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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 6 February

by dvx Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 04:06:30 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


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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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:01:31 PM EST
Russians brave frigid temperatures in pro- and anti-Putin rallies | Europe | DW.DE | 04.02.2012

Russians have gathered in Moscow at rival demonstrations supporting and opposing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, despite sub-zero temperatures. The anti-Putin rally is seen as a big test for the opposition movement.

Tens of thousands of Russians opposing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rallied in Moscow on Saturday, as their pro-Kremlin rivals gathered just a short distance away.

Saturday's march for fair elections is the third mass anti-Putin rally in less than two months. It is being viewed as a vital test of the protest movement's momentum, a month ahead of elections for the presidency.

Police said 36,000 people attended the anti-Putin rally, but opposition leaders said their numbers exceeded 120,000. Reporters on the scene said the rally appeared to be at least as big as the last big opposition protest in December, when some 120,000 peope took part.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin protest song becomes YouTube hit | Europe | DW.DE | 04.02.2012

With Russians heading to the polls on March 4, a hit song on YouTube against Prime Minister Vladmir Putin is heating up the campaign trail. The band - made of former soldiers - is calling for Putin to step down.

Picture the scene: a group of men, with shaved heads, tattooed forearms, and grim faces stand around a drum kit, some with guitars, wearing striped vests and the blue beret worn by Russian paratroopers. They are singing a song of reckoning against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"We trusted you, but you lied for years," goes one line.

It could be the reproach of a rejected lover - until the song takes a bureaucratic turn.

"You're a simple civil servant, no tsar and no god.

(With subtitles:)



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:08:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
100,000 protest against Putin.  
135 million dont.
Do the math
by boindub on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 07:16:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is more meaningful than counting how many don't speak up either way:
Police said 36,000 people attended the anti-Putin rally, but opposition leaders said their numbers exceeded 120,000. Reporters on the scene said the rally appeared to be at least as big as the last big opposition protest in December, when some 120,000 peope took part.

Up to 138,000 took part in the pro-Putin rally just a few miles (kilometers) away, police said. The Kremlin has a reputation of boosting their numbers in protests by bussing in sympathizers from surrounding areas, and teachers have said trade unions pressured them to turn out in support of Putin.

Are we to assume 135 million Russians don't give a damn about Putin?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 07:21:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are both of you assuming that the remaining 8 million Russians (population of Russia is around 143 million) are irrelevant one way or another?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 07:29:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US is paying organisers of the rent-a-crowd to try to destabilise the Gov. Anybody doubt that ?
Up to 100,000 protesters (not all voters)out of 140,000,000 Russians (not all voters) is miniscule.
Yes, also legitimate protesters involved. 1,000,000 turned out in the UK to protest attack on Iraq and were ignored.
A majority in the US oppose Obama.  So what.
by boindub on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 07:40:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you are saying the protesters are being paid to turn out, I doubt it. Do you think no one in Russia has any reason or right to be against Putin?

The world would be so reassuring if it were as black and white as you paint it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:07:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
boindub:
The US is paying organisers of the rent-a-crowd to try to destabilise the Gov. Anybody doubt that ?

LOL, wat?

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 Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:45:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean 8 Million Muskovites?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:07:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That could be it. I though he might be discounting the Chechens, but they account for less than 2 million.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:14:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just pointing out that
100,000 protest against Putin.  
135 million dont.
Do the math
is in incomplete summary of the content of the article, you could as well say

"100,000 protest against Putin.  
100,000 protest for Putin.  
135 million don't either way."

I don't know what the math is supposed to be.

Also, are the 100,000 pro-Putin protesters a rent-a-crowd, too, or not? What is the received wisdom here? That Putin can or cannot astroturf supportive demonstrations?

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:12:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that some of the anti-Putin feeling has been stirred up by these so-called democracy movements paid for by the CIA and cease to be so pro-democracy when the Americans don't get their way, such as in Egypt, but there is also some validity to some of the anti-Putin sentiment.

It's just hard to distinguish one from the other, is all.

by stevesim on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 10:15:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Putin surely resorts to astro-turf and the Nashi and other developments do seem a tad like a personality cult or effective single-party rule, but all the same there is some validity to pro-Putin sentiments.

boindub's one-liners are not very enlightening, nor terribly original, is all.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 11:27:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he makes a valid point.
by stevesim on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 12:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ed Miliband: we have just three months to save the NHS | Politics | The Observer

Labour leader Ed Miliband is calling on the public to join a three-month campaign to kill off the government's controversial NHS reforms as pressure mounts on David Cameron to withdraw the coalition's flagship health and social care bill from parliament.

Ahead of a crucial week for the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, during which the bill will return to the Lords where it can expect a further mauling, Miliband describes the plans as a dangerous "leap in the dark" that will impose a "free market free-for-all" on the NHS.

With much of the medical profession now opposed to the plans and Downing Street increasingly concerned, Miliband says an effective cross-party campaign in parliament, backed by patients, could deliver Lansley's plans the last rites.

"It is not too late to stop this bill," Miliband says in an article for the Observer. "We have three months to prevent great harm being done to the NHS. Now is the time for people of all parties and of none, the professions, the patients and now peers in the House of Lords to work together to try to stop this bill." The worst option, he argues, would be to press on with a bill just so that the government can save face.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:14:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Benefit cuts are fuelling abuse of disabled people, say charities | Society | The Guardian

The government's focus on alleged fraud and overclaiming to justify cuts in disability benefits has caused an increase in resentment and abuse directed at disabled people, as they find themselves being labelled as scroungers, six of the country's biggest disability groups have warned.

Some of the charities say they are now regularly contacted by people who have been taunted on the street about supposedly faking their disability and are concerned the climate of suspicion could spill over into violence or other hate crimes.

While the charities speaking out - Scope, Mencap, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), and Disability Alliance - say inflammatory media coverage has played a role in this, they primarily blame ministers and civil servants for repeatedly highlighting the supposed mass abuse of the disability benefits system, much of which is unfounded.

