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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 9 February

by Fran Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:25:59 PM EST

On this date in history:

1885 - Birth of Alban Berg, an Austrian composer. He was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique. (d. 1935)

More here and video


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by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:26:26 PM EST
Swiss have endorsed a labour accord with the EU. - swissinfo
A key bilateral accord with the European Union on open labour markets has won a clear majority at the ballot box.

Rightwing parties, which forced the nationwide vote, suffered a defeat on Sunday as nearly 60 per cent of voters backed the government and a broad alliance of parties, organisations and the business community.

Official results show 59.6 per cent of the electorate approving a proposal to continue a labour accord with 25 EU states and at the same time extend the agreement to the newest members Bulgaria and Romania.

Turnout was just under 51 per cent, which is above average for nationwide votes in general, but lower than in the last two previous votes on relations with EU - Switzerland's main trading partner.

Opponents of the labour accord only won a majority in four out of the country's 26 cantons.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:28:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swiss Vote in Favor of Free Movement Deal With Bulgaria, Romania | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.02.2009
Voters in Switzerland came out in favor of extending a free movement of labor deal with the European Union to include the bloc's two newest members by an unexpectedly large margin. 

Swiss voters overwhelmingly supported a government-backed motion to extend cooperation with the European Union in a referendum held on Sunday, Feb. 8.

 

Official results showed 59.6 percent supported expanding the existing deal with 25 European states and allowing free access to citizens of the two youngest EU members Romania and Bulgaria, according to initial voting returns from the 26 Swiss cantons.

 

The accord will extend to Romanians and Bulgarians the same rights to work in Switzerland that are already enjoyed by the rest of the 27-member bloc's members. Three small German-speaking cantons and the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino voted against the accord, with the other 22 French and German-speaking cantons in favor of it.

 

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:36:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brussels Faces Uphill Battle Over Use of Unspent EU Funds | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.02.2009
Brussels officials said they would go ahead with plans to invest billions of taxpayers' money on energy and internet projects despite political and legal objections from key EU players such as Germany, France and Italy. 

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso wants to use 5 billion euros ($6.4 billion) of what he says are spare EU budget funds to link up the member states' electricity grids, build gas pipelines, create wind farms and spread broadband internet connections to the countryside.

Barroso says the projects would help improve energy security and make Europe greener while at the same time providing a much-needed shot in the arm to the bloc's economy, which is suffering from its worst recession in decades.

But some governments object to the plans, either because they would need to provide the money themselves, or because they are not interested in the projects.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:30:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a good idea, but you could drop that in eastern europe and it wouldn't touch the sides. It really depends on the detail or is this gonna be europe's equivalent of "welfare queens" ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:15:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right-to-Die Case Sparks Italian Constitutional Row | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.02.2009
In a race against time, Italy's government is expected to table in parliament early next week a controversial bill to re-connect a life-support system to a comatose woman at the canter of a right-to-death debate.  

The Senate, parliament's upper-house, is scheduled to begin debating the bill next Tuesday, Senate speaker, Renato Schifani said on Saturday.

By then, medical experts say, Eluana Englaro, will have started to manifest muscle spasms and other serious symptoms related to the suspension, which began Friday, of nutrients and water previously supplied to her body through tubes.

The case of the 38-year-old Englaro, who has spent the last 17 years in a vegetative state after a car accident, has reignited debate in Catholic Italy over euthanasia and its legal technicalities.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:31:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the ugly politics of power masquerading as compassion.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:18:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article does not explain what the "constitutional row" is all about. In fact it is misleading as it only discusses the fact that President Napolitano did not sign a government decree that he judged unconstitutional and not in compliance with Article 77 of the Constitution which states that decrees may be adopted only in extraordinary cases of necessity and urgency. It's perfectly within his powers since a government cannot emit a decree to overturn a Supreme Court sentence.

The row is over Berlusconi and his government that use the pretext of the Englaro case to verbally assault the President and the Constitution. Berlusconi forced his ministers to take a unanimous decision to make a three line decree. When Napolitano declined to sign it, Berlusconi attacked him alleging that the president is obliged to sign it, which is categorically false, a deliberate public misrepresentation. Berlusconi then attacked the Constitution declaring that it was written by philo-Soviet ideologues and that he would do away with it for that. His rant was that the present Constitution does not allow him to govern. Apparently- at this point- one may conclude that he hasn't the ability since he controls all the media, the executive and a grovelling rubberstamp parliament.

The public backlash brought people out on the streets Friday evening. Polls show Berlusconi's approval in the case at 32% while 61% agree with the Englaro family and 55% with President Napolitano.

In "Catholic" Italy over 60% disapprove of the Vatican's meddling in this case. This of course doesn't matter so long as it's not on prime time.

The next day Berlusconi (Saturday) ate his words and once again accused the opposition of misrepresenting what he had said. I suppose digital recordings also defy the laws of physics by systematically misrepresenting Berlusconi's words. Berlusconi has used the Englaro case to force discredit on institutions and the constitution with the unconditional backing of the Vatican State. At the same time he seeks to distract public opinion from his disastrous incompetence in affronting the economic crisis and his war against the judiciary, the only branch of government still fairly independent  despite a 14 year war of attrition.

As for Senate president Renato Schifani, one of Berlusconi's interchangeable toilet mats, he actually sought to discuss the bill in the Senate on Monday in the hope to see the bill made into law within three days. Gianfranco Fini however has scheduled discussion on Tuesday evening in the Chamber of Deputies. In the meantime the government is resorting to all possible means to intimidate if not outright seize the clinic where Eluana is recovered. Considering the incredible white mafia sanitation scandals in which the Berlusconi's party members and the Vatican are implicated, it's all the more macabre.

Here's the bill. One sentence. Three lines.

"In attesa dell'approvazione della completa e organica disciplina legislativa sul fine vita alimentazione e idratazione in quanto forme di sostegno vitale e fisologicamente finalizzate ad alleviare le sofferenze, non possono in alcun caso essere sospese da chi assiste soggetti non in grado di provvedere a se stessi".

Until the approval of a complete and organic law disciplining life's end, nutrition and hydration as forms of vital support and physiologically finalized to alleviate suffering, can in no way be suspended by persons assisting individuals who are incapacitated to provide for themselves.

Berlusconi also made crass remarks against Mr. Englaro accusing him of wanting to get rid of an inconvenient situation. He further remarked that Eluana could bear children and has a menstrual cycle.

