big deficits in the US and other economies.

Brown, Barack Obama and the IMF have been looking jointly at ways in which new global systems can be put in place to encourage the Chinese to stop accumulating large reserves, built up to inoculate themselves from volatile capital flows.

"The 15-year period when the world economy can rely on the American consumer to drag the world out of recession is over," said one British official. "We need a new motor for growth."

Brown's aides are hoping the world stage can still provide the right personal backdrop for a desperately needed triumph at the Labour conference next week.

Brown is this year's chairman of the G20, although the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday is being chaired by Obama.

Brown's officials have been looking at an insurance pool for the G20 largest economies that would reduce incentives for build-ups of reserves. Under one model the insurance pool would function like a reserve fund, offering participants a short-term credit line they could call upon during a crisis.

Brown's ideas have been developed with Obama and the IMF, and it is hoped the insurance scheme would be a way of encouraging China to reduce its trade surplus and revalue its currency.

Obama said this weekend: "We can't go back to the era where the Chinese or the Germans are selling everything to us, we're taking out a bunch of credit card debt or home equity loans, but we're not selling anything to them."

He said making sure there was a more balanced economy in future was a key aim of the G20 meeting, just as much as co-ordinating strategies to exit from the current round of fiscal stimulus.

G20 officials have also been discussing an annual G20-led peer review process by which they would hold each other accountable for implementing economic policies that led to more balanced growth.

But Brown's officials argue that if no insurance funds are available, countries have every incentive to build up current account trade surpluses so as to create large currency reserves, leading them to lock up their wealth in unproductive low-return liquid government bonds. China owns $2.1tn (£1.3tn) in foreign currency reserves, much of which is believed to be in US dollars.

Keynes International Clearing Union approach was that both those with positive (the Gesellian approach) and negative "Bancor" balances should pay a charge, which would implicitly have been into such a pool.

This proposal seems not a million miles away from the Guarantee Society and credit clearing ideas I've been working on for about four years.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 05:10:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with such insurance lies in the assumption that such failures will be uncorrelated.  There is no way to insure against meltdowns, where correlations go to unity.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 08:56:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The brilliance of Keynes' Clearing Union is that, by charging interest on both positive and negative balances, an automatic negative feedback loop is introduced that moderates imbalances in national accounts regardless of the direction of the imbalance.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 04:16:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see!  Instead of merely accumulating reserves to pay for a crash, the tax on positive or negative trade balances works to discipline the international market so that the likelihood of a crash is diminished, and, should that discipline fail, to raise money in some reasonable proportion to the accumulated risk.  Brilliant indeed.

The one risk that it can't control is that of deregulation ideologues successfully lobbying for a reduction of the tax rate or a pay out of the reserves on the grounds that they are a drag on the economy.  Had we been able to resist that kind of deregulatory pressure we would likely not be here today for reasons other than a Keynes Clearing Union, but such an arrangement cannot hurt the stability of world trade.  The transition to such a Union today would be interesting, to say the least.

Thanks for the timely explanation.    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 09:27:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had read the story of how Keynes' clearing union didn't come to pass from another source, but this just-googled one will do:

Monbiot.com » Clearing Up This Mess (November 18, 2008)

When Keynes began to explain his idea, in papers published in 1942 and 1943, it detonated in the minds of all who read it. The British economist Lionel Robbins reported that "it would be difficult to exaggerate the electrifying effect on thought throughout the whole relevant apparatus of government ... nothing so imaginative and so ambitious had ever been discussed"(5). Economists all over the world saw that Keynes had cracked it. As the Allies prepared for the Bretton Woods conference, Britain adopted Keynes's solution as its official negotiating position.

But there was one country - at the time the world's biggest creditor - in which his proposal was less welcome. The head of the US delegation at Bretton Woods, Harry Dexter White, responded to Lord Keynes's idea thus: "We have been perfectly adamant on that point. We have taken the position of absolutely no"(6). Instead he proposed an International Stabilisation Fund, which would place the entire burden of maintaining the balance of trade on the deficit nations. It would place no limits on the surplus that successful exporters could accumulate. He also suggested an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which would provide capital for economic reconstruction after the war. White, backed by the financial clout of the US Treasury, prevailed. The International Stabilisation Fund became the International Monetary Fund. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development remains the principal lending arm of the World Bank.

The consequences, especially for the poorest indebted countries, have been catastrophic. Acting on behalf of the rich world, imposing conditions which no free country would tolerate, the IMF has bled them dry. As Joseph Stiglitz has shown, the Fund compounds existing economic crises and creates crises where none existed before. It has destabilised exchange rates, exacerbated balance of payments problems, forced countries into debt and recession, wrecked public services and destroyed the jobs and incomes of tens of millions of people(7).

That was when the US had 50% of world GDP and was a creditor nation. Maybe now that the US is drowning in its own excrementdebt they might be persuaded to implement something akin to Keynes' ideas. But would China (the new economic giant and creditor nation) and Wall Street (the US' creditor-within) allow it?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:48:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The head of the US delegation at Bretton Woods, Harry Dexter White, responded to Lord Keynes's idea thus: "We have been perfectly adamant on that point. We have taken the position of absolutely no"

Said the predator to the prey. "We don't like veggies, and you are our next meal."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:03:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's worth a look at Wikipedia on Harry Dexter White. Also an IMF article on HDW and Keynes at Bretton Woods:

Finance & Development September 1998 - Harry Dexter White and the International Monetary Fund

Where the two founding fathers differed most was on the third theme: how independent and how powerful should the IMF be? To Keynes, what the world needed was an independent countervailing balance to American economic power, a world central bank that could regulate the flow of credit both in the aggregate and in its distribution. To White, what was needed was an adjunct to American economic power, an agency that could promote the balanced growth of international trade in a way that preserved the central role of the U.S. dollar in international finance.

