May 21, 2012
Open Thread 2012-14
Whatever's on your mind ...
Posted by b on May 21, 2012 at 01:58 PM | Permalink
Two interesting Iran related links
As Obama Preaches Patience, Mattis Prepares for War With Iran
Mattis wanted to send a third aircraft-carrier group to the Persian Gulf earlier this year, The Daily Beast has exclusively learned, in what would have been a massive show of force at a time when Iranian military commanders were publicly threatening to sink American ships in the Strait of Hormuz. The four-star Marine Corps general and CentCom commander believed the display could have deterred Iran from further escalating tensions, according to U.S. military officials familiar with his thinking.
Only shows that Mattis is stupid. The Iranian's were ready for war and it was the U.S. that had to pull back.
DID OBAMA TAKE THE MILITARY OPTION AGAINST IRAN OFF THE TABLE? (yes)
What Did Not Take Place
By Mehdi Mohammadi, domestic political analyst and contributor to Kayhan
A useful way of truly understanding what took place in the Istanbul talks [in April] is to analyze these talks through the lens of “what did not take place.”
At the beginning the Americans accepted the argument that if Iran sees a credible military threat on the table — and from America, not Israel — it will have a reason to back down. Therefore, American officials began threatening Iran by stating that their military capability for confronting Iran’s nuclear facilities is sufficient, that their plans for attack were almost complete and that no option has been excluded. However, astonishingly, the effects of this rhetoric were not at all what America had envisioned nor what Israel had predicted.
First of all, Iran quickly responded and conducted special military operations which demonstrated that not only could it defend itself against any attack, but if necessary, that it could carry out preventive operations before the enemy takes action and at a stage when threats are still being made. Subsequently, the Americans saw that their activities which were intended to keep tensions with Iran at a controlled level, could quickly slip out of hand and at any moment there was a possibility that a self-confident Iran could move America towards a deadly, albeit unwanted, conflict. The reason why Barack Obama, in a letter written to Iran this past winter, announced openly that the military option from his country’s perspective is not on the table, was exactly because the Americans saw that Iran was not afraid but in fact was preparing for war!
Posted by: b | May 21, 2012 2:04:39 PM | 1
Thanks for all your work and articles!
Posted by: Souri | May 21, 2012 2:05:00 PM | 2
European Stability Mechanism:
Legal status, privileges and immunities
1. To enable the ESM to fulfil its purpose, the legal status and the privileges and immunities set out in this Article shall be accorded to the ESM inthe territory of each ESM Member. The ESM shall endeavour to obtain recognition of its legal status and of its privileges and immunities in other territories in which it performs functions or holdsassets.
2. The ESM shall have full legal personality; it shall have full legal capacity to:
(a) acquire and dispose of movable and immovable property;
(c) be a party to legal proceedings; and
(d) enter into a headquarter agreement and/or protocols as necessary for ensuring that its legal status and its privileges and immunities are recognised and enforced.
3. The ESM, its property, funding and assets, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall enjoy immunity from every form of judicial process except to the extent that the ESM expressly waives its immunity for the purpose of any proceedings or by the terms of any contract, including the documentation of the funding instruments.
4. The property, funding and assets of the ESM shall, wherever located and by whomsoever held, be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation or any other form of seizure, taking or foreclosure by executive, judicial, administrative or legislative action.
5. The archives of the ESM and all documents belonging to the ESM or held by it, shall
Posted by: m_s | May 21, 2012 2:14:49 PM | 3
On 19 Nov 2011 Bashar Assad was asked: Is there a circumstance under which you would resign as President? Bashar replied: "It [the political situation in Syria] is not about me, it's about about the stability of Syria. It's about how can we keep Syria unified. If the President is a factor in unifying the country he has to stay. If he is a factor in dividing the country, he has to leave. Most of the Syrians are unified, and what's happening now is a minority of militants are killing Syrians on a daily basis." http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=YkMTRU_j5H0#t=205s
Bashar himself is a well-informed analyst and all well-informed analysts with goodwill for Syria believe with 100% confidence that (a) a resignation by Bashar would be counterproductive (it would in fact make the armed rebellion problem much worse) and (b) there isn't the slightest possibility of it happening.
