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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 1 March

by afew Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 04:00:05 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1712 - 30th February in Sweden

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 11:43:52 AM EST
Ministers drop benefit sanctions threat from work experience scheme | Society | The Guardian

All benefit sanctions on the government's work-experience scheme are to be dropped by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) following meetings between ministers and employers.

The news was conveyed by Anne Marie Carrie, chief executive of Barnardo's and one of the employers present at the 90-minute meeting between the employment minister, Chris Grayling, and more than 50 firms involved in the scheme.

They had met to seek reassurances that the government was not seeking to force young unemployed people into work-experience schemes.

The government says the scheme is voluntary and gives unemployed people eight weeks' work experience. But participants can lose two weeks' jobseeker's allowance if they leave for no reason after more than a week on the scheme.

There have also been suggestions that some jobcentre staff do not make it clear that participation in the scheme is voluntary.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 11:54:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which means they're now concocting another way of punishing the poor

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Thousands protest against European Union austerity cuts

Thousands of demonstrators have turned out in European cities to protest against austerity measures.

Spanish students held protests in Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid against cuts to education budgets, which in some instances turned violent.

Unions staged demonstrations in Paris, Athens, Lisbon and Brussels.

The protests come ahead of a European Union summit on Thursday aimed at boosting economic growth and tightening fiscal responsibility.

Union leaders and workers called on EU leaders to find an alternative to cuts to social services and welfare.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Institutional Affairs / Germany prompts cancellation of euro summit

BRUSSELS - A meeting of eurozone leaders planned for Friday (2 March) after a two-day EU summit in Brussels has been cancelled because Germany is still saying No to increasing the firepower of eurozone bail-out funds.

Originally scheduled to take place as a lunch on Friday, the eurozone meeting has now been pulled from the official agenda.

"The only real point on the agenda of the euro-summit was the firewall, but for Germany it is politically not feasible to decide on it now," one EU source told this website on Wednesday, downplaying the cancellation as a "minor" issue.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:06:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
Union leaders and workers called on EU leaders to find an alternative to cuts to social services and welfare.

why don't they ask for a green new deal?

we should be able to create millions of jobs if we do, and attract investment too.

why don't they see that, and ask for it specifically?

there really is no alternative, other than keeping on with the same dumb strategies. it's in the elite's interests to keep this festering system going as long as possible, and feign ignorance, but can it be possible union leaders don't see the bigger picture that
till every roof has a panel on it, till all domestic hot water is helped by the sun, rooves are insulated, triple glazing for all, there's work to be done? trades to learn, money to be made...

i know why the battle must be fought, but if the unions aren't out in front for this, why not, and who else?

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 06:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because they've been taught to think that only DFHs want green stuff. Corporate technology is modern, corporate technology is clean, corporate technology drives employment; always has been and always will be. To suggest otherwise is to be anti-modern, anti-employment and anti-capitalist.

That's the dominant narrative and while that remains uncontested in the (corporate) media we're going nowhere

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:51:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reforms ala the New Deal only arise AFTER a WW. If the species survives the next one, who knows.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 07:55:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Romania accused of 'lack of European spirit' over Serbia's candidacy | EurActiv

Romania tried unsuccessfully to block Serbia from gaining the status of EU candidate at the General Affairs ministerial meeting held yesterday (28 February), drawing accusations that it lacked "European spirit".

The dramatic meeting of the European affairs ministers who deal with enlargement ended up with a decision that Serbia should be granted candidate status at the 1-2 March EU summit. In addition, the conclusions say that a 'feasibility study' would be launched for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo, as a first step on its way to EU integration.

The breakthrough became possible after Belgrade and Pristina "normalised" relations on 24 February. Serbia does not recognise its former province Kosovo as an independent state (see background), but has agreed for a formula allowing the representation of Kosovo in regional forums, as well as the management of the borders between Kosovo and Serbia.

Bucharest unexpectedly refused to agree both on Belgrade receiving candidate status and on launching the feasibility study on Kosovo.

Diplomats said the Romanian delegation had expressed concerns over the rights of about 30,000 ethnic Romanians living in Serbia. Some members of the 40,000-strong ethnic Vlach community also consider themselves Romanian, while other Vlachs think of themselves as Serbian.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:08:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MEP: Renegotiate the Treaty to include investment-led growth | EurActiv

The current Treaty needs to be renegotiated to integrate the growth and solidarity dimension, which has been overlooked, said French socialist MEP Liêm Hoang Ngoc, in an interview with EurActiv.

"We must change the course of macroeconomic policies proposed so far, which have been pro-cyclical since the entry into force of the euro," Hoang Ngoc said, explaining EU countries have lowered taxes in times of growth rather than creating a nest egg for hard times, and now that they are in recession they practice austerity.

Surely, fiscal discipline is important, the French MEP stressed, but countries should not fail to combine it with a plan for recovery. "We must distinguish operating budgets, which must be balanced, and public investment budgets, which prepare for the future and have an impact on growth: these must be funded by good debt," he said.

According to the MEP, the "good" golden rule, if any, would be to exclude investment expenditures from the calculation of public deficits. That will allow member states to borrow at discretion to invest in innovation, industry, research and infrastructure. Spending should be reduced instead in operating budgets.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:09:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swoboda calls for crackdown on tax evasion | European Voice
Hannes Swoboda, leader of the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament, today called on EU leaders to halve tax evasion by 2020.

The Austrian MEP said the extra tax revenues that would be generated by cutting tax evasion could speed up public investment in jobs and growth projects. "With the eurozone officially in recession this year, it is time to act," said Swoboda.

He made the appeal on the eve of a two-day European Council that will focus on boosting jobs and growth as well as other efforts to ease the eurozone's debt crisis.

Swoboda pointed to a study prepared for the S&D group which found that up to €1 trillion in tax revenue in the EU's 27 member states is lost every year because of tax evasion and avoidance.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:45:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
doesn't this guy understand modern capitalism ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:07:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Local - Top Socialist attacked by far-right thugs

A top figure in the Socialist party and his journalist partner were attacked by a crowd shouting anti-Jewish slogans and chanting support for the far-right National Front, they said on Wednesday.

Arnaud Montebourg and Audrey Pulvar, a prominent broadcaster, said a group of about 15 men surrounded them as they left a restaurant late on Tuesday and shouted "Le Pen for president", referring to far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

They also shouted "France for the French" and "Juden, Juden, Juden" (which means Jews in German) before throwing glasses at the couple as they left the restaurant in Paris' chic 16th district, Pulvar said in Twitter messages.

The incident came just days after Pulvar gave Le Pen a grilling in a weekend television show about her alleged association with European neo-Nazi groups.

"This shows that there is a climate within Mrs Le Pen's (National Front) where racist speech is made freely," Pulvar told AFP.

Le Pen, who opinion polls put in third place in the presidential vote in April and May, said "obviously I condemn this type of aggression."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:47:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Pen, ..., said "obviously I condemn this type of aggression.

