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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 2 October

by Fran Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:53:22 PM EST

On this date in history:

1904 - Birth of Graham Greene, an English writer best known as a novelist, but who also produced short stories, plays, screenplays, travel writing and criticism.(d. 1991)

More here and here


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by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:54:10 PM EST
Russia Courts Council of Europe With Charm Offensive | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 01.10.2008
These days in the Council of Europe, Russia is showing its best democratic side to calm down the indignation over Russia's war with Georgia, a feeling still present among representatives of the Council's 47 members.

Russia has been the focus of attention over the last weeks: The Swedish presidency of the Council's Committee of Ministers has demanded that Moscow be punished.

The Russo-Georgian conflict was the first time two Council members waged a war against each other, causing the body which guards Europe's human rights to go into emergency mode. After all, Russia and Georgia had violated the principle of peaceful conflict solution to which they committed upon  entering the multinational organization.

For certain, the Council's weapons are not very sharp -- the organization cannot impose sanctions on Russia, and calls for the country's exclusion are hardly realistic.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:57:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain's Leader in Waiting: Can David Cameron Deliver on New Conservatism? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

David Cameron, the leader of Britain's Conservatives, has radically modernized his party and is leading in opinion polls. But if he succeeds in ousting New Labour to set up residence in Downing Street will he be able to deliver on all his promises?

Britain's opposition Conservative Party leader, David Cameron. English musician Elvis Costello isn't exactly a religious man. And yet, according to the lyrics of one of his songs, he prays to the Lord that he will live long enough to see HER buried, so that he can "tramp the dirt down" on her grave. SHE being the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Many English musicians felt the same way as Costello did in the 1980s. In their songs they waged war on Thatcher and the Tories. Ed Vaizey, now shadow culture minister with the opposition Conservatives, was always in the front row at concerts given by the Thatcher haters, "among the best of the fans." Vaizey has no regrets today. "It was good music," he says.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:58:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Hartwich, the chief economist at Policy Exchange, has provided Cameron with a few new ideas. But when he recently wrote that Great Britain is a country that has "first world prices" but "third world products and services," Hartwich fell out of favor with Cameron.

Cameron is reported to have said that Hartwich would be well advised to take a boat to Australia. Hartwich was unperturbed. He had already accepted a job with a well-known political think tank in Sydney. "Every time I land at Heathrow and the pilot says: 'Please set your watches back one hour,' I think to myself: 40 years would be more accurate," says Hartwich. He is convinced that Great Britain is fundamentally overvalued, because the country failed to invest in a sustainable way in its infrastructure during the boom years of the Blair Era.



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - AnaÔs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:11:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He is convinced that Great Britain is fundamentally overvalued, because the country failed to invest in a sustainable way in its infrastructure during the boom years of the Blair Era.

Cheeky blighter, Blair was a Thatcherite to his core and he simply continued conservative policies as practiced now for the last 28 years. He is correct to say blair failed to invest, but the place had been rotting for 15 years before he got hold of it.

Cameron will make no difference; his answer to the credit crisis - smaller govt and lower taxes. And although he talks about better regulation I suspect that smaller govt includes less regulation too. UK is screwed whatever govt we elect cos nobody is offering an alternative to doom and despair.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 07:01:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French EU presidency proposes delay for car emission reductions - EUobserver

France, currently chairing the six-month rotating EU presidency, has put a proposal to member states that backs a gradualist approach to limiting carbon dioxide emissions from cars.

Paris is proposing that instead of all cars sold in 2012 being restricted to emitting a maximum of 130 grammes of CO2 per kilometre - the measure proposed by the European Commission and last week largely endorsed by the European Parliament's environment committee - only 60 percent of all new cars would have to meet the standard, according to a document first seen by the Reuters news agency and appearing in the press on Tuesday (30 September).

Under France's proposals, car companies would not have to ensure their entire fleets reduced CO2 emissions until 2015

All new cars would have to meet the target by 2015. The proposal effectively give car manufacturers an additional three years to implement CO2 emissions reductions across the entirety of their fleets.

The commission proposed last year that vehicle emissions be cut to 130 grammes per kilometre by 2012, down from an current average of 158 grammes.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:00:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know !! Let's do nothing, that's what all the car manufacturers want, so it's the perfect republican compromise of the sort sarkozy admires.

I guess he couldn't care less, his country isn't going to lose siginificant landmass when Greenland melts

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 07:03:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU examines ways to trim Belarus sanctions - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU experts are preparing options on how to reduce Belarus sanctions, with a majority of EU states open to the idea of re-opening diplomatic ties with President Lukashenko's regime despite rigged elections.

A meeting of senior EU diplomats in the Political and Security Committee (PSC) in Brussels on Tuesday (30 September) called for the expert analysis, which will be put together on Thursday in the so-called COEST "working group."

President Lukashenko: the EU is moving toward a rapprochement

Minimalist options could be suspending a 1997 ban on meetings with Belarus politicians above deputy-minister level, or taking a few junior names off a 41-strong EU visa ban list compiled over the past four years.

The experts may also suggest temporarily suspending the whole visa ban register to allow top-level meetings with Belarus President Lukashenko, even though such a move would theoretically welcome characters such as former security chief Viktor Sheyman - accused of murder by the Council of Europe - into the EU.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:00:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbian President Says Kosovo Partition Not on Agenda Yet | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 01.10.2008
Serbian President Boris Tadic has said that he was not planning to propose a partition of the breakaway Kosovo, but neither did he rule the idea out, while authorities in Pristina angrily did.

"Partition is being discussed in Serbia and the international community and it has been one of the options during all these years," Tadic told an evening press conference on Tuesday, Sept. 30. "That option I can consider only when all other options are spent."

