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

Friday Open Thread

by afew Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 11:14:18 AM EST

Discuss


Display:
Starts here.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 11:15:22 AM EST
I'd ask the obvious question - who is this aimed at?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 11:17:54 AM EST
Tweedledum and his friends the BigEnders (who happen to now be living on an estate in Malta.)

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 01:58:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an important question, but I had the idea that it's mostly about the stuff that happens "abroad," e.g. not in the US, that's the bone.  That's not totally unrelated to the idea of the "American dream" is an economic message that everyone is going to end up middle class, but different.

If that's the audience, then it's what Washington cautioned against in terms of "foreign entanglements" that's the issue.  Traditionally American has been isolationist in terms of foreign policy. Latin America was the exception prior to WWII. But it sort of seems like latter day adventures have killed off Washington's idea of America as a land apart.  So why no drape the flag over a coffin with Washington in it?

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 Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:59:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arsenal have drawn Barelona in the European champions League.

Their mission, as they've chosen to accept it, is to find a way to go out with their dignity intact : Winning is not an option;-



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 11:25:28 AM EST
What's the worst gig you've ever done ? Johann Hari lays out some of his worst moments. when the Dalai Lama says  you're fat, there's no way back



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 11:28:35 AM EST
that is truly hilarious.

thank you.

by stevesim on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:41:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian photos of the year

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 11:30:04 AM EST
The idea began in a quick conversation - the phrase 'I don't buy it' has a useful oscillation in meaning that I related to my old proposal of 'withdrawal of purchase' as a better weapon against misbehaving corporations than, say, strikes or street protests.

The scepticism of the phrase 'I don't buy it' could be applied in many contexts. Thus it's difficult to give an audience.

It's the phrase which is useful imo.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 11:31:28 AM EST
In the US, the story of politically inspired boycotts is (almost) one of failure all around.  Putting it medievally: possible to take-out the local squire but then the baron claims the fields; take out the baron and its some earl who gains control.  When the serfs get too revolting ... send in the army.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 12:31:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's a useful phrase (even though I share AT's doubts about boycotts).

My question was, why couple it with The American Dream and a rippling flag against a blue sky? Or, as you suggested in the Salon, a flag with lots of tat on it. I mean, I get it, but presumably this is not intended to preach to the choir but to have an iconoclastic effect on believers. I'm not sure what the effect would be, other than possibly to reinforce their belief.

If you wanted to peel off a fringe of Those Who might-begin-to-doubt, this might slip by some defences better (but then again, it might not work at all?):

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:47:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is fine. Though I wouldn't like to deal with the Rockwell estate.

I'm not talking about political boycotts. I'm saying that in the next 3 years it will be possible - if the anger is there - to organize massive coordinated on and offline action against large immoral corporations. Some of these corporations want to sell things to these angry people. Coordinated 'not buying' will have a lot of leverage in the board room if sales could be dropped by double digits.

Some corporations do not operate on the High St - other methods will be found to get their attention.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, so it's some corporate icon that's needed as the backdrop to the slogan.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:12:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we're talking consumer-level action, there really is only one corporate icon possible.



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

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:25:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could search for Rev Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. (apologies for the drive-by, i'm pressed for time in frisco.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:48:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Europe cannot default its way back to health

By Lorenzo Bini Smaghi (member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank)

An oft-made assumption is that governments can renegotiate with their creditors the terms and conditions of their debt instruments without this having major repercussions on the rest of the economic and financial system. This assumption is largely based on the experience of developing countries with underdeveloped financial systems and mainly foreign creditors. What is generally not well understood is that, in advanced economies, public debt is the cornerstone of the financial system and an important component of the savings held by citizens.

As recent events have shown, the simple fear of a default or of a restructuring of public debt would endanger the soundness of the financial system, triggering capital flight. Without public support, the liabilities of the banking system would ultimately have to be restructured as well, as was done for example in Argentina with the corralito (freezing of bank accounts). This would lead to a further loss of confidence and make a run on the financial system more likely. Administrative control measures would have to be taken and restrictions imposed. All these actions would have a direct effect on the financial wealth of the country's households and businesses, producing a collapse of aggregate demand. Taxpayers, instead of having a smaller burden of public debt to bear, would end up with an even heavier one.

As opposed to what's happening now?


Many commentators fail to realise that the main impact of a country's default is not on foreign creditors, but on its own citizens, especially the most vulnerable ones. They would suffer the consequences most in terms of the value of their financial and real assets.

In which country do the most vulnerable citizens own financial or real assets?


The economic and social impact of such an event is difficult to predict. The democratic foundations of a country could be seriously threatened. Attentive observers will not fail to notice that sovereign defaults tend to occur in countries where democracy has rather shallow roots.