At the same time, they say, the focus on "fairness for taxpayers" has fostered the notion that disabled people are a separate group who don't contribute.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:15:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Joblessness and 'toxic relations' with police are blamed for Tottenham riot | UK news | The Guardian

A "citizens inquiry" into the riots in Tottenham will conclude they were partly caused by high youth unemployment and toxic relations with local police, arguing the disorder reveals the need for a major regeneration project in the area.

The north London borough was the first place to suffer riots last summer, when a protest about the police shooting of local man Mark Duggan turned violent. The trouble which started in Tottenham exactly six months ago quickly spread across London and to other English cities.

The report produced by the Citizens Inquiry into the Tottenham Riots, a grassroots coalition of locals, reveals that many in the community believe their area was "left to burn".

The study, which involved interviews with 700 people, will be launched on Tuesday at an event hosted by Reading the Riots, the Guardian and London School of Economics study into the August disturbances.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:28:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as a commentator said yesterday, this is a campaign with inbuilt victory in that the NHS will still be there in 3 months

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 03:02:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO looks at 'Smart Defense' to cut costs | World | DW.DE | 05.02.2012

The international financial crisis is creating more challenges for NATO. Europe, in particular, will have to find ways to save money without compromising it's military effectiveness.

How to save money without compromising NATO's defense capabilities was one of the key topics discussed at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend. "The financial and debt crisis is weighing down national budgets, and therefore, also the defense budgets on both sides of the Atlantic," German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in his opening speech.

European defense budgets have stagnated not only since the financial crisis. After 10 years of massive investments in the military, even the US now has to face hefty cuts. The US defense budget is still 660 billion dollars, but in the face of a dramatic budget deficit, the world's largest military power can no longer get around slimming things down. US Defense Minister Leon Panetta in January announced cuts of 487 billion dollars over the next ten years. This would amount to an eight percent cut.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:15:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cold snap reaches Italy as Europe shivers | Europe | DW.DE | 04.02.2012

Citizens in Rome awoke to about 10 centimeters (4 inches) of snow Saturday, a rare sight in Italy's capital. The cold weather has stricken a ferry, halted most public transport and forced the Pope to cancel an audience.

Europe's prolonged spell of wintery weather reached the Italian capital Rome Saturday, heavily disrupting the transport network, forcing the emergency evacuation of a stricken ferry and causing Pope Benedict XVI to cancel a planned audience.

More than 300 people, including 262 passengers, were rescued from the ferry "Sharden" shortly after it set off from the port of Civitavecchia in a heavy snow storm. The ship hit a breakwater, which ripped a 25-meter hole in the side of the vessel. The ship's evacuation went smoothly, with no deaths or injuries reported. Many of the Sardinia-bound passengers boarded other ships and waited for hours to set sail for their destination.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:16:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Snow forces Heathrow to cancel half of flights | UK news | The Guardian

Heathrow airport has cancelled 50% of its flights as the snow and cold weather continue to cause problems across the UK, grounding aeroplanes, stranding motorists and leaving roads icy and treacherous.

The move on Sunday came as wintry showers ceased across the country and forecasters predicted dry conditions and a partial thaw.

Heathrow, which had originally cut only 30% of its flights, said the decision was intended to minimise disruption and had been made in anticipation of possible freezing fog.

Although the runways, taxiways and stands have been cleared of snow, only half of the 1,300 scheduled flights would go ahead. The London airport, however, said its snow plan has worked "far better" than in previous years, adding that it would operate a normal flight schedule on Monday.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:16:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia's Gazprom acknowledges cutting gas supplies to Europe - The Washington Post

Russia's state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant acknowledged for the first time Saturday that it had briefly reduced gas supplies to Europe amid a spell of extreme cold.

Gazprom deputy chief Andrey Kruglov reported to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the cuts lasted for several days and reached up to 10 percent, but supplies are currently back to normal. Officials in Austria and France, however, have reported cuts of as much as 30 percent, and Italy said supplies were down by 24 percent Thursday.

by Nomad on Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 04:56:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Niinistoe Takes Lead in Finland's Presidential Election on Euro Policies - Bloomberg

Sauli Niinistoe, the candidate of the ruling National Coalition Party, leads today's Finnish presidential run-off election as the Nordic nation shows its support for his group's pro-Europe policies.

The 63-year-old former finance minister leads his opponent Pekka Haavisto of the Green League with backing of 65.4 percent to 34.6 percent, as 48.7 percent of the ballots were counted.

"Niinistoe is running on a platform of economic realism," said Tuomo Martikainen, professor emeritus in political science at the University of Helsinki. "He's mainly concerned with how to boost Finland's economy and ensure it withstands the crisis. Haavisto speaks more on human rights."

Niinistoe may need to gird Finns for austerity measures with the northernmost euro nation heading for its second recession in four years as the debt crisis weighs on demand. Saddled with Europe's fastest aging population, Finns are tightening their belts amid a fourth consecutive budget deficit.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:19:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy ally says all civilisations not equal - Europe - Al Jazeera English

The French interior minister has said he is standing by his remarks that not all civilisations are equal, even as critics denounced his comments as dangerous and xenophobic.

"I do not regret [the comments]," Claude Gueant said on Sunday, though he accused critics of taking them "out of context"

"Contrary to what the left's relativist ideology says, for us all civilisations are not of equal value," Gueant, who is also responsible for immigration, told a gathering of right-wing students on Saturday.

"Those which defend humanity seem to us to be more advanced than those that do not," he said.

"Those which defend liberty, equality and fraternity, seem to us superior to those which accept tyranny, the subservience of women, social and ethnic hatred," he said in his speech, a copy of which was obtained by the AFP news agency.

He also stressed the need to "protect our civilisation".



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:29:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Those which defend liberty, equality and fraternity, seem to us superior to those which accept tyranny, the subservience of women, social and ethnic hatred,

I wouldn't necessarily disagree, however it is always necessary to distrust the intentions of a politician who make such statements during an election campaign.

After all, it is immediately necessary to to ask the extent to which liberty, equality and fraternity are actually defended and to what extent before we wrap ourselves in the flag of unsullied virtue

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 03:12:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you frame this in the context of "civilisations" you are obviously reviving the "clash of" theme. Which was Guéant's intention.

