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

18-19 October 2014

by DoDo Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 03:32:09 PM EST

Your take on today's news media


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EUROPE


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:46:43 PM EST
Juncker to request Parliament's approval on 22 October | EurActiv
The European Parliament has set the hearings of Slovenia's commissioner-designate Violeta Bulc, and, Slovakia's Maroš Šefčovič, for Monday (20 October), opening the way, if everything goes well, for a vote on the entire team of President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, on 22 October.

...Šefčovič, for whom the new post is actually a promotion,  was originally pencilled in as Juncker's Transport Commissioner, a role that now goes to Violeta Bulc, Bratušek's replacement as Slovenia's candidate Commissioner.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:47:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin says gas deal with Ukraine for winter months only, Poroshenko says no deal at all -- RT Business

Kiev and Moscow have failed to resolve their gas supplies dispute, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said after meeting Russia's leader. According to Putin, only an agreement for winter supplies has been reached, but details are still to be worked out.

"We agreed on the basic parameters of the gas contract," Poroshenko told reporters in Milan where leaders from Europe and Asia gathered for the ASEM Summit. According to the Ukrainian president, the Ukrainian side is looking for sources of funding to pay off the arrears.

The optimistic statement came after Poroshenko met with Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak and the head of Gazprom Aleksey Miller.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 01:56:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anyone know whether this unconfirmed article in the SZ, claiming that the government will invest an addition billion euro in train infrastructure is true, and whether there are any catches. And how will this go along with the balanced budget?
Nach Informationen der Süddeutschen Zeitung wird der Bund dem Staatskonzern daher von 2015 an jährlich rund vier Milliarden Euro für die Reparatur des Schienennetzes zur Verfügung stellen - mehr als eine Milliarde Euro mehr als bislang. Das Geld soll dazu dienen, alte Gleise, Weichen oder Signale auszutauschen sowie marode Brücken zu sanieren. Züge könnten dann an vielen Stellen im Netz wieder schneller fahren. Die Erhöhung der Mittel sei mit Finanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) bereits abgesprochen, hieß es aus Ministeriumskreisen.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Oct 19th, 2014 at 11:26:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no additional info beyond the article's contents, but the article does explain the finances (and the catch): much of it will come from the new rule that the part of DB's dividends coming from the infrastructure branch will have to be re-spent on the infrastructure. The additional money will also come with more strict demands on track quality (speak more checks by state authorities and more penalties for sub-standard track). All in all, this seems to be a positive development, though far from sufficient (working down the maintenance backlog would require more and there is no word about working down the upgrade/new construction backlog).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 19th, 2014 at 12:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:47:29 PM EST
Corporate manufacturers bail on German sustainable textile alliance | EurActiv

With a special alliance for sustainable clothing and a new textile label, German Development Minister Gerd Müller hopes to help guarantee fair working conditions in developing countries. But the initiative has been abandoned by relevant corporations and is under attack from NGOs. EurActiv Germany reports.

Launching the flagship project for sustainability in the textile sector on Thursday (16 October), the conservative politician hopes to assemble an offensive against ecological and social dumping in the fashion industry, together with German companies like Adidas, Aldi and Kik. But Müller is already under fire, as textile giants are rejecting the alliance, even though they have already been cooperating in a round table setting since April.

...The environmental protection organisation Greenpeace has distanced itself from the alliance because the latter does not contain a general ban on the use of toxic chemicals.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature also criticised Müller's plan. While the NGO said it welcomed the initiative, it explained that the alliance is a "quick fix". Criteria for participation and decision-making structures have not yet been fleshed out, WWF pointed out.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Müller is a great pretender. That is hardly the first time of of his big announcements crashes down
by IM on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 03:57:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Policy change in Germany only when economy 'hits wall'

In a new book - The Germany illusion - Marcel Fratzscher, president of the prestigious German Economic Research Institute (DIW), makes the case for a change in Berlin's economic policy.

His book says that Germany sees itself as a "superstar" something he castigates as an illusion as the country would not have an economic future outside the EU.

The 43-year-old economist, who has also worked for the European Central Bank and the World Bank, accuses Germany of being "obsessed with structural reforms".

