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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 28 June

by dvx Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 04:09:11 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


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1926 - birth of Mel Brooks, American filmmaker

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:37:11 PM EST
Queen and ex-IRA chief shake hands | News | DW.DE | 27.06.2012

Britain's queen and a former IRA commander have met behind closed doors to reaffirm North Ireland's peace process. Their handshake was meant to symbolize the end to a conflict that cost thousands of lives.

Northern Ireland Office officials say the monarch and Martin McGuinness, a former commander of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), met privately Wednesday inside a Belfast theater during a cross-community arts event. Media were barred from the event.

A second handshake, performed for selected photographers, followed a short time later. It was billed as an important gesture in the Northern Ireland's peace process that began with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:50:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Q: "What do you do?"
M: "Organize armed insurrection against you, Ma'am."
Q: "How interesting. Does it work?"
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 01:29:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a funny moment when it looked like McGuinness might speak to Prince Phillip. For a 90 year old he moved pretty fast to evade that possibility.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:13:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which way at the EU summit? | Europe | DW.DE | 27.06.2012

The EU faces difficult decisions on the bloc's future at the upcoming summit. Solving the immediate euro crisis is only one of them.

The intervals between summit meetings have been getting ever shorter, while the problems remain the same.

Following the latest official requests for aid by Spain and Cyprus, a total of five of the 17 eurozone nations will soon be depending on support from the European Union's bailout fund. Markets are jittery. For Spain and Italy, borrowing costs have reached what amount to unsustainable levels in the long run. And Greece has a new government that has only promised to fulfill the lenders' requirements up to a certain point: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has demanded better conditions. At the same time, the country appears to have fallen well short of meeting previous reform and austerity targets.

"Europe is facing a major test that we Europeans will and must pass," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said at an EU foreign ministers meeting this week in Luxembourg. "This debt crisis requires reliability from all partners," he said, adding the EU could grant no discounts: "It will be a very crucial week for Europe, but I am confident we will succeed."

No quick fix



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:50:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel: No quick, easy solutions to eurozone crisis | News | DW.DE | 27.06.2012

Angela Merkel has stressed there are no quick or easy solutions to Europe's financial problems. Ahead of an EU summit, the German chancellor said monitoring and discipline were crucial to overcoming the eurozone crisis.

Merkel used her address to lawmakers in the Bundestag on Wednesday to outline her four-step policy on how to surmount the crisis.

"There are no fast, and there are no simple solutions," she told German parliamentarians, adding that the only way out was a process of taking one step after another and tackling the problem from the "roots."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:51:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's quick and easy is the first step: Stop digging!!
by Euroliberal on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 08:57:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"There are no fast, and there are no simple solutions," she told German parliamentarians, adding that the only way out was a process of taking one step after another and tackling the problem from the "roots."

In that case you have to start by identifying the roots correctly. If you cannot be sure what the roots are, you need to start from the leaves and work your way to the roots. This means stabilize the fucking economy through fiscal policy first and only then attempt to identify the structural issues and finally deal with those.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 09:05:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
François Hollande and Angela Merkel meet in Paris with high stakes at play | Business | guardian.co.uk

Chancellor Angela Merkel goes to Paris on Wednesday to try to strike a Franco-German deal with President François Hollande amid deep-seated differences at what has been described as Europe's defining moment.

With the two key EU countries split for the first time in 30 months of single currency and sovereign debt crisis, José Manuel Barroso, head of the European Commission laid bare the high stakes in play at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday as well as the high frictions between Germany and France.

Merkel's first visit to the Élysée Palace under its new occupant has been hastily arranged and comes on the eve of what is being billed as a crucial Brussels summit which, apart from the immediate financial dilemmas, is to wrestle with a radical blueprint aimed at turning the 17 countries of the eurozone into a fully-fledged political federation within a decade.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:51:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Microsoft headquarters is attacked in Athens | News | DW.DE | 27.06.2012

Police have begun investigating a pre-dawn attack on Microsoft company headquarters in Greece. The assailants forced security guards to clear the building and then ignited an incendiary device.

The assailants apparently drove through the front doors in a van and set off the device, which blackened the building's entrance, police said. No one was hurt in the attack in an Athens suburb.

Police said it appeared that three assailants were involved. They set off the incendiary device - thought to have been made up of several gas canisters - in the van and let it burn out after forcing the two security guards to leave the building, police said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:51:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gallo: If You're Campaigning Against ACTA, You're A Terrorist - Falkvinge on Infopolicy

In a remarkable statement, the copyright monopoly fundamentalist Marielle Gallo - of the Gallo Report infamy - says that the citizens of Europe who have been campaigning against ACTA are terrorists.

In a just-published interview (in French), Marielle Gallo - a Member of the European Parliament, no less - calls the anti-ACTA campaigns "A soft form of terrorism" (une forme douce de terrorisme). Yes, she really does say that the citizens of Europe, her constituency, who contact her colleagues in Parliament regarding a concerning political matter should be regarded as terrorists.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:34:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, when a word gets over used by stupid politicians the definition stretches until eventually it's meaningless.

she should remember that one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:17:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She's French, so terrorism may have a different meaning for her. Maybe she's thinking of
La terreur n'est autre chose que la justice prompte, sévère, inflexible.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:24:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:40:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anti-ACTA : Marielle Gallo dénonce « une forme douce de terrorisme » - Actualité PC INpact Anti-ACTA: Marielle Gallo denounces "a mild form of terrorism" - PC News INpact
Écoutez, vous êtes au courant tout de même que les Anonymous sont descendus dans l'Assemblée parlementaire en Pologne ! Ce n'est pas seulement une campagne de désinformation. C'est une forme douce de terrorisme qui effraie les gens. On leur fait peur. C'est un fantasme. Acta est devenu un fantasme. Et ça, c'est relayé par tout le réseau Internet. J'ai d'excellents rapports avec Jérémie Zimmermann, mais je n'ai pas sa puissance de frappe.
Listen, you're still aware that Anonymous took to the Parliamentary Assembly in Poland! This is not just a misinformation campaign. This is a mild form of terrorism that scares people. It scares them. It is a fantasy. Acta became a fantasy. And that is relayed by the entire Internet. I have an excellent relationship with Jérémie Zimmermann, but I do not have his punching power.

Stupid use of the word, but she's talking about a specific case of Anonymous in the Polish parliament. There's much worse in this interview : her contempt for her electorate. She's bitter about having lost the battle for public opinion, because she knows better than the citizens :

Nous sommes censés représenter les citoyens, mais comme ils sont occupés à autre chose, nous sommes censés réfléchir à leur place !

"We are supposed to represent the citizens, but since they are busy with other things, we are supposed to think for them".

And if they start thinking for themselves! Horror!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:28:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ACTA killed. Vote was 478-39 with 146 abstentions.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jul 4th, 2012 at 07:13:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there an impeachment procedure for MEPs?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 12:07:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. It's called 'elections.'

They used to be quite popular back in the 20th century, though I understand that the EPP finds them obsolete these days.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 04:16:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh no, the EPP still wants them. They just don't want elections to change policies.
by Katrin on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 04:58:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We used to say that the American two-party system was clearly twice as democratic as the East German one-party system.

Looks like the EPPES took that to heart.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 05:03:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TheLocal.de: Half of German teens 'unsure Hitler a dictator'
The widespread ignorance is described in a study called, "Late Victory of the Dictatorships?" conducted by researchers at Berlin's Free University.

...

Only around half were definite that the Nazi government was a dictatorship. Just over a third were certain that the former East German government was also a dictatorship.

And about half said the former West German government was a democracy, while around 60 percent were sure that the current united German government was democratic.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 05:10:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to see the exact questions first. This reminds me of the study a few weeks ago finding that students don't even know where  Auschwitz is. In reality most students knew about the death camps in the occupied East Europe, they just didn't know in which country Auschwitz is. That doesn't keep them from understanding what happened, though.
by Katrin on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 05:35:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of another poll in the Dail Mail.
Adolf Hitler was Germany's football team manager, according to youngsters aged nine to 15.

A study of 2,000 children which tested them on their knowledge of facts of both world wars found that 40 per cent of them did not know that Remembrance Day falls on November 11.

Twelve per cent said the symbol of the day is the golden arches of McDonald's, rather than the poppy.

Some of the more disturbing results were that one in six children believed Auschwitz was a World War Two theme park.

So now the British must think that Italy defeated Hitler.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 06:13:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh... no I meant impeach them before their term expires

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 12:04:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then the answer is no.

MEPs can get kicked out of their party groups and disowned by their national party but they keep their seat. They can also break laws with immunity as long as it is part of their parliament work. There might be some way to depose them if caught redhanded taking bribes or stealing from the parliament, but I doubt it, given the sort of scandals that has happened and the lack of deposed.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jun 30th, 2012 at 03:36:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chloe Smith's Newsnight humiliation is No 10's fault, say senior Tories | Politics | The Guardian

Downing Street and the Treasury came under fire from senior Tories who were furious after a relatively inexperienced minister was humiliated in successive television interviews.