Obviously.

I believe Rupert Murdoch is of the opinion that generally his newspapers whould aid the police in pursuit of wrongdoers rather than aid the wrongdoers in their intimidation of the police but sometimes it all gets so confusing.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:12:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Insight: How the Greek debt puzzle was solved | Reuters

(Reuters) - Wolfgang Schaeuble was playing Sudoku on his iPad as he waited to hear whether Greece's negotiating team had persuaded private creditors to accept a bigger loss on their Greek bonds.

Germany's finance minister needed this last piece of the debt restructuring puzzle to fall into place. Without the private creditors - banks, insurers and investment funds - a 130 billion euro deal to save Greece from default could fall apart. The consequences for the euro area would be catastrophic.

Schaeuble finally got what he wanted only hours before dawn on February 21 after negotiations that ran all night. What emerged was the world's biggest debt restructuring deal, affecting some 206 billion euros of Greek government bonds, according to law firm Linklaters which acted as adviser.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bill Gates: "It's strange that wages in Spain don't fall with all that unemployed labor" | In english | EL PAÍS

Asked for his view on the technocratic prime ministers recently installed in other European nations such as Greece and Italy, Gates said that such a leader had an advantage over a traditional political representative in that he can take "tough decisions."

 "I am not a technocrat who has closely studied the situation of Spain, but there is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take those difficult decisions to create the flexibility typical of the labor markets in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States."

On a more global level, Gates talked about unemployment as a "structural" problem: "There are plenty of jobs to do, in teaching, science, tourism and looking after the old. There is no shortage of work but it is a question of structuring it right."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:25:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

I just can't take this any more.

What labour flexible markets in Ireland? Or the UK, even? Neither are faintly comparable to the US. Hell, half of the US isn't comparable to the other half.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:33:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is exactly what Krugman said about Portugal a few days ago.

The same Krugman that "mainstream leftists" think he is one of them!

I forgive Gates. He said it himeself that he doesn't know much about Spain or any non-Anglo countries. He made a fortune selling software bugs.

Krugman should know better.

by Euroliberal on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 04:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
and looking after the old. There is no shortage of work but it is a question of structuring it right."

Funny who he's forgotten that work is generally compensated by pay.

Or at any rate, it used to be.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:01:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, but Gates is probably influenced by workfare in the US & UK where work and pay have become separate and unrelated entities.

Bring back the workhouse

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:14:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Weidmann says Target 2 imbalances a major concern - calls on Draghi to change collateral rules
Frankfurter Allgemeine has obtained a letter from Jens Weidmann to Mario Draghi, in which the president of the Bundesbank demands a return to pre-crisis collateral rules; Weidmann expresses concern about Germany's Target 2 claims on the eurosystem; he demands that these claims be fully securitised; Weidmann expresses particular concern that bank loans can now act as collateral to central bank funds; 800 banks took part in yesterday's LTRO, tapping a total of €530bn; Hans-Werner Sinn proposes that the Target 2 balances should be securitised through the issue of covered bonds by the euro system; Angelo Baglioni says the LTRO will not trickle through to the real economy; Mark Schieritz calls the LTRO one of the most ingenious moves in the history of central banking; Alexander Hagelücken says Draghi is following in the footsteps of Alan Greenspan (not meant as a compliment); the FT says in an editorial that the LTRO buys time, but in itself will not solve the crisis; the Spanish government is now convinced that the EU is not going to relax the deficit target; Rajoy is planning a dual strategy according to El Pais: he will not make the necessary cuts to achieve the 4.4% this year, but will maintain the 3% target for 2013; bank lending to Greece contracts by 3.3% in January; a Transparency International report says Greece is making insufficient progress in the fight against corruption, which hampers the country's reform process; the Finnish parliament votes in favour of the Greek programme; the European Commission wants Ireland to make further pro-cyclical fiscal cuts if the recession were to deteriorate; Dutch MPs warn about the loss of the Netherlands' AAA-rating; Jean-Claude Juncker says the capital to the ESM should be paid for in two tranches only; Wolfgang Munchau writes that the extension of the ESM is political risky because it is inconceivable that Germany could be liable to a total cross-border transfer of some 20-30% of its GDP; Vittorio Grilli, meanwhile, is full of hope that the fiscal compact will eventually merge into a fiscal union with euro bonds.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 03:28:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frankfurter Allgemeine has the scoop of the day. It has obtained a letter by Jens Weidmann to Mario Draghi, warning about Germany's Target 2 claims, and proposing a return to the collateral rules before the crisis. This is a hugely significantly development, considering also that the Bundesbank has until recently denied the significance of Germany's €500bn Target 2 imbalances. In his letter, Weidmann proposes a securitisation of the ECB's claims against the weaker central banks in the eurosystem, which have reached a level of €800bn. The paper says the proposals are bound to trigger a big controversy inside the ECB, and reflects growing concern inside the Bundesbank, whose own Target 2 claims of €500bn are the single largest item of the total. Weidmann said if these claims were to fall foul, it is possible that the member states may not be able to pay for those losses.

Weidmann is particularly critical about the relaxation of the collateral rules, especially the rule that national central banks can now accept corporate credits as collateral. He demands a return to a standard collateral system. He insists on a review to determine to which extent the risk position of the ECB could be improved through a change of collateral policies. FAZ says Weidmann's criticism might mute positive market reaction t the second LTRO, in which banks acquired €530bn in new liquidity, after €489bn in December. The paper says that Weidmann had not insisted on a time scale for a return to normal collateral policies. In a recent interview with FAZ, Draghi said that the ECB had done, and could not do more even if the situation of the banking sector deteriorated again.

...

Hans-Werner Sinn explain how to fix Target 2 imbalances

Hans Werner Sinn, the man who raised the Target 2 debate, writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine about how to fix the Target 2 imbalances. He said Europe's south-west is now financing its persistent current account deficits through the money presses, as central banks now provide unlimited liquidity to the banking sector. That money, thus created, flows to Germany, where ends up at the Bundesbank as a claim against the eurosystem. He compares the Target 2 balances to equivalent balances in the US, which are much lower, which he says is due to different rules under which the system there operates. He proposes to create covered  bonds - securities on property and other assets - created by the eurosystem to redeem the Target 2 imbalances.

(Note that this proposal appears to have been taken up by Weidmann in his demand to securities the balances.)

Please tell me how the Eurosystem securitizing the Target2 balances is not Eurobonds.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 03:56:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FAZ: Fed versus EZB: Wie man Target-Schulden tilgt (Hans-Werner Sinn)
Vom Regen in die Traufe

Die Frage ist freilich, wie man das amerikanische System auf Europa übertragen könnte. Sicherlich wäre es keine Lösung, den Defizitländern die Tilgung mit normalen Staatspapieren aus eigener Herstellung zu erlauben. Dann käme man, wie Jörg Krämer von der Commerzbank richtig feststellt, vom Regen in die Traufe.