Europeans have not forgotten the devastating effects that the expropriation of wealth, such as that carried out during the two world wars by way of inflation or defaults, may have on the economic and social fabric.

Godwin! Godwin!


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 11:55:16 AM EST
By Lorenzo Bini Smaghi (member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank)

We're doomed.

Oh, and Godwin, Godwin indeed:

Migeru:

FT.com: Europe cannot default its way back to health by Lorenzo Bini Smaghi
Europeans have not forgotten the devastating effects that the expropriation of wealth, such as that carried out during the two world wars by way of inflation or defaults, may have on the economic and social fabric. There is awareness that, in the end, it may be less costly to tackle excessive public debt with the traditional remedies - that is, achieving an adequate level of primary surplus - rather than looking for quick fixes. There is also awareness that, without restoring economic growth, the debt burden cannot be reduced over time. This requires major structural reforms aimed at improving the functioning of the labour, capital and goods markets.

...

To understand what is happening in Europe, economics textbooks are useful but the history ones even more so.

The writer is a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank

(h/t Eurointelligence)
Apparently according to this guy the "devastation of the economic and social fabric of Europe" during the two world wars is associated by "Europeans" with "expropiation through inflation and default".

Mustard gas, trench warfare, carpet bombing and concentration camps have nothing to do with anything.

And the guy has the gall to appeal to history books!?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 12:01:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The elites are scared that the idea is catching on. Quick, peel more onions about the horrors of default

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 12:06:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're not peeling onions, they're smoking them.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 12:08:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bin Smaghi will say more things in this style. How else can he hope to beat (insert any German name here) for ECB chairman after Trichet?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Krugman: They Have Made a Desert
And called it successful adjustment. Matthew Yglesias marvels at European policy makers who consider Latvia a success story. And their satisfaction is indeed something wondrous to behold. Here's a comparison:

A few more such successes and Latvia will have no economy at all.
Iceland defaulted. What can Bini Smaghi say about this?

Yglesias: The Latvian Catastrophe

Klaus Regling, chief executive of the European Financial Stability Facility, wants you to know that monetary union without fiscal integration is workable after all and he offers, as an example, Latvia:
Latvia which has a currency pegged to the euro, testifies to the success of this policy. Contrary to commentators who predicted disaster for Latvia early last year unless it gave up its hard peg - in line with advice from the commission - it did not devalue its exchange rate. A real effective devaluation was achieved through severe cuts in nominal income. Today its economy is growing again. Those outside "experts", who always seem to know what is good for Europe, should take note.
So to be clear about this, the Latvian economy suffered a 4.2 percent contraction in 2008. By way of comparison, in the horrible year of 2009 the US economy contracted 2.44 percent. So that was a very bad recession, much worse than the American recession. At this point, so called "outside `experts'" predicted disaster for Latvia in early 2009 unless it devalued its exchange rate. Latvia declined to devalue and its GDP shrunk 18 percent! That's the disaster right there. Overall GDP growth for 2010 is forecast to be slightly negative again. So, yes, Latvia has returned the growth. But the toll was terrifyingly high.
I despair, I truly do.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:42:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
A real effective devaluation was achieved through severe cuts in nominal income.

Oh, here's a German admitting that what Germany did and continues to do is called "real effective devaluation"?

Germany has been cheating on us all along?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:54:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if I should be paranoid, but with my flu symptoms refusing to go away, my parents are definitely unenthusiastic about me going into the living room. I am carrying plague, burn the witch

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 12:08:24 PM EST
you'll be ok for at least the next few days. the pond will be frozen over and the parents wont be able to do all the proper legal tests to check before they can get the torches and pitchforks out.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 12:36:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've had that thing for some weeks, haven't you?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 12:41:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, this is another one. I recovered from that one perfectly.

But it seems that changing my gender does not make me immune from Man-Flu. I am taking to my death bed and setting myself for the mausoleum. Attendants !! Fly and surround me with the accouterments for relieving suffering; tissues, lemsip and tea. Faster faster, hurry up quick I feel faint it may be my time (raises whip feebly but falls back on bed melodramatically and groans pathetically)

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 01:21:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 01:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our eager Essex iReporters have managed to  snap the scene:

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:11:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
how did you smuggle that artist in ? And don't tell me, you've hidden the preliminary sketches

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Detroit mayor plans to shrink city by cutting services to some areas | World news | The Guardian

Fifty years ago, Detroit was home to almost 2 million people. Today, many of the once bustling, car clogged streets of the motor city are largely abandoned. The population is less than half what it was. One in five houses is empty, and the crisis has only deepened with the mass foreclosures of recent years.

Now the city authorities, faced with talk of bankruptcy, plan to downsize Detroit by cutting off services, such as policing and sewerage, to large parts of the blighted metropolis in an effort to pressure residents to move to core neighbourhoods of a smaller city.