The book has made a few waves in Germany and prompted economy minister Sigmar Gabriel to ask Fratzscher to head up a group of experts meant to deliver an outline for an investment agenda by early next year.

But this does not herald a sudden change in Gabriel's economic course. On Tuesday (13 October) he made it clear that he supports finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's 2015 zero debt target.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tyler Cowen on German inflation - graph added.Tyler Cowen on German inflation - graph added.  RWER  merijnknibbe

On his Marginal Revolution blog Tyler Cowen has an interesting post about Germany: historically, German inflation has often been much, much higher than today without anything like the present turmoil about `stable money'. Tyler rightly states:
Rightly or wrongly, today's Germans associate high rates of inflation with wealth transfers away from Germany and toward other nations.

Tyler Cowen's post could however do with a little more quantitative rigor and after a little searching I found the data on the site of the Statistisches Bundesamt (see the graph). And Tyler is quite right about Germany: historically, inflation has quite often been above the present ECB target - and with more than a small margin! There was however some collateral information in the Bundesamt files: it turns out that there might have been a recent German inflation trauma after all. In former East Germany prices increased steeply just when unemployment exploded and as far as I know wage increases were limited... I agree with the sentence of Tyler Cowen above: aging people who don't want to see the European equivalent of the post 1991 `Elephanten-transfers` to East Germany. But the East-German experience may count for something.
By the way - this is a graph of consumer price inflation which is an imperfect metric to (1) gauge the stance of inflationary pressures in the aggregate economy and (2) to gauge the impression rising prices make upon `Otto Normalverbraucher`. But it might serve a purpose, here. Aside - at this moment, Bremen (West-Germany) tops the German `risk of poverty' list, though it is followed by a whole bunch of East German states (Statistisches Bundesamt, `Im Fokus' of October 15). Something comparable holds for unemployment: after 25 years of unification and ordoneoliberal policies, unemployment in the East-German areas with the lowest unemployment starts to approach the level of unemployment in the West-German areas with the highest unemployment - which is however largely due to emigration (the labour force declined with 30 %). (Look also here and here)

(Links not copied. Comments worth reading.)

 

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Oct 19th, 2014 at 12:41:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A certain German leader was East German and lived through this experience, but certainly not the '22 hyperinflation.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Oct 19th, 2014 at 12:43:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saudi, Kuwait Seen Curbing Oil Output at 'Opportune Time'   Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait halted production at a jointly run oil field late this week, a move that could help ease a supply glut that has pushed global prices down 25 percent. The 300,000-barrel-a-day Khafji field, located in the neutral zone between the two countries, was being shut because of environmental concerns, a person familiar with Saudi Arabian oil policy said yesterday, who asked not to be identified because the information isn't public.

The shutdown comes as Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members face increasing pressure to scale back production while supply expands from the U.S. and other countries and demand growth slows. Asia's oil market has become particularly flooded as the U.S. imports fewer cargoes.

"This shutdown comes at an opportune time for Kuwait and Saudi Arabia given the current perception of an oversupplied market," Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, said by phone yesterday. Cutting Khafji's production is more advantageous for the countries because the oil generates less revenue for them than their light crude supplies, he said.


They hope, we'll see.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 11:01:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Facing new oil glut, Saudis avoid 1980s mistakes to halt price slide | Reuters

"The big mistake was that they continued to cut production to try to prop the prices and the price fell anyway," said analyst Yasser Elguindi of Medley Global Advisors.

Instead they should have fought for market share, allowing "higher cost producers to shut in as the price fell - which is what they are doing now."

Last week, Saudi officials briefed oil market participants in New York on the kingdom's shift in policy, making clear for the first time that Saudi is prepared to tolerate a period of lower prices - perhaps as low as $80 a barrel - in order to retain market share, Reuters reported on Monday. [ID:nL2N0S70J7]

Saudi Arabia is not trying to push oil prices down, an oil source said, but is prepared to let the market find its floor and tolerate lower prices until others in OPEC commit to action. It has already cut selling prices to retain Asian customers.

