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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 5 May

by afew Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:25:12 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1821 - Emperor Napoleon I dies in exile on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:01:33 PM EST
From Merkozy to Merkonti after the French poll? | EurActiv

If François Hollande wins the French presidential elections on Sunday, Italy can help forge a rebalancing of the Franco-German couple, especially after Angela Merkel yesterday (3 May) said Europe needs "political courage and creativity rather than billions of euro," reports EurActiv Italy.

"It is important that we break with the idea that growth always costs a lot of money and must be the result of expensive stimulus programs," Merkel said in an interview due to be published on Wednesday in Hamburg's Abendblatt newspaper.

She added that the eurozone's recovery would depend on rebuilding national finances as well as structural reforms of the job markets and education.

Hollande has promised to turn Europe's fiscal pact, which focuses on debt discipline, into a "growth pact". By his own calculations, these policies will cost an extra €20 billion over five years.

Anticipating some tension, Mario Monti said earlier this week that Italy could help France and Germany find "a new equilibrium," if Hollande wins the elections.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:11:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Schaeuble Says Germany Will Negotiate With Hollande - Bloomberg

The German government will allow a victorious Francois Hollande to "save face" while expecting him to uphold French commitments to Europe's budget treaty, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

Schaeuble's comments are the clearest indication yet that Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is preparing for a Hollande victory at France's presidential election on May 6 after publicly backing Nicolas Sarkozy to win a second term. Earlier today, the German government said that diplomatic contact had been made with the Hollande camp.

"We've told Mister Hollande that the fiscal pact has been signed and that Europe works along the principle of pacta sunt servanda," meaning agreements must be kept, Schaeuble said in a speech in the western German city of Cologne today.

"I've said that everybody who gets freshly elected into office must be able to save face," Schaeuble said. "So we will discuss this with Hollande in a very friendly way. But we won't change our principles."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:58:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Save face?

Dear Herr Schaeuble (you're a dude, right?):

Go Fuck Yourself!

Sincerely,

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 Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:34:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or else, what?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:39:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Schaueble to France:
"We've told Mister Hollande that the fiscal pact has been signed and that Europe works along the principle of pacta sunt servanda," meaning agreements must be kept, Schaeuble said in a speech in the western German city of Cologne today.

"I've said that everybody who gets freshly elected into office must be able to save face," Schaeuble said. "So we will discuss this with Hollande in a very friendly way. But we won't change our principles."

Schaeuble to Greece:
"The future government in Greece must abide by the country's commitments," Schaeuble said in a speech during an event organised by his ruling centre-right Christian Democrats in the western German city of Cologne.

"If Greek voters were to vote for a majority that does not honour those agreements, then Greece will have to bear the consequences of that," he said.

"EU membership is voluntary," he added, without elaborating.

(Reuters, via KeepTalkingGreece)

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 04:10:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Schaeuble is going to make a fantastic Eurogroup chairman...

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 04:15:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The German press has already discussed how Hollande and others would not acquiesce to his appointment, and how it could be defeat for Merkel.

I believe, mostly from reading comments here, that it all depends on how much backbone Hollande actually possesses.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 08:29:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Europe works along the principle of pacta sunt servanda

Treaties are generally not finally valid until duly ratified as set forth under the provisions of the respective constitution. Which has not yet occurred in France.

So pacta sunt servanda is a red herring here.

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 Sat May 5th, 2012 at 05:58:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hadn't realized that Schaeuble was the Oberfuhrer of France.
by rootless2 on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 11:32:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
monti is a rapidly melting kleenex over a freaking hemorrhage.

a dessicated funeral director at a massacre.

the batshit insane neoliberal economist wolf dressed as humble, industrious, avuncular, importantly earnest, soberly accountable, eminently trustworthy, mild-mannered, sincerely confused lambkin looking for a 4-leafed clover at chernobyl.

kissing generously abundant merkel ass will not save italy from empire by abacus...

Mario Monti - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monti actively participates in several major think tanks. He is a member of the Praesidium of Friends of Europe. He was the founding chairman of Bruegel, another European think tank, which was formed in 2005. He is also the European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, a think tank founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller.[46]

Monti is a leading member of the exclusive Bilderberg Group.[47] He has also been an international advisor to Goldman Sachs[48] and The Coca-Cola Company.[49] He has also been a member of the "Senior European Advisory Council" of Moody's[50] and he is one of the members of the "Business and Economics Advisors Group" of the Atlantic Council.[51]

a strangely divided person, perhaps his better self will prevail over the rest, but what will italy look like by then?

italians are seeing through the PR.

yesterday a desperate man in Bergamo, owing E2000, arrived in the tax ministry with a pump shotgun, 2 pistols and knife, taking 14 people hostage for hours.

he wanted to talk to monti, who was sadly unavailable.

Italian hostage taker risks 8 year sentence - World News | IOL News | IOL.co.za

A 54 year-old man who burst into an Italian tax collection office and held an official hostage at gunpoint for several hours risks eight years in prison, officials said on Friday.

