Originally posted by wiktorkovalski
at Pronounced and hidden aims of Trident Juncture 2015
NATO started the biggest and most ambitious exercise in more than a decade. The Trident Juncture 2015 exercise, which kicked off on September 28 to run until November 6 and involves 36,000 personnel from more than 30 Allied and Partner Nations, is taking place throughout Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and also Canada, Norway, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The first stage of the exercise starts with the Command Post Exercise for Strategic and Operational level staff on Saturday 3 October in Zaragoza, Spain.
The pronounced aim of the Trident Juncture drills is to train and test the NATO Response Force, a technologically-advanced high-readiness unit comprising land, air, maritime forces. It is reported also, that TRJE15 has been designed to ensure that NATO concepts and procedures will work in the event of a real crisis.
NATO also claimed that its exercises are transparent, giving a link to what appears to be a partial list of exercises which are conducted by US and other NATO members. But on the official The Trident Juncture 2015 exercise Website there are no data about the involved units. So the transparency is only partial and such covering of the event arises a lot of questions.
Many European media outlets believe the large-scale drill is aimed against Russia. And they really have serious reasons for such point of view.
Though NATO is keen to emphasize that this exercise is defensive in nature, many experts consider it as a nonsense statement since the drills are conducted in Europe, at the Russian or proximity of the border. This would make sense if the military exercise was near, for example, US or Canada borders.
It should be said that not all of the participating countries share the organizers’ anti-Russian slant.
For example, Massimo Zuchhetti, a prominent Italian scientist and peace activist pointing to NATO’s ongoing Trident Juncture 2015 war games is sure, that “it is NATO, not Russia which poses the biggest threat to European peace.” “As a nuclear scientist, I think that Italy is violating the nuclear proliferation treaty by having 80 nuclear bombs stored at the Ghedi and Aviano airbases used by the Americans”, he said.
“What we see now is the militarization of Italian territory with military bases scattered all over the country and one-third of Sardinia set aside for military purposes… That’s why we believe that Italy should pull out of NATO. It’s not an equitable alliance, it’s all about making this country an underdog,” Massimo Zuchhetti, a Turin-based nuclear physicist and founder of the No War, No NATO movement added. Massimo Zuchhetti as many others scientists and activists fears that Italy could be drawn in NATO’s future military adventures, which are totally at variance with the country’s national interests.
In his turn Miguel Martinez Tomey, responsible for EU affairs in the Chunta Aragonesista political party, said, that “the deployment of the NATO troops in the Spanish city of Zaragoza entails risks for the local population and the environment, that is being concealed from the public.”
Obviously not all NATO members support such exercises but they just have no possibility to oppose US because it is US who mainly pays for collective defense and choose the common enemies.
Defend the Constitution!
Supreme Court Rally, Philip J Berg, October 30, 2008, Supreme Court Steps, Defend the Constitution
October 29, 2008
Philip J Berg will go to the US Supreme Court on Thursday, October 30, 2008. Show up at the steps of the Supreme Court and help defend the Constitution.
From MommaE talk radio:
“Please post this on every Blog you can and e-mail to everyone in your address book and ask them to send it to everyone in their address book!!
RALLY AT SUPREME COURT FOR PHIL BERG!!
Please get your signs made today and tonight and be ready for tomorrow! The things to go on the signs will be listed below. We need as large a Crowd as we can get to be waiting at the steps of Supreme Court for Mr. Berg, the person meeting him at the Train Station as well as Will Bower who will be there to accompany him there. Fox News will also be at the Train Station and will follow them all the way to the Supreme Court, filming everything.
Remember to be loud, but RESPECTFUL as this is about having the Supreme Court hear us and grant us what we are asking for, proof that Obama is eligible to run for the Office of President, our Commander In Chief.
Chant: Speech, Speech, Speech, when you see Mr. Berg on the steps. He will speak before he goes into the Court, unless he needs to go in immediately, if not he will speak when we comes out.
He will stop and acknowledge everyone that is there and thank you for your support."
This action, (which is being filed against OBAMA by a life-long Democrat) will be the most potentially powerful political scenario in this century. If you would like to be there at this historic moment, please join us.
OXOjamm Studios will be having an after party for all participants.
Current Music: OXOjamm, How Phat is That!