I wonder what that was all about, then.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 05:42:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Drowning in oil again | Energy Matters

Why has OPEC not cut production? This would certainly boost oil prices and countries like Saudi Arabia reportedly require an oil price over $100 / barrel to remain solvent. It is also reported that US shale oil requires a price over $90 / barrel to turn a profit. And so, if Saudi were to close some valves this would help sustain the US shale boom and result in expanding the current over supply situation.

The oil markets are in for a period of instability while Saudi Aramco tries to stare down the US shale operators. Who will blink first?



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 01:57:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cut because of environmental concerns?  Someone please 'splain to the idiot what that sentence means, Bitte.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 05:56:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The field was polluting the pure air of their Muslim skies.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 10:19:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And they don't want to be seen as cutting production in response to a price drop. Though they could well refer to it in private conversations with other OPEC members, while asking 'What have you cut?' I will be impressed if the drop is perfectly damped and never even goes to $70/bbl. Probably depends on the portion of oil world wide that is sold at spot.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 10:29:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why America's Shale Oil Boom Could End Sooner Than You Think   Christopher Hellman   Forbes

America's oil producers are nervous. They've had a great run the past few years. Domestic oil production is up 43% since 2008 to 6.5 million barrels per day, the highest level in decades. The majority of that 2 million bpd jump comes out of the two most successful new oil fields, the Bakken and the Eagle Ford. To develop these and all the other fields nationwide, the top 50 operators invested $186 billion in 2012, according to Ernst & Young. That was a record level of spending, up 20% over 2011.

You'd think that with drillers getting better, honing techniques and driving down costs, that a 20% increase in investment would bring about a more than commensurate increase in oil and gas production volumes, right? And yet according to Ernst & Young, total U.S. oil and gas production was up "just" 13% on the year.

It's bad enough to be spending more and more to generate ever less growth. It's worse when that growth doesn't even translate into profits. Oil and gas companies have spent hundreds of billions acquiring acreage, drilling wells, booking reserves, boosting supplies, but in 2012 they proved too good at their job, found too much gas and cratered the gas price. That made vast shale fields uneconomic to drill at all. In 2012 those 50 biggest companies recorded $26 billion in asset impairment charges. That basically means that natural gas reserves that were worth $26 billion the previous year became worthless because it cost too much to drill them. This led to a 58% decline in after-tax profits in 2012 over 2011.

And you'd better believe the same thing could happen to oil reserves.

An interesting article with lots of back of the envelope calculations on cost of land, drilling and production rates. Hellman says that the bubble in shale oil lease prices has already popped.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 12:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article is from June of 2013.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 12:49:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:48:14 PM EST
French journalists face jail for reporting from Indonesia | Media | theguardian.com

Two French journalists who were detained by the Indonesian authorities on 6 August are to face trial on Monday (20 October) for "abusive use of entry visas".

Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were arrested while filming a documentary about the separatist movement in West Papua for the Franco-German broadcaster, Arte TV.

They face possible sentences of up to five years in prison for "violation of immigration rights" plus £30,000 in fines.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the decision to prosecute the pair reflects the Indonesian government's long-standing policy of obstructing independent media coverage in West Papua, where a low-level conflict has persisted for decades.

Foreign journalists need special official permission to visit the island - which the government rarely approves and often delays processing, hindering reporting on breaking news.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ebola didn't have to kill my uncle, Thomas Eric Duncan  Chicago Tribune

On  Sept. 25, my uncle Thomas Eric Duncan went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. He had a high fever and stomach pains. He told the nurse he had recently been in Liberia. But he was a man of color with no health insurance and no means to pay for treatment, so within hours he was released with some antibiotics and Tylenol.

Two days after being released, he returned to the hospital in an ambulance. Two days after that, he was finally diagnosed with Ebola. Eight days later, he died alone in a hospital room. Now, Dallas suffers. Our country is concerned -- greatly -- about the lack of answers and transparency coming from a hospital whose ignorance, incompetence and indecency has yet to be explained.

I write this on behalf of my family because we want to set the record straight about what happened and ensure that Thomas Eric did not die in vain. So here's the truth about my uncle and his battle with Ebola.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 11:13:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Texas Health Presbyterian hospital apology  Guardian

On Thursday Dr Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, apologised for errors made by the hospital, which sent Duncan home after he complained of a fever and abdominal pain following his arrival from Liberia last month.