Because White prevailed in that argument, and the IMF became a dollar-based institution, the Bretton Woods system contained a fatal flaw. For international reserves to keep pace with the growth in world trade required an ever-expanding supply of dollars, which as the economist Robert Triffin observed in the late 1950s was incompatible with the preservation of a stable value for the dollar.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because White prevailed in that argument, and the IMF became a dollar-based institution, the Bretton Woods system contained a fatal flaw. For international reserves to keep pace with the growth in world trade required an ever-expanding supply of dollars, which as the economist Robert Triffin observed in the late 1950s was incompatible with the preservation of a stable value for the dollar.

Even in the eyes of US financial and economic elites at that time, with the Depression still a clear and vivid personal and professional memory, a stable dollar came a distant second to the opportunity for more rapid enrichment for them and their class.  What did dollar stability matter if stability itself would be defined in terms of the dollar?  Clearly, it was other peoples' problem.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ChrisCook:
"The 15-year period when the world economy can rely on the American consumer to drag the world out of recession is over," said one British official.

So the world economy since the early '90s has essentially been in recession, only "dragged out" of it by US consumer debt? That's an amazing admission from a British official, considering that New Labour's sizzling neolib economy that was such an example to fuddy-duddy Europe is entirely contained in those fifteen years.

And so we also get this other kind of rewriting of history:

ChrisCook:

Economists have long warned of the dangers of imbalances in the global economy - specifically huge trade surpluses and currency reserves built up by exporters such as China, and big deficits in the US and other economies.

Have they now? If my memory serves me well, there were no audible warnings before we hit the wall.

(Sorry, Chris, it's meta, I know...)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 02:43:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:

And so we also get this other kind of rewriting of history:

ChrisCook:

Economists have long warned of the dangers of imbalances in the global economy - specifically huge trade surpluses and currency reserves built up by exporters such as China, and big deficits in the US and other economies.

Have they now? If my memory serves me well, there were no audible warnings before we hit the wall.

Well... At least since 2005, if not earlier.

Correcting Global Imbalances -- Avoiding the Blame Game, Remarks by Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director, IMF (February 23, 2005)

For my remarks tonight, I have chosen to focus on the issue of global imbalances. In doing this, I shall also deal with a theme that FPA members like yourselves will relate to naturally, and that is the theme of international cooperation. As you will appreciate, it is such cooperation that will help us deal with the imbalances problem.

...

Looking ahead, last year's momentum should ensure that global growth remains robust in 2005. This is all good news so far. However, within these positive signs lie serious threats and challenges. We are all aware of the large US current account and fiscal deficits. These are matched--or financed, if you will--by growing surpluses in Japan, emerging Asia, and certain oil-exporting countries. This constellation of large deficits in one country, with counterpart surpluses being concentrated in a few others, is what we mean when we speak of global imbalances.

Related to these imbalances, and to complicate matters further, global growth has been, and remains, unduly dependent on the United States and China. Non-oil exports to the US in 2004, for example, accounted for 18 percent of global trade. In the euro area and Japan--which together account for nearly one-quarter of global output--under-performance continues to be the order of the day. If this trend persists, it will further widen existing imbalances, and increase the risks for abrupt disruptions to global growth. Yet, things need not be this way.



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 04:15:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose examples can be found. But the overall tenor of discourse from patented economists was not to sound a warning about grave imbalances.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 04:59:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, we're talking the IMF managing director. And he did so repeatedly. And I think his predecessor did, too. And the OECD, and... It doesn't get more serious than that.

However, nobody was listening.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:03:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll give you that.

How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? - NYTimes.com

There was a telling moment in 2005, at a conference held to honor Greenspan's tenure at the Fed. One brave attendee, Raghuram Rajan (of the University of Chicago, surprisingly), presented a paper warning that the financial system was taking on potentially dangerous levels of risk. He was mocked by almost all present -- including, by the way, Larry Summers, who dismissed his warnings as "misguided."

...

Take, for example, the precipitous rise and fall of housing prices. Some economists, notably Robert Shiller, did identify the bubble and warn of painful consequences if it were to burst. Yet key policy makers failed to see the obvious. In 2004, Alan Greenspan dismissed talk of a housing bubble: "a national severe price distortion," he declared, was "most unlikely." Home-price increases, Ben Bernanke said in 2005, "largely reflect strong economic fundamentals."

...

But there was something else going on: a general belief that bubbles just don't happen. What's striking, when you reread Greenspan's assurances, is that they weren't based on evidence -- they were based on the a priori assertion that there simply can't be a bubble in housing. And the finance theorists were even more adamant on this point. In a 2007 interview, Eugene Fama, the father of the efficient-market hypothesis, declared that "the word `bubble' drives me nuts," and went on to explain why we can trust the housing market: "Housing markets are less liquid, but people are very careful when they buy houses. It's typically the biggest investment they're going to make, so they look around very carefully and they compare prices. The bidding process is very detailed."



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:12:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who listens to the IMF's MD?