In some parts of Detroit, 80% of housing is empty amid widespread unemployment. Many have simply abandoned properties now worth a fraction of the mortgages on them.

Property prices have collapsed to the point where houses can be had for $100, although the average price is $7,500 (£5,000). The city council gives homes away to those prepared to pay the outstanding property taxes.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 12:35:06 PM EST
Well, it's good to see reality being acknowledged.

There's a whole history, here, that I don't have the heart to write about.  Suffice to say, Detroit is leading the way to the New American Century.


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

by ATinNM on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 01:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I honestly think that Detroit is on the rebound.  

The city sunk so low that it's now looking up at the bottom of the barrel. The city is really being remade from the core out.  The downtown area is quite nice, and that's beginning to reach into the midtown area leading up to Wayne State.  It's still rough, but you have the surreal spectacle of $150,000 brand new condos next door to an abandoned church on Woodward right north of the Tigers Stadium.

When I went to the US Social Forum this past summer our campsite was in a donated lot in that part of the city.

So you had this on one side of the street.

And this on the other.

The Hotel Eddystone.  Looked bombed out. No windows. Seagulls flying all over the place.  Walking up to a bar on the street it's on was surreal.  Only half the streetlights were on.  Transgender "ladies of the night" out working.  But this is like 3 blocks from the new condos.

But don't count Detroit out.  There is something of a green industry starting.  Ironically enough, the biggest customer is typically the US military. It's been mostly solar panels, rather than the turbine gearbox assemblies and the like that are better matched to the existing plants. Plus, geographically Detroit is blessed.  With the coming of peak oil a lot of transportation realities are going to kick back in.

Detroit is an inland port with access to iron from the Mesabi range in Minnesota and the ability to ship from the city by barge to the rest of the world. The new South doesn't have that sort of natural infrastructure. And if overland transport by truck gets expensive, impact of wages as compared to transport costs on margins begins to wane.

Once the war that's brewing in East Asia gets kicked off, you watch. Places like Detroit will turn around quick.

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 Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:22:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not "counting it out."  I'm merely pointing-out the Detroit is a bigger Flint City -- where the city government has also decided to adjust their city to reality.

Detroit does, as the major said, have an opportunity.  With housing prices so low it makes the Cost of Living low making it possible to live a "middle class lifestyle" on $12.50/hour rather then live like a debt slave at $17.50/hour.  

There's a lot that could be done - removing the Ford family from any influence would be a good start! - to turn Detroit around.  

But first the city government has to get its stuff together ... which apparently they have (finally) started to do.

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

by ATinNM on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 04:30:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of these Detroit pictures I referred to about a couple of months ago:

Bernard:

An amazing collection of pictures of abandoned buildings in Detroit, from two French photographers:

Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre Photography - The Ruins of Detroit

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the city of Detroit
developed rapidly thanks to the automobile industry.

Until the 50's, its population rose to almost 2 million people.
Detroit was the 4th most important city in the United States.

It was the dazzling symbol of the American Dream City with
its monumental skyscrapers and fancy neighborhoods.

Increasing segregation and deindustrialization caused violent riots in 1967.
The white middle-class exodus from the city accelerated and the suburbs grew.
Firms and factories began to close or move to lower-wage states.
Slowly, but inexorably downtown high-rise buildings emptied.

Since the 50's, "Motor City" lost more than half of its population.

Here's United Artists Theater:

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 05:10:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Know what?

In those pictures I see a helluva lot stuff that can be recycled and reused.  All the old tiles, marble, iron work, architectural doo-dahs, stonework, & so on could be taken down, cleaned-up, re-used, or sold.

Detroit has the stuff it needs to re-build.  The city needs some gumption, old-fashioned common sense, and plain hard work allied to intelligence.  

(Not the answer you were expecting, I suppose.)

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

by ATinNM on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 05:32:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't expecting any particular answer, but yes, you're right: there's plenty of stuff to rebuild a new smaller  downtown. What's missing is the money: all captured by the 2% uber-class.
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 09:26:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In my original writing I had:

A "Bank of the City of Detroit" modeled on "The Bank of North Dakota" would also be a big step forward."

I deleted for reasons that seemed good at the time.

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

by ATinNM on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 12:29:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But many people have bought the facebook dream - see map of facebook friendships below...



Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 12:50:18 PM EST
This image proving that Turkey is part of at least the Facebook version of Europe? Moreso that Spain, perhaps?
by asdf on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 07:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congressman Adam Schiff, (D) who pretends to represent my interests in the great community of Glendale California, voted for the McConnell/Obama Tax Bill. Unfortunate. Predictable. Probably against the wishes of his constituents, though the results of the poll he took isn't posted.

