Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 1 October

by Fran Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:13:32 PM EST

On this date in history:

1865 - Paul Dukas, a Parisian-born French composer and teacher of classical music, was born.(d. 1935)

More here and video


Welcome to the European Salon!

This Salon is open for discussions, exchange, and gossip and just plain socializing all day long. So please enter!

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

EUROPE - is the place for anything to do with Europe.

WORLD - here you can add the links to topics concerning the rest of the World.

THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER - is the place for everything from environment to health to curiosa.

KLATSCH - if you like gossip, this is the place. But you can also use this place as an Open Thread until the one in the Evening opens.

SPECIAL FOCUS - will be up only for special events and topics, like elections or other stuff.

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

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

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

Display:
EUROPE
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:14:01 PM EST
German-Russian Dialogue Forum Meets Under Caucasus Cloud | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2008
Delegations from Germany and Russia meet in St. Petersburg this week for the traditional gathering of minds from the the political and civil spheres of both nations. However, this year, things are different.

The next round of Russian-German intergovernmental consultations known as the St. Petersburg Dialogue begins on Tuesday, Sept. 30 with Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German delegation traveling to the Russian city to meet with President Dmitry Medvedev and members of his government.

The dialogue, which was first launched six years ago by predecessors Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder, is an open discussion forum intended to lend new impetus to German-Russian relations in a wide range of sectors, from economics and politics to education and science, cultural relations and religion.

It is supported by political and private-sector foundations and private businesses in Germany and in Russia, as well as the two governments. A cross-section of experts from all fields are represented at the event.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:17:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OSCE Observers Say Belarus Election "Fell Short of Democracy" | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2008
Not a single member of the opposition won a seat in Belarus' parliamentary elections, which was slammed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as "undemocratic."

Among the problems noted by OSCE preliminary findings on Monday, Sept. 29, as "bad" or "very-bad" was Belarusian ballot counting often taking place behind closed doors barred to independent observers, making free and fair election practically impossible.

"Despite some minor improvements, the Sept. 28 parliamentary election in Belarus ultimately fell short of OSCE commitments for democratic elections ... The election took place in a strictly controlled environment with a barely visible campaign," the OSCE said in its report.

"Voting was generally well conducted but the process deteriorated considerably during the vote count. Promises to ensure transparency of the vote count were not implemented," the monitors' report said. "The count was assessed as bad or very bad in 48 percent of polling stations visited. Where access was possible several cases of deliberate falsification of results were observed."

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:18:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia to Help EU's Chad Mission Despite Tension over Georgia | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2008
ussia is providing four helicopters to the European Union's peacekeeping mission in Chad, despite simmering tension over the situation in Georgia, EU defense officials and diplomats have confirmed.

The four Russian transport helicopters are expected to begin operations in November and will provide more "flexibility" to the bloc's EUFOR mission, its operational commander, Lieutenant General Patrick Nash, said at a press conference in Brussels on Monday, Sept. 29.

"We want to be active, we want to be in places where we can react, and we want to have the element of surprise: Helicopters in a country the size of Chad give you that extra dimension. And the more helicopters I have, the more flexibility the force commander has," Nash said.

At the same time, Nash stressed that EUFOR was not dependent on the Russian contribution, noting that it represented less than "one third" of the mission's current helicopter capabilities.

Consisting of 3,700 soldiers, EUFOR is the EU's largest ever military mission.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedes and Dutch best EU broadband performers - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Sweden and the Netherlands are the best EU performers when it comes to broadband internet, while Bulgaria and Cyprus come last, according to a report by the European Commission.

"Both countries [Sweden and the Netherlands] have a favourable socio-economic context, with a high propensity to use advanced services and a competitive environment that has ensured affordable prices and high speeds," says the commission in its paper on broadband performance in the EU member states.

On average, some 36 percent of EU households currently enjoy high-speed internet access

To measure that performance, Brussels is using a so-called Broadband Performance Index (BPI) based on a series of factors, including speed, rural coverage, affordability, innovation, as well as socio-economic dimensions.

Denmark, the UK, France and non-EU member Norway follow Sweden and The Netherlands, while Poland, Romania, Cyprus and Bulgaria come last.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:18:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU extends nuclear co-operation with India - EUobserver

The European Union has extended its civil nuclear co-operation with India in a move championed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is expected to sign a bilateral deal with the Indian prime minister on Tuesday (30 September).

The move, which comes despite India not being a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, echoes a similar agreement signed between the Asian country and the United States.

Nicolas Sarkozy hopes to strike a bilateral deal with India while extending EU civil nuclear co-operation with the Asian country

The development was announced following a EU-India summit in Marseille on Monday (29 September).

Additionally, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso hailed a "joint action plan on climate change" sealed with India, adding that civil nuclear co-operation would be extended with the Asian country on nuclear fusion.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:20:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France Embraces Nuclear Cooperation With India | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2008
The European Union and India ended their summit with the EU agreeing to offer a tentative deal on nuclear energy cooperation. France, however, was less cautious, vowing to help India with a new nuclear trade pact.

The meeting between India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and European Union leaders in the French port of Marseille ended Monday, Sept. 29, with an agreement to explore "the possibility of EU-India cooperation in civil nuclear research and development," However, differences remained over the limits which should be placed on such cooperation.

A draft prepared by the EU called for cooperation "in a manner consistent with the international non-proliferation regime."

But India, which has not signed the UN's non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and is wary of signing any declaration which appears to commit to it, insisted that the more general phrase "consistent with their respective international commitments" be used.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:23:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
India to showcase thorium technology at IAEA meet-India-The Times of India (Sept. 25th)
India may be waiting for the US Congress to clear the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal so that the country can begin importing uranium from the NSG countries, but that doesn't mean that the government has given up on thorium as a source of nuclear energy.

India will showcase its indigenous thorium technology at the 52nd general conference of the IAEA, beginning at Vienna on Monday.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 05:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Finland tightens gun permit rule

Finland has introduced stricter rules on gun permits, following a school shooting in which 11 people died.

Handgun permits would no longer be granted to first-time applicants, the interior ministry said.

Instead, they must train for at least a year at a gun club before being allowed to apply for a permit.

All applicants must also provide a note from a doctor about their mental health and sit an interview with police. The new rules cover pistols and revolvers.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silly me wonders: Why allow handguns at all?

Also, does anyone know if the gun legislation in Finland is different than in other northern countries?

by Nomad on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 04:02:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why allow alcohol? Tobacco? Fishing? Knitting? Motorcycles? Stupid gameshows? Music?

I hope you get my point.

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

by Starvid on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 05:41:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Handguns are not hunting implements. They're manhunting implements. There is no non-sociopathic use for them other than police/military work.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 06:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure there is. Target practice. It is a pasttime many peolpe enjoy. That's definetly a non-sociopathic use, isn't it?

Now, I have two bayonets at home. Some people would argue they really have no civilian use and that the police ought to kick my door in and take my bayonets away from me.

I like my bayonets. I have them on the wall and use them as candle holders. They're pretty, they're unusual and I like them. The state has no moral right to take them from me as long as I am a honest law abiding (even if non-TV licence paying) citizen.

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

by Starvid on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 06:37:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a couple of nukes at home. Some people would argue they really have no civilian use and that the police ought to kick my door in and take my nukes away from me.

I like my nukes. I have them in my kitchen and use them as weights for my scale.
They're pretty, they're unusual and I like them. The state has no moral right to take them from me as long as I am a honest law abiding citizen. An I even pay TV taxes.

Forget about "moral" rights, that's an unhelpful qualifier. The state has the right and the moral duty to do so. If some people must have weapons as decoration, restrict it to very old weapons, make them unoperable and a criminal offence to make them operable again.

As for target practice, that's a strawman. Shooting is an Olympic sport, yet somehow 9-mm shooting is not. You can seriously hurt someone with a compressed air cun, yet killing is highly unlikely. There you go, target practice is no excuse for handguns. It's even less excuse for having handguns at home. They could be kept at the practice centre.

We don't have to swallow the NRA propaganda lines whole.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 01:40:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nukes are not handguns. There is no chance of destroying an entire city with a handgun. The comparison just doesn't make any sense.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:17:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It certainly makes more sense than your argument.

You say that the state has no right to stop you from having something that you like simply because in the past you haven't been known to use it to kill someone.

I like my nukes. They are wonderful.

(besides, in most hands a nuke would be FAR less dangerous than a handgun).

"It failed because Nacy Pelosi said some unkind things about George Bush in her speech"

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 11:09:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't understand why I can't have fun in Finland using my CAR-15 submachine gun for target practice.

So the argument of target practice is nonsensical. Automatic rifles are banned in Finland on certain grounds and a certain philosophy - what makes handguns so eminently more useful on practical grounds(which excludes target practice) compared to automatic rifles that they do not fall under that ban?

by Nomad on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I don't think automatic rifles need be illegal. As long as there is strict regulation. We have that in Sweden for example, 40,000 people have fully automatic 7.62 mm assault rifles in their weapon boxes at home. They're members of the reserve.

If they can have it, others should also be able to have it, if they can pass extremely strict regulation.

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

by Starvid on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:21:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Finland there is an unspoken folk memory (weapons were cached - not by the government - in case of failure of the armistice at the end of the Third War against the Soviets).

If the Russians were to have invaded, every one of them would have been targets in occupation - whatever the cost. So today = lots of guns just in case - and all the young men trained to use them.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:01:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So it does boil down to a culture of fear - of the Russians in this case.

[Starvid's Rysskräck Technology™]

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:07:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most Finns would take offence at the Fear Factor. It is just common sense - an insurance policy.

However Jokela and Kauhajoki have been tragic side effects. I think we will see a ban on private ownership of handgun or storage and use only in secure gun clubs. Also I expect a complete ban on semi-automatics and automatics. There will be political support because there is majority support in the population.