Chloe Smith, who was promoted to the Treasury last year at the age of 29, is fighting to recover her reputation among Tories after struggling to answer basic questions about fuel duty on Newsnight and Channel 4 News on Tuesday night.

Smith, who was appointed as exchequer secretary because David Cameron wrongly believed she was a trained accountant, toured the studios to explain George Osborne's announcement that he would defer a 3p rise in fuel duty until January. The chancellor was entertaining Tory MPs to dinner at No 11 while Smith defended his announcement on television.

Conservative MPs were scathing about the decision to allow such an inexperienced minister to appear on air on such a sensitive matter. "It was obvious that Chloe was struggling after her appearance on the 7pm Channel 4 News," one said. "Whoever allowed her out again on Newsnight at 10.30pm should be taken out and shot."



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 Jun 27th, 2012 at 06:11:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking that it takes a special kind of political genius to take something that could have been a major win - a popular cut in fuel duty - into an epic and memorable PR fail.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 06:15:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ability to take absolutely the worst option from any list that they have  would be something to watch with amazement, if you didn't have to deal with the fall-out.

(And remembering that this is supposedly Camerons field of expertise and experience makes it even more amazing)

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 Jun 27th, 2012 at 06:28:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. I'd forgotten that PR was (snicker...) supposed to be Cameron's strength.

I'm impressed that this isn't just an epic fail, it's an historic fail.

It's going to be remembered for years.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 07:47:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there any way it was deliberate ? To allow a naive and unbriefed junior to get shredded on live television, the fallout from which distracts from the Osborne's serial screw ups.

After all, this particular reverse is not insignificant in terms of Trasury revenues and would be hard to explain away. Better to make the row over something else

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:25:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But this will surely backfire. Cameron and Osborne basically sacrificed a young and coming MP because they were fucking lazy, both about hiring her in the first place
It wasn't helped by the story which emerged about her appointment - apparently David Cameron thought she was an accountant when he called her to break the news. "I was a management consultant in an accountancy firm", replied Chloe. "Never mind! Welcome aboard!" the PM is reported to have replied.
(Telegraph)

and then about owning up about their own policy. What message does this incident send to the next 30-year-old they propose to appoint to a position of confidence?

Ms Smith doesn't have an easy job - like David Guake, the other junior Treasury minister, she is usually wheeled out when the Government has done something indefensible. It cannot be fun to go on a TV programme expected to stick to a script that appears not to have even been written.
Then again, the commentator really doesn't get it
But when she couldn't answer a single question, from "when were you told" to "how are you paying for this", her inexperience really did show.
No, what is evident is that the truthful answer would have been "I found out through the press like everyone else". Again, Smith was being sent by Osborne to defend the indefensible.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:48:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Smith, who was appointed as exchequer secretary because David Cameron wrongly believed she was a trained accountant, toured the studios to explain George Osborne's announcement that he would defer a 3p rise in fuel duty until January. The chancellor was entertaining Tory MPs to dinner at No 11 while Smith defended his announcement on television.

At least on Newsnight she wasn't asked to defend the policy, she was asked pretty pointed questions about whether this was a U-turn on the part of Osborne, which evidently she couldn't answer.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 07:17:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This one's interesting: How to play Paxman: what Chloe Smith should have said
The grim truth is, there was almost no way for Chloe Smith to emerge from this interview with credit. Most politicos agree that she should never have been doing it in the first place. A major tax change and U-turn was either one for the chancellor himself to address or for one of his heavyweight cabinet colleagues, who are strangely resistant to speaking outside their brief. Instead, a junior minister was left to face a mauling that will be a YouTube sensation - and may haunt her for a long time to come.


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 07:30:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It takes a lot of practice to say "A" when you really mean "not A."
by asdf on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 07:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But doing it with ease defines you as a "heavyweight".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 01:43:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I say assertive, you say heavyweight, he says baldfaced.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:58:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All of which underlines how badly the Tories played it. Paxman's methods are well known; a savvy adviser could have pretty much written Paxo's questions out before she got anywhere near the studio and she could have been briefed with best answers.

But they didn't and she walked into the rotating knives

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:22:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paxman: You ever think you are incompetent?

What Smith said: I think it's valuable to help real people in this way and I do think that is valued by people who drive.

What she should have said: An assertive interviewee would have fixed Paxman with a cold-eyed stare and said simply and unsmilingly: "No."

Maybe she should have said "No. Do you ever think you're obnoxious?"

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:53:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paxman answer: Yes, it's what they pay me for. How's the pay for being a dimwit?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 06:26:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To judge by the government in the UK, it seems to be pretty good.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 06:29:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was no advising whatsoever, but she could have helped herself:
Paxman: Which department is [the money] going to come from?

What Smith said: They fall across and in different ways and that figure will progress, if you like, through the course of the year ...

What she should have said: Here Campbell and the other expert media-handlers are clear: she had to have examples. Two or three cases of relatively small savings in specific, named government departments would have enabled her to say: "And there are examples like that across government that make today's move possible." Given that she had already been asked this on Channel 4 News earlier, it is all the more grievous an error. As one PR expert put it: "What was she doing from 7pm to 10.30pm?"

(my emphasis)

I presume that winning a by-election demonstrates a modicum of ability. Apparently not.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I presume that winning a by-election demonstrates a modicum of ability.

In the UK? Really not.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 04:56:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the situation, I thought she showed both poise and determination. She was in a humiliating situation, but she wasn't humiliated, her government was.

Diametrically opposed to her politics, but on a personal level, all I can say is, chin up, and "you go girl".

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 06:32:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm finding it hard to be that generous.

Competent pols - including Harriet Harman - have managed to stand up to Paxman and come out looking credible. The reality is she put on a poor performance earlier in the day fielding very similar questions on a different show. She should have had some idea what was coming, and been able to prepare for it competently - i.e. not by making the same mistakes again.

Also, as has been pointed out all over Teh Tubez, she's earning nearly £100k a year in a public service position.

From her website it appears she isn't quite shaking up the world as an MP, never mind as a Junior Treasury Minister.

Not wanting to seem unkind, but did the Tories really have no one fiercer and more professional to fight their corner?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 06:56:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a party with a brand, so it's given credit for 200 years of alternate rule. But, there are no professionals now.

On either side.

Tories getting the treatment that they deserve. But, we're all in uncharted waters. She's on the wrong side of those waters, I knox. But, as a human being, I think she did what she could under the circumstances and, having been in a minor way in similar stead, I respect that, even if I abhor what she is standing for.

And the fact that her campaaign was so amateur...hey, that's a good sign. That's where we're all headed, and that's a good thing, tho' we should be ready to be amateurs at agitprop, and at undermining authority, in the same way she amateurishly (but strongly humanly) campaigned.

Not our friends, not worthy enemies even. But, harbingers of opportunity. And human.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 08:00:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Merkel and Hollande disagree politely
The Merkel-Hollande dinner in Paris brought no progress on the essential issues of the eurozone anti-crisis response; they only agreed on the largely irrelevant growth package, which they already agreed to last week, and which will they will also agree on during the summit; Hollande said there should be "as much integration as necessary and as much solidarity as possible"; Merkel emphasised the long-term goals for the eurozone; Merkel sharply criticised the report of the four presidents in the Bundestag, and ruled out eurobonds, eurobills, and the redemption fund; Wolfgang Munchau says the minimum the summit needs to achieve is an agreement by the ESM to buy bonds in a flexible way, to lever the ESM through a bank licence, and allow the ESM to recapitalise banks directly; Bild applauds Merkel's categorical No to eurobonds, and says the chancellor is as tough as stone; Mario Monti links his agreement to a financial transactions tax to a deal to help Italy reduce its spreads; Monti's labour market reforms, linked to a confidence vote, have passed in the Italian parliament; a survey shows that Germans feel more protected from the crisis than the French, the Spaniards, and the Italians; Peter Praet hints at a rate cut; he also warns that conditionality will be applied to the EFSF/ESM loan to Spain; Bankia's board puts a negative value of €14bn on the bank, before the recent capital injections; the board of Bankia's holding company was yesterday forced to resign en bloc; the eurogroup reaffirms that the Spanish alone are responsible for the repayment of loan; also confirms that the loan will initially come from the EFSF and then transferred to the ESM - which means it will rank pari passu throughout its lifespan; Slovenia may be next to ask for an EFSF bailout, as it has to recapitalise its largest bank; Finland is asking for collateral in respect of the Cyprus programme; crony capitalism is back in Greece big time, as Antonis Samarras appoints a friend to a run the National Bank of Greece; an IMF working paper shows that bank bailouts often prolong a crisis; Mark Schieritz says we are close to a situation where it becomes rational for eurozone member states to kick Germany out of the eurozone; Alberto Alesina, meanwhile, urges Southern Europeans to give Germany a break.