The Russian foreign ministry today agrees that outside pressuring to get Assad to resign has zero chance of success and any such hypothetical resignation by Assad would solve nothing:
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on 20 May 2012 that Russia continues to adhere to the view that the situation in Syria cannot be resolved through external pressure on the Syria government, via force or otherwise, and he said that such pressure would lead nowhere. Ryabkov also said that Russia "is fully satisfied" with the G8 summit declaration on Syria on 19 May 2012, in which the G8 leaders called on all parties in the country to commit themselves to the Annan six-point peace plan. http://www.sana.sy/eng/22/2012/05/20/420355.htm , http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/21/c_123163148.htm
If you're interested in some more comment from Bashar himself on the question of his following the advice of the USA that he should resign, here's Bashar speaking about it on 21 Aug 2011, a few days after the 16 Aug 2011 announcement by Obama that in Obama's opinion Bashar should resign: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pInIvC7NZ_A
I don't know how the USA and its poodles are thinking on this matter, but I say all their thinking is irrelevant because they aren't going to interfere beyond what they've already done. (PS: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on 20 May 2012 reiterated that NATO has "no intention whatsoever to intervene in Syria"; http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-05/21/c_123163271.htm ).
Much more relevant and worrisome to me is the recent significant increse in price inflation in Syria, which has put limitations on the government's ability to stimulate the economy to offset the economic recession -- a recession is happening due to the destruction of peace and security in a number of localities, the collapse of the tourist sector, and the effects of foreign trade sanctions.
Posted by: Parviziyi | May 21, 2012 4:22:25 PM | 4
The Facebook IPO brings up the role of private property in our society, particularly in our economic activity.
The goods and services from enterprises like Facebook, Microsoft, Pfizer, etc. express the tip of the iceberg of cumulative human study from countless people, including folks like Archimedes, Euclid, Galileo, Newton, and Bohr; and more recently, from tax-funded public sector research.
It’s essential for people to be compensated fairly for their work, but it’s preposterous for people like Gates and Zuckerberg to become billionaires with exclusive patents. Their remuneration should be proportional to the amount that they have added to the technological know-how embedded in their products.
Posted by: Watson | May 21, 2012 4:56:17 PM | 5
Obama should be made to resign and charged with wr crimes, to end the massive death toll thru US drone bombings..at least till the next puppet was inaugurated
Posted by: brian | May 21, 2012 5:43:35 PM | 6
If US wants Assad to resign that tells us that he is a hindrance to USraeli interests..and that the US is behind the attacks on syria..Pity the media doesnt make this their headlines. Force the US into denials.
Posted by: brian | May 21, 2012 5:45:02 PM | 7
Kafka: "the chains of tomorrow's society will be made of paper"
and Orwell's great intuition regarding NewSpeak: this ESM is an Entity, albeit of a new type, yet they call it "Mechanism", so that you don't even know what you are dealing with
Posted by: claudio | May 21, 2012 6:27:45 PM | 8
Afghan supply routes:
Posted by: Biklett | May 21, 2012 6:49:58 PM | 9
Until a couple months ago, the Western media described the situation in Syria as "freedom lovers" vs. the regime, even though the situation had an armed element from the outset.
Now the media talks openly about violent attacks, though it does not condemn anti-regime violence, unless the regime defends itself.
Likewise, internationalization of the conflict has focused on Iran, Russia and Turkey. Meanwhile Lebanon has been festering. Now it looks like the conflict has engulfed Northern Lebanon.
The conflict is now regional, though the media is loathe to acknowledge it. Destruction is at hand. And there is no creative aspect to it, though Washington warmongers love to tout their creative destruction.
Posted by: JohnH | May 21, 2012 9:11:19 PM | 11
re #5: our entire system of bookeeping and financial reporting is still based on a past age where the bulk of a company's wealth was in property, plant and equipment: things that were hard to move and easy to compare and quantify.
Nowadays, most companies' assets are in the form of intangibles: intellectual propeorty, patents, licensing fees, etc., and the rest of their office and production space is leased.
This allows the sort of creative bookkeping that in turn makes it easier to generate wealth from wrecking companies than from creating them.
Posted by: ralphieboy | May 22, 2012 2:33:16 AM | 12
Facebook is all clicks and no bricks, making it an internet company that is totally virtual in nature. Because of this, Facebook is far from being a labor-intensive company. Look it up: Facebook, despite spanning the globe and despite making its founder into a billionaire in less than five years, needs only a few thousand people to keep it fully up and running.
Our banking system is another case in point. It is fast becoming nothing more than a virtual component on the World Wide Web. Because of this, our banks, especially the giant TBTF ones, are cutting back on the number of their employees. They are doing this despite that fact they are growing both in terms of their net worth and their global reach.