Luigi Martinelli, whom officials said had tax debts of no more than about 1 000 euros, is currently in detention after he surrendered to officers late on Thursday. Officials said on Friday they were still trying to establish his motives.

"From the little that he has said informally it looks like an act of protest, but one which does not seem to be explainable by the objective circumstances," Massimo Meroni, deputy prosecutor in the northern town of Bergamo, said. (paging rocket scientist, ed)

Martinelli burst into the offices of Equitalia armed with a shotgun and two pistols. He initially took 15 people hostage but quickly released all but one. After hours of negotiations, he released the final hostage on Thursday night and surrendered to police.

"He was a very normal person, but he was in a rage," the police official who conducted the negotiations told Italian television. (cognitive dissonance is a wonderful thing, ed)

Prime Minister Mario Monti's office issued a statement on Friday denying press reports he had been prepared to speak to the angry gunman. (but was too busy enjoying his gnocchi all'amatriciana, washed down with warm coke, ed)



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 02:16:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the batshit insane neoliberal economist wolf dressed as humble, industrious, avuncular, importantly earnest, soberly accountable, eminently trustworthy, mild-mannered, sincerely confused lambkin looking for a 4-leafed clover at chernobyl.

Yes, but what do you really think? Don't hold back.

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 Sat May 5th, 2012 at 07:46:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]

From Merkozy to Merkonti after the French poll?

Part of the background noise to tell us that Hollande is too extremist and outside the mainstream and will be isolated until he relents and comes back to "serious" (read rabid rightwing / austerian) policies.

The pressure is relentless.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 08:11:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There will be a lot of pressure. So, if Hollande wins, the left across the EU should help him in a new approach to the proceedings against the crisis. Will this happen?
by PerCLupi on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 10:52:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbia prepares for close 'three-in-one' super-election | EurActiv

On Sunday (6 May), Serbia will hold joint parliamentary, presidential and local elections. Two days ahead of the poll, the outcome appears uncertain except for the Socialists who are likely to enter the government with either of the main contenders. EurActiv Serbia reports.

Tense negotiations over possible government coalitions can be expected after the elections, since none of the two strongest parties - the ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Serbian Progressive Party - are expected to emerge as clear winners.

None of the two main parties have predefined coalition partners either, adding uncertainty to the election's outcome.

Both parties claim to be in favour of European integration, with EU membership at the core of the programme of the Democratic Party, which is headed by Serbian President Boris Tadić.

The Progressive Party for its part took a pro-European stance only after its founding in 2008, when it decided to split from the nationalist Serbian Radical Party. As a result, it has yet to prove its commitment to European integration and democratic standards. The historic leader of the Radical Party Vojislav Šešelj is currently standing trial for war crimes before the Hague tribunal.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:12:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Creative Industries / EU commissioner admits defeat over anti-counterfeit treaty

BRUSSELS - EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes has admitted defeat on the controversial anti-counterfeit treaty Acta, with her official spokesman telling reporters that the treaty's demise is a "political reality".

Speaking at a conference on internet freedom in Berlin on Friday (4 May), Commissioner Kroes told delegates that "we are now likely to be in a world without SOPA (an anti-piracy bill under discussion in the US Congress) and Acta."

Kroes also referred to the campaign mounted by internet freedom groups as "a strong political voice", adding that "thousands of people are willing to protest against rules which they see as constraining the openness and innovation of the Internet."

Next week, MEPs in the Petitions committee will discuss the anti-Acta petition launched by campaign group Avaaz which collected over 2.4 million signatures.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:14:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hurray!

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 05:07:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Political Affairs / Greek elections to usher in anti-bail-out parties

BRUSSELS - Greece's two main parties are set for heavy losses in Sunday's (6 May) elections, with anti-bail-out groups on the extreme left and right to enter parliament for the first time, raising again the prospect of an exit from the eurozone.

Public anger at the austerity measures linked to the second, €130 billion strong bail-out package could translate into a new Parliament unable to form a ruling coalition and a new round of elections being called in the next months.

Observers expect the ruling centre-right New Democracy and the centre-left Pasok parties to come in first and second, but it is unclear whether they will hold enough seats to govern alone. Some eight smaller, anti-bail-out parties including neo-Nazi Golden Dawn and nationalist Laos, are to make it into the Parliament. It will be the first time so many parties will form the legislature since democracy was restored in the 1970s.

No new surveys have been allowed to be published for two weeks ahead of the elections, with pollsters warning that the result may be unexpected. The last surveys put New Democracy at 22 percent and Pasok at 18 percent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:15:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greeks Gear Up to Cast `Protest Votes' Against Austerity - IPS ipsnews.net
Greece all but handed over its public finances to its creditors - led by the Troika, an administrative structure consisting of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - when it became all too clear in May 2010 that the country was unable to repay its huge public debt.

Since then it has implement a severe austerity programme of raising taxes and cutting pensions and state salaries across the board, deregulating the labour market and pushing ahead with pro-market reforms in exchange for billions of `bailout euros'.