While the Church thunders from pulpits in deserted churches throughout Italy against this "murder" or "execution" it is worth mentioning in conclusion that there is overriding evidence that John Paul II was therefore also "murdered." Despite anecdotal and pious indignation by sundry prelates or Fox anchormen, the hospital records concerning his final months show that he was deprived of artificial nutrition to the point of no return.

I logged on some information as this confrontation unfolded in Friday's open thread.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:21:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
terry schiavo redux?

'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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 04:03:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Schiavo family has jumped on board in this case with a letter from the father. However there is a difference established by three court sentences. In the Schiavo case it was the will of her husband as opposed to that of the family. According to news reports it was not a question of Terry's will or her possible biological testament.

In this case the courts- all the way to the highest courts- have accepted as true that Eluana had often voiced that she would not accept life-prolonging therapies were she to be in an irreversible coma. Therefore the courts have ruled that her will is to be executed.

The Englaro family has been conducting a legal battle since 1999 over the case and it is only in this last  minute dash that the government has cynically decided to exploit the case not only at the behest of the foreign Vatican state but for reasons that have nothing to do with the case. Further the Englaro family wrote letters to the highest political and institutional authorities four years ago beseeching them to make a law on biological testaments.

Berlusconi denied ever having received the letter. Today la Repubblica published the letter written four years ago to Mr. Berlusconi and then-President Ciampi. Ciampi answered the letter, Berlusconi ignored it.

The problem of biological testaments has been in public view for years. It is only now in a moment of maximum emotional tension does the government decide to exploit the case to its own ends.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 04:45:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the chanting religio-zombies on the street praying for eluana's family's suffering to continue must be renouncing their own sovereignty over their life and demise, possibly ending up years in a vegetable, non-sentient state themselves.

why don't they see this?

or is it because fear of going to hell when they die has terrorised them into believing this way?

blinded them to seeing that hell, in this case is right here?

politicising schiavo proved to be a major, katrina-sized mistake for the right in the usa.

i saw a poll on rai last night that showed 88% of the italian public feel this case is being exploited politically, so the electorate is not fooled (much) by pious rhetoric.

ferragamo fascism.

the ass-backwardness here continues to leave me perplexed, we have the right wanting to downsize telephone tapping for anti-criminal police activity!

i think both sides want total surveillance, except the right wants privacy for itself.

?!?

eluana is just distraction-politics, don't look at the much worse stuff to be concerned about, think about poor eluana and the murdering state that wants to martyr her. rescue her from her heartless family, thank god for silvio, riding into the rescue!

eat that, sarko

'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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:07:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you post this comment as a diary?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:02:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
seconded...

diary please de G!

'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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Will do so as soon as possible- without updates. I can update later.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 06:33:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French fighter planes grounded by computer virus - Telegraph
French fighter planes were unable to take off after military computers were infected by a computer virus, an intelligence magazine claims.

The aircraft were unable to download their flight plans after databases were infected by a Microsoft virus they had already been warned about several months beforehand.

At one point French naval staff were also instructed not to even open their computers.

Microsoft had warned that the "Conficker" virus, transmitted through Windows, was attacking computer systems in October last year, but according to reports the French military ignored the warning and failed to install the necessary security measures.

The French newspaper Ouest France said the virus had hit the internal computer network at the French Navy.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:33:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought that Microsoft OSes were banned from the French military for national security reason (you know, rumored back doors for the NSA, etc...) and that only open source like Linux or BSD Unix was OK.

Good job boys: not only did you pay good money to a commercial software vendor but you got the clap as a reward.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:33:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
un-freaking-real. So now we know we have all these expensive toys and all the bad guys have to do is create a platform specific virus and we can't fight back. If you wrote this into a film you'd say it was beyond stupid as a plot device..

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:22:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I've seen, the military services have two physically separate IT systems - one in contact with the outside, and one totally internal, with no possibility of external access.

That the system with access to the outside may have been contaminated is possible, but I wonder what the actual damage was.

Given that the Telegraph mentions that the UK forces suffered a similar setback, I wonder if this is just not spin to make that event look innocuous (which it probably was as well).

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:04:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never saw high security two-tier systems, but in less sophisticated ones USB sticks are still allowed. Very easy to get infected.
by Sargon on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 10:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Minister's Resignation Attempt a Bad Sign for Merkel's Government | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 08.02.2009
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was reported Sunday to have turned down an offer from Economics Minister Michael Glos to resign. But the move doesn't bode well for her government in an election year. 

The newspaper Bild am Sonntag said the chancellor and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier wanted Glos to remain in office until general elections are held on Sept. 27.

 

Glos, a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU) -- the sister party to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, had offered to resign on Saturday, but he was immediately turned down by his party boss, Horst Seehofer.

 

In a letter to Seehofer, 64-year-old Glos cited his age and the need for the CSU, after disappointing state election results last September, to renew itself ahead of this year's national polls.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Helsingin Sanomat: ANALYSIS: Finnish forestry industry returns to "primary state"
It can no longer be said that the Finnish forestry industry is in crisis.

      Rather, the field seems to be heading through a major crisis into a new primary state, in which there will be clearly fewer workers and mill chimneys in the provinces than before.

      Thursday's published results of all three large forestry companies spoke pointedly of "restructuring measures" and making provisions for what is to come. What this mainly referred to was reductions, curtailments, and elimination of operations, even if the precise targets of such measures were not yet defined.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 04:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even in the world of offshore windpower, (especially in the world of offshore windpower), one is continually humbled by the task of harvesting the winds over the seas.


wild without anchors

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
forgot the kicker:


Forty-two offshore wind farm workers who became stranded on a barely-anchored barge were rescued after several uneasy hours in the stormy seas off the coast of Cumbria northwest of England.


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:15:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe one day I'll be able to tell the various stories that happened on my two offshore projects...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:42:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And why can't you NOW?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:45:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He could, but then he'd have to kill you.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 04:32:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
confidentiality agreements, the trust of clients, things like that...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:05:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, very good.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 06:36:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS - Munich Security Conference
by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:26:52 PM EST
US Seeks to Enhance Cooperation With European Allies | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 07.02.2009
In the US administration's first major foreign policy speech since taking office, Vice-President Joe Biden promised greater cooperation with Europe. But he also said there would be some strings attached. 