My purpose in saying all this isn’t to bash Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook empire. Nor is it to bash the Goldmans of the World. I’m merely making the point, despite being rather poor at it, that America don’t need more entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Lloyd Blankfein who are capable of making billions for their companies by having just a skeleton crew of people working for them. We need more entrepreneurs who can create companies that employ large numbers of people. On top of that, we need more entrepreneurs that are more loyal to the American economy than they are to the global economy, thus refusing to outsource American jobs to low-wage countries. This is the only way that we can get our economy back on a growth curve and get our unemployment rate back down below, say, five percent. And the companies that are most likely to accomplish this are the ones that are rooted in real economy, not the ones that are rooted the the virtual economy.
Posted by: Cynthia | May 22, 2012 7:28:55 AM | 14
'Until a couple months ago, the Western media described the situation in Syria as "freedom lovers" vs. the regime, even though the situation had an armed element from the outset.'
the word 'freedom' as in Freedom House' has been stolen by the political right as it suggests that everyone else is a tyrant...but what it means for them is freedom from govt oversight
Posted by: brian | May 22, 2012 8:25:40 AM | 15
- Two links to stories about China's rise. Firstly some mindblowing stuff in "China's Rise, America's Fall".
China’s recent rise should hardly surprise us. For most of the last 3,000 years, China together with the Mediterranean world and its adjoining European peninsula have constituted the two greatest world centers of technological and economic progress. During the 13th century, Marco Polo traveled from his native Venice to the Chinese Empire and described the latter as vastly wealthier and more advanced than any European country. As late as the 18th century, many leading European philosophers such as Voltaire often looked to Chinese society as an intellectual exemplar, while both the British and the Prussians used the Chinese mandarinate as their model for establishing a meritocratic civil service based on competitive examinations.
- Secondly on China's rise. "Why do we continue to ignore China rise? Arrogance."
China is, indeed, in so many ways, not like the west. It is not even primarily a nation state but a civilisation state. Whereas the west has primarily been shaped by its experience of nation, China has been moulded by its sense of civilisation. This helps to explain why the Chinese place such a huge emphasis on unity and stability, their reverence for the state and their embrace of ideas such as "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong. Similarly, unlike Europe, China never sought to acquire overseas colonies but established a tribute system in east Asia. The Chinese state bears a fundamentally different relationship to society compared with any western state. The state is seen as an intimate, as a member of the family, rather than, as in western discourse, a problem, a threat, or even the enemy. For the Chinese, the state is the embodiment of its civilisation: as such, it could not be more important, it lies at the heart of the Chinese pysche.
Posted by: Colm O' Toole | May 22, 2012 8:59:17 AM | 16
We need more entrepreneurs who can create companies that employ large numbers of people.
With respect, the cult-of-the-entrepreneur ideology is crippling us.
It's an indictment of our societies that decent jobs are a scarce commodity, yet there's plenty of necessary work not getting done - health care, elder care, child care, sanitation, maintenance, green retro-fitting - to name a few.
The decision to do these tasks must be made politically not economically, because they cannot be done at a profit, even with creative accounting. The ‘free market’ will not act in these areas. There's plenty of room for private enterprise, but the public sector must play a major role.
Posted by: Watson | May 22, 2012 9:49:38 AM | 18
creative bookkeeping that in turn makes it easier to generate wealth from wrecking companies than from creating them.
Ethical standards in the legal world are so notoriously low that they spawned the genre of lawyer jokes.
Then we found out what the priests are doing, and they made the lawyers look good.
Then we found out what the accountants are doing – special purpose vehicles, mark-to-model valuation, off-books transactions, suspension of ‘Generally Accepted Accounting Principles’ – and now the lawyers and the priests look good by comparison.
Posted by: Watson | May 22, 2012 10:23:36 AM | 19
This afternoon, the FSA abducted 13 Lebanese men returning from a pilgrimage to Iran. They were returning via Turkey by bus and were stopped as soon as they crossed the border from Turkey to Syria. The 12 female companions of the pilgrims were released and told by the FSA to continue on their own until they reach the Syrian army and and to advise them that the FSA wants 13 Syrian soldiers in exchange of the 13 Lebanese prisoners. The 13th male held was the cheikh that led the group. The Lebanese families (all Shia)are now threatening to start abducting FSA people known to be present in Lebanon.
Posted by: www | May 22, 2012 11:40:19 AM | 20
Number of men abducted this morning by the FSA is up to 17. The released Lebanese women are in a hotel in Aleppo. The FSA is asking for the release of an equal number of FSA prisoners held.