Die European Economic Advisory Group at CESifo - acht Ökonomen aus sieben Ländern - hat in ihrem elften Jahresbericht, der jetzt veröffentlicht wird, vorgeschlagen, in der Eurozone ein System von kurzfristigen staatlichen Pfandbriefen (Euro Standard Bills) zu schaffen, die nach einheitlichen Kriterien vom jeweiligen Nationalstaat mit Immobilien oder vorrangigen Ansprüchen auf zukünftige Steuereinnahmen besichert sind. Diese Pfandbriefe können nach Meinung des Rates zur jährlichen Tilgung der Target-Salden verwendet werden.

Eine einfache Minimallösung, die ebenfalls Wirkung entfalten könnte, hat der frühere Bundesbankpräsident Helmut Schlesinger vorgeschlagen. Er will die Target-Salden mit progressiv gestaffelten Strafzinsen belasten, die dann von den Defizitländern an die Überschussländer abgetreten werden. Auf jeden Fall braucht die Eurozone ein System von Stoßdämpfern, welche die extremen Ausschläge bei den Target-Krediten abfedern. Der Überziehungskredit beim privaten Girokonto ist auch nicht beliebig zu haben.

Fed versus ECB: how to cancel target debts
From the pan to the fire

But the question is how to transfer the American system in Europe. Certainly it would be no solution to allow the deficit countries to repay the debts with the issue of normal government securities. Then one would , as Jörg Krämer of Commerzbank notes correctly, be jumping from the pan to the fire.

The European Economic Advisory Group at CESifo - eight economists from seven countries - in its eleventh annual report, which is now published, proposed to create in the Euro zone, a system of short-term government mortgage bonds (Euro Standard Bills), which would be secured with real estate or priority claims on future tax revenues according to standard criteria by each nation state. These mortgage bonds can be used in the opinion of the Council for the annual amortization of the target balances.

A simple minimal solution, which could also be effective, has been proposed by the former Bundesbank President Helmut Schlesinger. He wants to load the target balances with progressively tiered penalty interest, which would then transferred from the deficit countries to surplus countries. In any case, the euro zone needs a system of shock absorbers to cushion the extreme swings in which the target credit. The overdraft facility at the private bank account does not have any.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 04:30:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On second thought: this has nothing to do with Eurobonds. It is, in fact:

  1. The Greek "Escrow Account" by another name: EU Deficit countries would issue bonds secured by priority claims on tax revenues
  2. The reverse of Keynes' proposal at Bretton Woods: a proposal to pile interest penalties on current account deficits (Sinn does admit that the origin of the Target2 balances is persistent intra-EU current account imbalances) where Keynes proposed to charge interest on current account surpluses

Yee-haw!

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 04:33:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. And it's not even disguised.

Spain would not, by treaties, be allowed to fight her current account deficits. But she must make sure that they will bleed her dry.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:08:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On Target2, see Making sense of Target imbalances (on VoxEU, by Willem Buiter, Juergen Michels and Ebrahim Rahbari, 6 September 2011)
The fates of sovereign and the banking systems in many Eurozone member countries, and in the Eurozone as a whole, are strongly intertwined, as first the financial crisis and soon after the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis has shown. Despite - or due to - the abundance of problems within the Eurozone, it is important to be careful in presenting and interpreting the facts in an objective way. In that respect, it is important to highlight that TARGET2 imbalances:

  • Cannot be automatically linked to current-account deficits in those countries;
  • Do not automatically reduce central bank credit to commercial banks in other member states (and any reduction of central bank credit should not be interpreted negatively, as implying reduced funding for banks and their customers); and
  • Should not be interpreted as a measure of the risk exposures of the national central banks of TARGET2 creditor countries.

This does not mean that the increase in TARGET2 imbalances cannot be suggestive of serious problems.

* These imbalances may be - and currently likely are - a symptom of the difficulty of banking systems in a number of Eurozone periphery countries have in funding themselves in the markets without public support.

They should therefore primarily be understood as a call to action for policymakers to put the banking systems in the Eurozone periphery and core on a sound footing - a goal that continues to elude them even after almost four years since the onset of the financial crisis.

In any case, if Sinn is right that the Target2 balances represent a funding of current account imbalances, then one possible way to fix the problem is for German actors to buy assets in the periphery directly (or to buy products from the periphery, or to go on vacation in the periphery), something they apparently don't want to do in sufficient amounts. Now, if the German economy is not interested in buying Spanish real estate, what would be gained by Spain selling to the Bundesbank covered bonds backed by state claims on Spanish real estate?

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 09:30:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it all looking like a religious doctrine of transformation?

ECB bond purchases are morally transformed from evil to good, if cleansed by private sector involvement.

And so in this case, the extra layer of state claims is good, because it allows investors to recoup their losses from the Spanish government?

(Or as it is called elsewhere, collective punishment...)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 09:57:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it all looking like a religious doctrine of transformation?

Bullseye!

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 10:01:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 11:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
also
as early as 11 February 2010 our commentary on the crisis homed in on the fact that
What the ECB cannot do is fund a public debt issue, and that makes some sense from certain ideological perspectives.<bblockquote>Because by having passed through the bid-ask spread of a major investment bank, it is suddenly converted from a loan into a monetary instrument?
The last [many] months have been an exercise in teasing out the conequences of that ideological perspective.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 11:26:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hans-Werner Sinn:
priority claims on future tax revenues
Luckily, Spain has that covered
This is probably the least ominous reason for the rush to approve this. In fact, most of the provisions of the new Constitutional amendment and impending Organic Law won't take effect immediately. The spending ceiling only becomes binding after 2020 (however, to bring a 9% deficit to 0.40% in 9 years does require reducing it by 1% per year in the middle of a recession, which will require biting austerity with immediate effect). There's only one provision of the proposed New Article 135 (in Spanish) which will have immediate effect:
Los créditos para satisfacer los intereses y el capital de la deuda pública de las Administraciones se entenderán siempre incluidos en el estado de gastos de sus presupuestos y su pago gozará de prioridad absoluta. Estos créditos no podrán ser objeto de enmienda o modificación, mientras se ajusten a las condiciones de la Ley de emisión.
Credits to service interest and principal on the public debt of the various Administrations will be understood to be part of the expense account of their budgets, and their payment will have absolute priority. These credits won't be subject to amendment or modification, as long as they keep to the conditions of the law by which they were issued.
The emphasised text is what's being added by the amendment.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 11:58:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not the sort of Eurobonds I want. If it's merely a matter of shoring up the bank-liquidity operation, then if you call that "eurobonds", you have demonetized the Eurobond brand.

