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September 15 2010


Right Livelihood Award Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Gathering of Laureates in Bonn


We broadcast from Bonn, Germany, where the thirtieth anniversary of the Right Livelihood Awards is being held. The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honor and support those "offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today." It has become widely known as the "Alternative Nobel Prize," and there are now 137 laureates from fifty-eight countries. We speak with Jakob von Uexkull, the founder of the Right Livelihood Award. [includes rush transcript]

Right Livelihood Award Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Gathering of Laureates in Bonn

The Empire strikes back

Avinash Persaud, 14 September 2010

The role of financial institutions in the global crisis has led to a consensus that financial regulation must change. This column argues that the banking lobby, far from depleted, has struck back with a vengeance. It has managed to postpone the much needed regulation for a time when the need for it will be forgotten.

Full Article: The Empire strikes back
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01
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EU stress tests and sovereign debt exposures

Adrian Blundell-Wignall, Patrick Slovik, 14 September 2010

Despite the encouraging results from the stress tests of the EU’s banking sector, market confidence in the financial system remains subdued. This column argues that while most of the sovereign debt held by EU banks is on their banking books, the EU stress test only considered their smaller trading book exposures. Market participants do not have the luxury of being so selective.

Full Article: EU stress tests and sovereign debt exposures
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

The IMF Calls for Job Creation

As Paul Krugman noted, the OECD has "climbed down" from its recommendation that advanced nations begin cutting spending and raising interest rates right away. The IMF seems to be tempering its message as well:

I.M.F. Calls for Countries to Focus on Creating Jobs, by Liz Alderman, NY Times: Rising long-term unemployment, especially among young people, poses the next big threat to the global economic recovery, the International Monetary Fund warned on Monday. ... Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the I.M.F., said the financial crisis “won’t be over until unemployment significantly decreases.”
Mr. Strauss-Kahn urged governments to start factoring back-to-work policies into their overall equation for stoking growth. He added ... that a failure to halt persistent high joblessness could fan social tensions in several countries and restrain growth over time. ...
While governments hit by the financial crisis have had to tighten their belts, in part to address investor concern about rising debt, countries that need to rebuild credibility should first reallocate spending to get the long-term unemployed and young people back into the labor market, said Olivier J. Blanchard, the I.M.F.’s chief economist. ...
Countries that have so far avoided the harsh judgment of financial markets could afford a small increase in debt to ward off persistent joblessness, Mr. Blanchard said. He added that such a move could pay for itself in the form of increased economic activity. ...
Policy makers at the conference referred to the prospect of rising long-term unemployment as a crisis... Mr. Blanchard ... said the United States, too, should consider subsidies to help the long-term unemployed...
Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

Berkman Center for Internet & Society Podcast

Radio Berkman 162: Lessig & Zittrain Take On… Competition

djones - September 9, 2010 @ 9:00 am · audio, radioberkman

Listen: or download | …also in Ogg
The year was 1998. Cher’s autotune anthem Believe was one of the year’s biggest hits, Titanic had swept the Oscars, and in some sterile software campus in the Northwest, Bill Gates was rehearsing a deposition.

It’s been over 12 years since Gates’ and Microsoft’s anti-trust battle with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission first hit the courts. It is still seen as a watershed for the management of technology companies in the dot com age.

But in the dozen years that have passed, people are still speculating whether the anti-trust case against Microsoft made any difference, and whether the software and technology companies of today are engaging in anti-competitive practices similar to or more risky than the ones that got Microsoft in trouble.

Who are the Microsofts of today? Facebook? Apple? Google? And how do we manage competition in the digital age?

Today, two of the leading minds on the internet and law, Jonathan Zittrain and Larry Lessig, take on competition.

This is just the pilot of a new monthly feature we hope to have with Jonathan and Larry. Any thoughts on the show? Compliments or criticisms? Share them with us in the comments. We’re also looking for a name for this series. If you have any brilliant ideas drop us a comment!

