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

Monday Open Thread

by In Wales Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 10:09:58 AM EST

Monday it is. Take a peek at Jerome's diary below if you haven't already.


and natter amongst yourselves.

Display:
CNN: Dow falls below 7,000

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) was down 96 points, or 1.4%, to 6,966 points, 20 minutes after the opening bell. The S&P 500 (SPX) index slid 11 points, or 1.5% to 724 points. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) was down 0.7%.

Both the Dow and S&P are hovering at their lowest levels in about 12 years, as the market remains anxious about the state of the global economy and the world financial system.

"There's a buyer's strike right now in the stock market," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co.

He blamed the decline in futures on "ongoing concerns about the global recession," noting that the European indexes were down 3% to 4%.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 10:20:41 AM EST
DOW is now DOWN 220+ , is in the low 6800's, so

  1. Who won the ET pool regarding which day the DOW would see the 6000's?  Step up and claim your prize.

  2. New ET pool.  When will the DOW first see the 5000's?  Easy now, easy.  No pushing.  Plenty of tickets for everyone.


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 12:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
300 down, thousands to go.  What will tomorrow hold?  Nobody seems to know at this stage.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 04:06:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't seen anyone mention this yet, but events in Eastern Europe and on Wall Street seem to be converging.

The cluster** that was the Hungarian (and other countries) mortgage markets have laid a little bomb.

Because so many of these mortgages were denominated in currencies other than that the forint, the collapse of the currency relative to the euro, etc.... laid the conditions for a large number of mortgage defaults, as the decline of the forint against the currencies mortgages were denominated in has lead to a massive increase in the monthly payment in forint terms.

In turn, this cluster** in the mortgage markets is pulling down the entire economy, as ever greater amounts of cash leave the country to settle the debt.  Meaning that now problems with Hungarian homebuyers being able to pay of loans made in Euros by Austrian banks infects the foreign exchange market.

And as we saw with the collapse of the mortgage markets, the collapse of the underlying asset brought down a whole series of derivatives attached to it.  There's a similar situation with CDS on to control currency fluctuations.  If we see systematic shifts in the value of currencies, so that the holders of currency swap derivatives have to pay up.....

Then we are going to see a round II to this financial crisis that dwarfs the damage done by the collapse of home prices in the US, and the subprime mortgage mess.......

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 Mar 2nd, 2009 at 12:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't see anyone mention what? The Hungarian mortgage cluster**?

See Fran:

SPECIAL FOCUS - EU Summit
yesterday.

Melanchthon:

Bloomberg.com: Hungary Seeks $230 Billion Package for Eastern Europe
and Fran:
Hungary Seeks a Speedy Switch to the Euro | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 25.02.2009
in the Salon for February 26.

This thread in the February 24 Salon.

DoDo:

On Roubini and the CEE menace, see this sub-thread in the currency crash diary.
A comment in the diary The Cusp Of History by afew on February 4th, 2009.


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 12:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True enough.....

I've been otherwise occupied, so I haven't been spending as much time here as I used to.

But, my comment, half of my point got out, was the currency crash.  I don't know if the ECB has an equivalent office, but the stats from the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on derivatives  are very interesting.

We've dealt with credit based derivatives collapsing, thus far, but these are a fraction of the total US derivative pie.



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 Mar 2nd, 2009 at 01:14:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
because the absolute numbers are so much smaller. We're talking a few million mortages at central European prices vs several tens of millions at wildly inflated US prices.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 01:38:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we are talking about the underlying asset, yes.

But what I'm talking about is the exposure that comes through a a currency default situation, or a severe decline.

The saving grace, I think, is that most of this currency swap deals are probably on a short term basis, which means, I think (correct me if I'm off), that while the number over the year is large, that at any one time, the exposure is relatively small.

I do think that there's a real problem brewing in Eastern Europe with these mortgages that were denominated in euro, swiss francs,or my favorite yen.