US Vice-President Joe Biden on Saturday, Feb. 7, promised greater cooperation with European allies on security issues, but only in exchange for greater European contributions to fighting global security threats.

 

Biden's speech before the Munich Security Conference, billed as the new US administration's first glimpse of an overarching security and defense policy, presented a laundry list of US priorities around the world, combined with a promise of greater US humility in addressing those issues.

 

"I come to Europe on behalf of the new administration ... determined to set a new tone not just in Washington, but in America's relations around the world," Biden said. "America will do more. That's the good news. The bad news is that America will ask for more from our partners as well."

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"do more" and "ask more". I don't see any mention of "listen more" or, more importantly, "take into account other viewpoints more"...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:49:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If i'm not mistaken, we could profit from a new macro:  

"system is broken technology"

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:15:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[System.Is.Broken Alert]

((*broken)) without the asterisk.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[System.Is.Broken Alert]

Wow, ain't tchnology grand.  and here i thought the system was broken.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:36:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it's the broken-ness that's broken?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:10:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Enhanced cooperation means: we decide, you comply.
by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:25:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who exactly is this we?

I think that treating this as though it's all evil Americans versus virtous Europeans is really of no use.

There's a transnational class of capitalists that are at work here, and understand this, the United States military and government have been used as mercernaries by them.

And as pissed as people are in Europe, imagine how please the average American is to be picking up the bill for enforcing a neo-liberal hegemony that (amongst other things) offers them the opportunity of forced corporate migration to lower wages.

Laid-off IBM employees in North America and Canada now can hope to work abroad - in India, Russia, Brazil or other countries - rather than joining the growing ranks of the unemployed.

IBM's Chairman and CEO, Sam PalmisanoIBM may also offer jobs in China, Nigeria, Mexico, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, agency reported citing an IMM internal document. ...

The offer, however, is limited to "satisfactory performers who have been notified of separation from IBM US or (IBM) Canada and are willing to work on local terms and conditions." the report added.

IBM pay packets in the emerging markets are much less than what the company pays to its employees in the US or Canada and, obviously, those employees who opt for a relocation to India or other countries would have to agree for less.

 

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 Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:16:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's a good point. Sadly tho' we can get to the point of having entire paragraphs of disclaimers before any statement unless we assume that, by and large, when any of us are having a go at the particular behaviour of a country, invariably we are discussing the elites and not the vast number of people who only get asked a yes/no question once every 4 years as some masquerade of democracy when it's reallly just a purple finger of alleged collusion

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:31:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing is that when your read writers like Chomsky, they never make this clear.  And its the same thing with us.  We have to make clear that we aren't talking about a world populated primarily by nation-states, but economic forces directed by a capitalist class that cuts across nations and states.

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 Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:45:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
class warfare?

So when do the vast majority on "our side" wake up?  You know the "bad guys" know exactly what they're doing.  When do we take our country back, whatever that entails?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:50:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeff Faux makes the point in Global Class War that transnational economic have a tremendous sense of class consciousness and solidarity, while dismissing the same for working people as communism.

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 Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:59:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"They" have to.  Let's look at some BS numbers.  Suppose there are 10,000 of US (not United States, us) to every one of "them".  They know we have "numerical superiority"; hell, they created it.

That means what?  For every 5,000 of US that "fall" for every one of them, they still lose.  And THAT, my dear MfM, is what THEY are REALLY afraid of.

The Fun Has Just Begun!  Where will the next Iceland occur, and in what form?  All pots and pans?  I think not.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 07:17:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember, we've got the numbers, but.....

they've got the guns.....

And that is a very practical reason to think twice about any sort of "industrial action," let alone the more abstract issues related to living in a country where elections are less important than street protests.

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 Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 07:27:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
isn't that the beauty of iceland? that pots and pans were enough?

argentina too...

step out of yourself and have a good look via your own posts, at how americans are programmed to enjoy extreme violence.

the other americans posting here have successfully transcended this. can you?

you say you're an old man, and have nothing much to lose.

is it all about you? isn't there anyone you love enough to stop wishing for social breakdown and murderous mayhem asap?

too bad... that's really sad... what about that nice girl you tutor? you wanna see her in a crowd of rock throwing students going up against the gestapo?

do you think through any of these george bush reminiscent harikiri cries of 'bring it on!'?

the blue koolaide is just as poisonous as the red one...

'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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:20:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, not a violent man by nature.

But, big but, I'm curious about how this "movie" is going to unfold over the next 6 - 12 months.

Example 1.  This year is the 100 year anniversary of my deceased father's birthday.  More than once he and my mother would try to impress upon us 4 children how we should appreciate all of the food which she prepares because in the bad old days of the Great Depression she was in  a family of 10 members and sometimes dinner was one head of cabbage.  Stories like that tend to stick with you.  If those days actually returned, how would our current US society react, and what would be a "sane" reaction?  Starve quietly?  The wealthy Republicans are trying to get their beauty sleep in their huge mansions; please don't disturb them.  They have more looting and pillaging planned and they need a clear head?

Example 2.  I remember the "fun" of the 60's/early 70's with the Viet Nam draft.  Remember Kent State?  

So what is my point?  I didn't create this situation, but you are correct, there ARE a few people I care about.  Better I make a sacrifice than them.  I'm an old man with a beat-up body;  I've had my life.  The youngsters deserve a better life than abject slavery; but that, once again, is just my old fashion values talking.

Bottom Line: You handle your situation your way; I'll handle mine my way.  I have a feeling we're not going to agree on this one so let's just watch.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 06:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you catch the news recently about that whole "Gaza" thing and the Israelis made sure that the press was kept out.  Apparently they wanted to test some improved methods of exterminating mass numbers of civilians and they didn't want the world finding out; they didn't want to share their "data" with competing researchers.  Too bad; word got out; to Amy Goodman/Democracy Now.

Before long we may all be Palestinians.  Then what?


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 06:58:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Israelis made sure that the press was kept out.  Apparently they wanted to test some improved methods of exterminating mass numbers of civilians and they didn't want the world finding out; they didn't want to share their "data" with competing researchers
Link?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 06:59:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was a couple weeks ago.  I think it was a conversation with a Palestinian doctor seeing the casualties.  Let me go looking.