I just wish the Socialists would get wise and not make such a fuss about Guéant's crap. Every time he does this he looks less like an Interior Minister and more like a Front National agent. But because "the Socialists were shocked", the media have been talking about this ever since he said it.

The way to get rid of Guéant is to get rid of Sarkozy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:30:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: High Noon in Athens
Greek coalition partners face a noon deadline to sign up to the reform package; major disagreement were still unresolved by last night; Antonis Samaras says package would make recession intolerable; finance ministers said there will be no agreed debt restructuring without the package; Jean-Claude Juncker says default was now real possibility in Greece; the CDU central party apparatus is gearing up for the French elections; the involvement is on par with a major state election; Merkel refuses to grant an audition to Francois Hollande; a French satryrical TV show depicts Merkel as ,,the president of the French Republic"; Merkel and Sarkozy will today receive a proposal to implement a joint system of corporate taxation; As Marine Le Pen is struggling to get the signatures of 500 deputies needed to qualify as a presidential candidate, a poll shows that Sarkozy's electoral chances improve dramatically without Le Pen; a poll among bank economists says ECB will not cut interest rates this Thursday, but most expect further rate cut down the line;the poll also shows Yves Mersch as the favourite next ECB executive board member; James Hamilton says the US economic upturn is stronger than it appears; a group of Italian economists has a simulation that Italy's debt is likely to be sustainable even at higher interest rates; Wolfgang Munchau, meanwhile, dismisses the notion that Germany should turn itself into a Bric.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 04:16:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany's future as a bric?

In his FT column, Wolfgang Munchau discussed the notion, popular among the German business elites, that Germany should detach itself from the eurozone, and become a Bric. He says there is a yearning within the elites for a euro exit, as the country's trade pattern shifts more and more towards the east. Munchau concludes that this is not a viable strategy. Germany always prospered within fixed exchange rate systems, but usually finds it much harder to achieve the same degree of success within a free-floating exchange rate. And structurally, Germany is the very opposite of Bric.

FT.com: Germany: A Bric, or just stuck in a hard place? By Wolfgang Münchau
Angela Merkel has just been to Beijing, in a year when China is about to displace France as Germany's largest trading partner. When that happens, it will be a symbolic moment. It will also encourage those currently posing the following question: should Germany detach itself from the eurozone mess and become a Bric - a mid-sized global economic power, like Brazil, Russia, India and China, whose initials constitute the Bric acronym?

...

We are essentially discussing a new variant of the "German question". With unification, Germany has become too large to be an ordinary European state, yet not large enough to be a superpower. Poland's foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, recently called for more German leadership in Europe. But on the few occasions when Germany takes a lead, is met with derision.

Deep down, the Germans do not want to lead in Europe because they are not ready to pay the price for leadership. This is why it has been so important for the government to present a clearly defined upper ceiling for Germany's maximum liability in the eurozone rescue operations. To its advocates, the Bric strategy offers a way out of this "awkward-size" dilemma.

The key line in the piece is Keeping the eurozone together is clearly no longer the priority of Germany's business and financial establishment (who were its biggest advocates in the 1990s).

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 04:33:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an important point at the end, but if I were to quote key lines from Munchau they would be these:

Germany: A Bric, or just stuck in a hard place? - FT.com

Germany draws much of its current strength from a devalued real exchange rate... A free-floating new D-Mark would eradicate the gains of the recent decade. Germany has also been one of the main beneficiaries of the single European market.

... Germany is a very old and rich European country with a declining population - the total opposite of a Bric.

(Glooglink)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 05:49:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has named names? He seems to be attacking a straw man. Who in Germany wants to be an BRIC?

After all this:

<Germany has also been one of the main beneficiaries of the single European market.<p>  ... Germany is a very old and rich European country with a declining population - the total opposite of a Bric.>

Is very obvious.

by IM on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 06:22:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I first heard the notion of Germany as a Bric from Ulrike Guerot of the European Council on Foreign Relations, who is vehemently opposed to the separatist anti-European tendencies in Germany. Probably the clearest expression of this idea came recently from Wolfgang Reitzle. The CEO of Linde, a German industrial group, said that Germany should consider leaving the eurozone. This might bring some short term pain, he acknowledged, but it would increase Germany's competitiveness in the long term.
The source is: Linde CEO says Germany should mull euro exit-paper (Reuters quoting Spiegel).

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 06:36:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All I can find from Ulrike Guérot is: Germany in Europe: Christmas presents from Merkozy (13th December 2011)
In this respect, the most interesting article I read last week was by Werner Abelshauser, an economic history professor, who argued in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Friday, 9th December) that the best deal for Germany now - like in the middle-ages - is to go global with a mercantile approach and to stabilise only a smaller, homogenous Eurozone. Based on many conversations, I would argue that this corresponds to how most Germans feel today: we want to go global; we want to equip the world with engineering products; we want Europe to remain stable; but we no longer want to invest much in it (let alone pay for it). We want it to remain on a level below supranationality, with every country basically on its own. We want the single market and the exports to it, of course, but no transfer union. And we want a `smaller' Eurozone. I don't understand the charm this concept has in the eyes of many Germans, despite being so evidently illusionary. Germany cannot suck the rest of Europe into its own industrial value chain; it cannot have the single market and its benefits without fiscal union; it cannot have a `homogenous' euro and the export advantage, simply because its neighbours will not allow it. At some point, they will drop out of the movie. And then Germany cannot be the economic powerhouse of Europe without showing international responsibility.  Selling tanks to Saudi Arabia while at the same time abstaining from intervention in Libya are not going to work for long.  Foreign policy is not just luxury. Pure mercantilism is no strategy, it is dependence.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 06:48:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good for Ulrike Guerot.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:15:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ulrike Guerot:
 Selling tanks to Saudi Arabia while at the same time abstaining from intervention in Libya are not going to work for long.

