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Friday Open Thread

by Nomad Fri May 20th, 2011 at 10:37:20 AM EST

Open for all kinds of Friday revolutions...


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Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 11:47:18 AM EST
Polizei beschlagnahmt Server der Piratenpartei Deutschland (Deutsch/English/Française) | Portal des Bundesvorstandes

At the moment, the Board does not expect delinquency on behalf of the Pirate Party. Investigation is not directed against the party or any of its subsidiaries, they are only involved as the server's operators. The results are expected with curiosity. According to our own standards, the Board will report on the incident in all transparency and detail as soon as it has affirmed information.

The Board does not have information that indicate the necessity to take all servers of the Pirate Party off-line. According to the information it has been provided with, only one single public service on a virtual server of the party was affected. The disconnection of all servers is a massive intrusion into the communications infrastructure of the sixth largest party in Germany. Considering the state elections taking place in Bremen in two days, this caused a severe political damage, which the Board condemns decisively.

It will be interesting to see hwo this affects the perfomrance of Piratenpartei in the elections. Anyone having access to polls on the Bremen elections?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 11:54:03 AM EST
Maybe should have worked in that the German police has seized the servers of the German Pirate Party.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Polls are here,. They had 2% 2 months ago, but all other polls lump them together with all the other "Sonstige".
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:05:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the threshold to enter?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:14:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
5%, but separately in the two cities making up the city-state, Bremerhafen and Bremen.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 08:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Weser Kourier

Haven't figured out how to imbed a flash graph.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:10:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's gonna have serious repercussions, surely ? The police are interfering in the elotoral process

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:44:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]

China 'hit by power crunch' amid drought

Chinese factories are facing curbs on electricity use as coal prices soar and a severe drought hits hydropower plants, state media have said, with possible major shortages ahead this summer.

The situation has highlighted the difficulties faced by China, the world's largest energy consumer, as global fuel prices climb and the country battles soaring inflation.

Businesses in coastal areas and some inland provinces have grappled with power cuts and full blackouts since March due to surging demand and a drop in hydroelectric output, the China Daily said.

The shortage -- the worst since 2004 -- is likely to get worse in the summer when demand peaks, with coastal Jiangsu, an export powerhouse neighbouring Shanghai, the hardest hit, it said.

Power supplies could be as much as 16 percent lower than the province needs, it said.

The drought plaguing central China for months has left more than one million people without proper drinking water and crimped output of hydroelectric power, China's second-biggest energy source, previous media reports said.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:37:25 PM EST
Guardian - Jonathan Watts - Three Gorges Dam risk to environment, says China

China's showcase hydro-engineering project, the Three Gorges Dam, could become an environmental catastrophe unless remedial action is taken, the state media reported yesterday.

In an unusually blunt public assessment, officials warned that landslides and pollution were among the "hidden dangers" facing the world's biggest hydro-electric plant.

The alarmist reports, carried by the Xinhua news agency and the People's Daily website, were in stark contrast to the congratulatory tone of most previous domestic coverage of the project, which was planned for flood control along the Yangtze and for lessening China's dependence on power driven by coal.

When the last of 16m tonnes of concrete was poured into the vast barrier a year ago the project was hailed as a triumph of Chinese engineering. But the problems caused by the 1.4-mile long blockage are becoming increasingly clear.

"There are many new and old hidden ecological and environmental dangers concerning the Three Gorges Dam," the Xinhua report quoted officials as saying. "If preventive measures are not taken the project could lead to a catastrophe."

Who Could Have Predicted?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:39:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting how no one mentions that the whole thing could give way because the construction folks used cheaper materials than specified in order to make greater profits. Wait till they fill the sucker and it gives way ... where's my popcorn?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 02:14:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Labor Market Policy in the Great Recession: Some Lessons from Denmark and Germany

This paper reviews the recent labor-market performance of 21 rich countries, with a focus on Denmark and Greece. Denmark, which was widely seen as one of the world's most successful labor markets before the downturn, has struggled in recent years. Germany, however, has outperformed the rest of the world's rich countries since 2007, despite earlier labor-market difficulties. Labor-market institutions seem to explain the different developments in the two economies.

Danish institutions - which include extensive opportunities for education, training, and placement of unemployed workers - appear to perform well when the economy is at or near full employment, but have not been effective during the downturn.