How many divisions bonuses does the IMF manage?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More from 2005:

FRB: Speech, Bernanke -- The Global Saving Glut and the U.S. Current Account Deficit -March 10, 2005

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But these pious speeches from functionaries who are supposed to show a certain prudential spirit don't characterize the message from economists in general. Though the media were certainly channeling the appropriate CW, economists were not making any notable counter-effort to be heard with a warning. It probably wasn't the best way to be taken "serious"ly.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:39:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is not that "there were no warnings" or that the warnings that there were were "pious" or perfunctorily made by people whose job it is to sound grave and prudent. The problem is that, when well-placed individuals even at the top of the regulatory/policy apparatus saw that there was an imbalance and warned about it, they still believed that the best policy response was to leave the market to its own devices. As if saying "tsk, tsk" were enough to make speculators think twice about the soundness of their business decisions. To give an example not involving the US economy or Greenspan, consider Hungary's foreign-currency consumer loans. I wrote
What is remarkable is that the same causes of the currency fluctuations were quoted back then (large amounts of loans in foreign currencies) and nobody has done anything about it. Our friend Ambrose again (he seems to be the only one to have talked about that mythical unpublished report "deja vu all over again" from the IMF).
Borrowers have rushed to take out loans in francs and other currencies, but murmurs over the exchange risks are growing, reports Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Budapest (21 Sep 2006)

...

Over 60pc of total loans to businesses and households are now in foreign currencies, and damn the exchange risk. Though Hungary is the region's pioneer with some $2bn a year in Swiss franc loans, Poland, Croatia, Romania, and lately Turkey are catching up fast. This is Europe's "carry trade", every bit as creative as the better-known yen trade that has juiced the world's asset markets with liquidity at near zero interest rates from the Bank of Japan.

...

"There is nothing we can do to stop foreign exchange borrowing, and we don't even try. As members of the European Union, we have to respect the free flow of capital," he [Hamezc Istvan, director of Hungary's Central Bank] said.

The Central Banker blames the government '4 years ago' (that would be 2002) for making a mess of the economy. Who was in power in 2002? A fistful of Euros also carried the story.
(my emphasis) Here's another regulator who sees his country's private borrowers engage in a carry trade and, what does he say? "There is nothing we can do".

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 09:47:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No argument from me on that, except to point out that the regulator in the example is presumably himself competent/trained/got some degree in economics, and that the important bit is the blind assumption that the market would work out the problem if left undisturbed. This conventional wisdom is the fruit of years of economic orthodoxy that a few sincere and a few less sincere voices did not break through.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 04:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, among others, Nouriel Roubini, Brad Setser and Joseph Stiglitz did repeatedly warn about global imbalances long before we hit the wall (street).

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 06:54:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How much support did they get from their fellow economists? Or rather, how many economists were content to let them be seen as doom merchants, or politically motivated, or fringe?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:20:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What, so you agree that "nobody could foresee...?"

We know it could be foreseen because it was foreseen by economists (not just by bloggers), who did voice their concerns about the global imbalances. Even Greenspan talked about "irrational exuberance" in the 1990's. Krugman thought the depression woud hit after the .com crash. And so on.

The fact is that these warnings were not heeded, not even by the people with the power to do anything about it (such as Greenspan ca. 2003).

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:41:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FRB: Speech, Greenspan -- Central banking in a democratic society -- December 5, 1996
Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. We can see that in the inverse relationship exhibited by price/earnings ratios and the rate of inflation in the past. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade? And how do we factor that assessment into monetary policy? We as central bankers need not be concerned if a collapsing financial asset bubble does not threaten to impair the real economy, its production, jobs, and price stability. Indeed, the sharp stock market break of 1987 had few negative consequences for the economy. But we should not underestimate or become complacent about the complexity of the interactions of asset markets and the economy. Thus, evaluating shifts in balance sheets generally, and in asset prices particularly, must be an integral part of the development of monetary policy.


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:47:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course I don't agree that "nobody could foresee...". But that line was only made possible because economists - in general - did not shout and wave their arms about the danger. Any economist should have been capable of reading the global-imbalances-writing on the wall. How seriously did they decide to speak out, to work together to get the message across?

As I suggested to Melanchthon, most were content to leave those who did speak out to carry on as voices in the wilderness.

(PS Greenspan doesn't count as one who "spoke out" ;)).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 08:10:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you mean that the economists as a body/institution did not play the role they should have played, then I totally agree. I think it's me that coined the name "Sacred Congregation for the Propagation the Economic Faith" or "Holy Economics Office", meaning that most so-called "economists" were mere catechists/preachers, not scientists.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 08:25:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how many economists were content to let them be seen as doom merchants, or politically motivated, or fringe?
Not many. On this we agree. But it's another thing to say:
there were no audible warnings before we hit the wall.
Unless you're saying none of them was "audible".

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 08:17:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point up there at the beginning was about the way a narrative was being presented about the years preceding the breakdown. Audible, in the sense that enough people could hear loud enough to start taking notice, no, there was not much. Audible neither in the MSM, nor the business and financial media. Those who spoke out were easily marginalised, which means that the majority of economists did not accept their views as serious, or at least were not willing to join their voices in warning. If enough of them had done so... it still might not have changed the face of things, but today we could fairly say "the economists did try to warn us".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 04:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. The question then is: how come the economists who foresaw it did not succeed in being heard, despite the fact that some of them were well-known and had media access? It is a multidimensional problem: political, economic, sociological, psychological and cultural. I pointed to that in this comment. It would require a whole diary.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The real problem is that those who sounded warning still subscribed to the panglossian view that the market is the best of all possible worlds, even if it is out of balance.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:32:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which, in a sense, is why the technical concerns they raised did not have the full value of warnings.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:16:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gordon Brown voit la taxe Tobin d'un bon oeil - LeMonde.fr  Gordon Brown sees the Tobin tax favourably - LeMonde.fr
A trois jours du G20 de Pittsburgh, le premier ministre britannique Gordon Brown a déclaré lors d'une interview que la création d'une taxe mondiale destinée à réduire les comportements à risques des banques "vaut le coup d'être examinée".Three days before the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has declared in an interview that the creation of a global tax aiming at reducing the banks' risky behaviors "is worth being considered".