BONUS CONTENT: There was too much audio to fit into this one episode. If you’re eager for some more perspectives on competition in the digital age, give these pieces a shot.


MediaBerkman 20100909 | » Blog Archive » Radio Berkman 162: Lessig & Zittrain Take On… Competition 

Slovakia: No Money for Greece

By Tibor Blazko

In 2006, after eight years of various reforms, lowering the state debt and government deficit in order to meet the Maastricht criteria, the Slovak voters decided it was time to take a break. But the new PM, Robert Fico, under pressure from businesses, changed his pre-election stance, kept the deficit under 3% of the GDP, and in January 2009 Slovakia entered the Eurozone.

But from that moment, in fact like many other euro-countries at that time and before, Fico stopped being afraid of increasing government spending without increasing its income, which resulted in 8% deficit in 2009. One can understand that in the case of a small economy, especially the one tied with the German economy, this was the result of an overall situation in the world. Still, Fico's opponents like to recall his 2008 words: “Slovakia will be not taught by the crisis.”

Then the news of the Greek problems with their high external debt, largely owned by the German and French banks, began to appear. Popular was an interview with Stefanos Manos, published in a Czech newspaper, in which he described the alarming situation in the Greek state sector: high wages, combined with lifetime job guarantees, pensions nearly at the level of wage base, over-employment in state-owned companies. Later also came the reports of Greece's continuous military spending.

The unflattering portrayal of Greece in the Slovak media did not stop Maximos Dragounis, a Slovakia-based ethnic Greek blogger, from describing Greece's debt history in these terms: “[Konstantinos Karamanlis] … started the process of running Greece into debt … Factories and companies that Greece did not need were being built.”

By the time of the 2010 Slovak elections, it was very popular to compare Fico's policies to the Greek ones (e.g., promises of the “13th pension”). The opposition, as expected, was calling the government to act responsibly, but a significant deficit had been created even before the elections.

After the European meeting, the PM came up with a plan to help Greece financially, by increasing the Slovak deficit by another 1.4% of the GDP. The opposition was critical of this so-called solidarity with Greece, arguing that it was an irresponsible step. So, before the parliamentary elections, when the PM's bloc had the majority of seats, it did not find the courage to approve such an unpopular measure. In fact, Fico's party did not vote for it also after the elections. The newly created government kept its original line from the opposition times and promised to lower the deficit under 3% of the GDP in a few years - and did not approve a loan for Greece.

Slovakia came under pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB) because of its refusal “to participate in the Greek bailout.” According to Reuters, ECB's president Jean-Claude Trichet said that ECB would not support “future euro zone applicants if there is a risk they will do something similar.”

A recent comment in a Slovak newspaper alleged that under Trichet's leadership, ECB was buying Greek bonds to help the French banks that had been involved in financing the “Peloponnese adventure”. Also, the German chancellor Angela Merkel allegedly changed her negative opinion on a loan for Greece for the same reason. And ECB's annual 2008 report, published in April 2009, contains no alarming indications of the impending Greek collapse.

A Slovak version of the Reuters report has generated over 1,400 comments, mostly of this kind:


I have a great idea. Let's increase Slovak wages, pensions, benefits, simply everything … borrow from the French and German banks and then say that we don't have the funds to repay the debt. And everyone will help us, and our life quality standard will grow by at least about 200%.


So now it is only Slovakia that is responsible for the problems, while such countries as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy are in fact innocent victims?

Ľubomír Pastorek:

… and I'd like to know whether Mr. Trichet would accept a country like Greece?


It would be better if he [Trichet] looked into the mirror. What was he doing for ten years that he was not able to find how the Greeks were manipulating the accounting? And what sanctions would be imposed on countries (nearly all in the Eurozone) when their deficits exceed 3 percent? People like him had to be fired from the ECB a long time ago.


Trichet should better worry about his own chair.