As Serbian president, Tadic has limited formal authority, but as the leader of the pro-European ruling coalition, in power since May elections, he is the actual speaker for Serbia.

"I will reiterate the position and policy of Serbia regarding Kosovo," he said. "Serbia does not and will never recognize Kosovo's independence."

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:05:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Partition of Kosovo is only realistic option for both sides, no matter how both sides hate the idea.Serbs will have to admit that there is a Albanian population on Kosovo that is hostile to Serbian rule and Kosovo Albanians will have to understand that it is much better to make permanent peaceful solution for the part of the Kosovo where they can live even when Americans leave and their military bases are closed...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 08:09:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Observers Launch Georgia Peace Mission | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 01.10.2008
Some 200 European Union observers took up work in Georgia on Wednesday to monitor a ceasefire and oversee Russian troop withdrawal following the August war in the Caucasus state.

The mission is intended to help ensure the implementation of the six-point plan, negotiated by EU President Nicolas Sarkozy with the Russian and Georgian governments in September. The most important point is the withdrawal of Russian troops from two "security zones" deep inside Georgian territory, which Russia occupied in August.

The EU had hoped to get Moscow's forces to withdraw from the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well, but Russian President Dmitry Medvedev categorically ruled that out.

European leaders were forced to accept less than they wanted.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:05:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain Holds 121 in Its Biggest Swoop Against Child Porn | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 01.10.2008
Spanish police have detained 121 people in their biggest swoop so far against child pornography on the internet, police said. Ninety-six other people were also indicted.

Two of the detainees made their own material, using two children belonging to their family circles, police said Wednesday, Oct. 1.

More than 800 police participated in the operation, seizing millions of files of videos and photographs, including some material described as hard-core.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:07:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Financial crisis analysis: Europe's centrist parties are crumbling - Telegraph
Economic chaos has brought forth 'the none of the above' instinct among voters in Europe, just as in the US.

But while the reeling leaderships of the Democrats and Republicans hogs the headlines, the mood may ultimately prove more treacherous for old standard bearers of European politics.

After only a mild bout of the economic vapours, Bavarian voters have banged a significant - once unthinkable - hole in the electoral machine of the Christian Social Union.

At the very time when the voters should have sought the safety of its habitual leadership, they instead revolted against a 50-year hegemony.

At least the folk of the German deep south did not turn to the parties of the far Right, as they have done in Austria, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands in recent elections. But the Scandinavian establishment faces the prospect of similar blight.

While the scale of far Right gains has been substantial - Austrian extremists took 29 per cent last week - much of the rise can be seen as a hysterical cry from an electorate with demands the mainstream can't address.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:17:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Populism can come from the right too! What's surprising is that this should surprise the ruling establishment...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 02:54:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They'd forgotten about the 1920's and the 1930's to...

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 Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:33:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they hadn't forgotten. It's just that, as in the UK, they felt it was a sentiment they could work with and channel for their advantage. They could have enacted policies that discouraged such tendencies, but...

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 08:12:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
El Pais:Madrid collects data on hundreds buried in mass graves on both sides

Gallardon sends wartime daily burial records to Garzon

High court Judge Baltazar Garzón has received, starting yesterday, a report from the City of Madrid, as well as from three other cities and diverse institutions, with the information concerning "disappearances" during the Civil War and postwar period in the capital. And the conclusion is that there were hundreds "buried in mass graves" between the 7th of July 1936, the start of the conflict, and 1943, when the country was already under the Francoist dictatorship.   Hundreds of victims from both sides: republicans and rebels.  Madrid remained loyal to the Republic until it was taken by Franco's forces on the 28th of March 1938.  4 days later the war ended.

Later in the article it says that the bodies of rebels interred in mass graves where identified and reburied following the conflict, while no effort, apparently, was made to do the same with the bodies of Republican war dead.  This is certain to tear open a lot of old wounds in Spain, where the agreement during the Transition was the silence was the only way to reconcile with the past.

It's been utterly unclear how many were killed in mass executions by both sides, and the estimates run into the hundreds of thousands.  From both sides.  Though, notably, action on the Republican side was condemned by Madrid, while the fascist regime in Burgos encouraged the killings.  

Lest we think that mass killing of this sort is a proclivity of the lesser developed world, it's good that we have these reminders that there was a time when Europe too, has tribal warfare.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 10:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"...there was a time when Europe too, has tribal warfare."

This was the most recent religious war fought in Spain.  Hopefully it will be the last.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 12:43:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True.

I think that the more worrisome country is not Spain, but the UK, where I think that the economic crisis could create an opening for the BNP.  This is what they've been waiting.  A moment of crisis when they can step in and provide stability.  

It's not hard to imagine them soaking up the radicalized working class, after all you don't really have a "Left" party in Britain.

Labour is fully centrist, and the LibDems seem to have taken a lot more from the old Liberals than the Social Democrats.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 12:51:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uh, Labour is to the right now. Not centrist.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 01:27:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sil' vous plait pardon moi

je suis americain

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 01:32:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually judge Garzon has already received over 143,400 names of disappeared from all the different survivor associations around the country, so the numbers from the city of Madrid are pretty meaningless.

He has been forced to issue a second order with a deadline to the cath. church to search all their records because they were ignoring him and they have information on most of the deaths, listed in their parishes everywhere.

This will be a very painful, slow process, although I hope it creates unexpected technical jobs.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun Oct 5th, 2008 at 04:24:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS - More on European Banking Crisis
by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:55:38 PM EST
Irish bank guarantee unfair, say competitors - EUobserver

The Irish government's €400 billion plan to guarantee deposits and debts of six Irish banks has prompted protests from foreign-owned banks operating in the Republic.

The UK-owned Ulster Bank Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Denmark's National Irish Bank have asked the Dublin authorities to be covered by the same guarantee, saying they will otherwise suffer a competitive disadvantage, reports the Irish Times.