Eurobonds, surely, must be created to fund productive investment in southern Europe.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 04:32:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not Eurobonds because Sinn is not actually proposing that "the Eurosystem" issue covered bonds, but that each individual deficit country sell covered bonds to the Bundesbank.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 04:34:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm worried about the requirement that quality collateral must be used, as this would render LTRO more or less useless. Why is it that whenever ECB gets a somewhat good idea, Bundesbank tries to shoot it down?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:49:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also in today's Eurointelligence Daily Briefing:
Mark Schieritz

Writing in Herdentrieb, Mark Schieritz applauds Mario Draghi's Big Bertha as a masterpiece. He calls it one of the cleverest moves in central banking history.  Draghi managed to establish the ECB as a lender of last resort in a way that satisfies its legal and also the political constraints, especially in Germany. The ECB cannot allocate credits directly - which is the intrinsic job of a banking sector in a free market. The liquidity operations are so big, that the ECB has now replaced the Fed as the world's largest money printing machine. The eurosystem's balance sheet is now close to €2750bn, whereas the Fed's is about half a billion smaller. And there are no indications that the extra money will create inflation.

Of course the Bundesbank is upset.

But also,

Weidmann is particularly critical about the relaxation of the collateral rules, especially the rule that national central banks can now accept corporate credits as collateral. He demands a return to a standard collateral system.
is prima-facie evidence that Weidmann either has not read or has not understood the relevant passages of Minsky's Stabilizing an Unstable Economy. More ominously, it might be evidence that he does not care
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Weidmann ascends to the throne
New Bundesbank president Jens Weidman was official enthroned yesterday; indicates his main focus would be to watch over, and comment on, German government's fiscal policy; says price stability must take precedence over financial stability
Oh, dear. And this a day after we're told "Merkel's quid-pro-quo on Draghi" (being the next President of the ECB) is to put a German in charge of the European Financial Stability Board.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of Pratchetts Auditors of Reality.

"price stability must take precedence over financial stability"

If you use price stability as a hammer, you can achieve financial stability as well! A corpse is, after all, perfectly stable.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:02:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the Bundesbank needs some Swiss chocolate coins?

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 07:59:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Future of Greece May Not be as Bad as It Looks » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The political ice in Athens is even thinner than eurozone leaders imagine. For the moment, they appear to have all the cards in their hands. The main Greek parties have signed up to the new austerity deal in order to get the Eur 130 billion loan and the Eur 100 billion write off by private bond holders. Greece is effectively going to have a managed and limited default except that it is not going to be called that to avoid triggering the insurance element in credit default swaps.

There is no chance that a Greece can be rendered sufficiently competitive by the new austerity measures that it will be able to pay its debts. The country lacks natural resources, manufacturing industry or an international service industry; windmills and fish farms will not be enough.

But the future of Greece may not be as bad as it looks. The mammoth efforts made by European leaders to prevent a total default underline the fact that, for all their protestations to the contrary, they dare not let Greece go publicly broke. The profound impact of the recent financial negotiations on everything from the price of oil to shares in New York stock exchange, show that Greece can still blackmail the rest of the eurozone by threatening to totally renege on its debts.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:56:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cockburn responds oddly there because he pits the fascist regime's operations against the blowback after PASOK took control, but what he doesn't see is the degree to which the right maintained its hold on government.

While gov't provided a certain level of subsistence for employees (18% of the workforce) it also had a relationship with the Greek business world which is integrated vertically throughout the country. There are monopolists all over Greece, especially in the distribution channels. If you produce anything in Greece, you have to fork over some payola to move into the channels. Take the Greek banks. They are almost all started by shippers, the very oligarchs who control much of the trade in the country.

We have companies like Monsanto in the USA who manage to insert themselves into all sorts of odd places, buttressed by Citizens United in the company's attempt to spread its tentacles as far as possible, but in Greece there is nothing but the tyranny of the monopolists.

Social services are totally inept, and at best, the small gov't salaries people have been receiving merely keep them quiet as ministers and their cronies take bribes from Greeks and multinationals to continue the totally sclerotic system that is in place.

Opening pharmacies for more hours will not impact the hands that control the spigots (and create death by a thousand drips) that controls the private sector.

by Upstate NY on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 12:35:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The judicial inquiry is live blogged by the Guardian. With interjections from hacking victim and former deputy Prime minister :

Leveson inquiry: John Yates, Andy Hayman, Peter Clarke - live | Media | guardian.co.uk

John Prescott has just tweeted:

John Prescott @johnprescott

Yates spent 1 year investigating Cash 4 Honours & found nothing. Spent 6 hours reviewing phone hacking & missed EVERYTHING #goodluckbahrain 1 Mar 12

It's very entertaining. It seems pretty clear that the anti-terrorism cop who did the original hacking investigation, Peter Clarke, is an honest cop. He had responsibility for protecting the Royals, and since they were the first identified victims, he was given the case, even though he was snowed under with genuine terrorism work at the time. At a certain point he made a decision to do no further investigation, because he judged that the issues (of personal privacy) didn't justify taking up the time of his anti-terrorism staff.

Yates, on the other hand, sat on the evidence because he was chums with the NI bigwigs.

(Yates couldn't buy a clue when he was at the Met - now he's a Bahreini policeman)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 10:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone crisis live: Eurogroup decides not to decide yet

The meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels has broken up, with only partial progress over Greece.

We do not have a final agreement over its second financial package, but we have moved a little closer (one angstrom at at time?)

The eurogroup has decided that it will not take a final decision until Greece has agreed a final debt-reduction deal with its creditors through the Private Sector Involvement. However it did recognise that Greece has made significant progress, and gave the European Financial Stability Facility the authority to start buying up some Greek bonds, and to start issuing new bonds to fund the EU's share of the Greek bailout.

No credit default constituted yet :

Eurozone crisis live: ISDA says 'no credit event' in Greece, yet.... | Business | guardian.co.uk

The key part of ISDA's ruling on Greece appears to be this line:

...the situation in the Hellenic Republic is still evolving and today's EMEA DC decisions do not affect the right or ability of market participants to submit further questions...

So ISDA has basically decided that the act of inserting CAC clauses into Greek bonds to allow a haircut to be forced on bond-holders is not in itself a credit event. Triggering the CACs, though, is a very different matter.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 11:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never thought the debt swap would go through but given no recourse to CDS for the Hedge Funds that purchased distressed bonds, and the lack of legal recourse in Greek courts, it seems they would be absolute fools not to do it.
by Upstate NY on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 12:22:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 11:44:19 AM EST
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / ECB boosts loans to €1 trillion to stop credit crunch

BRUSSELS - The European Central Bank (ECB) will issue a second round of cheap three-year loans on Wednesday (29 February) in order to help cash-strapped eurozone banks.

In total, the bank is lending almost €1 trillion after it already injected some €500 billion into the system in December because euro-area banks became wary of lending to each other.

The programme has so far been used mainly by Spanish and Italian banks to shore up funding gaps and buy government bonds. But it has done little to boost confidence in the sector, as evidenced by the record sums being 'parked' overnight in the ECB instead of circulating among lenders.