Note: It was a couple weeks ago.  They made sure that they cut it out before Obama was inaugurated.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 07:18:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/14/white_phosphorous_and_dense_inert_metal

Sorry about the lazy link but I've got a Linux virus I'm fighting.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 07:28:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THE Twank:
Actually, not a violent man by nature.

just a violent poster?

this stuff about 'pansy ass' etc, it's so retro!

i'm not saying you are violent, i'm trying to reflect a gratuitously casual attitude to it, a gleeful delight, as if it were entertainment.

'fun' in caps...

are you that bored/frustrated that bloody revolution comes as pleasant relief?

we all want social justice, and many would 'go medieval' on the perps of today's insanity, but social breakdown sets liberal causes back, unless scrupulously channelled in the form of (non-violent strikes, sit-ins etc).

i do remember kent state, and i have no wish for a rerun. if we use our brains we can have a lot less martyrs, and a lot more constructive change.

anyways, this is for you

Joe Bageant: North Toward Home

The important thing, supposedly, is that we and the rest of the world can all breathe a sigh of relief that Bushco's cabinet of war criminals and the rest of the bloodstained wolf pack have been banished, returned by private jet to their luxurious estates and plush corporate digs. Let them eat truffles, by damned! The American People have spoken!


'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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 08:20:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'm not saying you are violent, i'm trying to reflect a gratuitously casual attitude to it, a gleeful delight, as if it were entertainment.

'fun' in caps...

are you that bored/frustrated that bloody revolution comes as pleasant relief

He isn't the only one guilty of that here. All those Wheeeeee commentaries as stocks and currencies slide does indicate a certain detached glee at the chaos.

We do need to remember that behind the headlines people are losing their jobs, their hopes, their homes, their lives. It does seem a shame we can't just celebrate that we were right, but until there's a way forward and upward we might postpone with decorum.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 08:34:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
good point, but the wheee's are usually appended to posts about billions disappearing into black holes, or mighty iconic institutions melting down into republican goo.

it has repercussions on the 'common man' definitely, and i bewail them too, but from where i stand it's a far cry down the continuum.

it's cinematic and infantile to pretend that old fogeys, however earnest, are going to breach the barricades to protect the young.

the young are always the hottest heads and fastest runners towards drama.

...and had the most potential still folded.

while the noisy old cheer and wave their zimmer frames from the sidelines.

'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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 08:48:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ManfromMiddletown:
Who exactly is this we?

Good question. And for the record, no, I didn't imply that the Europeans are more virtuous than the Americans are evil.

In that particular case, since the EU elite is consenting, can we really talk of bullying?

Re: IBM, I'm sorry to say that Big Blue can't claim prior art: two years ago a French company, to comply with the law, provided it's laid off workers with job offers at their Romanian plant -- for 400 Euros per month.

by Bernard (bernard) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 10:06:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you remember the name of the French company?

That's amazing.

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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 11:48:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quick search on google.fr to refresh my memory: Sem-Suhner based in Schirmeck near Strasbourg, a manufacturer of electrical coils.

This happened in April of 2005 and the salary proposed at their Romanian partner plant was 110 Euros per month, not 400; my bad.

by Bernard (bernard) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 12:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merci Beaucoup.

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 Tue Feb 10th, 2009 at 11:51:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What part of "global security threats" don't you understand?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. rejects 'sphere of influence' for Russia - International Herald Tribune

MUNICH: Vice President Joseph Biden of the United States rejected the notion of a Russian sphere of influence Saturday, promising that the new government under President Barack Obama would continue to press NATO to seek "deeper cooperation" with like-minded countries.

Biden, in a much-anticipated speech at an international security conference, also said the Obama administration would continue to pursue a planned missile defense system that has angered the Kremlin, provided the technology works and is not too expensive. The missile defense shield, Biden said, is needed to "counter a growing Iranian capability."

In the Obama administration's first outline before an international audience of how it will conduct U.S. relations with the rest of the world, the vice president signaled a tough line on Iran. "We will be willing to talk to Iran," Biden said, in a departure from the Bush administration.

But Biden quickly tacked back to a refrain common during the last years of the Bush presidency, and spoke of offering Iran's leader a choice: "Continue down your current course and there will be pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear program and support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives."

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well all that is extremely edifying. (Small) change we can believe in.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:32:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Foreign Policy - "Here we go again." - Moon of Alabama

VP Biden today gave the first outlook on the Obama administration's foreign policy in a speech at the current Security Conference in Munich. The short version:No change

Specifics:

- Missile defense in Europe will continue to be build.

We will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective.

The Iran line is pure bullshit. The missile defense the U.S. plans is to enable a nuclear first strike capability against Russia. Russia will have to fight this.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:30:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Note the phrase "proven to work" gives them an out.

It hasn't been as it don't.  

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

by ATinNM on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 04:51:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Missile defense in Europe will continue to be build.

[Europe.Is.DoomedÖ Alert]

For real.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:12:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wrote it gives them an out.  Not that they will necessarily take it.

I have no idea what the US Ruling Class thinks they are going to achieve by putting those damn missiles in Europe.  Thus I can't decipher Biden's remarks.

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

by ATinNM on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:29:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It involved GitMo.  

Question: Why did the US higher ups promote torture?

Ans 1: Because they are sick bastards.  They tore the wings off of flies when they were children.

NO!  Some of them, possibly, but, NO.

Ans 2: Because torture provides usable intel.

NOPE!  Experts say that it does not, and that's no secret.  Try again.

Listen.  If the world was at peace, "we" would not need the enormous military/industrial/govt/MSM complex.  The public would have better things to do with tax dollars.  (Is this right out of 1984?)  So the crowd listed above must ALWAYS have enemies, real or imagined, in order to keep the public compliant.

"Give us your tax dollars, sell your descendants into slavery, or the BOOOGIEMAN will get you".

That's why we had GitMo.  That's why we need missile systems.  The bad guys need to generate enemies, and GitMo was a great source of those.

I should go into the epiphany business and charge.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 07:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THe US already has first strike capability, so I have no idea what he's talking about. (At least to the extent that such a thing can be said to exist - the global environmental fallout of a full fledged destruction of Russsia's land based nuke capacity would be horrific, plus you still have the problem of Russia's sea and air based nukes. They're in a rather degraded state, but you can't be sure you've gotten rid of them in any first strike. And yes discussing this stuff in such a 'rational' manner is more than a bit insane.) Furthermore, this is just a chit for the administration - the Russians for some reason decided to play hardball on US bases in Central Asia, so missile defense is still on. In any case the rational reason why the Russians don't like this is because it creates US military bases closer to its borders.
by MarekNYC on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:24:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aside from the nutters, nobody thinks a First Strike has a ghost of a chance of destroying a land based nuclear system.  And even if it did the major nuclear powers have sufficient depth to allow retaliation.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:36:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by MarekNYC on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:40:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mobile launchers make an effective first strike an impossible dream. They can potentially be nuked with the help of satellite monitoring, but satellites would be one of the first things to go, so it's unlikely that there would be enough accurate information to target them effectively.