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 05:31:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The people who published a fake edition of the NYT a while ago have done the same with the NY Post with a special issue on global warning.

Main headline

WE'RE SCREWED
Other quotes
According to a high tech study commissioned by a concerned Mayor Bloomberg and generously funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, climate change caused by human-created greenhouse gases is threatening the health, livelihood and security of New Yorkers--especially those who take the subway to work.

Congress to New York: "Swim for it!"

Pentagon top brass warn: Act now, or pay later with `lives'

O's Grandma Goes Solar

Crap and Trade

No Fire Without Smoke

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have teamed up to bring Dr. Seuss's environmental tale, The Lorax, to a big screen near you on Seuss's birthday in 2012. The film will be animated and is slated to be written by the duo behind Horton Hears a Who. The story features a selfish entrepreneur who clear-cuts the forest of all of its Truffala trees leaving no homes for the animals.

Actually, behind the NY Post-style headlines ("Flopenhagen: Will Things Go Rotten in the State of Denmark?") there seems to be a lot of serious content and links to real sites.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 06:25:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Link New York Post-Sept 21, 2009

We're Screwed

Crap and Trade
Cap and trade. It sounds like a kind of street hustle. And in its way it is. But the street is Wall Street and the hustle is designed to collect a lot more than nickels and dimes from gullible passersby.
 10:07 AM

Pentagon top brass warn: Act now, or pay later with `lives'
The Pentagon has run the numbers. And they've decided global warming is real, it's happening now, and it's a US national security threat. Unless we take action now, the US military will be drawn into wars fueled by climate change.
 8:59 AM

Congress cops out on climate
Danger is in our CO2-laden air--the danger that Obama will head to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference this December without a climate bill from Congress in his pocket.
 8:55 AM

No Fire Without Smoke
The Obama administration is spending $2.4 billion on "clean coal" carbon capture and storage projects. But the Post has learned that the coal industry's claims about "clean coal" technology are misleading.
8:45 AM

Congress to New York: "Swim for it!"
Congress isn't taking the action that's needed to prevent global warming. And according to state-of-the-art scientific research by the Pentagon, as well as a blue-chip panel commissioned by Mayor Bloomberg, the disastrous results of that climate change could soon be coming to a metropolitan area near you.



Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 06:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT Alphaville
It's not every day you see a correlation quite like this:

Indeed, as the chart's providers, RBC Capital Markets, noted on Tuesday -- net speculative long positions on Comex reached a new all-time high of 28.5 MMoz last week, while aggregate gold ounces under management of the six largest gold ETFs increased only slightly week over week to 49.1 MMoz.

All of which foretells, according to RBC:

The weak physical demand for gold combined with the rapid rise in the speculative activity could give rise to a sharp correction, especially if the US dollar rallies.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:06:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Toxic assets in the 18th century | vox - Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists
The global financial crisis has revived the old debate on optimal regulation in the money and credit markets. The current debate is centred on how to regulate highly sophisticated financial markets, yet the pros and cons are similar to those observed a few centuries ago, when paper money emerged and became the state of the art in the money market. Actually, problems of regulation appear whenever financial innovations change the ways capital markets operate.

Looking at this history, e.g. the study of Davis (1896) on banking in Massachusetts, can help us understand the turbulent recent developments. In recent work, we touch on these issues by studying the evolution of paper money and its influence on economic efficiency and financial stability (Levintal and Zeira 2009).



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:14:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 

 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:55:04 PM EST
Obama open to newspaper bailout bill - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room
Obama said that good journalism is "critical to the health of our democracy," but expressed concern toward growing tends in reporting -- especially on political blogs, from which a groundswell of support for his campaign emerged during the presidential election.

"I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding," he said.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:58:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
"I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,"

say wha?

he's not reading the right blogs then...

what he said is more true of tv and the press, blogging, being open source, has much more recourse to research and fact checks through sheer numbers of curious people ready to go dig deeper than the tradmed does, especially lately.

sure, blogs are heavy with opinions as well as facts, but that's part of what makes them so satisfying at their best, it's more real as reflection of our natures, which slipslide from sublimely serious to ridiculously silly without missing a beat.

there's a balance there that's missing from stuffier forms of media. of course there are blogs like redstate and lgf that whip up the budding becks of this world, but if they are the bathwater, no need to flush the most interestingly new form of media for decades along with them.

way to miss the point, o-man!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:17:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
he's not reading the right blogs then...

I'm sure you meant to say, "Not the left blogs"... ;)

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 Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:24:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or he's only reading the right blogs!

or the wrong ones.

oh forget it
:)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 05:07:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He is surrounded by bona fide Serious People, all of whom regard newspapers as their true and most dignified home.