He writes these awful surveys with each of his newsletters, usually on a drummed up/pressing issue, with usually read (when parsed) along the lines of:
[  ] Yes, we should do some unconstitutional thing that will feel good in the short term

[  ] No. Anything Obama is for, I am against.

I wrote him a suggestion for his next survey:

[  ] Yes. We should be ashamed of Congressman Schiff for falling into the Republican trap of destroying Social Security and giving millionaires tax breaks while the rest of us scrape by.

[  ] No, I think keeping taxes on on income derived from trading stocks and commodities deserve to be at half the rate that the working grunts pay. Just because commodity trading now mostly just raises the costs of materials for manufacturers and boosts consumer prices, we rich make the same percentage but higher profits on higher priced goods, so what do we care? And, if my dad dies and leaves me millions in stocks and bonds that have never been taxed, why shouldn't I be able to keep the whole amount? Who should I make your campaign check to, the Republican Party?

It won't do any good, but it was fun for a few minutes.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:14:10 PM EST
Quite unSerious

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:19:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. sues BP, Transocean, Anadarko over Gulf oil spill | Pitts Report

Investigators also have found that the rig's last line of defense against a massive spill, the blowout preventer, had been altered and that BP engineers were unable to close its valves and seal the well.

One company not named in the lawsuit is Halliburton, the Houston-based oil services firm that poured the concrete that was intended to seal the well. There was no immediate explanation for its exclusion.

My Bold.

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

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:31:34 PM EST
Tweet revenge: Italians bombard EU summit wall with Silvio Berlusconi insults | World news | The Guardian

An experimental "tweet-wall" on giant TVs in the main hall of the EU summit in Brussels was shut down to avoid causing embarrassment to Silvio Berlusconi after being hijacked by Italian Twitter users who bombarded it with messages calling their prime minister "a mafioso" and "a paedophile".

Postings on the microblogging site tagged "#EUCO" were automatically fed to a pair of large plasma screens in the main hall of the Brussels building in which the 27 leaders of Europe were meeting to discuss a response to the eurozone debt crisis.

But soon after it was launched yesterday, Italian twitter users found out about it and flooded it with anti-Berlusconi messages.

After only two hours, the "tweet-wall" was replaced by anodyne footage of the summit proceedings and the European Council logo.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 02:32:35 PM EST
nice one...

meanwhile, back at the rancho perduto

Beppe Grillo's Blog


"I want to tell you that the Banco Emiliano Romagnolo has been blocked by the Bank of Italy and that all its current accounts have been frozen so as to stop everyone from withdrawing money. They are trying to sell the bank to the Intesa Group. Nothing more is known. And they say that up until 7 January nothing more will be known. They will have a peaceful Christmas holiday! And it's not because of the cold weather! Like so many other people, I find that I cannot receive payments into my account, or my salaries, nor can payments be made and I cannot take money out. All this has happened without warning and keeping everything hidden. Even now you cannot read anything about it in the newspapers. You ring up the bank directly to see that it's all true:
0514135595 - 0514135539
Greetings" A.C.

Transcript of the telephone call made by the blog to the BER:

BER:It was during a measure taken by the Bank of Italy on 7 December when they established the freeze on the money coming in and going out of the current accounts, this protection of the current accounts, looking after the transition procedures that are applied right now means that the account is frozen. It's not possible to make or receive payments, process direct debits or use the cash machine. The account is completely blocked. Unfortunately even we employees are in the same situation. We cannot do any shopping. If someone has another possibility, the situation has been crystallized in the state in which it is found. You see, we ourselves who could have protected ourselves, to make a withdrawal, we ourselves were told from one minute to the next, above all in the relationship with the clients. At 6 o'clock in the evening, this decision became affective when it was published in the Bank of Italy's Official Bulletin and in the national newspapers. On the morning of the 7th when the branches opened, they told us this. It's a drastic measure and it clearly causes and will cause all sorts of enormous problems that I suppose the Bank of Italy can do and it will get loads of denunciations. Be that as it may, obviously, the ones with big difficulties are above all the companies. A terrible disaster.
Blog: Apart from the money held in the current accounts, how about the way the bank acts as a simple intermediary in relation to the escrow accounts for securities. Has even that been blocked? BER: Yes. Everything. Completely everything.
Blog: The securities are in the name of the current account holder, not in the bank's name. BER: Yes. They are blocked in as much as they cannot be transferred from one account to another, they are there and they stay there until they are unblocked. Then each person can do what they like with them.
Blog: So in this period of "freeze" I cannot deal with my shares? BER: No, but nor can you use your current account.

wunderbar!

more vampire squiddery:

Beppe Grillo's Blog



The tentacles of "Comunione e Liberazione" and of the "Compagnia delle Opere"
"My name is Ferruccio Pinotti. I am an investigative journalist. In recent years I have been dealing with red-hot investigations relating to topics like Opus Dei, the death of Roberto Calvi, the freemasons, the relationship between Berlusconi and the Vatican. With this new investigation "La Lobby di Dio", the first one about "Comunione e Liberazione" and the "Compagnia delle Opere" (CdO), I have tackled the topic of the power of CL in the society and the economy of Italy. CL is a growth world. It was created in 1954 from an intuition by Don Luigi Giussani; bit by bit it has created a lobby that is political, religious, economic and financial. It's a lobby that is strong within business circles by means of CdO that is a reality associating 34 thousand enterprises with an overall turnover estimated to be at least 70 billion euro, that has relationships with the main Italian banks, by means of agreements that allow the members of the CdO to have facilitated access to credit, a reality that leads and guides, "manu militari", a Region that has a budget that is equal to or greater than many States in northern Europe, like Lombardy, with a budget of 24.9 billion euro, but it is also a reality, CL and CdO together that is colonising vast areas of the country like Calabria, Sicily, Lazio and so many other areas of Italian life, where its business affairs are in constant growth.
Backing the CL there is a powerful lobby of politicians, of entrepreneurs, of bankers, it's enough to say that Marchionne the CEO of FIAT went to the CL meeting and he didn't hesitate to say: "You are the future. The future is in your hands."

relax, it will all be over soon enough...

'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 Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
boggles more than usual.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 04:58:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
70 billion euro is a small overall turnover for 34 000 enterprises: that makes a little more than 2 million euros for each enterprise. FIAT alone has a turnover of over 50 billion euros...  

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 06:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well yes exactly... these are humble candlemakers, bible-binders, lace pointers, cassock fitters, ring casters, chalice founders, document-buryers, celice-sharpeners, satin knickers-stylists and fine footwear artisans.

unimpugnable servants in the vineyard of the lord.

 

'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 Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 06:55:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i need to add, the police activity was as repulsively over the top as usual, but the selective editing in the first news reports was deceptive.

today a right wing pol here (last-gasperi) has suggested proactively imprisoning lefty leaders, to try and cool down the street demonstrations.

that's going to stem the tide, for sure, as the banks shut down the mothers' milk supply, i wonder if beppe grillo will be counted as an instigator.

the last time they did this was '78, during the 'leaden years', which were later revealed as mostly false flag setups.

i think that there was some confusion between the many different arms of the law, and their plainclothes agents.

there's a bossi-boy called la russa who is foaming with excitement at the chaos, and the excuse to put the boot in, god help us if he gets any more power.

he had di pietro apopleptic the other day, and was getting a big kick dragging him down to his level, beady little eyes glittering in glee.

christ the politics in italy is beyond creepy right now

'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 Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 01:52:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Nigeria drops Dick Cheney bribery charges

Nigeria has dropped charges against former US Vice-President Dick Cheney over a 1990s bribery scandal, anti-corruption officials say.

The case focused on bribes paid by engineering firm KBR while it was a subsidiary of Halliburton, a firm headed by Mr Cheney at the time.

Nigerian officials said Halliburton agreed an out-of-court deal worth $250m (£160m). The firm has not commented.

Mr Cheney, who became vice-president in 2001, has always denied wrongdoing.

The bribe settlement worked.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:01:58 PM EST
So Shell and Halliburton reached a deal?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:30:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyone notice the two NYT articles on US China wind which came out just after the Summit? the articles summed up what the meeting produced from an amurkan perspective. the Chinese delegates seemed to have a different view.

back next week.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 03:50:59 PM EST
Sounds like someone's gonna have to explain that one to us...

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 04:08:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC - Adam Curtis Blog: WICKED LEAKS

Bradley Manning, the intelligence analyst who is alleged to have leaked the thousands of state department cables, has often been compared to Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

But I have stumbled on a film in the archives that tells the story of another leaker in America who tried to do the same thing, but even earlier.

He was a young State Department diplomat who stole and copied thousands of Top Secret cables. Like Daniel Ellsberg, his aim was to release them to stop America's involvement in what he believed was a disastrous foreign war.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 04:01:44 PM EST
Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart



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

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 04:51:25 PM EST
Captain Beefheart, a.k.a. Don Van Vliet, dies at 69 | The Music Mix | EW.com
Avant-garde rock legend and visual artist Don Van Vliet, who performed under the name Captain Beefheart, passed away today at age 69. A representative of New York City's Michael Werner Gallery, which hosted several shows of his paintings, confirms the sad news to EW. Van Vliet died of complications from multiple sclerosis at a hospital in Northern California this morning.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 05:13:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 07:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting comment - four years ago - re drug addiction, by a Scottish ambulance-man on a policemens' blog......