Of course we're living in insane-world, so that doesn't mean that a first strike is impossible. Countries remain good at suicide, and just because it would be nuclear-tipped suicide rather than high explosive suicide doesn't mean the motivation has changed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:33:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To quote that great geo-military strategist and thinker (me ;-):

Aside from nutters ... [& etc.]

Yeah, the fly-boys and their golly-gee-whiz fans have been claiming they can do all sorts of crap since the 1930s.  Their actions have not been able to keep pace with their mouths.


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

by ATinNM on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 08:53:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if the Iranians are truly crazy, as advertised, then overwhelming response capability is not a deterrent. Their purported level of craziness is so extreme that they will gladly allow their own country to get turned into glass if they can simply get one nuke over to the evil U.S.A.
by asdf on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 10:59:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me, the Iranians have more problems than they can handle with little money to fix/address 'em.

The "crazy Iranian" propaganda message has more to do with whipping-up Americans to go out and kill Arabs -- even tho' the Iranians are Persians -- in the Name of Oil Peace.  Toss in AIPAC and their influence on American Middle East Foreign Policy, add the Neo-Con World Domination Fantasy and you've got the ingredients for an old fashioned Two Minute Hate.

All the US has to do is ratchet down trying to make the Iranians kowtow and the whole thing would, eventually, go away.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 02:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LobeLog.com » Blog Archive » Condi Rice Could've Written Biden's Speech

I hate to agree with Bill Kristol, but he's right about Vice President Joe Biden's speech at the ongoing Munich security conference when he writes that "the administration chose not to use the occasion to say something interesting. One hopes the Obama administration is actually thinking more seriously than the Biden speech indicates." I'm sure Kristol and I were looking for different things in the speech, but, at least from my point of view, it was hopelessly uninspired and offered no hints of any creative and new thinking that might actually lead to breakthroughs, particularly in the Middle East. Indeed, it sounded like a speech that Condoleezza Rice might have submitted in draft for White House approval before the vice president's office and Elliott Abrams got their hands on it. Remember, this was the Obama administration's first major foreign-policy address and thus a huge opportunity to begin charting its own path.

A few things were especially disappointing, beginning with the emphasis placed by Biden on the change of "tone" the new administration would bring to foreign policy. (This was exactly what Rice meant when she announced in her Senate confirmation hearings in 2005 that "the time for diplomacy is now.") It's nice to have a new "tone", but what about some new content beyond the nominal gestures, like closing Guantanamo and forbidding torture, and the cliches about greater consultation and adherence to international law? In that respect, Biden offered little or nothing substantive.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:33:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We shouldn't be surprised, we knew more than 18 months ago that Obama's foreign policy wasn't quite the new broom everybody hoped it would be.

Seems like, for the US, foreign policy is still the same old tone-deaf bluster of threat shock and awe. They really can't do nuance.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:47:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Give it time.  See what happens when the US economy REALLY hits the skids.  We ain't seen nothin' yet.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 07:08:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Leaders Split on Russian Security Plan | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 07.02.2009
Top officials from the European Union and NATO look for unity on Russian proposals for a new security treaty in Europe. While the NATO chief was critical of Moscow, France's Sarkozy said Russia posed no military threat. 

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's call for a new treaty in Europe "deserves to be taken seriously" and Europe and the United States "should engage in this discussion," EU foreign-policy chief Javier Solana told the prestigious Munich Security Conference.

 

But the secretary general of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, whose organization will be crucial to any new security arrangement, ruled out such a discussion as long as Russia plans to build military bases in the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

 

"I cannot see how we can have such a discussion of the new architecture ... when Russia is building bases inside Georgia. That cannot be ignored, and it cannot be the foundation of a new security architecture," De Hoop Scheffer told some 350 top world politicians.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:35:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]

...ruled out such a discussion as long as Russia plans to build military bases in the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

how about


...ruled out such a discussion as long as the USA plans to maintain military bases in the breakaway Serbian region of Kosovo.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:52:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ECONOMY & FINANCE
by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:27:14 PM EST

Backlash over bankers' bonuses - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
Britain's bailed-out institutions are prepared to pay millions to staff, and government plans will not stop them.

A mutinous backlash is growing in Britain this weekend against banks' plans to carry on paying staff millions in bonuses as if the credit crunch had never happened. The Independent on Sunday understands that the Government intends to try to head off the rising tide of resentment against bankers by saying that it will be an "active shareholder" in the institutions receiving significant bailout cash, and say no to "excessive payments".

But the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, will stop short of an absolute veto on bonuses or a salary cap at taxpayer-rescued banks such as Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group. Treasury sources say he will also try to "coax" other banks to rein in pay and bonus packages. He will set up a review "which will examine how banks are managed. I expect the review to make recommendations about the effectiveness of risk-management by banks' boards, including how pay affects risk-taking."

Despite the recession, Britain's clearing banks will this month pay out millions to staff in bonuses. RBS, now propped up with £20bn of public money, wants to pay its staff almost £1bn in bonuses, it emerged yesterday. Critics contrasted the Government's "mere words" with the decisive and legally enforceable cap on executive pay and bonuses announced by President Barack Obama in the US. They dismissed the Chancellor's plans as not much more than a non-binding code of conduct, which banks are sure to flout.


by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:32:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Royal Bank of Scotland to pay staff £1 billion in bonuses - Telegraph
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is proposing to pay close to £1 billion in bonuses to its staff, just months after it was rescued by a £20 billion taxpayer bail-out, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The bank's board has begun discussions about the bonuses with UK Financial Investments (UKFI), the body set up by the Treasury to manage the Government's shareholdings in Britain's ailing banks.

The scale of the plan is likely to increase public anger as the recession deepens, and add to the frustration of ministers. It comes as Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, announces in The Sunday Telegraph today his plans for an independent review of the way banks are managed, including the bonus system.