The programme of slashing public spending has sunk the country into three years of recession and pushed unemployment up to 21 percent.

The austerity policy has also damaged political parties associated with its implementation and sent an enormous wave of protest votes fleeing towards leftist and right-wing parties.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - France jails Cern physicist Adlene Hicheur for terror plot

A French court has sentenced a scientist at the prestigious Cern laboratory to five years in prison for plotting terrorist attacks.

Adlene Hicheur was arrested in 2009 after police intercepted his emails to an alleged contact in al-Qaeda.

The emails suggested Algerian-born Hicheur was willing to be part of an "active terrorist unit", attacking targets in France.

Defence lawyers argued that their client had never been part of a plot.

Hicheur, who is a particle physicist, worked as a researcher studying the origins of the universe at Cern.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ukraine rejects Russian refuge for Tymoshenko - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Ukraine has rejected an offer by Russia for Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed former prime minister, to receive medical treatment in Moscow.

Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin had on Thursday offered to host the opposition leader in Russia for treatment after claims of abuse in detention.

"It was president elect Vladimir Putin who made this offer to the Ukrainian authorities on Thursday saying it would be our pleasure for Yulia Tymoshenko to come to Russia for medical treatment," Al Jazeera's Sue Turton reported from Moscow on Friday.

"But it was swiftly followed by a rebuttal from the Ukrainian prosecution office saying they would not allow this to happen - for a prisoner to leave the country for medical treatment under Ukrainian law."

Tymoshenko, 51, has been on a hunger strike since April 20 to protest her alleged beating by wardens in a prison where she is serving a controversial seven-year term for abuse of office - charges some say were politically motivated.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:01:56 PM EST
Trade 'reciprocity' dominates discrete EU-China talks | EurActiv

National security and trade `reciprocity' concerns - particularly in the ICT sector - were the main topics addressed at a high-level EU-China meeting on Thursday (3 May).

China is currently considering a series of lucrative `five-year plans' across a range of sectors, including a build-out of 'smart cities' estimated at €117 billion, of which 60% is expected to benefit telecom firms.

Western ICT companies such as Ericsson, IBM and Cisco have enjoyed early access to China's markets but their future involvement has been questioned following Chinese demands for "reciprocity" in trade agreements and national security concerns over the country's information infrastructure.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Norway Dumps Ireland, Portugal Bonds on Euro Crisis Concern - Bloomberg

Norway's sovereign wealth fund sold all its Irish and Portuguese government bonds after rejecting the Greek debt swap and warned that Europe faces considerable challenges.

The $610 billion Government Pension Fund Global returned 7.1 percent, or 234 billion kroner ($41 billion), as measured by a basket of currencies, in the first quarter, the Oslo-based investor said today. Its equity holdings gained 11 percent while its fixed-income investments rose 1.6 percent.

The fund, which voted against Greece's debt swap this year because it disagreed with being subordinated to the European Central Bank, also said it reduced debt holdings in Italy and Spain amid a broader strategy to cut investments in Europe. The fund added government bonds from emerging markets such as Brazil, Mexico and India.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:01:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... warned that Europe faces considerable challenges.

In other breaking news, water is wet, fire is hot, and Rupert M. sucks.

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 Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:38:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Manufacturing, Services Output Shrank Last Month - Bloomberg

Euro-region services and manufacturing output contracted more than initially estimated in April, adding to signs of a deepening economic slump.

A euro-area composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries dropped to 46.7 from 49.1 in March, London-based Markit Economics said today. That's the fastest rate of decline since October and below an estimate of 47.4 published on April 23. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

After shrinking in the final three months of 2011, Europe's economy probably slipped into recession in the first quarter as the region's worsening debt crisis forced governments from Spain to Italy to step up spending cuts. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi yesterday said the economic outlook has become "more uncertain" and left open the option of further stimulus after keeping the benchmark interest rate at 1 percent, already a record low.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:02:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Misery builds for the euro zone | Reuters
(Reuters) - The euro zone economy worsened markedly in April, according to business surveys that clashed with the prospect of a gradual recovery augured by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi this week.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:21:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which only proves- per Frau Merkel - that growth doesn't have to be expensive.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 05:28:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Services Slowdown in U.S. Signals Economy Is Cooling - Bloomberg

Service industries in the U.S. expanded less than projected and consumer confidence weakened, signaling the world's largest economy may be cooling.

The Institute for Supply Management said today its non- manufacturing index fell to a four-month low of 53.5 in April from 56 in March. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was 55.3. A reading above 50 in the Tempe, Arizona-based group's gauge signals expansion. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to a two-month low last week.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:03:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hiring slows, spells trouble for economy, Obama | Reuters

(Reuters) - Employers cut back on hiring in April and more people stopped looking for work, troubling signs for President Barack Obama whose re-election prospects could hinge on his handling of the economy.

Employers added 115,000 workers to payrolls last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. It was the third straight month in which hiring had slowed, intensifying fears the U.S. recovery is losing momentum.