I have just watched Merkozy playing out the nth tired presser of their fake Siamese twinship. Where Sarkon says he and the German chancellor are in total agreement on defence and military questions. On to Syria, where he says they agree Putin is a creep wrong. What? Angela kept quiet. And Sarkozy of course counts that most people are so brain-fucked they don't remember that he was doing a UK-France deal with Cameron going into Libya while Germany ostensibly refused.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:23:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the method has worked for decades. And right now, everybody abstains from intervening in Syria and happily sells arms in the region.

Guerot seems to conflate is and shall.

by IM on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:44:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IM, I've given a link, go and read it.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:08:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IM:

this:

<Germany has also been one of the main beneficiaries of the single European market.<p>  ... Germany is a very old and rich European country with a declining population - the total opposite of a Bric.>

Is very obvious.

How I wish it could be more so to Germans, both of the establishment and of the media-misinformed people whose elected representatives don't seem to understand it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:12:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Themn show me a single turning into a bric comment.

Münchau did a Friedman and neglected such pesky things as sources.

by IM on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:39:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 So he found two witnesses, Ulrike Guerot and Wolfgang Reitzle. Guerot invented the term for her (imaginary) enemies. And Reitzle  did indeed demand that germany shuold leave the euro.
But of course he said nothing about being a BRIC. Perhaps he just think Germany can just go back to the status quo of 1998. Or he thinks Germanny can be Siwtzerland or japan. Actually Japan would fit. Japan is just Germany with nor regional friends.

That, said the BRIC seems to exist only in Münchaus head.

And that:

>I was recently reminded of that change at a dinner in Berlin with a group of journalists, one of whom told me that young Berliners looked towards Moscow as the "coolest" city in Europe by far - apart from their own, of course. Warsaw, too, was high up in this perceived coolness scale, way ahead of London, Paris, or New York. Old Berlin was split between west and east. Young Berlin looks east. German business looks even further to the east.>

is downright Friedmanesque. I wonder he hasn't mentioned the next six months yet.

by IM on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:33:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CNN: Romania's PM resigns amid protests, winter deaths
Announcing his resignation on television, Boc said he was not the kind of person to hang on to power, and that it was time to make space for another government.

...

Protesters in Romania have been out in the streets for weeks, demanding the resignation of President Traian Basescu and the Boc government.

...

People blame the government for imposing harsh austerity measures after the country received 20 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

There are reports that a "technocratic" cabinet might be appointed.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:57:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:01:48 PM EST
Greece in last-minute austerity talks - FT.com

Greek premier Lucas Papademos last night presented party political leaders with a stark choice: accept tough fiscal measures in return for a second €130bn bail-out or plunge the country into a chaotic default.

After five hours of discussions, the three leaders of Greece's national unity government had still not accepted demands by international lenders for immediate deep spending cuts and labour market reforms as part of a new medium-term package.

The talks with the three leaders of a national unity government came after the government failed to persuade the so-called "troika"- representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund to ease conditions for the rescue deal.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Trade Gap Probably Widened as Imports Grew - Bloomberg

The trade deficit in the U.S. probably widened in December to a six-month high as imports climbed faster than exports, economists said a report this week will show.

The gap grew to $48.5 billion from the $47.8 billion shortfall in November, according to the median of 61 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey ahead of Commerce Department figures on Feb. 10. Consumer sentiment held close to a one-year high and firings were little changed, other reports may show.

Imports will probably keep rising as an improving job market underpins consumer spending, and businesses rebuild inventories and replace outdated equipment. At the same time, demand from emerging markets is boosting sales at companies like General Electric Co. (GE) and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), buffering the fallout from Europe's debt crisis and helping to sustain exports.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:20:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK looks to bridge regulatory divide with US - FT.com

Americans and the British are said to be two peoples divided by a common language, and three recent enforcement cases involving financial groups that operate on both sides of the Atlantic have shown that the subtle, and sometimes surprising, differences extend to the way US and UK regulators and law enforcement seek to police their markets.

First David Einhorn, one of the US's best-known hedge fund managers, and his firm Greenlight Capital, together paid £7.2m for trading ahead of a UK equity raising, even as he protested that he believed he had done nothing wrong.

Then Ravi Sinha, formerly the top UK executive of the US private equity firm JC Flowers, was ordered to pay nearly £2.9m after admitting to a fraudulent billing scheme. Critics complained that, had he been in the US, he would have been criminally prosecuted.

Finally the US criminally charged three former Credit Suisse bankers with fraud for allegedly inflating the value of mortgage-backed securities, more than three years after the UK Financial Services Authority fined the bank £5.6m for systems and control failings that allowed mismarking.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:20:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
London Landlords Facing Rents of Zero Turn Offices Into Condos - Bloomberg

More people will be making their homes among the banks and insurance companies of central London as a shrinking financial industry and the prospect of leasing out buildings for free prompts landlords to convert offices into luxury apartments.

Developers including Axa Real Estate Investment Managers Ltd., Berkeley Group Holdings Plc (BKG) and Heron International Inc. also plan to build homes in the heart of Britain's financial services industry, known as the Square Mile, after purchasing obsolete commercial buildings in the area.

"The fringes of the City are struggling in terms of letting secondhand buildings," said Anthony Duggan, head of real estate research at Deloitte LLP. "There will be a number of developments looking at alternative uses."

London has seen demand for offices slump after banks cut more jobs in the U.K. than in any other country last year. Rents in the City of London will fall 4 percent this year, compared with earlier predictions of a 6.1 percent increase, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a Jan. 11 note. Values will drop 7.3 percent in 2012, the bank 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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:21:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mortgage Tornado Warning, Unheeded - NYTimes.com

YEARS before the housing bust -- before all those home loans turned sour and millions of Americans faced foreclosure -- a wealthy businessman in Florida set out to blow the whistle on the mortgage game.

His name is Nye Lavalle, and he first came to attention not in finance but in sports and advertising. He turned heads in marketing circles by correctly predicting that Nascar and figure skating would draw huge followings in the 1990s.

But after losing a family home to foreclosure, under what he thought were fishy circumstances, Mr. Lavalle, founder of a consulting firm called the Sports Marketing Group, began a new life as a mortgage sleuth. In 2003, when home prices were flying high, he compiled a dossier of improprieties on one of the giants of the business, Fannie Mae.