Interdependence has typically been presented as benign by the media, but now that these derivatives have been introduced into the situation, manageable declines in an underlying asset spread like a contagion through all the instruments linked to them,

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 Mar 2nd, 2009 at 03:34:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DJIA has some more space to fall, to 1980s level. Some said crisis wiped out WS 30 years profits, no wonder that indexes should go where they started 30 years ago.
by FarEasterner on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 02:55:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the Reagan revolution will have been a bad dream... and a waste of precious time to get on with Carter's energy policy.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 03:32:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph: Four out of five Britons do not believe in creationism

The survey of more than 2,000 people found the east has the largest proportion of people in the UK who believe that the theory of evolution removes any need for God (44 per cent).
Almost half of adults there believe the theory of evolution makes God obsolete but just over half are unaware that Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 10:28:57 AM EST
A useful comment to the same story in the Guardian

The news value here isn't that 4 out of 5 Britons repudiate creationism. It's that 1 in 5 peopole living in the UK today can be described as creationist, considering the speed and the extent to which the UK (at least on the surface), appears to have jetisonned most of its Christian beliefs/cultural assumptions and attitudes.

The real story is that in a country where considerable efforts are expended to try to minimize the influence of religion in the public sphere or to exclude religion from the public sphere and where, if we believed much of the media's slant on things (this article is a good example of this), religion is the preserve of a small and dwindling minority, there is still a majority of people in every single area polled (except Eastern England), who believe that God or some other 'higher being' is responsible for the creation of the world.

Even in the supposedly 'Godless' East of England, more people (47%) believe in creationism, evolution being part of God's plan, or intelligent design, than believe that evolution does away with the need for God (44%).



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:32:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another useful comment:

Lovecraftian School Board Member Wants Madness Added To Curriculum | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

ARKHAM, MA--Arguing that students should return to the fundamentals taught in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon in order to develop the skills they need to be driven to the very edge of sanity, Arkham school board member Charles West continued to advance his pro-madness agenda at the district's monthly meeting Tuesday.

"Fools!" said West, his clenched fist striking the lectern before him. "We must prepare today's youth for a world whose terrors are etched upon ancient clay tablets recounting the fever-dreams of the other gods--not fill their heads with such trivia as math and English. Our graduates need to know about those who lie beneath the earth, waiting until the stars align so they can return to their rightful place as our masters and wage war against the Elder Things and the shoggoths!"

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 03:10:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Friedman and Schwartz were wrong - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com

It's one of Ben Bernanke's most memorable quotes: at a conference honoring Milton Friedman on his 90th birthday, he said:

Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry. But thanks to you, we won't do it again.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 10:31:06 AM EST
Just had a second interview with a training organisation where I had to present a 15 minute lecture. I haven't had access to the application I was I was discussing since i left the BBC. Nor do I have powerpoint to produce something streamlined and professional.

But apart from that I felt I made as good a presentation as I could possibly have done and was very happy at what I did. I got good vibes from the panel of 4 I presented to, so we'll see how I go. I should know next week, but I really want that job.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:25:21 AM EST
Good luck, I hope you get it.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:26:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good luck and I'll keep my fingers crossed.
by Fran on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:48:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Charlie Brooker - To politicians, we're little more than meaningless blobs on a monitor. Bring on the summer of rage

Thing is, they could get away with this bullshit while times were good, while people were comfortable enough to ignore what was happening; when people were focusing on plasma TVs and iPods and celebrity gossip instead of what the politicians were doing - not because they're stupid, but because they know a closed shop when they see one. But now it looks as if those times are at an end, and more and more of us are pulling the dreampipes from the back of our skulls, undergoing a negative epiphany; blinking into the cold light of day.

Consequently the police are preparing for a "summer of rage". To the powers that be, that probably just means more tiny monochrome blobs jumping up and down on the long-distance monitor for their amusement. Should it turn out to be more visceral than that, they'll have no one to blame but themselves.

Before the summer of rage, I presume we are in the spring of mild annoyance. Still go read, every paragraph is a hoot.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:36:43 AM EST
Charlie Brooker was responsible for the epically funny and entirely rude word-assisted TV Go Home.