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:51:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mark Schieritz advise eurozone to kick Germany out of the euro

Writing in his blog Herdentrieb, Mark Schieritz says there are two interpretations of the German position. The first is that Germany genuinely wants a political union as a condition for debt mutualisation. The second is that Germany insists on conditions it knows can never be fulfilled - like the Bundesbank's coronation theory many years ago. He says Merkel's comment that there shall be no eurozonebonds "for as long as I live" suggests that the second interpretation can no longer be excluded. And in that case, it would be rational for the eurozone member states to kick Germany out of the club. (We think this is an interesting dialectic argument, but it will next to impossible to get Germany out of the euro.)



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 04:02:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The interpretations are not mutually exclusive.
by oliver on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 04:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Germany genuinely wants a political union (...) Germany insists on conditions it knows can never be fulfilled

They look mutually exclusive to me.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:23:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is unlikely that the German government has a unified attitude here. Their views on the feasibility of political union are likely to be somewhere between "if unimaginable consequences loom, unimagined developments may occur", "unlikely but worth trying" and "forget it, let's jump ship in a politically acceptable manner".

However, they have decided that in public they'll insist on political union. In private, some (Schäuble) might be willing in extreme emergency to open the floodgates, others (Merkel) would in extreme cases sacrifice European integration.

To the German government's relief they can still get away with the conditional stance.

by oliver on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 10:30:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"open the floodgates"?! Do elaborate what you mean by that. Perhaps a slight loosening of neoliberal policies that as everyone else knows don't work anyway?

The German government has a "unified attitude". Merkel can dismiss Schäuble, but not the other way round.

by Katrin on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 10:45:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"open the floodgates"?! Do elaborate what you mean by that.

Pay or give guarantees without demanding further austerity.


Merkel can dismiss Schäuble, but not the other way round.

That is a theoretical power. She still needs a parliamentary majority and gains nothing by alienating important parts of her party. And she doesn't have many competent replacements at hand.

Of course she retains full veto power, so she will stop anything she doesn't agree with, but that is not all that useful as she wants to get things done, albeit only on her terms.

by oliver on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 02:04:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pay or give guarantees without demanding further austerity

That's "opening the floodgates" for you? Telling. You know how it looks when floodgates are opened, don't you? I suspect you see Germany "drained" of money next.

She still needs a parliamentary majority and gains nothing by alienating important parts of her party.

She can be sure of a majority, so where is the problem? First of all, there is no opposition except Die Linke. And then too many seats will be lost in the next elections. Not only the FDP will lose, the CDU will lose too. So every black or yellow MP clings to this coalition and Merkel can do what she wants. There is only one person who is dangerous for her and that's Merkel. She has moved herself into a corner of her own choice and she can't get out of there.

by Katrin on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 04:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pay or give guarantees without demanding further austerity. Stop demanding that Greece pays for German export subsidies.

There. Fixed it for you.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 04:16:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And she doesn't have many competent replacements at hand.

She could appoint her horse, like Caligula did. It would still be an improvement over Stasi 2.0.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 04:19:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't even trust her horse. Do we agree that every horse and even Schäuble would be an improvement compared to Merkel?
by Katrin on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 05:04:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Stasi 2.0 is an ideologue, Merkel is an opportunist. I prefer dealing with opportunists.

Opportunists can be persuaded with a carrot and a stick. Ideologues are not persuaded this side of a firing squad. And I would really rather not have Germany get quite far enough over the cliff that those start crawling out of the woodwork.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 05:13:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You underrate Merkel's ideology then. She is prepared to skip some policies like nuclear power or participation in the Libya war, but she has a political aim: freedom for St. Market.
by Katrin on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 05:41:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the promotion of her political project is, in the final analysis, subordinate to the promotion of her own narrow self interest. That makes her more likely to fold if someone threatens to whack her over the head with a sufficiently big stick. A crusader just gets pissed off if you threaten to whack him over the head with a stick.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 29th, 2012 at 06:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Münchau actually waters down the tone of Schieritz' piece: Werft Deutschland aus dem Euro (26. Juni 2012)
Frank Lübberding hat dazu schon vieles gesagt. Ich war nicht dabei und kenne die Umstände nicht, aber diese Aussagen legen nahe, dass die zweite Interpretation zumindest nicht ausgeschlossen werden kann. In diesem Fall kann man dem Rest Europas nur raten: Macht euren eigenen Verein auf. Werft uns raus. Tut euch zusammen. Appeasement ist keine diplomatische Strategie, die im Umgang mit Deutschland Erfolg verspricht.
Throw Germany out of the Euro! (26 June 2012)
Frank Lübberding has already said a lot about [Merkel's 'over my dead body']. I wasn't there and don't know the facts, but these utterances suggest that the second [cynical] interpretation at a minimum cannot be excluded. In that case one can only advice the rest of Europe: open up your own club. Throw us out. Do your own thing. Appeasement as a diplomatic strategy does not promise success in relation with Germany.
Did Mark Schieritz just write that appeasing Germany doesn't work? I am reminded of Krugman's blog Things That May Be Easier to Write If You're Named Wolfgang
He might as well have suggested sending in the Luftwaffe to solve the eurozone crisis.


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:04:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is what he wrote.

If I may add that, I dislike that fucking München 1938 also when it emanates from Germany. Such rhetoric should be left to neo-cons and other nutters.

And the right reference is anyway Lausanne 1932.

by IM on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, Merkel is the one who allows herself to say things like "we shouldn't take for granted 50 years of peace in Europe" in the Bundestag, and then sets the tone for an EU summit with "over my dead body".

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:30:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel belongs in the penalty box. And she started is is rather weak.
by IM on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The charge is a lot more serious than "she started it".

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:53:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually it's "She started it and she keeps at it"

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 12:22:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a point I always make in conversations. No one tires of pointing out the corrupt culture of Greece over decades, the two centuries of default, the basket-casedness of the country, the decades of taking on too much debt, etc., as though it's in the DNA, and yet history seems to apply only to the weak.
by Upstate NY on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 10:29:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a translation of the Lübberding quote Schieritz refers to, which was a comment on Merkel's "over my dead body" quote:

Frau Merkel: Die Zerstörerin Europas Merkel: The destroyer of Europe
Sie wird genau wissen, was sie damit macht: Sie zerstört den Euro. Mit dieser Aussage hat sie alles dementiert, was sie in den vergangenen Wochen über ihre Lautsprecher hat verkünden lassen. Dass nämlich eine gemeinsame Haftung vom Wohlverhalten abhängig ist. Etwa der Zustimmung zum Fiskalpakt. Warum diese Politik nicht funktionieren kann, hat George Soros heute Nachmittag noch einmal im Spiegel erläutert. Er argumentiert nicht anders als wir. Es geht aber nicht mehr um Argumente. Es geht darum, dass SPD und Grüne nichts anderes sind als die willigen Helfer der Zerstörerin Europas, wenn sie weiterhin sklavisch den Fiskalpakt am kommenden Freitag abnicken wollen. Frau Merkel hat nämlich gerade die Verhandlungsgrundlage gekündigt. Beide Parteien müssen sich jetzt entscheiden: Für Europa oder für Frau Merkels abenteuerliche Reise auf den Pfaden von Wilhelm II.She will know exactly what she does by it: she destroys the euro. With this statement, she denied everything she has said in recent weeks over her loudspeakers. Namely, that a common liability depends on the good behavior. On the approval of the Fiscal Pact. Why this policy cannot work, George Soros has explained again this afternoon in "Der Spiegel" . He doesn't argue differently from us. But it's no longer about arguments. It is important that the SPD and the Greens are nothing more than the willing helpers of the destroyer of Europe, if they want to continue to rubber-stamp slavishly the fiscal pact on Friday. Mrs. Merkel has just cancelled the basis for negotiations. Both parties have to decide now: for Europe or for Mrs. Merkel's adventurous journey in the footsteps of William II
by Katrin on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The linked interview with Soros is very good, too.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Noch mal: Warum soll das die Schuld Deutschlands sein?

Soros: Es ist die gemeinsame Verantwortung all derer, die der Währungsunion beigetreten sind, ohne die Konsequenzen dieses Schritts zu verstehen. Als der Euro eingeführt wurde, erlaubten die Regulierer den Banken, so viele Staatsanleihen zu kaufen, wie sie wollten, ohne dafür Eigenkapital vorhalten zu müssen. Und die Europäische Zentralbank (EZB) unterschied nicht zwischen den Staatsanleihen, die die Banken einreichten, um sich Geld zu leihen. Das machte die Staatsanleihen der schwächeren Euro-Länder schlagartig attraktiver.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Und das hat die Zinsen nach unten getrieben?

