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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 10 November

by afew Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 05:04:40 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1759 - birth of Friedrich Schiller, German poet, author of the Ode to Joy, which he later in life said was "detached from reality" (d. 1805)

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:12:00 AM EST
BBC News - MoD flight suspension after Red Arrows ejector seat death

Training flights in aircraft fitted with ejector seats similar to the one in which a Red Arrows pilot was killed, have been suspended.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) grounded the flights following the death of Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham, 35, at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

Other RAF aircraft fitted with MK10 ejector seats are Hawk T1, Tornado and Tucano.

The MoD said: "The safety of our crews remains our paramount concern."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 01:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Twitter / @BreakingNews: 5.7 magnitude earthquake s ...
5.7 magnitude earthquake shakes eastern Turkey; report of collapsed buildings - @USGS, @AP on.doi.gov/ukVhGg


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:00:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Greek government talks to go to fourth day

Talks on forming a new Greek government appear to be deadlocked after the smallest party in the coalition talks walked out on the third day.

The office of the Greek president now says the talks will resume on Thursday.

Earlier, outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou made what was expected to be his farewell address to the nation, pledging that the new government would respect the terms of an EU bailout.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:01:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek party deal on new crisis premier collapses | Reuters

(Reuters) - A deal on forming a Greek national unity government collapsed on Wednesday as the country headed toward an economic abyss, hours after outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou said he was handing over to a coalition that does not exist.

In a day that was bizarre and chaotic even by Greek political standards, Papandreou wished his successor well and headed off to meet the president -- only for it to emerge that there was no successor due to feuding in the political parties.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:31:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody wants to "wet their feet" because they know that would ruin their chances for next election.
Watch this program...interesting.

http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/131/Insight

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 08:07:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of commentators in this program ( used to be advisor to Greece PM) said that there is possibility that Germany will actually leave EU zone and make some financial union with Finland etc. if everything around them collapse...Interesting view.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 12:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That possibility has long been evoked here on ET (here, for example). And is looking more and more likely. Either that, or Germany just leaves to live with the DM.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 01:22:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In either case, the resulting core currency area would suffer a massive deflation crisis, and the periphery would suffer massive stagflation.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you explain that? Or refer to an explanation?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:46:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yanis Varoufakis: The Euro, Greece, the World Economy: Part A of an hour long interview on `The Agenda' with Steve Paikin (Canadian Public TV)
Segment starts at 19'45".

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:54:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The deflationary crisis in the North would be caused by the North importing deflation through improving terms of trade. Note that there is good reason to believe that this is a fairly mild form of deflationary crisis. The more important crisis for the North would be the rapid improvement in terms of trade, which will reduce the international competitiveness of any price-sensitive industries.

The latter is potentially a major dislocation, or possibly a fairly minor one: It depends on the extent to which the deterioration in competitiveness causes imports to increase without crowding out domestic demand, or it causes exports to decrease or new imports to crowd out domestic production. This is in turn determined by some combination of fiscal policy and the price sensitivity of domestic industry: If Austerian fiscal policy is pursued, new imports will crowd out domestic consumption D-Mark for D-Mark as a matter of simple accounting identities. If expansionary fiscal policies are pursued, the North will become richer, in the aggregate, as they get to import more without dropping domestic production. But it might still involve substantial dislocation as their industrial production migrates from high to low price elasticity products.

How painful such dislocation is, and which social groups incur the pain, is a political decision. Potentially, it can probably be made very nearly painless. Under the current management, I suspect that it will be very, very painful.

The South will have imported inflation from deteriorating terms of trade, and contraction (in terms of real consumption possibilities, but possibly not in terms of GDP) from having to rebalance their foreign accounts on someone else's time table. This contraction in real consumption possibilities may lead to domestic deflation, particularly if naive consumer price inflation targeting is pursued in the presence of strong imported inflation. And domestic deflation places the economy in danger of a liquidation spree.

The domestic deflation and stagnation of domestic production can be managed (possibly wholly avoided, depending on the precise composition of the economy in question) with appropriate industrial and fiscal policies, but the loss of "free" stuff from abroad is going to be painful - particularly since the South is full of net fuel importers.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 04:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, the slope the Eurozone has been sliding down for at least two years, but without the Euro as a brake.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:03:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Euro acts as a brake on some of these processes, but it accentuates others: The domestic deflation in the South, for instance, is made more pronounced by the Euro than could reasonably be expected from even a sudden rebalancing of the foreign accounts. The Euro also forces the Eurozone to suffer a debt-deflation spiral, whereas a splitup would allow individual countries to opt out of the neoliberal death cult.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:14:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence (email):

Reuters reports, citing unnamed EU sources, that French and German officials have been discussing a radical systems change, involving a smaller and more integrated eurozone. (We believe this story is true, but likely to make the crisis much worse. A break-up followed by ringfencing the core would, in a first stage, cause the total collapse of the financial system in Europe, including in Germany and France. We are not talking about crisis resolution here, but about the resurrection of Europe from the rubble.)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whoever decides to be part of this government will be the name written in Greece history that signed capitulation and handed Greece to be protectorate.
Politicians are not going to do it because that would be the end of their career and hundreds of thousands Euros as annual salary, BMW cars etc. They are looking for "technocrats" to do it but...who's going to put his name there and soon go back to his normal job that may very well not even exist soon...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 12:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Silvio Berlusconi: I will not run again in early polls

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi says he will not stand if Italy holds early elections, after promising to resign as soon as urgent budget reforms pass.

Mr Berlusconi's party wants fresh elections but the opposition wants a national unity government.

Italy's borrowing costs have now passed 7%, a rate seen as unsustainable.

In a bid to calm markets, President Giorgio Napolitano said reforms would be passed and Mr Berlusconi would resign "within a few days".



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian president: New government within days - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Italy's president has moved to allay fears over political uncertainty, saying a new government will be formed shortly and that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's resignation will be accelerated.

Giorgio Napolitano said in a statement on Wednesday there was no uncertainty over Berlusconi's decision to resign once a new Finanancial Stability law was adopted, "within the space of a few days". 

"Fears are totally unfounded that Italy may experience a long period of inactivity," Napolitano said, adding that "emergency measures" could be adopted at any time.

Renato Schifani, the Senate president, told reporters he expected approval of the economic measures by the end of this week.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See below. Could be Mario Monti within days.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 07:28:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can anybody please explain what would be the difference? They all have to and would anyway except austerity program that EU is forcing on them. Is it just to share responsibility so that people do not any party to rebel with? I do not understand all this fuss. It is too late and simply there is nothing to be done as a choice...Berlusconi is a scam and it is good to see his back but at this stage it will not change anything.
I am afraid Markel was right when she warned about possible wars. Whenever Europe was in this kind of mess wars happened.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 08:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not except but accept...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 08:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i really can't see the original members of the EU going to war with each other, not when the same effect can be had through digitised finance.

eastern europe is another story. the ingrained, unresolved bitterness there is apparently as intractable as the IP conflict, it would seem.

i originally thought the expansion of the EU was to bring our smooth, mellow enlightenment to them, but i was naive... it seems it was much more about inflating asset bubbles and teaching their societies to become good little consumers, especially of sophisticated 'financial products'.

poland's economy is doing fine outside the euro, if you were polish, would you want to join the euro? they are getting the funding, but are not suffering the austerity bullshit we are being set up for.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 09:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i really can't see the original members of the EU going to war with each other, not when the same effect can be had through digitised finance.

Yep, that's the summary of modern warfare. When physical violence is needed, the militarization of America's police shows the direction we are going.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:05:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MillMan:

When physical violence is needed, the militarization of America's police shows the direction we are going.

yes, plenty of growth in the heimland security model.

arms for abroad, and the blackshirting of disaffected, unemployed youth to enforce a kafkaesque commissariat diktat, ruled by distant suits.

any bets how long they succeed in getting away with the word 'democracy'?

china, america and russia models will prevail. quelling rebels and freethinkers will become a full time gig for government.

then the shit will really hit the fan, as women and children march in protest too.

the 'old europe' of soft power and compassionate welfare will be displaced by mafia slave states and gestapo surveillance apparats.

all because of some greedy fearful psychopaths and their lust for illusionary 'security'.

or if you look up river, the mean-spiritedness of the designers of the Versailles treaty, whose  vindictiveness is partly responsible for where we are today.

keynes tried to warn them...

now it's germany's turn to play moralistic mythologist.

karma...

'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 Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See below for de Gondi's comments.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 01:27:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Polish parliament cross should go, says Palikot party

A new secular opposition party in Poland has called for the removal of a crucifix which hangs in the country's parliament.

The Palikot Movement argues that the cross breaches Poland's secular constitution.

The idea is opposed by conservatives, who believe that the state should defend religion.

The role of the Church in public life remains an important symbolic issue in Polish politics.

The disputed crucifix currently hangs in the Sejm, the lower house.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now a secular Poland would be a change.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:36:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Parliament may shield pensioners from FTT | EurActiv

The European Parliament may exempt pension funds from a draft proposal to tax a wide variety of financial transactions, the head of the legislature's committee for financial regulation said yesterday (8 November).

"So many are sold on the idea of a transaction tax, we should try and find a middle ground. And that middle ground could be to exempt pension funds," Sharon Bowles, a British Liberal Democrat MEP told EurActiv, after her committee held a meeting with the German and French finance ministers in the European Parliament.

All 27 ministers were in town yesterday holding talks on how to stem the euro zone debt crisis. With Greece and Italy both in a crisis of leadership and debt, the highly contested FTT was a minor item on their agenda.

The European Union came forward with a proposal for the tax in September in spite of persistent opposition from powerful economies like the United States, India, Canada and the United Kingdom.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:20:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pension trusts do not need to be exempted from a Tobin tax. If a pension fund incurs any overhead statistically distinguishable from zero from a Tobin tax, then you're doing it wrong.

This is an effort to engineer a loophole, pure and simple, and will encourage all the damn gamblers to move from the high street banks to the pension trusts to gamble.

Do. Not. Want.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:05:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To quote bird and fortune: "It's not me that's gonna suffer. It's your pension fund."

by generic on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 11:15:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wrong video
by generic on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 11:27:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Opinion / Praise be to EU summits. You'll miss them when they're gone

The EU has always liked summits. Summits helped create it, and have been the medium through which it has evolved. Summits have always been how the Union resolved its problems - let them fester for a while, generate a bit of theatre, and then bring together political leaders to thrash out a deal to save the day. Where would the EU be without its summits?

