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

It's just too perfect a story.

by geezer in Paris Wed Oct 12th, 2011 at 05:04:11 AM EST

We are once again being set up- fed a line of bullshit to justify another war.
Here's the main story line, thanks to the Washington Note, and John Aravosis. 100-150 casualties expected from foiled Iranian plot

It has all the necessary characters for a cheap TV thriller- the beleaguered envoy, adviser to the king of a valued ally, dashing about the world plugging holes in the dike, the evildoers, swarthy and wrapped, and a plot so filled with mayhem, so irrational that it could become the next big video game.

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Notes from Nevers

by geezer in Paris Thu Sep 29th, 2011 at 04:57:54 AM EST

I thought I would be happy to grow old(er) and die in Paris, but I was wrong.

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Whispers From a Dark Past

by geezer in Paris Mon May 9th, 2011 at 06:57:30 AM EST

This one's for Miguel.
It's in response to a good conversation about the growing German control over what passes for economic policy in the EU, and my point that the psychological component in the German word view, that strong strain of patriarchal authoritarianism relates to the policy and to that old and feared, deep-seated need to dominate. Europe needs to remember this.

It's a memory fragment that grew in clarity as I wrote it.

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Scavengers in France

by geezer in Paris Sun Apr 24th, 2011 at 04:17:45 AM EST

In the recent past, if you sold off public properties like toll booths, water plants, prisons, schools, or parking facilities to your buddies, -property developed over much time with a huge investment in tax revenues- and transferred them to private hands at a small fraction of their cost to create, you could call it "privatization", and conceal the predation under a heap of talking points about markets and efficiency. But the whole process has always been a profitable pain in the butt for the predators- it was necessary to operate through a complex legal procedure involving established predation methods- quasi-competitive bids, tense negotiations with those affected, and those displaced from their jobs or statutory authority, and careful media massage was a time-consuming part of the procedure. But no more. Looks to me as if there's a new technology being rapidly applied to the problem.  It's Corporate Social Technology at it's most blatant.

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The New Normal: A "Managed Decline"?

by geezer in Paris Mon Feb 28th, 2011 at 06:31:40 AM EST

Occasionally there are threads that run through the shabby sweater that is world politics, threads of apparent causality, of process, of reasonably reliable fact that can be plucked, unraveled, followed. It's my sometimes- pleasure to follow what I can. But there are some that are just crazy. The systematic impoverishment of the middle class is one of them. To economically destroy the buying public is so mad that it seems the actors must be bent on suicide. This is the  near-destruction of the producing and consuming class on which the plutocratic and authoritarian classes depend for their very existence.  Forgive my confusion at what appears to be an apocalyptic self-immolation by the kleptocratic overclass. Even those far better connected and equipped than I - Paul Krugman for one-  publicly slap their forehead and search for a rational explanation for this craziness.

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A defense of honest inquiry, and of Gene Sharp.

by geezer in Paris Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 06:37:51 AM EST

This is a one-off diary for me. I don't do this. Except for now.
To understand the reasons for this diary, it would be useful to read my earlier diary, "Who is Gene Sharp?". I also obviously think it's important enough to risk appearing to flog a dead horse. If you don't choose to do this, you might still enjoy the document here in defense of Gene Sharp. It includes a who's who of the eloquent left around the world.
Interesting in itself.

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Who is Gene Sharp?

by geezer in Paris Sat Feb 19th, 2011 at 07:55:26 AM EST

He's an old man, a contemporary of Stephane Hessel and Noam Chomsky, a student of Ghandi, an Oxford scholar, writer and political theorist who is almost totally unknown in the world of Western European and American political literature.

He also may be one of the most important men alive today.

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Ambrosia

by geezer in Paris Sat Jan 15th, 2011 at 03:11:52 PM EST

Long talk with Len convinced me to post a real bit of memoir. In part as an antidote to the flavor of the times, and as balance for some of the dark diaries I have done here before.

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A beautifully concise description.. LQD to the max

by geezer in Paris Tue Dec 7th, 2010 at 08:44:57 AM EST

For those of us still searching for a way to illuminate the often murky reasons why we all (or most of us) grow endlessly poorer and more desperate, here's a great post.
A Comment to Frank Richs' great column of yesterday, turned up on Krugman's blog this morning.

Damn! So THAT'S how it works!

Great Job, #81.

Read it and weep.

Here, it's comment #2 on Krugman's post.
 

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To Unlearn Pinocchio

by geezer in Paris Fri Nov 5th, 2010 at 12:24:44 PM EST

 A few years ago Kcurie and I got into a disagreement about the nature of reality. It revolved around what I thought was an extreme position, in which I thought he was overstating the role of perception as essentially ALL of reality.  Like all good arguments, it has made me think. So thank you, Kcurie. Our discussion has informed much of what I've done since then on these pages.
I've read the very good discussions led by by Miguel on the meltdown, the equally good ones about the mid-terms and the aftermath- the "what now" question, and I think I see a  hole in the discussion. Once again.

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An Unsurvivable Crash

by geezer in Paris Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:06:56 AM EST

A header caught my eye the other day, and opened up an entire closet full of carefully stashed and locked knowledge. A closet that I had decided to defer sorting till a later time. Perhaps the time is now.