On Tuesday, for instance, €475 billion was given to the ECB for safe-keeping - almost the same sum that was to be made available in cheap loans.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:04:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Banks gorge on 530 billion euros of ECB funds | Reuters

(Reuters) - Banks grabbed 530 billion euros (447 billion pounds) at the European Central Bank's second offering of cheap three-year funds Wednesday, fuelling expectations that credit will flow to businesses and borrowing costs will ease for governments hit by the euro zone crisis.

In the space of two months, the ECB has now injected over a trillion euros of money into the financial system, banishing the threat of a credit crunch. The bank hopes Wednesday's move will be its last major crisis-fighting act.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy's Monti Signals Euro Crisis Abating - Bloomberg

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti signaled the worst may be over for the euro region's most distressed bonds and said he expects leaders to strike a deal on a firewall for the bloc over the next month.

"I don't think it is likely" that spreads will widen again, Monti, 68, said in an interview today at the prime minister's 16th-century residence in central Rome. "The unpredictability of spreads is not negligible. But we see now in the case of Italy a steady, although gradual decline in the last several weeks. I don't see honestly any reasons why this course should change."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:27:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Peugeot, GM alliance targets annual $2 billion in savings | Reuters

(Reuters) - General Motors Co and PSA Peugeot Citroen will seek to squeeze a joint $2 billion annually from a global platforms-to-purchasing alliance, but the savings will not be fully realized for five years, the automakers said on Wednesday.

The deal calls for GM to buy into a roughly 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion) capital increase by Peugeot, becoming the struggling French automaker's No. 2 shareholder as part of a broad industrial alliance, the companies said on Wednesday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 03:40:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of so many independent European car makers.

Are Peugeot and Citroën to join them?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't speak for the others, but GM transfered huge amounts of cash into the eternally loss-making SAAB Automobile, which would have collapsed looong ago without their support. On the other hand, such a collapse would probably have been a good thing, as capital and skilled manpower would have been made available to more productive uses.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:54:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the Swedish economy that small that Saab's collapse would have had a substantial effect on capital and manpower availability?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 09:12:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might have a non-trivial effect on the vehicle cluster in west Sweden. But given the strength of the truck makers Volvo and Scania (and Volvo cars, ex-Ford, now owned by China), I doubt it.

SAAB is less important to Sweden than GM is to the US.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 09:51:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading your question again, I think I might actually answer it, instead of answering a question of my own, politician-style. :p

No, the Swedish economy is not that small. But no matter the size, it does not make sense to tie up all those workers in a failed loss-making company, when they can be better used in other companies. After SAAB went bust, the Norwegians supposedly swooped in and started recruiting ex-car workers for the offshore business en masse. Same with the other vehicle makers who went out saying stuff like "please send us 20 engineers and 100 technicians ASAP".

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 09:55:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What generally happens in the ongoing de-industrialisation of France, is that when an industrial enterprise closes down, the capital and skilled manpower does not go on to more productive uses, but dries up or withers away.

The contrary might well be true in an environment which fostered the development of productive enterprises. In the meantime, while waiting for an appropriate industrial policy, the best thing is to try to keep marginal enterprises going, rather than lose their added value forever.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 09:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the capital and skilled manpower does not go on to more productive uses, but dries up or withers away

Some of the manpower goes into finance, too...

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 09:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
real economics
What really scares the banksters There is something irredeemably precious about the conservative world's concern about government debt.  Why?  Because the scolds are the biggest debtors of all.  (Ah yes, the old mote and beam problem.) Here we have our old friend Ellen Brown discussing the fact that there are $32 TRILLION worth of credit default swaps out there without a penny's worth of backing.  A Greek default brings all this down.

32 trillion? wheeee!

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:19:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plague In Australia: Frank Lowy | AustraliaMatters.com

The point: The Banks globally are invested almost totally in the property debt markets, in fact, in Australia it is the only real game in town as our tractable "leadership" have ensured by being so directed by the influence of the Bankers themselves. IOW Banks' profits are now collapsing Worldwide; have collapsed Worldwide and are being propped up only by being allowed to mark their assets to fantasy and the transfer of public monies and long term future commitments of the unborn from the unwashed to the Banks.

But, where do the Banks go now for a Bank is - just as the shark, that must keep moving, the Bank must keep lending, or die. In Australia, credit card use is slowing, the property markets are slowing. Where pray tell me, where indeed will our Banks, (the BIG 4 that is, being owned in majority by JPMC and HSBC) find new business and how will they transform their business from Property to whatever? NAB is already selling two of it UK Banks and all are announcing staff dismissals.

Why this post is relevant you ask? Most of those of which I speak of are all members of the Lowe Cult plague!

Today global humanity is under the control of a single celled amoebic predator analogous to the cancer producing Funghi Candida. It is better known of the conglomerate known as the Unholy Alliance which is led and chaired by the iron fist of the oldest of Europe's Banking families and corporations - served by the eagerly corruptible and greedily obedient politicians - Protected by the smoke and mirrors and propaganda of the Cult of Economists - served faithfully and blindly by the Warrior Priests of the disease known as Bureaucracy - all with the elite front line Black Guard of the Money Mercenaries - the chosen faithful true-believer psychopaths known as the CEO and CFO's of the corporate collective masquerading as human beings.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:29:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Our Very Own Oscar Night in Rimini » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

This was the MMT message that the five of us were invited to explain to the audience in Rimini. Some attendees came up and explained that they had come all the way from Spain, others from France and cities across Italy. And although we did many press, radio and TV interviews, we were told that the major media were directed to ignore us as not politically correct.

Such is the censorial spirit of neoliberal monetary austerity. Its motto is TINA: There Is No Alternative, and it wants to keep matters this way. As long as it can suppress discussion of how many better alternatives there are, the hope is that the public will remain acquiescent as their living standards shrink and wealth is sucked up to the top of the economic pyramid to the 1%.

The audience requested above all more theory from Stephanie Kelton, who gave the clearest lecture on economics I had ever heard - a Euclidean presentation of MMT logic.  See a visual of the magnitude of the event. At the end, we felt like concert performers.

The size of the audience filling the sports stadium to hear our economic explanation of how a real central bank should operate to avoid austerity and promote rather than discourage employment showed that the government's attempt to brainwash the population was not working. It was not working any better than Harvard's Economics 101 class, from which students walked out in protest against the unrealistic parallel universe  drawing pictures of the economy that exclude analysis of the debt overhead, rentier free lunches and financial parasitism.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 10:01:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 11:44:36 AM EST
North Korea agrees to stop nuclear enrichment - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

North Korea has agreed to stop nuclear tests, uranium enrichment and long-range missile launches and to allow nuclear inspectors to visit its Yongbyon nuclear complex to verify the moratorium has been enforced.