The EU's love of summits has been badly indulged by the on-going debt crisis. I count 14 'crisis' summits in the last 20 months, which is impressive going and very good news for the hotel and restaurant trade. Unfortunately, the seemingly endless negotiations on the debt crisis are increasingly like an interminable game of poker played by contestants who don't understand that their opponents have worked out when they're bluffing. While the summit agreements have gradually got more realistic in terms of Greece's debts, the role and power of the EFSF and the ECB, and the fragility of the banks, the inadequacies of every summit communiqué have been swiftly exposed.

But the most tangible achievement of the umpteen summits has been in making the euro crisis thoroughly boring for most people.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:22:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exclusive: French, Germans explore idea of core euro zone | Reuters

(Reuters) - German and French officials have discussed plans for a radical overhaul of the European Union that would involve establishing a more integrated and potentially smaller euro zone, EU sources say.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave some flavor of his thinking during an address to students in the eastern French city of Strasbourg on Tuesday, when he said a two-speed Europe -- the euro zone moving ahead more rapidly than all 27 countries in the EU -- was the only model for the future.

The discussions among senior policymakers in Paris, Berlin and Brussels go further, raising the possibility of one or more countries leaving the euro zone, while the remaining core pushes on toward deeper economic integration, including on tax and fiscal policy.

A senior EU official said changing the make-up of the euro zone has been discussed on an "intellectual" level but had not moved to operational or technical discussions, while a French government source said there was no such project in the works.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:27:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy at breaking point, Merkel calls for new Europe | Reuters

(Reuters) - Italian borrowing costs reached breaking point Wednesday after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's insistence on elections instead of an interim government opened the way to prolonged instability and delays to long-promised economic reforms.

In a dramatic escalation of the euro zone debt crisis, Italian 10-year bond yields shot above the 7 percent level that is widely deemed unsustainable, reflecting an evaporation of investor confidence and prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to issue a call to arms.

Merkel said Europe's plight was now so "unpleasant" that deep structural reforms were needed quickly, warning the rest of the world would not wait. "That will mean more Europe, not less Europe," she told a conference in Berlin.

She called for changes in EU treaties after French President Nicolas Sarkozy advocated a two-speed Europe in which euro zone countries accelerate and deepen integration while an expanding group outside the currency bloc stayed more loosely connected -- a signal that some members may have to quit the euro if the entire structure is not to crumble.

"It is time for a breakthrough to a new Europe," Merkel said. "A community that says, regardless of what happens in the rest of the world, that it can never again change its ground rules, that community simply can't survive."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:29:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"It is time for a breakthrough to a new Europe," Merkel said. "A community that says, regardless of what happens in the rest of the world, that it can never again change its ground rules, that community simply can't survive."

That would be a less alarming prospect were the ground rules to have a chance of working. But I don't think that is the direction she has in mind.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:41:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Currently, it is in fact Germany that is insisting that the ground rules can never be changed.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:07:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course they can be changed. But only in German favour. Don't you realise that Germany is the biggest shareholder in the EU, and Frau Merkel wants her money back, dammit!

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:17:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They cannot be changed in time to "solve" the crisis. The crisis must be dealt with by the existing institutions. Punting crisis resolution to treaty change is evidence of astounding lack of imagination (or lack of political capital).

In the case of Merkel, she apparently lacks both.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:26:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:43:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France, Germany, Austria and Belgium leave the euro. Netherlands and Finland are left scratching their heads.
by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:57:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unless you consider a total redesign a change in the ground rules.

Was this the plan all along? If I were a clever Euro-sceptic, it might not be a bad tactic to deliberately exacerbate crises in the periphery and then conclude oh-so sadly and reluctantly that the only option was to go it alone.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:40:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Been done before: "The worse, the better!"

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:39:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to issue a call to arms.

Just what you need ... Germany in a call to arms. Where's my European History text from the 10th grade?

... French President Nicolas Sarkozy advocated a two-speed Europe ...

How about a 10-speed Europe? Is Raleigh still in business ... had one in college/grad school in the '70s. Get stoned with my wife, go cruising around campus. Heaven.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:33:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: European debt crisis spiralling out of control
Senior policymakers in Paris, Berlin and Brussels are reported to have discussed the possibility of one or more countries leaving the eurozone, while the remaining core pushes on toward deeper economic integration, including on tax and fiscal policy. "France and Germany have had intense consultations on this issue over the last months, at all levels," a senior EU official in Brussels told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

...

Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, spent Wednesday in Brussels urging the council president, Herman Van Rompuy, and a clutch of EU commissioners to focus on growth, and not further treaty changes, warning that if Europe does not become more competitive it will end up in a spiral of perpetual decline. Both he and David Cameron are urging EU integrationists to recognise that EU Treaty changes in the next few months would be a massive distraction and no cure for the underlying economic crisis. He pointed out that they would require referendums in at least four countries.

...

The ECB is seen as the only institution with the firepower to rescue Italy, because the EU lacks the resources to bail out such a large economy. Ben May, of Capital Economics, said Italy would need a €650bn bailout to keep it out of financial markets for the next three years or so. "The European Financial Stability Facility will not be able to provide a bailout of this size," he said.



To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 06:54:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nick Clegg, Defender of DemocracyTM.  Can't have those nasty voters fucking things up.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 08:53:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that Merkozy, with a gnawing sense that they are not going to come up with any solution to the problems posed by Italy, are departing off into fantasy land where, together, they can form brave new dreams to succeed the current ugly reality. This may well be the best and highest function they now can perform. Neither has the courage, vision or inclination to attack the fundamental financial problems, which are deeply embedded in the corrupt intertwining of finance and government to the detriment of both.

If their endorphin high carries them past the point at which a financial collapse begins in earnest, possibly not too long, then the resulting damage to the political and financial institutions may create an opening for a new and better structure, like a succession forest following a catastrophic fire in an overgrown old forest. But that is an optimistic outcome.  

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:53:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I look forward to future wars.

Core Europe versus Fringe Europe.

Cool uniforms and all.

by Upstate NY on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 07:11:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...that's what now quite a few people said...publicly.
So Markel may be right warning of wars...
God NO...not again...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 09:12:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wars for what reason?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 01:28:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plunder of debtor nations, or bombing them out of spite.


To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:42:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Really?

If there is war in Europe, I'd suggest it might come between the core nations.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:44:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For what?

Annexation of territory and population doesn't make sense any more.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:55:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economic rivalry of a higher order than plunder (that can be obtained by other means in any case).

The German rules for being in there with Germany appear to mean cutthroat competition. Not reassuring.

Though this is not a prediction on my part.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:05:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Brussels Consensus already encourages cutthroat competition among member states.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:58:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not counting economic warfare as "war".

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 04:00:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You should. It's been the Next Best Thing since WWII. (Longer, in fact. But let's keep this topical.)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:42:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In that case the EU has been at civil war since about 1990. But I prefer to remain in denial, for sanity's sake.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:44:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even the worst economic warfare on record falls short of a serious shooting war in terms of human and industrial damage. A major European war would be... bad.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:02:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm. Come back in a few years, and we can debate that.

I don't know of any study that has totalled the human cost of the Depression in terms of lives lost, but the number of suicides - never mind economic refugees starving or freezing to death under bridges - isn't small. (There are some numbers floating around claiming that life expectancy improved during the Depression. But I doubt they take into account the leavening effects of the New Deal.)

Just because you can't see bullet holes and craters doesn't mean people aren't being killed and critical infrastructure isn't being destroyed.

In fact it's one of the best arguments against the Austerians - their policies aren't just stupid, they're murderously and horrifically destructive.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:52:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Same goes for "economic sanctions" as a form of warfare. People die (remember how they said that 500000 children had died as direct consequence of sanctions), infrastructure is ruined...community losing moral values...numerous consequences that can't be fixed easily for a long time.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 09:04:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Children in Iraq.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 09:04:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah right...perspective...I wish westerners have good one (not just from where they are sitting)... They may even be able to understand after this crisis.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 09:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A modern war between two technically sophisticated and roughly equally matched industrial states kills and maims on the order of 10 % of the adult population. Give or take half an order of magnitude. That's been the quite consistent outcome of industrial warfare from the American Civil War on.

That's the same order of magnitude as homelessness in the US during the last serious depression, and not every homeless suffered permanent injury. Suicides don't even amount to a rounding error in that statistic.

Colonial wars and other cases where the belligerents are grossly mismatched are a lot kinder on the powerful belligerent(s), and may be kinder on the weak ones, but that is far from guaranteed (it was in the Balkans. Iraq... not so much).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 04:02:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just because there are no dead bodies littering the landscape - although there were doubtless a few of those - doesn't mean deaths didn't increase.

Poverty directly decreases life expectancy.

And many of the living aren't doing much of value.

The benchmark isn't loss of value according to some nominal industrial equilibriated norm, it's loss of productive capacity compared to the highest possible estimates - which doesn't just include people working and getting paid and consuming, it includes all the innovation and invention that never happens, and all of the economic benefits that are lost as a result.

Wars are actually better for innovation than depressions are. A lot of post-war technology growth was a direct result of innovation during WWII. Cold War investment gradually productised it and eventually made it consumer-sized.

There isn't so much of that happening during a depression.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 05:46:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All that is true, but there's some way up to losing ten percent of your adult population. Taking one guy in ten out of the adult population is rather noticeable. An effect of that magnitude - or even of comparable magnitude - is not something that it should require nice and careful study of actuarial tables to ascertain.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 06:16:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to see a source for your 10%.

Wikipedia is showing other numbers for WWII.

Only the Eastern European countries (including Russia) had a total population loss close to what you're quoting. (In cases over - it was really rough over there.)

Casualties for the UK and US were both less than 1%.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 06:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of the major WWII belligerents (a group that does not include the US and UK), only France is not in the 3-15 % of pre-war population range. The pattern for WWI is similar, except that Britain and Turkey were active participants, and Japan was not. The figures for the American civil war are 10 and 30 % of non-slave adult males for the North and South, respectively, corresponding to something like 3 and 3-10 % of the population, depending on whether you count the slaves as part of the Confederacy or as an independent faction.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 12:51:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See also...