Epidemic? Half of US teens `meet criteria for mental disorder'
By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, October 14th, 2010
WASHINGTON -- Around half of US teens meet the criteria for a mental disorder and nearly one in four report having a mood, behavior or anxiety disorder that interferes with daily life, American researchers say.

front-paged by afew

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The Switch

by geezer in Paris Sun Jun 27th, 2010 at 01:17:43 AM EST

In the privacy of my musty attic, among the boxes of experiences filtered by each other and the piles of old insights turned stale or perhaps even (god forbid) wrong, I too cannot resist the urge to indulge myself in futurology. Risky business. This rather chaotic diary grew out of a comment to fairleft's important diary called "Obama cancels Withdrawal", etc

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An Empty Chair

by geezer in Paris Fri Jan 29th, 2010 at 06:50:28 AM EST

Anyone interested in the byzantine workings of the U.S.Supreme Court will probably already have asked these questions :
Why now?
Why bother?
The recent split decision essentially erasing limits on the use of corporate funds to influence the democratic process is already deeply controversial, it's legal reasoning suspect and it's logic fragile. It enshrines into law a reality already firmly bolted to the deck- that corporate money pulls the strings.  So why bring down on your head all the heat?
A diversion? Makes no sense. All the right needs to do is to keep feeding Obama rope.
An added layer of legal fig leaves over the pubes of the corporate person? Perhaps, but that seems a secondary issue to me. The preposterous notion of the "corporate person" is as solid a fantasy as any plutocrat could want.
 It's a message, I think. And a revealing one.

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Geezer's Law of Twistiness

by geezer in Paris Wed Jan 6th, 2010 at 05:25:04 AM EST

ARGeezer's recent burst of insightful contributions has moved me to write once again on a familiar theme, but with hopefully deeper insight, and a few grins.

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The Other Shoe

by geezer in Paris Wed Oct 21st, 2009 at 07:01:22 AM EST

Living outside the US sometimes gives perspective, and can lead to conclusions, concerns that are at variance with those held by insiders. Sometimes the whole thing's a waste, and we take our blinders with us, and our view is limited to the same old narrow slot. But time and experience has an insidious way of reeducating even the most hidebound. Sometimes the things we learn have wide application. Education is coming, for Europe as well as the US....

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Confessions of a tax dodger

by geezer in Paris Wed Oct 14th, 2009 at 05:25:06 AM EST

The level of misinformation about the UBS-tax dodgers story is only equaled by the level of vitriol and hypocrisy.
Almost everyone has it wrong. Perhaps it's the need to have a villain to throw rocks at, or perhaps it's just hate-the-rich, sour grapes. In any case, here's my attempt to set the record straight.

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Krugman on the future of econ

by geezer in Paris Fri Sep 25th, 2009 at 06:04:25 AM EST

I admire Krugman as a halfway house for those still suffering from Uncle Miltie withdrawal. I quote this piece to note, however, the careful wording he uses to poke holes in the Chicago boys, and also to note the apparent limits to his own willingness to accept the failure of Market Capialism, as well as his unwillingness to see it as a system of predation, rather than efficient production and distribution.

Perhaps he's keeping his head down?

Diary bump by afew

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Best Policy Money Can Buy?

by geezer in Paris Wed Jun 24th, 2009 at 03:49:46 AM EST

Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com has done a great job of doing a quick-and-dirty model to prove what we all knew all along- that money buys policy. So why am I excited? Because I'm one of those odd people who question my own certainties-- who likes to find that, once in a while, I was certainly wrong.
Not this time.

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Homemade Money- LQD

by geezer in Paris Fri May 29th, 2009 at 12:35:17 AM EST

The Dallas Fed:

"Banks actually create money when they lend it. Here's how it works: Most of a bank's loans are made to its own customers and are deposited in their checking accounts. Because the loan becomes a new deposit, just like a paycheck does, the bank...holds a small percentage of that new amount in reserve and again lends the remainder to someone else, repeating the money-creation process many times.

Dallas Federal Reserve

Obama, at Georgetown University:

"Although there are a lot of Americans who understandably think that government money would be better spent going directly to families and businesses instead of banks -- "where's our bailout?" they ask -- the truth is that a dollar of capital in a bank can actually result in eight or ten dollars of loans to families and businesses, a multiplier effect that can ultimately lead to a faster pace of economic growth."

NYT quoting a speech by Obama

Obama unfortunately fails to mention the fact that the institutions he has chosen to manage this "multiplier effect" have a track record -indeed a legal obligation- of multiplying mostly their own profits, without regard to social needs. It has been repeatedly estimated that the average ratio of interest costs to developmental investment is about 1 to 1. Yes, that's right. a full 50% of the cost of private bank- managed investment projects is raked off in interest or profits.

This diary is not at all US-centric, since the same problems are europe-wide, and the same principles would work almost anywhere--and have done so.

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Victory over The Scourge of Piracy LQD

by geezer in Paris Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 05:02:40 PM EST

Pirates! Egad, John, what can we do?
"Help the Captain! Load 'em up with grapeshot, sweep the decks! Show no mercy, for these evil men will show us none! Scum of the earth, I say!"

Read more... (1 comment, 2288 words in story)
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