In hindsight, what he found looks like a blueprint of today's foreclosure crisis. Even then, Mr. Lavalle discovered, some loan-servicing companies that worked for Fannie Mae routinely filed false foreclosure documents, not unlike the fraudulent paperwork that has since made "robo-signing" a household term. Even then, he found, the nation's electronic mortgage registry was playing fast and loose with the law -- something that courts have belatedly recognized, too.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:30:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can find a column by Varoufakis HERE


Of course the reason is that the expensive remedies applied to the festering wound that is Greece are worsening, rather than improving, the infection. One explanation is that Greece was a recalcitrant patient who refused to take the medicine as prescribed. There is a large element of truth here. However, the Greek state's incompetence at introducing the agreed reforms is preventing us from seeing the deeper cause: the way that the eurozone bound together the fates of our peoples by means of an edifice that (a) magnified the underlying imbalances and (b) could not absorb a shock like that of the financial meltdown of 2008.

When the eurozone's weakest link snapped, its government added to the country's past mistakes another grave error of commission. It denied its bankruptcy and sought loans under conditions that were impossible to meet. In Keynes' words:

"Greece's insincere acceptance... of impossible conditions which it was not intended to carry out made Greece almost as guilty to accept what she could not fulfil as the European Union to impose what they were not entitled to exact."

[Naturally, these are not Keynes' precise words. But they are close. All I had to do to produce the above `quotation' was to substitute `Greece' for `Germany' and `European Union' for `Allies'.[2]]



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 04:37:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence daily briefing: High Noon in Athens
Greek coalition parties face a noon deadline after they failed to sign off the terms of the second rescue package on Sunday. Comments by conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and by the Pasok spokesman suggested that major controversial points remained.  Kathimerini quotes Samaras saying "They are asking for more recession than the country can take,'' he said, referring to the country's foreign creditors. "I am fighting against this.'' Reuters reports that Greece has to give its response in principle by noon today, to be taken to the Euro Working Group in Brussels. The sense of exasperation in the EU is high.

Earlier eurozone finance ministers told Greece it could not go ahead with an agreed deal to restructure privately held debt until it guaranteed to implement reforms to secure a second financing package from the euro zone and the IMF, according to Reuters.

Juncker for the first time threatens with a default for Greece

The possibility of a sovereign default by Greece cannot be ruled out, Jean-Claude Juncker told Der Spiegel in an interview. Greece could no longer expect solidarity from other euro zone members if it cannot implement reforms it has agreed, the Luxemburg prime minister said. ,,If we were to establish that everything has gone wrong in Greece, there would be no new programme, and that would mean that in March they have to declare bankruptcy," he said. The very possibility of bankruptcy should encourage Athens to ,,get muscles" when it comes to implementing reforms, he added.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 04:47:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PS. I should have stated that the importance of YV's post was that it was commissioned by Deutsche Welle. Though if it isn't translated into German, likely won't be read by many Germans.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has been translated into Italian.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But not by Deutsche Welle, even though they boast "30 languages".

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:31:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was wondering how they were going to swing it... having promised a 0.1% transaction tax, on the principle of "capitalism in one country", they were obviously going to need to gut it one way or another.

The fix is in : it only applies to the 100 or so biggest French companies.

PARIS - La taxe sur les transactions financières vise les sociétés dont le siège est en France - 20minutes.fr PARIS - The tax on financial transactions aimed at companies headquartered in France - 20minutes.fr
Le projet de loi français instituant une taxe sur les transactions financières concernera les seules entreprises dont le siège social est en France et dont la capitalisation boursière dépasse le milliard d'euros, selon le texte publié par la radio-télé BFM Business lundi. The French bill imposing a tax on financial transactions will concern only companies headquartered in France and whose market capitalization exceeds one billion euros, according to the text published by the Radio-TV BFM Business Monday.
Le projet, qui doit être présenté mercredi en conseil des ministres, s'applique "à toute acquisition" de titres financiers "émis par une entreprise dont le siège social est situé en France et dont la capitalisation boursière dépasse un milliard d'euros au 1er janvier de l'année d'imposition", selon ce document.The project, to be presented Wednesday by the Cabinet, applies to "acquisition" of securities "issued by a company whose headquarters is located in France and whose market capitalization exceeds one billion euros in the first January of the taxation year ", according to this document.
Il s'agit donc d'un prélèvement de 0,1% sur les échanges d'actions et de Credit Default Swaps (CDS) dits "à nu", ces produits financiers dérivés censés servir d'assurance aux détenteurs d'obligations mais qui sont accusés de favoriser la spéculation sur la dette des Etats.It is therefore a levy of 0.1% on the exchange of shares and credit default swaps (CDS) called "naked", these financial derivatives intended to act as insurance to bondholders but are accused of promoting speculation on sovereign debt.
Actuellement, plus de cent entreprises cotées à la Bourse de Paris dépassent cette valorisation boursière.Currently, over one hundred companies listed on the Paris Stock Exchange exceeds the market valuation.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:03:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm confused... it's only the largest companies that pay the tax?
Or is it the tax is only paid on transactions of shares in those companies?

The hedge funds are not that large by capitalisation...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 08:59:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's trades on the stock of the > 1 billion euro French companies that will be taxed at 0.1%.

Which, I suppose, means that those trades will shift to London or Frankfurt. I imagine the banks and online stock trading sites are already working out the technical details.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:18:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right.

Presumably something like a stamp duty (enforced through the exchange) is the only enforceable way to do this kind of thing for one country alone?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 11:36:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But then companies can de-list from that exchange and list on another one?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 11:38:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In principle, but then you can make the bureaucracy annoy companies listed on foreign exchanges. Lots of innovative ways to do that.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 12:03:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless French corporate law makes a distinction that requires limited companies to list on a French exchange...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 12:11:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:02:04 PM EST
Syria on brink of civil war as diplomacy fails to dislodge Assad | World news | The Guardian

For Syria's president, it was business as usual, even as his country experienced one of its most dramatic and violent moments. On Saturday, Bashar al-Assad was at work in his heavily guarded Damascus palace. On Sunday, he celebrated a Muslim holiday as state media reported triumphantly on the defeat of the "Arab-western conspiracy".