Posted by: www | May 22, 2012 11:50:55 AM | 21
"The Chinese state bears a fundamentally different relationship to society compared with any western state. The state is seen as an intimate, as a member of the family, rather than, as in western discourse, a problem, a threat, or even the enemy. "
That is a pecularity of today's US libertarianism. In Europe the tendency is to assume a state has to serve its people
Posted by: somebody | May 22, 2012 12:19:14 PM | 22
I really wish that I could have been aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan when it was dispatched to provide tsunami relief aid in Japan, especially when the captain presented his credentials and stated "I'm from the US government and I'm here to help you!"
Posted by: ralphieboy | May 22, 2012 3:59:17 PM | 24
watson @18. Good answer. Plenty of entrepreneurs all over the planet. Shall the US have the only ones? And how will these tall, proud American entrepreneurs afford to keep their employees in high wages while making profits for themselves, except by exploiting, by threats or bribes, the underdogs of this world. Who, driven to extremes, will turn to "terror". Meanwhile the filth-which-turns-no-profit accumulates all around us.
The world is a collective, it has collective problems which require collective solutions.
Posted by: ruralito | May 22, 2012 4:28:51 PM | 25
Something I've found to be poignantly true this past 14 months concerning the political situation in Syria:
Considerable laboratory research attests to the capacity of preconceptions and initial theories to bias the assimilation of subsequent evidence. The biased assimilation processes include a propensity to remember the strengths of confirming evidence but the weaknesses of disconfirming evidence, and to accept confirming evidence at face value while scrutinizing disconfirming evidence hypercritically. People who hold strong opinions on complex social issues are likely to examine relevant empirical evidence in this biased way, and as a result to draw undue support for their initial positions from mixed or random empirical findings. Thus, the result of exposing contending factions in a social dispute to an identical body of relevant empirical evidence may be not a narrowing of disagreement but rather an increase in polarization. Increase in polarization is the more likely outcome when the presented evidence is mixed or random. [Citation omitted].
“It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”
Posted by: Parviziyi | May 22, 2012 5:30:11 PM | 26
'Counterfeit electronic parts from China are "flooding" into critical U.S. military systems, including special operations helicopters and surveillance planes, and are putting the nation's troops at risk'
this is good news...maybe more US drones and killer helicopters will fail. How ironic that they source from China when US military opperations are about containing china.
Posted by: brian | May 22, 2012 6:01:43 PM | 27
The Lebanese families (all Shia)are now threatening to start abducting FSA people known to be present in Lebanon.
Posted by: www | May 22, 2012 11:40:19 AM | 20
The FSA knows how to make make friends and influence people!
Posted by: brian | May 22, 2012 6:04:02 PM | 28
Maybe Iran will be more effectively applying those EMP devices than previously believed.
Posted by: Alexander | May 22, 2012 6:09:26 PM | 29
@Colm re: China...
It's not all Smiles and Sunshine. There is this:
China, or, How To Live In Interesting Times (link to The Automatic Earth)
In keeping with your motif, this could also be titled "China's Stall."
Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | May 22, 2012 6:17:03 PM | 30
Brian, the FSA (as usual)is saying the Syrian Army did it, so who knows what's really happening? You have to pick from which lies you want to believe as everyone is in on the lying; the Western press, the Arabic one, the Syrian opposition, the Syrian government.
Posted by: www | May 23, 2012 3:45:22 AM | 31
That's why we keep coming back to this site, b is our reality-filter. And a good one at it, the best that I know of, no doubt.
Posted by: Alexander | May 23, 2012 3:54:03 AM | 32
cause the FSA blames the syrian govt we know they didnt do it...what govt car bombs its own security forces? meanwhile, its terrorists have car bombed since the jewish Irgun invented the practice
'At the beginning of the civil war, the Jewish militias organized several bombing attacks against civilians and military Arab targets. On 12 December, Irgun placed a car bomb opposite the Damascus Gate, killing 20 people. On 4 January 1948, the Lehi detonated a lorry bomb against the headquarters of the paramilitary Najjada located in Jaffa's Town Hall, killing 15 Arabs and injuring 80.
the syrian govt is telling the truth...
Posted by: brian | May 23, 2012 5:35:37 AM | 33
Actually, yeah, the Syrian government are mostly adhering to the truth. I can't come up with an example of them being caught in a lie.
Posted by: Alexander | May 23, 2012 5:41:55 AM | 34
dr yueh @30
'And Chinese people know how to protest: we like to think the French got that down, but they have nothing on China once the unrest starts spreading for real. They don't have 1.3 billion people either. Who don't even have a democracy. But who do have modern social media at their disposal, and a government which has an ever harder time to block the use of it, not in the least because the government itself used the internet to smear Bo Xilai.'
dont have a democracy>? well neither do the US or EU...democracy is rule by the people not rule by political parties serving those who fund them./
this furfy about democracy:'we have it they dont' gets repeated over and over tlll even the promoters believe it.