"Unfortunately, in our initial treatment of Mr Duncan, despite our best intentions and highly skilled medical team we made mistakes," Varga said in testimony to the US Congress. "We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry."

At least he said "we made mistakes".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 11:19:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Texas hospital responds to questions over treatment of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan  WaPo
(As does Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price)
The Texas hospital system that treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan said Thursday that it wanted to "correct some misconceptions" over the care of the Liberian national who died Wednesday.

"Our care team provided Mr. Duncan with the same high level of attention and care that would be given any patient, regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care," read a statement from Texas Health Resources, which includes Texas Health Presbyterian, where Duncan was treated. "In this case that included a four-hour evaluation and numerous tests. We have a long history of treating a multicultural community in this area."

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price had criticized the hospital's preparedness to treat to Duncan, who first went to the hospital Sept. 26 and was sent home with antibiotics after saying he had been in Liberia. Price called the facility "a boutique hospital next to a little Ellis Island" -- referring to the nearby neighborhood where many immigrants live. "If you don't have insurance, you're not going to get treated. That's the elephant in the room," Price said.


I wonder how long it will be before the Ebola Tsar directs all hospitals to admit and isolate patients showing symptoms compatible with Ebola, regardless of insurance status? This is the nightmare scenario for a country with a for profit health care system.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 11:33:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Presbyterian workers wore no hazmat suits for two days while treating Ebola patient  Dallasnews

Health care workers treating Thomas Eric Duncan in a hospital isolation unit didn't wear protective hazardous-material suits for two days until tests confirmed the Liberian man had Ebola -- a delay that potentially exposed perhaps dozens of hospital workers to the virus, according to medical records. The 3-day window of Sept. 28-30 is now being targeted by investigators for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the key time during which health care workers may have been exposed to the deadly virus by Duncan, who died Oct. 8 from the disease.

Duncan was suspected of having Ebola when he was admitted to a hospital isolation unit Sept. 28, and he developed projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea later that day, according to medical records his family turned over to The Associated Press. But workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas did not abandon their gowns and scrubs for hazmat suits until tests came back positive for Ebola about 2 p.m. on Sept. 30, according to details of the records released by AP.

The misstep - one in a series of potentially deadly mishandling of Duncan -- raises the likelihood that other health care workers could have been infected. More than 70 workers were exposed to him before he died, but hospital officials have not indicated how many treated him in the initial few days.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 11:52:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Insane. A few weeks ago, I quoted a specialist who told that panic in Europe and the USA is mis-placed due to their good healthcare systems which can stop the spread of the disease, and the biggest risk is to India due to lots of Indian businessmen in West Africa. But the above shows that the US healthcare system is far from being ready...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 02:28:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TPM
My wife's ER has an `ebola cart' with some lightweight protective gear and written instructions for putting on a PPE, but the instructions are a loose bundle of papers and the pictures don't match the gear in the cart and has inaccuracies that put them at serious risk. It's an object of gallows humor for the staff. That's the totality of their training or preparedness so far. As we all now know, PPEs are not easy to put on and take off correctly. Even though nurses all have experience with standard droplet control (they see TB and HIV all the time), ebola is a special case. They have gone months and months without a nurse education director because no one wants to deal with their management and take the position. Her coworkers are clear that they will refuse to treat an ebola patient because they have woefully inadequate training in the correct procedures and lack proper gear.

And yet the head of infectious disease at this hospital went on the local news to proclaim the hospital was ready to receive ebola patients safely. They obviously didn't bother to speak to a single nurse on the front lines.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 02:46:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
S.N.A.F.U.
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Oct 19th, 2014 at 04:08:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[MEXICO], Animal Político: With 39 votes in favor, deputies of the Congress of Guerrero approved the recall trial of the mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez, who is wanted for acts of violence in Iguala on 26 and 27 September.
See also THIS.
[VENEZUELA], The Guardian: The daughter of Hugo Chávez is set to play a more prominent role in international politics after Venezuela was elected to the UN security council.