I'm not surprised he's being scathing. It's what he does best.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 01:23:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's good to see SOMEONE talking sense in The Guardian. :)

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 01:40:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will we have any Americans today ? Reports suggest they're all snowed in.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:40:45 AM EST
Shouldn't we have more, if they can not go to work?
by Fran on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
depends on your attitude. Last time I was snowed in we had no electric for four days so in I curled up in front of the log fire and enjoyed the back-to-nature vibe (and barbecue for lunch and dinner)

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:54:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, what does the electricity have to do with the snow?
by Fran on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:56:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
British power stations don't work in the wrong kind of snow.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, what kind of snow do they burn, then?

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 Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:59:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How can you have the "wrong kind of snow?"

Never mind.  I don't want to know.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 06:43:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dry and powdery rather than wet and sticky, gets inside engines of British trains for example and stops them running.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 07:10:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I wish I had that picture. My sister's Volvo parked outside in her driveway...got shoveled out and she hops in and starts it...or tries. It's trying to turn over but nothing's happening.

Time to look under the hood and behold, the entire engine compartment was packed right to the firewall with that dry, white, wispy stuff, only the wind blowing in her grill compacted it. The way her house and barn are situated, the wind is focused and screams through the gap, and she was parked facing windward.

Her engine was just ruined. Her husband got out the blow dryer and extension cord and melted the snow in his equally packed engine compartment before trying to start his Isuzu.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 08:20:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I'd had an internet connection back then, I wouldn't have been online cos the computer would have lacked go-juice.

Plus, the lack of electric meant that staying within glow reach of the fire was pretty important. And there wasn't any point staying up when the sun went down.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 12:18:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope, not all of us.  Seems to be fine.  Trains and buses were running well.  Got into the office at the usual time.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:49:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can feel your disappointment form here ;-))

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:51:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meh, I reckon we got about 6 inches, so it was a little shy of what was needed to shut down the Metro.  Oh, well.

So we're exercising some batshit crazy Midwesternism "flinty Chicago toughness."

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 12:02:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm fresh out of flintiness, since whatever the rest of the country is flipping out about has been going on here since November.  Worst winter on record here.  Freak unexpected blizzard yesterday.  I'm sick.  Just this side of dressing in furs, eating seal blubber and going to work riding a reindeer.  

The thing about the cold, about the snow, is that it kills you by making your brain very sleepy, and you just want to lie down and let the cold consume you.  It's very disturbing.  I can't think of another dangerous weather condition that does that.  Normally, the brain does the flight or fight thing when in a life-threatening situation.  Except in hypothermia.  The you try to burrow and hibernate.

Victim may feel sick to their stomach, and very tired. Often, a person will experience a warm sensation, as if they have recovered, but they are in fact heading into Stage 2. (...)

Movements are slow and labored, accompanied by a stumbling pace and mild confusion, although the victim may appear alert.(...)

the victim exhibits incoherent/irrational behavior including terminal burrowing or even a stupor(...)

An important tenet of treatment is that a person is not dead until he/she is warm and dead. Remarkable accounts of recovery after prolonged cardiac arrest have been reported in patients with hypothermia, like children who have been submerged in cold lakes for more than 15 minutes, being called mini-hibernation.

I'm currently experiencing some kind of existential generalized hypothermia together with the irritability that accompanies cabin fever.  The only thing keeping me from going all Jack Torrance is that I am too sleepy and lethargic.  No energy for homicide.  I just want to burrow and sleep.

The rest of you have no excuse though.  Get to work!

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 12:45:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha. Ha. Ha.

Cold, but no snow here in the Ohio valley.

I'm ready for spring.

Classes, journal submissions, and the nice letters that they send back, :( , and the realization that the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket, is making pretty pissed off about the fact that it's still so damn cold.


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 Mar 2nd, 2009 at 12:50:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you go to work on a reindeer we want photos.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 01:41:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, but I think I get to win on rage points for the moment, because some dumbass set something on fire and forced the whole building to evacuate about an hour ago.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 01:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has the Secret Service been inspecting chimneys in your work place?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 02:18:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]


'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 Mar 2nd, 2009 at 02:20:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to keep it.

Ever since my first job after Grad School in 1980 I've witnessed the Dilbertization of US industry/research with a few exceptions.  Explains a lot about the state of US industry in general and probably includes Banking.