He isn't going to get a good press coverage by saying that their fact checking is deficient and they need the blogs to stay honest.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 05:07:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this from the Onion?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 08:39:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | EU's Barroso warns of climate change 'deadlock' | France 24
UN climate change talks are "dangerously close to deadlock," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is to warn on Monday, kicking off a week that could prove crucial for efforts to halt global warming.

REUTERS - U.N. climate change talks are "dangerously close to deadlock," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will warn on Monday, kicking off a week that could prove critical for efforts to halt global warming.

 


The head of the European Union's executive will challenge developing nations to commit to greenhouse gas emissions curbs to get financial support from industrial nations, according to excerpts of his remarks obtained by Reuters.


"Europe's message to the developing world is that if you are serious about the challenge of cutting emissions, we will be there to help," Barroso will say at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:59:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europeans Say U.S. Lacks Will on Climate - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- As world leaders gather in New York for the highest-level conference yet on climate change, European leaders are expressing growing unease about the United States' stance in international talks aimed at reaching a global agreement in Copenhagen in December.

Officials of several European countries have cited what they see as a lack of political will on the part of the United States to adequately address climate change. The American reluctance to accept any agreement that would require legally binding and internationally enforceable targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could doom the Copenhagen session, they said.

Ahead of this week's climate talks at the United Nations, the Europeans also expressed little hope that the United States Senate would act on a climate bill before the Copenhagen talks begin. They said the lack of domestic consensus sows doubt about whether the United States can keep any pledges it makes at Copenhagen, either on the level of reductions in global warming emissions or on financial commitments to help developing nations adapt to a changing climate.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:00:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that close shave for barroso has lit a fire under his ass, n'est-ce pas?

look busy!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:20:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing will happen, because no one who really matters cares. And no, Europe doesn't matter - our agregate emissions are too small.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 08:40:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Barack Obama to face tough questions on US foreign policy - Telegraph
President Barack Obama faces the sternest test of his international leadership this week when he attends the United Nations and chairs a G20 summit, amid growing doubts about his grandiose vision for US foreign policy.

When he addresses the 64th UN General Assembly, which opens tomorrow, Mr Obama will tell his global audience that "everybody has a responsibility, the US is leading anew and we are looking to others to join," according to Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the world body.

After the unilateralism of the Bush era, there will be immense relief among the UN's 192 members that America has a president ready to co-operate with the rest of the world.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:00:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FEDs Bank G-Man into "Anew" Pocket | Bloomberg | 22 Sep 2009

The Obama administration proposed on June 17 a financial- regulatory overhaul including a "comprehensive review" of the Fed's "ability to accomplish its existing and proposed functions" and the role of its regional banks. The Fed was to lead the study and enlist the Treasury and "a wide range of external experts." ...

U.S. lawmakers have also called for a review of the Fed's power and structure, saying Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke overstepped his authority as he bailed out [international] creditors of Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc. while battling a crisis that led to $1.62 trillion in writedowns and losses at financial firms. ...

While the report requested by the Treasury hasn't been formally scrapped, no work has been done on the project, which was due Oct. 1, the people said. Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams declined to comment, as did Fed spokeswoman Michelle Smith....

"The conflicts of interest inherent in the current system are glaring," [Wrightson ICAP chief economist Lou] Crandall said.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 07:30:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Investigation in Afghanistan: New Allegations against German Officer who Ordered Kunduz Air Strike - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The allegations are mounting against German Colonel Georg Klein, who ordered a recent air strike in Afghanistan in which civilians died. Klein apparently gave incorrect information to the US pilots who carried out the attack and neglected to warn people on the ground, in violation of NATO procedures.

The investigators have now arrived on the scene. They are staying at Colonel Georg Klein's base, where they are questioning personnel, inspecting the premises and equipment and listening to recordings of radio communications. Their goal is to determine whether Klein can be held accountable for what happened.

Colonel Georg Klein is still in Kunduz, even though his six-month tour of duty there was scheduled to end this week. Under normal circumstances, he would have been able to go home by now, but Klein is forced to remain in Kunduz; if he were to leave Afghanistan, it would look like an admission of guilt.

He meets daily with the chief investigator, Canadian NATO General C.S. Sullivan. By now Klein is probably asking himself how it could have happened, how he could have issued that fateful command. Sources in Kunduz say his nerves are becoming increasingly frayed.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:03:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In war, shit happens. Get used to it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 08:41:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Forgotten Guantanamo: Prisoner Abuse Continues at Bagram Prison in Afghanistan - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

US President Barack Obama has spoken out against CIA prisoner abuse and wants to close Guantanamo. But he tolerates the existence of Bagram military prison in Afghanistan, where more than 600 people are being held without charge. The facility makes Guantanamo look like a "nice hotel," in the words of one military prosecutor.

The day that Raymond Azar was taken by force to Bagram was a quiet day in Kabul. There were no attacks and the sun was shining.

Azar, who is originally from Lebanon, is the manager of a construction company. He was on his way to Camp Eggers, the American military base near the presidential palace, when 10 armed FBI agents suddenly surrounded him.

The men, all wearing bulletproof vests, put him in handcuffs, tied him up and pushed him into an SUV. Two hours later, they unloaded Azar at the Bagram military prison 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Kabul.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:06:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - US general warns of Afghan failure

The most senior US and Nato commander in Afghanistan has said the war against the Taliban "will likely result in failure" if more troops are not sent and a new strategy developed.

General Stanley McChrystal said in a leaked report obtained by the Washington Post that, despite some progress, "many indicators suggest the overall effort is deteriorating".