[BOLIVIA], NYT Editorial Board: Evo Morales, who was first elected president of Bolivia in 2006 and won a third term on Sunday, is part of a pattern of entrenched Latin American leaders. (...) But the pattern of prolonged terms in power is unhealthy for the region. It is troubling that the stronger democracies in Latin America seem happy to condone it. To varying degrees, Latin America's entrenched rulers have weakened institutions and asserted greater control over the press. Staying in office for several terms enables leaders to appoint allies to electoral and judicial bodies and to build patronage networks that turn out the vote.
See What `Democracy' Really Means in U.S. and New York Times Jargon, by Glenn Greenwald.
[PARAGUAY], Washington Post -- A newspaper said Friday that a journalist who was shot to death was investigating drug gangs with suspected links to Paraguayan politicians.

[COLOMBIA]:
Colombia Reports: Colombian authorities on Friday detained the "Torturer of Cordoba," a man wanted for 26 years over his participation in killings in northern Colombia ordered by infamous paramilitary leader Fidel Castaño.

Colombia Reports: British oil giant BP and farmers from across Colombia began a legal battle in a UK court on Wednesday in one of the largest environmental cases in history.

Colombia Reports: The US multinational Chiquita is fighting to keep almost 10,000 payment documents from the public eye seven years after it was fined $25 million for its payments Colombian paramilitaries.

Colombia Reports: Indigenous communities in southwest Colombia are celebrating the formal recognition of the country's first indigenous university. The government signed an autonomy decree to officially recognize the indigenous academic model after three decades of its existence


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 07:42:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding Morales's third term, while the NYT's protests are howlingly hypocritical, I view these extra Presidential terms with dismay for a different reason: these leaders see themselves as crucial to the continued success of left-wing reform, but this personification actually weakens the movement. Instead, they should have been focused on nurturing capable successors. See Venezuela: Chávez is gone and I don't see Maduro as anywhere near as capable.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 02:14:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
Instead, they should have been focused on nurturing capable successors. See Venezuela: Chávez is gone and I don't see Maduro as anywhere near as capable.

This is a repeating factor in the formation of personality-cult power-blocks. It's a yes-men bubble. Those with dissenting views become marginalised because they are seen as slowing down the great social changes promised by the leader.

Your suggested apprenticeship method is the intelligent way forward, but some very powerful human instincts for uncritical groupthink have to be addressed upriver for this phenomenon to abate.

It's the old 'safety-in-numbers' syndrome, horribly ubiquitous...

'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 Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 03:34:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...very powerful human instincts for uncritical groupthink...
Nope!  I think this not only oversimplifies the issue, but underestimates the intelligence of the Venezuelan people.  There has been plenty of criticism leveled at Maduro from within his own constituency.  Just as the left wing of the Democratic Party has gone along with Obama for fear that their dissent will empower the far worse Republican Party in the case of the USA, Maduro's constituency will swallow their discontent and back him up in order to avoid handing the opposition a victory.  It is the "lesser of two evils" dynamic that appears - IMO - to prevail in both cases.  Check out, by the way, the latest post from the VPHR.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 04:50:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Morales and Chavez are caudillos. The democratic elected subset. But this model - see also the Peronists were each of their presidents is the caudillo and can dictate policy - is inherently unstable.

Venezuela also shows that happens when charismatic rule is transfered to bureaucratic rule.  

by IM on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 04:10:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the student massacre/mass disappearance in Mexico, thanks, I sought but couldn't find updates before, including:

The Apparent Massacre of Dozens of Students Exposes the Corruption at the Heart of Mexico | TIME

During the violence, at least six students and passersby were killed and another 43 students disappeared, with many last seen being bundled into police cars. Soldiers and federal agents have taken over the city of Iguala and have arrested more than 30 officers and alleged gunmen from a cartel called the Guerreros Unidos or Warriors United. They have also discovered a series of mass graves: on Oct. 4, they found 28 charred bodies and on Thursday night they discovered another four pits where they are unearthing more corpses. Agents are conducting DNA tests to see if the bodies belong to the students.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 02:16:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These Photos Show the Powerful Mexican Protest No One's Talking About.

Teachers leave Oaxaca in 200-car caravan in support normalistas Ayotzinapa.