Ireland is to underwrite the debts and savings accounts of its six largest lenders.

"There is a clear risk that customers are going to move their money into another bank, which makes totally sense in the situation, we see in the world today," spokesperson Jonas Torp from Danske Bank told Danish media.

Danske Bank is the parent bank of the National Irish Bank. Client deposits in Danish banks are guaranteed by the state up to €40,000, but this does not cover clients using Irish branches of the bank.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:59:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are right...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:04:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? What's actually unfair about guaranteeing that people won't lose the money in their own accounts?

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 12:06:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that kcurie is suggesting that its unfair that this deposit insurance only covers deposits in Irish national banks, not other EU banks operating in Ireland.

So say you've got €100,000 in the Dublin branch of the Bank of Ireland, and your neighbor has the same amount in an account at the local branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).  Your money is covered, but their's is not, doesn't that create a strong incentive for your neighbor to pull their money from RBS and deposit it in the Bank of Ireland.

And if repeated on a large scale, that creates the potential for a bank run.   I'm sure the Brits are pleased that the Irish may precipitate the collapse of yet more UK banks through runs on their Irish operations.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 12:57:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess there are at least two definitions of "unfair": "unfair to the customers" or "unfair to the banks". I don't see how it might be "unfair to the customers" to guarantee their deposits, even if they have to switch banks to take advantage of the offer. It might be "unfair to the banks" if they refuse to match the guarantees of their competitors though.

Maybe loaded terms like "fair" should not be used in the first place?

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 02:05:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The guarantees are not provided by the banks, they are provided by the Irish government.

The unfairness is that some banks benefit from that State guarantee and some don't.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 02:56:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the article, it's Irish banks that benefit, while foreign banks are complaining. Is that a reasonably accurate statement?

If so, surely it's unfair to expect the Irish government (and ultimately taxpayers) to also guarantee the deposits in foreign owned banks, no? This would be more properly the role of the respective foreign governments (and taxpayers), if they choose to do so.



--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:14:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deposits of foreign-owned Irish banks are not protected by any government, apparently.

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 Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:33:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe their shareholders should apply for Irish citizenship :)

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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The government is guaranteeing the banks' debt:
The Government has decided to put in place with immediate effect a guarantee arrangement to safeguard all deposits (retail, commercial, institutional and interbank), covered bonds, senior debt and dated subordinated debt (lower tier II), with the following banks: Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Anglo Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Irish Nationwide Building Society and the Educational Building Society and such specific subsidiaries as may be approved by Government following consultation with the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator.


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 Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:29:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see, it's more than just people's savings accounts. I seem to have missed the distinction in the original quote from the EUobserver, sorry :(

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:44:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Darling intervenes as savers send funds to Ireland | Money | The Guardian

Alistair Darling intervened twice with the Irish government on behalf of UK banks yesterday amid fears that Dublin's blanket guarantee for savers was causing an exodus of funds across the Irish Sea.

As the Irish government sought to rush legislation through the Dail to protect its banks, Treasury sources said last night that the Irish finance minister, Brian Lenihan, was told "in no uncertain terms that the scheme was a problem for the UK".

Lenihan told Darling that the decision to safeguard all deposits at six banks had not been planned, but had been an emergency move to prevent the collapse of one Irish bank leading to the failure of another.

The Treasury said last night that the chancellor had been given a sympathetic hearing. Darling made two calls in response to signs that savers were rushing to open accounts at Irish-backed banks, including the UK Post Office, whose accounts are provided by Bank of Ireland.

Under pressure from furious high street banks, the chancellor urged Lenihan to make the scheme open to British banks operating in the republic.

Last night, in a sign that the chancellor's concerns had hit home, Lenihan indicated that he would consider applications from non-Irish-owned banks with tangible presence in Irish cities and towns to be considered in the guarantee scheme.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deposit guarantee may be extended to foreign banks

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has said the Government's scheme to guarantee the financial security of six Irish-owned banks may be extended to other financial institutions operating in Ireland.

Mr Lenihan made the revelation as the Dáil and Seanad continued to debate the proposed legislation into the early hours of this morning.

The Seanad has now passed the emergency legislation that gives effect to the €400bn banks guarantee by 39 votes to five.

by det on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 05:08:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And why not the Credit Unions?

Let's see: EUR 400 bn ~ US 556 (at the current exchange rate) and growing as more cash comes in and more banks get covered. Maybe there should be a betting pool on when exactly the Irish guarantee exceeds the current US bail-out.

by det on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 05:19:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gathering Storm: IMF Urges Europe to Develop Credit Crisis Strategy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The credit crisis has reached Europe, but the continent has no unified strategy to deal with the danger. International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn says its time for Europe to develop a plan -- and for the US to pass a bailout package.

It is time for Europe to develop a contingency plan to protect its economy should the growing finance crisis worsen, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warned in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday. Not only that, but the US Congress needs to pull together to pass a significant bailout plan, he said.

Frankfurt and other European finance capitals may be at risk. "Developing a contingency plan does not mean it's announcing a lot of trouble coming," he told Reuters. "But (Europeans) are not totally immune, and so they need to organize. At the European level this is totally needed."

Strauss-Kahn, who took over the reins of the IMF last November, pointed out that, because there is no regulator that can act across Europe, reacting to a finance crisis should it worsen here is more difficult. "We're right at the moment where action is needed" to develop a coordinated response, he said.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:02:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe has proven this week that it works in practice if not in theory...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 02:57:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has been proving that since the Nice treaty was enacted.

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 Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:23:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy calls for Europe to provide unified action as Dexia falls victim to market chaos - Times Online

The Belgian Government rode to the rescue of a stricken bank for the second time in 24 hours last night amid increasingly desperate efforts in Europe to check the spread of financial market chaos.