Inability to provide adequate resources "also risks a longer conflict, greater casualties, higher overall costs, and ultimately, a critical loss of political support" he said, according to the Post report published on Monday.

"Any of these risks, in turn, are likely to result in mission failure."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:13:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
blog.cat.org.uk
CAT charity has received its biggest donation from an individual in its 35-year history thanks to Margaret and Graham Sheppard. Graham, who was a long time supporter of CAT sadly passed away four years ago leaving his house as a legacy to the organisation.
Margaret remembers that Graham had decided that he wanted to leave a legacy to a worthy cause and that "We were so impressed when we first visited CAT. Graham just said, yes, this is the way things have got to go"


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:24:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | 'Millions at risk' as deltas sink

Most of the world's major river deltas are sinking, increasing the flood risk faced by hundreds of millions of people, scientists report.

Damming and diverting rivers means that much less sediment now reaches many delta areas, while extraction of gas and groundwater also lowers the land.

Rivers affected include the Colorado, Nile, Pearl, Rhone and Yangtze.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:05:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A good reminder that half of our worries should be dedicated to a rising sea, and the other half to the subsidence of the land - and not all of our attention to a rising sea.
by Nomad on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:43:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not an easy bumper sticker quote, though a serious topic. It reminds me of a website that I read of the local delta
Camargue -a Delta and Its People - Water Management, A Serious Issue
As an economic, biological and cultural resource, water is of paramount importance to the delta. It is also an ongoing cause of friction between farmers, stock breeders, fishermen, salt producers, reed harvesters, managers of protected natural environments, hunters, bathers and, of course, local residents.   

The site goes on to speak of the differing requirements and impacts of each population and how it is dealt with in that delta. Even with all those attempts at balance, a flood in 2005 scared the pants off of them.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:49:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This story is just about everywhere today. This was the only site I found that actually published the article by Shane O'Mara, Torturing the Brain.

Torture Can't Provide Good Information, Argues Neuroscientist

Much ink has been spilled about the right and wrong of torturing terrorists, particularly since 16 April when the U.S. Department of Justice released memos detailing the "enhanced interrogation" of terrorism suspects during the Bush Administration.

But what is less often discussed is whether or not torture works at all. Generally the debate has been whether torture causes detainees to say anything, possibly lying, to end the torture. But in an article published today in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, a neuroscientist compares torture's "folk psychology" assumptions to current models of brain function during stress and trauma. His conclusion: Torture causes brain damage that can wipe out memories of the desired information, or even create false ones.

Author Shane O'Mara, a neuroscientist at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, says the CIA torture strategy seems:

    based on the idea that repeatedly inducing shock, stress, anxiety, disorientation and lack of control is more effective than standard interrogatory techniques in making suspects reveal information. Information retrieved from memory in this way is assumed to be reliable and veridical, as suspects will be motivated to end the interrogation by revealing this information. No supporting data for this model are provided; in fact, the model is utterly unsupported by scientific evidence.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 06:02:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Evidence? As J. Edgar Hoover said: "The wish is father of the thought."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 09:08:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You missed this one:
Zelaya returns to Honduras.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 06:58:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow~!!~! Great catch - Thanks.
Zelaya returns to Honduras
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has returned to his country, nearly three months after being deposed.
Mr Zelaya has sought refuge inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa and hundreds of his supporters have gathered outside.
Mr Zelaya said he had crossed mountains and rivers to return to the capital, where he said he was seeking dialogue.
Honduran authorities, who have threatened to arrest Mr Zelaya, have imposed a curfew on the country.
In images broadcast on national television, a smiling Mr Zelaya wearing his trademark white cowboy hat appeared on the balcony of the Brazilian embassy waving to crowds of his supporters.


Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Libya, Semi-desert Tech | Bloomberg | 22 Sep 2009
More than 40 foreign oil companies are working in Libya, including London-based BP Plc, Eni SpA of Rome, Irving, Texas- based Exxon Mobil Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp., which has headquarters in Los Angeles.

Qaddafi's spending program is attracting companies such as Alcatel SA, which is based outside Paris, Munich-based Siemens AG, Milan's Impregilo SpA and London-based Rentokil Initial Plc. Businesses from China, South Korea, Brazil and Turkey also are working in Libya, said Salah el-Houni, head of international exhibitions for Libyan media company Dar Alarab, sponsor of fairs in Tripoli for foreign firms....

During that period, in 2004, Siemens, Germany's largest engineering company, won an order worth 180 million euros ($264 million) to upgrade Libya's power-supply grid after a visit by then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Former U.K. premier Tony Blair visited Libya in May 2007 when BP, Europe's second-biggest oil producer, signed an accord to conduct a $900 million exploration program with Libya's National Oil Corp. ...Toulouse, France-based Airbus SAS at the same time confirmed an order for 15 aircraft from Libyan Airlines. ....

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi agreed to build a $5 billion coastal highway as part of the agreement [settling Italy's colonization of Libya from 1911 to 1943]....

Oil is also financing Libya's sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority, which has $80 billion to spend, the fund's chairman, Abdulhafid Zlitni, told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper in February.

Libya's central bank last year bought a 4.6 percent stake in UniCredit SpA, Italy's biggest bank.

Libya may increase its stake in Italian oil company Eni to 10 percent from less than 2 percent



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 08:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cat:
Rentokil Initial Plc.

central casting alert...

love the acronym too.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 09:07:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
goodGODaMIGHTY! I totally missed that.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 10:04:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:56:48 PM EST
Carbon emissions fall with global downturn: report - Yahoo! News

LONDON (AFP) - Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen thanks to the global downturn, handing the world a chance to move away from high-carbon growth, a report said Monday, citing an International Energy Agency study.