The authors note that it is likely that the New Deal, the birth of the U.S. social security system and large fiscal stimulus, combined with Prohibition of alcohol, helped to prevent a major mortality crisis. They show that, after Prohibition was lifted in 1933, in an effort to stimulate the economy, alcohol-related mortality increased significantly. Other regions that introduced major cuts to social welfare had differing patterns of mortality during crises, the authors note, pointing to the mortality crises in eastern European during their economic depressions of the 1990s.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 05:49:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not unlike the rise in mortality rates in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 06:17:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia: Declining Russian population
The causes for this sharp increase in mortality are widely debated, with some academics citing alcohol abuse as the main culprit, and others citing the drastic and widely negative changes in lifestyle caused by economic reforms that followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union. According to a 2009 report by The Lancet, a British medical journal, mass privatization, an element of the economic-reform package nicknamed shock therapy, clearly correlates with higher mortality rates. The report argues that the advocates of the economic reforms ignored the human cost of the policies they were promoting, such as unemployment and human suffering, leading to an early death. These conclusions were criticized by The Economist. According to the Russian demographic publication Demoscope, the rising male death rate was a long-term trend from 1960 to 2005. The only significant reversion of the trend was caused by Mikhail Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign, but its effect was only temporary. According to the publication, the sharp rise of death rates in the early 1990s was caused by the exhaustion of the effect of the anti-alcohol campaign, while the market reforms were of only secondary importance. The authors also claimed the Lancet's study is flawed because it used 1985 death rate as the base, while that was in fact the very maximum of the effect of the anti-alcohol campaign.
On alcohol abuse:
Russian Cross refers to a demographic trend in Russia. Since 1988 birth rates among native Russians (as well as most other ethnic groups of the European part of the former Soviet Union) have been declining, while since 1991 the death rates have been climbing. In 1992, the number of deaths exceeded the number of births, and has continued to do more or less so ever since. When this trend is plotted on a line graph starting from the mid-1980s and continuing to the present, the lines cross at 1992, hence the name. There is no evident causative link between the two trends (though some scientists have tried to connect them through the catastrophic growth of alcohol consumption that took place in Russia and other countries of the European part of the former Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s), but the graph has become a symbol of Russia's increasingly serious population shrinkage.


To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 06:34:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rising alcohol consumption being, of course, a natural phenomenon, and not something that could have been caused by unemployment.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 06:40:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Park the gunboats offshore and demand nations make good on their debt, even if they default. Like the good ole' 19th century. Good for Greece it has one of the strongest armed forces in Europe. I've heard those German subs and tanks the Greeks bought really kick ass.

Of course, no confrontation like that will happen. But as soon as a whiff of that kind of rhetoric is emitted from Merkozy or anyone official, the risk/chance of a military coup (can you say "National Salvation Council"?) in Athens increases by orders of magnitude.


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

by Starvid on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 04:53:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for idiocy like this;-

   
George: The war started because of the vile Hun and his villainous empire-building!

Blackadder: George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe, while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika. I hardly think we can be entirely absolved from blame on the imperialistic front.

George: Oh... Oh no, sir! Absolutely not! [quietly to
Baldrick] Mad as a bicycle!

Baldrick: I heard that it started when a bloke called Archie Duke shot an ostrich 'cause he was hungry.

Blackadder: I think you mean it started when the Archduke of Austro-Hungary got shot.

Baldrick: Nah, there was definitely an ostrich involved, sir.

Blackadder: Well, possibly. But the real reason for the whole thing was that it was too much effort not to have a war.

George: By Gum, this is interesting! I always loved history. The Battle of Hastings, Henry VIII and his six knives and all that!

Blackadder: You see, Baldrick, in order to prevent a war in Europe, two super blocs developed: us, the French and the Russians on one side; and the Germans and Austro-Hungary on the other. The idea was to have two vast, opposing armies, each acting as the other's deterrent. That way, there could never be a war.

Baldrick: Except, well, this is sort of a war, isn't it?

Blackadder: That's right. There was one tiny flaw in the plan.

George: Oh, what was that?

Blackadder: It was bollocks.

Baldrick: So the poor old ostrich died for nothing, then!



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:51:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are and always have been at the mercy of idiocy. I'm inclined at this point to ask: so what?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:58:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I was simply saying that wars start for stupid reasons. That's what.

think about it; in a hundred years or so historians are gonna be trying to work out what the Iraq war was all about and they'll probably be just as confused as us.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 11:46:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, my point was that idiocy is pretty much a constant and so we're constantly at risk of war because of it.

I suspect historians of the Iraq war will have a few leads beyond plain bonkers idiocy, all the same. Such as strategic control of the Middle East and Central Asia region for reasons not unrelated to hydrocarbons.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 11:57:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I have no idea and cannot believe that something like war in Europe is possible nowadays...but...
What if for example in some totally hypothetical situation Greece and then Italy and then Spain etc. decide (or simply can't find government) to NOT handle their assets to the creditors after bankruptcy that seems inevitable now? Are they (EU / NATO) going to use force? OK they have means to destroy Greece and others but they will be destroyed anyway.
Then again UK France and USA are going the same path all tho it can take some time for them. Are they going to hand their assets to China and their creditors?
One big war may just come so convenient...
I am saying this but I can't believe it...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:28:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You really have your conspiracy theory backwards.

The real danger is the resurgence of nationalism - already being  stoked by precisely the fuckwits busy destroying the EU - and the use of foreigners as scapegoats.

Mix that with a dose of mercantilism and another Great Depression and we could be off to the races in a decade or two. We already have a Germany that doesn't understand that destroying the economies of its major customers is going to cause it problems, led by parties who are quite happy to blame the swarthy, greasy foreigners for all the problems.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:37:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're talking about conflict 10 to 20 years from now, but the risk of that kind of conflict now is negligible, and is not even on the horizon.

But within 5 years political developments may make conflict appear likely. Of course, the Serious People will continue saying in can't happen here/again all along.

The breakup of the Eurozone and/or the EU is a precondition for all of this.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:40:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't see it happening within 5. 10 is a stretch. 20 is too far to see, and other events may have intervened by then.

The problem is that any kind of physical re-armament is too damn expensive, and there's no money for it.

Also, Euro populations think of wars as distant events, and a Euro war would be too similar to a civil war.

Much as many British people don't like foreigners, only the maddest of the mad would seriously consider bombing Berlin. You'd need to have at least a generation of permanent newspeak fascist fuckwittery before that changed.

The lead-up to WWII was very different. Germany and the UK had populations with strong military traditions, which are very absent now.

If I worried about war with anyone, it would be a combined US/EU war against China/Russia, in the traditional war of hegemonic succession.

Russia wouldn't mind a war but isn't in a hurry for one. China so far seems to have decided that capitalism is a better bet for its local populations. But that assumes the US/EU are a useful external market.

If US/EU stop being a useful market the internal consequences for China will be complicated, and are likely to spill over into external consequences.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Much as many British people don't like foreigners, only the maddest of the mad would seriously consider bombing Berlin. You'd need to have at least a generation of permanent newspeak fascist fuckwittery before that changed.

I was having a conversation about the crisis with my mother some weeks ago.

The way I put it was that it's now too late to prevent a repeat of a decade-long the Great Depression in much of Europe. The real danger now is a repeat of what actually ended the depression: military Keynesianism and war.

There is one feature of the 1930s that is still missing, and that is both incendiary political rhetoric and pervasive political violence (at least in Spain, the entire 1931-6 Republic period was a time of heightened political violence on the streets, worse than the low-level anarchist agitation of the previous 30+ years and also worse than the level of repression under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in the 1920s).

So, what we need to watch out for and guard against is the right of incendiary political rhetoric. And I explicitly mentioned the need to stop people on their tracks when, now or in the near future, they start spouting talking points which, if taken literally or to the extreme, would be part of an environment of political violence. Such as the American favourite "so-and-so should be taken out and shot", for instance. Bild Zeitung's infamous Now the Greeks must rightly bleed is a recent European example.

If this kind of stuff is not stamped out, in 5 years we may well find ourselves on a path to war and unable to get off it.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:05:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the rightrise of incendiary political rhetoric

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:16:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's the obvious precedent. I agree - mostly - about another Great Depression.

But I think even if there's massive incendiary rhetoric, I can't see it being directed against other countries in Europe.

WWII was the last of the colonial wars. There was enduring suspicion of both Germany and France in the run up - the UK was making plans to fight a war against France in the 1920s - and that had existed for centuries, to the point where it was endemic in the ruling classes and in the rest of the population.

I can't see anything similar happening today, at least not targeted from (say) the UK to France or Germany. There's been too much propaganda against brown people, too many cheap flights and holidays abroad - which sounds trivial, but isn't - and even the UK's Euroscepticism is of the 'leave us alone' rather than the 'we will end you' type.

Hitler came to power on a base of resentment against Versailles, and a belief that Weimar had stabbed the brave fighting forces in the back, etc, etc.

There's nothing equivalent in most of Europe now.

I can imagine civil war, however, between racist whites and militant brown people in the UK. That's a far more likely outcome, and the rhetoric to support it already exists.

So I think Europe is more likely to collapse inward, with austerianised populations fighting The Other at home and a police state - well, more of a police state - trying to profit from it.

If nothing else the UK has nothing much to fight a war with. The nukular deterrent is on a US key fob, there are no aircraft carriers, hardly any fighters or bombers, and the army is in tatters after Afghanistan and Iraq.

The idea that we're going to invade Paris any time soon just isn't plausible.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:43:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that any kind of physical re-armament is too damn expensive, and there's no money for it.

Sadly, armaments is the one industry that is not usually subject to the Austerian objections to economic policy.

Not having an excess of fit, hungry young men with a terminal case of testosterone poisoning is likely to be a bigger problem for a determined warmonger. But I suspect that press-ganging the ghetto hooligans created by austerian economic policy might solve that problem as well. Works for the US.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:09:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Armaments is already the only industry not subject to Illegal State Aid rules in the EU. Which rather explains why Spain wanted to use its EU presidency semester in 2010 to lift the bank on weapons sales to China, or why the Greek creditor bailout has included the condition that Greece follow through with purchass of German and French weapons, frigates, tanks, and submarines...

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:11:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, lift the ban

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:15:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Works for the US

You know, arguably, it doesn't work all that well.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it does in a military sense.

In a wider sense no, but that's girlie-man holistic thinking.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:23:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghanistan is a military success?