Soros: Ja. Die niedrigen Zinsen haben zu einem Immobilien- und Konsumboom in Ländern wie Spanien und Irland geführt. Zur gleichen Zeit kämpfte Deutschland mit den Auswirkungen der Wiedervereinigung und versuchte, wettbewerbsfähiger zu werden. Das hat dazu geführt, dass die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung auseinanderdriftete. Europa spaltete sich in Gläubiger- und Schuldnerstaaten. All diese Bedingungen wurden durch die europäischen Institutionen geschaffen - unter anderem durch die EZB, die nach dem Vorbild der Bundesbank errichtet wurde. Die Deutschen vergessen oft, dass der Euro vor allem ein deutsch-französisches Geschöpf ist. Kein anderes Land hat so von der Währungsunion profitiert wie Deutschland - weder ökonomisch noch politisch. Deshalb trägt Deutschland auch - im Sinne des deutschen Wortes - die "Schuld" an dem, was durch die Euro-Einführung geschehen ist. Deutschland ist dafür verantwortlich.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:49:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
*Is Slovenia next to ask for bailout?* Slovenia's government announced a recapitalization of the nation's largest bank, Nova Ljubljanska Banka, or NLB, this week as part of efforts to boost the firm's capital to meet European Banking Authority capital requirements, Dow Jones reports. NLB is burdened by non-performing loans and needs a €320m capital increase by the end of June. Asked if Slovenia could seek financial assistance to shore up its banks, the prime minister Janez Jansa said Wednesday that it is too early to say whether Slovenia could need assistance or not. Slovenia is pushing through austerity measures in a bid to push down its budget deficit from 6.4% of gross domestic product in 2011. On local radio Jansa said that Slovenia could face Greek scenario if the opposition does not support the legislative changes in July to stabilize public finances, Bloomberg reports.
I realise that I haven't updated my Euro crisis scorecard for over 6 months. I am updated the Current Account Balances from wikipedia
GDP rank Country       CAB/GDP previous status
-------------------------------------------------
 8	 Poland 	-4.31%	 -2.41% under IMF
17	 Romania	-4.17%	 -5.13% under IMF
16	 Czech Republic -2.95%	 -1.21%
 3	 UK		-1.92%	 -2.23%
23	 Lithuania	-1.71%	 +1.86%
24	 Latvia 	-1.20%	 +5.49% under IMF
--------------------------------------------
12 (8)	 Greece 	-9.67%	-10.84% under EFSF
25(15)	 Cyprus 	-8.47%	 -7.92% under EFSF
14(10)	 Portugal	-6.42%	 -9.98% under EFSF
 5 (4)	 Spain		-3.71%	 -5.23% under EFSF
27(16)	 Malta		-3.21%	 -5.39% under attack
 4 (3)	 Italy		-3.19%	 -2.86% under Troika
 2	 France 	-2.23%	 -1.79% under attack
22(14)	 Slovenia	-1.08%	 -0.73% under attack
13 (9)	 Finland	-0.66%	 +1.43%
 9 (6)	 Belgium	-0.12%	 +0.5%	under attack
--------------------------------------------
15(11)	 Ireland	+0.08%	 -2.73% under EFSF
19(12)	 Slovakia	+0.14%	 -1.36% under attack
10 (7)	 Austria	+1.19%	 +2.31% under attack
26(17)	 Estonia	+3.17%	 +4.21%
 1	 Germany	+5.74%	 +6.06%
20(13)	 Luxembourg	+6.88%	 +6.91%
 6 (5)	 Netherlands	+7.49%	 +5.72%
--------------------------------------------
21	 Bulgaria	+1.94%	 -3%
18	 Hungary	+1.61%	 +0.51% under IMF
11	 Denmark	+6.16%	 +3.42%
 7	 Sweden 	+6.74%	 +5.95%
(Note: sweden has gone from 9th to 7th place in the GDP ranking, and Bulgaria up from 22nd to 21st)

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 04:28:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like Finland is just about due for an attitude adjustment...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:43:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. Been thinking that would be on the way.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:52:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you say 'collateral' in Finnish?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 08:12:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... as in "collateral damage"?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 08:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, as in "can we use the Greek collateral to collateralise our own ESM rescue?"

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 08:26:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"voimme käyttää Kreikan vakuuksia vakuutena omaa ESM pelastus?" as Google says. (How good did it do?)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 08:28:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it would be more properly phrased as, "Hey, Germany, our money that passed through Greece into the vaults of your private banks (when ours had almost nil exposure to Greece), we need it back. Send to ......, Helsinki"
by Upstate NY on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 10:45:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Mig!

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 06:35:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By my count, once the run on Finland starts, a plurality of the members on the ECBuBa's board will represent countries that are under attack. And when Belgium goes tits-up, a plurality will be suffering austerity.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 10:17:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
euro-bills. euro-bonds. how long can this fandango keep playing out? they are all tangled up because they cannot admit this is even more about energy than it is about banking.

follow the money, the utilities' projected revenue stream is an even more colossal rentier tax than the interest on the loans to pay back to the banksters.

paging chris cook, if they denoted these eurobills in energy credits, they wouldn't have them pegged to any currency, pegged, devalued or not.

the only way out of this impasse will be to go beyond thinking about money as stuff and into seeing it as a symbol for energy, no matter what colour the bill or shape of coin.

these energy behemoths have been backstage since the advent of the con-sumer society, have bought damn near all the media, think tanks, politicians, pundits, economysts and soothsayers to convince us how afraid we need to be if the unthinkable happened and the atms all closed.

these leaders, merkel, monti, draghi, barroso, lagarde are all henchpersons for the Firm, the continental european equivalent of a aristo-monarchy that has controlled finance and enriched themselves to hallucinatory levels by seeing to it that the rules always bend in their favour, and that the proles remain enslaved to beer and skittles, even as the boot comes down on their livelihoods, neighbourhoods, environment and children's futures.

so lord and lady muck can jet around to the rich watering holes and afford the best pampering money can buy.

a lady who owns a small glass business told me yesterday if she could she would attack the bigwigs in rome with a baseball bat if she could.

another small business owner, with a plant nursery, told me of how the rules and taxes are so onerous and awkward that he can barely stay afloat, that the local provincial police, who were apparently just disbanded, (as there are already 4-5 different kinds of police on the public teat), just outfitted themselves with quad bikes, horses and trailers, to go further into the forest to find violations to fine.

both shared that they had never seen the economy so bad in their lifetimes.

people are waking up from a dream that growth-a-gogo would last for ever. well the old model is as useful right now as tits on a bull.

we can have growth, if we plant more organic orchards, gardens, bio digesters, a better supported alternative energy rollout, and especially growth in not becoming the sick societies we have become, where we can afford billions to go bother people the other side of the globe who are sitting on our 'vital interests', and give politicians E30,000 a month, lifetime pensions after only being in gvt 3 years.

all kinds of growth possible, and vitally necessary, but a new model that benefits more ordinary people.

just trying to design more imaginative webs of debt to capture profits from is pathetically inadequate and flatly wrong on every level.

yet that's what these leaders will continue trying to do till the moon turns blue.

watching all the fawning attention the local bank manager gets from the customers, and how arrogantly he accepts their adulation, tells me all i really need to know about how difficult these times will continue to be, unless enough irate citizens cause a run on baseball bats.

energy bonds.... stat, a world wide currency bolted to the realities of thermodynamics, rather than the greed of potentates and the machinations of forex.

'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 Jun 28th, 2012 at 07:31:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brad de Long: The Perils of Prophecy (Jun. 27, 2012)
Of course, we historically-minded economists are not surprised that they were wrong. We are, however, surprised at how few of them have marked their beliefs to market in any sense. On the contrary, many of them, their reputations under water, have doubled down on those beliefs, apparently in the hope that events will, for once, break their way, and that people might thus be induced to forget their abysmal forecasting track record.

...

But we - or at least I - have gotten significant components of the last four years wrong. Three things surprised me (and still do). The first is the failure of central banks to adopt a rule like nominal GDP targeting or its equivalent. Second, I expected wage inflation in the North Atlantic to fall even farther than it has - toward, even if not to, zero. Finally, the yield curve did not steepen sharply for the United States: federal funds rates at zero I expected, but 30-Year US Treasury bonds at a nominal rate of 2.7% I did not.

On the flat yield curve, he writes
Indeed, the Treasury rate mostly fluctuated between 3% and 3.5% from late 2008 through mid-2011. But, in July 2011, the ten-year US Treasury bond rate crashed to 2%, and it was below 1.5% at the start of June. The normal rules of thumb would say that the market is now expecting 8.75 years of near-zero short-term interest rates before the economy returns to normal. And similar calculations for the 30-year Treasury bond show even longer and more anomalous expectations of continued depression.


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 05:28:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

French national statistics bureau predicts :

  • 0.4% GDP growth for 2012 (at least, it's a positive number)
  • Buying power to decline 0.6% : biggest decline since 1984 (ah, those left-wing governments!)
  • Unemployment back up to 3 million.