Ninety minutes north of the capital, in Homs, residents were burying their dead after what Barack Obama condemned as an "unspeakable assault," a murderous overnight attack that left dozens, scores even, dead. With at least 6,000 people killed in the past 10 months and international diplomacy in tatters, Syria is teetering on the brink of civil war. Its president, emboldened by the unwavering support of two powerful allies, shows no sign of changing tack.

Thanks to the vetoes of Russia and China, the UN security council failed to pass a even a watered-down resolution backing a "Syrian-led" political transition. The draft contained no threat of sanctions or punitive action, let alone Libyan-style military intervention.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:29:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: Syria resolution: The diplomatic train-wreck
I listened closely to Mr Lavrov's comments. "Russia," he said, "supported the call of the Syrian people for change." It had backed the Arab League observer mission and had persuaded the Syrian authorities to accept it.

But, he went on, Russia was not going to accept any resolutions that might open the way to foreign intervention or that would pre-determine the political outcome in Syria.

...

If the draft resolution did not apply equivalent restrictions on all parties - for the Russians that means the "armed groups" who they believe are fomenting the violence as much as the Syrian government - it was going to be unacceptable to Moscow.

Similarly, if it referred in any way to the Arab League peace plan which involves President Assad stepping aside according to a tight schedule, then this too was unacceptable to the Russians, as was anything that they believe might pre-determine the outcome in Syria.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 09:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Foreign Affairs: Russia's Line in the Sand on Syria
The Russia that emerged from the Soviet collapse had hardly any geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East. In 1972, preparing for his political break with Moscow, Sadat sent home 20,000 Soviet military advisers and their dependents. Four decades later, in February 2011, as Sadat's successor, Hosni Mubarak, was toppled, some 40,000 Russian vacationers were stranded in the Egyptian cities of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. This, in a nutshell, reveals the difference between the Soviet and Russian involvement in the Middle East: A region where the Soviets once showed off their military muscle and influenced political developments had become a place for ordinary Russians to go for a visa-free budget vacation and a suntan.

...

But these shared interests are not the only reasons why Russia has been unwilling to join the West in condemning Assad at the UN Security Council. Moscow has learned its lesson from how events unfolded in Libya last year. It abstained during the crucial UN vote on intervention in Libya, thus allowing the adoption of the resolution calling for a no-fly zone over Libya, which was meant to prevent an impending massacre in Benghazi. The Russian government wanted to help its partners in the United States and Europe, whom Russia needs for its plans for economic modernization. To be sure, Russia did have some material interests in Libya -- contracts for military arms and railroad contracts -- but it certainly did not want to be seen as Muammar al-Qaddafi's defender.

...

As a result, where much of the Western world now sees a case for human rights and democracy, and where the Soviets in their day would have spotted national liberation movements or the rise of the masses, most observers in Moscow today see geopolitics. Russian government officials and commentators close to them explain Western behavior in rather cynical terms: Washington let go of a long-time ally, Mubarak, in order to retain influence in Egypt, waged a war in Libya to keep oil contracts, and ignored the Saudi intervention in Bahrain because the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based there. And now, the United States is trying to topple Assad to rob Iran of its sole ally in the Arab world. The Russians themselves have no dogs in these fights, but they do not want to bandwagon on a U.S. regional strategy that they believe is a losing and dangerous proposition.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 11:52:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cairo street battles enter fourth day - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Deadly clashes in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt have entered their fourth day, as anger at the ruling military continues to boil after 72 people died in football-related violence.

Egypt's tax authority building in central Cairo was set on fire as the street protests against army rule raged into the early hours of Sunday, state television footage showed.

Parts of the building, close to the interior ministry, were set ablaze, media said.

Dozens of protesters remained in Mohamed Mahmoud street on Sunday morning, where riot police continued to occasionally fire tear gas to prevent the crowds from reaching the interior ministry building a few blocks away.

Police fired tear gas and birdshot at protesters throughout Saturday, after protesters threw stones at officers guarding the ministry, which is hundreds of metres from the capital's Tahrir Square.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:30:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mitt Romney wins overwhelming victory in Nevada caucuses - The Washington Post

LAS VEGAS -- Mitt Romney secured an overwhelming victory in Saturday's Nevada caucuses, giving the former Massachusetts governor his second consecutive win of the year as he tightened his claim to dominant front-runner status in what had been a turbulent Republican presidential race.

After his easy victory in Florida on Tuesday, Romney's win in Nevada, where he also emerged on top four years ago, will provide additional momentum heading to Tuesday's caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota and set him up for more significant primaries in Michigan and Arizona at the end of the month. The outcome will increase pressure on his rivals to demonstrate how and where they plan to stop him, if they can.

Turnout was far below that of the primaries in Florida, South Carolina or New Hampshire and less than in Iowa's caucuses.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:31:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although note that the vote counting was just completed a couple of hours ago; the news reports from two days ago were based on early counts from small counties and various exit polls.
by asdf on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 10:26:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghan soldier forged papers, deserted army before killing French troops | McClatchy

MAHMUD RAQI, Afghanistan -- The Afghan soldier who killed four French troops last month bribed an Afghan army recruiter to forge his enlistment papers, deserted to Pakistan and then bribed his way back into the army the month before the shootings, McClatchy has learned.

The apparent ease with which a rogue soldier twice circumvented the Afghan National Army's vetting process -- with the aid of a corrupt recruiter whose job it is to stop such applicants -- suggests that the U.S.-led coalition still can't be certain of the integrity of the Afghan security forces to which it's entrusting the country as American troops end their combat mission, perhaps as soon as next year.

The Jan. 20 shooting spree here in Kapisa province, northeast of Kabul, caused outrage in France and prompted President Nicolas Sarkozy to announce that French combat forces would withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2013, a year earlier than scheduled.