Even a slight drop in the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent had a dark tone because the fall was due entirely to people dropping out of the workforce.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:19:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So vote for Mitt cuz he's a business dude and he'll fix things and he never lies and ...

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 Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:40:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Free Exchange blog: Call it a depression (The Economist, May 2nd 2012)
Ordinarily, of course, policymakers would react to this deterioration by taking steps to stabilise the economy. What is most frightening about the euro-area picture is that this is not happening. For now, austerity remains the rule. Despite the nastiness of the economic picture, the ECB is widely expected to take no action at its meeting tomorrow. The euro area is walking, eyes wide open, into depression. Led by its periphery, which is already there.

Most everyone seems to have convinced themselves that this sort of thing isn't so bad, so long as a Lehman-like financial collapse is avoided. It isn't. Nothing good will come of a euro-zone depression.

If, when all of this is said and done, the euro zone descends into a chaotic, costly break-up, many people will write that such a thing was inevitable, unavoidable. They'll be wrong. We are watching causation this very moment: institutions that know how and why to prevent things from falling apart and which nonetheless sit back and do nothing.

The meeting was yesterday. The ECB took no action, patted itself on the back for the LTRO and demanded more austerity (with growth, of course).

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:43:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Osterity: now with added growth bits (blue).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 01:49:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The banksters see no reason to change course; their profits are up and bonuses are safe.

Growth is a purely financial phenomenon exsitng entirely independently of the wider economy, recession/depression only happens to little people (non-banksters) so doesn't merit a change in policy

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 03:40:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If, when all of this is said and done, the euro zone descends into a chaotic, costly break-up, many people will write that such a thing was inevitable, unavoidable. They'll be wrong. We are watching causation this very moment: institutions that know how and why to prevent things from falling apart and which nonetheless sit back and do nothing.

You quoted it once, but it's so important, it's worth quoting again.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 05:10:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know things are dire when the Economist starts to sound like Paul Krugman.

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 Sat May 5th, 2012 at 06:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that the same publication that told us last week that Hollande was "rather dangerous" for pointing out the above?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 08:11:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Comment is Free: In weakened economy, policymakers give in to learned helplessness (Robin Wells, 4 May 2012)
One could not have asked for a clearer example of learned helplessness than Ben Bernanke's recent press conference, where he labeled calls for further Fed stimulus "reckless" and appeals for a higher inflation target "irresponsible" because it would, in his view, sacrifice its commitment to a 2% inflation target. Higher inflation helps stimulate a depressed economy as consumers and businesses find it less appealing to sit on cash, and it reduces the real cost of pre-existing debt. Ironic given that a 4% inflation rate during the Reagan years was considered perfectly acceptable. Doubly ironic that before becoming Fed chairman, as Professor Bernanke he advocated a higher inflation rate for moribund Japan. But that is just one example of the implicit deference given by policymakers to views that ignore the plight of the unemployed.

Another variant of this mindset is the appeals to "structural unemployment" as the problem. Structural unemployment is unemployment that is due to factors that are, in the medium-term, impervious to the forces of supply and demand in the labor market - factors such as a mismatch between skills that unemployed workers have and the ones employers are looking for, the inability of the unemployed to move to where the jobs are, and unemployment benefits which blunt the incentive to take a job. Granted, all of these factors are reasons why in normal times attempts to get the unemployment rate below a certain level carries an unacceptable level of risk.

...

Perhaps the most maddening area of willful policy blindness is failure to address the foreclosure crisis. Obama's own inspector general has roundly criticized the treasury department for its glacial approach in helping underwater homeowners and its unwillingness to pressure the big banks - recipients of Tarp bailouts, mind you - to help. Congressional Democrats have been at loggerheads with Edward J DeMarco, the conservator of the federal loan giants Freddie Mac and Frannie Mae, to reduce principal on underwater mortgages in the belief that this would reduce foreclosure rates and ultimately save the lenders money. He has, however, staunchly refused, and on Tuesday a congressional committee discovered that pilot programs by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that sought to save taxpayers by reducing foreclosures through principal forgiveness, were halted too early in their trials to measure their outcomes, allegedly (by a former Fannie employee) for ideological reasons. Now, after nearly three years of devastation in the housing market, DeMarco and other lenders are finally conceding that principal forgiveness can, in fact, reduce their losses.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 05:43:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm glad I'm not the only one seeing it as learned helplessness.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 06:48:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew you would like it.

Keynes also saw it as learned helplessness

Pyramid-building, earthquakes, even wars may serve to increase wealth, if the education of our statesmen on the principles of the classical economics stands in the way of anything better.
Sraffa was a bit more scathing
If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 06:54:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.

Sraffa is right in some ways.

Right now I despair of what to do about it.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 08:23:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
taught helplessness, is more like it.
by rootless2 on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 10:48:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:02:15 PM EST
Clashes erupt at mass rally in Cairo - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Egyptian armed forces and protesters have clashed in Cairo, with troops using water cannon and rocks to disperse demonstrators trying to reach the defence ministry.

Hundreds of troops guarding the ministry surged forward on Friday when protesters began cutting through barbed wire used to seal off the ministry building in the capital's central Abbasiya neighbourhood.