Iraq was (compared to the predicted cakewalk)?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:02:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, in that they got to blow up lots of shit and act manly.

The US is the most powerful military state in the world, so it works in that sense. That they use that power in the most idiotic ways is another issue entirely.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:05:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The most powerful, thanks to its capacity to blow stuff up.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:29:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in the sense of having an effective foreign policy.

Arguably the China has already eclipsed the US from that point of view - and the US hasn't even noticed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed, but the discussion was sparked by Jake's assertion that the lack of war-hungry young men could be filled by

JakeS:

press-ganging the ghetto hooligans created by austerian economic policy
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 12:13:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, arguably, it doesn't work all that well.

For winning their wars, or for making their wars profitable for the warmongers?

Because those are totally different objectives.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 01:36:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you think US unempolyment numbers are high now, watch what happens when you fire a few million soldiers and Marines. And all the workers and bureaucrats employed by the military-industrial complex.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:10:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake:
I suspect that press-ganging the ghetto hooligans created by austerian economic policy might solve that problem as well. Works for the US.

Actually, the US military already has internal problems caused by conflict between former members of rival gangs or gang wannabes. They probably think that they only let in those who have rejected gang life and possess basic literacy and numeracy. At present, the employment situation is so bad that, to any young adults wanting an alternative to long term unemployment, let alone gang life, the military is the most available option.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 09:02:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that any kind of physical re-armament is too damn expensive, and there's no money for it.
...

The lead-up to WWII was very different. Germany and the UK had populations with strong military traditions, which are very absent now.


After WWI Germany did not have money for armament...suddenly it appeared.
UK was not armed properly to answer Hitler at the beginning of WWII suddenly money for arms appeared. It's not a problem. There are people that will invest in armament if only they can find their interest in it.
I am not thinking about Germany alone as country that may start war. Their bloody rich are just part of bigger group called global creditors.
This is globalised bunch in a globalised world. But they will not hesitate to turn masses in to nationalist for their own purpose. We are watching for almost two decades how NATO is plundering for their account around the world. They do not need other armies...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:22:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After WWI Germany did not have money for armament...suddenly it appeared.

It doesn't look like the Bundesbank is in the mood for monetizing anything, let alone arms purchases. We'll see in 5 years.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:25:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After WWI Germany did not have money for armament...suddenly it appeared.

And wasn't that a story?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:32:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
After WWI Germany did not have money for armament...suddenly it appeared.

It didn't "suddenly" appear. Germany didn't significantly rearm until Hitler came to power and refused to pay any more war reparations, and even then rearmament was insufficient right up to 1940 (if France and Britain had attacked from the declaration of war in 1939, they'd have faced a weaker enemy).

As for the UK, the money came from the US via the lend-lease programme. Yet many in the US political and business establishment saw American interests as supporting the Nazis as a bulwark against the Bolsheviks.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:17:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Michael Kalecki had a good explanation for the Nazi "economic miracle" in a speech he gave in 1942: Political Aspects of Full Employment:

1.  One of the important functions of fascism, as typified by the Nazi system, was to remove capitalist objections to full employment.

The dislike of government spending policy as such is overcome under fascism by the fact that the state machinery is under the direct control of a partnership of big business with fascism.  The necessity for the myth of 'sound finance', which served to prevent the government from offsetting a confidence crisis by spending, is removed.  In a democracy, one does not know what the next government will be like. Under fascism there is no next government.

The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments.  Finally, 'discipline in the factories' and 'political stability' under full employment are maintained by the 'new order', which ranges from suppression of the trade unions to the concentration camp.  Political pressure replaces the economic pressure of unemployment.

2.  The fact that armaments are the backbone of the policy of fascist full employment has a profound influence upon that policy's economic character.  Large-scale armaments are inseparable from the expansion of the armed forces and the preparation of plans for a war of conquest.  They also induce competitive rearmament of other countries.  This causes the main aim of spending to shift gradually from full employment to securing the maximum effect of rearmament.  As a result, employment becomes 'over-full'.  Not only is unemployment abolished, but an acute scarcity of labour prevails.  Bottlenecks arise in every sphere, and these must be dealt with by the creation of a number of controls.  Such an economy has many features of a planned economy, and is sometimes compared, rather ignorantly, with socialism.  However, this type of planning is bound to appear whenever an economy sets itself a certain high target of production in a particular sphere, when it becomes a target economy of which the armament economy is a special case.  An armament economy involves in particular the curtailment of consumption as compared with that which it could have been under full employment.

The fascist system starts from the overcoming of unemployment, develops into an armament economy of scarcity, and ends inevitably in war.

Naturally, apprehending such lucidity clearly shows that one is hardly a reliable person, so such documents are only kept alive by fringe organizations. The works of Kalecki and Polanyi both fall into that category, thereby perpetuating the darkness that enables the "mainstream" view to prevail.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 09:22:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That, and fraud and printing a pile of money. A speaker in 1942 would not have been in full possession of the facts ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 09:40:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That they printed money is Kalecki's point: Fascism removes the "capitalist objections" to unrestricted fiscal policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 04:25:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See this thread for a discussion of monetary and fiscal policy under the Nazis.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 04:34:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which makes the point that there is nothing - short of idiot politics and a mentally defective right wing with only the most distant grip on reality - preventing countries from running similar 'energy rearmament' or 'infrastructure rearmament' or even 'innovation rearmament' programs.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 10:34:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jus look at John F. Kennedy and the Space Race.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 10:40:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole article makes abundantly clear that the only thing preventing full employment is political decisions.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 11:43:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economics is politics by other means.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 12:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
suddenly money for arms appeared. It's not a problem. There are people that will invest in armament if only they can find their interest in it.

Governments will fund rearmament by printing paper, or their central banks will accommodate it by monetizing their debt. You don't need to entive "investors" to use the "gold" they hoarded in the past.

Curiously, this kind of monetary expansion is not inflationary. But the problem is that it leads to an expansion of employment and industrial capacity which is excessive for peacetime. So the US had a problem after WWII in that they risked having another recession or depression if they had not engaged in the Marshall plan and similar expansionary programmes.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 09:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This works within a closed economy, but there is always a need for imported raw materials (at least that was Nazi Germany's case). And offering paper money in payment couldn't work. This is where the gold gets rolled out (to buy Swiss Francs in particular).

World Gold Council data show the Reichsbank building up gold reserves after WWI until, in 1930, it held 794 tonnes. Hitler came along, and by 1935 there were only 56 tonnes left. The Anschluss probably netted about 40 tonnes more. There are no figures available for the war years. By that time the gold was being stolen and laundered through Swiss banks.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 10:49:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But in the general case, getting raw materials can also be done by trading the finished goods for some of the goods and services produced.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:39:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I realize countries like Britain, France, and Sweden do it all the time. ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fortunately, a civilian industrial recovery programme offers the advantage of creating goods that are surplus to your requirements and can therefore be traded for raw materials.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 04:28:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't need to entice "investors"

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 12:44:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The real danger is the resurgence of nationalism - already being  stoked by precisely the fuckwits busy destroying the EU - and the use of foreigners as scapegoats.

Yes but wars are always about money/assets/plunder and pushing nationalism is just a way to push people in to the mood for conflict. Resurgence of nationalism is not for the sake of nationalism.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a nice, comforting narrative, but no.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:11:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with starting nationalist movements as a diversion from real problems is that they occasionally slip their handlers' leashes.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:11:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since we're talking about WWII, was Germany's war wish for assets and plunder, or for an assertion of national dominance?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:19:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The two are not mutually exclusive. Different theatres had different long- and short-term objectives, and different figures among the German policymakers had different goals.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 04:12:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am talking about the deep-rooted popular will for war.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 04:19:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you mean the general populace, they were defending themselves from an attack by Poland, supported by Poland's western allies, right?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 08:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If there are going to be more wars in Europe, they'll be unrelated to the current crisis. They'll either be due to some retarded flare-up in the Balkans (like the Albanians in "Kosovo" trying to genocide the remaining Serbs, setting off a Serb invasion etc etc) or it'll be due to Russian expansionism. Either trying to get parts of the old empire into orbit around Moscow again (like invading the Baltic states) or trying to use force of arms (against Norway) to get control over Arctic hydrocarbons.

As long as NATO remains reasonably strong and its security guarantees are trustworthy, it's very unlikely Russia would dare such a thing. If the current crisis weakens solidarity within NATO, or creates chaos in Europe, well, the risks might increase. Especially as certain key Nordic countries have decided to disarm entirely, in practice.


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

by Starvid on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The last time Russia fought a war in the north it didn't turn out so good:

The reported Soviet losses are almost certainly too low.  

Soviet losses in the Continuation War were about the same, or worse.  In one battle, Tali-Ihantala, the Soviets lost something like 22,000 men dead or wounded versus ~8,500 Finnish casualties.  Most of the Finnish losses were in the first part of the battle.  During the Ihantala part Finnish artillery, air force and the German air-to-ground attack Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey gutted two Soviet divisions before they even attacked.

Basically the moral is: Ya don't fuck with the Finns.  You may win but it's going to hurt real bad.

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

by ATinNM on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think next time around it will be about food. With our small number of huge monocultures, one significant crop failure will be enough to bring down whole economies... Price and market manipulation in the food industry are already well advanced, and ripe for use as a weapon.
by asdf on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:34:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see a major war as realistic. Within the realms of possibility, yes. But not realistic. More plausible, but still not probable, is the installation of foreign viceroys in the debtor countries, followed by assassination of same, followed by claims of extraterritoriality and the entry of occupational forces to protect the next viceroy. But that's still long odds.

The only really European wars within the realm of probability are really civil wars as a domestic Quisling regime fights its own people on behalf of the banksters.

What I do see as odds-on is a dissolution of Italy into a north controlling everything north of Milano and a south whose authority de facto ends somewhere around Napoli.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many failed states will the EU "crisis resolution" create? We're already looking at Greece and Italy...

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:46:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't forget that there is a nonzero probability that some combination of PP centralism and austerity-induced general hopelessness may piss off regional nationalists enough to impact Spain's territorial integrity.