The announcement, made simultaneously by the US state department and North Korea's official news agency on Wednesday, paves the way for the possible resumption of six-party disarmament negotiations with the Communist state, and follows talks between US and North Korean diplomats in Beijing last week.

It also marks a significant policy shift by North Korea's reclusive leadership after the death in December of veteran leader Kim Jong-il.

"The DPRK, upon request by the US and with a view to maintaining positive atmosphere for the DPRK-US high-level talks, agreed to a moratorium on nuclear tests, long-range missile launches, and uranium enrichment activity at Yongbyon and allow the IAEA to monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment while productive dialogues continue," North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:03:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:55:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deadly knife attack reported in China - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

A group of knife-wielding men have attacked a market in the volatile Xinjiang region of northwest China, home to the mainly Muslim Uighur minority, leaving at least 20 people dead, authorities say.

Thirteen people were killed by attackers before police shot seven of them dead, the Xinjiang government said on Wednesday.

The motive behind the attack, which occurred late on Tuesday at the market in the town of Yecheng [also known as Kargilik, in the Kashgar prefecture], was not immediately clear. Xinjiang has suffered repeated outbreaks of unrest in recent years that the government has routinely blamed on separatists and terrorists.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:04:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt lifts travel ban on NGO workers - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Egypt has lifted a travel ban on employees of non-governmental organisations, including Americans, on trial for allegedly receiving illicit foreign funding in a case that has tested relations with the US, prosecution sources say.

A lawyer for some of the defendants said on Wednesday he had been informed that the ban had been lifted but that the defendants would have to post bail of two million Egyptian pounds (roughly $330,000).

"The assistant to the attorney general, following a request from the investigating judges, has issued an order to lift the ban," a judicial source close to the proceedings told Reuters, adding the charges have not been dropped against any of those involved.

Judge Abdel Moez Ibrahim, head of the Cairo Appeals Court who appoints judges to the case, also confirmed to Reuters that a decision had been taken to lift the travel ban. Asked for the nationalities of those affected by the decision, he said: "All of them are Americans."

On Tuesday, all three of the judges in the trial resigned from the case.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tunisia Summit Highlights Glaring Absence of Unity on the `Syria Question' - IPS ipsnews.net
TUNIS, Feb 26, 2012 (IPS) - In the Friends of Syria meeting held in Tunis last week, Gulf Arab monarchies offered nearly unqualified support for the Syrian opposition, while the democratic states were more cautious.

Representatives of 60 nations and members of Syria's largest opposition group, the Syrian National Congress (SNC), met here Friday to discuss a possible resolution to escalating conflict in Syria.

The nations present were all generally in support of Syria's opposition and opposed to the authoritarian regime of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. Iran, China and Russia, all high-profile international backers of the Assad regime, were notably absent.

The meeting in Tunis was designed to be a space in which the SNC and their international supporters could formulate a unified plan of action to stop the atrocities in Syria.

However, despite the absence of any Assad supporters, disagreements among the different parties present were more striking then any agreements reached.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:09:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pray for us say Syria rebels as army closes in | Reuters

(Reuters) - Heavy fighting raged near Baba Amro in Homs on Wednesday after elite Syrian troops attacked the rebel-held bastion that has endured 25 days of siege and fierce bombardment, activists said.

"Pray for the Free Syrian Army. Do not be miserly in your prayers for them," opponents of President Bashar al-Assad said in a statement, as diplomats spoke of his brother's feared 4th Armoured Division mounting a drive to "finish off" the rebels.

The motley band of army deserters and desperate insurgents who call themselves the Farouq Brigade of the Free Syrian Army have sworn to fight to the last man, one activist from Baba Amro told Reuters. Others, though, said some of the unit's leaders had already made their escape from the shattered neighborhood.

The 4th Armoured Division commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president's younger brother, has a reputation for ruthlessness burnished during the past year of revolt and forged in history.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:10:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney survives in Michigan, eyes on Super Tuesday | Reuters

(Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney headed back onto the campaign trail on Wednesday hoping to re-energize his campaign after narrowly avoiding a humiliating defeat by rival Rick Santorum in his home state.

Romney scored an all-important victory over Santorum in Michigan's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, but his margin of victory was only 3 percentage points in the state where he grew up and where his father was governor in the 1960s.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:11:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Krugman is shrill:

Early on in my tenure at the Times, I felt I had no choice but to point out the inconvenient truth that the official line of the commentariat was all wrong. George W. Bush was not a nice, blunt, honest guy who happened to be a conservative; he was a serial liar pursuing a hard-line agenda, who among other things deliberately misled America into war.

For this I was labeled "shrill".

More than that: throughout these past ten-plus years, it has been considered ill-mannered and uncouth, not to mention unacceptably partisan, to suggest that the parties aren't symmetric -- that, for example, the reluctance of Democrats to cut Social Security and Medicare is not equivalent to the GOP's consistent pursuit of huge unfunded tax cuts, that the occasional desire of Democrats to put evidence in a more favorable light is not equivalent to the constant, raw dishonesty emanating from the right. And pundits in good standing have been expected to make calls for bipartisanship that involve pretending that Republican politicians are actually the kind of statesmen the party used to contain, but no longer does.




Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 06:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
</highpitched sound>
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 01:27:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but despite the madness of the candidates and sheer repulsiveness of the policy positions being traded, the msm still pretend that the republican party is full of reasonable men who want to govern in the best interests of all of the people of the country.

And while that persists the GOP will remain full of squalling idiots and the Democrats will try to meet them more than halfway

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:33:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they are going to get 40% of the vote in the general election, at least.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 07:47:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but if the msm started calling them on their lies, madness and duplicity maybe that figure would drop.

But while they pretend it's a game where the Dems are just as bad, then there will be no change

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 08:22:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No lower than 30%, assuming the fundagelicals go out and vote.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 08:25:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran starts paying Indian exporters in rupees | Reuters India
About $3 billion in Iranian import arrears have accumulated since December 2010 when a previous payment conduit was closed under pressure from Washington, which is using sanctions to try to stop Tehran's contentious nuclear programme.

Payments to Indian exporters are being remitted through Iran's Bank Parsian which has opened an account with India's UCO bank, the sources said. Bank Parsian is among private Iranian banks that are free from sanctions against Iran's state-owned banks..


by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 11:26:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 11:46:51 AM EST
Research challenges the theories on the global increase in jellyfish population

An international research, involving the participation of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), provides a new perspective on the jellyfish proliferation in world's oceans. This phenomenon has noticeably impacted on beaches around the world in recent years and has provoked the concerns of fishermen and bathers.

However, according to the group of experts leading this new research, there are no "conclusive evidences" that point to global increase in jellyfish population.

The news rise in Mass Media on jellyfish blooms and the discrepancies in climate and science reports have motivated the article, published in the latest issue of the BioScience magazine.