Nobody will dare touch shotguns and hunting rifles. They are part of the farm and forest heritage that politicians dally with at great risk. While only a minority of Finns are licensed shoot moose, wolves, bears or waterbirds, almost all Finns regard themselves as people who live closely and respectfully to nature.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 12:11:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they can have it, others should also be able to have it

I agree with you there - which is exactly why I argue to keep gun possession to the utmost minimum, including weaponry meant for reserve forces.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:49:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you ever see Bowling for Columbine? Remember the scene in the Canadian shooting range, and how all the shooters considered their handguns a sporting implement? Moore made (and threw away and ignored) an important point in that movie: It is not the availability of handguns as such that is the problem, but rather (particularly in the US) the culture of fear (euphemistically called "self defense" or "armed response") that is used to justify it.

School shootings are a different kettle of fish, obviously. These seem to be about alienation, marginalization, the perception of having failed just when real life is about to begin. (And if they couldn't get a handgun, they'd probably just use a shotgun and make an even bigger mess.) And whenever I read about a school shooting I wonder not about what reasons these young men might have had to act out, but how many other young men (and how many young women!) have simply "sucked it up", surrendered, internalized without complaint the crap that gets dumped on them. In short, school shootings are a wakeup call for the rest of us. To concentrate on the weapons is to ignore this fact, and these people.

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 Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:33:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Moore made (and threw away and ignored) an important point in that movie: It is not the availability of handguns as such that is the problem, but rather (particularly in the US) the culture of fear (euphemistically called "self defense" or "armed response") that is used to justify it.

That's because he wanted to do a polemic against the NRA and sort of stumbled upon the culture of fear angle. But that's not what he wanted to talk about: he really just wanted to poke fun at Charlton Heston.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No matter.

It seemed that what mattered was not at all the availability of guns but the culture of fear.

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

by Starvid on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:20:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is true.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:24:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Instead, they must train for at least a year at a gun club before being allowed to apply for a permit.

What's the reason for this? Have there been too many school shootings in which the gunman misses? One could have a 1-year delay to eliminate impulsive purchases without the requirement to train.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 04:17:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That avoids patient but lazy purchase.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 05:33:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe instead they should require one-year of anger-management control, first-aid, and, most of all, assisting physical therapists who work with gun-shot victims.  Seems like that use of time would be more productive and to the point.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 09:54:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy arrests scores of suspected mobsters - International Herald Tribune

ROME: Italian police made sweeping arrests against the mob Tuesday, targeting a powerful clan as well as three suspects linked to a recent gangland-style slaying of six African immigrants near Naples, authorities said.

In a series of raids in Naples and surrounding areas, where the Camorra crime syndicate is based, police also seized assets worth €100 million ($143.5 million) and weapons, including two AK-47s believed to have been used Sept. 18 against the Africans, police and government officials said.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni hailed the operation as a serious blow to the Camorra organization.

"We have waged war on the Camorra," Maroni said. "We want to exert pressure like never before and keep this pressure up until the war is won."

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:28:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While I await de Gondi's (potential) deconstruction of this news, I wonder if Robert Saviano's book Gomorra (or the film based on it) has had anything to do with this (apparent) more concerted crackdown on the Italian mob.

Does anyone know how the film has been received in Italy?



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 10:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The film was well received by the critics but was not a box office hit. It will represent Italy as a Oscar candidate for best foreign film. Good luck!
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:19:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
de Gondi: The film was well received by the critics but was not a box office hit. It will represent Italy as a Oscar candidate for best foreign film. Good luck!

Good luck indeed!

Any thoughts why it was not such a hit at the box office?  Might it be because it cast a bad/embarrassing light on Italy?  (This phenomenon seems to be quite prevalent among Chinese movies, Exhibit 1: To Live 活著, which is widely praised by foreigners, but pretty much universally criticized and scorned by Chinese.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 07:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The film came out in summer when everyone goes on vacation. I expect it to be re-released around Oscar time.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:45:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The maxi-blitz against the Casalesi gangs demonstrates that when the state wants to be effective it is capable, just as it was after the assassinations of Falcone and Borsellini in 1992. Operations of this sort have always been prompted by a political response to public outcry. Once the clamour dies down, political power will quietly and almost imperceptibly sabotage the results achieved by law forces and the judiciary branch.

What's important is to hit the military branch of organized crime and its immediate source of revenues as high profile "get tough" actions for which the political class will claim exclusive credit. When the investigative judges seek to expand investigations to the political and industrial humus that thrives in syncretism with the gangs, a preventive media campaign already in place will block their efforts.

Police believe the Camorra orchestrated the slayings to punish the Africans for getting involved in drug trafficking, one of the Camorra's lucrative activities.

This is incorrect. It resulted in one riot immediately following the massacre for which the rioters offered to make amends and pay damages.

The judge in charge of the case issued a warrant charging the assassins with "massacre with the scope of terrorism." None of the victims was involved in drugs, racketeering or prostitution. Further, the area where drug trafficking- under the control of the Nigerians- takes place is well known to everyone and is at a distance of several hundred yards. Had the Camorra wanted to attack the Nigerian drug trafficking which is already they would have gone there.

Names of three of the alleged killers arrested had been indicated by Saviano in an article published in la Repubblica last September 22. In an interview Saviano advanced the hypothesis based on indications from the Combonian missionaries who work there that the Camorra is seeking to drive the African population away from Castelvolturno since the area is likely to become an area of intensive urban development in the future.

Weeks ago, Italy sent about 3,000 soldiers to major cities and tourist-sensitive sites to beef up security.
Should read:
Weeks ago, Italy sent about 3,000 soldiers to major cities and tourist-sensitive sites to offer photo opportunities for tourists.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:44:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Britons forced to dip into savings for first time since 1958 - Times Online

Britain's overstretched households have collectively spent more than they earned and resorted to dipping into savings to meet soaring living costs for the first time since the late 1950s, when Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister.

The bleak picture was revealed today in official figures, which laid bare the full scale of the squeeze on families as the economic downturn forces the cost of living to spiral upwards and household incomes to grow only weakly.

The intensity of the crunch on family budgets was emphasised as the figures also showed that consumer spending in the second quarter dipped by 0.1 per cent, registering its first outright fall since early 1995.

The figures suggest that consumers resorted to cutting back on spending between April and June after being forced to draw down on their savings during the previous three months.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:28:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stormclouds gather as Italians are told to pay up for a rainy day - Times Online

Italians are noted for their aversion to paying taxes but this time residents of Ravenna can be excused for saying "no" to the latest wheeze dreamt up by local bureaucrats: a rain tax.

Arguing that heavy rain causes severe damage to infrastructure, buildings and agriculture in the Po valley, the authorities in the Emilia Romagna region have quietly added 3 per cent to water bills to maintain and improve drainage systems after downpours. The Ravenna water board - which is so enthusiastic about the new tax that it wants to backdate it three years - claims that the payments will save it €1 million (£800,000) a year.

Consumer organisations in Ravenna are urging householders not to pay up. "This is just another tax in disguise," Roberto Passino, spokesman for a protest group, said.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:29:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gurkhas win High Court battle to stay in the UK - Telegraph
Gurkhas who fought alongside the British Army have won their battle to settle in the UK following a High Court test case.

The result was welcomed by actress Joanna Lumley, whose late father served with the 6th Gurkha Rifles, as a chance to "right a great wrong and wipe out a national shame that has stained us all".

The six claimants who led the battle by 2,000 Gurkhas for the right to live in the UK included veterans of the Gulf War and Falklands conflicts who currently live in Nepal and Hong Kong.

They all applied to settle in the UK but were denied entry by immigration officials because of a policy that barred those who had not served since the Nepalese fighters' base moved from Hong Kong to Kent following the island nation's handover to China in 1997.

Their lawyer argued in the judicial review that all other foreign soldiers serving in the British Army are allowed to settle in the UK and the country owed the Gurkhas a "special debt" of gratitude for their brave service, which saw 50,000 killed and 13 win Victoria Crosses.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:29:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about other countries, but the UK has awlays had a pretty shitty attitude towards ex-soldiers. Fine if they can march up and down every now and then and support the current militarised status quo, but caring for injuries or long-term ptsd is something they'd just rather not do.

There is also the issue that a post-colonial country also encourages large numbers of non-residents to join its army. and then, at the end of their service, to quietly go back to the country they wanted to escape with next to no pension, support or medical backup having wsted 20 or more years of their lives when their ambition could have better served them establishing themselves in the local community.

So this is a good decision, but imo it's only a start. We owe a duty of care to all who have served in the armed forces, a duty so far callously evaded.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 05:18:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen: Fine if they can march up and down every now and then and support the current militarised status quo, but caring for injuries or long-term ptsd is something they'd just rather not do.

Must be another Anglo-American disease.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 07:58:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. The French have been worse.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:03:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
gk: No. The French have been worse.

Loathsome.

And yet, is it possible that attitudes and policies have significantly improved since then?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:44:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU to introduce 'virtual strip searches' at airports by 2010 - Telegraph
Digital body scanners which leave little to the imagination will be used by airport security on passengers travelling across the European Union within two years.

According to a draft European Commission regulation, seen by The Daily Telegraph, the new millimetre wave imaging scanners are to be used "individually or in combination, as a primary or secondary means and under defined conditions" to provide a "virtual strip search" of travellers.

The new EU regulation, which will be binding on Britain, is intended to enter into force across the continent by the end of April 2010.

Dominic Grieve, Shadow Home Secretary, stressed that while body scanners may be an effective security tool "the implementation must be carried out by the British government in a proportionate manner, based on UK security requirements rather than the dictates of Brussels".

"Ministers need to explain publicly and transparently what these proposals are and why they are suitable to the UK," he said.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:30:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian | 1.10.2008
Scientists have uncovered an ancient and elaborate source of pain relief that is based purely on the power of the mind, according to research published today.

Brain scans of volunteers who were subjected to electrical shocks revealed that Roman Catholics felt less pain than atheists and agnostics when they were shown a painting of the Virgin Mary.

They also tested them with the Mona Lisa. I wonder what would have happened with a picture of Darwin?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:28:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
gk:
electrical shocks

I read that as 'electoral shocks'.

Isn't this research just slightly odd? Someone must have thought 'I know - we'll plug Catholics into the mains, show them pictures of the virgin mary, and see if they feel less pain.'

Okay.

Even stranger is that there may have been grant money for it.

More seriously, it seems to be evidence for just how deep symbolic imprinting can be.
 

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:38:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even stranger is that there may have been grant money for it.