German labor-market institutions, which emphasize job security by keeping workers connected to their current employers, may have drawbacks when the economy is operating at or near full employment, but have performed well in the Great Recession. The paper also discusses lessons for U.S. labor-market policy.

Report (pdf)



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:39:15 PM EST

Anxiety keeps the super-rich safe from middle-class rage
The pay gap at the top should change the terms of political trade. But the squeezed middle must first learn to look up

Why aren't we more angry? Why isn't blood running, metaphorically at least, in the streets? Evidence of how the rich prosper while everyone else struggles with inflation, public spending cuts and static wages arrives almost daily. The Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that last year incomes among the top 1% grew at the fastest rate in a decade. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, the top 1,000 are £60.2bn better off this year than in 2010, bringing their collective wealth close to the record pre-recession levels.

(...)

That is the most important point about what has happened to incomes in Britain and America during the neoliberal era: the very rich are soaring ahead, leaving behind not only manual workers - now a diminishing minority - but also the middle-class masses, including doctors, teachers, academics, solicitors, architects, Whitehall civil servants and, indeed, many CEOs who don't run FTSE 100 companies, to say nothing of the marketing, purchasing, personnel, sales and production executives below them. That is why, over the past decade, some of the most anguished cries about high incomes and inequality have appeared in the Telegraph and Mail.

(...)

One reason why the working classes so often disappointed the left was that, having little daily contact with the rich and little knowledge of how they lived, they simply didn't think about inequality much, or regard the wealthy as direct competitors for resources. As the sociologist Garry Runciman observed: "Envy is a difficult emotion to sustain across a broad social distance." Nearly 50 years ago he found manual workers were less likely than non-manual workers to think other people were "noticeably better off". Even now most Britons underestimate the rewards of bankers and executives. Top pay has reached such levels that, rather like interstellar distances, what the figures mean is hard to grasp.

(...)

They are not, however, imminently likely to join a crusade for equality. This generation of the middle classes has internalised the values of individualist aspiration, as zealously propagated by Tony Blair as by Margaret Thatcher. It does not look to the application of social justice to improve its lot. It expects to rely on its own efforts to get ahead and, crucially, to maintain its position.

As psychologists will tell you, fear of loss is more powerful than the prospect of gain. The struggling middle classes look down more anxiously than they look up, particularly in recession and sluggish recovery. Polls show they dislike high income inequalities but are lukewarm about redistribution. They worry that they are unlikely to benefit and may even lose from it; and worse still, those below them will be pulled up sufficiently to threaten their status. This is exactly the mindset in the US, where individualist values are more deeply embedded. Americans accepted tax cuts for the rich with equanimity. Better to let the rich keep their money, they calculated, than to have it benefit economic and social inferiors.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:41:56 PM EST

The New Normal
There seem to be to be two broad narratives of our present situation. The dominant, official narrative, is that there was a technical crisis of money flow, precipitated by a bolus of bad debts which then caused a collapse of confidence in the value of several large asset classes. What was required was to show that such assets would always retain their ability to find a buyer and thus their value, even if the buyer had to be, in the immediate term, the public purse. The public purse was duly opened to steady nerves and sales, and massive purchases of whatever could not find any other buyer were duly made. The plan was and is that the purchased assets would be sold by our governments, back to the market once other buyers returned.

The dissident narrative is that this was never a technical crisis of money flow - liquidity - but one of insolvency due to the troubled asset classes being, in fact, vastly over valued. The collapse in value and the lack of buyers was not a temporary lack of confidence in an otherwise sound financial system, but a rational shunning of paper assets whose previous value was almost entirely due to the press of gullible buyers who were keen to partake in the buy, flip and buy some more ponzi scheme of speculation.

(...)

The official narrative today is that the plan of recovery is working. The narrative focuses on the rise of the stock markets to almost pre-crash heights. The failure of housing or commercial property markets to recover and the fact that unemployment is hideously high is simply no longer part of the recovery narrative. These things have been dropped. What has been added has been the 'shocking' level of public, national debt. In the new narrative the cause of the ballooning of public debt has been steered away from facts about the cost of the bail outs or how the disintegration of the speculative bubble caused a subsequent collapse of real economic activity. The new story is that the debts we have now are nothing to do with the banks and their temporary difficulties. They are due to a deeper incontinence in public spending.