Oh, and the mercantilist North is going to have loads and loads of Fun in a few years, unless they reverse their Austerian policies. A mercantilist country that refuses to accept the currency of the people whose demand it's piggybacking on is in for a rough ride. We don't yet know what sort of hidden (and not so hidden) internal tensions that is going to accentuate, but it is unlikely to be pretty.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:00:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Catalan right-wing nationalists have, for the past few months, been busy doing a Cameron on their own region after ousting the previous Socialist-left nationalist government. I'm talking about a Republican-grade "don't get sick, and if you do die quickly" approach to public health care provision.

So austerity will just be a contributing factor to nationalistic tensions between the PP and CiU, but not a policy difference.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:08:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and zenophobia is on the rise at the local government level in Catalonia, both on the part of the PP and of catalan right-wing independentists (the centre-right catalan nationalists and the left-wing independentists are more civilised).

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:09:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, Italy and Greece were pretty much pre-failed. I mean, I had people in my Twitter feed complaining that the loss of Berlusconi would mean a loss of stability in Italy.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:09:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that European integration (even in the case of founder Italy) never did anything efficient to reinforce the rule of law in member states that could have been supported in this way.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:26:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see a major war as realistic. Within the realms of possibility, yes. But not realistic. More plausible, but still not probable, is the installation of foreign viceroys in the debtor countries, followed by assassination of same, followed by claims of extraterritoriality and the entry of occupational forces to protect the next viceroy. But that's still long odds.

In order to collect taxes and "privatise" (grab) assets they'll either need vassal government or occupation. At the moment they are trying to get vassal governments.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:04:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder, in the event of a split, if the USA would seriously consider inserting itself into Europe's underbelly.
by Upstate NY on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:55:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably develop a "special relationship" with the Cosa Nostra.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 04:22:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was one hell of a thread by ET standards.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:47:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thousands march against UK education fees - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Amid a heavy police presence, thousands of students and their supporters have marched through central London to protest against cuts to public spending and an increase in university tuition fees.

Police said more than 2,000 people took part in the Wednesday march, but local media reports estimated the crowd as large as 10,000 people.

"In the public and private sectors in this country, cuts are now being pursued enthusiastically by employers," said Al Jazeera's Lawrence Lee, reporting from the protest.

"Austerity has become the hallmark of the British government, but there are many people here who really don't like it."

About 4,000 officers were deployed along the route, which began at the University of London at midday with chants of "No ifs, no buts, no education cuts".

"The government have literally let down a whole entire generation of people," one protester told Al Jazeera.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:44:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Austerity is not a formula for growth. Everybody knows that, it is instead a political morality play where almost everybody loses

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:59:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except the only people who count: the creditors.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BusinessWeek||Italy makes economist Monti a senator-for-life

Italy's president has unexpectedly named economist Mario Monti a senator-for-life.

The former European competition commissioner is widely considered to be a top contender to be the next Italian premier, now that Silvio Berlusconi has pledged to resign soon. The surprise move Wednesday night could be a prelude to Monti's getting the nod to head the next government.

President Giorgio Napolitano's office announced he had chosen Monti, who now runs prestigious Bocconi University in Milan, for the honor. Senators-for-life include notable figures outside of politics and have voting privileges in the Senate.

Mario Monti has long been considered a top candidate to head a national coalition. He has however refused to get involved in the question- perhaps because he's not terribly interested in wrangling with politicians and assorted cutthroats.

(If I'm not mistaken he has proposed an extraordinary patrimony tax to weather the crisis just as Amato has suggested. Amato's solution would be quite radical and welcome: make the rich pay for a crisis for which they are largely responsible. Amato had already used a similar tactic in 1992 by retroactively appropriating 0,6% on all bank accounts.)

An eloquent reminder: Berlusconi did not support Monti's recandidature for European commissioner in 2004 despite strong support abroad. Instead he proposed one of his pet bigots Rocco Buttiglione at the time who was soundly dismissed by Europe.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 07:05:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Further breaking news. Berlusconi has accepted the possibility that Mario Monti be charged to form a new government.

At present there is a revolt against the proposal by the Lega Nord and several currents within the majority. At present this group claims to have at least one hundred MPs.It would be much better to trash Berlusconi's maxi-amendment and his Stability Bill and let Monti rewrite it.

Otherwise any future government would be obliged to steer through the crisis shackled by Berlusconi's poisoned legacy.

Berlusconi ought to resign immediately, tonight if not tomorrow morning, and allow Monti to move quickly in the interest of the nation and Europe. Monti's solutions would certainly be more equitable.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 07:19:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The president needs to send a centurion for Berlusconi's head.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:57:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Napolitano is moving very quickly to ease Berlusconi out of power to place Monti there. I see no reason to continue with the charade over a mysterious Stability Bill which has yet to seen in its entirety.

I would expect a ruthless bastard as Minister of Finances, at the least Giuliano Amato who would immediately decree a retroactive appropriation on all bank accounts as well as a steep patrimony tax. Of course this would not touch most tax evaders...

As an amusing touch I would suggest an international task force to invade or blockade all fiscal paradises, as well as Luxembourg and Lichtenstein, to recover all the rape and plunder parked there by Berlusconi and his mafia croonies.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 04:02:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have made similar recommendations for diverting a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) returning from the Mid-East to sieze Grand Turk and Caymens for the purpose of repatriating and taxing all of the wealth squirreled away there by wealthy US elites. From there they could proceed to Panama. The problem would be finding honest and competent IRS and/or Treasury and Justice Dept. officials to accompany.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 11:55:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure what an expeditionary force would do...it's not like there are piles of gold coin on those islands. It's all bits and bytes in computers...
by asdf on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:35:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is why...
...the problem would be finding honest and competent IRS and/or Treasury and Justice Dept. officials to accompany.

Especially they would need forensic accountants and attorneys skilled in financial fraud. In my original comment to that effect I suggested that the first step in such an invasion had to include jamming the satellite communications and disabling underseas cables, lest the object of the invasion vanish on photons and electromagnetic pulses. Of course the first requisite, sadly lacking, is the will to enforce the law.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 04:52:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they don't cooperate, just default on all private and public debt to that country and any resident person or business in that country. Since it's a flag of convenience country, it is a net creditor.

If they whine that they're being treated unfairly, just offer to reinstate those debts that they can prove beyond any reasonable doubt are legitimate.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 01:00:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So just not accepting the bit and bytes from those places would do the trick. A little bit like ordering the worlds big money-handlers not to do business with Wikileaks anymore.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 08:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, just not accepting the data would not work. But temporarily preventing the data flow until the individuals were in custody and their account information and the computers on which it was stored were secured just might do the trick. This might involve control of only a few buildings in which reside thousands of dummy corporations.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2011 at 10:23:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
will his 'anointing' alfano stand? does anyone else support his possible leadership of the PDL?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 08:23:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I damned well hope so! Alfano reminds me of the scene in Young Frankenstein. Everytime someone said "Blucker" the horses neighed in terror.

Alfano need only hear the sound "Silvio" and he takes on the enraptured expression of Bernini's Saint Teresa in Ecstasy. He's a total asshole. A jerk like him is just what's needed to sink B's personal political entity.

But considering the chaotic scenario that entity is likely to implode in the weeks to come giving birth to a myriad of opportunistic micro-parties. The notion that Italy is a majoritarian system is a highly resistant falsehood. The only personality that kept this galaxy of micro parties together was Berlusconi who fed them all well at the nation's expense. Now that he's gone (let's cross our fingers) there's no reason for the group to hang together. No one has his exceptional capacity for intrigue, ruthlessness, whining and outright corruption.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:31:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
heh, well said.
when i see b, bossi, calderoli and de la russa sitting there, it makes me ill to think of how much evil they represent, but alfano is the most reptilian politician i have ever seem, a fitting heir to berlu's curse.

many italians will take a cut in their pensions/paychecks just not to have to see b on tv any more every day.

the morons can just look forward to his new CD...

and send pix of their teenage daughters.

'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 Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:55:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like your quip about the CD. The day the spread hit 500 with Berlusconi's government in chaos, Alfano writes on facebook that he wants to compile a CD with all his favorite songs, and asks his fans to help. Some of the song titles sent were very appropriate (of the type Vaffanculo!).

Talk about priorities.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:35:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AS expected a certain number of MPs have menaced apocalyptic actions if someone else is appointed Council President and elections are not immediately called.

Di Pietro has continued to stonewall another government and also insists on elections.

The majority party likens a new executive to a coup d'état on the outrageous falsehood that Italy directly elects its Council President. Italy is still a parliamentary regime and as such is only subject to forming a majority consensus within parliament regardless whatever party had the relative majority at election time.

This stance seems to disregard the fact that some twenty MPs were outright bought up from the opposition by Berlusconi to keep his majority alive a year ago.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:41:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On his sites Di Pietro is being deluged by negative comments accusing him of demagogy.

As for the sheer madness of the certain exponents of the majority it seems they're generally backtracking. The humours in the party may blow it apart in the coming days.

A great interview in la Repubblica with a Berlusconi MP today, a certain Maurizio Grassano. The guy is worried because if he can't be re-elected (read re-appointed) to parliament he'll have to go serve his prison sentence of four years and won't qualify for retirement benefits because he hasn't served the minimum five years. Poor fellow will be without a job. So, yes, with people like him in parliament we can be sure there won't be early elections. Gotta have those five years. They should form a new party: MPs w/o the five year minimum.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:03:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would it be better for the country if years in prison counted towards their pensions?

Süddeutsche today discusses the possible collapse of Berlusconi's business empire following his resignation.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:15:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really cannot see him standing after resignation. I expect he will end up in jail eventually...So I can't see him stepping down...only if he is threatened with his life or life of his family.
On the other hand we have seen how they hugged and kissed others (Gadaffi, Saddam etc.) only to rip them in to the pieces (literally) when they are not usable any more. Diplomacy, hehhh.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:38:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At his age he cannot be imprisoned. He would serve his term in his palaces where he already spends all his time anyway. (He avoids public appearances.)
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 11:25:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
one of beppe grillo's 5 star party platforms is no representation by anyone convicted of crime.
wouldn't that be most of the present cutthroats?


'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 Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 01:27:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
some twenty MPs were outright bought up from the opposition by Berlusconi to keep his majority alive a year ago.