You want to see more photos of the massive protests?  Go to:

Acapulco, October 17, 2014; Some 7000 teachers and members of various organizations marched to demand the live return of 43 young Normalistas of rural Ayotzinapa and impeachment of the governor Angel Aguirre.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 04:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mexico's Mass Grave Doesn't Contain Any of the 43 Missing Students | RYOT News

TIXTLA, Mexico (AP) -- It was news that gave parents hope: None of the bodies found in five mass graves in southern Mexico belonged to 43 teachers college students who have been missing for nearly three weeks since a clash with police.

Mexican authorities made the announcement Tuesday, while also revealing 14 more arrests in the disappearance of the young people, which prosecutors blame on Mexican police allegedly working with a local drug cartel.

...Forensic investigators are continuing to test other remains and officials have discovered a 10th mass grave, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said at a news briefing.

Any info on who have been buried in those mass graves?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 06:38:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He was the head of a congregation in Washington that included the likes of Joe Lieberman. According to The Forward
Just last month he told the Washington Jewish Week that the Orthodox community was afflicted by changes in sexual mores. "The lack of sexual morality that pervades this society is all over the place," he said, "and the Orthodox community, no matter how traditional, is not immune from this, and it creates terrible problems."

He went on to say: "Pornography and its accessibility is wrecking marriages. It's two keystrokes away. You get on the computer, you hit the button twice and you're there. I have not counseled a couple in any level of relationship in the last five years where pornography hasn't been an issue."

You've probably seen enough self-righteous politicians and religious leaders to know what comes next. But I doubt if anyone could have predicted the precise nature of this scandal.
Freundel, 62, was taken away Tuesday in handcuffs, after uniformed officers and plainclothes detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department searched his home in the Georgetown section of Washington. A local NBC affiliate reported that the rabbi had installed a clock radio with a hidden camera, called the "Dream Machine," in the women's showers of the congregation's mikvah, or Jewish ritual bath.
That takes more than two keystrokes.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 02:52:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is only fair. You can't let this type of stories be the monopoly of Baptists.  

Strike! For team matzoh!

by IM on Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 03:27:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in the USA, it is the Evangelicals, not the Baptists, that set all the records in this regard.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Oct 19th, 2014 at 12:22:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone has to keep an eye on them, there might be funny business going on. Besides even rabbis get bored and need entertainment.

The bigger the front, the bigger the back...

'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 Sat Oct 18th, 2014 at 03:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It just gets better and better.
Rabbi Barry Freundel, who was arrested last week for allegedly secretly videotaping naked women preparing to immerse in the his community's mikvah (ritual bath), claims he created the Republican Party's catch phrase 'family values" and was the man behind the US Military's don't ask, don't tell policy on homosexuality.

In one of his books, Contemporary Orthodox Judaism's Response To Modernity, Freundel writes that an aide to then-VIce President Dan Quayle heard Freundel use the term in a Shabbat drasha (sermon) in his synagogue and the aide to her boss about it and included the term in a speech writen for Quayle. Quayle added in criticism of a Murphy Brown episode and the speech - and the term "family values" - became history.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Oct 20th, 2014 at 03:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[UPDATED] Alleged Mikva Voyeur Rabbi Falsely Claimed To Have Coined The Republican Catch Phrase "Family Values" - FailedMessiah.com

Update 2:07 pm CDT - The Republican Party Platform adopted on August 16, 1988  uses the term "family values" and "traditional family values" several times.  Dan Quayle's Murphy Brown / Family Values speech was given in May 19, 1992 - almost four years later. This means Freundel was either mistaken or, more likely, was gilding his own lilly - i.e., lying.

Why more likely?

Because US President George Herebert Walker Bush (Bush 1) used the term in a 1990 letter about the Washington DC eruv. (Please see paragraph 38.)

That letter was written to Kesher Israel - Freundel's synagogue.

So Freundel is also a liar.