The narrative is being re-written so that the 'debt crisis' is seen as something that is under control and being solved, whereas the present and pressing problem in need of controlling is the cost of public services and the unreasonable expectations that underlie them. Public expectation of a free lunch for their children at school or a pension for their life's work or a health service paid for through taxes - these socialist weapons of fiscal destruction are to blame for the vast public debt.  That is the narrative we are being fed. The bankers are being air brushed out of the story and certainly any mention of blame being attached to them is being described as backward looking if not downright suspect and dangerous.

(...)

The question for me is if the dissident narrative can hold its ground and find something more say. Or have we been been swept aside?

Certainly we are outgunned and alone. The press are supine collaborators, the rule of law has been bought and whored, and academia is either captured by the dominant ideology and too dimwitted to escape  or just too concerned with grovelling for tenure and a city sinecure.

The dissident narrative I advance says that what we are told are temporary and extraordinary measures are nothing of the sort. The measures taken to 'deal' with the 'crisis' have in fact created, whether by accident design,  a new and very much more reliable, system for ensuring that the super rich stay that way. The new system horrifies me because it has put finance above democracy, markets over governments, and it appals free-marketeers because it sets up an untouchable aristocracy within the markets who are not allowed to lose and who can therefore take what they want, when they want, from whomever they want and the law will not touch them.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:45:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have said much of this as bluntly as this author on ET during the last year.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 08:39:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And, of course, so have a number of others here.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 08:54:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So any word on how this is going down?  Does it all happen at one time, or are we going to have rolling armageddons, New Year's Eve-style?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:50:50 PM EST
apparnetly it all kicks off at 18:00. so wherever you are, better have you dinner early or you'll go to hell hungry.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:12:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, the Christians just go to Heaven.  We don't go to Hell until October, I think.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody goes to hell tomorrow; that happens a few months later.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:15:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to worry. When the Ossies start ascending, those of us in the later time zones have plenty of time for a quick baptism and born-again experience in order to make the float.

Christianity is the Kings-X religion; do what you want, so long as you get in that last-minute "love ya, Jesus" and "sorry for those sins o' mine, whatever they were" and all is put right.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 04:29:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Karen, do you think Jesus is that easily fooled? He knows the state of the game in your heart. Are you inviting him in, in spirit and in truth?

If not, no flight tomorrow for you. He's touchy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 04:44:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

- MrDeity

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 06:41:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi, afew. No, I don't think he's fooled at all. But I think most of the Christians I saw in the USA are counting on his being bound by the rules THEY think are operational regarding Christianity.

One of the great pleasures of living in Europe: even while being surrounded by gorgeous historic cathedrals, one can get away from religion as "practiced" in the USA.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 11:56:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - 'Rapture' apocalypse prediction sparks atheist reaction

An atheist and entrepreneur from North Hampshire, Bart Centre, is enjoying a boost in business for Eternal Earth-bound Pets, which he set up to look after the pets of those who believe they will be raptured.

He has more than 250 clients who are paying up to $135 (£83) to have their pets picked up and cared for after the rapture.

They would be disappointed twice, he told the Wall Street Journal. "Once because they weren't raptured and again because I don't do refunds."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:53:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Once because they weren't raptured and again because I don't do refunds."

Let's make $$ off the idiots ... I love it!!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 02:18:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just wish we could have a god who would "rapture" straight to hell the executives of all of the TBTFs, right down to the assistant office managers, >90% of US congresscritters and their counterparts in the rest of the world, all of the executives of the various financial "regulatory" bodies, starting with the Fed, the ECB, the World Bank and the IMF, and not forgetting >90% of tenured professors of economics in the former 1st world.

What a wonderful world it would be!
What a glorious time to be free.  

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 09:03:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here, it is a nice day for DUCKS!

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:52:36 PM EST
Any chance you could send some fo that up my way.  We're like eleventy inches below normal at this point.  Apparently I took a wrong turn somewhere in Virginia and wound up in the Mojave or something.