It also underscored the growing problem of Afghan soldiers turning weapons on the U.S. and international troops who are training them. U.S. military studies have found that so-called fratricide attacks by Afghan soldiers -- including at least 39 from 2007 to 2011, according to a congressional inquiry -- are usually carried out by soldiers angry at how their coalition counterparts treated them or Afghan civilians, or by insurgents who infiltrated the security forces.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:31:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Falklands crisis: Prince, navy, nationalism - Features - Al Jazeera English

There is something amusing - and just plain strange - about hearing the UK's prime minister accuse Argentina of taking a "colonialist" attitude over the disputed Falkland/Malvinas islands.  

The sun has, of course, set on the British Empire's extensive colonies, but that hasn't stopped David Cameron, and his Argentinian counterpart, from ratcheting up the nationalist rhetoric.

"In the 21st century, [Britain] continues to be a crude colonial power in decline," Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner said recently, branding Prime Minister David Cameron's allegations of Argentinian colonialism an expression of "mediocrity and stupidity".  

Formally considered an overseas dependency of Britain, the Falklands - a set of islands known to Argentines as Islas Malvinas - are about the size of the US state of Connecticut with a population of 3,000 and an economy worth some



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:31:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I'd really like to see Cameron playing the adult in these discussions, especially as we're in the right. Trading playground insults reduces us to Argentina's level

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 03:25:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran threatens to hit any country used to attack its soil | Reuters

(Reuters) - Iran will target any country used as a launchpad for attacks against its soil, the deputy Revolutionary Guards commander said, expanding Tehran's range of threats in an increasingly volatile stand-off with world powers over its nuclear ambitions.

Last week, Iran's supreme clerical leader threatened reprisals for the West's new ban on Iranian oil exports and the U.S. defense secretary was quoted as saying Israel was likely to bomb Iran within months to stop it assembling nuclear weapons.

Although broadened and sharpened financial sanctions have begun to inflict serious economic pain in Iran, its oil minister asserted on Saturday it would make no nuclear retreat even if its crude oil exports ground to a halt.

Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian energy purposes. But its recent shift of uranium enrichment to a mountain bunker possibly impervious to conventional bombing, and refusal to negotiate peaceful guarantees for the program or open up to U.N. nuclear inspectors, have thickened an atmosphere of brewing confrontation, raising fears for Gulf oil supplies.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:40:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If IRAN attacks ISRAEL the USA et al will attack it, remove all its heavy weapons and have regieme change.
If ISRAEL attacks IRAN the USA et al will attack it, remove all its heavy weapons and have regieme change.
Problem solved. Give me another.
by boindub on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 07:18:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While I agree with everything in front of the comma, even if I'm pretty sure Iran will never attack Israel, there are an awful lot of unintended consequences bursting out of the part after that point which may just outweigh the desirability of the whole thing.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 07:49:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming you aren't referring to regime change in the U.S., suppose you do install a new regime in Iran and the population responds by having nothing to do with the new regime (as in the Tobacco Protest), what follows next?

And on the way to the "new regime", consider this

In 2007, former defense minister and IDF chief Shaul Mofaz told The Jerusalem Post that while he wasn't ruling out a military strike on Iran, "The potential for a regional escalation as a result of an attack is great. Iran sees Israel as a target and has ballistic missiles that can reach every European capital. If it responds, then Hizbullah will respond and maybe Syria, and we don't even know how Hamas will respond." Mofaz quickly forgot those words, but if a wave of opposition arose against the war that's looming, he might remember them.
Given Iranian history, that probably means London. Is Cameron really ready for this?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 12:18:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's one where Israeli hawks add a zero to the range estimates to see if they can get traction in an EU that remains resistant to their war drums. It might "convince" the Polish enough to accept a ton of yankee dollars to have their useless missiles in Europe, but that doesn't mean anyone thinks there's a threat, let alone that the missiles could counter it.

Iran has demonstrated nothing of a long range capability up to now.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 12:49:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're missing the point - Mofaz, like lots of retired generals (hawks or not, and Mofaz is certainly a hawk) is strongly against an attack on Iran. The argument, true or not, is being made as an argument against an attack, not for it.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 01:22:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:02:20 PM EST
Chris Huhne's successor faces clash as Tories attack wind farms spending | Politics | The Observer

The challenge facing the new Liberal Democrat energy secretary, Ed Davey, has been laid bare by the revelation that 101 Tory MPs are demanding drastic cuts to the £400m-a-year government subsidies for wind farms.

The demands from Conservative MPs, made in a letter to David Cameron, came as a former Liberal Democrat leader, Menzies Campbell, warned that there would be serious trouble from his party's activists if there was any rowing back from the coalition's commitment to run the "greenest government ever".

Policy on wind farms threatens to become a major fault line between the Tories, many of whom say they are expensive and inefficient, and the Lib Dems, who see the building of 4,500 more turbines as an essential part of the drive to cut carbon emissions.

In the letter, the Tory MPs tell the prime minister they are becoming "more and more concerned" about the commitment to "support for onshore wind energy production".



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
101 tory MPs ? Paging Cruella de Ville, your puppies are here

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 03:27:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Big Coal Attacks Penn State Climate Scientist (Again) | Mother Jones

We've documented the long-term effort to malign Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann here rather extensively. Now a coal-backed group is running a smear campaign targeting an upcoming speaking event Mann is holding on campus.

The Common Sense Movement and the Secure Energy for America Political Action Committee (CSM/SEAPAC) have started a petition asking Penn State to cancel Mann's Feb. 9 speech. In the petition, they rehash "Climategate" and accuse him of "allegedly manipulating scientific data to align with his extreme political views on global warming." The group offers a template letter for people to send to "daily newspapers near you" attacking Penn State for hosting a speech by "someone of such questionable ethics."

Who is this "Common Sense Movement"? The website claims to represent "a group of individuals and businesses committed to ensuring the availability of affordable, reliable and secure sources of energy for American consumers." But as Brad Johnson reports at Think Progress, it's a coal front group:

SEAPAC is a wing of the Pittsburgh-based astroturf group Common Sense Movement, which is running the "I Am Coal" campaign. Contributors include James Clifford Forrest III, president of coal company Rosebud Mining, David Young, president of the Bituminous Coal Operators' Association, and the top executives of Swanson Industries, a West Virginia mining equipment company.