Dilbert.com

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 12:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here we're running 20 to 25 degrees (F) above normal and all our snow pack is melting.  

We've been under a Fire Weather Watch since early February.

Our fruit trees are in flower.

Suspect the yucky weather to the east is being caused by the same factors as our unusual heat:  Global Climate Change.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 06:53:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Copyright Holders Challenge Sites That Scrape Content - NYTimes.com

With the Web's advertising engine stalling just as newspapers are under pressure, some publishers are second-guessing their liberal attitude toward free content.

"A lot of news organizations are saying, `We're not willing to accept the tiny fraction of a penny that we get from the page views that these links are sending in,' " said Joshua Benton, the director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. "They think they need to defend their turf more aggressively."

Copyright infringement lawsuits directed at bloggers and other online publishers seem to be on the rise. David Ardia, the director of the Citizen Media Law Project, said his colleagues kept track of 16 such suits in 2007. In 2004 and 2005, it monitored three such suits each year. And newspapers sometimes send cease-and-desist orders to sites that they believe have crossed the line.



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 Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:58:35 AM EST
it's a sign of desperation. everything became costly and fewer returns. what about turning them into free newspapers (or almost free) - will such strategy yield better results?
by FarEasterner on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 02:49:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well subscriber revenue has never covered the cost of print and distribution, So on the surface that appears a positive move to stop sales haemoraging. (One UK national is reported to be down 10% on sales per month for the last six months) however how do you then pay your distribution network, that suddenly become a cost rather than dealing with their own finance?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 06:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
- I have just started reading "Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More"  I've only read the first few pages, but I would already recommend it to everyone!  Scroll down to page 4 and read the "Binary Socialism" bit.  Someone wrote my book for me.

BTW, in a bit of "small world"ish news, I found this on FPB Russia, who credited Scott Spires for the heads-up, who is a friend of mine on fb, even though I don't know who he is, but an acquaintance had dinner with him and thought he was someone I should know.  

- If you want to know what's afoot in the Russian blogosphere, but can't read Russian, or, like me, are too lazy to make the effort most days, check out "Russia!" It's a round up of popular posts on Live Journal, in English.  Appears to be intellectually on par with the English language blogosphere, a nice mix of silliness, offensiveness, and insightfulness.

In other "small world"ishness, I found out about this from Untimely Thoughts, which is where I know the aforementioned acquaintance from, and come to think of it, this Spires fellow too, probably.  

- Thought some of you would appreciate this:
Coen brothers' TV ad ridicules 'clean coal'

Unrelated "small world"ishness: I was looking at a book by Leonid Tishkov and suddenly realized I know him.  Not like in the way I know anyone from UT (or ET for that matter), but IRL.  We met when he came to my university and did this "Dabloids" play/art exhibit thing (very strange), and then later again in Moscow.  He makes these weird creatures...

- I Just got an e-mail with Howard Dean announcing he'll be returning to DFA.  I guess no cabinet spot for him.  Argh!!!  It will be nice to have him "back" but it would be better if he were Sec. of Health & Human Services.  

In related "small world"ishness news, I was supposed to meet his brother Jim for drinks on Friday, but I didn't go.  I don't feel too hot.  I want to hibernate.

- Now that we've given all our money to AIG, what will we eat?  Some internets advice:

Top Doctor Recommends Anti-Crisis Diet    
Depression cooking

Hope you like carbs and have lots of storage space.  Me?  I need meat and fruit.  I know, really politically incorrect now.  Do you all believe in genetic memory?  Something about the idea of trying to survive on potaoes makes my blood run cold.  

-  Speaking of famine, Russian archives about the famine under Stalin have been opened:

"Not a single document exists that even indirectly shows that the strategy and tactics chosen for Ukraine differed from those applied to other regions, not to mention tactics or strategy with the aim of genocide," said Vladimir Kozlov, head of Russia's Federal Archive Agency.
He said the famine was a direct result of Josef Stalin's brutal collectivization campaign and the widespread confiscation of grain that was exported to secure equipment needed for the Soviet dictator's frenetic industrialization drive.