This is some bullshit.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 12:57:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just checked the weather in Vienna, where I'm going tonight. Tomorrow they are predicting heavy thunderstorms and hail. Maybe the Rapture is arriving there after all....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:04:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moving into serious drought here.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 04:47:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same here in northern Arkansas. Started raining about noon. I had gotten in couple of hours work on my garden when it started. Looks like it will continue until about noon tomorrow. Then it is "scattered" or "isolated" thundershowers for the next six days. Not too many worries about watering. At least we haven't had tornado alerts, but this will keep the turbines in the dams on the two lakes turning for another week at least. Both dams empty into the White River, which is backed up in eastern Arkansas, west of Memphis, because the Mississippi is at near record flood stage.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 08:47:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oooo, sorry. And that means my family in Little Rock are probably wet, too. Sure wish I could see Eureka Springs again.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 11:59:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They likely got wet if they went outside. I haven't heard of flooding in Little Rock, though flash flood warnings were in effect for Pulaski, Faulkner, Lonoke, Cleburn and White Counties and there was a funnel cloud spotted about 5:45 PM Saturday headed along side of I-30 towards Malvern.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 09:43:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Avedon Carol has a rant

Yes, the leadership Democrats and the Republicans are both only talking about deficits, but that's no reason the media should just be sitting back and agreeing that deficits are what's important, rather than jobs. The media is perfectly happy to be adversarial about what politicians are talking about when it suits them. Unfortunately, these days, "when it suits them" means "when it suits Republicans to be adversarial about what Democrats are saying".

Because, of course, these people are just a bunch of millionaire celebrity court scribes, and they don't give a toss about what the rest of the country needs or wants. Which is most emphatically not what a free press is supposed to be about. We no longer have labor reports as a routine part of the news - or even on Labor Day! We no longer have reporters who actually go out and talk to normal people and then report back in big newspapers.
[....]
 The thing is, the leadership Democrats and Republicans have nothing but reinforcement for talking about deficits rather than jobs. Since they ignore the rest of us completely, the only thing left is a press corps to hold them to the fire. That's their job.

That's why the 1st Amendment exists - so that there is an adversary out there who can tell the leadership what's important, and tell the people what needs to be done and how to do it. They're not. Because they're not a free press - they are paid shills for the corporatocracy and that has nothing to do with what the American form of government is supposed to be about.

"The focus" did not shift to the deficit - that only happened in one small part of Washington, DC. For the rest of us, it's still jobs and health care and crumbling infrastructure and "legal" mobsters shaking us down for what we've honestly earned.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:09:34 PM EST
TruthDig - Chris Hedges - The Corporate State wins again

The rhetoric of the Democratic Party and the neoliberals sustains the illusion of participatory democracy. The Democrats and their liberal apologists offer minor palliatives and a feel-your-pain language to mask the cruelty and goals of the corporate state. The reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism will be cemented into place whether it is delivered by Democrats, who are pushing us there at 60 miles an hour, or Republicans, who are barreling toward it at 100 miles an hour. Wolin writes, 'By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes' that it can make their interests a priority, the Democratic Party 'pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system.' The Democrats are always able to offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate collectivism.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:19:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Democrats and their liberal apologists offer minor palliatives and a feel-your-pain language to mask the cruelty and goals of the corporate state.

Luckily in the UK we have the Liberal Democrats looking out for our interests. And they're nothing like that, at all.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:37:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... to mask the cruelty and goals of the corporate state.

This is just step one. The true goal is your extermination. Get it straight!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 02:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corrente - Deep Harm - Best retort to "Ya GOTTA vote Dem!!!!!!" ever

The Democratic Party is like a horse that refuses take commands from its owner and stubbornly refuses to carry him. The owner does not go out and get a new horse, but picks up the horse and carries it around in the belief that, eventually, the horse will change its mind. Years later, the horse is thinking, "I'm a genius!"

Once you realise the the "Democratic party" in this instance are the DC dems and the owner is the voters, this makes sense. But I had problems initially cos I thought the owners were the corporates and they're drding free

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:22:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hurry!




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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:37:28 PM EST
The website doesn't exist. But when I try it, I get a placeholder with (in Italy) links to
End Times
Streaming Videos
Bible Studies
Computer Portatili
Siti Adulti
Oh, it's that type of rapture.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:40:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 01:38:56 PM EST
Only in San Francisco.

"kind of blue. nocturnal. solitary. WARNING Extremely distant, cold and withdrawn. Quick to ????? contempt for critics and everyone else. Likely to be confrontational. Does not respond to ....."

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 02:27:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kind of blue. Nocturnal. Solitary. WARNING: Extremely distant, cold, and withdrawn. Quick temper. Severe contempt for critics and everyone else. Likely to be confrontational. Does not respond to treats.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sat May 21st, 2011 at 12:03:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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