Posted by: brian | May 23, 2012 5:56:22 AM | 35
Watson, you listed a group of utilities functions. Those do indeed need to be provided by gov't. We've privatized these functions increasingly, and that has proved to be more expensive. On the other hand, they've gotten into areas where they don't belong. But, this blurring by public and private is a real issue, and a source of much of our corporate socialism.
As to the question of the capital lite producers, like finance, facebook and twitter; versus entrepreneurs. I perhaps disagree a bit, though you'll likely like the remedy. High tax rates, far higher tax rates should encourage capital intensive production, and punish those who generate their gains far easier. I can explain further if you wish, but, the good thing is that higher tax rates also don't hurt entrepreneurs, as they have ideas to sink their profits into.
Taxes are paid only on the last few dollars of profits, and the top rates are paid by big, highly profitable firms. Firms won't pay taxes lightly, they'll first redirect their money into deductible avenues, like hiring, employee benefits, pensions, retraining, R&D, expansions, innovation, advertising--all these make the firms stronger, newer, better. Low taxes encourages shell firms, off-shoring, out-sourcing, and sell offs of capital. Simply look at GE and GM since Reagan took office, the firms once manufacturing giants are increasingly based in finance, off-shoring and out-sourcing. Higher taxes would drive them seeking domestic expenses or deductions. Since we have all the consumers, the firms wouldn't dare leave.
Posted by: scottindallas | May 23, 2012 5:56:54 AM | 36
imagine, if we were consumers with good manufacturing jobs. Wow! we'd look like the post war generation
Posted by: scottindallas | May 23, 2012 5:59:12 AM | 37
Quick question: if the ABM system being installed is to 'protect Europe from Iranian missiles' wouldn't forcing a regime change in Iran (by military or other means) obviate the need for said ABM system? So which is worth more to the empire: a) a system to neutralise Russian ballistic missiles etc and thus give the empire free rein throughout central and eastern Europe or b) enveloping Iran into the empire?
I'm personally going with a. Therefore, it makes sense that the US will not pursue regime change in Iran, but they will continue to try and convince Israel they are doing just that.
Same deal with North Korea - the empire puts military assets right across the region to supposedly 'protect Japan etc from N Korean missiles' (and then they do things like sinking S Korean ships to 'prove' the threat exists and thus keep the bases they want in Japan). If you force a regime change in N Korea, by hook or by crook, the 'threat' goes away and the reason for the buildup in military strength becomes apparent - a strategic counterpoint to China's perceived growth in influence and military buildup. Which is more important: turning N Korea into another S Korean style neo-lib outpost, or having military bases aimed at China?
Posted by: Carpworld | May 23, 2012 6:01:09 AM | 38
US 'defence shield ' is no such thing...its missles aimed at russia and iran and any other country that gets free of US control
Posted by: brian | May 23, 2012 7:27:56 AM | 39
Alexander, the Syrian government hasn't done it often, but it's known to have done it, but it's still a far cry from the thousands of fake videos put out by the opposition and aired on the Arabic satellite networks. Here's one instance of Syria showing a video that it said was of terrorists in Syria whereas it's actually a video taken in Lebanon in 2008; maybe it's simply an honest mistake by Syria but since it happened once, one has to wonder if it happened other times:
Posted by: www | May 23, 2012 7:32:33 AM | 40
38 and 39: You guys don't believe that there's anything aimed at the US?
Posted by: www | May 23, 2012 8:21:44 AM | 41
Yeah,the Samson Option definitely has US in its sights,as far as aimed weaponry goes(and I'm sure the Chinese and Russians have our coordinates,as we have theirs.)
The news that our once great nation has privatised the space race,and its following potentials for abuse,alarm me,and if people don't want a Dr.No or some other corporate war scenario,or research and benefit to the whole country instead of capitalist devourers of public monies,they should protest this expansion of neolibcon criminals into space.
They brought Scotties ashes into orbit.Sheesh,lap up the propaganda like kittens at spilled cream.
Where's all the wisdom?Where's our heroes?
Posted by: dahoit | May 23, 2012 8:54:23 AM | 42
@ scottindallas, #36
Two friendly amendments:
• Most, not all, of the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy -- finance, energy, telecommunications, heavy manufacturing, transportation -- need to be in a democratically-controlled public sector. (Economic power determines political policy, and we see the lopsided results when the public sector lacks the means to promote the public welfare.)