Of course, the new government hasn't announced any significant economic measures yet.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 07:48:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Londo Review of Books: Maastricht and All That (Wynne Godley, 8 October 1992)
The central idea of the Maastricht Treaty is that the EC countries should move towards an economic and monetary union, with a single currency managed by an independent central bank. But how is the rest of economic policy to be run? As the treaty proposes no new institutions other than a European bank, its sponsors must suppose that nothing more is needed. But this could only be correct if modern economies were self-adjusting systems that didn't need any management at all.

I am driven to the conclusion that such a view - that economies are self-righting organisms which never under any circumstances need management at all - did indeed determine the way in which the Maastricht Treaty was framed. It is a crude and extreme version of the view which for some time now has constituted Europe's conventional wisdom (though not that of the US or Japan) that governments are unable, and therefore should not try, to achieve any of the traditional goals of economic policy, such as growth and full employment. All that can legitimately be done, according to this view, is to control the money supply and balance the budget. It took a group largely composed of bankers (the Delors Committee) to reach the conclusion that an independent central bank was the only supra-national institution necessary to run an integrated, supra-national Europe.

But there is much more to it all. It needs to be emphasised at the start that the establishment of a single currency in the EC would indeed bring to an end the sovereignty of its component nations and their power to take independent action on major issues. As Mr Tim Congdon has argued very cogently, the power to issue its own money, to make drafts on its own central bank, is the main thing which defines national independence. If a country gives up or loses this power, it acquires the status of a local authority or colony. Local authorities and regions obviously cannot devalue. But they also lose the power to finance deficits through money creation while other methods of raising finance are subject to central regulation. Nor can they change interest rates. As local authorities possess none of the instruments of macro-economic policy, their political choice is confined to relatively minor matters of emphasis - a bit more education here, a bit less infrastructure there. I think that when Jacques Delors lays new emphasis on the principle of `subsidiarity', he is really only telling us we will be allowed to make decisions about a larger number of relatively unimportant matters than we might previously have supposed. Perhaps he will let us have curly cucumbers after all. Big deal!



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 08:39:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:37:29 PM EST
Merkel defies eurozone leaders on reform - FT.com

A sombre Angela Merkel challenged her fellow European leaders on Wednesday to agree more fundamental reforms to enforce the rules of the eurozone, before Germany would be ready to consider any form of joint liability for eurozone debt.

The German chancellor rejected short-term crisis remedies as "eyewash and fake solutions", calling instead for tougher European banking supervision, common fiscal policies and structural reforms to boost Europe's global competitiveness.

In a statement to the German parliament spelling out her stance for the European summit on Thursday and Friday, Ms Merkel firmly rejected calls for the rapid introduction of jointly guaranteed borrowing in the eurozone as "economically wrong and counter-productive".

But she stopped short of repeating the statement attributed to her on Tuesday, when she supposedly told a closed meeting of German MPs that such eurozone bonds would not be introduced "in my lifetime". Parliamentarians who attended the meeting said it sounded more like a throwaway comment than a statement of precise policy.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:59:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Extend his purview to all of Europe. Last time his spirit was leading Germany into mass psycosis, a subsequent Chancellor made his name, and no one carries his first name anymore anywhere, with reason.

Now we see the same policies, Europe-wide. And left parties were unprepared.

My advice, if you're a lefty in Europe and you haven't done military service- go get some training. It might be useful. Think of the admirable Polish officers in the Commune.

I'm covered.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 06:44:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My advice, if you're a lefty in Europe and you haven't done military service- go get some training. It might be useful.

Whilst I think that's excessive, I would suggest that more important than grunt training, find some leadership who understand how asymmetric war works and the difference between the attractive but useless (or counter-productive) and the difficult but useful.

Too many terrorist groups, and that's how such activity will be described, just like blowing shit up without thought of how it helps the cause, assuming they've even identified what the objective of the cause actually is.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 07:52:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany is a first class passenger on the Euro Titanic  Edward Harrison on RT's Capitol Account via Creditwritedowns

I say Europe can continue dithering for quite a while. There is no sense in making predictions about imminent euro zone destruction because Europe has a lot of tools in its arsenal to continue its Great Dither. But while my comments on RT were less strident than recent predictions from George Soros about Europe's predicament, I respect his analysis and am still alarmed by the situation. Let me tell you why.

Europe's political leaders are now in a policy cul-de-sac that ends in disorderly breakup. Europe is too far along the path of fiscal consolidation and bailouts to turn quickly enough to forestall the debt deflation now taking hold in Europe. Germany too will eventually succumb as a result of this debt deflationary path.

....

Germany cannot save the euro because it doesn't have the financial resources to do so. The German government is already in violation of the Maastricht Treaty government debt to GDP limit as a result of the US-centric crisis. And as the Germans increase their commitments to the bailout/austerity approach, one has to question Germany's credit rating as Egan-Jones rating agency has done, downgrading the country to A+. The euro crisis is a rolling crisis that will damage the euro zone closer and closer to the core until we get defaults, breakup or monetisation.

For now, the Great Dither continues - and it can continue for quite a while. But eventually, events on the ground will become too dire and the Great Dither will fail. At that point anything can happen. A disorderly euro zone breakup must then move from being considered an outlier outcome to one of the main expected scenarios or even a base case. (Emphasis added)



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 08:05:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Barclays chief Bob Diamond gives up 2012 bonus over £290m fine | Business | guardian.co.uk

Barclays has been slapped with total fines of £290m for its "serious, widespread" role in manipulating the price of crucial interest rates in a move that has forced chief executive Bob Diamond and other top executives to forgo any bonuses for 2012.

The £59.5m fine from the Financial Services Authority is the largest penalty ever levied by the City regulator, which found that Barclays contravened its rules for a number of years and involved "a significant number of employees".

The other penalties paid by Barclays are to settle with the US authorities, the department of justice ($200m) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission ($160m), as part of an industry wide probe into the way that interest rates traded between banks were set.

The investigation covered the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor) both of which play a critical role in setting the rates of interest that households and major companies pay to borrow.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:59:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - After Barclays, other banks are in our sights over interest rates, warns FSA

The Financial Services Authority has warned the banking industry that the record-breaking £59.5m fine levied on Barclays for attempting to manipulate interest rates might not be the last as an international investigation into the activities of other banks is being continued.

Tracey McDermott, acting director of enforcement and financial crime at the City regulator, said that a "number of other significant cross-border investigations in this area" were under way involving other banks. "The action against Barclays should leave firms in no doubt about the serious consequences of this type of failure," she said.

The bailed-out banks Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland are among those co-operating with the authorities.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 05:41:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen:
the serious consequences of this type of failure

£290m is what fraction of the gains made by Barclays from manipulating interbank rates over a "number of years"?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 01:51:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Normally if you rob a bank, the police attempt to recover all of the proceeds. You go to jail and the bank gets its money back.

But if a bank robs you, it just gets fined a small percentage, the robbers get a bonus and you don't get any money back

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:27:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That makes sense. The government wants to encourage efficient business practices.
The UK's banking trade organization decided it wanted an analysis of the economic effectiveness of adding security measures to bank branches. The professors did that, but in the process, they also did an analysis that looked at the economics of bank robbery from the thieves' perspective.

The results were not pretty. For guidance on the appropriateness of knocking over a bank, the authors first suggest that a would-be robber might check with a vicar or police officer, but "[f]or the statistics, look no further. We can help. We can tell you exactly why robbing banks is a bad idea."

The basic problem is the average haul from a bank job: for the three-year period, it was only £20,330.50 (~$31,613). And it gets worse, as the average robbery involved 1.6 thieves. So the authors conclude, "The return on an average bank robbery is, frankly, rubbish. It is not unimaginable wealth. It is a very modest £12,706.60 per person per raid."

"Given that the average UK wage for those in full-time employment is around £26,000, it will give him a modest life-style for no more than 6 months," the authors note. If a robber keeps hitting banks at a rate sufficient to maintain that modest lifestyle, by a year and a half into their career, odds are better than not they'll have been caught. "As a profitable occupation, bank robbery leaves a lot to be desired."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:33:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking Up Big Banks Hard to Do as Market Forces Fail - Bloomberg

Seventeen years ago fund manager Michael F. Price spurred the merger of Chase Manhattan Corp. and Chemical Banking Corp., creating what was then the biggest U.S. bank and laying the foundation for JPMorgan (JPM) Chase & Co.

Now he has a new message: It's time to break up.

The stocks of five of the six biggest U.S. banks -- JPMorgan, Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Citigroup Inc. (C), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) -- are languishing at or below tangible book value. That means the pieces are worth more than the whole, Price said.