The Policeman's Blog

This is a coppers' blog; the majority of postings are made by policemen, whose main point of contact with junkies is, naturally, their criminality. Mine isn't; I am in the ambulance service, so I see the overdoses, the referrals by GPs of septicaemia, and the deaths. I am not a social worker, but I live in small-town Scotland. I, and my colleagues, tend to know "our" junkies and their families. In their school days, my kids were friends with other kids who are now amongst the worst of our addicts. One of our "small towns" happens to have the highest rate of heroin use per head of population anywhere in the country.

I agree that most junkies are social inadequates who would have turned to petty thievery anyway - in which case they would still have been on your crime sheets. Imprisoned for long enough, they may break the habit - assuming that the Prison Service manages to keep the prison drugs free - but immediately they are released, they return to their old circle (who else would have them?) and the habit is re-established. They seem, by and large, to steal from one another and from their families, to shoplift, to nick bicycles, to break into cars, and to commit benefit fraud. I believe the word used to be "pilfering". Junkies or no, they probably would have been doing it anyway. Several entries in this posting say so.

However, I have known a few who are merely junkies. Yes, they are pathetic and weak, (some so weak that they are dead); many come from decent families who are distraught at what has happened, but who nevertheless still give support. Being a junkie does not necessarily make you a bad person.

Furthermore, with heroin locally costing as little as £25.00/gm, I do not buy in to the "huge crime wave" story. Such may have been the case in the past, but there seems little evidence of it hereabouts nowadays. The only victims of violence in drugs-related crime I have ever had to treat are petty dealers who have had a falling out and have settled matters with knives, fists, or anything else to hand. Admittedly one such was a murder; the victim's family cared, and people care about them because they are decent and hard working; on the other hand, nobody misses the victim much. Furthermore, only the perpetrator's family (also respectable) care that he is banged up in Barlinnie

The "court" bit of the local papers carries news of convictions of the usual suspects who are done for credit card fraud, shoplifting, and possession. The credit cards are generally stolen by one particular woman who gives her victim a "good time" then goes through his pockets whilst he is asleep. Unsympathetic local opinion ponders the sanity of anyone who would consider her a "good time". The woman also happened to be a primary school classmate of my younger daughter.

On the other hand,some junkies certainly ARE a drain - but on the NHS; they poison themseves with the rubbish that heroin is cut with; they acidify it with anything that comes to hand; they share needles; they run out of filter tips: their hygiene practices are frequently nonexistent. They overdose; they are found lying in the snow suffering from exposure; they take no care of their health, and they suffer from vitamin deficiency in many forms. They contract HIV, and HepB; they give themselves septicaemia; their resistance to all infections plummets to zero.

And then somebody calls us, and we take them to hospital, and the country spends thousands and thousands of pounds getting them well again.(Expensive)

Why not just register them all (cheap) prescribe them sterile diamorphine (cheap).Each day, get them to attend a clinic where they can be given their diamorpine plus a sterile needle, skin wipe, and syringe (all cheap). They can then have their hit (or "maintenance dose", if you prefer) under supervision. Having got them to the clinic they can be given vitamin supplements (cheap) - by injection if necessary, and their general health looked after BEFORE they become sick.(cheap)They could even be given an elastoplast for the injection site.

And the police would know where to find them.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 06:58:19 AM EST
....and our ambulance-man friend then goes on to say....

The Policeman's Blog

think that you are pulling your punches in a big way!!!

Alcohol causes zillions as many times the problems that heroin does, and not just because of the differences in legality and availabilty.

Although both drugs are ultimately CNS depressants, their effects on personality and behaviour are totally different. Everyone is familiar with the merry, maudlin, aggressive, noisy, obstreperous, violent drunk. Less familiar to most is the heroin drunk; he/she tends to be withdrawn, quiet, introspective, sleepy, and wanting just to be left alone.

In 17 years as an ambulanceman, I have NEVER been threatened or assaulted by someone high on heroin. They just want me to leave them alone, and they tend to be polite about it. I lose count of the number of times I am hassled by alcohol drunks during a year. The cells are not full of heroin users on a Saturday night; they are full of alcohol users. The kids lying in the gutters on a Sunday morning are full of cider, not heroin.

The violence at chucking-out time, the assaults on police, the screaming matches and domestic abuse, the fights between neighbours - they are all alcohol fuelled. Hardly a grain of heroin in sight!

The punch-ups at our Gwen's wedding, and the fallings-out at Great-Uncle George's funeral are seldom down to heroin use.

It's just as well that alcohol has been a feature of human society for thousands of years; if it were to appear tomorrow, possession would immediately be criminalised - and rightly so!!