• No cheap labor havens. (They’re unethical and they insure a ‘race to the bottom’.)
Posted by: Watson | May 23, 2012 8:57:14 AM | 43
can you imagine some of the wealthy evangelical whack jobs with their own rockets? this is about to get real interesting, real fast. the singularity's going to be a blast (pun intended).
Posted by: wenis | May 23, 2012 9:39:26 AM | 44
@43 - i would argue that arbitrage should be eliminated in all things, not just wages. think about soros and his billions, or is it trillions, made from arbitraging currencies.
Posted by: wenis | May 23, 2012 9:41:57 AM | 45
Good point, but it might be better to limit the scale of arbitrage/speculation in currency rather than to outlaw it completely. Likewise with fuel. Not too long ago, purchases of futures contracts were limited to end users like airlines and shippers. But generally, I think you want to promote commerce and restrain the inevitably bureaucratic hand of government from stifling the free exchange of goods and services.
Posted by: Watson | May 23, 2012 10:04:19 AM | 46
There's a pamphlet out there on Social Credit by a Jesuit. He sees the principles of Social Credit as restoring Catholicism to the community of souls it always professed to be. I don't know about that but he makes what seems a sensible suggestion: hand the money supply over to the current government. Reduce the role of bankers to accountants only. Perforce, so the theory goes, the government will spend its dollars well or risk being removed from office when the bankers accounts are read out in the National Assembly. Of course, this might invite a coup from a corrupt president if some check is not placed on his/her executive powers. Discuss.
Posted by: ruralito | May 23, 2012 11:18:01 AM | 47
Ruralito, the Créditistes have been preaching this since then early 1930s when the Catholic Church's 2 biggest bugaboos were socialism and communism. The concept of flooding the marketplace with tons of printed money to get the wheel turning started fizzing out in the 60s and 70s as people drifted away from religion. The first priest to issue a pamphlet about the merits of social credit was a Dominican. I haven't seen the current one by the Jesuit that you mentioned.
Posted by: www | May 23, 2012 12:41:23 PM | 49
Re: currency/money supply
It’s outrageous that private bankers are given unreviewable government power via the Federal Reserve System (and by their de facto control of the Treasury Department) to make monetary policy in their own interests, e.g., by giving themselves zero-interest loans.
I’m generally against electronic voting, because it’s not verifiable by lay people, but I think that it could be used to set the prime rate via a national referendum every quarter or so. It’s not a complex choice - up, down, or unchanged. After a bit of experience the electorate would get a feel for the cause and effect
Posted by: Watson | May 23, 2012 1:53:43 PM | 51
Some form of direct democracy is absolutely the way forward. If a vote doesn't engage enough interest to result in a meaningful election, then it's not worth doing. But making a trustworthy system is a tall order. For a electronic system, one would have to give up anonymity. Electronic voting that's not verifiable is a direct invitation to fraud, and I would never feel comfortable with it. If however a system with the same verification mechanism as in banking, then most would probably trust it.
Posted by: Alexander | May 23, 2012 2:08:45 PM | 52
The Syrian government information sources don't tell the whole truth, but all of what they do tell is told truthfully, and, equally as importantly, it is carefully verified before being told.
Commenter 'www' at #40 makes the dubious allegation:
Here's one instance of the Syrian government showing a video that it said was of terrorists in Syria whereas it's actually a video taken in Lebanon in 2008; maybe it's simply an honest mistake by Syria but since it happened once, one has to wonder if it happened other times: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9ToShpOV0Q
How do you know that video is from year 2008? It looks very similar to several videos I've seen that are genuinely from Syrian in 2011, where armed rebels with Salafi-style beards infilrate into Syria's Homs province from northern Lebanon through unpathed rural land. Some vehemently anti-Assadist Salafis in Tripoli in Lebanon claimed the video dates from 2008, but you cannot presume they're telling the truth.
Another question, are you sure that that video was actually among the videos shown by Walid Al-Moallem at his press conference in November, as claimed?
The Syrian government information outlets are very careful and conscientious about fact checking. This particular video is very ordinary, and many others like it are available. So I would presume that if it was included in Al-Moallem's presentation it was chosen among many similar others because of its authenticity and provenance. (Perhaps it was found in the possession of a captured rebel).
http://www.SANA.SY/index_eng.html is very reliable, even though you can't get the whole truth from them.