According to the experts, jellyfish population has increased in several regions but has decreased or fluctuates through decades in others. They believe that the key to solve this question relies on understanding the data obtained in the long-term.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 01:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the honesty of the answer depends on the influence the fishing industry brings to bear on the result.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:35:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Farm 'weeds' have crucial role in sustainable agriculture

Plants often regarded as common weeds such as thistles, buttercups and clover could be critical in safe guarding fragile food webs on UK farms according to Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Published tomorrow in Science, researchers from the University of Bristol detail the interactions that occur between the different food webs commonly found on farms throughout the UK and the robustness of these interactions to species loss.

In one of the first studies to look simultaneously at multiple types of food webs, the researchers found that some plants such as thistles, cow-parsley, clover and buttercups were disproportionately well linked to animals through the food web.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 01:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong by William D. Nordhaus | The New York Review of Books

The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe. Because the economic questions involved have received relatively little attention, I have been writing a nontechnical book for people who would like to see how market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change. When I showed an early draft to colleagues, their response was that I had left out the arguments of skeptics about climate change, and I accordingly addressed this at length.

But one of the difficulties I found in examining the views of climate skeptics is that they are scattered widely in blogs, talks, and pamphlets. Then, I saw an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal of January 27, 2012, by a group of sixteen scientists, entitled "No Need to Panic About Global Warming." This is useful because it contains many of the standard criticisms in a succinct statement. The basic message of the article is that the globe is not warming, that dissident voices are being suppressed, and that delaying policies to slow climate change for fifty years will have no serious economic or environment consequences.

My response is primarily designed to correct their misleading description of my own research; but it also is directed more broadly at their attempt to discredit scientists and scientific research on climate change

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 01:56:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Evolution of staph 'superbug' traced between humans and food animals

A strain of the potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacterium known as MRSA has jumped from food animals to humans, according to a new study involving two Northern Arizona University researchers.

Paul Keim, Regents' professor and director of NAU's Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, and Lance Price, NAU faculty member and director of the Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, collaborated with scientists at 20 institutions around the world on the study published in the online journal mBio.

The TGen-led research utilized whole genome sequencing to study 89 genomes from humans and animals - including turkeys, chickens and pigs - with samples from 19 countries on four continents.

The research focused on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398, also known as pig MRSA or livestock-associated MRSA because it most often infects people with direct exposure to swine or other food animals. It is likely that MRSA CC398 started as an antibiotic-susceptible strain in humans before it jumped to food animals.

After transferring to food animals, MRSA CC398 became resistant to two important antibiotics, tetracycline and methicillin, which are used for treating staph infections. The resistance likely is a result of the routine antibiotic use that characterizes modern food-animal production.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 01:58:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet another in a long line of "Who could have predicted" agriculture news items. Boneheads.
by Andhakari on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 08:14:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Monsanto prevails in suit brought by organic growers | Reuters

(Reuters) - A federal judge has ruled in favor of global seed giant Monsanto Co, dismissing a lawsuit brought by a consortium of U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers who said their industry is at risk from Monsanto's growing market strength.

U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald, for the Southern District of New York, threw out the case brought by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and dozens of other plaintiff growers and organizations, criticizing the groups for a "transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists."

The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed the suit last March on behalf of more than 50 organizations challenging the agricultural giant's patents on its genetically modified seeds. The group wanted a ruling that would prohibit Monsanto from suing the farmers or dealers if their organic seed becomes contaminated with Monsanto's patented biotech seed germplasm.

But Judge Buchwald said Monsanto had not sued or even started the process of suing anyone of the plaintiffs or anyone in "similar stead."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:16:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes I am amused but more often amazed at how blatantly corporations have tipped the scales of justice in their favour.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:38:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Local opposition to onshore windfarms has tripled, poll shows | Environment | The Guardian
The ICM/Guardian poll shows that 60% of Britons would now support the building of a windfarm within five miles of their home

Local opposition to onshore windfarms has tripled since 2010, a new Guardian poll reveals, following a series of political and media attacks on the renewable technology.

However, a large majority of the British public (60%) remains firmly in favour of wind power, while also opposing the building of new nuclear or coal power plants in their local area.

The poll shows that the national debate over wind energyis becoming sharply polarised, with the percentage of Britons strongly supporting the building of a new windfarm in their area going up by 5%, and the percentage strongly against rising by 14%.

This is driven in large part by the model of ownership, and lack of community buy-in:

Local opposition to onshore windfarms has tripled, poll shows | Environment | The Guardian

Devine-Wright said other countries had handled the issue much better: "There is a growing presumption in the UK that onshore wind is dodgy, but there is no reason why it should be that like that. The vast majority of the population are in favour of local renewables projects, so we are starting with goodwill but ending up in a mess."

He highlighted the far greater community ownership of wind and other renewable projects in other countries, compared to Britain where most are owned by large energy companies.

"Denmark and Germany have been far better able to mobilise projects with communities at the centre of the project, rather than on the periphery.

"In the UK, there is often an emotional response. When you talk to local objectors, they feel their sense of place is being violated [by outsiders] and you need to avoid that at all costs. You need to harness that emotion in a positive way and the government has to take a more proactive stance to address that."



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 08:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of Yucca mountain.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 09:57:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a huge uproar in renewable circles because the Bundeskabinett actually did cut PV hard again, as well as announcing that the bundestag will no longer be responsible for changes to the law. The Bundeskabinett will make changes.

This has thrown the windpower community into action, because what Germany has spent two decades building, a reputation for secure policies in support of a global business, has be seriously undercut.

By the fuckin FDP, based on their 3% support.

This affects wind, particularly huge infrastructure investment as in offshore wind, by increasing uncertainty and risk of future changes. Especially coming as the lack of grid interconnection is hitting the industry very hard.

At the same time, Obama has called to make the wind and solar tax credits permanent.

No time to give sources, they're out there.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - AnaÔs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 11:12:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 11:47:10 AM EST
James Murdoch resigns as News International chairman | Media | guardian.co.uk

James Murdoch has stepped down as chairman of News International, the publisher of the Sun and Times, in an internal News Corporation reshuffle.

Wednesday's move sees him give up responsibility for News Corp's crisis-hit British newspaper operation as he completes his relocation to New York.

The man once seen as his father Rupert Murdoch's automatic heir at the top of News Corp retains existing responsibility for "global television", overseeing busineses including the company's 39% stake in BSkyB, Sky-branded pay-TV companies in Europe and Star in Asia - and only gains the opportunity to become involved with the company's US Fox television operation as he settles in across the Atlantic.

James Murdoch's managerial move away from News International explains why he was not in London to help oversee the launch of the Sun's Sunday edition, which has been personally supervised by his father.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 11:59:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Ikea 'paid French police for secret files on staff'

A French newspaper has claimed that Swedish furniture giant Ikea paid for illegal access to police files on its staff and customers.