The unpublished IEA study found carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels had dropped significantly this year -- further than in any year in the past four decades.

Falling industrial output is largely responsible for the plunge in emissions, but other factors also played a role, including shelving plans for new coal-fired power stations because of falling demand and lack of financing.

The fall will exceed the drop in the 1981 recession that followed a crisis in the oil markets, according to the results of study published in the Financial Times newspaper.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:05:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Individuals In Vegetative States Can Learn, Scientists Find

ScienceDaily (Sep. 21, 2009) -- Scientists have found that some individuals in the vegetative and minimally conscious states, despite lacking the means of reporting awareness themselves, can learn and thereby demonstrate at least a partial consciousness. Their findings are reported in the online edition of Nature Neuroscience.

It is the first time that scientists have tested whether patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states can learn. By establishing that they can, it is believed that this simple test will enable practitioners to assess the patient's consciousness without the need of imaging.

This study was done as a collaborative effort between the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), the University of Cambridge (UK) and the Institute of Cognitive Neurology (Argentina). By using classical Pavlonian conditioning, the researchers played a tone immediately prior to blowing air into a patient's eye. After some time training, the patients would start to blink when the tone played but before the air puff to the eye.

This learning requires conscious awareness of the relation between stimuli -- the tone precedes and predicts the puff of air to the eye. This type of learning was not seen in the control subjects, volunteers who had been under anaesthesia.

The researchers believe that the fact that these patients can learn associations shows that they can form memories and that they may benefit from rehabilitation.



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 Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 03:53:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This news comes as a great relief to me at the moment.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:06:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China and India expected to seize initiative at New York climate talks | Environment | guardian.co.uk
China and India appeared poised for bold new action on climate change ahead of a major UN summit tomorrow, in moves that will significantly increase pressure on President Barack Obama to deliver cuts in US emissions.

The UN climate chief, Yvo de Boer, said today that he expects China's president, Hu Jintao, to announce a series of new measures tomorrow that would put the country well ahead of America in dealing with climate change. Meanwhile, India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, told the Guardian his government planned to make "aggressive" cuts in India's emissions.

The Chinese and Indian measures -- if fully realised -- could represent a breakthrough in bringing them into a global climate change deal at a UN summit in Copenhagen in December. Almost all observers say the Copenhagen talks are danderously stalled..



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:20:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the cunning US strategy becomes clear.  Blame China and India for doing nothing until they figure out that it is in their interest to do quite a bit.  Damn!  Who would have thought they would do so so quickly!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 09:25:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sick and Wrong : Rolling Stone

Without a public option, any effort at health care reform will be as meaningful as a manicure for a gunshot victim. "The public option is the main thing on the table," says Michael Behan, an aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. "It's really coming down to that."

The House versions all contain a public option, as does the HELP committee's version in the Senate. So whether or not there will be a public option in the end will likely come down to Baucus, one of the biggest whores for insurance-company money in the history of the United States. The early indications are that there is no public option in the Baucus version; the chairman hinted he favors the creation of nonprofit insurance cooperatives, a lame-ass alternative that even a total hack like Sen. Chuck Schumer has called a "fig leaf."

Even worse, Baucus has set things up so that the final Senate bill will be drawn up by six senators from his committee: a gang of three Republicans (Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Mike Enzi of Wyoming) and three Democrats (Baucus, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico) known by the weirdly Maoist sobriquet "Group of Six." The setup senselessly submarines the committee's Democratic majority, effectively preventing members who advocate a public option, like Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, from seriously influencing the bill. Getting movement on a public option -- or any other meaningful reform -- will now require the support of one of the three Republicans in the group: Grassley (who has received $2,034,000 from the health sector), Snowe ($756,000) or Enzi ($627,000).

This is what the prospects for real health care reform come down to -- whether one of three Republicans from tiny states with no major urban populations decides, out of the goodness of his or her cash-fattened heart, to forsake forever any contributions from the health-insurance industry (and, probably, aid for their re-election efforts from the Republican National Committee).



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 09:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:57:10 PM EST
Swiss turn against 'suicide tourism' as UK law softens - Europe, World - The Independent
Ministers in Switzerland want clinics such as Dignitas outlawed

At the very moment Britain decides whether to make an assisted suicide easier for its citizens, the only country with a medical clinic prepared to receive them is considering how to make the process more difficult.

Helping terminally ill or incurably disabled people to commit suicide is a crime in Britain and will remain so, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said yesterday. But new guidance, to be published on Wednesday, will "list the factors that are likely to lead to a prosecution and list those that aren't," he said, effectively explaining how the law may be circumvented without consequence.

The Swiss clinic Dignitas is the only clinic in the world that helps foreigners to end their lives. About 115 people from the UK have died at Dignitas, but none of those who assisted them has been prosecuted. Support for Britons who have chosen to travel to the clinic has grown in the UK, but in Switzerland there is growing embarrassment about what has become known as "suicide tourism".