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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:41:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GM food banned in Monsanto canteen - Environment - The Independent

Monsanto, the biggest promoter of genetically modified food, was hoist with its own petar when it was disclosed that it has a staff canteen in which GM produce is banned.

Monsanto, the biggest promoter of genetically modified food, was hoist with its own petar when it was disclosed that it has a staff canteen in which GM produce is banned.

The firm running the canteen at Monsanto's pharmaceuticals factory at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, serves only GM-free meals, Friends of the Earth said. In a notice in the canteen, Sutcliffe Catering, owned by the Granada Group, said it had taken the decision "to remove, as far as practicable, GM soya and maize from all food products served in our restaurant. We have taken the above steps to ensure that you, the customer, can feel confident in the food we serve."



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:41:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The solar power compromise: Sacrificing desert to save the Earth - latimes.com
Reporting from Ivanpah Valley, Calif.-- Construction cranes rise like storks 40 stories above the Mojave Desert. In their midst, the "power tower" emerges, wrapped in scaffolding and looking like a multistage rocket.

Clustered nearby are hangar-sized assembly buildings, looming berms of sand and a chain mail of fencing that will enclose more than 3,500 acres of public land. Moorings for 173,500 mirrors -- each the size of a garage door -- are spiked into the desert floor. Before the end of the year, they will become six square miles of gleaming reflectors, sweeping from Interstate 15 to the Clark Mountains along California's eastern border.

BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah solar power project will soon be a humming city with 24-hour lighting, a wastewater processing facility and a gas-fired power plant. To make room, BrightSource has mowed down a swath of desert plants, displaced dozens of animal species and relocated scores of imperiled desert tortoises, a move that some experts say could kill up to a third of them.


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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:46:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The desert is pretty big, and much of it has already been messed up by off-road vehicles...
by asdf on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 10:29:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, don't you realise that there is a worldwide shortage of desert?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 11:02:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Desertification will fix that.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 at 11:03:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:02:37 PM EST
Russian Scientists Poised to be First to Reach Ice-Buried Antarctic Lake: Scientific American

At a tiny outpost in the middle of Antarctica, Russian scientists are poised to become the first humans to reach a massive liquid lake that has been cut off from the sunlit world for millennia, and may house uniquely adapted life forms that are new to science.    

Researchers are racing against the fast-approaching bitter cold and total darkness of Antarctic winter to complete a drill hole to Lake Vostok, one of the largest lakes on Earth, and the largest of the nearly 400 ice-buried lakes discovered on the frigid continent so far.

It's an effort that began more than 10 years ago, and one that has been plagued by difficulties -- and this season, the stakes are higher than ever. If they don't reach the lake before they are forced to leave for the winter, the Russian team will be forced to wait two more years to sample water from the lake, and discover what may be living in it.

The project is a product of serendipity. The colossal lake was discovered beneath a pre-existing drill project, and, although the Russians were the first to begin drilling to a hidden Antarctic lake, they may not be the first to sample one. Teams from the United States and the United Kingdom are nipping at their heels, poised to begin drilling with specially designed equipment as early as fall 2012. However, scientists from U.S. and British projects say it is not a race, and there is enormous scientific value in all three projects. [Race to the South Pole in Images]



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:41:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Placebos and distraction: New study shows how to boost the power of pain relief, without drugs

ScienceDaily (Feb. 3, 2012) -- Placebos reduce pain by creating an expectation of relief. Distraction -- say, doing a puzzle -- relieves it by keeping the brain busy. But do they use the same brain processes? Neuromaging suggests they do. When applying a placebo, scientists see activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. That's the part of the brain that controls high-level cognitive functions like working memory and attention -- which is what you use to do that distracting puzzle.

Now a new study challenges the theory that the placebo effect is a high-level cognitive function. The authors -- Jason T. Buhle, Bradford L. Stevens, and Jonathan J. Friedman of Columbia University and Tor D. Wager of the University of Colorado Boulder -- reduced pain in two ways -- either by giving them a placebo, or a difficult memory task. lacebo. But when they put the two together, "the level of pain reduction that people experienced added up. There was no interference between them," says Buhle. "That suggests they rely on separate mechanisms." The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, could help clinicians maximize pain relief without drugs.

In the study, 33 participants came in for three separate sessions. In the first, experimenters applied heat to the skin with a little metal plate and calibrated each individual's pain perceptions. In the second session, some of the people applied an ordinary skin cream they were told was a powerful but safe analgesic. The others put on what they were told was a regular hand cream. In the placebo-only trials, participants stared at a cross on the screen and rated the pain of numerous applications of heat -- the same level, though they were told it varied. For other trials they performed a tough memory task -- distraction and placebo simultaneously. For the third session, those who'd had the plain cream got the "analgesic" and vice versa. The procedure was the same.



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:42:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Homeless Project Residents Drink Less If Booze Ban Is Lifted: Scientific American

This Sunday, millions of Americans will sit down in front of their television or computer, crack open a few beers, and watch the Super Bowl. But if those viewers live in a housing project for the homeless, that booze could get them booted back out to the street. Many homeless housing projects have strict abstinence policies, and require residents to be completely sober. Permitting alcohol, many community organizers reason, would enable addictions and promote a downward spiral into continued drinking and declining health.

Now, a study suggests that requiring alcohol abstinence from residents of homeless projects might be misguided. In at least one project where residents were allowed to drink, alcohol consumption decreased, as did alcohol-related health problems, researchers reported  on January 19 in the American Journal of Public Health.

A total of 95 residents were tracked in the 1811 House--a housing project in Seattle. After two years, the residents' median number of drinks per day decreased from 28 to 17, about a 40 percent drop. And the number of alcohol-related health problems, such as delirium tremens, decreased as well. "We found that these people are human beings, and can moderate their drinking," says Susan Collins, at researcher at the University of Washington, and lead author on the study, "and that starts with getting housing."



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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:43:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


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 Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 01:02:53 PM EST


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