"We understand that just a few minutes ago, the protesters tried to remove the barrier with barbed wire between themselves and the defence ministry," Al Jazeera's Steve Chao reported from Cairo.

"Security forces responded with water canons. Protesters responded with rocks."

He said the military forces were describing their actions as "self-defence".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The armed forces are throwing rocks? I thought that was the preferred (and only) weapon of the poor?

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 Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:41:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It gives plausible deniability. You see, all protesters that enter hospitals with rock damages were hurt by friendly fire.

At least that is how police uses it in Europe.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 05:14:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
Security forces responded with water canons

define:canon - Google Search

  1. A general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged.
  2. A member of the clergy on the staff of a cathedral, esp. a member of the chapter.

Which canon do they mean?

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 Sat May 5th, 2012 at 06:06:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UN says Syria plan on 'track' amid violence - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
The UN-backed peace plan for Syria is on "track", the office of international mediator Kofi Annan has said, as activists reported renewed violence in the country.

Ahmad Fawzi, Annan's spokesperson, said on Friday negotiations were being "conducted under the radar" involving the Syrian government and its opposition to cease all hostilities.

But Fawzi said there were continuing violations of truce conditions such as heavy weapons in populated areas, despite "small signs of compliance".

"The Annan plan is on track... And a crisis that has been going on for more than a year is not going to be resolved in a day or a week," Fawzi told a UN briefing in Geneva.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:10:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syria uprising creates fear of chemical weapons spread | Reuters

(Reuters) - With an uprising in Syria loosening the grip of president Bashar al-Assad, world powers are worried that he could lose control of a secret stockpile of chemical weapons, giving militants access to deadly poison gas.

Syria is one of just eight states - along with its arch foe Israel and nearby Egypt - that have not joined the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which means the world's chemical weapons watchdog has no jurisdiction to intervene there.

Western countries believe that Damascus has the world's largest remaining stockpile of undeclared chemical weapons - including mustard gas and the deadly VX nerve agent - which Assad maintains as a counterbalance to Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:22:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton applauds China allowing dissident to apply to study in U.S. | Reuters

(Reuters) - China said on Friday blind dissident Chen Guangcheng could apply to study abroad, a move praised by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and suggesting an end may be near to a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Washington.

But rights activists sounded a note of caution over expectations of a quick way out for Chen, saying Beijing could be worried that appearing to be soft might embolden other challengers to Communist Party rule ahead of a power handover late this year.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:21:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran votes in run-off parliamentary election - IRAN - FRANCE 24

AFP - Iran on Friday held a parliamentary election run-off to decide 65 seats still outstanding in its 290-member legislature following a March 2 first round.

The vote, whose results are due out in the coming days, was seen as unlikely to change the political direction of the predominantly conservative chamber, though it could help lay the ground for 2013 presidential elections.

The little support current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds in the outgoing parliament was expected to be eroded further when the new legislature starts work at the end of this month.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:47:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Police chief among dozens killed in Taliban attack - PAKISTAN - FRANCE 24

AFP - A teenage suicide bomber targeted police in a bustling Pakistan town square on Friday, killing at least 24 people and wounding dozens in the tribal area near the Afghan border, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying it had wanted to kill the local chief and deputy of a tribal police force recruited by the government to help defeat the Islamist insurgency in the northwest.

Both died in the attack in Khar, the main town of Bajaur district, after a bomber who intelligence officials said was aged 14 to 16 detonated explosives strapped to his chest.

Bajaur has been one of the toughest battlegrounds in Pakistan's fight against a northwestern Taliban insurgency. The military conducted major offensives there in 2008 and 2009 and has repeatedly declared it secure.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:48:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MercoPress: President Hugo Chavez, in Cuba for cancer treatment, named key members of a Council of State Wednesday led by his Vice president, which some analysts see as a potential transitional body.

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) -- President Evo Morales announced Tuesday that his government is completing the nationalization of Bolivia's electricity sector by seizing control of its main power grid from a Spanish-owned company. (...) Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, has moved to put energy, water and telecommunications under state control.
But analyst Joao de Castro Neves of the Eurasia Group said the president has been far more pragmatic and less radical than the leftist leaders of Venezuela or Argentina. "He knows his limits," Castro Neves said. "The Bolivian state doesn't have the capacity to take over all these sectors (including mining) and maintain the high levels of investment they need."

WSJ, BUENOS AIRES--Argentine lawmakers Thursday gave their final approval to President Cristina Kirchner's proposed nationalization of the country's largest oil and gas producer, YPF SA, from a Spanish investor.

BBC: The Brazilian government on Wednesday begins a mega-operation to combat drug trafficking, illegal mining and illegal logging in the northern border of the Amazon. The Army even sent a representative to neighboring countries to clarify any concerns with the operation. The action, called "Agata 4", will take 8,700 troops to the border between Brazil and Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Used are 11 ships, nine helicopters and 27 airplanes.
More from the NYT.