I don't know what the convention is in this field, but the abstract doesn't list any funding agencies. Two of the authors are from medical departments, two are theologians, and two are philosphers.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS - European Banking Crisis
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:15:08 PM EST
Europe Props Up Crumbling Banks as US Rejects Bailout | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2008
European governments were forced to rescue a number of financial institutions hit by the US-born crisis, sending stock markets plummeting. Washington's rejection of a $700-billion bailout caused world markets to plummet.

Only a few weeks ago, banks in the euro zone financial sector were said to be safe from the US-born financial crisis, but now, as the global financial situation gradually worsens, five European governments have had to step in to prop up financial institutions.

Separately, news emerged late Monday, Sept. 29, that the US House of Representatives rejected a $700 billion measure to rescue the failing American financial system. The bailout bill was defeated after many House Republicans ignored their leaders' pleas and voted against it. A majority of Democrats voted in favor of the plan.

"I feel they've taken leave of their senses," said European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson of US lawmakers Monday in an interview with BBC, "and I hope that in Europe we will not see politicians and parliamentarians replicating the sort of irresponsibility and political partisanship that we have seen in Washington."

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:17:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe scrambles to save banking system - EUobserver

European authorities in Brussels, Frankfurt and at EU member state level are scrambling to save the continent's financial system after bank stocks plunged when US lawmakers rejected a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street on Monday (29 September).

Banks are petrified of lending to one another for more than one day, requiring central banks to flood their coffers with the money they need to stay in business.

After yesterday's part-nationalisation of Belgo-Dutch banking giant Fortis and the nationalisation of the UK's Bradford & Bingley, Belgium-based Dexia, the biggest provider of lending to local governments in the world, could be the next financial institution to be rescued by taxpayers.

In an email from Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, the country's federal government reached an agreement with Belgium's regional assemblies to jointly support the bank, Bloomberg News reported

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:19:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Belgium and France prop up Dexia - International Herald Tribune

PARIS: Dexia, a French-Belgian lender, received a capital injection of more than $9 billion from public shareholders on Tuesday as a deepening global credit crisis continued to shake European banks. Meanwhile in Ireland, the government backed all deposits in the country's banks.

After all-night negotiations, the Belgian government announced that it and other Belgian stakeholders would invest $4.26 billion in Dexia. The French government will contribute $1.42 billion, the French state-controlled Caisse des Depots $2.84 billion and the Luxembourg government $518.82 million, according to a statement from the Belgian prime minister's office.

Shares in Dexia, which had been suspended at the open, vaulted 18.1 percent to €8.45 in late morning trading.

"The market is encouraged, this restores confidence" said Georg Krijgh, an analyst at Rabo Securities in Amsterdam. "It shows the government is supporting the banks and makes Dexia one of most solvent in the region, with Fortis and KBC."

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | Second Belgian bank gets bail-out

Dexia has become the latest European bank to be bailed out as the deepening credit crisis shakes the banks sector.

After all-night talks the Belgian, French and Luxembourg governments said they would put in 6.4bn euros ($9bn; £5bn) to keep it afloat.

Shares in the Belgian-French bank fell 30% on Monday before being suspended on Tuesday as the bail-out was announced.

It is the second bank rescue in days by Belgium and its neighbours. On Sunday Fortis bank was partly nationalised.

This latest move by European governments to shore up another bank under pressure came as global stock markets plunged after the US House of Representatives rejected the White House's planned $700bn bail-out package.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:31:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...appear to have done a

Midnight Runner

Come on, Eileen....!

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:47:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Castigates US Congress Over Bailout Failure | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2008
As the US financial crisis continues to unsettle global financial markets, Brussels has said American legislators need to start meeting their obligations. But will the strong words have any effect?

In an unusually strong statement, the European Union has called American lawmakers to order for failing to reach agreement on a $700 billion plan to shore up foundering financial institutions and markets.

"The US must take its responsibility in this situation, must show statesmanship for the sake of their own companies and for the sake of the world," European Commission spokesman Joseph Laitenberger told journalists.

The statement came after the US House of Representatives narrowly rejected the bailout plan on Monday, September 29.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy Holds Emergency Meetings as French Banks Reel | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.09.2008
French President Sarkozy was to meet with French banking and insurance chiefs Tuesday in the wake of the refusal of the US Congress to approve a finance bail-out.

The aim of the meeting at the Elysee Palace is to "review the situation of the financial institutions as well as the availability of credit to households and companies," Sarkozy's office said Monday, but the defeat in the House of Representatives of the plan to rescue the US finance sector will add urgency to the talks.

Last week, Sarkozy had vowed that the French state would come to the aid of any financial institution at risk of failing, to ensure that depositors did not lose any of their savings.

Late Monday, the governments of France, Belgium and Luxembourg agreed in principle to inject 6.4 billion euros ($9.2 billion) into the struggling Franco-Belgian financial services group Dexia.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:24:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This morning's Canard Enchaîné reports that France's largest savings bank, the Caisse d'Epargne, is in need of cash.

Caisse d'Epargne has issued a denial.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:17:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[Drew's WHEEEEE™ Technology]

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:28:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any banks which is suspected is dead in the water. Expect a bailout plan for Caisses d'Epargne in the next 24 hours...

(This one will be fun to negotiate: the Caisse des Dépôts, the usual suspect for a capital injection, is pissed off at Caisses d'Epargne for their take-over of Natexis - it was done in a hurried way while the previous boss of CDC was in the hospital, against his specific instructions, robbing CDC of its influence in the company)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:47:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been waiting for this bit of fun for over a year now, counting the nuts moving in and out of "the squirrel's" coffers.

Expect fucktard Millaud to pull a last-minute stunt like taking over the floated remains of Natixis, that would give him a few billions in relapse (he doesn't like the market value of natixis, which is just a fraction of its net asset value, because assets are overvalued of course, so he could eliminate the "market" in the "value").

Pierre

by Pierre on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 05:41:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Credit Crunch: Banking Crisis Leaves Europeans with Bill in the Billions - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

This week Europe has fallen deeper into the credit crunch. With multi-billion euro bailout packages, Germany, Britain and the Benelux states have saved banks from collapsing.

Hypo Real Estate, Fortis, Bradford & Bingley. Three European banks nearly collapsed in the course of just two days on Sunday and Monday, showing that the Wall Street financial crisis is pulling European companies into its pincers at an ever-faster clip. With trust between banks waning, analysts believe Europe is threatened with a serious credit crunch.

 The logos of Europe's crisis banks: The crisis is accelerating here and pulling an increasing number of institutions into its pincers. In order to protect the financial system from collapse, governments across Europe are being forced to intervene. Britain, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands all began spectacular rescues at the start of the week:

  • the British government nationalized large parts of mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley on Monday, taking over some €63 billion ($90.6 billion) in bad loans;

  • in Germany, the government is providing a massive loan package together with a consortium of banks to prevent the collapse of the Munich-based Hypo Real Estate.
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:25:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fallout for Dutch-Belgian Bank: With Bailout, Fortis Is Back Where it Started - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

With the forced sale of its Netherlands activities of ABN Amro, Dutch-Belgian banking and insurance company Fortis will be back were it started. In a little over a year, Fortis has changed from a prestigious financial institution to a pariah in the banking world.

AFP

Fortis headquarters in Brussels

Over-confidence, bluff and arrogance have proved an almost fatal cocktail for Fortis which was saved from collapse by a financial injection of almost €11.2 billion on Sunday.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:26:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The World From Berlin: 'No More Cause for Feeling Schadenfreude' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
THE WORLD FROM BERLIN 'No More Cause for Feeling Schadenfreude'

With the government bailout of Hypo Real Estate Holding Monday, the now-global financial crisis has arrived and reared its ugly head in Germany. Commentators here largely approve of the measure, but they also want more government action -- and less anxiety -- soon.

A trader in Frankfurt watches anxiously as the effects of a government rescue plan of Hypo Real Estate affects the German market. Last Thursday, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück stood before the German parliament and tried to assure its members that "The United States is the source of the crisis, and it is the focus of the crisis." Four days later, Steinbrück launched the largest financial rescue action in postwar Germany, offering €26.6 billion ($38.3 billion) of a combined €35 billion line of credit to bailout Hypo Real Estate (HRE), the country's second-largest commercial property lender, which had considerable business in the US real estate market.

For Germans and Europeans, the crisis has arrived. On Sunday, the governments of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg took partial control of struggling Benelux bank Fortis. On Monday, Britain seized control of mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, and Iceland's government took over Glitnir, the country's third-largest bank.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:27:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Speed of European response leaves US trailing

The recent amplification of the US-bred financial crisis has produced at least one salutary if unexpected lesson. Europe has so far shown that it works in practice, even if it still does not do so in theory.

In the past 48 hours, various European countries have scrambled to put together bail-out packages for troubled financial institutions in Germany, the UK, France, Belgium, Ireland and Iceland. And while this is by no means the end of the story, it has demonstrated that the European authorities and individual national governments can move very quickly to try to stem a growing crisis of confidence in the European financial system.

In the past 10 days, the conventional wisdom was that Europe would never be in a position to act as swiftly to rescue its financial industry with a comprehensive plan such as Washington's $700bn (€498bn) troubled asset relief programme. Yet the plan has yet to be approved, with all the political modifications demanded by US lawmakers. No evidence has so far emerged that Europe will need to orchestrate a similar plan of such magnitude.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 04:37:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was my first reaction: "How embarrassing for USAns: At least five Europeans countries got their shit together in 48 hours to pull off these rescue packages, while USAns took over one vaudevillian week and still blew it in a farce of partisan pettiness."

As David Brooks put it in his latest column:

This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation [as Franklin Roosevelt did in 1933], and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed.

However, on second thought, even if a large chunk of those who voted against it did so on "anti-socialist" grounds and because Nancy Pelosi hurt their feelings, the effect was that Congress rejected a deal that most of the public did not like at all, and that government leaders were trying to half-force, half-sneak by the people.

In short, I agree with paving:

You have to understand how important this was today, for the American voter.  We've had absolutely NO say in the past 8 years.  Dissent, public opinion, etc, have been ignored by both parties. ...