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:04:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assisted suicide is legal in Oregon.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 09:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's a bit far to fly if you're a dying euro.

i know a 94 year old lady that's counting on being able to make to switzerland if things get too uncomfortable under the italian 'bella agonia' system of palliative care.

i agree with nomad below, this is going to be a huge issue in the next few years, but it shouldn't have to be so ugly. we just don't 'get' dying like the asians. not surprising when we had it sanitised out of most of what we see surrounding us.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 09:51:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there hasn't been enough sensible debate on "the right to die". It will probably come soon with our aging population, and I fear it might get ugly...
by Nomad on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 03:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch clinic for stage fright sufferers | Radio Netherlands Worldwide
When the great Pyotr Iliych Tchaikovsky composed his famous Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1874 (see below for a clip), he took it to Nicolas Rubinstein, a brilliant pianist, to get a virtuoso's opinion. Unfortunately, all Mr Rubinstein could deliver was a torrent of words on how bad the composition was. Tchaikovsky was so offended by Rubinstein's damming comments, he didn't have the courage to perform the piece in public for another year, afraid that audiences would react in the same way.

This is every musician's nightmare, being too afraid  to go on stage and do the things you are convinced of being good at. Stage fright comes in all shapes and sizes but its effects can be devastating for some musicians or other performing artists.
 
Clinic
Dutch psychiatrist Esther van Fenema - who also happens to be a professional classical violinist - has set up the Netherlands' first out patient psychiatric clinic for performing artists. The clinic's purpose is to help them overcome any mental problems caused by the stress of their job. "Stage fright is the main problem which is connected to their profession", she says. "I've also seen people suffering from depression, post traumatic stress and addiction".
 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:04:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 01:57:38 PM EST
Valery Giscard d'Estaing novel hints at affair with Princess Diana - Telegraph
Valery Giscard d'Estaing, 83, the former French president, has written romantic novel clearly modelled on himself and the late Diana, Princess of Wales.  

To be published next month, Giscard's "The Princess and the President" recounts the secret and passionate love of a French leader and a Welsh Princess.

President Jacques-Henri Lambertye and Princess Patricia of Cardiff meet at the closing dinner of a G7 summit at a time when the young British royal has been left miserable by her husband's adultery.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:12:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That glass of wine must have been stronger than I thought, or the Telegraph is sourcing stories from the Onion

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could someone tell us how the novel ends? Does he put  her in a car after making sure the driver is drunk? Or is there another ending?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, the former president previously committed a "romantic fiction" about, well, never mind. It was printed double-spaced and even so did not reach more than 100pp, iirc. So this is not his first attempt at narcisso-romantic literature.

I thought Princess <another name> of Cardiff would have been better, though.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, he once shared a mistress with Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:43:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy must feel small, standing under the shoulders of such giants.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:24:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Giscard pens 'Diana' love story

The newspaper praises the author for his knowledge of French literature, and details about the personalities of the day and the palaces where they meet.

However, the novel departs from reality in at least one key detail.

Lambertye is easily re-elected for a second presidential term, while Giscard d'Estaing was voted out in 1981 after one - just two months before Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles to become the Princess of Wales.

In that year, Diana was 20 while Giscard d'Estaing was 55.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 03:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Giscard's pen is vigorous, at least in his own mind.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 09:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Twiggy at 60: 'It's amazing I didn't go bonkers' | Life and style | The Guardian
The face of the 60s is herself turning 60. She talks about fame, fate, fun ... and middle-age spread

Icons of youth and beauty are not supposed to grow old, let alone grow old gracefully. They are supposed to live fast and die young, or else rage against the dying of the light with fidelity issues and plastic surgery. So it is against the odds, really, that Twiggy turns 60 ­ today still beautiful (even if the saucer eyes are now edged by fine lines rather than by the three pairs of false eyelashes she wore when she was the Face of 1966), still a working model, and with little outward sign of the squeamishness that surrounds the issue of ageing in many women in the public eye.

It is a few days shy of her birthday when I arrive to have tea with Twiggy in her London flat. Being a deeply nosy person, I am pleased Twiggy has suggested I meet her at home; surprised, too, because although I have often seen her at catwalk shows and Marks & Spencer events, I have not properly met Twiggy before, and in recent years she has gained a reputation for being a little prickly, so I was expecting to be summoned to a supervised interview in a smart restaurant or an agent's office. The apartment is on an elegant street, with gleaming brass knockers on tasteful black gloss front doors and the kind of expensive, leafy hush that cushions central London's garden squares from the hoi polloi. Twiggy lives here with the actor Leigh Lawson, her husband of 21 years, their children having long since grown up. I am expecting something cheerful and modern inside, wooden floorboards and spot lighting perhaps, but instead it is shabby chic with a faint scent of bohemia, more redolent of Twiggy the 60s icon than of Twiggy the M&S model. There are Turkish rugs and Balinese sculptures, walls covered with an eclectic collection of paintings, lush houseplants, a friendly cat, a piano crowded with photographs in silver frames.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 02:14:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oktoberfest is upon us once again. Here's a photo spread from SMH:

by Magnifico on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:08:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Two nice foaming transparent steins there...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 04:26:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THE Twank! I command you to leave Sven's body!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 05:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm still chuckling...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 21st, 2009 at 05:28:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was not the photo to go after a story about Twiggy at 60...

...just sayin'

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 05:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey hey, watch that.  I may not post a lot but I still read the Salon almost every day.

Although I must say, even at my advanced age, I can't help but be distracted by a nice set.  Will I ever grow up?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2009 at 08:53:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries

Dublin is to Blame

by Frank Schnittger - May 18
15 comments

Zero Net Energy - May 14, 2018

by gmoke - May 15
3 comments

NATO Total War Project

by Cat - Apr 14
8 comments

40 Questions

by Cat - May 1
15 comments