A day after the partial nationalisation of Fortis, the Dutch-Belgian bank, Brussels announced a similar plan for Dexia, the local government financing specialist that became the latest victim of global turmoil. The move came as panic spread across Europe to Germany and France, prompting President Sarkozy to summon French bankers to an emergency meeting today.

After Dexia's shares had plunged by 28.35 per cent to close at €7.20, the Belgian authorities issued a statement to say that they would intervene to prop up the ailing institution through a capital increase. Yves Leterme, the Prime Minister, issued no further details of the rescue plan, but sources said that it would involve a €7 billion (£5.6 billion) injection of funds into the bank, which convened an emergency board meeting last night.

Didier Reynders, the Belgian Finance Minister, had earlier promised Dexia, which also has a retail banking unit with more than five million customers, the same guarantee as he had given Fortis, implying another nationalisation.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Europe split on bank fund

European policymakers clashed on Wednesday over how to protect Europe's financial system from the global credit crisis as France floated the idea of a common fund to deal with bank failures.

Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, raised the possibility of a European fund "to support the financial sector". But the idea of a fund, which some European officials said could hold as much as €300bn, was rejected by Germany, and France was already rowing back.

The UK is also sceptical, preferring to tackle crises on an ad hoc basis, although officials at the Bank of England and Treasury are working on a range of plans in case the need for a more co-ordinated approach arises.

French officials said later that France was not pushing a specific plan but the idea of a pool would be discussed among other ideas at a meeting of European leaders in Paris on Saturday.

The idea is to help bail out banks, not mop up toxic assets, as in the $700bn (€498.3bn) US Paulson plan. It comes as governments on both sides of the Atlantic scramble to find ways to contain unprecedented stress in the global financial system.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:03:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US must take responsibility for global crisis, Brussels says - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission has expressed impatience with Washington over the defeat of a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, calling on the US to "take responsibility" for the crisis. Meanwhile, fears are growing that the money central banks are pumping into markets are not putting out the financial fire.

The Great Depression: crowds gather in New York outside the American Union Bank, which went out of business in 1931

Calling the Monday vote by the US House of Representatives a "disappointment," commission spokesperson Johannes Laitenberger in unusually strong language said on Tuesday (30 September) that "the turmoil we are facing has originated in the United States. It has become a global problem."

"The US has a special responsibility in this situation [and] the commission expects the decision will go through soon. The US must take its responsibility [and] must show statesmanship for the sake of their own country and for the sake of the world."

The commission expects "the decision to go through soon" despite the bill's initial failure, he added, contrasting Europe's response to the events.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:05:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...fears are growing that the money central banks are pumping into markets are not putting out the financial fire.
Am I the only one who believes that the US solution of just making more "liquidity" available in this crisis is more like putting another log on the fire than extinguishing it?  Can any feasible amount of money help until and unless someone in charge of directing the flow of that money knows what the assets and liabilities of each affected institution are? Failing to do that is like keeping the flue on the fireplace closed.  It doesn't put out the fire, but slows it down and causes the house to fill with smoke.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 12:54:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 You put your finger on one of the bizarre elements in this theater piece.. Many people have addressed this issue- George Soros' plan deals with the issue of evaluation of assetts and liabilities- of the banks themselvesd-by suggesting the use of experienced bank examiners, Dean Baker has also pointed to the difficulty of valuing the trash, and has a rational plan. Bill Greider -- lots of good ideas, even from l;iberal democrats.

A massive liquidity injection also seems to me to be a stopgap measure, doomed top fail in even the medium term.
I think this is exactly the plan--lots of smoke now, then let it burn, after the election, so Obama has to put out the fire.
 

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 02:09:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The liquidity being provided by the central banks is of the very short term kind (ie overnight) - it's just to help banks manage their till, if you will. It does nothing to solve the state of their balance sheets, it simply prevents them from collapsing overnight because other banks don't want to entrust one another with their cash.

The way things are cannot last for ever, but it can last for a while, as banks fund themselves mostly ia the Centrla Bank instead of via the interbank market.

This Forbes article gives an idea of the size of the respective markets:


If all the recent hysterical chatter about lending being "frozen" or "shut down" refers to anything real, it is not about banks loans (through Sept. 17) but about such arcane financial markets as asset-backed commercial paper or loans between banks. But this too is mainly about financial firms, not Main Street. Non-financial commercial paper increased from $156 billion at the start of the year to more than $204 billion from Sept. 3 to Sept. 17, dipping only modestly since then.

Economic journalists seem oddly fascinated with the last column of the table--interbank loans from one to another (aside from fed funds). "Banks won't even lend to each other," said a TV reporter, "so how can we expect them to loan to business or consumers?" But interbank loans are obviously tiny, and banks rightly regard lending to other banks more risky than lending to Main Street. There is no reason to expect the minuscule flow of interbank loans to determine consumer and business loans. That little tail can't wag the big dog.

That paragraph is slightly misleading, because the interbank market may be small, but it plays a vital role in ensuring that the whole things functions - exactly like the till in a store: the cash in the tills is only a small part of assets, but imagine what would happen to business if the cashier had no change whatsoever, or refused to give back what it had.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:08:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet, there are still deals being made. See yesterday's big news for the cinema business, that 14,000 screens are being funded by Chase and Blackstone to the tune of a billion dollars... Five studios ink digital cinema deals - Hollywood Reporter

This deal has been in the works for quite a while, and given the egos and polish of the titans involved, it is amazing that any of them are allowing any of their peers to make any money. But it had to be done since, when it is over, the studios will jointly save over a billion dollars in duplication and distribution costs every year~!.