MercoPress: As we near the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Inter American Press Association this month, I'd also like to take this especial date, May 3, World Press Freedom Day, as an opportunity to pay homage to the 24 journalists from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico and Peru that were killed over the last 12 months. Our thoughts are with their families and colleagues, especially because in the majority of these cases, justice has not yet been done.
More from Boz.

CISPES: Civil society's opposition to the rapid changes in El Salvador's Public Security Ministry continues to gain ground. On March 26, the Supreme Court to accepted a lawsuit seeking to annul the appointment of two former general David Munguía Payés as Minister of Public Security and former general Francisco Salinas as director of the National Civil Police (PNC). The petition had been presented a month earlier by 31 civil society groups from across the political spectrum. The plaintiffs criticize the naming of these two career military officers, both retired from the military mere days or hours before their respective appointments, as unconstitutional due to amendments that explicitly exclude the military from involvement in the Ministry of Public Security and the PNC.

AP, KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Jamaica's Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously rejected a motion by police officers challenging the powers of an independent commission that investigates abuse allegations against the Caribbean island's security forces. Eight policemen challenged charges brought against them by the Independent Commission of Investigations for failing to cooperate with the government-formed panel as it investigated the fatal shooting of two men in August 2010.

MEXICO CITY - Mexican former President Vicente Fox said his successor's military crackdown on drug cartels is a "useless war" and recommended exploring other avenues, including legalization.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 07:29:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:02:48 PM EST
Science says: Cut that steak in half to keep the climate in check | Grist

This isn't about the way animals are treated, nor is it about reducing heart disease. For the sake of the climate alone, we -- as a culture -- need to eat half as many burgers, and half as much bacon.

According to a recent study from Davidson, this controversial dietary shift is crucial if we want to get serious about reducing emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas.

We've long known that eating animals (who eat grains) requires a great deal more agricultural production than eating those grains ourselves. And since farming involves fertilizers and animal manure -- two factors that have recently been pinpointed as major contributors of atmospheric N20 -- we need to use much less of them. Oh, and while we're at it, the way we farm also has to change, to the tune of 50 percent fewer N2O emissions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:06:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Global warming: New research emphasizes the role of economic growth

It's a message no one wants to hear: To slow down global warming, we'll either have to put the brakes on economic growth or transform the way the world's economies work. That's the implication of an innovative University of Michigan study examining the evolution of atmospheric CO2, the most likely cause of global climate change.

The study, conducted by Jose Tapia Granados and Edward Ionides of U-M and Oscar Carpintero of the University of Valladolid in Spain, was published online in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Policy. It is the first analysis to use measurable levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to assess fluctuations in the gas, rather than estimates of CO2 emissions, which are less accurate.

"If 'business as usual' conditions continue, economic contractions the size of the Great Recession or even bigger will be needed to reduce atmospheric levels of CO2," said Tapia Granados, who is a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).

For the study, the researchers assessed the impact of four factors on short-run, year-to-year changes in atmospheric concentrations of CO2, widely considered the most important greenhouse gas.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:08:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
To slow down global warming, we'll either have to put the brakes on economic growth or transform the way the world's economies work. That's the implication of an innovative University of Michigan study examining the evolution of atmospheric CO2, the most likely cause of global climate change.

That has been known decades and expressed well in the Kaya identity, which is  fundamental in IPCC studies.

Only reduction of the economy (by intentionally reducing GDP or population, which won't happen) or a different way of using energy (efficiency of switching to carbon-neutral) whilst keeping the economy going, will make something of an impact.

by Nomad on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 07:01:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Kaya identity seems as useless as the Drake equation.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 07:08:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
It is the first analysis to use measurable levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to assess fluctuations in the gas

True?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 08:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Japan shuts down nuclear power, emissions rise - From the Wires - Salon.com

Japan will be free of atomic power for the first time since 1966 on Saturday, when the last of its 50 usable reactors is switched off for regular inspections. The central government would like to restart them at some point, but it is running into strong opposition from local citizens and governments.

With the loss of nuclear energy, the Ministry of Environment projects that Japan will produce about 15 percent more greenhouse gas emissions this fiscal year than it did in 1990, the baseline year for measuring progress in reducing emissions. In fiscal 2010, Japan's actual emissions were close to 1990 levels. It also raises doubts about whether it will be able to meet a pledge made in Copenhagen in 2009 to slash emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

For years, nuclear power was a pillar in Japan's energy and climate policies. Until the Fukushima disaster last year, it accounted for about a third of Japan's power generation, and Tokyo had planned to expand that to half by 2030.

...Some experts see a model in Germany, which turned decisively against nuclear power after the Fukushima crisis, shutting down eight reactors and planning to close the remaining 17 nuclear power plants by 2022. Yet its greenhouse gas emissions decreased 2 percent last year from 2010, and by 26.5 percent compared to 1990.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:56:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan's Leaders Fret as Nuclear Shutdown Nears - NYTimes.com
...The showdown between local and national leaders has played out in recent weeks at a plant in Ohi, near Osaka, which the government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has set up as a crucial test case of Japan's nuclear future. Two reactors at the idled plant were the first to pass simulated stress tests meant to show that most reactors, unlike those at the Fukushima plant devastated in last year's earthquake and tsunami, could withstand similar disasters. The administration trusted that Ohi's reactors would be back in operation by now, or at least would receive local approval to start up soon.