However, in 100yrs time, I'd probably have decided that legalising it was the only answer

This sort of experience is solid gold, but it is not so frequent that it is so eloquently and coherently drawn upon in argument......

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 07:11:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do always ask, are there any examples of a prohibition policy that has been effective?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 07:51:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Naturally prohibition has effects, none of which include prohibiting what prohibition was supposed to prohibit.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 06:07:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alcohol costs Europe more than 20 billion a year (figure from a few years ago). The costs are medical, lost work, police and emergency services.

I had a friend on the drug squad during my days involved in the club business in Helsinki. We wanted to avoid drug use in the club and so it was worth cooperating with him. He was also a nice guy.

He was never concerned with users of cannabis or opiates. They were never a problem. He was very aggressive about speed users though - they could be very violent and unpredictable. He told me many times that he was only interested in big dealers and the violent crime surrounding them.

 In bitter irony, he became an alcoholic - a result of the environment in which he had to spend much of his time undercover.

Everyone who drinks alcohol in excess of 25 units a week will eventually become an alcoholic. It can take 15 years, but it is almost inevitable. Booze is absolutely the most destructive behaviour-changing drug - and that's discounting it's health effects, and its cost to the rest of society.

Alcoholism is a medical condition, not anything to do with willpower. It is A Learned Behaviour Disorder, and can be ameliorated, if not cured, using opioid blockers.

The best solution would be to put Nalmefene in every bottle, can and barrel.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 08:29:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Every drink you take makes it more likely that you will take another. We're all whores to drink, the only difference between us is the length of time before the next one.

Unless you were born with an Asiatic gene sequence that makes it impossible for your body to process alcohol beyond the toxic stage. These people never have more than one drink in their life.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 09:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As you might expect, I disagree with this somewhat.

from age 22 to 45 I was well over 30 units a week and I've never been alcoholic. Equally I have friend who drank one or two units a day who did become alcoholic.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 12:25:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Addiction is a funny thing.  

There are people who can drink alcohol without getting hooked.  Some people only have to have one drink, dislike it (!), and are immediately alcoholics.  Most people are in between.

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

by ATinNM on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 12:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As you know, denial is one of the main symptoms of alcoholism ;-)

But seriously (!), it goes back to my old thesis that the part of your mind that you can interrogate has basically one job only = making sense of what the no-go part of you mind has already decided to do and done it. Leaving a lot of explaining to do to 'itself' and others.

When behaviour cannot be 'explained away', lies are used for self-protection. When reality can only become perceptually consistent by reversing poles, then that is the route the sentient you takes. Fiction could not exist otherwise.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 04:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is a "unit"? A glass? A bottle? A barrel?

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 12:36:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a small glass of wine, about 400 ml of beer. It's a guide only that pays no regard to strength

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 12:41:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
25 units? Hmmh, trying to remember if I've ever done that on a regular basis. Don't think so, not for more than a few weeks in a row. I remember a conversation with an alcoholic once: Him 'you don't drink'. Me 'Huh? I drink three or four times a week on average.' Him: 'How much?' Me: 'A bottle of wine and one or two drinks worth of hard alcohol.'  Him: 'Oh I guess you do. Why did you only have two glasses tonight'. Me: 'Per week. Who the fuck wants to drink that much, you'd be spending half your waking hours in a haze'.

I like having a clear head.  A mild buzz can be nice once in a while, but not too often. Anything more and it's sitting around impatiently waiting for your mind to get back to normal.  Nicotine and caffeine on the other hand are very attractive.

by MarekNYC on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 01:07:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Public Drug Policy gets intertwined with philosophical debates about Utilitarianism.

If one wants to look at social costs, cocaine abuse by financial traders has done 1,000 times the damage of heroin abuse.  

If one wants to look at social damage, alcohol abuse is the winner.  

If you want to look at medical costs, good old nicotine is right up there.

But that's the wrong way to look at it.

Substance abuse is a disease.  Public Policy needs to be firmly based on "what the doctors say."  IF the goal is to address the problems.  IF the goal is to have an uninformed philosophical debate then ...


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

by ATinNM on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 12:44:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A caustic right-wing tour of Europe and the €, from a UK perspective, on the Gang8 'creditary economics' list.....

 gang8 : Message: Re: [gang8] Burden of debt on future generations.

I'm with Michael on this. The Euro is now just a financial trap, not an economic virtue. If the major banks of Europe especially (Geoff makes a powerful point about the knock -on adverse effect on interbank loans of reverting to national currencies) could see a way out of the trap they would go for it, by rocking the boat and the Euro wouldn't then last a fortnight.

Remember just how fast everything tumbled when Bretton Woods died in 1971? Everyone said that couldn't happen either: but it did.