Suddenly the people are remembering that if they disagree with the actions of their govt. there is a possibility that the govt. will change and act differently.

Unfortunately, while Bernie Sanders is taking this opening to show some some leadership, I'm afraid in the end, "the people" are going to get steamrolled and the current package is going to get jury-rigged into effect anyway:

Senate to Vote Wednesday on Bailout Plan - NYTimes.com

Senate leaders scheduled a Wednesday vote on a $700 billion financial bailout package after agreeing to add tax breaks and a higher limit for insured bank deposits in a bid to attract enough votes to reverse a shocking defeat in the House and send legislation to President Bush by the end of the week.

After a day of behind-the-scenes maneuvering, top lawmakers said the Senate proposal would include a tax package as well as a plan endorsed on Tuesday by both major presidential candidates and the Bush administration to raise government coverage for bank deposits.

"It has been determined, in our judgment, this is the best thing to move forward," said Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and the majority leader, in announcing the surprise move. "This is good for the country."



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 10:56:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GRrrr make the plan more acceptable by adding TAX BREAKS???

Holy shit.
So, we used to have a plan that could fail because adding $700 billions (likely more) to the debt was bad. So, let's have tax breaks, so likely more becomes certainly more.

On top of that, it's clearly Republicans, a minority party with much diminished support in the population, taking the economy hostage in order to get a final loot. This must be said, and screamed, and I hope it is soon all over the news. Yet, at the moment, I don't see it.

To me, including tax cuts (hell, what are they doing in a financial crisis rescue package? Can I have provisions for the use of recycled materials?) makes it a no deal.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 01:48:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clearly Dodd/Frank is the bestleast bad plan that could be had before the November elections. Any more tinkering will just make it worse, especially if it's to appease the clueless (or worse: at best they're monetarists or libertarians) Republicans.

Krugman quotes James Galbraith and I agree:

There need be no pretense that it will solve our underlying financial and economic problems. It will not. The purpose, in my view, is to get the financial system and the economy through the year, and into the hands of the next administration. That is a limited purpose, but a legitimate purpose. And it may be the most that can be accomplished for the time being.


A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:43:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille: On top of that, it's clearly Republicans, a minority party with much diminished support in the population, taking the economy hostage in order to get a final loot. This must be said, and screamed, and I hope it is soon all over the news. Yet, at the moment, I don't see it.

Two of the articles I linked to in my previous comment actually make this point pretty emphatically:

David Brooks - Revolt of the Nihilists - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame. It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party. Not long ago, they led an anti-immigration crusade that drove away Hispanic support. Then, too, they listened to the loudest and angriest voices in their party, oblivious to the complicated anxieties that lurk in most American minds.

Now they have once again confused talk radio with reality. If this economy slides, they will go down in history as the Smoot-Hawleys of the 21st century. With this vote, they've taken responsibility for this economy, and they will be held accountable. The short-term blows will fall on John McCain, the long-term stress on the existence of the G.O.P. as we know it.

I've spoken with several House Republicans over the past few days and most admirably believe in free-market principles. What's sad is that they still think it's 1984. They still think the biggest threat comes from socialism and Walter Mondale liberalism. They seem not to have noticed how global capital flows have transformed our political economy.

and

THE WRONG FRAME AT THE WRONG TIME | The Washington Monthly

It's a great slogan for the election season, isn't it? "Vote Republican -- We're More Concerned With Our Feelings Than Your Future."

Make no mistake -- this is a failure of the Republican Party of historic proportions. When push came to shove, the Democratic leadership delivered the votes on the rescue plan, while Republicans voted, 2-to-1, against it.

If they're going to rationalize their failure, they're going to have to do better than rejecting the proposal because of Pelosi's harmless speech.

And these are both from usually right-leaning sources.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:23:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I've spoken with several House Republicans over the past few days and most admirably believe in free-market principles."

What's admirable about that?
Free-market apparently is one of the two commandments of the State religion, the other being low taxes.

On a side note, I would argue that right-leaning is a major understatement regarding Brooks. I have to keep away from his columns to preserve my sanity.

"It failed because Nacy Pelosi said some unkind things about George Bush in her speech"

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:54:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They hold on to their faith in the face of overwhelming evidence against the tenets of their religion. That's admirable.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:44:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can see why I'm not religious.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:54:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't want to be admirable?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:55:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was my first reaction: "How embarrassing for USAns: At least five Europeans countries got their shit together in 48 hours to pull off these rescue packages, while USAns took over one vaudevillian week and still blew it in a farce of partisan pettiness."

Inappropriate comparison.

The Fed has rescued several institutions over a weekend or a day (Bear, Fannie/Freddie, AIG) and the FDIC has taken over several banks swiftly (Indymac, WaMu, Wachovia). I don't recall whether they did anything special about Merrill, since BofA's CEO likes to overpay for big purchases anyway. I don't know what Paulson/Bernanke were thinking when they let Lehman fail.

These swift interventions by the bureaucracy parallel the European ones. Paulson's "all your shitpile are belong to me" is in a separate league altogether and Europe hasn't yet tried anything of the sort so we don't know how that would fare.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:37:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Inappropriate comparison. ...

Good points.

I don't know what Paulson/Bernanke were thinking when they let Lehman fail.

Krugman made a similar point the other day:

Just worth pointing out: Henry Paulson's decision to let Lehman fail, on Sept. 14, may have delivered the White House to Obama.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:02:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look at the volume traded: it's not the failure of Lehman but the bailout plan.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:12:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that governments - or at least some public bodies - on both continents still work - even after years of attempts at undermining and weakening them.

Acting in times of crisis is government's biggest responsibility, and so far, they have fared reasonably well.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:52:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But remember Jérôme:

"It failed because Nacy Pelosi said some unkind things about George Bush in her speech"
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:56:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, there's much more than just unkind things about George Bush. Full text from The Guardian
Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700bn?

It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies: policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.

Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital. But left to its own devices, it has created chaos.

That's heresy to the cherished beliefs which the Republican Representatives admirably hold on to.
The American people did not decide to dangerously weaken our regulatory and oversight policies.
No, it was Congress and the financial (self-)regulators
They did not make unwise and risky financial deals.
Um, buying a house on a NINJA mortgage is not "unwise and risky", it's downright suicidal. So Pelosi is laying the blame solely on the banks and mortgage brokers and that's self-service electioneering. Granted, without securitisation and off-balance sheet SIVs and "conduits" the size of Big Shitpile™ wouldn't have caused a crisis of this magnitude.
They did not jeopardise the economic security of the nation. And they must not pay the cost of this emergency recovery and stabilisation bill.

...

Our message to Wall Street is this: the party is over. The era of golden parachutes for high-flying Wall Street operators is over. No longer will the US taxpayer bail out the recklessness of Wall Street. The taxpayers who bear the risk in this recovery must share in the upside as the economy recovers.

...

Today we will act to avert this crisis, but informed by our experience of the past eight years, with the failed economic leadership that has left us less capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

We choose a different path. In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a new direction to a better future.



A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 05:07:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: self-service electioneering.

Good point.  But otherwise, how nice to hear such brazen blasphemy from the high pulpit!

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But we can't say they have both fared resonably well! There have to be winners and losers in the race between the EU and the US. One of them must be Doomed!

Or some such drivel.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:57:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Europe - Europe fights to calm markets

Governments across Europe have continued to prop up the battered financial sector, with Dexia, the Belgian-French financial services group, receiving more than $9bn from the Belgian, French and Luxembourg treasuries.

Facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, global central banks scrambled again on Tuesday to try to relieve a severe squeeze in money markets by more than doubling the amount of funding to $620 billion.

In Ireland, the government announced a blanket guarantee for savings held by its banks, covering up to $575bn in liabilities.

France, which had joined Belgium and Luxembourg in offering the lifeline to Dexia, which has run up huge losses in its US operations, said it would come to the aid of savers with new bank measures by the end of the week.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:29:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Commission has 'no reason' to question Fortis deal - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Despite Benelux governments announcing a partial nationalisation of Fortis Bank on Sunday, the ongoing financial crisis continued to collect scalps through Europe on Monday (29 September), with the UK and Germany intervening to save financial institutions. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank has announced it would lend eurozone banks €120 billion in "a special term refinancing operation."

The European Central Bank announced it would lend eurozone banks €120 billion in "a special term refinancing operation."

The decision by the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourger governments to purchase half the Belgo-Dutch banking giant for €11.2 billion represents the biggest bailout of a European bank since the beginning of the crisis.

The European Commission said on Monday it had been consulted during the negotiations and had so far no reason to believe the deal was in breach of EU competition rules.

"Up until now the national authorities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have been listening to what the commission has been saying, so we have no reason to think that what they are going to notify the commission of is not going to be acceptable to the commission in terms of state aid rules," Jonathan Todd, a spokesperson for the institution told a press briefing in Brussels.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:30:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too many commission workers have their bank accounts at Fortis, I would suspect...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 04:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you saying the Commission should properly be shooting down the bank rescues as "Illegal state aid"?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 04:40:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't know about "should properly", but "would normally" sounds about right.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 05:08:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to rules applied to other sectors, yes indeed.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:29:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then we need to start questioning the Commission when they apply the rules to other sectors.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:03:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Banks aren't a cosmetic company.

At this point (with h/t to ChrisCook) they are the lynch pin of an economy.  Pull it and watch the whole edifice collapse.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:06:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But then they have no business being run for the profit of their management.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:09:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why there used to be Regulations and Controls on banks so we wouldn't get into this mess, again (as in 1888, 189something, 1905, and 1929.)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:28:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM: At this point (with h/t to ChrisCook) they are the lynch pin of an economy.  Pull it and watch the whole edifice collapse.

"Finance is so central and peculiar, so essential, and yet it carries a death threat for the economy," said Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor of economics at Columbia. "What we've seen, once again, is that finance is a very powerful instrument, but one that needs to be intensively watched."


Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:30:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Banking system's woes increase British vitriol over U.S.-style pay - International Herald Tribune

LONDON: This past spring, Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, gave a speech denouncing the hubris of bankers. That very same day, the British bank Barclays disclosed a £18.5 million pay reward to its president, Robert Diamond Jr., for 2007 - despite sustaining a £1.6 billion write-down that year.