Has the lease expired on these rented politicians? If not it might well upon a new election.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 11:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They've got more price tags on them than a cabbage patch doll at a June Clearance Sale. Some will survive but as a group in dissarray they have little influence at the moment. The major problem are the seasoned heavyweights who actually understand what's going on and have defected to prepare for the coming political revolution.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 12:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Meltdown
The eurozone is now subject to an unconstrained panic attack from financial markets: Italian spreads of 5.6%, Spanish spreads over 4%; French spreads creeping to 1.5%; the market meltdown signifies the effective collapse of the notion of a leveraged EFSF and other technical quick fixes; Reuters reports that French and German officials have been discussing a break up of the eurozone, in combination with a much more integrated core; President Giorgio Napolitano bestows a life senatorship on Mario Monti, a clear expression of his preference for the next Italian government; Napolitano says a solution has to be found within days, not weeks; Robert Shimsley argues that technocrats are the not the solution for the problems in Italy and Greece, which are entirely political; Greece fell into total political confusion as a preliminary agreement on a new government collapsed in the last minute; Lucas Papademos is once again back in the picture, but demands that New Democracy is fully and openly committed to the process; the German constitutional court rules that the 5% German voting threshold for the European Parliament is unconstitutional; Germany's Bild calculates how much ordinary Germans are sacrificing to pay for the EU rescue programmes; Austria's AAA-rating is in doubt; the Swedish central bank government says the eurozone will survive as long as it emulates Sweden; Nicolas Barre says the ECB is now the last hope for the eurozone survival, and severely criticises German dogmatism; Nicolas Sarkozy, meanwhile, makes a spectacular comeback in the opinion polls.


To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:58:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian spreads at 5.6%, French spreads at 1.5%, the euro a little over $1.35, and a general equity market rout wordwide. The eurozone's latest "comprehensive solution" collapsed yesterday, as all the technical quick-fixes did before. We have now reached the bifurcation point in the crisis where the eurozone will, within days, have to make a choice between debt monetisation, which is hardly feasible without a political commitment to a fiscal union, and a break-up. The latter will happen if no decision is taken.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 04:06:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/09/us-greece-banks-idUSTRE7A85EA20111109

Greeks pull savings from banks as crisis deepens

ATHENS (Reuters) - Fearful Greeks have withdrawn savings from banks over the past week because of a deepening political crisis and fear of an exit from the euro, banking sources said on Wednesday.

Greeks withdrew as much as 5 billion euros -- nearly 3 percent of total deposits -- after outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou's shock call last week for a referendum on a euro zone bailout, said one banker, who declined to be named.

"Many people withdrew their money from banks on Thursday and Friday and money couriers had a hard time supplying banks with cash to satisfy the emergency demand," said another banking source, who declined to be named.

Ahh...so familiar...Why they waited till now?


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:36:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"We got to the point where customers ordered amounts of up to 600,000 to 700,000 euros in cash to take home -- unbelievable," the first banker said. "This strains the system."


Expect they will limit the amounts that can be taken and then in few weeks (or days) adios to their money.
But how much will Euro actually worth after collapse of EU zone?


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:43:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, well, people who have 600.000 €-Mark stashed away in a bank account can go fuck themselves.

No pity at all from me if they lose their shirts.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:49:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those already have taken their money. Small guy, ordinary people will end up empty handed.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You must be one of those pathetic, lazy 99%ers.
by asdf on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:41:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They didn't wait until now...

For many months now, those who could transfer money abroad by electronic means have been doing it, sending them to Germany (for instance).

Now the bank run has gotten to the visible stage, on the streets. People are actually withdrawing banknotes to hoard.

The fact that a bank run has been happening under the nose of the ECB for many months and they have allowed it to get to the bank-run-on-the-street stage is yet more evidence of incompetence. Because the ECB itself may not be in charge of banking regulation, but the members of the ECB council wear national banking regulator hats as National Central Bankers.

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:48:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, they mostly don't. Central banking is institutionally distinct from regulatory supervision in most countries with a strong tradition of "independent" central banks.

Most of these people are dilettante macroeconomic planners at home as well as in Frankfurt. They wouldn't know how to handle a financial stability mandate even if they were given one.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:56:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe they waited until big money is abroad...Now for those small deposits they will limit amounts...So familiar...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:57:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See: European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - May 11
German banks target worried Greeks in Germany

Greeks worried about a debt restructuring or a euro exit increasingly transfer their money to banks abroad, Bild-Zeitung reports. According to the mass circulation tabloid German banks such a savings bank in Munich have posted signs in their windows advertising in Greek and German that Greek costumers will be advised in Greek. According to the paper €30bn have already been transferred from Greece abroad since the crisis started.



To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 08:26:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2059637/Italy-debt-crisis-Compared-Greece-just-sideshow.ht ml?ito=feeds-newsxml

Compared to this, Greece was just a sideshow. Italy could blow Europe to pieces

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15669427

Greece debt crisis: Talks on unity government resume

But Greece's ANA news agency reports that the former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos will shortly be named as interim PM.

It is believed he won a demand to extend his potential period in office.

So no election soon? OK now we know how it's going to work...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:44:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:12:21 AM EST
The euro crisis: Finito? | The Economist

SILVIO BERLUSCONI'S promise to resign has done nothing to calm European bond markets. Italian bond yields are soaring today; both the 2-year and the 10-year are above 7%. There are rumours that the ECB is in the market and buying heavily. If so, it's not having the desired effect. The ECB can't hope to keep yields reasonable through brute force. It will need to make an expectations-changing announcement. Will it? Italy's yields aren't the only ones rising. Markets are ditching Irish, Spanish, Belgian, and French debt too. The 10-year Treasury is back below 2%.

Yesterday, I wondered why equities weren't falling. Today, they are. But I think Tim Duy is on to something here:



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 12:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock indexes dropped sharply Wednesday, with the Dow industrials hammered in their worst single-day hit in nearly seven weeks, as Italy's borrowing costs shot up to levels seen as unsustainable, further worsening Europe's credit mess.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 07:50:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Megan Greene (WSJ): Italy: Past the Point of No Return
The leveraged EFSF has clearly been grounded, with European and foreign investors alike shunning EFSF bonds. Besides, the EFSF is just a series of guarantees, and a bailout for a country with debt as high as Italy's would need to be pre-funded to have any credibility.


To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 07:54:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China's senior banker wants IMF reform before EU aid | EurActiv

China cannot afford to have Europe fail: If help is needed, it will be considered through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But the priority remains to finalise the IMF quotas reform, Xie Duo, a senior official at China's central bank, said in an interview with EurActiv.

The IMF is the best vehicle to help debt-laden European countries if needed, and China would support such a move, said Duo.

Bbut IMF members must promptly advance on reforming the IMF quota system, added Duo, who is director-general for the Financial Market Department at the People's Bank of China.

IMF quota is the money that a country, member of the IMF, has to give the fund so that it can lend to countries needing help. That has an impact also on voting rights within the international organisation.

China has already invested a lot in EU assets, Duo said. "Our leaders made the promise to hold euro-denominated assets and we are already net investors in EU countries," he said.

"The IMF has the capability to enlarge its lending, but the priority is to timely finalise the quotas distribution," he insisted.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:19:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China can help by permitting an honest valuation on their currency.
by Andhakari on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So China understands what Europe doesn't - to keep exports going your customers need to have money to buy with.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:29:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the thinking is that if one is sufficiently virtuous, God will provide the customers.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:32:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / Germany estimated to have made €9bn profit out of crisis

BRUSSELS - Germany has profited to the tune of €9 billion from the eurozone crisis over the past two years, an ING economist has calculated for EUobserver, as investors flock to "safe" but near zero interest rate bunds while southern euro-countries struggle with unsustainable rates.

"For a long while, the German economy has been one of the few beneficiaries of the sovereign debt crisis. In fact, the German government can get market funding almost for free," Carsten Brzeski, a senior economist with the ING bank in Belgium told this website.

Borrowing costs for Italian 10 year bonds on Wednesday (9 November) hit a figure of 7 percent more than German bunds - seen as a benchmark "safe" option by investors - on the back of political turmoil which has seen Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promise to resign.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:23:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd eventually like to see a total breakdown of how all the troika money was divvied up.

How much Germany contributed, for instance, how much interest earned. How much of the troika money was used as payment to banks, etc.

It would be an interesting exercise.

by Upstate NY on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 07:14:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BRASIL, The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced today the approval of a $1.15 billion loan for the construction of the 44-kilometer North section of the Mário Covas Rodoanel highway in São Paulo. This section will complete the177-kilometer multiple-lane beltway, one of the largest and most critical transportation infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Brazil.

BUENOS AIRES - The Argentine subsidiary of Spanish oil major Repsol said Monday that a deposit of shale oil and gas in the western province of Neuquen contains 927 million barrels of oil equivalent.

MEXICO CITY - Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced private and public investment totaling some $11 billion over the next seven years to build eight natural gas pipelines covering more than 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) and local distribution networks.  He made the announcement at a ceremony in the northwestern state of Sonora, saying the new investment outlays will increase the length of Mexico's current natural gas pipeline network by 40 percent.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 08:33:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some good news, at least.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:24:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MF Global, Repo-to-Maturity and Large Bank OBS exposures Chris Whalen in zero hedge

There have been a number of good analyses of the MF Global collapse and the role of "repo-to-maturity" trades in the failure.  See "MF Global and Repo Accounting," which also has links to Felix Salmon and several other good posts.  Read Yves Smith's comment on Lehman Brothers from last March as well.

But one of the things that most people seem to miss in this fiasco is the role of off-balance-sheet or OBS accounting in making the failure of MF Global a reality and, in particular, what it implies for other, larger banks.  Many observers say that the FASB erred by not "fixing" the OBS issue via disclosure, but in fact we need to eliminate OBS treatment of all assets, period.  Indeed, the MF Global failure suggests that the US and EU banking systems may be facing a far larger problem than even the most bearish analysts suspect.

First let's ponder a recent report by the International Swap Dealers Association or ISDA.  A post on RiskCenter summarizes the findings:

"The counterparty credit risk exposure of 12 US bank holding companies and international banking companies to monoline insurers has led to some $54 billion in write-downs by the banks since 2007, according to a new analysis by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA).  ISDA conducted the study as part of its examination into the losses incurred in the US banking system due to counterparty defaults on OTC derivatives.  An earlier paper on the subject, based on data from the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), showed such losses for US banks amounted to only $2.7 billion from 2007 through the first quarter of 2011. After further investigation, it became apparent that the transactions involving subprime mortgage risk taken in synthetic form (via derivatives) were booked in firms outside the US banking system."