Kozlov said the policy was class-based, targeting the kulaks -- wealthy farmers seen as enemies of Communism -- and was implemented virtually identically across the Soviet Union.

"There were no national or ethnic undertones," he told a news conference at the headquarters of state news agency RIA-Novosti.

It's very true.  The Kazakhs lost something like 1/3 of the population in the famine.  Genocide?  It clearly was not an ethnic, race, religion "hate crime" type of thing.  It was the systematic extermination of millions of people for political and economic reasons, some intentional, some crimes of neglect and incompetence.  But this has me thinking:  Is the Irish famine considered genocide?  The two are not entirely incomparable...  Anyway, whatever you want to call what happened under Stalin, I think it is pretty tacky how Ukraine is approaching it.  Can we please acknowledge the loss of life in Ukraine without diminishing the loss of life in other parts of the USSR, including Russia?  Can we not exploit this tragedy for political gain, please?


"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 02:24:10 PM EST
Is the Irish famine considered genocide?

I think your previous sentence sums it up;-

It clearly was not an ethnic, race, religion "hate crime" type of thing.  It was the systematic extermination of millions of people for political and economic reasons, some intentional, some crimes of neglect and incompetence.

Definitions of genocide seem rather fluid, depending on who you're talking to and what the political weather is locally. But if you go to Boston and ask around, I'm sure you'll get a less nuanced opinion.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 02:55:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where the heck is everyone?

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 04:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to happen now and again. I joked that the USians would be missing and it turns out it's nearly all of us.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 04:53:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
reading, not writing, from site meter statistics...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was at college and now I am going to bed. I have much recovering still to do from a busy weekend.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:22:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, attacking the kulaks, who were over represented in Ukraine, is no different to saying that white flight is not about racism, but only about poverty/class?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am very sure that is not at all what I said.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:18:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just saying that the genocide did hurt the Ukrainians more, because of the way their society was set up then, and whether the target was the Ukrainians or the social compact, the result is the same.

It neither denies the reality of the genocide elsewhere nor overstates it to point out that Ukrainians did get targeted, even if not for ethnic/nationalistic reasons.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:25:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, you just replaced one over-simplification for another.  

I'm not going to engage in whatever you're trying to start.

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:20:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are many documented instances of white flight being accompanied with various processes making sure the blacks weren't allowed to follow along the flight...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misŤres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:22:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have to put the forced collectivization under Stalin into context.  The New Economic Policy jump started the Russian economy and could have led to a Social Democratic-like political system.  Stalin allied with the Top/Down authoritarian wing of the Bolshevik Party in order to kick-out Bukharin and the 'westernizer' Wing.  

The payoff to the authoritarians was the Central Plan type of political-economic methodology which necessarily meant collectivization of agriculture and the suppression and liquidation of the kulaks.    

Since the Ukraine did relatively well under the NEP it did worse under the new, imposed, system.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 07:15:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the things people are trying to put together is a list of the precursors to genocide. Things like the existence of an existing conflict, an ethnic/religious/racial divide (but explicitly not a political divide), the growth of nationalism, etc. The Kulaks had been demonized even during the tsarist regime, and the logic of Lenin's socialism certainly allowed no place for them. Lenin made common cause with the Kulaks early on because he needed to, but it was only a matter of time before they were targeted themselves.

This wasn't politics, but ideology. It could have been attempted differently, and what transpired is not a reflection of socialism, but of Stalin's personality and of Russian tax-farmers gone wild.

So was it genocide? The new diplomatic initiative called The Responsibility to Protect (pdf) is an attempt to answer this question. Based on a twenty year old notion first expressed by Francis Deng of the Brookings Institute (later United Nations Secretary General's Representative on Internally Displaced Persons), R2P elevates the responsibility to ensure that a government's citizens are safe to a vital condition of that government's soveriegnty. Never mind targetting a group, failure to send aid, or to block aid in event of a natural disaster can trigger an intervention by the international community.