Instead, the central government has found itself battling an improbable adversary: Osaka's mayor, Toru Hashimoto, the young, plain-speaking son of a yakuza gangster who has ridden Japan's loss of faith in government to become, seemingly overnight, the country's best liked politician, according to recent polls.

...Mr. Hashimoto's ascent -- and his success in blocking a quick restart of the Ohi plant -- are some of the clearest signs yet that the distrust generated by the government's handling of the Fukushima disaster is reshaping attitudes in Japan, where people had long accepted Tokyo's sway over their lives. And the Noda administration's failure to see Mr. Hashimoto coming, along with its reliance on stress tests even as their soundness was questioned, suggests that the disconnect between the government and its people that opened with the nuclear disaster has only widened.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:02:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian [UK]: Anxious Japan prepares for life without nuclear power
On Saturday, when the Hokkaido electric power company shuts down the No3 reactor at its Tomari plant for maintenance, the world's third-largest economy will be without a single working nuclear reactor for the first time for almost 50 years.

...

Over the past 14 months, dozens of nuclear reactors not directly affected by the tsunami have gone offline to undergo regular maintenance and safety checks, while utilities have turned to coal, oil and gas-fired power plants to keep industry and households supplied with electricity - imports that contribute to Japan's first trade deficit for more than 30 years last year.

...

Residents' approval isn't legally required for restarts, but [Prime Minister Yoshihiko] Noda is unlikely to risk the possible political fallout from ignoring local opinion: in a recent poll by Kyodo News, 59.5% are opposed to restarting the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui prefecture, while 26.7% support it.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 04:02:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See also yesterday's salon.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 04:03:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:03:08 PM EST
Genes shed light on spread of agriculture in Stone Age Europe

One of the most debated developments in human history is the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies. This week's edition of Science presents the genetic findings of a Swedish-Danish research team, which show that agriculture spread to Northern Europe via migration from Southern Europe.

"We have been able to show that the genetic variation of today's Europeans was strongly affected by immigrant Stone Age farmers, though a number of hunter-gatherer genes remain," says Assistant Professor Anders Gotherstrom of the Evolutionary Biology Centre, who, along with Assistant Professor Mattias Jakobsson, co-led the study, a collaboration with Stockholm University and the University of Copenhagen.

"What is interesting and surprising is that Stone Age farmers and hunter-gatherers from the same time had entirely different genetic backgrounds and lived side by side for more than a thousand years, to finally interbreed," Mattias Jakobsson says.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:09:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Canada: The Ktunaxa - Living the Language - Al Jazeera English
Can the internet save a language? For the Ktunaxa nation, an indigenous people inhabiting parts of north-western America, the answer may just be 'yes'.

The Ktunaxa language is related to no other on earth and only a handful of people speak it fluently. Most of them are members of the oldest generation, something that has spurred a race against time for a community that must record and preserve as much of the language spoken today as possible. In a few years, it might already be too late.

The challenge is not only to record endless hours of material but how to make it available to those wishing to learn the language. Here is where the internet comes in to play. Dedicated young community members, such as Marisa Philips, are working hard to publish recordings, interactive games for children and written language material online.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:07:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Former media baron released from US jail - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Conrad Black, the former media baron, has been freed from a US prison after serving his more-than-three-year sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice, prison officials say.

The 67-year-old Black, who was first freed in July 2010 after serving more than two years into a six-and-a-half year term, was ordered back to prison in June, with a district judge in Chicago ruling that he had not yet served enough time in prison to remain at liberty.

"Mr Conrad Black has been released this morning from FCC Coleman in Florida," Chris Burke, spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, was quoted as saying on Friday by AFP news agency.

The US supreme court freed him on the grounds that an anti-corruption law under which he had been tried was unconstitutional.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:11:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
The US supreme court freed him on the grounds that an anti-corruption law under which he had been tried was unconstitutional.

says it all, really.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 02:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's called "Holding on to our freedoms".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 08:44:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wheee!

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 01:45:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iron Fist Cracks Down on Guatemala - IPS ipsnews.net
GUATEMALA CITY, May 4, 2012 (IPS) - Rightwing President Otto Pérez Molina is keeping his promise to take a hard line on soaring crime in Guatemala, but his government is neglecting prevention measures. Analysts warn the strategy, along with upcoming legal reforms, may jeopardise human rights.

One of the first steps taken by retired general Pérez Molina when he took office on Jan. 14 was to send army troops out on street patrols together with the National Civilian Police (PNC).

He also created special task forces to investigate the causes of and propose solutions for robbery, extortion, homicide, kidnapping and femicide (gender-based killings of women).