The review, which ministers hope will address voters' concerns about big payments to executives, will examine the roles of directors and institutional investors and study how British banks compare with overseas institutions.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:32:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think that anyone has tagged this here.  

CEOs, Bankers Used Corporate Credit Cards for Sex, Says New York Madam

Wall street lawyers, investment bankers, CEOs and media executives often used corporate credit cards to pay for $2,000 an hour prostitutes, according to the madam who ran one of New York's biggest and most expensive escort services until it was busted last year.

But prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney's office chose not to pursue any of the corporate titans, says Kristin Davis, who pleaded guilty last year to charges of running a prostitution business that used more than a hundred women.

"They showed no interest," said Davis in an interview for broadcast Friday on the ABC News program 20/20.

"Some of these guys, I was invoicing on corporate credit cards," she said. "I was writing up monthly bills for computer consulting, construction expenses, all of these things, I was invoicing them monthly so they could get it by their accountants," Davis said.



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 Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As the economy sinks, bartering rises again in Russia - International Herald Tribune

MOSCOW: Does the Taganrog Automobile Factory have a deal for you! Rows of freshly minted Hyundai Santa Fe sport utility vehicles are available right now. In exchange - well, do you have any circuit boards? Or sheet metal? Or sneakers?

Here is a sign of the financial times in Russia: Barter is back on the table.

Advertisements are beginning to appear in newspapers and online, like one that offered "2,500,000 rubles' worth of premium underwear for any automobile," and another promising "lumber in Krasnoyarsk for food or medicine." A crane manufacturer in Yekaterinburg is paying its debtors with excavators.

And one of Russia's original commodities traders, German Sterligov, has rolled out a splashy "anti crisis" initiative that he says will link long chains of enterprises in a worldwide barter system.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:37:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone.Is.Doomed.Except.The.Anglos
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:41:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paging Chris Cook, white courtesy phone please.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:47:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We shall stand upon our bulwark, curing all problems by the strength of our steely gaze.

Then we'll all go home and eat pancakes.


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

by ATinNM on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 04:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Calling Chris Cook.......

UK Guardian: Turn failed banks back into mutuals, Labour told

Pressure is mounting for the government to explore ways to remutualise Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, nationalised after the shares crashed amid fears that they could collapse amid the world financial crisis. Both companies were mutuals before becoming stockmarket-listed banks in the 1990s.

Labour MPs are pushing for the government to expand the role of mutuals, which are owned by depositors and borrowers. They do not have shareholders who may be more interested in diverting profit to bolster dividends than getting customers a better deal.

Mutually owned building societies are widely viewed as more cautious than banks, which have been accused of irresponsible lending during the boom. Societies are barred from funding more than half their mortgages from the wholesale money markets, which have frozen up in the wake of the credit crunch.

This looks like a good way to handle the banking crisis in Britain, and in the US as well.

Done right, you can create a finance sector that has a heavy social component. Why not establish something on the Spanish model, where you have mutalized banks taking an equity interest in startup firms, and putting this a market basis after the company has grown into viability.

This system was essential to getting renewable energy firms in Northeast Spain up and running.

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 Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:54:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ManfromMiddletown:
Done right, you can create a finance sector that has a heavy social component. Why not establish something on the Spanish model, where you have mutalized banks taking an equity interest in startup firms, and putting this a market basis after the company has grown into viability.

I couldn't agree more: it just wouldn't be Equity as we know it.

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 07:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And on that, since we know that we need to unlock credit, why not create cash for equity deals directly with companies?

And sense there needs to be a stimulus, why not carry out (at least part of) it through a program of cash for equity at the local level.  So that you create a quango out of the nationalized banking sector, and use it to channel cash into productive ventures?

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 Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 08:35:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question no one is asking - yet - is what is Wall St for?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 09:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Up until the mid 70s Mutual Banks, Insurance, and other financial companies were common through-out the Midwest, particularly wherever a large(ish) number of Scandinavian or German immigrants ended-up.  These were targeted for buy-outs by the majors and have slowly evaporated over the last three decades.  'Bout the only ones still left are Credit Unions.

No reason they couldn't be ramped-up again.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 02:30:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not gonna happen:

BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Robert Peston

But anyone hoping for revolutionary recommendations from the Treasury's review [of the banking sector] is likely to be disappointed.

The Chancellor has appointed Sir David Walker to chair the review - and he is seen in the City as one of them.

Based on his track record, Sir David is expected to try to fix the current governance system rather than declaring it bust and in need of replacing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:51:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this reply to sirota scorches:

Letters: Obama's team of zombies - Salon

You want to know what happened to our economy?

Mexico happened to our economy.

China happened to our economy.

That's the root of the problem: we loaded our economy on a boat and shipped it overseas.

No, wait a minute. That's not the root of the problem.

That's the trunk of the problem.

The root of the problem is that have a political system based on money.

Thus, the hot air solutions.

What are the chances that our public officials, who owe their very existence to the interests who bankroll them, are going to attack the root of the problems we face?

Approximately...nil. Unless we find a way to force them.

There are going to be no bills proposing new tariffs on products made in China. There are going to be no bills that make it illegal for an American corporation to park its assets in the Cayman Islands. There are going to be no bills that contain minimum environmental or labor standards for imports. No relief for people in hock to credit card companies. Nothing that would threaten the stranglehold of insurance companies on the healthcare system. Nothing but a wag of the finger and a dog-and-pony show in front of an "outraged" Congress for the banking industry.

snip

But what about the unprecedented grassroots fund-raising machine that elected Barack Obama? That money came overwhelmingly from small donors with no special interest except the demand for change. What about their interests?

Yeah. What about their interests?

For some reason, they don't seem to command the same respect as, say, that of manufacturers of children's toys.

I have no clever, one sentence answer for that one.

How come the interest group that paid the most has the least clout?

Maybe in order to have clout, you gotta use clout.

And so far, our guy hasn't shown the inclination to use clout. For a guy from Chicago, he seems strangely dainty. He talks about bipartisanship. We didn't pay Barack Obama to be bipartisan!

We paid him to change things.

We gave Barack Obama, in denominations of $5, $10, $100, the clout to fundamentally change things. We gave Barack Obama 65 million votes. We gave Barack Obama a 75% approval rating. We gave Barack Obama over $745 million. Surely we should get something for our $745 million - besides the president's "appreciation," as Blago would say.