And if you strip out the Eurospeak, in many ways the Euro is just a reborn regional version of Bretton Woods, minus the all-important adjustable peg. The stresses have been building up remorselessly since it was launched in 1995 because of that crucial omission, and sooner or later the dam is bound to burst.

For me the ECB was a joke from the start. The Bank of England, the world's first successful central bank (not the world's first central bank - anyone know where that was, perchance?) was created to handle Government debt. That is what central banks are for, ultimately, and Michael makes a killer point there. What does the ECB do instead?

Build itself ever larger and more glamorous headquarters buildings, the classic tell-tale of an organisation riddled with self-doubt.

The Bank of England lives perfectly happily in a building which predates WW2. Years ago I asked Stephen Green, then HSBC chairman, for a breakdown of the world trade in Forex. He handed my question on to Guy Heald, head of such things at HSBC, arguably the smartest Forex trader in the world.

Guy's reply was : "50% London; 20% New York; 20% Tokyo; 10% everywhere else added together.

Now, gentleman, if you wanted a new multinational currency to be taken really seriously on the world currency markets, where, given that list of Guy Heald's would you put the ECB?

The reality is neither the Germans nor the French, who between them each lost  two world wars in the twentieth century, dare pass any more power to London, which with the belated assistance of the Americans won two world wars in the twentieth century. The fact that in global time zone terms London is the centre of the English-speaking world is bad enough as it is.

That reality of national status still grates in Paris even now, sixty odd years after the event - just as the antics of King Billy still grate in Northern Ireland four hundred years after the event. The eclipse of French by English as the international language grates as much again. The EU is essentially a defensive alliance of born losers, and the Euro is its 'masterpiece'.

Under a series of disastrously advised and unwise governments, Britain made a whole series of appalling economic errors 1945-1979, the worst of which was the total incompetence of the postwar Attlee Government which resulted in Britain, the most deserving case by far, being the one European country not to receive Marshall Aid from America.

That left a window of opportunity for other European countries to make their move, deliberately excluding Britain from the 1960 Treaty of Rome, and under ruthless men like Charles de Gaulle (who hated the fact the British had to nurture him in London during WW2, and who had grabbed power in France in 1959) they took maximum advantage.

Led by Ludwig Erhard, who took up post war where Hjalmar Schacht left off, Germany enjoyed superb economic management by the simple expedient of ignoring the post-Keynesians.

So there was the window of opportunity. Britain owes nothing to the USA, which has a repeat habit of stabbing the UK in the back as it did over Suez, just as it did over Marshall Aid. When he came to the Oval Office, Barack Obama hadn't the foggiest idea about any 'special relationship' - mind you I'm not convinced he has he foggiest idea about many things.

I am beginning to suspect Britain's natural ally is probably post-communist Russia, something which our new trade secretary Vince Cable is already keenly aware of. The wealthy, entrepreneurial Russian community in London is already 300,000 strong and growing by hundreds every day.

And it is increasingly becoming apparent this new Cameron government is turning into one of the strongest peacetime British governments ever, slap bang on schedule; the contrast with 13 years of Blairite dithering and profligacy could not be more marked. That is not going unnoticed in Moscow, which much approves of strong government.

And the way forward in Europe is to build strong economic alliances, not try and impose supranational political union, be it the USSR that was, or the EU that is. Within the setting of a deeply entrenched multicultured Europe, ultimately that is always going to be a losing formula.

Nor can you force political union via the back door by using an impossibly-structured single currency. Under Edward Heath Britain originally signed up to an economic treaty in Europe, not to some bastardised French political intrigue. Unfortunately the Berlaymonster is so bound up in its own internal shennanigans, it never actually looks through the windows to see what is happening in the greater outside.

The French have their own private agenda in all this - most of it written in the Ecole Nationale d'Administration in Strasbourg: it's called "jobs for the boys."

The Germans still have a chip on their shoulder post-Hitler - I wonder how many more generations that will last?

The Italians are so bound up in their own political corruption they have scarcely any time for anything else, while the potentially interesting case is the Poles, who seem to be natural allies of the UK within the EU.

And as for the Spanish, the Portuguese and the Greeks....



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 09:42:23 AM EST
The cutest part is him declaring France the loser and the UK the winner of two world wars. Even though both ended up losing their empire and ended up playing junior partner to the US.
by generic on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 11:34:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The reality is neither the Germans nor the French, who between them each lost  two world wars in the twentieth century, dare pass any more power to London, which with the belated assistance of the Americans won two world wars in the twentieth century...

... The EU is essentially a defensive alliance of born losers, and the Euro is its 'masterpiece'.

So the UK won both world wars almost alone, just with a little help from their American friends... A very subtle vision of history!

And we are born losers...

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet

by Melanchthon on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 11:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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