A sixth military unit to guard the border, beginning with the northwestern department (province) of San Marcos, on the border with Mexico, is expected to become operational in July. Its mission, according to the authorities, will be to combat contraband, and trafficking in persons, drugs and arms.

In April, a new department on drug trafficking was established in the Interior Ministry, while the police are receiving training in rapid response and use of weapons.

So in his first 100 days in office, Pérez Molina has set in motion his main electoral promise: to combat crime with "mano dura" (iron fist). But analysts and activists emphasise the need for preventive measures to bring down the skyrocketing crime rates.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Journalists and Netizens in Govt Crosshairs - IPS ipsnews.net
UNITED NATIONS/MEXICO CITY, May 3, 2012 (IPS) - Two years ago, Ashkan Delanvar was arrested by Iranian authorities and held in poor conditions for 14 days before he was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

His crime? The student, blogger and computer technician had provided software to overcome the authorities' internet filters and trained people how to use it.

Delanvar was eventually able to flee the country and is currently seeking asylum in Germany. He was the first person identified by the rights group Amnesty International who was tried and sentenced to prison under the 2009 Law on Cyber Crimes in Iran.

"Bloggers see it as their duty to inform other people, but in Iran (they) are seen as a threat to the government because they provide analysis of daily life and politics, and reflect news that is blocked," Delanvar told Amnesty.

On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, human rights defenders say that journalists and cyber activists are being increasingly persecuted in countries where press freedom is either not a constitutional right or the law is simply ignored.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:14:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Outlawing outwitting the surveilliance. Soon coming to a state near you (if it isn't there already).

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 05:20:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Samsung unwraps latest Galaxy rival to iPhone | Reuters

(Reuters) - Samsung Electronics unveiled a new top-of-the-range Galaxy smartphone in London on Thursday, updating the most direct rival to Apple's iPhone with a larger touch screen and more powerful processor.

The South Korean technology group, which overtook Finnish company Nokia (NOK1V.HE) as the world's biggest cellphone maker earlier this year, said the new Galaxy SIII model would go on sale in some markets in late May and around the world from June.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 03:23:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UEFA remembers Bastia victims - UEFA.com
Twenty years on, UEFA and the European football family are remembering the victims of the tragedy at the Stade de Furiani in the Corsican city of Bastia on 5 May 1992.
[...]

A temporary grandstand collapsed at the stadium before the French Cup semi-final between SC Bastia and Olympique de Marseille. Eighteen people lost their lives, and more than 2,000 were injured.

by Bernard on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 05:04:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Universe Of Self-replicating Code | Conversation | Edge

Ten or 20 years ago I was preaching that we should look at digital code as biologists: the Darwin Among the Machines stuff. People thought that was crazy, and now it's firmly the accepted metaphor for what's going on. And Kevin Kelly quoted me in Wired, he asked me for my last word on what companies should do about this. And I said, "Well, they should hire more biologists."

But what we're missing now, on another level, is not just biology, but cosmology. People treat the digital universe as some sort of metaphor, just a cute word for all these products. The universe of Apple, the universe of Google, the universe of Facebook, that these collectively constitute the digital universe, and we can only see it in human terms and what does this do for us?

We're missing a tremendous opportunity. We're asleep at the switch because it's not a metaphor. In 1945 we actuallydidcreate a new universe. This is a universe of numbers with a life of their own, that we only see in terms of what those numbers can do for us. Can they record this interview? Can they play our music? Can they order our books on Amazon? If you cross the mirror in the other direction, there really is a universe of self-reproducing digital code. When I last checked, it was growing by five trillion bits per second. And that's not just a metaphor for something else. It actually is. It's a physical reality.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 06:57:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Will this code cut off my food or water supply in my lifetime? If not, play on.

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 Sat May 5th, 2012 at 07:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:03:33 PM EST


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 02:32:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Minnesota police giving Peavey Plaza Occupy-ers drugs as part of impairment study, report says [VIDEO] - Minneapolis News - The Blotter
"I started walking faster... [but then] he asked me if I wanted to smoke more. I stopped in my tracks, said 'yes,' and then I smoked with a cop," Panda said, adding that the weed given to him by officers was "some of the best shit I've had in a while." He said officers bought him a double cheeseburger at McDonald's on his way back downtown.

Interviewed hours later after he sobered up, Panda said police offered him a quarter-ounce bag of marijuana if he'd become a police informant and snitch on the activities of fellow Occupy protestors.

Another young man said officers had a bowl of marijuana already packed and ready to smoke when he was picked up downtown. After taking part in the study and being dropped off downtown by police, the man was visibly intoxicated. He dangerously climbed to the top of a large sign near Peavey Plaza sitting 15 feet above the sidewalk, swinging his arms and legs.

happy trails america!

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 02:43:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
He dangerously climbed to the top of a large sign near Peavey Plaza sitting 15 feet above the sidewalk, swinging his arms and legs

Musta bin the cheeseburgers.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 08:47:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'd say he was perusing his priorities...

um, let's see, free 'legal' dope vs. getting pepper sprayed.

character-building stuff!

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 01:44:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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