For $745 million, we oughta be fucking golden.

haha, as vbo might opine...

'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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:41:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We paid him to change things.

We gave Barack Obama, in denominations of $5, $10, $100, the clout to fundamentally change things. We gave Barack Obama 65 million votes. We gave Barack Obama a 75% approval rating. We gave Barack Obama over $745 million. Surely we should get something for our $745 million - besides the president's "appreciation," as Blago would say.

For $745 million, we oughta be fucking golden.

That will teach them.

On the other hand, the President still doesn't legislate: the Congress does.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:44:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Truthdig - Reports - It's Not Going to Be OK

At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real. Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will never have the standard of living we had. And poverty and despair will sweep across the landscape like a plague. This is the bleak future. There is nothing President Obama can do to stop it. It has been decades in the making. It cannot be undone with a trillion or two trillion dollars in bailout money. Our empire is dying. Our economy has collapsed.

How will we cope with our decline? Will we cling to the absurd dreams of a superpower and a glorious tomorrow or will we responsibly face our stark new limitations? Will we heed those who are sober and rational, those who speak of a new simplicity and humility, or will we follow the demagogues and charlatans who rise up out of the slime in moments of crisis to offer fantastic visions? Will we radically transform our system to one that protects the ordinary citizen and fosters the common good, that defies the corporate state, or will we employ the brutality and technology of our internal security and surveillance apparatus to crush all dissent? We won't have to wait long to find out.

There are a few isolated individuals who saw it coming. The political philosophers Sheldon S. Wolin, John Ralston Saul and Andrew Bacevich, as well as writers such as Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, David Korten and Naomi Klein, along with activists such as Bill McKibben and Ralph Nader, rang the alarm bells. They were largely ignored or ridiculed. Our corporate media and corporate universities proved, when we needed them most, intellectually and morally useless.

Wolin, who taught political philosophy at the University of California in Berkeley and at Princeton, in his book "Democracy Incorporated" uses the phrase inverted totalitarianism to describe our system of power. Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism and the Constitution while cynically manipulating internal levers to subvert and thwart democratic institutions. Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens, but they must raise staggering amounts of corporate funds to compete. They are beholden to armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington or state capitals who write the legislation. A corporate media controls nearly everything we read, watch or hear and imposes a bland uniformity of opinion or diverts us with trivia and celebrity gossip. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. "Under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true," Wolin writes. "Economics dominates politics--and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness."

that last sentence is anglo disease in the proverbial nutshell...

'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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 05:47:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:27:31 PM EST
Australian bushfires death toll nears 100 - Australasia, World - The Independent

Towering flames razed entire towns in southeastern Australia and burned fleeing residents in their cars as the death toll from the country's worst ever fire disaster continued to rise today.

At least 640 homes were destroyed in Saturday's inferno when searing temperatures and wind blasts produced a firestorm that swept across a swath of the country's Victoria state, where all the deaths occurred.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:31:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Kos: Australia Burning Up and Drowning at the Same Time
As projected by climate-models, extreme weather events continue to intensify all around the world. Particularly hard hit this week is Australia. Drought and fires continue in Southeastern Australia where record temperatures are being set, while in the North in Queensland, torrential flooding has left communities cut off from the outside world.
by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
they should do my project to put water vapour into their atmosphere by flooding the interior. they should also do a lot of work on greening the interior above sea level.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:12:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Asia-Pacific - 'Arsonists' feeding Australia fires

Arsonists are responsible for some of Australia's worst-ever wildfires, that have left nearly 100 people dead, officials have said.

"These people are terrorists within our nation, they are the enemy within and we have to be increasingly vigilant about them," Mike Rann, the governor of South Australia state, said on Sunday.

His comments came as firefighters battled the blazes which have destroyed more than 640 homes and 100,000 hectares of forest and farmland across the country's southeastern states.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:40:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CIA warns Barack Obama that British terrorists are the biggest threat to the US - Telegraph
Barack Obama has been warned by the CIA that British Islamist extremists are the greatest threat to US homeland security.

American spy chiefs have told the President that the CIA has launched a vast spying operation in the UK to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks being launched from Britain.

They believe that a British-born Pakistani extremist entering the US under the visa waiver programme is the most likely source of another terrorist spectacular on American soil.

Intelligence briefings for Mr Obama have detailed a dramatic escalation in American espionage in Britain, where the CIA has recruited record numbers of informants in the Pakistani community to monitor the 2,000 terrorist suspects identified by MI5, the British security service.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:35:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
some kind of preemptive strike!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's actually quite funny, perhaps entering into the lology canon.

hell, they've got some gas left we could take.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:18:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Canary Wharf or the The City?

Choices, choices, choices.....

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 Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 05:29:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
when you think about damage done to  the economy, the City and Canary wharf are hotbeds of terrorists dedicated to the destruction of the fabric of society.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:14:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of the seminar in Lausanne on "Economic Terrorism" I participated in, when no-one disagreed with my point that as far as the energy markets go, the only difference between a Hedge Fund and an Economic Terrorist is motive....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:25:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're still alive for the moment though, aren't you?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:35:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A speculative attack on a currency can destroy an economy in a matter of weeks, while being quite profitable if you're shorting the currency with week-term loans.

Buy the currency at say 1-1 parity, shift the cash to dollars (or euros), so that when you have to pay back the loan, you the rate's fallen to .5-1, and you can pocket half the cash.

This was rampant in Argentina in 2001.

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 Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:57:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where you around for the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis?

What a joke that was.


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

by ATinNM on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 02:34:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It did offer some fantastic times... like the actions of the people in charge of Hong Kong, and the following frantic Friedmanite condemnations.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 04:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention Mahathir in Malaysia....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 06:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Matathir saved his country from total meltdown......

by imposing currency controls to stem the flow of hot money......

what do you suppose the lesson is there?

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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 10:01:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least the terrorists are generally honest about their motives.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 07:24:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hwhat society? There's no such thing as society, doncherknow.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 04:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't be silly.  Hitting the City or the Wharf would go against standing US policy of attacking random things that weren't at all involved.

The answer, then, is clear: Invade the City and Wharf, pull out after accomplishing nothing, and launch a preemptive strike on Yorkshire.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 07:49:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran's Khatami to run for office

Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami has ended months of speculation by announcing that he will run in June's presidential election.

Mr Khatami was president of Iran from 1997-2005 and was succeeded by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a conservative.