I have a suggestion for Mr. Trichet: let him live off 600-700 Euro per month, and the rest of his income he could give to the Greeks.


So if I want to stay in the Eurozone, I would have to move to Greece because Slovakia has destroyed it.

Fero s dlhym…. menom…:

I do not understand… why didn't he speak [as harshly] about Greece?


He does not understand that we will not rescue the German investments in Greece. […]


By no means is it about the German banks - in Greece they only have 30 billion. It is about Italy, Spain, Ireland and other countries, which would be bankrupted by the fall of Greece and the subsequent fall of the Euro.

The most popular opinion under the Czech version:

Roman Mrózek, Bohumín:

A poor country must run into debt to help a richer country?

Finally, a blog post by Lukáš Buček, titled “Slovakia, get out of the Eurozone”:

Yesterday we were entertained or outraged by Jean-Claude Trichet, chief of the European Central Bank. He said that if ECB had known that we would act this way, they wouldn't have accepted us to the Eurozone.

Let's have a closer look. Euro stays on three pillars:

1. Adherence to the [Stability and Growth Pact]
2. ECB is not buying state bonds of Eurozone members
3. No bailout clause, which means prohibition of saving member-countries by interstate loan.

We are criticized by France and Germany. Both countries have already violated the Stability and Growth Pact, which they were not able to adhere to; specifically, they had problems with the 3% public deficit. Greece officially fulfilled the criteria for entering the Eurozone on June 19, 2000, but today we already know that this hadn't happened actually.

We are criticized by Jean-Claude Trichet. He, as the chief of ECB, is responsible for the fact that ECB has violated the second pillar by buying Greek bonds.

We are criticized by the rest of the Eurozone, but we are the only member-state that hasn't violated the “no bailout” clause. Is it normal that they criticize us for not breaking the rules?

And what do we have to pay for? The Greeks have had absurd arms expenditures in peace time, the 2009 budget of the Greek Ministry of Defense was 6.582 billion Euro, for this year they have lowered it to 5.73 billion. [OECD] countries spend the average of 7.2% of GDP pensions, Greeks spend 11.5%. We are giving to it 6.2% of GDP only.

What's interesting is that I can't find anywhere any acknowledgment by the EU, Eurozone or ECB of their regrets for having accepted Greece…

Democracy Now! 2010-09-15 Wednesday

Democracy Now! 2010-09-15 Wednesday

  • Headlines for September 15, 2010
  • Final Primaries Held Before November Midterms, Tea Party Gains Ground in GOP
  • Right Livelihood Award Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Gathering of Laureates in Bonn
  • Another 9/11 Anniversary: September 11, 1973, When US-Backed Pinochet Forces Took Power in Chile
  • From "Little Tibet" to Kenya, Right Livelihood Laureates Fight for Peace and Social Justice
  • France Comes Under Mounting Pressure over Mass Deportation of Roma

Download this show

Mapuches, les Chiliens dont on ne parle pas

Ils sont chiliens. Ils sont une trentaine. Ils sont privés de liberté et en danger de mort, mais ce ne sont pas les mineurs bloqués dans une mine du nord du Chili dont les médias relatent le calvaire. Ce sont les « PPM » – les « prisonniers politiques mapuches », tels qu'ils se définissent eux-mêmes –, (...) / Chili, Droits humains, Amérindiens, Minorité nationale, Mouvement de contestation, Répression - La valise diplomatique

September 14 2010


Described as 'the writer's writer's writer', Elizabeth Bishop was one of the great 20th-century poets. William Boyd visits the house in Brazil she shared with her lover Lota, where she spent the happiest years of her turbulent life and wrote many of her best poems