Update 2:57 pm CDT - The 1980 Republican Party Platform uses the term "traditional family values," as well.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 20th, 2014 at 04:46:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chuzpe, to claim the invention of such a generic term like family values.
by IM on Mon Oct 20th, 2014 at 07:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The other one appears to be a lie, too:

Charles Moskos, Policy Adviser, Dies at 74 - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com

Dr. Moskos's best-known policy advice was devising a way for gay men and lesbians to serve in the military, which President Bill Clinton had promised in his 1992 presidential campaign even though it was against the law. Dr. Moskos's solution was to end the practice of asking enlistees about sexual orientation. In turn, gay men and lesbians were to be silent about the topic.

Dr. Moskos first suggested the policy to Senator Sam Nunn, Democrat of Georgia and then chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Joint Chiefs of Staff refined it, with President Clinton accepting the result.

Dr. Moskos's original language, "don't ask, don't tell, don't seek, don't flaunt," was shortened to "don't ask, don't tell." While others framed the issue in terms of the cohesiveness of fighting units or morality, Dr. Moskos, after interviewing many soldiers, emphasized what he saw as a heterosexual's right not to be inescapably confronted with intimate gay behavior.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 20th, 2014 at 05:03:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LIVING OFF THE PLANET
Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:48:43 PM EST
Pacific Islanders blockade Newcastle coal port to protest rising sea levels | Environment | theguardian.com

Members of the Pacific Climate Warriors action group traveled from nations including the Marshall Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tokelau, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to draw attention to the effects of climate change on their island nations, and to protest Australia's continuing commitment to coal.

The Newcastle port is the world's largest coal handling facility. An annual flotilla blockade has been held for several years, but this was the first time protesters were joined by the group from the Pacific Islands.

Fijian protester George Nacewa had earlier told Guardian Australia the effects of climate change were "really evident back at home with coastal erosion and in terms of sea-level rise".



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:49:23 PM EST
Sun journalists prepared to break law in pursuit of a good story, trial hears | UK news | The Guardian

Six senior Sun journalists were prepared to break the law in the pursuit of a story by paying public officials for confidential information, a jury has heard.

The journalists had a "calculated and deliberate" policy of paying police officers, members of the military and healthcare staff, Kingston crown court in south-west London was told on Friday. Sources included staff at Broadmoor high-security hospital, with leaks providing confidential information on the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, and Rachel Nickell's killer, Robert Napper.

...The six journalists - Pharo, managing editor Graham Dudman, 51, O'Driscoll, picture editor John Edwards and reporters Pyatt and John Troup, 49 - all deny conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Wright said the jury would hear evidence that such a "gross breach of confidence" at Broadmoor had the capacity to cause "serious disruption". The information leaked and the "sensationalist" way it was used by the Sun led to mistrust between patients and staff, Wright said. Such a breach exposes others to the "risk of reprisal" and was corrosive of trust, he said. "It exposes staff and fellow patient alike to danger."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:49:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Revealed: how Whisper app tracks `anonymous' users | Technology | The Guardian

The company behind Whisper, the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be "the safest place on the internet", is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed.

The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users - including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services - will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives.

Whisper is also sharing information with the US Department of Defense gleaned from smartphones it knows are used from military bases, and developing a version of its app to conform with Chinese censorship laws.

The US version of the app, which enables users to publish short messages superimposed over photographs or other images, has attracted millions of users, and is proving especially popular among military personnel who are using the service to make confessions they would be unlikely to publish on Facebook or Twitter.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Former Yugoslav spies on trial in Munich | News | DW.DE | 17.10.2014

Ex-agents Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic went on trial in Munich, south Germany on Friday. The two Croatians face charges of involvement in the 1983 murder of Stjepan Djurekovic (pictured above), a Croatian dissident who, at the time, was living in exile in Wolfratshausen near Munich.

The prosecution is basing its case on the testimony of one main witness. Nonetheless, the proceedings are seen as groundbreaking for the way in which authorities deal with the 29 murders allegedly committed by former Yugoslav intelligence agents in Germany.

...Zagreb attempted for years to hinder the extradition. Just three days before joining the European Union, the Croatian parliament passed a law that would prevent extradition within the EU for cases pre-2002.