I guess a billion dollars and 8-10 years payout is not so much compared to wind farms and 25 year payouts...but it shows that there isn't a complete standstill in the markets.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 09:23:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the upper levels, Hollywood has been and mostly is still a small community who know each other.  It would not surprise me to find that those who extended this credit have known long and well the character of the borrowers and the nature of their business.  As it should be.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 10:18:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Calls for Tougher Rules to Fix Crippled Financial System | Business | Deutsche Welle | 01.10.2008
EU regulators Wednesday proposed new banking rules aimed at toughening financial supervision and cracking down on the causes of the credit crisis that has buffeted European institutions.

The EU's executive body on Wednesday proposed laws obliging banks to keep more of their riskiest securities on their books, accept multinational regulation and exchange more information amidst the ongoing financial crisis.

"Learning from recent events, it is critical that there are procedures and policies that ensure the availability of liquidity in times of stress. As we have witnessed, when liquidity dries up the blood just stops flowing and life just withers away," EU Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy told journalists in Brussels.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:10:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stricter rules for European banks unveiled in wake of crisis - EUobserver

The European Commission presented plans for tougher bank capital rules on Wednesday (1 October), in order to reduce risk exposure as a way to make the financial system stronger in the wake of the ongoing banking crisis.

Under the proposed measures, banks would be restricted in lending beyond a certain limit to one party, and 'colleges of supervisors' would be put in place for those banking groups that operate in several EU states.

Conservatives want increased regulation of the financial sector, but not too much

Additionally, sellers of hazardous loans would have to maintain some of the risk by holding on to at least five percent of an investment when they sell loans repackaged as securities.

"These new rules will fundamentally strengthen the regulatory framework for EU banks and the financial system," EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy said when presenting the plans.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:11:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe seeks a common stance on stanching bank crisis - International Herald Tribune

BRUSSELS: Shocked by the sudden exposure of several of their banks to the global financial crisis, European governments have begun discussing a far-reaching revamp of rules for lenders that could change the regulatory landscape for European banking.

And as the U.S. Senate moved toward a vote Wednesday evening on a $700 billion rescue package for banks saddled with toxic American loans, officials began to debate whether Europe might need a similar, though smaller, fund of its own.

In Brussels, the European Commission on Wednesday proposed new rules aimed at toughening supervision, and approved the nationalization of the British bank, Bradford & Bingley, in a record 24 hours, brushing aside fears that the rescue might distort competition.

But France, which holds the presidency of the European Union, suggested going much further by strengthening cross-border cooperation among regulators, unifying rules on bank deposit guarantees, altering accounting standards to no longer require banks to write off all their losses immediately and possibly suspending state aid rules.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:12:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RTE: Banks: states urged to consult EU (1 October 2008)
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has appealed to national governments not to act unilaterally in the current financial crisis, and to consult the Commission - especially on the question of offering state aid to financial institutions.

...

Asked specifically about developments in Ireland, the Commissioner repeated that the Commission is 'in close contact' with the Irish government. She said that it was not wise to make any further comment, adding that the fact that talks are happening should 'give courage'.

...

'Of course, it's not just a problem of injecting liquidity, we also need to inject crebibility in the European response, and that is why we are asking and urging member states for closer co-operation,' Barroso told journalists in Brussels.




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 06:32:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rance to Propose EU300 Billion Europe Bank Fund, Reuters Says
2008-10-01 16:43:03.520 GMT

By James Hertling
     Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- France plans to propose a 300 billion-euro ($422 billion) bank-rescue fund for the European Union at a meeting of government leaders this weekend, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified European government source.
     In an interview to be published tomorrow in Germany's Handelsblatt, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said France would propose an EU-wide fund.
     ``What will happen when a smaller European Union member state is threatened with a banking failure?'' Lagarde was quoted as saying. ``It may not have the resources to save the company.
This is where a European rescue package becomes a possibility.''
 


So how is this different then USA bailout? And what do you Europeans think about it? Is anybody actually asks your representatives about this or simply your leaders gather (over the phone) and decide?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 07:59:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is what the money is used for: to take over bad debts, or to take equity in banks.

See this comment I put over on dK.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:10:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - Senate backs rescue plan by wide margin
Earlier, Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, raised the possibility of a European fund "to support the financial sector". But the idea of a fund, which some European officials said could hold as much as €300bn ($421bn), was rejected by Germany, and France was already rowing back.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK's hands tied in rescuing economy: James Saft | Special Coverage | Reuters

Really in some ways the remarkable thing isn't that Britain would see its currency hit and interest rates rise if it takes on too much government debt, but that the same hasn't happened to the United States.

That may well change, but if it doesn't it means that the U.S. plan will help to limit the possibility of a very negative outcome.

The same can't be said for Britain, which has a really unfortunate combination of characteristics; it is heavily dependent on property and finance and its consumers are very stretched.

First off, the size of the property bubble in Britain was if anything bigger than in the United States, with the highest ratio of prices to incomes in the developed world. British households are also more indebted than their U.S. counterparts and arguably save less. Excluding corporate pension contributions, net savings in Britain turned negative in 2006 and have headed further south ever since.

And, as is proven by the massive fall in mortgages, Britain was even more dependent on securitization to make up the shortfall in savings.

But a crucial difference is that Britain has no equivalent of the now nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which while they bear some responsibility for the bubble are at least now still able to lend. "With current levels of mortgage approvals consistent with a drop in house prices of at least 20 percent by early next year, even the most bearish housing market commentators may yet be surprised," Seema Shah, a property economist at Capital Economics in London, wrote in a note to clients.

The implication for banks is that they will see their loan losses climb and that their problem when the next round comes will not be funding but capital. That crisis may not arrive for some time, but remember too that capital raising has not proven easy for British banks or successful for their investors.