Apartamento 1011, 5 Rua Antonio Vieira, Leme, Rio de Janeiro – this was Elizabeth Bishop's first address in Brazil. A few weeks ago I stood on the wavy black and white mosaic sidewalk of Copacabana beach gazing up at the 1940s building opposite. Eleventh floor, penthouse corner apartment. I tried to imagine Bishop looking out over the view. Not that much has changed here in Leme (apart from the odd skyscraper) – most of the apartment blocks fronting the ocean are from the 40s and 50s. Bishop's building is at the eastern end of the beach. West, a few blocks away, is the famous Copacabana Palace Hotel. On the hill behind the apartment I could see the vertically clustered shacks of the Favela Chapéu Mangueira on Babilônia Hill. From the apartment Bishop could see both Copacabana beach, with its kids playing football and its stalls selling coconuts, and, behind her, the lawless favela with its swarming poor. She wrote a ballad called "The Burglar of Babylon" about a young man she saw being chased by the police through the favela's noisome alleyways.

Bishop came to Brazil in 1951. She was 40 years old and had published one book of poetry, North and South, that had made her reputation in the small pool that was the American poetry world. She'd been living for some years in Key West, Florida, but, frustrated artistically and emotionally, had moved back to New York. Unhappy there, she decided that her salvation lay in travelling. Her aim was vague – to "travel round the world" – so she booked a cabin on a freighter called the SS Bowplate and headed south. The ship docked first in Santos near São Paulo (celebrated in her poem "Arrival at Santos"). She knew some people in Brazil, an American former ballet dancer called Mary Morse and her Brazilian lover, Lota Soares. It was at Lota's apartment in Leme that Bishop first stayed. Stay as long as you like, Lota said.


William Boyd on Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil | Books | The Guardian

The Internet Governance Forum

About the Internet Governance Forum

This is the official Web site of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), run by the IGF Secretariat. Its purpose is to support the United Nations Secretary-General in carrying out the mandate from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) with regard to convening a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue - the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The site provides an interactive, collaborative space where all stakeholders can air their views and exchange ideas.


Network Neutrality: Distinctions and Controversies - WikiContent

This page aims to distinguish different arguments and reasoning in the debate around network neutrality, or control over traffic transmission on digital networks. The page was created to disentangle the many arguments, because the people arguing for and against network neutrality use multiple definitions of the term and mix together many arguments on different levels. The purpose of this page is not to air polemics, but to elucidate the various points made for and against various forms of network neutrality.

The document treats network neutrality is a business practice, and therefore does not cover related topics such as copyright enforcement, censorship, the move of processing and data to remote servers (often called "into the cloud"), policies of mobile providers toward content and applictions, or surveillance. Essentially, the document covers a public issue that started as a set of economic concerns and has been invested by debaters with social policy concerns.



There is a long history of those who, in their youth, marched and proclaimed with the radical left, but then, as the years went by, underwent a transition to become allied with the political right.

Among the Romantic poets, both Wordsworth and Coleridge saw the French Revolution of 1798 as a new dawn, heralding fresh ways of constructing society. Their hopes ended in reactionary disillusion.

In the twentieth century, Oswald Mosley was notable for having thrown in his lot as an MP within the Labour party of Ramsay MacDonald. Then, out of impatience with what he saw as indecision and incompetence, he set up his own short-lived New party to try to attract like-minded active radicals before eventually founding the British Union of Fascists to take the political arguments on to the streets.

Reasons have been various for such drifts to the right with deeply committed personalities. Among writers, George Orwell was accused of deserting the collective cause of the left when he took, in his later writings, to defending the individual against the power of the centralised state, a move prompted by what he had seen during the Spanish Civil War when the Moscow-backed communists turned on the other left factions and tried to destroy them.

Christopher Hitchens | Naim Attallah Online

September 13 2010

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Tirol, Unterinntal, Wildschönau am Rosskopf - etwas unterhalb vom Gipfel, Blickrichtung Norden zur gegenüberliegenden Seite des Inntales
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Tirol, Unterinntal, Wildschönau am Rosskopf - Gipfel, Blickrichtung Nordosten - Wilder Kaiser
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