The weekly Le Canard Enchaine published what it said were emails where Ikea managers asked police for information.

More than 200 checks on criminal records and vehicle registrations were asked for, the paper says.

A spokesman for Ikea France vowed to investigate, but would not confirm or deny the allegations.

"We disapprove in the strongest possible way of all these kinds of illegal practices which are an affront to important values such as respect for a person's private life," the company said in a statement.

"We intend to carry out a full investigation to find out what if anything

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:03:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe Rupert Murdoch has said similar things over here. However, we now are beginning to suspect that Rupert was, if not lying, then at least being economical with the truth

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:40:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe lagging broadband benefits | EurActiv

Broadband technology is boosting GDP globally - especially in the developing world - but Europe remains the only continent where telecommunications business is running at a loss, according to speakers at the Mobile World Congress.

Speaking at a forum on the future of broadband in Barcelona on 26 February, Indonesian Telecoms Minister Tifatul Sembiring said that - despite concerns in Indonesia about the impact of the financial crisis in the US and Europe - growth in broadband was central to optimism that the country's buoyant economy can be maintained. Indonesia's economy grew by 6.5% of GDP during 2011.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:08:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
H5N1 flu is just as dangerous as feared

The debate about the potential severity of an outbreak of airborne H5N1 influenza in humans needs to move on from speculation and focus instead on how we can safely continue H5N1 research and share the results among researchers, according to a commentary to be published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

H5N1 influenza has been at the center of heated discussions in science and policy circles since the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) asked the authors of two recent H5N1 investigations and the scientific journals that planned to publish the studies to withhold crucial details of the research in the interest of biosecurity.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 01:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saudi women push for the right to play sports | Reuters

(Reuters) - The image of 24-year-old Nour Fitiany resting courtside as the pounding of basketballs and thumping of feet reverberated around her wouldn't merit a second glance in most countries.

But in Saudi Arabia, where girls are banned from sports in state schools, powerful clerics castigate women for exercising and female gyms must adhere to strict regulations, Fitiany's ambition to play basketball - let alone represent her country in international tournaments - is a bold political statement.

"I hope that when they see that there are girls who really want to play, and who do play regardless of the obstacles that lie in their path, they realise that they have to do something," she said, dressed in a baby blue t-shirt and grey jogging pants, spinning a basketball on her index finger.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 02:17:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Land Destroyer: The Globalists' Worst Nightmare
Self-sufficiency and the harassing of technology in the hands of the people are the greatest fears of the global oligarchy - fears that oligarchs throughout the centuries have harbored. Simply boycotting the globalists' corporations and replacing them with local solutions is something everyone can afford to do starting today. And by simply looking into Dr. Neil Gershenfeld's "Fab Lab," raising awareness of the personal fabrication revolution, and even in the smallest way participating can help overcome the obstacle of social-engineering and spur a profound paradigm shift. We have begun to seize back the media, now it is time to seize back the other levers of power. Now is the time to recognize true freedom as being self-sufficient as a nation, as a community, and as a household, and start living it everyday.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 05:23:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Workshop of volunteers is building a website to facilitate the launching of citizens' initiatives.

From the beginning of March, citizens' initiative bills can be sent for parliamentary handling if they are signed by 50,000 people entitled to vote.


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:34:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How Empires Fall (Including the American One) | World | AlterNet

There was, however, another aspect to the surprise of 2011. I think it may be the nature of such nonviolent movements that they come as a surprise, because at their very root seems to be a sudden change in the hidden sphere of the human heart and mind that then becomes contagious. It's as though below the visible landscape of politics, whose permanence and strength we characteristically overestimate, there's this other landscape we rather pallidly call the world of opinion.

And somewhere in this landscape of popular will, in these changes in hearts and minds -- a phrase that has become a cliché but still expresses a deep truth -- lie hidden powers that, when they erupt, can overmatch and bring down existing structures. That's what John Adams said about the American Revolution: the revolution was in the hearts of the people, the minds of the people. It was amazing to find that very Vietnam-era phrase in Adams' eighteenth century writings. What John Adams was saying you find over and over again in the history of revolutions, once you look for it.

Occupy and Freedom

I used to say that, before the Occupy movement here, we Americans were suffering from our own energy crisis, which was so much more important than not being able to drill for crude oil.  We didn't know how to drop a bucket into our own hearts and come up with the necessary will to do the things that needed to be done. The real "drill, baby, drill" that we needed was to delve into our own consciousness and come up with the will.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 10:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 11:47:34 AM EST
Rupert Murdoch gets on his high horse | Media Monkey | Media | guardian.co.uk
It was only a matter of time. Nearly two months after Rupert Murdoch joined the Twitterati, he's having a virtual row with pugnacious Labour MP Tom Watson. The News Corporation capo di tutti capi tweeted in defence of Rebekah Brooks, erstwhile apple of his eye and News International chief executive, over a certain equine story: "Now they are complaining about R Brooks saving an old horse from the glue factory!" Watson, who last year took his dogged pursuit of Murdoch over phone-hacking all the way to the News Corp AGM in Los Angeles, was having none of it: "@rupertmurdoch You comment on her horse but not on her insider knowledge of a criminal investigation into your company. Have you no shame?" Can't the poor guy get a moment's peace?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 11:56:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We remind our readers that the missing horse is in fact a little white girl with a blonde pony-tail and innocent, trusting blue eyes, last seen wearing a tee-shirt, jeans, and sneakers.

YOU say: Bring back the rope. The cat. The lash. Take a baseball bat to the monsters in our midst due to lenient judges and permissive attitudes that make our streets unsafe for our children to walk as in olden time.

(As for the real old horse bound for the glue factory, solicitors Gaggem, Nailit and Blind have served us with a writ forbidding us to publish its name.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 02:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and there was me thinking the horse had been sent to a glue factory in News Corp York

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:42:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two-thirds of Germans believe in true love - The Local

Germans are more romantic than their reputation for being cool and logical might suggest, with two thirds of those asked in a recent survey saying they believed in love that can last for life.

Those currently in a relationship were more optimistic about the chances of sticking with a partner for life - even if their current partner might not be "the one", the research showed.

Of the 1,800 men and women interviewed by the Allensbach Institute polling company (IfD), 72 percent said they were in a relationship while 28 percent were single.

Almost all of the people in a relationship said they believed in the idea of love lasting forever while 56 percent of singletons said they thought it was an illusion. And around 70 percent of those going it alone said they were either happy that way, or indifferent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 29th, 2012 at 12:54:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technologyô] I'm changing the story title from 30 February to 1 March.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 06:25:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Get your international memes early on ...

Finnish word for grammar pedants praised

The American humour website cracked.com has listed its top pick of words missing from the English language. The all-time foreign word favourite went to the Finnish pilkunviilaaja or "comma nitpicker."


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Mar 1st, 2012 at 07:41:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Mar 2nd, 2012 at 07:20:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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