"Within the banks are wonderful assets," said Price, who sold his fund-management company for $610 million in 1996 and now runs MFP Investors LLC in New York. "How long are the boards of directors going to stand by and take no action and let them be pounded? So far there's no indication that any of these banks or boards of banks is willing to do anything about it."

The next trading windfall...

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:00:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sounds like a case for SUPERMITTENS!

out the phone booth he strolled, resplendent and confident, to inflict just the right amount of bain so there could be more pinatas of profits for the numbers rackets.

'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 Jun 28th, 2012 at 07:35:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can Turkey sustain its economic miracle? | Business | DW.DE | 27.06.2012

Turkey has impressed the world with its decade-long economic boom. But many economists are raising doubts about the future and suggest that Turkey cannot continue its growth pace with the current model.

Despite the gloomy economic outlook in Europe, Turkey's economy continues to grow rapidly, making the country an attractive destination for foreign investments. Economic growth was close to 7.5 percent in 2011 and this year the Turkish government estimates the economy to expand by a further 4 percent. Turkey's exports and imports continue to rise, as another sign of strength of the world's 15th-largest and Europe's 7th-largest economy. Turkey's sovereign debt has been reduced to just 42 percent of its gross domestic product, one of the lowest levels in Europe after Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Following all the recent positive developments, Moody's, one of the world's top three rating agencies, last week raised Turkey's national credit rate to Ba1, strengthening the country's position as an emerging financial power.

Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said Moody's upgrade was "right, but not enough." He stressed that where Turkey once had been dependent on International Monetary Fund credits, it had now gained a stronger profile, becoming one of the creditors of the IMF and even recently pledging $5 billion (4 billion euros) to its crisis fund. Stressing that Turkey's budget gap - GDP ratio is smaller than most of the EU countries, Caglayan said the country deserved a higher rate, at the very least an "investment grade" level.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:01:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if Turkey has discarded its regrets about not being admitted to the European Union.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 04:31:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

I caught this FT Special Report on Turkey the other weekend. Some headlines:

Guest column: Lessons from Ottoman past risk falling on deaf ears

The film `Conquest 1453' captures a growing mood that Turkey no longer needs to cling to the coat-tails of its western allies, writes Andrew Finkel

Trade and tourism: Businesses rebalance away from Europe

Russia and Middle East are the target markets, writes David O'Byrne

Spurning Turkey is just one of the many strategic mistakes made by the EU in the past 20 years.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 05:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey's sovereign debt has been reduced to just 42 percent of its gross domestic product, one of the lowest levels in Europe after Sweden and the Czech Republic.

That will end in tears.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 04:53:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed: Rising power, growing questions (FT.com, 25 June)
Ministers say the growth of the past two years - which at one point exceeded an annual rate of 11 per cent - was unsustainable. The government expects 4-5 per cent for this year, which would be enough to accommodate new entrants into the labour force, although some private sector analysts are more bearish.
This fast growth would reduce debt even if the government ran a substantial deficit. But
Even with a lower rate of economic expansion, Turkey is expected to run a current account deficit for the year of some $65bn, down on last year's $78bn, but still representing some 8-8.5 per cent of GDP.
Investment: Priority is more long-term funds, less hot money
In the middle of the past decade Turkey was growing at 8 per cent a year and was at or near the top of many companies' expansion plans. It still is, as the Sberbank transaction shows. But with the economy slowing, the outlook for the global economy uncertain and the European Union - the destination for 44 per cent of Turkey's exports - in turmoil, the question is whether that optimism is justified.

...

These factors have been present in Turkey for years, and they did not hold back the latest phase of strong economic growth. But the country has a big current account deficit - 10 per cent of GDP in 2011, which is among the highest in the world - for a reason.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 05:22:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Monetary policy: An accountability moment | The Economist

WAS on holiday last week during the June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. So, one is tempted to quip, was the FOMC. It took action, of course. As my colleague discussed here and here, the Fed opted to continue "Operation Twist", a programme in which it sells short-term securities and buys long-term securities in an effort to flatten the yield curve without adding to the overall size of its balance sheet. Yet this is incredibly weak sauce; it is about the smallest step the Fed could take to avert outright policy tightening. At this point, the contradictions in the Fed's statements and the extent of its outright failure are painfully obvious. A few points:

First, the Fed is no longer content to simply aim for an inflation range that includes its 2% target as its higher limit (all while missing wildly on the employment side of the mandate). In new economic projections released with the June policy statement, the Fed projects an overall inflation rate of 1.2% to 1.7% in 2012 (with core inflation coming in between 1.7% and 2.0%). The Fed's projections, recall, are based on FOMC members' assessment of "appropriate monetary policy". The extention of Twist is not designed to push 2012 inflation back to a range that includes 2%, in other words; it's simply necessary to keep it within the 1.2% to 1.7% window.

I want to hammer this point home, because it's really remarkable. Fed members claim to care equally about the employment and inflation sides of their mandate, yet the unemployment rate has been at least 2 percentage points above the FOMC's estimated natural unemployment rate for nearly 4 straight years while inflation has scarcely wandered more than a half percentage point away from target since late 2009. Fed members claim that the 2% target is not a ceiling, but inflation has been below 2% much more often than it has been above it over the past 4 years, inflation is projected to be at most 2% in 2013 and 2014, and inflation is projected to be substantially below 2% in 2012. In other words, the Fed is actively pursuing a policy of disinflation despite the fact that annual inflation is roughly at target while unemployment is well above its structural rate. That is, the Fed has gone from merely failing at its job to aggressively failing at its job.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:34:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Robert Mundell, evil genius of the euro

For the architect of the euro, taking macroeconomics away from elected politicians and forcing deregulation were part of the plan

The idea that the euro has "failed" is dangerously naive. The euro is doing exactly what its progenitor - and the wealthy 1%-ers who adopted it - predicted and planned for it to do.

That progenitor is former University of Chicago economist Robert Mundell. The architect of "supply-side economics" is now a professor at Columbia University, but I knew him through his connection to my Chicago professor, Milton Friedman, back before Mundell's research on currencies and exchange rates had produced the blueprint for European monetary union and a common European currency.

....

The euro would really do its work when crises hit, Mundell explained. Removing a government's control over currency would prevent nasty little elected officials from using Keynesian monetary and fiscal juice to pull a nation out of recession.

"It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians," he said. "[And] without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business."

He cited labor laws, environmental regulations and, of course, taxes. All would be flushed away by the euro. Democracy would not be allowed to interfere with the marketplace - or the plumbing. As another Nobelist, Paul Krugman, notes, the creation of the eurozone violated the basic economic rule known as "optimum currency area". This was a rule devised by Bob Mundell.


One wonders if he was also involved with Leo Strauss at Chicago. Many neo-cons found Mundell sympathetic. Another 'noble lie'?


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 11:35:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Class war at its earnest. Europe had to be a nanny state for creditors.
by das monde on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 01:07:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One wonders what Jacques Delores knew about Mundell's views and what he thought then and thinks now about them. They recently have both been on The Council for the Future of Europe  together.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 07:35:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:37:46 PM EST
BBC News - Gunmen 'kill seven' at Syrian pro-Assad Ikhbariya TV

Gunmen have attacked a Syrian pro-government TV channel, killing seven people, state media say.

Journalists and security guards died in the attack on al-Ikhbariya TV south of Damascus, Sana news agency reported.

Hours earlier, President Bashar al-Assad said Syria was in "a real state of war" and US intelligence officials predicted a long, drawn-out struggle.

UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has called a meeting of the UN action group for Syria for Saturday.

His deputy envoy said on Wednesday that the violence in the country had "reached or surpassed" levels before the April ceasefire deal.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bombs in Baghdad as political crisis deepens - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

At least twelve people have been killed in bombings across the Iraqi capital, one of which targeted a tribal sheikh in southern Baghdad.

Gunmen planted three bombs in the house of Hatim al-Mansouri, the leader of a pro-government Awakening militia in Mada'in, a neighbourhood which was long a stronghold for Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Mansouri was not injured, but his wife, daughter and son were all killed in the blast, according to police sources.

In the Ghazaliya district in western Baghdad, meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed three children from the same family and wounded three others, police said.

More than 180 people have been killed in June across Iraq in bombings targeting mainly Shia pilgrims and shrines, as political and sectarian tensions run high.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:17:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scores rescued from sunk boat off Australia - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

At least 130 people have been rescued and one body recovered after a boat sank en route to Australia.

An air and sea search was still ongoing for those missing, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that there were 133 people on board the vessel and that two Australian warships and an air force aircraft that can drop life rafts had joined the search on Wednesday.

The wooden Indonesian fishing boat, believed to be carrying asylum seekers, including women and children, capsized en route to Australia's Christmas Island, the AMSA said. 

Authorities were alerted at approximately 6:17am local time on Wednesday (20:17 GMT on Tuesday), the AMSA said.