Croatia's government defended the law with the argument that "war crimes trials," from the Yugoslav civil war in the mid 90s, should take place within the country. In reality, the law was intended to protect former Yugoslav spies who had joined sides with the supporters of an independent Croatia - "turncoats" as they were known in several former socialist states in Eastern Europe.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:49:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer - review | Books | The Guardian

...[Hannah Arendt's] Eichmann in Jerusalem bore the subtitle "A Study in the Banality of Evil". What she meant by this was not that Eichmann was a mere bureaucrat, a conscienceless pen-pusher who was only obeying orders. On the contrary, she argued, he was an ideological antisemite, a man of overweening ambition who wanted not only power but also fame. He had a compulsion to "talk big", she observed, and indeed "bragging was the vice that was Eichmann's undoing". Not a particularly intelligent man, he assimilated the ideology and behaviour of the evil system within which he sought to achieve distinction. He admired the Third Reich not least because it allowed men from a humble background like his own - or Hitler's, for that matter - to climb to the top. He was under no compulsion to act as he did: he could have opted out at any time; all his actions were voluntary. He deserved to die because he had failed, or refused, to exercise the kind of moral judgment Arendt herself showed in her book. His crimes were the crimes of a system, even a nation; as the psychologists who examined him in prison concluded, he was not a psychopath or a sociopath, though, as Arendt points out, he was most certainly, and frequently, a liar and a deceiver. This was the "banality of evil".

In Argentina, Arendt notes, Eichmann did not go underground but occupied himself with "talking endlessly with members of the large Nazi colony, to whom he readily admitted his identity". These conversations were recorded by a Dutch ex‑member of the SS, Willem Sassen, and edited extracts were published anonymously, though there could be little doubt about the identity of the principal participant. The existence of the original tapes and transcripts has long been known, but up to now their poor quality has defied systematic investigation. The German philosopher and historian Bettina Stangneth has now performed the invaluable service of deciphering them, putting them together with other, often little-known source material, and delivering a full analysis of Eichmann's ideas as he expounded them to his friends and former colleagues in exile.

In the conversations he had with Sassen and others, Eichmann was completely unrepentant about the extermination of the Jews, which he saw as historically necessary, a policy he was proud to have carried out in the interests of Germany. The cynicism, inhumanity, lack of pity and moral self‑deception of the conversations are breathtaking. This is a very disturbing book, and every now and then, as you read it, you have to pause in disbelief. Ten years and more after the war's end, Eichmann's lack of realism, typical for a political exile, even persuaded him that he could make a comeback, or that nazism could be rehabilitated, and he planned to launch a public defence of what he saw as its achievements.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:50:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thousands of African child migrants feared in thrall to Italian traffickers | Global development | theguardian.com

Thousands of migrant children are disappearing after arriving in mainland Europe, triggering concerns that they are falling prey to a new and thriving market for child trafficking and forced labour.

Of some 12,164 unaccompanied minors who arrived in Italy from north Africa this year, about one-third have vanished from foster homes and government shelters (pdf), with the authorities warning they are likely to face sexual and labour exploitation if left unprotected.

Hundreds of children, mainly from Egypt, Eritrea and Somalia, are arriving on Italy's shores every month. In Catania, on the eastern coast of Sicily, local NGOs say that Eritrean children have begun to be kidnapped from parks and train stations.

"Most of the Eritrean children refuse to be identified by the authorities on arrival in the country because the Dublin Convention doesn't allow them to claim asylum in other countries if they have been registered in Italy," says Elvira Iovino, director of Centro Astalli, a migrants shelter in Catania.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:51:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ON THIS DATE


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:51:44 PM EST
18 October 1534 – Affair of the Placards: anti-Catholic posters appear in five French cities, triggering a turn to intolerance against Protestants in royal policy


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
19 October 1914 – World War I: the Race to the Sea ends and the quasi-static Western Front is completed with the start of the First Battle of Ypres


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:52:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:52:30 PM EST
Bono: I've had glaucoma for past 20 years | Music | The Guardian

For two decades his insistence on wearing sunglasses, even when indoors, has been seen simply as part of his rockstar image.

But Bono, 54, has revealed that his trademark shades are instead there to alleviate difficulties caused by a chronic eye condition.

Speaking on BBC1's Graham Norton show, the U2 frontman explained that for the past 20 years he has had glaucoma, a condition that can make eyes more sensitive to light.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 17th, 2014 at 01:52:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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