Posted by: Parviziyi | May 23, 2012 3:53:43 PM | 53
You have to make up your mind if SANA, the government organ is reliable or not; you're also saying that it doesn't tell the whole truth. All in all, it's still closer to the truth than mostly anything and everything being reported by the opposition that has been taken over by terrorists. The video in question was shown during al-Moallem's press briefing that I watched on TV. After the boo-boo was discovered, Syria didn't comment further on it. As I said, it could have been an honest mistake on the part of the Syrian government. The ongoing propaganda war is more intense than the actual fighting.
Posted by: www | May 23, 2012 4:47:33 PM | 54
Social Credit has too much judeophobic baggage attached to it to be a credible alternative to the current banksters economic domination. I say that coming from a society where protestant Social Credit was once a significant political force. They had no judeophobia in their manifestos but they did still have the same traces of the white supremacist eugenics with which the Canadian iteration of Social Credit used to blight the lives of generations of people born with disabilities.
But the sub-text of the original Social Credit was that ugly 'jew conspiracy' shit that was successfully turned around by the elites to demonise any attempt to control big financial entities.
Some of the Social Credit economic ideas (which were always ridiculed by the media as 'funny money') could be adapted for a new movement, but Social credit itself needs to be left back in the 20th century where it belongs.
In a way I see it as no different than the australian DLP (democratic labour party supported by the Oz catholic church in the 50's & 60's).
A xtian reaction to the agnostic political movements of the left. Take a few of the 'headline' left policies mix in religion and a soupcon of good old white supremacist rhetoric, some conservative social views (anti-gay,pro-censorship, pro-established religions) and serve it up to the unquestioning members of the masses as something new, when it is really just the same old, same old.
Posted by: Debs is dead | May 23, 2012 6:19:11 PM | 55
wrt finance, I recommend Mosler's Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds. It's a pdf and my lame linux reader can't select/paste the tastiest bits. The gist: Printing lots of money isn't the problem; they're just zeros added and removed. He gives the example of a ticket to the superbowl, say, 1000$ worth, it's just torn up and thrown away when it's "redeemed." I don't want to give the wrong impression; someone with a better grasp of the matter should read it(enough of it) and tell me if I'm wrong. But even if you don't have an opinion one way or the other it's a great myth-debunking read.
Posted by: ruralito | May 23, 2012 6:24:48 PM | 56
OK, so you read the final paragraph...the one where the author maybe should have used 'nominal' in front of the d-word.
What are your thoughts on the other 95% of the article?
Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | May 23, 2012 9:49:08 PM | 57
BMW Tripling China Output Risks Audi-Like Asian Dependence: Cars
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) plans to triple the number of vehicles it can make in China, risking efforts to avoid overdependence on one market.
The world’s largest maker of luxury vehicles will start production of the X1 compact sport-utility vehicle today at a new factory in China, part of a 1 billion-euro ($1.27 billion) expansion. Combined with an existing plant in Da Dong, the Teixi facility will boost capacity to as many as 300,000 cars a year from 100,000. The opening makes China the only country with multiple BMW assembly sites outside Germany.
The Munich-based manufacturer’s expansion, part of competition with Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi for the luxury-car sales lead, could increase reliance on China for growth. BMW sold 43,800 more cars globally through the first four months of 2012, compared with a year earlier, with 60 percent of those additional sales in China. For Audi, China accounted for 74 percent of its delivery growth of 49,300 vehicles this year, according to company figures.
Prana Tharthiharan Natarajan, a research analyst at Frost & Sullivan in Chennai, India, points out the conundrum facing the luxury-car producers.
“There are no other regions that can provide for such massive numbers of sales as China can,” he said. “In the event of economic turmoil in China, most German automakers could end up with hundreds of thousands of unsold cars.
Posted by: wenis | May 23, 2012 10:06:02 PM | 58
Nuke-sub fire in Maine, seems quite serious. Anyone know?
Posted by: Alexander | May 23, 2012 10:08:33 PM | 59
We now have the vehement official denial of a recent report mentioned here on an earlier open thread.
Here too is a smoke signal regarding the reparations for the Mavi Marmara incident. I have no competence regarding the reliability of the source or the (undoubtedly more interesting) back-stories for these two bits of Israeli-Turkish diplomatic maneuvering, but would welcome enlightenment.
Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 24, 2012 11:22:59 AM | 61
Hannah @ 61, here's a NYTimes story about Turkey considering indictments of Israeli officers over the flotilla attacks.