So, Raphael Lemkin's word, "genocide," becomes less important as this issue develops and it moves more in the direction of a newsman's term though the flawed and ambiguous Convention Against Genocide remains the only legal definition in place. The move away from the word genocide is perhaps deliberate, as the language on this issue tends towards absolutes and away from something that can be agreed to by the international community.

I'm loath to give Stalin the benefit of doubt on this issue (I just can't get my mind around the image of a benign Uncle Joe), but under R2P proposal, I can do so and still call what happened a crime against humanity.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 09:47:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stalin was a murderous thug.  A stupid murderous thug.

The kulaks were The Other under the Bolshevik tyranny and once Bukharin's notion of letting the peasants spring-board the Soviet Union into industrialization had been discarded the way was open to forced collectivization via appropriation of wealth through murder (the kulaks) and theft (everybody else.)

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

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 01:51:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Why would the NEP have led to an democratic political system? Stalin' opponents, including Bukharin, were just as happy killing folks who were genuinely opposing the regime as Stalin himself. The difference was that Stalin went quite a bit further in his paranoid encouragement of rooting out anyone who might possibly  privately not be a big fan, or at least had an enemy who would say that was the case in a denunciation. That in turn created a sick dynamic of people seeking to denounce people who they suspected might denounce them, and the whole thing snowballed.

Secondly, the NEP was largely a small scale service sector thing, plus small scale private farming.

Finally, Stalin first allied himself with Bukharin to get rid of the 'left' starting with Trotsky, then Zinoviev and Kamenev. He then flipped, but that was because of the belief that you needed to develop heavy industry at an intense pace. To do that you needed to shift resources and manpower from the agricultural, rural sector to the industrial urban one. That meant destroying rural society in order to be able to wring every last bit you could out of them, while getting mass migration to the cities.

by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re-read please.  I wrote "could."

For a society to change there has to be something allowing the forces of change to build.  The NEP provided that mechanism as the economic basis for a slow transition to democracy.  Or, if you think that is too strong, insert "the NEP provided a hope for" in the appropriate place.

Once the Command Economy has been installed the Soviet Union was firmly entrenched in authoritarian, bureaucratic, control over every aspect of life.  

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

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 3rd, 2009 at 01:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"There were no national or ethnic undertones," he told a news conference at the headquarters of state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Yes and no. It coincided with a u-turn in nationalities policy from encouragement of the development of cultural ethnicity to the reverse. This reversal was carried with the standard Stalinist methods. The Ukraine was easily the most important of the 'other' nationalities of the USSR, and Ukrainian soviet style nationhood had been especially strongly encouraged within the Ukrainian SSR, in part due to popular pressure, in part because it was right on the border with heavily Ukrainian areas on the other side (and the most nationalist ones) that the Soviets wanted. So for propaganda/foreign policy purposes it was quite important. That meant a hothouse growth of a Ukrainian cultural elite which then got wiped out.

by MarekNYC on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 11:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Last year, the French government introduced a rebate/feebate system for new cars, linked to their carbon emissions. One year later, this reportprovides a summary of how effective it's been, and the answer is: a lot.



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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 04:20:47 PM EST

the president might fairly ask Mr Brown what he has to to offer. Thus far Britain has seen the special relationship as setting it apart from the rest of Europe. The reverse should be true. Why should the US take the lead in forging a new global compact, Mr Obama could justly say, when a fractured Europe is bending to the siren voices of economic nationalism? If Britain wants to be heard in the White House, surely it must show it has real clout in Europe. Now there is something for Mr Brown to think about during the long flight home.

Philip Stephens



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:22:20 PM EST
Actually, for the US, it's tactically just as effective in keeping Europe from presenting a unified front against one policy or other Washington wants to put out there.

Would Iraq have been invaded had the unanimous voice from Moscow to London told Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz to cool their jets?

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 08:49:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or how to put those pesky leftist workers back to work.



Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misŤres

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 06:16:55 PM EST

....make them an offer they can't refuse....

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 06:47:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 07:10:32 PM EST
I'm eating breakfast looking across the Mekong at Laos.

With wireless internet.

Now I'm going to go purchase an untraded foreign currency.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Mar 2nd, 2009 at 08:03:09 PM EST


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