A merchant vessel arrived at the scene about four hours later, advising the AMSA that the stricken vessel had sunk, and that survivors were in the water. A second merchant vessel later joined the rescue.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:18:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Why are young Indians killing themselves?

In the end, wrote Albert Camus, one needs more courage to live than to kill oneself.

If new research is to be believed, a disturbingly high number of young Indians are losing the courage.

A study published in the medical journal The Lancet shows that suicide has become the second leading cause of death among the country's young adults, after road accidents in men, and childbirth-related complications in women.

There were 187,000 deaths from suicides in India in 2010, the study says - this is higher than the official figure of 134,599 suicide deaths from the National Crime Records Bureau. (Researchers attribute this gap to under-reporting or misreporting as friendly or bribe-seeking coroners often sign off suicide deaths as ones caused by accidents to protect the victim's family from police harassment and social stigma.)

If the findings by a team of doctors are to be believed, 40% of the men and 56% of the women who took their lives in 2010 were aged between 15 and 29 years.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:34:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt's new president to pick woman, Christian VPs - CNN.com

Cairo (CNN) -- Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, will appoint a woman as one of his vice presidents and a Christian as another, his policy adviser told CNN.

"For the first time in Egyptian history -- not just modern but in all Egyptian history -- a woman will take that position," Ahmed Deif told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Monday. "And it's not just a vice president who will represent a certain agenda and sect, but a vice president who is powerful and empowered and will be taking care of critical advising within the presidential Cabinet."

Amanpour blog: The woman who monitored Egypt's election

The news came as the man Morsi beat for the presidency, Ahmed Shafik, left Egypt for Abu Dhabi, and as Cairo's administrative court overturned a rule that allowed the military to arrest people without a warrant.

Though Morsi had previously argued for banning women from the presidency, he said before the election that as president he would stand for women's rights.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:38:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ASUNCION, Paraguay -- Paraguay's recently ousted president spoke out Wednesday against possible international sanctions against the country in retribution for his dismissal by Congress last week.
More HERE.

AFP, LA PAZ - The ten major cities in Bolivia on Wednesday gradually regained their normality, when the police ended their protest and donned their uniforms again after six days of riots without public safety services.

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Brazil's government is announcing a new, $4 billion economic stimulus package to combat stagnant growth.

Mexico in the lead up to the election:
(AP): NAUCALPAN, Mexico -- Middle class voters like Gerardo Olivo helped drive Mexico's ruling party from power 12 years ago, ending its seven decades of rule. Now the same voters seem ready to bring back the party everyone knows as the PRI. Olivo, a 33-year-old financial trader, said he voted for the now-governing National Action Party in the past two presidential elections, hoping it would transform Mexico. He's fed up now, though. "My position today is to go back to the PRI" he said. "I already tried the other party because it had promised change, but now I realize there was no change, or the changes were already there."

Nature: Mexican scientists have watched with dismay as their country, Latin America's second-largest economy, has slipped down the research-spending ranks in recent years. Candidates in this week's presidential election have pledged to change that. (...) The attention to research investment comes as Mexico faces competition from other emerging economies. "Brazil has almost caught up with Mexico in GDP per capita, in less than a generation," says Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. "Mexicans are starting to ask why."
Don't miss Maracatu's upcoming diary on Mexico leading up to the election!


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 05:48:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kim Dotcom judge rules mansion raid was illegal | The Guardian
Attempts to extradite internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom to the US have suffered a further setback with a ruling in the New Zealand high court that a raid on his Auckland mansion was illegal.

Justice Helen Winkelmann said the warrants used when more than 90 New Zealand officers stormed the Megaupload founder's home and other properties in January were too broadly cast, "lacking adequate specificity as to the offence".

"The search and seizure was therefore illegal," she ruled, adding that it was "clear that the police, in executing the warrants, have exceeded what they could lawfully be authorised to do".

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 06:13:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear oh dear. The NZ plods did everything the FBI asked them, and still managed to fkuc it up.

((Predict))

On the whole, it's an equitable result. There's no reason the USA should have universal jurisdiction over the internet; and Dotcom's business, making pots of dough from piracy, has been shut down. Win-win.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 08:06:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
macros are case-sensitive ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 10:54:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
((predict))

Who Could Have Predicted?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 10:55:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it? Seems like success in every way that matters is not going to keep the US from "forgetting" that the whole world is not their jurisdiction. And a guy profiting from piracy is far too low on the scumbag list for me to overlook a naked power grab. Call me if they sink a tax haven.
by generic on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 02:35:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:38:08 PM EST
Drought May Rival 1980s U.S. Scorcher That Cost $78 Billion - Bloomberg

The drought in the U.S. Midwest that has pushed up corn prices 28 percent since June 15 may eventually rival a dry period in 1988 that cost agriculture $78 billion, a government meteorologist said.

This year's weather pattern, which settled into the Great Plains and the Southwest last year and has spread into the Corn Belt, resembles those of a quarter century ago, Matthew Rosencrans, a drought specialist with the National Weather Service, said today at a forum in Washington. Sparse rainfall may drive crop costs up further, destroying livestock profits and raising food prices, said David Anderson, an agricultural economist at Texas A&M University.

"Everyone's worried about this," Anderson said in an interview after speaking at the forum. Corn "stockpiles are already low," he said. "We thought this was the year we might get some relief from that, and that may not happen. We're going to have highly volatile prices the rest of the summer."

Areas of Indiana, Illinois, eastern Iowa and Missouri have had less than half of the normal rainfall in the past 30 days, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of the Midwest may see some significant showers by the middle of next week, while the driest areas of the Midwest and the Mississippi Delta region may see little precipitation, Telvent DTN Inc. said yesterday.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:01:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Destructive Colo. wildfire doubled in size overnight; some houses destroyed but number unknown - The Washington Post

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A towering Colorado wildfire destroyed dozens of houses overnight, though the intensity of the blaze kept officials Wednesday from being able to fully assess the damage to the state's second-largest city.

The fire, which doubled in size overnight to about 24 square miles, has forced mandatory evacuations for more than 32,000 residents, Colorado Springs emergency management director Brett Waters said. Among those urgently evacuated Tuesday evening were residents at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The Air Force Academy evacuated some campus residents Tuesday night as heavy smoke billowed from a wildfire north of Colorado Springs. The AP's John Mone reports what officials are calling "a fire storm of epic proportions."

Steve Cox, an aide to Mayor Steve Bach, said Wednesday morning that the blaze has consumed dozens of houses. A more precise figure wasn't available because of the intensity of the fire.

Heavy smoke and ash billowed from the mountain foothills west of the city. Bright yellow and orange flames flared in the night, often signaling another home lost to the Waldo Canyon Fire, which is the No. 1 priority for the nation's firefighters.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is also a similar, but currently smaller, fire in Boulder. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is evacuated, which is somewhat ironic...global warming taking out the people who know the most about global warming...

Twitter tag is #flagstafffire

by asdf on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 07:56:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just another one of those costs of "our way of life."  
by Marie2 on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 10:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A cost of thinking that one can build widely scattered housing embedded into the vegetation in a semiarid area. Concentrate houses in towns with sufficient firebreaks and all is well.
by oliver on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 02:52:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but that would require effective and rational local governments.  People with more money than the average working stiff want houses with views of valleys or water.  And when those houses fall down, burn up, or flood, insurers (private and public) scoop up all the pennies working stiffs paid into those funds and hand them over to the subsidized wealthy and selfish.
by Marie2 on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 01:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oil Exploration Ramps Up in U.S. Arctic: Scientific American

A new round of exploratory oil drilling is due to begin in the Arctic this July. Oil companies are no doubt dreaming of a northern oil rush, while environmentalists face nightmares of devastating spills.

The oil giant Shell has been granted permission by the US government to drill two exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea and three in the Chukchi Sea, both north of Alaska, this year -- between 15 July and late September. The project is finally coming to fruition after years spent fighting legal challenges. It will be the first oil-exploration programme to run in US Arctic waters since 2000, and could mark the start of the first offshore commercial drilling in the American north, although it would take another decade to establish production wells.

The US Geological Survey estimated in 2008 that the Arctic holds up to 90 billion barrels of oil -- 13% of the world's technically recoverable supply. Exploration and production is already under way on the other side of the Arctic, off Norway and Russia, for example (see The great Arctic oil race begins). Many parts of the Arctic circle are becoming ever-more accessible thanks to improved technologies and a reduction in summer sea ice because of climate change.

In a previous round of US exploration in the 1980s and 1990s, oil companies drilled a handful of wells in the Chukchi Sea and dozens in the Beaufort -- but those wells didn't prove economic enough to pursue. "Speculation is that Shell has learned a lot and may be poised to hit the jackpot this time," says environmental chemist Jeffrey Short of JWS Consulting in Juneau, Alaska.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:25:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Half of inhaled soot particles from diesel exhaust, fires gets stuck in the lungs

ScienceDaily (June 27, 2012) -- The exhaust from diesel-fueled vehicles, wood fires and coal-driven power stations contains small particles of soot that flow out into the atmosphere. The soot is a scourge for the climate but also for human health. Now for the first time, researchers have studied in detail how diesel soot gets stuck in the lungs. The results show that more than half of all inhaled soot particles remain in the body.