"I will seriously take part as a candidate for the election," he told a meeting of a pro-reform group.

In January, a close aide to Mr Ahmadinejad said the incumbent would, as expected, stand for re-election.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Top US lawyer warns of deaths at Guantánamo Bay | World news | The Observer

Lieutenant-Colonel Yvonne Bradley, an American military lawyer, will step through the grand entrance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London tomorrow and demand the release of her client - a British resident who claims he was repeatedly tortured at the behest of US intelligence officials - from Guantánamo Bay. Bradley will also request the disclosure of 42 secret documents that allegedly chronicle not only how Binyam Mohamed was tortured, but may also corroborate claims that Britain was complicit in his treatment.

But first, Bradley, a US military attorney for 20 years, will reveal that Mohamed, 31, is dying in his Guantánamo cell and that conditions inside the Cuban prison camp have deteriorated badly since Barack Obama took office. Fifty of its 260 detainees are on hunger strike and, say witnesses, are being strapped to chairs and force-fed, with those who resist being beaten. At least 20 are described as being so unhealthy they are on a "critical list", according to Bradley.

Mohamed, who is suffering dramatic weight loss after a month-long hunger strike, has told Bradley, 45, that he is "very scared" of being attacked by guards, after witnessing a savage beating for a detainee who refused to be strapped down and have a feeding tube forced into his mouth. It is the first account Bradley has personally received of a detainee being physically assaulted in Guantánamo.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this particular report makes me physically ill.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:21:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How convenient, the detainees are going on "hunger strike" now. And of course the camp guards haven't anything to gain from the lack of witnesses have they ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:40:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There have been stories for quite a while, about the Gitmo detainiees being on hunger strike.
by Fran on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 08:37:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gung Hay Fat Choy!

all the best, oxen.

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 04:20:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CH, I think you are a little late for the Chinese New Year, it was on January 26th.

When is Chinese New Year 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012?

Chinese New Year begins according to the Chinese calendar which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February. Below is a chart that shows the beginning day of Chinese New Year and the animal sign for that year.

And if you want to know what it is going to bring you, you might enjoy this:

Year of the Ox might :-)

by Fran on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 08:35:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks Fran, sorry.  i had no idea, being a former San Franciscan with the largest Chinese pop in the US.  I only thought since the official SF parade was yesterday, and remembering that New Year's festivities encompassed ten days...

better late than never, oder?  (what do i know?)

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 02:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's 15 days long.  So that explains everything.

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 02:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They celebrate it for a long time, though.  At least here in the States.  There was some kind of celebration at the zen temple near my house yesterday, and the signs in English read, "Happy New Year!!"

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 02:27:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:27:54 PM EST
'Toxic' French aircraft carrier docks in Britain - Telegraph

The ship, which used to be known as the Clemenceau, completed its journey from Brest, in France, to join the ranks of "ghost ships" gathered at Graythorp, in Teesside.

At 738ft (225m) long and 213ft (65m high), the 32,780-tonne vessel will become the largest ship to be recycled in Europe and will bring jobs to the area, but the project has faced criticism from environmental campaigners.

Seven other decommissioned vessels, known as "ghost ships" are already on site at the Teesside Reclamation and Recycling Centre (TERRC) near Hartlepool, which is owned by ship recycling company Able UK.

The company, which won a contract reported to be worth up to 4 million euros (£3.5 million) to scrap the ship, had to apply for an exemption from the Health and Safety Executive before the vessel can be dismantled.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thorniest point if I understand correctly: the ship is full of asbestos coating all over the place. Asbestos was all the rage in the early 1960s when it was built; now it's a major liability: the Navy has been trying to find a place who would accept the ship for several years now. It even went to India two years ago before being towed back to Brest.
by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 03:30:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found some interesting presentations on this page

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:13:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice detail on current renewable banking, J.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 06:37:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Problogger: How to Defend your Blogs Copyright

3 simple, inexpensive steps - no lawyer involved - to protect. US law is quoted, but the EU equivalents are easily found.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 02:50:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Joe Bageant: Europeans bristle at 'Leader of free world'
Anyway, if Obama changes American policy in any manner away from the America militarism and the complex that benefits from death and war --- though I doubt he can beat that mob alone, but maybe unify Americans approximately toward that end --- he will have been our greatest president. And I think he is so ambitious he wants to be exactly that and has a reasonably sane "no drama Obama" approach that could work.
But for now he's just another new boss, farting in the same mahogany Oval Office chair as the old boss, but making some very good iconic gestures to indicate things are not going to be the same as the old boss. And the whole world is relieved and more optimistic.  As I've said many times, I do not believe in raw hope, which is childish, can mean anything to anybody, which makes it too easily manipulated by those in authority. But I do believe in justified optimism. And I'm beginning to detect a scent of that in the air. Let's just hope the full course meal will follow.
Still, no matter what Obama does, even in making the finest of choices, somebody's ox is going to be gored. Especially in a country whose economy and sense of identity is driven by a ridiculous infantile and pointless lifestyle of gadgets,20fads and flatulence. In other words, somebody is not going to get their goddamned pony for Christmas and be pissed as hell. Which makes them prime fodder for demagogues and profiteering corporate sharks.
In the end Obama will have done what he could in his time. I only hope that the cagey idealism we all suspect is there, is really there. Or if it is there, that it will not be snuffed by the massive global financial and corporate cartel that really runs this country, mostly by default because most of our citizenry no longer takes responsibility for their country, or anything else except their choice of pizza toppings. We shall see.


'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 Mon Feb 9th, 2009 at 06:17:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:28:14 PM EST
Silvio Berlusconi's 'out of work' actress Elena Russo becomes the face of Naples | World news | The Observer

One of Silvio Berlusconi's favourite actresses has been hired by the Italian government to become the new face of Naples, in a PR campaign designed to clean up the city's image.

Elena Russo, 35, achieved notoriety last year when she featured in a set of tapes in which Berlusconi appeared to pressure directors of Italian state television to find more work for her. "I have this problem of Elena Russo," he said during one conversation, which was leaked to newspapers. "She is practically out of work."

Transcripts of the leaked conversations caused uproar as critics accused the prime minister of improper interference in state media. Now the government has funded the next step in Russo's career, as Berlusconi seeks to claim credit for the transformation of one of Italy's most problematic cities.

by Fran on Sun Feb 8th, 2009 at 02:37:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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