He no doubt wrongly assumes the problem is funding not capital (that is, liquidity not solvency), but otherwise, there are some dire points made about Britain in the complete article.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:08:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
House prices fall further in September | Money | guardian.co.uk

House prices fell by 1.7% in September and are set to continue to drop in the short term, the UK's biggest building society said today.

Over the month the cost of an average home in the UK fell by almost £3,000 to £161,797, according to Nationwide's latest snapshot of the housing market.

Prices have fallen for 11 months running and are now 12.4% lower than last September. This is the biggest drop recorded by the Nationwide index since records began.

Last September, as the Northern Rock crisis began, the price of an average home in the UK stood at £184,723, according to Nationwide. Since then, falling confidence in the market and tighter lending conditions imposed as a result of the credit crunch have knocked £23,000 off that average price.

However, despite the double-digit annual fall, Nationwide said there was evidence the property market could be stabilising - monthly falls have been running at a similar rate for the past three months and quarterly falls have settled into a pattern after accelerating in the first half of the year.

[...]

Last September, prices were rising at a rate of 9% a year, the Bank of England base rate was at 5.75% and expected to rise, and 40% of first-time buyers were taking mortgages for more than 90% of a property's value.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx:
Nationwide said there was evidence the property market could be stabilising - monthly falls have been running at a similar rate for the past three months and quarterly falls have settled into a pattern after accelerating in the first half of the year.

Er - this only makes sense if 'stabilising' means 'falling steadily."

A fall of 40-50% from the 2007 peak seems reasonable. I doubt it will be less than that. There might be a slow down once prices drop by a third, but the bubble really has been froth and bluster, so there's an urgent need for prices to deflate.

Given how hard it is to find a mortgage it's going to take a drop on that scale to clean up the party debris.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 06:03:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Er - this only makes sense if 'stabilising' means 'falling steadily."

Some days it's not easy to positively spin the finapocalypse.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 07:09:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:56:06 PM EST
British envoy says mission in Afghanistan is doomed, according to leaked memo - Times Online

The official version of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan received a blow today with a leaked report that the British Ambassador in Kabul believes that US strategy is wrong and the war is as good as lost.

The potentially explosive views were published by Le Canard Enchaîné, a respected French weekly, which said that they were direct quotations from a diplomatic cable written by François Fitou, the French Deputy Ambassador in Kabul.

Mr Fitou reported to President Sarkozy's office and his own Foreign Ministry that Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British Ambassador, believed that "American strategy is destined to fail" in Afghanistan, according to the newspaper.

It published a reproduction of what it said was the coded cable, in which the French diplomat summarised the ambassador's main points from a September 2 meeting.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be put in the "someone said the emperor is naked" pages...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:12:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you see the Canard piece on wind farms opponents ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misŤres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:45:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The End of Arrogance: America Loses Its Dominant Economic Role - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The banking crisis is upending American dominance of the financial markets and world politics. The industrialized countries are sliding into recession, the era of turbo-capitalism is coming to an end and US military might is ebbing. Still, this is no time to gloat.

There are days when all it takes is a single speech to illustrate the decline of a world power. A face can speak volumes, as can the speaker's tone of voice, the speech itself or the audience's reaction. Kings and queens have clung to the past before and humiliated themselves in public, but this time it was merely a United States president.

Or what is left of him.

George W. Bush has grown old, erratic and rosy in the eight years of his presidency. Little remains of his combativeness or his enthusiasm for physical fitness. On this sunny Tuesday morning in New York, even his hair seemed messy and unkempt, his blue suit a little baggy around the shoulders, as Bush stepped onto the stage, for the eighth time, at the United Nations General Assembly.

He talked about terrorism and terrorist regimes, and about governments that allegedly support terror. He failed to notice that the delegates sitting in front of and below him were shaking their heads, smiling and whispering, or if he did notice, he was no longer capable of reacting. The US president gave a speech similar to the ones he gave in 2004 and 2007, mentioning the word "terror" 32 times in 22 minutes. At the 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations, George W. Bush was the only one still talking about terror and not about the topic that currently has the rest of the world's attention.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:04:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It will be a decade or two before the US starts to notice its reduced state in the world and behaves accordingly. In the meantime it is still dangerous and likely to lash out if not listened to.

I also think it's debt is so large that it can continue to spend money and nobody will ever stop them cos it will be too dnagerous to pull the plug. So their military will continue to drain them long after their economy requires it.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 08:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It will be a decade or two before the US starts to notice its reduced state in the world and behaves accordingly.
...
I also think it's debt is so large that it can continue to spend money and nobody will ever stop them...

One wonders...they can't spend money if they can't get their bonds sold. At some point the giant bond holders like China and Japan and the Saudis may just consider holding onto their bonds but buying no more until the US recovers. It won't take that long, comparatively and the big players can act amongst themselves. Japan is increasing sales into China, China will continue to gain more internal growth, Saudis can sell their oil to plenty of places and the world will go on. And all three will be buying the US on the cheap in the meanwhile.

On the other hand, the US Army hasn't gotten the "Don't Spend More" message yet. (One does presume that eventually they will.) And Isaac Asimov must be getting an IronyAlertTM in his grave or at whatever body he is carrying around now. See:

iRobot Receives a $3.75 Million Contract from TARDEC for iRobot Warrior 700

BEDFORD, Mass. --(Business Wire)-- Oct 02, 2008 iRobot Corp. (Nasdaq: IRBT) today announced that the company has received a $3.75 million research and development contract from the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), the nation's laboratory for advanced military automotive technology. Work under this contract will result in the delivery of two iRobot Warrior 700 platforms.

A powerful and rugged robot, the iRobot Warrior can perform a variety of critical missions such as evaluating danger zones and inaccessible areas, providing real-time video, audio and sensor readings to warfighters and SWAT teams. The robot will feature an advanced digital architecture and a multi-mission chassis that supports up to 150-pound (68 kg) payloads.



Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 09:45:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think its reduced state in the world started about 5 years ago, so a decade or two from now or then? and is this the first real outward sign of the collapse that has already happened?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 10:12:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Vladimir Putin lashes US for economic failures - Times Online

The Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lashed out at the United States today for what he said was its inability to deal with the financial crisis affecting the global economy.

In remarks unlikely to go down well in Washington, Mr Putin was especially critical of Congress's rejection of a $700 billion bank bailout - a rejection that hit Russian financial markets particularly hard.

"Everything that is happening in the economic and financial sphere has started in the United States. This is a real crisis that all of us are facing," the former president told a government meeting in Moscow.

"And what is really sad is that we see an inability to take appropriate decisions. This is no longer irresponsibility on the part of some individuals, but irresponsibility of the whole system, which as you know had pretensions to (global) leadership."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:08:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are victims because we chose to play the game. Russia too. Now's not the time to be complaining, if you chose to go along.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:14:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Everything that is happening in the economic and financial sphere has started in the United States. This is a real crisis that all of us are facing," the former president told a government meeting in Moscow.

Did he mean to say "real crisis" or "real circus"?

We've all paid for tickets, some of us in the cheap seats above where they hide the elephant dung.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 08:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Price of Disgust - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog

It may be that voters simply don't understand or believe that a broader Wall Street failure could quickly trickle down and harm their Main Street interests. Or could it be that they're willing to pay a price to exhibit their disgust even it if ultimately harms their self interest?

Consider the popular academic experiment known as the ultimatum game...

<...>

Many economists cannot understand why they'd do such a thing. To an economist, an offer of even 1 percent would be worth accepting since it is free money, and because for the second player it is ultimately irrelevant how much money the first player takes home.

But most people do not think like economists. When offered 10 percent or 20 percent or even 30 percent of the total, they are disgusted by the inequity -- and willing to pay the price for that disgust by rejecting the offer.

Is that what we're seeing now in the vigorous antipathy toward a government bailout? Perhaps, at least in part -- although there are a lot of super-rational reasons to dislike the bailout as well.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 06:13:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes (or rather, duh!) - people are not rational homo economicuses, they'd rather have "more than their neighbors" than "a lot." Time to take it into account.

See also this discussion over at the Oil Drum

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:18:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Migeru noted a couple of days ago, Krugman seems to be throwing his backing, albeit listlessly, behind the "Dodd-Frank-FrankensteinPaulson" bail-out package.

He now makes it official in today's column

Bailout narratives - Paul Krugman - Op-Ed Columnist - New York Times Blog

So now what? Like Jamie Galbraith, I'd rather see Dodd-Frank-Paulson, which is much better than the original plan, pass than not. The true cost to taxpayers will probably be close to zero, and it would buy some time. But I'm not passionate about this. The real financial rescue still lies in the future, probably under the Obama administration.

Herbert, Brooks, Friedman, Kristol, now Krugman (soon, if not already, Dowd? Collins?)

Looks like they are all jumping emphatically in.  And despite enjoying a certain rebel glee at the house revolt on Monday, seeing Jérôme write "This is getting scary" and then "Things are now officially totally dysfunctional" yesterday, well, now I've started thinking about joining the NYT consensus after all, too.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 07:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The bailout will do nothing about the things I'm worrying about. Nothing.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:18:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But would it "buy some time", as Krugman claims, to work on a better solution?

Also, how much time is left before things get significantly and/or irrevocably worse?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 06:19:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Krugman, Galbraith, DeLong are worried that we don't have time to wait until after Election Day (let alone January 20) to put together a real solution. They're "buying some time".

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 Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:25:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bank Limits Fund Access by Colleges, Inciting Fears - NYTimes.com

In a move suggesting how the credit crisis could disrupt American higher education, Wachovia Bank has limited the access of nearly 1,000 colleges to $9.3 billion the bank has held for them in a short-term investment fund, raising worries on some campuses about meeting payrolls and other obligations.

Wachovia, the North Carolina bank that agreed this week to sell its banking operations to Citigroup, has held the money in its role as trustee for a fund used by colleges and universities and managed by a Connecticut nonprofit, Commonfund.

On Monday, Wachovia announced that it would resign its role as trustee of the fund, and would limit access to the fund to 10 percent of each college's account value. On Tuesday, Commonfund said that by selling some government bonds and other assets held in the fund, it had succeeded in raising its liquidity to 26 percent.

Still, Wachovia's announcement sent shock waves through higher education, sending hundreds of college presidents rushing to check their financial vulnerability on every front.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:56:44 PM EST
Peace and Social Justice Workers Receive Alternative Nobel Prize | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 01.10.2008
A jury has named winners from Germany, India, Somalia and the United States as recipients of the 2008 Right Livelihood Awards, often called the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Two of the award winners named Wednesday, Oct. 1, were from the North and have worked to create ties with the so-called developing world, Jakob von Uexkuell of the Right Livelihood Foundation said.

Four of the five prize winners were women, he noted.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cologne Gynaecologist Wins "Alternative Nobel Prize" | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 01.10.2008
For more than a decade, Monika Hauser's work to rehabilitate victims of wartime sexual abuse has earned her a raft of awards. Now, she's won something bigger -- the Right Livelihood Award, or Alternative Nobel Prize.

Back in 1992, Monika Hauser read newspaper accounts of rape committed on a mass scale in Bosnia. Rape had become a war tactic, and that thought sickened her.

 

"I was angry too that the press was reporting on it so graphically -- through-the-keyhole sorts of accounts," she said. "They couldn't get enough. I thought, these women were being used twice, so to speak, and I said to myself I'd like to do something about it."