Turkey’s semiofficial Anatolia news agency said the prosecutor, Mehmet Akif Ekinci, had prepared a 144-page indictment package that would seek life imprisonment for Gabi Ashkenazi, the former chief of general staff for the Israel Defense Forces; Vice Adm. Eliezer Marom, former commander of naval forces; Gen. Amos Yadlin, the former military intelligence chief; and Brig. Gen. Avishai Levy, the former head of air force intelligence.
The indictment further recommended that the four receive additional prison terms totaling 18,000 years for what it called other crimes committed by the Israeli side during the flotilla raid.
Developing. as one might say....
Posted by: jawbone | May 24, 2012 3:25:52 PM | 62
The irony his the fan...
So can we expect to see Irael US Saudi arabia qatar in the dock soon?
But U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said in his ruling: "When a state chooses to use terror as a policy tool, as Iran and Syria continue to do, the state forfeits its sovereign immunity and deserves unadorned condemnation."
Meanwhile, back in the Kibbutz!
'One of the most under-reported political stories of the last year is the devoted advocacy of numerous prominent American political figures on behalf of an Iranian group long formally designated as a Terrorist organization under U.S. law.'
Dershowitz, ex-Canadian justice minister, Eli Wiesel joing prominent voices calling for US to pardon Iranian dissident group['dissident' here really means 'terrorist']
So how about when Israel and the US choose to use terror as policy? Will there be lawsuits from Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Laos and on and on and on and on and on…
US has armed and backed KLA LIFG MEK and other terrorists groups with what looks like perfect imunity
Posted by: brian | May 24, 2012 6:18:58 PM | 63
'"Israel has never sent troops to any other country in its history," the statement said, adding that it should be questioned why such a report was prepared by Anatolia in the first place. '
Not even to Lebanon?!
Posted by: brian | May 24, 2012 11:13:01 PM | 64
*Why should antiwar demands focus first and foremost on the war’s impact on Americans and their lives—and not on the victims of U.S. aggression: Pakistanis murdered in U.S. drone strikes, Iraqis rounded up and tortured by U.S. forces, Afghans seized and terrorized in night raids, and countless others? Aren’t their lives every bit as precious as the lives of those who happen to live in the U.S.?*
but those are the undermenchen !
n why would protest against olympics focus on the inconvenience of the populace only....where's the antiwar folks, isnt this the perfect occasion to highlight fukus genocidal wars, when london is under the world's spotlight ?
*progessive* sites like guardian churned out tons of articles about beijing's *genocide olympics*, *hr activists* clamoured for a boycott of the game, the olympics torch processions were assaulted by *activists* in various major cities, in one occasion, a wheelchair bound chinese athletic was attacked by thuggish *activists*
fast fwd 2012,
fukus has been getting away with genocidal wars in iraq, afghan
extra judicial executions, aka daylight murders, in afpak, somalia, yemen
naked aggressions in ex yugo, libya, syria
re colonisation of africa under the agis of africom
where're all these *hr activists*, especially the antiwar folks ?
the silence is deafening
the contrast to 2008 is illuminating
perhaps *sports n politics dont mix*, when it comes to fukus ?
i posed this innocent question in this thread
no sooner had i posted my comment when it was deleted
now i get this message
*this site has blocked u from posting new comments*
i can post freely in the *rightwing* wapo, biz insider etc [fukus n all]
but i am persona non grata on atimes, guardian, cd, etc, ya, the *alternate media* ;-)
Posted by: denk | May 25, 2012 1:04:05 AM | 65
Israeli land thieves benefit from Save Darfur charity!
You donate money to what you think is a good cause fronted by stars like George Clooney...do you ever wonder where that money goes?
so this is how one gets rich?
Posted by: brian | May 25, 2012 9:34:34 PM | 66
To those still following Fukushima....
After my last comment on the thread, they blocked me from posting, without an explanation, and the "DV8" jackass created a strawman poster, so he and another worthless nitwit could respond to scripted questions.
The irony is that it just substantiates the gist of my commentary about the deception the industry engages in.
Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | May 26, 2012 1:48:42 AM | 67
So today the Brits again bend their knees in front of the Germans.
Posted by: b | Jun 3, 2012 12:37:34 PM | 68
Zionism is racism:
Meanwhile on Sunday, Israeli daily Maariv published an interview with Interior Minister Eli Yishai, in which he stated that most of the "Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man."
Posted by: b | Jun 3, 2012 1:02:13 PM | 69
No wonder that sort of culture gets the nazi blowback. White supremasists and separatists deserve everything coming their way. National-socialism is unsustainable, and doesn't have the moral right to exist.
Posted by: Alexander | Jun 3, 2012 6:11:32 PM | 70