King followed up his criticism of the excesses of the City of London, as the financial district is known, by choosing not to accept an increase in his salary of £290,000, or $516,000.

Diamond, by comparison, is the American-born chief of Barclay's asset management and investment banking businesses, whose outsize personality and bonuses have made him one of the most visible symbols of a Wall Street ethos that has taken root in the financial district.

Stark as the contrast might have been, it was a mere hint of the uproar, led by Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and joined by union leaders and theologians, that has emerged here in recent days over how to best curb a perceived culture of escalating pay packages that propelled bankers to push for exorbitant risks.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:33:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's blame it on the Yanks and send them home!

This gets funnier by the day.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:37:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the problem with US-style pay if you set a top marginal rate of 95%?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:39:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Becasue

i) We don't.

ii) it';s not covered by normal tax and he'd be so covered by tax loopholes and exemptions he'd never pay a penny. As Lord Vestey once said "in the UK, once you're out of PAYE (earned income tax rates) paying tax is entirely voluntary.

Our lords and masters have, for decades, created a tax system where the rich pay next to nothing. Labour have never challenged these cosy little arrangements, even when they were mistaken for a left wing party

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 04:46:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our lords and masters have, for decades, created a tax system where the rich pay next to nothing. Labour have never challenged these cosy little arrangements, even when they were mistaken for a left wing party
 

 Same here in Australia...at least for these 10 years that I am here.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 09:27:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps Labour should then fight for a straight flat tax with zero loopholes.  Seems like you would get far more money out of the wealthy that way, and it would call the conservatives' bluff (assuming British conservatives bitch about progressive taxes as much as American conservatives.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 10:10:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Zero loopholes" means the wealthy can't stash their loot in some nearby tax haven?

STALINIST!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:32:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's blame it on the Yanks and send them home
!

Yeah.  Those hundreds of billions of Euros you morons spent to buy that crap we were peddling is all our fault.

It was obvious back in 2003 the Bush administration was the largest collection of goofballs ever assembled in one spot in human history.   They and their chums shouldn't have been in charge of a Fry-Up/Take-Away much less the US economy.  

And what happens?

US:  Here's a load of toxic garbage.  Want some?

EU:  Sure!  We'll take lots.

Admittedly the problem did start on this side of the pond but goddamnit you over on that side fed the Beast.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:58:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And while you may have some success in purging (or at least corralling) the Market Fundamentalists, I'm not so optimistic about the EU...

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:45:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not inclined to excuse the buyers of all the toxic junk in any way.

They could have know - should have known - what they were getting into. I saw a prospectus by Goldman Sachs for one of their Mortgage-Backed Securities salamis. There were 40 pages expalining in loving detail the risks for each tranche, including the possibility of a housing downturn.

People chose not to read these, or to ignore them.

Now, that the system pushed everybody in that direction is a reality, and a smart policy decision would be to change that system, but people still chose to follow the herd.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:57:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends who you mean by "people".
Let's face it Jérôme, even when it is explained, the vast majority of people cannot understand such implications. Hell, even the simple concept of actualisation is very difficult for the majority of people.

I do not say that as an insult, as implying that people are stupid children and should be despised. First, there is nothing despisable in not being among the cleverest of people, provided you don't run for the (vice-)presidency. Second, this is a very narrow field of human understanding. I would probably be unable to understand the implications of events on a variety of subjects even if they were explained in a leaflet, though I believe I happen to be fortunate enough to be in the top centiles of the intelligence distribution (OK, I own it, one letter of the previous sentence is not even completely honest).

So, prospectus notwithstanding, if people who could not understand either the implications or the likelihood of a housing downturns were being agressively advised to put money into such products, I won't place most of the blame on them. I know the libertarian meme of each person being the best placed for making all of his decisions for what it is, a fallacy.
Besides, when you say that people chose to follow the herd, it would be nice to be clear at what the alternatives were. If there is no landlord that lets you in, if you are not allowed to build a small house because of lot sizing, do you sleep outside?

Anyway, in any system, you can't rely on blaming the people. If human nature means that, unchecked, the system will crash, it's easier (terribly difficult OK, but still easier) to fix the system than human nature.

Now if you mean bankers by "people", I'm with you and have been wasting time typing all that ;-)

"It failed because Nacy Pelosi said some unkind things about George Bush in her speech"

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 05:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, the prospectus was going to bond buyers, whose job it is presumably to analyse the risks of whatever they are investing (other people's) money in. So THEY certainly have no excuse.

As to people, isn't buying a house - and taking the relevant mortgage - pretty much the biggest financial decision they'll ever get to make? Shouldn't they worry just a tiny bit about whether they can actually pay it back, and not just over the first couple years?

I have more sympathy for households, as they were brainwashed about perpetually rising house prices, and probably sold tainted goods by not very honest brokers (they are many cases of outright fraud), but (i) many of them were greedy and took on deals they knew were not quite right, and (ii) bondholders do not have that excuse. A rating does not eliminate the need to actually do your homework.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM: Admittedly the problem did start on this side of the pond but goddamnit you over on that side fed the Beast.

Not sure if this is relevant, but does any European country require a separation of investment banking from commercial banking, a la Glass-Steagall?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:17:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By Gavin Finch and David Yong
     Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- The cost of borrowing in dollars overnight surged the most on record after the U.S. Congress rejected a $700 billion bank rescue plan, heightening concern more institutions will fail.
     The London interbank offered rate, or Libor, that banks charge each other for such loans climbed 431 basis points to an all-time high of 6.88 percent today, the British Bankers'
Association said. The euro interbank offered rate, or Euribor, for one-month loans climbed to record 5.05 percent, the European Banking Federation said. The Libor-OIS spread, a gauge of the scarcity of cash, advanced to a record. Rates in Asia also rose.
     ``The money markets have completely broken down, with no trading taking place at all,'' said Christoph Rieger, a fixed- income strategist at Dresdner Kleinwort in Frankfurt. ``There is no market any more. Central banks are the only providers of cash to the market, no-one else is lending.''     Credit markets have seized up, tipping banks toward insolvency and forcing U.S. and European governments to rescue five banks in the past two days, including Dexia SA, the world's biggest lender to local governments, and Wachovia Corp. Money- market rates climbed even after the Federal Reserve yesterday more than doubled the size of its dollar-swap line with foreign central banks to $620 billion. Banks borrowed dollars from the ECB at almost six times the Fed's benchmark interest rate today.

                           Libor-OIS Spread

     The Libor-OIS spread, the difference between the three- month dollar rate and the overnight indexed swap rate, widened to 246 basis points, showing cash scarcity is at a record.
     The difference between what banks and the U.S. Treasury pay to borrow money for three months, the so-called TED spread, was at 338 basis points today after breaching 350 basis points for the first time yesterday. The spread was at 110 basis points a month ago.
     ``We can be sure that funding pressures are not going to ease while there is so much uncertainty,'' said Adam Carr, senior economist in Sydney at ICAP Australia Ltd., part of the world's largest inter-bank broker. ``Cash is going to be at a premium. There's really no end in sight.''



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 08:15:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This means that the bailouts and nationalizations of individual banks are doing nothing to solve the fundamental problem of the credit markets. I doubt that the $700 billion gift will help any better, give nthat most everybody knows that the (leveraged) holes are bigger than that.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:47:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Things are now officially totally dysfunctional:


Banks park money in European central banks

The collapse of trust in money markets has led to more than €100bn being parked overnight at the European Central Bank - by far the highest amount ever, underscoring the extent of stress in the global financial system.

Banks are increasingly dealing with central banks rather than each other as the crisis of confidence persists, but central banks around the world are finding it difficult to judge demand for funds as every bank's needs are different.

The volatility in wholesale money markets was underscored on Wednesday with big reductions in overnight unsecured interest rates, but rises in the costs of three-month money.

On Wednesday the Libor rate for overnight US dollar borrowing was fixed at 3.79 per cent, a plunge from 6.87 per cent on Tuesday with a similarly large fall seen in sterling overnight interest rates. But if any banks are able to borrowing in dollars, euros and sterling for three months, the interest rates on these deals got more expensive - up to 4.15 per cent in the US, 5.28 per cent in the eurozone and 6.31 per cent in the UK.

The €102.8bn left on Tuesday night in the ECB's deposit facility, which pays a below-market interest rate of 3.25 per cent, highlighted banks' reluctance to deal with each other. The sum was more than double the amount deposited on Monday night.

At the same time, other banks borrowed almost €16bn from the central bank's marginal lending facility, which incurs a penalty interest rate of 5.25 per cent.

(...)

In a sign of the difficulties of working out how much money to pump into the banking systems, the UK central bank offered two US dollar auctions on Wednesday morning, one overnight and one for a week, but found demand thin for both. Less than half the money offered was taken up in the $30bn weekly auction.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:17:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why isn't the ECB simply lowering the interst rate it pays out? That would make it more attractive for banks, to lend to each other.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 11:34:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More Krugman: The $850 billion bailout
Iceland has just bailed out Glitnir Bank, with the government putting in 600 million euros -- $859 million -- in return for a 75% stake.

... So this was, per capita, the equivalent of an $850 billion bailout here.

Notice, by the way, that it was an equity injection rather than a purchase of bad debt; I approve.

(source: Bloomberg)


A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:46:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Wealthy investors hoard bullion

Investors in gold are demanding "unprecedented" amounts of bullion bars and coins and moving them into their own vaults as fears about the health of the global financial system deepen.

Industry executives and bankers at the London Bullion Market Association annual meeting said the extent of the move into physical gold was unseen and driven by the very rich.

"There is an enormous pick-up in investment demand. I have never seen a market like this in my 33-year career," said Jeremy Charles, chairman of the LBMA. "The gold refineries cannot produce enough bars."

The move comes as fears grow among investors over the losses at investment vehicles previously considered almost risk-free, such as money funds.

Philip Clewes-Garner, associate director of precious metals at HSBC, added that investors were not flying into gold simply because they saw it as a haven amid Wall Street's woes. "It is a flight into gold because it is a physical asset," he 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 Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:12:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:15:29 PM EST
US circles hijacked ship with Sudan-bound weapons - Los Angeles Times
The Ukrainian vessel's cargo was headed for Kenya, according to that country and Ukraine. But U.S. officials and others suspect southern Sudan's fledgling army was to receive the tanks.