 

The Swiss-born gynaecologist knew from her own practice in Cologne that rape victims needed support and care, not just publicity, and so in 1993 she left for Bosnia. Hauser, along with 20 local women, set up a trauma therapy center for rape victims in the Bosnian city of Zenica.  



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:09:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | 'Viking mouse' invasion tracked

Scientists say that studying the genes of mice will reveal new information about patterns of human migration.

They say the rodents have often been fellow travellers when populations set off in search of new places to live - and the details can be recovered.

A paper published in a Royal Society journal analyses the genetic make-up of house mice from more than 100 locations across the UK.

It shows that one distinct strain most probably arrived with the Vikings.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:13:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Dutch in red light credit scheme

The Dutch city of Eindhoven is to award credit points to street prostitutes in exchange for good behaviour.

Prostitutes with enough points will get street miles from the City Hall which they can use to buy designer clothes and furniture.

In return they must take part in a city plan to help prostitutes find alternative employment.

Dutch cities are starting to close red light districts where street prostitutes operate.

Eindhoven plans to close the zone for street prostitutes by 2011.

The prostitutes' union, the Red Thread, is enthusiastic about the plan to help street prostitutes seek another profession.

by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Canada's Shores Saved Animals From Devastating Climate Change 252 Million Years Ago
 Canada's Shores Saved Animals From Devastating Climate Change 252 Million Years Ago

ScienceDaily (Oct. 2, 2008) -- The shorelines of ancient Alberta, British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic were an important refuge for some of the world's earliest animals, most of which were wiped out by a mysterious global extinction event some 252 million years ago.

U of C scientists have solved part of the mystery of where marine organisms that recovered from the biggest extinction on earth were housed. A team of researchers, including Charles Henderson, a geoscience professor at the U of C, Tyler Beatty, a PhD candidate at the U of C and J-P Zonneveld, an associate professor at the U of A, discovered that the shorelines of ancient Canada provided a refuge for marine organisms that escaped annihilation during the Permian-Triassic extinction event.

"The boundary between the end of the Permian and beginning of the Triassic period saw unparalleled species loss in the marine realm, and biotic recovery was delayed relative to other mass extinctions," says Henderson, in a paper published in the October edition of Geology. "A major unresolved question has been discovering where the marine organisms that recovered from the extinction were housed."

Henderson adds that this may not be the only refuge where life survived after the mass extinction, but it is the only area discovered to date.

During the Permian, all the world's land masses joined together into a single supercontinent called Pangea. Near the end of the Permian, during the mass extinction, about 95 per cent of all marine species and 70 per cent of land species died and the recovery of life on Earth took longer than other extinction events because so much biodiversity was lost. There are several theories as to why this mass extinction event took place ranging from the heating of the Earth to a catastrophic event. The authors favour major climate change since increased temperatures and elevated CO2 levels are linked to oxygen stress that is key to the results of their research.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:26:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Report urges regulated market for cannabis to replace prohibition | Society | The Guardian

A report on cannabis prepared for next year's UN drug policy review will suggest that a "regulated market" would cause less harm than the current international prohibition. The report, which is likely to reopen the debate about cannabis laws, suggests that controls such as taxation, minimum age requirements and labelling could be explored.

The Global Cannabis Commission report, which will be launched today at a conference in the House of Lords, has reached conclusions which its authors suggest "challenge the received wisdom concerning cannabis". It was carried out for the Beckley foundation, a UN-accredited NGO, for the 2009 UN strategic drug policy review.

There are, according to the report, now more than 160 million users of the drug worldwide. "Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," according to the report. "Historically, there have only been two deaths worldwide attributed to cannabis, whereas alcohol and tobacco together are responsible for an estimated 150,000 deaths per annum in the UK alone."

The report, compiled by a group of scientists, academics and drug policy experts, suggests that much of the harm associated with cannabis use is "the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment." Policies that control cannabis, whether draconian or liberal, appear to have little impact on the prevalence of consumption, it concluded.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:34:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Policies that control cannabis, whether draconian or liberal, appear to have little impact on the prevalence of consumption, it concluded.

While welcoming the UN policy review, this last point emphasizes the failure to fit cannabis into the gestalt of mind/mood alteration. That is, what are the effects of control upon all consumption?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:58:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 02:57:05 PM EST
I was amused by this little montage of ridicule from John Stewart on the Daily Show.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:07:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had it on tape but it's always good for another viewing.

Thank You.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Oct 1st, 2008 at 03:31:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
roflmao!

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:19:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Finally tonight the event we have all been so anxiously awaiting: the Live webcast of the 2008 Ig Nobel Awards begins at 7:30 p.m. New York time.

A personal favorite for an award in both climate research and tropical forestry: Carbon sequestration via wood burial (12-page pdf) will make you think for a few minutes, which is the point of the Igs. The author proposes a novel and very effective carbon sink: he suggests building thousands of new roads into the worlds remaining forests and burying millions of hectares of trees in situ, deep enough that the carbon would remain locked up for hundreds of years.

The arresting thing about this paper is that it would work perfectly - and he has the figures to prove it - although there would be a bit of collateral damage, including, as the author acknowledges in passing, the destruction of almost all terrestrial biodiversity.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:10:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyone want to speculate on who will get the economics award? There are so many possibilities...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:11:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tra la la, la la la la la...


This video was inspired by the bizarre sequence of events on the Street in 2007. The use of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" came from a hilarious internet parody song "Here Comes Another Bubble" by the Richter Scales (available on YouTube). They did such a good job, I thought Wall Streeters everywhere deserved a parody of their own. This version does not have anywhere near the same sophisticated flash software but here it goes.

The video was produced for non-commercial amusement purposes only and is not intended to offend any people, companies or countries appearing in the video.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 07:34:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by The Richter Scales



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 08:08:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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