What the ISDA report suggests, oddly enough, is that the large banks which comprise the most important members of the derivatives markets and ISDA both have been under-reporting their losses to monoline insurers by more than 20x in their SEC filings.  But the report also confirms in the last sentence the key factoid that should make the blood of Barack Obama, Jamie Dimon and FOMC members run cold, namely that the banks were hiding these losses on RMBS from investors and regulators in OBS vehicles.  This is essentially systematic securities fraud, enabled and facilitated by the FASB and ISDA.  By relying solely on GAAP accounting, the OCC, Fed and other regulators have left themselves completely in the dark regarding large bank OBS exposures.


If you really don't want to see something the best way is not to look. And it is not fraud unless a court says it is. So there!    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 12:29:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3361713.htm

MICHAEL JANDA: Share markets around Asia shed billions of dollars in value, following steep falls overseas overnight.

Australia's top 200 companies alone shed more than $27 billion in value, although the losses were well above $30 billion earlier in the day.

...SATYAJIT DAS: It was quite an extraordinary evening last night because the Italian bond yields were rising by roughly about 1 basis point, which is .01 of a per cent, every minute.

...SATYAJIT DAS: This rise in interest rates is not going to affect Italy's existing large stock of debt and so the actual effect of this higher interest rate will only be felt gradually.

But the higher interest rate is forcing investors to reassess and they're voting with their feet and at the moment Italian debt has few if any friends in the financial markets. And they face 300 billion of maturing debt that they have to reissue next year, of which there's about 40 billion euros worth of debt in February next year.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:14:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:12:36 AM EST
Hague warned over UK abstention in Palestinian statehood vote | World news | guardian.co.uk

Britain will face severe consequences in the Middle East when it abstains in a UN vote on whether to recognise the Palestinian territories as an independent state, senior Conservatives have warned.

As the foreign secretary, William Hague, prepares to tell MPs that the UK will abstain in New York if the Palestinians press for a vote on statehood, the Conservative Middle East council warned that it could not support self-determination throughout the Middle East but then deny the same right to the Palestinians.

"The consequences of an abstention would be severe," the council said in a statement.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:57:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but none of the British conservative parties, ie Labour, Tory or LDP, would ever go against the americans.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:03:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is that? The Special Relationship is all very nice and all, but why do the Brits give a rat's ass what Americans think or want? What tangible benefit does the average Brit get from sucking up to George W Bush or James Buchanan Obama?
by Andhakari on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The average Brit is irrelevant.

Only Serious Brits get a say. And Serious Brits are just fine with the 'special relationship'.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:02:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And why do the serious Brits care? I wasn't being flippant (well, not much anyway); what's the attraction?
by Andhakari on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:17:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Photo-ops to sooth the imperial phantom limb pain. The Serious Brits never really got over the fact that Britain just isn't a serious world power, and hasn't been for the next best thing to a full century.

And probably some fat kickbacks from the banksters who like having Airstrip One as a money laundromat between the common market and the US.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 06:39:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More the latter than the former, I think - q.v. Fox and his pal.

The UK continues to be a serious world power via the City, so it isn't all bad news here. (See also my earlier point about economic warfare.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 10:38:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did political reasons block U.S. asylum for gay Saudi diplomat? | San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

A gay Saudi diplomat has been denied US asylum in what observes believe is a political move.

Arab news website Rasheed's World quotes a Saudi dissident living in Washington DC Ali al-Ahmed:

"This was a political decision by the Obama administration, who are afraid of upsetting the Saudis. His initial interview with [the Department for Homeland Security (DHS)] was very positive, but then they came back and grilled him for two days after they found out that he had worked in the public prosecutor's office in Saudi Arabia."

"He had been an inspector to make sure that judicial punishments, such as lashings, were carried out within the law--not more, not less. They then accused him of participating in a form of torture," explained Ahmed.

Ali Ahmed Asseri,was the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. It was reported last year that he told US officials that his diplomatic passport was not renewed after Saudi officials discovered him going to gay bars and that he was close friends with a Jewish woman. He had also posted a critical note on a Saudi website, it was reported, and threatened to make public embarrassing information on members of the Saudi royal family living in the US.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 01:22:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He better disappear himself before someone else disappears him. I'd suggest Norway as a destination if he doesn't mind long winters.
by Andhakari on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:28:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Russian warning to Israel over Iran - Inside Story - Al Jazeera English

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, has described any possible Israeli military strike against Iran as a "very serious mistake", adding that such action would have "unpredictable consequences".

Lavrov's comments followed a warning by Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, that an attack on Iran is becoming more likely. It also comes after Western diplomats were briefed on the latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which details Iran's nuclear capabilities.

The report includes allegations that Iranian engineers have had Soviet training to build detonators for triggering a nuclear chain reaction.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 01:42:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Foreign Affairs / French expert: There will be no military strike on Iran

BRUSSELS - Publication of UN evidence on Tuesday (8 November) that Iran is making nuclear weapons and recent Israeli war-talk is designed to stimulate new sanctions but is not a prelude to military strikes, a French expert has said.

Bruno Tertrais, a fellow at the Paris-based Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique and a former advisor to the French ministry of defence, told EUobserver on Wednesday there are three options for military action against Iran.

The first is Israeli air strikes designed to delay the nuclear programme.

The scenario would see Israeli F16s fly over Saudi Arabia to Iran in a one day operation that would likely achieve little in terms of damaging facilities.

The second

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:24:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the Wiki:
There have been widespread safety concerns about the Bushehr plant, associated with construction of the plant itself, aging equipment at the plant, and understaffing.[7][8] The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran "does not follow some important safety protocols" and there have been widespread concerns about a Chernobyl-like nuclear accident occurring, which could spread radiation throughout the region.[9][8] The IAEA also has concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear power program.
What would it take to induce a meltdown?
by Andhakari on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Loss of cooling for a few hours. Something tells me the plant, like Fukushima, hardly has any emergency filters.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:25:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
High time for a visit, Russians say

A Russian naval ship, the 186-metre missile cruiser Varyag, sailed into Vancouver Harbour on Tuesday.

It's the first time in 35 years that a Russian fighting ship has appeared in Canada, according to Capt. First Rank Sergey Zhuga, commander of the Russian Pacific Fleet.

"Both Canada and Russia are part of the Asia Pacific region," said Zhuga through interpreter Col. l Mikhail Ivanov.

"We have a common Pacific Ocean on our borders. It's high time for us to have some exchanges such as this visit."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 02:34:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UN: More Syrian soldiers defect to opposition - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

The United Nations has said there is an increasing risk of a Libyan-style civil war in Syria, as more Syrian soldiers deployed by the government to quell the country's uprising are defecting to the opposition.

Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief, said on Wednesday: "Where basic human rights are trampled and peaceful demands for change met by brutal violence, people are eventually compelled to have recourse to rebellion against tyranny and oppression."

"It happened in Libya, it may happen in Syria," she told the UN Security Council during a debate on protecting civilians in armed conflict.

Pillay's comments came as armoured government force stormed villages in the central city of Hama in pursuit of army defectors challenging President Bashar al-Assad's rule, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The UK-based rights group said that tanks pounded villages near the town of Maharda and casualties were reported on both sides in fighting.

The Local Co-ordination Committees activist network reported on Wednesday that at least 26 people were killed across the country, including two children.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:45:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- Police in Nicaragua say two clashes among rival political groups have killed four people and injured 12 since Sunday's presidential election. Police Commissioner Fernando Borge says one of those killed in a clash in the town of Siuna on Tuesday was the political secretary for President Daniel Ortega's Sandinista Party. Borge says seven police officers were among the injured in that fight between Sandinsitas and members of the Liberal Independent Party.
More HERE.

Colombia Reports: President Santos continues to restructure Colombia's military leadership amid growing security concerns, as five more generals are removed from service. Last month the president announced that all but one of his high ranking security officers were to be replaced, with Juan Carlos Pinzon appointed as the new Defense Minister. His sweeping reforms have continued, with five high ranking generals now removed from active military service.

HAITI
BBC: The UN is facing claims for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from Haitian cholera victims. Several studies have found that cholera was probably brought to Haiti by UN peacekeepers from Nepal.
NYT: More than a year later, cholera has killed 6,600 people and sickened more than 476,000 -- nearly 5 percent of the nation's 10 million people -- in what United Nations officials call the world's highest rate of cholera. Last month, Partners in Health, a nongovernmental organization, announced it would begin testing a vaccine in January, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and a Haitian health organization.  As the epidemic continues, the Cuban medical mission that played an important role in detecting it presses on in Haiti, winning accolades from donors and diplomats for staying on the front lines and undertaking a broader effort to remake this country's shattered health care system.

Colombia Reports: President Juan Manuel Santos said Wednesday he is willing to withdraw a controversial higher education reform bill that has sparked massive student protests throughout Colombia. According to the presidential Twitter account, Santos "accepts the withdrawal of the project of education reform only if the [student] strike is ended and classes are continued."
More HERE.

Miami Herald, BOGOTA, Colombia -- Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday that U.S. drug agents are not welcome back in his country despite the newly announced normalization of diplomatic relations with Washington. Morales told reporters during a regional summit in the Colombian capital that it is a question of "dignity and sovereignty."

HAVANA - President Raul Castro appointed Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias as minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, filling a post left vacant in September by the death of Gen. Julio Casas Regueiro, Cuban state television said.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 08:23:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perry forgets which government agency he will cut

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:56:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a memory dump.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 04:46:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unlike Berlusconi, it looks like Moshe Katsav will really go to jail. He just lost his appeal (unlike normal criminals, he was allowed to stay out of jail until then). Ha'aretz
Israel's Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously upheld the Tel Aviv District Court's decision to convict former President Moshe Katsav of two counts of rape and other sexual offenses, and to sentence him to seven years in prison.

[...]

The court decided Katsav would begin serving his seven-year sentence on December 7.

Two of the judges upheld the sentence, while one wanted it reduced, because
he judges said Katsav's version of the events was "riddled with lies," and he changed his claims time after time. But the judges disagreed over the sentencing. Karra and Sokolov ruled in favor of the seven-year prison term, but Shevach was in the minority with her recommendation of only four years behind bars. The public, media and legal authorities had already tried Katsav before the trial, she said in justifying a lighter sentence.
an argument that she would probably not accept in the case of a serial killer, for example.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 07:22:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:12:59 AM EST
BBC News - Councillors reject Hunterston coal power station plans

Controversial proposals for a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston have been rejected by the local council.