NAIROBI, KENYA -- This time it's the booty, not the pirates, that everyone's talking about.

And what they're wondering is: Just where were those Russian tanks going?

  As additional U.S. warships gathered around a hijacked Ukrainian ship off Somalia, questions persisted Monday about where the vessel's military cargo was destined.

The governments of Kenya and Ukraine say the shipment of 33 Russian-built T-72 tanks, ammunition and spare parts was part of a legal sale contracted last year to supply the Kenyan army.

But U.S. officials, arms experts and maritime officials say the more likely destination was southern Sudan, where the former rebel group Sudan People's Liberation Movement, or SPLM, governs an autonomous region and has been working aggressively over the last three years to transform its ragtag guerrilla army into a professional fighting force.

"We received reports that the cargo was intended for Sudan, so obviously our goal is to maintain watch over the ship while negotiations are taking place," said Lt. Nathan Christensen, spokesman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somali Pirates Tell All - They're in It for the Money - NYTimes.com

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The Somali pirates who hijacked a Ukrainian freighter loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition said in an interview on Tuesday that they had no idea the ship was carrying arms when they seized it on the high seas.

"We just saw a big ship," the pirates' spokesman, Sugule Ali, said in a telephone interview. "So we stopped it."

The pirates quickly learned, though, that their booty was an estimated $30 million worth of heavy weaponry, heading for Kenya or Sudan, depending on whom you ask.

In a 45-minute interview, Mr. Sugule spoke on everything from what the pirates wanted ("just money") to why they were doing this ("to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters") to what they had to eat on board (rice, meat, bread, spaghetti, "you know, normal human-being food").

He said that so far, in the eyes of the world, the pirates had been misunderstood. "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits," he said. "We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard."



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 Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:56:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bye Bye Bailout: Financial Fears Mount as Congress Heads for Holiday - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

One day after the House of Representatives shot down the $700 billion bailout package for Wall Street, many fear that the markets will plunge further. Political leadership, though, will have to wait -- until after a two-day holiday.

As if Monday wasn't bad enough: The US House of Representatives in chaos; the markets in freefall; the surreal appearances of two presidential candidates, both of whom swore bipartisanship only to attack each other in the very next breath.

 On Monday, the US House of Representatives failed to pass the much-touted $700 billion Wall Street bailout. And yet, as strange as Monday seemed, the day could very well be trumped by the rest of the week. The spotlight will likely be focused on stock market trading floors to see just how traders and investors react to Congress' shocking rejection of the $700 billion bailout package. But when it comes to scurrility, it will be difficult to beat the halls of the US Capitol, ground zero of this economic catastrophe.

Or, to be more precise, in the empty halls of the Capitol. After the US Representatives drop-kicked the bailout bill, triggering another Black Monday -- and leading to a 777.68 point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average -- Congressmen and women headed home to their constituencies. The occasion is Rosh Hashana, a congressional holiday.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
which should tell you all you need to know about how urgent this really is. Bush was trying to bounce the houses again, just like he did over Iraq and Pelosi and Reid got suckered in. Again.

And depsite all the time they've got to create a proper bill that really addresses the problem, they won't consult with experts and economists, they'll wait for the Fed to come back with another stupid "give the rich everything we own" and then try to sign up for it, asking, pleading with the republicans to tell them what concessions in tax cuts and giveaways will allow them to pass the bill for last huge giveaway to Bush's base before he runs for the hills

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 04:51:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oil falls below $96 on financial turmoil

PERTH (Reuters) - Oil extended losses below $96 a barrel on Tuesday, after slumping almost 10 percent in the previous session as fear gripped financial markets in the wake of U.S. lawmakers' shock rejection of a $700 billion rescue plan.

Asian stocks opened sharply lower after Wall Street's biggest fall since the crash of 1987, and were down roughly 4 percent amid mounting fears about the health of the global economy, with China's two biggest banks opening more than 8 percent lower.

U.S. light crude for November delivery fell 59 cents to $95.78 a barrel by 0233 GMT, after dropping $10.52 on Monday to $96.37 -- the second biggest fall since April 23, 2003.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:32:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
gorby's back!

from lebedev's blog, translated by google

Second. The initiative belongs to President Gorbachev. He gave our people the freedom, but we did not learn how to use it (the same all the time tetchy change it to "a fraction of security"). With regard to me personally, the support in any form. But in the leadership of the party necessarily need another 2-3 dozen leaders of public opinion. The party should not be vozhdistskoy (ie collegial leadership). Financing - just from different non-governmental sources.

Third. Working title - the Independent Democratic Party. The ideology - liberal social democracy, or, if you will, social democratic liberalism. From social democracy - social justice in economic policies. Of the healthy liberalism - the development of independent political institutions, which do not provide the very social justice, not to create a healthy economy and not solve the problem of increase in the welfare of all (if such a challenge from the incumbent authorities there ...).

Fourth. The strategy - less goskapitalizma. The tactics - in no case konformistskaya. The program, at least, to form - 10-15 letters, petitions you know who:

  • Return to the gubernatorial race and kontrreforma (ie, a return to normal) electoral system;
  • The development of independent media and the establishment, finally, the public television (among other things, some of the so-called "Putin's plan, his idea);
  • Ensuring the independence of Parliament and enhancing the role of the legislature (the new law on the federal assembly);
  • Creation of an independent, accessible and efficient judiciary;
  • The reform of law enforcement;
  • Revision of the economic policy of the state: roads, affordable housing and mortgages, health and education, upgrading infrastructure, reform of natural monopolies, development of small and medium businesses - instead bananotehnology, lipovoy reform utilities, pipeline them. Schroeder, Russian Island, Schalke-04 aircraft and personnel for each goschinovnika.
  • A national memorial Gulag.

The political downstage Russia there is a lack of organizations representing civil society. Parties is not. In recent years we have with President Gorbachev tried to develop independent of the state bureaucracy institutions - therefore, in particular, involves participation in the fate of «New newspaper», National Investment Board, an international peer Institute, a national center for monitoring democratic processes, an international charity.

We hope the initiative will interest those who today has been behind sanctioned political structures. And the most we would like to see as partners those who still do not book the various «camps». And, preferably, those who are ready to engage in this activity "on a voluntary basis." Ie for whom money - not the main, and not only in their lives.

if this doesn't pull poemless out of lurk mode...


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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 09:38:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
less goskapitalizma, in no case konformistskaya :

now that's a programme!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:41:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
gorby's back!

One of his attempts at comeback was in 1996 when he got 0.5% of the vote (7th place) in the presidential elections. Problem is that he personally has strong (about 95%) negative rating and this makes any party he is part of (or supports) unelectable.

Also I have my doubts if Lebedev/Gorbachev can handle a  creation of real (as opposed to virtual, Kasparov-style) party organization: formal party will require members in thousands and offices in each and every of 83 federal subjects, which  means money, supporters, ties with local elites, and contradicts Gorbachev's  participation.

by blackhawk on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:30:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lebedev doesn't seem very charismatic, though his heart might be in the right place.

gorby's race is run, methinks. his place in world history is sure, although it appears he's a cycle of disfavour in russia right now.

the russia that's cranking on the old stalin cult of poisonality.

in a few years they'll be able to trade the best football players for gas, win the world cup, then will let go of their past, joining the fabled 'world community'.

mostly i think this is newsworthy because anything that makes russia more pluralistic politically is probably a good thing, though my berlusconi alert goes off when politicians own significant press or media organisations.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 05:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm already out and have a fine fine diary you should go read and recommend.

Now then.  Of course I have been following this.  I have a couple of comments.

Firstly, I suspect this will be seen in the West as the champion of democracy challenging the neo-Soviet regime.  So grab your wrongheaded meme and run with it.

Gorby, while embraced by us, and a personal hero of mine, remains pretty unpopular in Russia by comparison.  The fact that he is starting this "democratic" project with a multimillionaire is problematic.  Instead of democratic reforms, he might just bring Russia deja vu and PTSD.  Also, Gorby does not oppose the current regime as a whole.  he's not a Kasparov type that will blame Putin for everything in the world.  So there is that to consider.  So, ideologically, this is not nec. what it appears to us at first sight.

Also, I've just finished a dense academic book on the party legislation passed in the past 8 years, and the fact is, you can't just go become a political party overnight.  A lot of people criticise the reforms because it's very difficult to meet the criteria to be a viable political party, which includes pledged support throughout regions, regional operations, and a high threshold to even get on the ballot.  OTOH, it does discourage vanity parties, identity politics, and uhm, slackers with no actual base.  Anyway, if Lebedev and Gorby want to be a real party, they have their work cut out for them, and it can't happen over night.

From the Guardian:

However, Mikhail Kuznetsov, the deputy chairman of Gorbachev's present political organization, the Union of Social Democrats, said winning seats was not the objective.
"Mikhail Sergeyevich (Gorbachev) is not striving to take seats in parliament, he is going to establish an independent democratic party and its task will be to let young people find fulfillment in new politics," Kuznetsov said.

Another blogger said he thought this would amount to nothing more than a "liberal version of Nashi."

Which I think would be FABULOUS.  Here's why.  For all the complaining about Nashi, my main gripe with it has been that it only promotes one party.  I think the education, civic experience, and basic skills the kids get from it is actually really cool, and the opportunity to participate in something like that should be afforded to ALL Russian kids, and then, after a few generations, you'll have a well-oiled democracy.  I hope Gorby and I have been thinking along the same lines.

If I could give him some advice, I'd say, look at what Yabloko, SPS, Other Russia have done, and avoid doing that.  I really do think that the lack of opposition in Russia is just as much the result of a profound lack of understanding, patience and elbow grease on the part of the "democrats" as it is the result of "Putinism."