The figure is higher than for most other types of particles. For example "only" 20 per cent of another type of particle from wood smoke and other biomass combustion gets stuck in the lungs. One explanation is that diesel soot is made up of smaller particles and can therefore penetrate deeper into the lungs, where it is deposited. The study was made on diesel particles (which mainly consist of soot) and was recently published in the Journal of Aerosol Science. Ten healthy people volunteered for the the study.

"Findings of this kind can be extremely useful both for researchers to determine what doses of soot we get into our lungs out of the amount we are exposed to, and to enable public authorities to establish well-founded limits for soot particles in outdoor air," says Jenny Rissler, researcher in aerosol technology at Lund University's Faculty of Engineering and responsible for publishing the study.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:25:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The tiny particulates are a measurable problem with a measurable health impact. Common sense suggests that by ten years from now, everybody on the planet will be wearing a filter over their nose & mouth.

by asdf on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 08:01:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not everybody.  Only those that can afford the new gear that will enable the few to continue on with "our way of life."

If those Google goggles get more refined, they will be able to ignore the reality of their existence as they stream visuals of people as they looked in 1012.  

by Marie2 on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 10:34:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Marie2:
they will be able to ignore the reality of their existence

They're already doing that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 01:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exxon CEO:'Losing our shirts' on natural gas price - MarketWatch

NEW YORK--Exxon Mobil Corp. /quotes/zigman/203975/quotes/nls/xom XOM +1.02% is making "no money" on U.S. natural gas due to low prices that have fallen below the cost of production, Exxon Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Wednesday.

U.S. natural-gas prices--which fell below $2 a million British thermal units earlier this year to the lowest level in a decade--are not sustainable, as energy companies won't be able to continue drilling unless prices rise, Mr. Tillerson said during a breakfast event in New York.

"We are losing our shirts," said Mr. Tillerson.

The comments from Exxon's chief come amid a massive U.S. gas supply glut that has kept prices depressed and helped to reduce energy costs for many consumers and businesses. In recent months, demand for natural gas from utilities has surged as firms turn to gas instead of more expensive coal to supply electricity.

Exxon has been studying the possibility of exporting natural gas from the U.S. Gulf Coast and Canada as new shale drilling has unlocked natural-gas reserves to allow exports.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:33:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They need subsidies.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 02:00:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:38:28 PM EST
German court: Child circumcision 'an assault' - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm, a German court has ruled.

The regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled on Tuesday that the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents", a judgement that is expected to set a legal precedent.

"The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised," the court said.

The case was brought against a doctor in Cologne who circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy on his parents' wishes.

A few days after the operation, with the boy bleeding heavily, his parents took him to a hospital. Prosecutors then charged the doctor with grievous bodily harm.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:19:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Next up, the illegality of pierced ears for little girls. (And boys.)
by asdf on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 08:02:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientists Harness Human Power for Electricity: Scientific American

From our footsteps to our button presses, humans are constantly expending energy, and researchers are tapping into these movements to power the world around us.

Harvesting energy from one's surroundings or activities rather than from a battery or a wall outlet has some key advantages: The electricity sources are free and the devices are more mobile. This is particularly useful for medical electronics like insulin pumps and pacemakers. Energy harvesters could also prolong battery life in smartphones and laptops.

The idea isn't new. Crystal radios, for example, have been around since the start of the 20th century and do not need a dedicated power source, since they scavenge electricity from radio waves. But current energy harvesting strategies are not very efficient, and the energy in our environment is diffused widely, meaning bright lights, large temperature gradients or long, brisk walks are needed to produce an appreciable amount of power, which may still not be very much.

Now researchers are findings new ways to increase harvest efficiencies and lower costs. Developers are also making electronics that use much less power, so that one day your phone may run on the rustling in your pocket and a few finger taps when you make a call.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:25:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Significant cardiovascular risk with Atkins-style diets, experts warn

ScienceDaily (June 27, 2012) -- Women who regularly eat a low carbohydrate, high protein diet are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease (such as heart disease and stroke) than those who do not, a study just published on the British Medical Journal website suggests.

Although the actual numbers are small (an extra 4-5 cases of cardiovascular disease per 10,000 women per year) the authors say that this is a 28% increase in the number of cases and that these results are worrying in a population of young women who may be exposed to these dietary patterns and face the excess risk for many years.

Low carbohydrate-high protein diets are frequently used for body weight control. Although they may be nutritionally acceptable if the protein is mainly of plant origin (e.g. nuts) and the reduction of carbohydrates applies mainly to simple and refined ones (i.e. unhealthy sweeteners, drinks and snacks), the general public do not always recognise and act on this guidance.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:25:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientists struggle with mathematical details
Many people remember struggling with maths at school, but few of us would expect that professional scientists suffer from a similar problem in their daily work. A new study by biologists at the University of Bristol shows that scientists tend to overlook their colleagues' research if it is packed full of mathematical equations.

[...]

Dr Tim Fawcett and Dr Andrew Higginson, researchers in Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, found that scientific articles presenting many equations on each page are seldom referred to by other scientists.  The most maths-heavy articles are referenced 50 per cent less often than those with little or no maths.

by das monde on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 10:42:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I occasionally translate scientific articles, I skip the mathematical bits.

No one will notice if I don't translate them.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 02:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny how that works

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:40:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We may be hearing a lot about this article: it doesn't contain a single equation....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 02:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:38:44 PM EST
1915 - David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Delta blues guitarist and singer (d. 2011)



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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:43:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Uganda athletes anger at Happy Science Olympic mix-up

Ugandan track event athletes have blamed their failure to qualify for the Olympics on the inferior track they were forced to use for time trials.

These were supposed to be held at the national stadium but a double booking meant they had to make way for a Japanese Happy Science religious rally.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 01:50:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nora Ephron, Essayist, Screenwriter and Director, Dies at 71 - NYTimes.com

Nora Ephron, an essayist and humorist in the Dorothy Parker mold (only smarter and funnier, some said) who became one of her era's most successful screenwriters and filmmakers, making romantic comedy hits like "Sleepless in Seattle" and "When Harry Met Sally...," died Tuesday night in Manhattan. She was 71.

The cause was pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia, her son Jacob Bernstein said.

In a commencement address she delivered in 1996 at Wellesley College, her alma mater, Ms. Ephron recalled that women of her generation weren't expected to do much of anything. But she wound up having several careers, all of them successfully and many of them simultaneously.

She was a journalist, a blogger, an essayist, a novelist, a playwright, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and a movie director -- a rarity in a film industry whose directorial ranks were and continue to be dominated by men. Her later box-office success included "You've Got Mail" and "Julie & Julia." By the end of her life, though remaining remarkably youthful looking, she had even become something of a philosopher about age and its indignities.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jun 27th, 2012 at 02:16:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obamacare found constitutional.

Right-wing agitators are on their heels; here's Michelle Malkin on Twitter:

Michelle Malkin ‏@michellemalkin
Local news anchors here in CO spent a few secs scratching heads over confusing Obamacare ruling and are back covering

Not sure what's confusing about "no problem."

by asdf on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 10:37:40 AM EST
That they spent five decades packing the court and still can't get it to vote the right way?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 11:09:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm confused.  It sounds as if they tossed the mandate enforcement back to congress as a tax.  So congress could tie it up by attaching it to some stupid bill, like 'life begins months before conception, or something equally idiotic' and it would languish for years.  Hopefully I'm wrong.  
by ElaineinNM on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 11:22:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It means they're suffering from cognitive dissonance.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 11:18:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]

(Seen on Facebook)

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 11:35:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you mean "constitutional"? Just because the Supreme Court says it is doesn't mean it really is.
Following today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, Sen. Rand Paul offered the following statement:

"Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right," Sen. Paul said.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 02:21:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like how a document written by slavers hundreds of years ago is the source of all morality. Something couldn't possibly be both constitutional and morally wrong.
by generic on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 02:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More on Twitter
Twitter was ablaze with conservatives calling for the chief justice's impeachment.

"Justice Roberts is a TRAITOR. Along with all the damn LIBERALS on court. IMPEACH IMPEACH IMPEACH #SCOTUS," said @jensan1332.

"Looks like I'm not alone on this," wrote @tahDeetz, retweeting a note from @CnservativePunk, which read, "I am in a vengeful mood the next move Impeach John Roberts."

Can we make this a bipartisan effort?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 03:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hope you are still around here, somewhere.  Have a good time, or.... come to Spain with pitchfork and torch.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Thu Jun 28th, 2012 at 11:16:02 AM EST


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