The decision has been welcomed by environmental campaigners who are now calling on the scheme's backers, Ayrshire Power, to abandon the plans.

The firm has insisted it will fight on. More than 20,000 objections had been lodged with North Ayrshire Council.

There will now be a public inquiry before a final decision is made by the Scottish government.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 02:20:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently wind is in short supply in Scotland. Who knew?
by Andhakari on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:58:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hilton Invests $1.3 Million in Global Soap Project, Redirecting Hotel Waste for Social Good : TreeHugger

The Global Soap Project is such a simple concept it's almost ridiculous: Collect the little soap bars that are discarded at hotels--an estimated 2.6 million bars a day in North America alone--melt them all together and then cut new bars that can be sent to refugee camps and other communities in need of such basic supplies.

It's a dual-mission effort: reduce waste while improving public health.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 02:42:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Killing the competition: Meat industry reform takes a blow | Grist

One of the least-discussed but most promising attempts at food system reform was dealt a serious blow the other day. The USDA itself eviscerated its proposed reform to a set of rules which would have given a government division with a wonky name -- the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration (GIPSA) -- authority to crack down on the way large corporate meatpackers wield power over small and mid-sized ranchers.

To say this was a lost opportunity is a vast understatement. After all, the top four companies control 90 percent of all beef processing. In the case of pork, four companies control 70 percent of the processing, while for poultry it's nearly 60 percent. When you get that kind of market power,* abuse becomes rampant. Indeed, ranchers all around the country now agree that it's impossible for them to get a fair price for livestock.

And it's not just the ranchers who hold that opinion. As hard as it is to believe, back in 2008, a group of farm-state senators inserted language into that year's Farm Bill that forced the USDA to address the unfairness in livestock markets.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Finance is not the only place where capitalism has degenerated into corporatism to the detriment of producers and consumers

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:09:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True. But the determining influence of the financial sector is to oblige all sectors to line up with its high profit margin requirements (see Anglo Disease). This acts in every case against the interests of primary producers and final consumers.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:16:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Merkozy pushing for a leaner meaner European production machine. Is it too much for government to ask what the point of it all might be?
by Andhakari on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 04:06:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can today's technology tackle climate change? Who cares? | Grist

One of the most heated arguments among climate policy analysts is over the following question: "Do we currently have the technology we need to tackle climate change?" For brevity's sake, I refer to it as the "enough technology" debate.

The way it usually breaks down is, those who say we don't have the necessary technology focus on innovation and the need for "breakthroughs." Those who say we do have the necessary technology focus on deployment -- accelerating the adoption of today's tech. For the amount of attention it gets, you'd think that settling this debate is the crucial first step in developing a policy plan or a political strategy. You'd think the "enough technology" question must be answered before anyone can move forward.

But as I see it, pretty much nothing hinges on the answer. Indeed, I find the whole debate baffling and confounding.

The latest outbreak has come in the wake of a report from a panel of energy analysts in California that spent the last two years digging in to what it would take for the state to meet its ambitious climate goal

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 03:48:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dave Roberts nailed this one.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 05:47:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this is close. The problem is that the apolitical scientists and technologists keep on saying that if we act quickly and do such-and-such then we can head off this impossibly horrible situation. But the reality is that we aren't going to act quickly, we are going to procrastinate and prevaricate and pontificate until we are completely run over.

Instead, what we should be doing is figuring out how we, and more particularly our grandchildren, are going to function in the new environment. The temperature will rise, the food system will collapse, and coastal areas will have insurmountable problems with flooding. Some countries will suffer mass starvation, and others will only suffer moderate starvation. There will be wars, but will they be regional or global? (What is the point of nuking your enemy if the result is you can't eat his radioactive food? Conversely, since all of your problems are caused by your enemy, he deserves to be nuked even if it makes things worse for everybody--see multiple previous examples.)

The current technology is fine, it's the lack of political will. The political will may come a couple of decades from now, but then it will be too late. The thing to worry about now is whether each specific country of interest is going to deal with the situation.

For the U.S. of A., the plan is to keep on burning oil and coal, to deal with the changing crop conditions by migrating out of the southwest and into Canada, and to shut down the nasty coastal areas that are mostly filled with Democrats and Cubans anyway. Good luck to everybody else.

by asdf on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:08:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brendan DeMelle | Gas Fracking Industry Using Military Psychological Warfare Tactics and Personnel In U.S. Communities
At the "Media & Stakeholder Relations: Hydraulic Fracturing Initiative 2011" conference last week in Houston, Matt Pitzarella, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Range Resources, revealed in his presentation that Range has hired Army and Marine veterans with combat experience in psychological warfare to influence communities in which Range drills for gas.  

Pitzarella boasted to the audience:


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 05:19:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:13:18 AM EST
Met has contacted 638 suspected phone-hack victims - Press Gazette

Officers from Scotland Yard's 45-strong phone-hacking team have so far contacted 638 suspected victims of mobile phone voicemail interception by the News of the World.

The news comes after the Met last week announced that the number of potential targets had risen from 3,870 in July to almost 5,800, a figure based on the list of first and second names recovered in material from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Scotland Yard said the figure was "very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis".



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:55:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Twitter / @joeyjonessky: New #hacking letters show ...
New #hacking letters show news international paid clive goodman legal fees right up to april 2010


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 01:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Phone hacking: News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck warned hacking was widespread - Telegraph

Documents taken from the home of Thurlbeck are said to include a memo he wrote to Colin Myler, the paper's former editor, and Tom Crone, the ex head of legal, telling them that Ian Edmondson, the news editor, was involved in phone hacking.

The evidence uncovered by the Metropolian Police has emerged as James Murdoch, the chairman of News International, appears before MPs for a second time on Thursday.

It is now alleged that senior News of the World executives failed to act on numerous warnings over the scale of phone hacking under Mr Murdoch's chairmanship of News International.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 02:13:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unrest at Wapping spreads to The Sun after arrest - Press - Media - The Independent

Only three months after the closure of the News of the World, the future of Rupert Murdoch's other mass-selling British tabloid, The Sun, is threatened by an unprecedented crisis.

On Monday, the newspaper's young editor Dominic Mohan took action to rally the paper's editorial team following fears that journalists are being made scapegoats for wider problems within the News Corp media empire.

Mr Mohan addressed staff following discontent among reporters over the arrest on Friday of the veteran Sun correspondent and former news editor Jamie Pyatt, who is accused of making illegal payments to police.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 01:42:06 PM EST
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Recent moves, including the revelation that the lawyers representing victims were themselves hacked, suggest that this has now spiralled beyond the ability of either NI or the govt to contain. The Murdochs are going down for certain, the question is now moving asto whether NI remain viable in the UK.

If hacking gets into the sun, that will probably close and that will also close the Times and Sunday times which are loss makers supported by NI profits. Sky is ring-fenced for now, but who knows.....

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:17:17 AM EST
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I wonder how much it would cost for another rightwing billionaire to replace these conservative propaganda crown jewels?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:20:14 AM EST
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close the Times and Sunday times

What!?

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:57:16 AM EST
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Yes, both papers are massive loss makers which are supported by the huge profits of the Sun. If the Sun goes down the plughole, so do they.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 11:43:12 AM EST
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So, the much vaunted takeover of The Times by Murdoch 25 years ago ended up being a disaster?

To err is of course human. But to mess things up spectacularly, we need an elite — Yanis Varoufakis
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 12:02:48 PM EST
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No, it is possible to think of them as somewhere between a respectable figleaf and a vanity publication.

But reality insists on noting that The Times is far more influential with the people Murdoch wishes to address than the Sun or the NotW

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 02:37:35 PM EST
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I've been thinking a lot about this. I don't think you'll be able to run mass media in a profitable way in the future. Sure, some specialist papers/channels for the elite, and maybe the most dumbed down vulgar crap for the great unwashed. But quality media for the middle class? Nope. It'll be run at a loss, financed by billionaires with an agenda. So you guys better start earning the billions right away. We'll need them.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:30:42 PM EST
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Press release: Students and UK Uncut disrupt tax boss' conference speech
UK Uncut and students from the University of London today forced HMRC boss Dave Hartnett to abandon a keynote speech at the Tax Journal Conference 1 after staging a mock thank-you celebration from top tax dodgers.

The students, dressed as executives from Vodafone and Goldman Sachs, entered the main auditorium just after Hartnett had begun speaking.

Having made their way up to the stage, they presented the embattled HMRC boss with bottles of wine, flowers and champagne as a mock `thank you' for Hartnett's role in letting the firms off billions of pounds in tax.

A blushing Hartnett was forced to leave the stage as the `executives' continued to sing his praises.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 12:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's how you do it!

'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 Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 05:41:40 AM EST
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BBC News - Phobos-Grunt Mars probe loses its way just after launch

Russian engineers are fighting to save the country's latest mission to Mars.

The Phobos-Grunt probe launched successfully but then failed to fire the engine to put it on the correct path to the Red Planet.

Russian space agency officials say the craft is currently stuck in an Earth orbit and that engineers have two weeks to correct the fault before the probe's batteries run out.

The project is Russia's most ambitious space venture in recent years.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 02:19:55 PM EST
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You can't bank on free speech - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

The banks, payment and credit card companies support extremist organisations by authorising transfers and donations to them. You can use VISA and MasterCard to donate to the Ku Klux Klan and the English Defence League. You can donate to Aryan Nations, a white supremacist organisation, despite being designated a "terrorist threat" by the FBI.

VISA and MasterCard do not mind if you decide to use your cards to buy pornography on the internet or a rifle identical to the one used by the right-wing extremist Andreas Breivik to murder 69 people in Norway. To justify such associations the banks erect a facade of political neutrality. But there is one conspicuous exception where the finance companies show their true face.

The extrajudicial banking blockade imposed upon WikiLeaks by VISA, MasterCard, Bank of America, Western Union and PayPal is unique and has been in place for almost a year.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 02:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 at 11:13:43 AM EST
Hunter, who seems to be the overnight editor at dKos these days, has a great essay up. Every paragraph is full of useful insight, so no excerpts; just go read it. NOW

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 10th, 2011 at 03:28:57 AM EST
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