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 05:53:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FWIW, there are currently 14 registered political parties in Russia.  To give you some perspective, the number was in the hundreds a decade or so ago.  While in America, we so firmly embrace a "2 party" system, that most other parties are dismissed on the grounds that, sorry, we already have 2 parties.  No room for you at the in, freaks.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:08:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are 10 in Finland, and decades of coalition governments - usually a tripartite left, right and centre, with a couple of minor parties such as the Christies or the Swedish speakers thrown in as tokens. It works well as a system to avoid ideological bulldozing and devolves into a kind of lazy common sense type of governing. Finnish politicians get no more respect than the average board of the average large corporation from most Finns. Someone from the arts or sport is more likely to be truly respected.

However the institution of government itself is highly respected, just not its members.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:25:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
However the institution of government itself is highly respected, just not its members.

that's an interesting counterpoint.

thanks for the insight, sven t.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:56:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://english.pravda.ru/russia/politics/24-09-2008/106443-pentagon_russia-0

All of a sudden, Pentagon sees no threat from Russia
It seems that the crisis in US-Russian relations becomes more and more problematic for the Pentagon. Two key politicians in the US defense structure - Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, - said that the United States should develop cooperation with Russia. The Pentagon chief particularly stated that he did not see any threat from Russia, whereas Admiral Mullen claimed that the USA and Russia shared mutual interests, and that the relations between the two countries would be highly important in the future.
...Pentagon's chief Robert Gates also doubted the need for the USA and NATO to ruin relations with Russia because of Georgia.
..."Russia and US defense officials have always been better in finding a common language than politicians of the two countries," the director of Russian and Asian programs of Washington-based World Security Institute, Nikolai Zlobin told The Vremya Novostei newspaper. The expert is certain that the defense administrations of both Russia and the United States would have been able to settle all problems down long ago. "Two generals will always find a common language, whereas politicians always indulge in financial issues and reciprocal accusations. Spokespeople for both Russian and American defense departments have repeatedly exercised their ability to negotiate the issues of missile defense and the Caucasus during the recent several years. However, big problems would always arise as soon as politicians became involved in those issues," the expert said.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:31:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:15:57 PM EST
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Vatican installs solar panel roof

Pope Benedict XVI has become the first pontiff to harness solar power to provide energy for the Vatican.

Roof tiles on the Paul VI auditorium - used in poor weather for the Pope's weekly audience with pilgrims - are being replaced by 2,700 solar panels.

The photovoltaic cells will convert sunlight into electricity, generating enough power to light, heat or cool the 6,000 seat hall, engineers say.

Conserving global resources has been a priority for the German-born Pope.

Since he was elected in 2005, Benedict XVI has criticised "the unbalanced use of energy" in the world.

He has also said environmental damage was making "the lives of poor people on earth especially unbearable".

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:16:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i heard to day that they are a gift from a german solar energy company.

thankyou germany, for your intelligent and positive use of symbolism, for a nice change.

thankyou benedict for the first public, serious, concrete sign of deep love for your fellow man, whatever creed.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 07:21:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What caused the crunch? Men and testosterone - Times Online
Never mind mortgage-backed securities - the reason why confidence in the banking system collapsed was too much testosterone. With more women on the trading floor, risk-taking would be a saner business

True to form, economists have offered a range of explanations for the financial crisis that threatens the world and which so few of them managed to predict. Some blame something called collateralisation, others easy money, still others lax regulation.

But, by focusing on the technicalities, have they overlooked a more obvious culprit - men?

After all, it is men who dominate the financial system that got us into this mess; it is men, by and large, whose trading inflated the profits of banks to levels that now seem like the stuff of testosterone-fuelled fantasy; and it is men who pocketed most of the bulging bonuses that even Gordon Brown reckons were a key cause of the crisis. All of which raises an important and deliciously controversial question: what would have happened if global financial institutions had been run by women?

Would they have been more focused on the human consequences and less on the next pay cheque? Would they have been more empathetic and less cut-throat? Would financial districts have had a few more crèches and a few less of those godawful bars where traders hang out to brag about their latest deal? In short, would we have avoided this calamity if markets had been doused with sufficient quantities of oestrogen?

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cobblers. This is the sort of insulting essentialist bs you'll find in right wing papers from time to time. written by some pig ignorant hack trying to pretend her gender gives her a pass on being a vacuous twerp.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 04:54:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article is confusing and even somewhat self-contradictory when it says, on the one hand, the main problem was the "dominant culture", and on the other hand, it's the "evolved differences between men and women".

However, I think I this contradiction may be resolved when the "dominant culture" encourages, exaggerates, and even enforces differing biologically-based tendencies in men and/or women, the evidence for which he describes in other parts of the article.

The City and Wall Street may be like rural Bangladesh, in that their culture and environment approve and enforce gender-associated attitudes and behaviors, roles and behaviors that originate, allegedly, in evolutionarily and biologically determined proclivities.

Could "a huge influx of talented women [and the 'evolved differences' they would bring] into the boardrooms and on to the trading floors" overwhelm and "feminize" the existing dominant, male-formed culture of investment banking?  Given enough time, I think, it is plausible if not likely.

(It's too bad for the author of this article that Terri Duhon is not Terry, or even better, Terence, Duhon.  Though he does, unwittingly, address this point, when he writes:

Now, a lot of people have blamed the crisis on the very existence of these securities, but this is simplistic. The problem is not the securities per se but the fact that the risk associated with them was mispriced, in part because the rating agencies (paid by the lenders) failed to do their job properly. Had the risks been properly priced, lenders would have been paid less for the securities (whether they were being purchased by men or women), which would have made lenders less hell-bent on making risky loans, which would have drained oxygen from the housing bubble, and so on.
)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 12:40:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're misidentifying how the process works. Women may "civilize" average work environments. However, there is no need to civilise those men who choose to work in caring environments because they are of the nature of person who is sensitive and non-aggressive anyway. Equally, in environments where a certain deal-making aggression is a demonstrated advantage, people who fit such a personality will prevail. So the women who enter such an environment will be those who are able to thrive there. The less-aggressive will be winnowed out as unsuccesful.

It's similar to the idea that many feminists still have that Mrs Thatcher wasn't a "real" woman, because she was an aggressive militarist at a time when most wimminists were repeating the essentialist bs that the definition of women included their unique sensitive, caring and nurturing innate characteristics. the rpoblem was that they were denying women the right to express part of their humanity. As I've argued, if men can be caring, women should have the right to be callous.

The evolved difference exist, but they ain't so great. Nowadays the feeling is that, whilst men and women tend towards the steroetype expressions, there is far more difference between the extremes of each gender than there is between the average of the two.

course, hormones play a big part as well. But it's difficult for me to explain that as I've never really experienced female teenage, where patterns for life are laid down that are hard to change. Sadly, my male patterns of behaviour still dominate me after 5 years of oestrogen.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:00:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"It's similar to the idea that many feminists still have that Mrs Thatcher wasn't a "real" woman"

I hear you -and I believe that in many ways I wouldn't fit the stereotype of a man myself (maybe THAT's why we can't manage to have children).
But in a (somewhat loose) debating class taught by an Irishman, I defended the position that women are more sensible than men by finishing a sentence with "and that is why I believe that it is no coincidence that Hitler, Stalin and Margaret Thatcher were all men."

I guess I'd still use that line today ;-)

"As I've argued, if men can be caring, women should have the right to be callous."

Surely that's a big if! Can't you remember the picture of Christopher screaming in Jérôme's arms?

"It failed because Nacy Pelosi said some unkind things about George Bush in her speech"

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 07:17:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only problem I see with your analysis is that it's written by a bloke.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I only saw the "women's page" identification. I'll re-phrase;-

"written by some pig ignorant hack trying to pretend that making vacuous if vaguely flattering generalisations about women somehow makes him cool and attractive"

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 05:46:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian war veterans denounce 'insulting' Spike Lee film - Times Online

Italian partisan organisations are to stage protests tomorrow at the Italian premiere of Spike Lee's film Miracle at St. Anna, which they say is full of lies, and insults the memory of the Italian Resistance during the Second World War.

The controversial film, already released in the United States, will be running in Italian cinemas from Friday. But it is being shown first at Viareggio on the Tuscan coast, close to the village of Sant' Anna di Stazzema in the Apennine hills above, where 560 civilians -- including women and children -- were murdered in cold blood in August 1944 by Nazi SS troops as they retreated northwards in the face of the Allied advance.

Miracle at St. Anna, which highlights the role of African-American soldiers in the war, suggests that anti-Fascist partisans indirectly caused the atrocity by first taking refuge in the village and then abandoning the villagers to their fate.

It even shows a partisan named Rodolfo collaborating with the Nazis. This runs directly counter to the accepted Italian version of events, which is that the slaughter was not a reprisal but an unprovoked act of brutality and that the hunt for partisans was a pretext.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I bet clint Eastwood wil smile at that news, after Spike Lee's complaints about "Flags of my Fathers" where he accused Eastwood of whitewashing the army that took Iwo jima.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:06:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Omphalos | Mike Bloomberg | 30 Sep 2008

NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to try to reverse the term-limits law he had long supported so he can seek a third term next year and help the city emerge from financial turmoil, a person close to the mayor told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Bloomberg made the decision over the weekend and will announce it Thursday, according to the person, who has been briefed on the matter but spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement hasn't been made. The person said the mayor has been wrestling with the decision for the past couple of months.

The billionaire former CEO will cite the nation's precarious economic situation as the reason that New York needs a tested financial manager to stay and guide the city, the person said.




Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 08:12:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody is irreplaceable.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:30:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does this come with the position or something? Or is it only when held by a Republican?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:57:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With the position.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 04:03:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Urban Black Bears 'Live Fast, Die Young'

ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2008) -- Black bears that live around urban areas weigh more, get pregnant at a younger age, and are more likely to die violent deaths, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The study, published in the Fall 2008 issue of the journal Human-Wildlife Conflicts, tracked 12 bears over a 10-year period living in urban areas around Lake Tahoe, Nevada and compared them to 10 "wildland" bears that lived in outlying wild areas. The authors found that bears in urbanized areas weighed an average of 30 percent more than bears in wild areas due to a diet heavily supplemented by garbage.

The authors believe that because the bears weigh more they are giving birth at an earlier age - on average when they are between 4-5 years old, as compared to 7-8 years for bears in wild areas. Some urban bears even reproduced as early as 2-3 years of age around Lake Tahoe.

Urban bears also tend to die much younger due mostly to collisions with vehicles, according to the study. All 12 urban bears tracked by the researcher were dead by age 10 due to vehicle collisions, while six of the wildland bears still survived. Bear cubs in urban areas also had dramatically higher mortality rates due mainly to vehicle collisions.

"Urban areas are becoming the ultimate bear traps," said Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Jon Beckmann, the study's lead author. "Because of an abundant food source - namely garbage - bears are being drawn in from backcountry areas into urbanized landscapes where they meet their demise."



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 Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:02:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:16:23 PM EST
NDTV.com: Fatwa against Zardari for 'flirting' with Palin
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari seems to be heading towards fresh trouble as the prayer leader of the Lal Masjid in the heart of Islamabad has issued a fatwa against him.

Maulana Abdul Ghafar, the prayer leader, seems to be irked by Zardari's "you're gorgeous" compliment to US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin during a meeting.

When Zardari was asked to keep shaking hands with Palin for the cameras, he said, "If he's (the aide) insisting, I might hug you."

He said the act was un-Islamic and unbecoming of a head of state of a Muslim country.

Maulana also said that Zardari shamed the entire Pakistani by publicly making indecent gestures towards Palin in Washington last Thursday.

Zardari's offhand compliment has also created quite a flutter in the virtual world also.
by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 05:20:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This fatwa only confirms how atavistic these religious fundamentalists are, but Zardari does not seem much more evolved than they are: his behavor towards Palin was sexist and patronizing at best, degrading and misogynistic at worst.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 11:12:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 05:47:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She's more inarticulate than Bush!

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 06:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She's Miss Teen South Carolina.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 08:53:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And that's (not) saying something!

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 Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:06:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She doesn't have a bloody clue of what she is talking about. It's really tragic if this woman comes anywhere near power of the USA...not only in this complicated times but ever.The only place that she "can" govern is probably Alaska with revenue coming straight from oil and very few citizens...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 10:19:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She doesn't even govern there. Apparently she turns up for photo-ops and occasional meetings, and loses interest as soon as the novelty wears off.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:50:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the matter with Alaskans?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:53:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Government is for sissies.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 07:14:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy: She doesn't even govern there. Apparently she turns up for photo-ops and occasional meetings, and loses interest as soon as the novelty wears off.

Source?  (because I am desperately trying to persuade some friends why she is unfit to be VP.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:34:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't know yet?

Have they watched teh Katie Couric interview?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:40:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: Have they watched teh Katie Couric interview?

Yes.  They admit it was bad.  But they say she only had weeks to prepare, unlike Obama, who has had many months of interview training.  Also, they have watched her in the Alaska gubernatorial debate and her interviews as governor, from which they claim she is obviously smart enough to president.  They also hold out the possibility that given the short time she had to prepare for these recent interviews, the McCain campaign overdid it by trying to cram too many talking points in her and thus undermining her confidence.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:53:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you kidding me? If she can't handle 6 weeks of coaching by the McCain media team she's not fit to be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

they have watched her in the Alaska gubernatorial debate and her interviews as governor, from which they claim she is obviously smart enough to president.

Well, that explains how she managed to get elected Mayor and Governor. She's not actually a moron, she's just beyond her depth and cracking under pressure.

she only had weeks to prepare, unlike Obama, who has had many months of interview training

That doesn't hold water - she must have learned to pass an interview in her years as Councilwoman, Mayor and now Governor. Like Obama as community organizer, State Legislator and Senator.

given the short time she had to prepare for these recent interviews, the McCain campaign overdid it by trying to cram too many talking points in her and thus undermining her confidence

That is plausible - but then refer to the to pof this comment, and why do you need to cram talking points into her? Because the MCCain campaign knows she's an airhead or - worse - a dangerous right-wing fundagelical wacko and don't want her to speak her mind?

Did you see the "name a couple newspapers or magazines" segment of the Kouric interview?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:07:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good stuff.  (I guess I was too tired/exasperated to try to respond to them when I got that email.)

Migeru: ... why do you need to cram talking points into her? Because the MCCain campaign knows she's an airhead or - worse - a dangerous right-wing fundagelical wacko and don't want her to speak her mind?

I am guessing their response to this would be that what counts more is aptitude, not knowledge, and they would point back to Bill Clinton who had little foreign policy experience coming into office, and took many months to get up to speed.  One conservative journalist I heard on the radio pointed out that "There is nothing wrong with saying, 'I don't know,' but Palin made the mistake of trying to fudge her way out of her ignorance, which just blew up in her face."  This might be because her handlers focused too much on getting her to be able to give "good answers".

Did you see the "name a couple newspapers or magazines" segment of the Kouric interview?

No, I didn't.  And just thinking about it, I am already cringing.  (Wow, I guess I am starting to feel sorry for her.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Newspapers.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: Newspapers.

Oof.  I'll have to watch the video, but I don't think even intense interview anxiety/fatigue can excuse that answer.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:23:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sums Palin up pretty well.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:27:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am guessing their response to this would be that what counts more is aptitude, not knowledge, and they would point back to Bill Clinton who had little foreign policy experience coming into office, and took many months to get up to speed.

How do you prove aptitude?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:36:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: How do you prove aptitude?

You don't prove it.  You just feel it in your gut.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:17:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't feel sorry for her. She's deadly. She has the classic charm of a sociopath, but there's nothing behind it except greed, ignorance, cronyism, messianic ambition and simmering pathological rage.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:37:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm...do you have hourly rates for long distance diagnosis?
devastatingly accurate!
i see her historical necessity, similar to bush 2.0, to externalise cognitive dissonance, so we can have a good, long, hard look into its distorted mirror image.

collective evolutionary aversion therapy!

she's a triumph of symbolic trumping real, and she's made it to alpha female barracuda in a very small pond.

thrown in with the killer whites, she's an intellectual minnow, running scared, trying not to blink, which adds to the fishy aspect.

she's a cartoon! even more than gwb, who is sort of a cartoon of a cartoon, a cheating yalie fakin' to be a texan. not even a real cartoon.

sarah is the real deal, sprouted raw from america's shadow psyche.

marge simpson gone b-a-d.

the damage this talking doll could do if president makes junior look positively benign.

incidentally i know this is all a dream and i will wake up presently.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 07:18:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Because the MCCain campaign knows she's an airhead or - worse - a dangerous right-wing fundagelical wacko and don't want her to speak her mind?

er, both?

and more, she's an unvetted time bomb with a fuse length as yet uncertain.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 07:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About a week and a half ago there was a diary on dKos explaining Palin's management style with quotes from people who worked with her.

It'll be somewhere in the dKos hive memory, but I suspect given the deluge of all things Palin it would take about at least a couple of hours to pull it out from there.

There's enough from other sources - almost any source will do, and this is a good start - to prove that her management style is classically authoritarian, with a vicious mix of ignorance and limitless personal ambition combined with contempt and rage against anyone who doesn't support her.

With apologies to Godwin, but she really is quite the Nazi. She won't be rounding up people and gassing them, although no one knows how far her contempt for liberals and 'baby killers' really goes, because she's never had enough power to allow it free reign without consequences.

It doesn't seem to be an exaggeration that she'd be more than happy to start lobbing nukes at Russia at the slightest pretext, irrespective of the nukes likely to be lobbed back, because she has no ability to understand the inevitable outcome.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:28:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you know by now that the New York Times is a cathedral of northeastern liberalism and they are completely uncredible when it comes to John McCain and Sarah Palin?

Actually, one correspondent says the anti-Palin hatred "borders on the deranged", pointing out (at that time) that four of the top ten emailed articles on the New York Times were anti-Palin.

So more "objective" sources must be found.

I will try spelunking the DailyKos hive memory.  Thanks for the leads.

(Incidentally, I was recommended the following links as more reliable sources of information about Palin:

Palin Rumors

Palin 'governed from the center,' went after big oil )

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:12:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People's ability to rationalise evidence away is nothing short of astonishing.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:17:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, I've had exactly ZERO weeks to prepare and no past experience of that kind of stuff, and I would do better in the Katie Couric interview, AND that includes the fact that it would take place in a foreign language with an accent that is not the one I have learnt and use, and that I find much harder to understand that the Kentish one I speak. We're not comparing her to Obama there. Merely comparing her to someone with a minimum level of intellectual curiosity and some command of the English language. She fails that test.

I can, of the top of my head, name quite a few US Newspapers even though I am European and, wait for it, quite a few that I actually read or have read.
If you allow me to include internet tribunes and blogs the list will just grow longer. Not to mention, er, stuff written in my mother tongue to which I am actually a subscriber.

I can explain without help from an interviewer that Alaska has borders with Russia and Canada (I can even explain why it's the most Northern, Western AND Eastern state in USA -explanations on request), and that (some -alas, only some) reporters found that a rather funny justification of foreign policy experience. Wait for it -I can understand WHY they'd find it funny.

Did I mention that I am not running for office, though?

Look, she can't even understand a simple question. The stuff about linking tax cuts with initiatives to create jobs when answering the opportunity of bailing out Wall Street in the middle of foreclosure is amazing.

Now, if your friends can't see that, I would stop trying to use logic. It won't work.

"It failed because Nacy Pelosi said some unkind things about George Bush in her speech"

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:50:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you are French and believe in gouvernment. Of course you know more about gouverning than somebody, who is there just to prevent gouverning from happen.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 12:02:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Show them this:

http://blogs.usatoday.com/onpolitics/2008/09/palin-talks-to.html

COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--

COURIC: Mock?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.


It's not even funny...
It's scary...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 09:13:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo: It's not even funny...
It's scary...

No, you gotta admit, it's still pretty incredibly funny.

Maybe I can put it to them this way:

"Who is more unfit to be vice/president, a two-term governor who lets out one overenthusiastic rebel yell at a primaries campaign rally, or a two-year governor who gives answers like this in three prime-time interviews within a couple of months of the general election?"

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 01:50:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vladimir Putin is saying that the US is showing an Irresponsible approach & Innability to take adequate decisions in financial crisis according to Sky news quoting the IFAX agency.

No link as yet.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:51:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And after this devastating insight, can he explain ursine lavatorial habits ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:17:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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