The matter is that most of my equals in age are used to romanticize diplomatic trade above measure. And I’ve decided to caution against their unwarranted expectations here. I had also supposed that diplomatic service was very riveting walk of life. Only picture to yourself! Contacts with educated and well-informed people, non-standard workday and absolute freedom from office bondage! But in reality the contrary proved to be the case. Just at the beginning of my diplomatic career I’ve begun to be disillusioned with my professional choice. Well, in fact, I had to do duty for a good few of my senior colleagues. As a result I’ve turned into a gofer and trotter among downright slow-bellies! But at that time I was sparrow fart and decided to keep myself well in hand. Soon my work really became more interesting. From dreary Vienna I was transferred to explosive Tbilisi. At last became a free agent. More than once I participated in the negotiations with Georgian high-ranking officials, spending much trouble and time on drawing up analytic materials on this republic’s development prospects. I was simply ready to drop in the end of working time. But coming to the hotel after poisonous heat of the day, I found out usually that I was unable to have a refreshing shower, because instead of health-giving water I’ve got oxide yellow spitting and terrible growling from water tap! Over half year my poor stomach was settling down at local cuisine, as well as, my evening reading was usually breaking off because of constant accidents at local electric power substations. Well, I know, you tell me that Georgia is piss poor country. Yes! But I’ve never met with so awful attitude to us, foreigners, who really want to help Georgians in building normal life and democratic society! I’m not speaking here about low level of local mentality, including Georgian elite. Even at official banquets you cannot talk of anything with Georgian top officials. Common Georgian persons treat us like dirt! And practically everybody tries to play a fool with you there: to tank up your auto with crappy fuel or to scrounge your mobile phone from your pocket right in the street! Some of you will say to me that it happens because of strong stratification of present Georgian society or, in other words, because of great income difference between rich and poor people there. But take my word for it, all this can be cool comfort for you there! Surely after working in such inhuman living conditions the romanticism of my trade was dispersed once and forever.
Some thoughts on the "bailout"
The idea of the government buying the mortgages is not a bad one, it is just that the current proposal for how to go about it is a bad idea.
I think that the idea of purchasing a vast quantity of troubled mortgages is an excellent idea if done correctly (with the appropriate oversight) and could end up be highly profitable for the average tax payer.
After all these mortgages do have real value, they hold liens on real property which has real value.
The conditions I would like to see put on a deal like this would be:
1. Congressional review and oversight by the federal courts.
2. Only purchase the actual mortgages (liens on real property) not related derivative products. This may include spending some funds/ bearing some of the cost to help untangle the derivatives and packaging to uncover the mortgages tied up in them.
3. Purchase price not to exceed 50% of the loan amount or 50% of the property tax appraised value which ever is less.
4. US Bankruptcy courts are given the power to force adjudication of first mortgages during bankruptcy proceedings. This will allow homeowners to have the rate and terms of their loans adjusted by the court.
5. The executives of any company which wishes to sell their "toxic debt" to Uncle Sam, lose their severance packages, must repay any performance bonuses whether cash/stock received in the past 5 years. This should be retroactively applied to senior management who resigned or were terminated as a result of this crisis.
6. Mortgages cannot be sold back to private parties (i.e. the market) for less than 120% of the original purchase price, and should be vetted to ensure a competitive market price.
There may be more ideas but I think those six would go a long way in making this action a positive thing for both wall street and main street and should prevent the taxpayer from having to actually pay for this in any significant way as the profits from the good/repair/renegotiated mortgages could cover most of the cost of the ones that were beyond repair.
Comments on the thoughts above?
Any other thoughts/suggestions?
Here is really interesting information - http://ossetianwar.livejournal.com/
It is a blog from the heart of the Georgian-Ossetian War.
|» Vote Pact|
I'm hoping to make connections and establish dialogue among people who are honest with themselves regarding the political options in the upcoming election. That is, people who might be inclined to vote for Obama or McCain but who don't really want either of them. But how to get out of the two-party bind? If you vote for an independent candidate or a "third party" in our system who you like the most, it in effect may help the "major party" candidate you most dislike. What to do? Reform the voting system? Yes, but until then, what? |
My solution is that a disenchanted Democrat and a disenchanted Republican team up and each vote for the independent or third party of their choice. This way the siphon off votes in pairs from each of the two "major parties." They don't affect the balance between the Democrat and Republican, but they do help third parties. They could both vote for the same candidate, or two different candidates.
What is required is meaningful dialogue between a would-be Obama voter and a would-be McCain voter -- real work. But through that dialogue, people can break free of the partisan chains the establishment tries to bind them with. Dialogue and yes, even Love, defeat the political establishment.
Can we make it possible for people meet up, exchange ideas, maybe met to find a "vote buddy" they can make a pact with? I'm interested in exploring these possibilities here on LJ, and I welcome interested people to continue the conversation in the LiveJournal community that I've set up: http://community.livejournal.com/votepact/profile.
Of course, people might get the idea from here and do this with someone they know in some other part of their life -- a friend, a co-worker, a relative, a neighbor, a debating partner, a tennis partner, whatever. They could then write about what they've done, make a youtube video, whatever, to spread the word, perhaps become "matchmakers" to help others find their "votebuddy." Let's see what we can get started.
|» Young, Hip, and Muslim?|
I'm a young American Muslim who is sick and tired of only hearing about Islam in headlines. So I've started a new line of clothing and gifts that is geared towards young, modern Muslims who are ready to make their own headlines. Some political, some funny, some religious, and lots of ARABIC! So check it out, please spread the word if you dig it, and check in periodically for new designs.
And if you like it, WEAR IT WITH PRIDE!
|» on government intervention in the market|
for those of you with little background in economics or who forgot theirs, we have this principle called elasticity of demand. its the degree to which demand responds to changes in price.|
if demand essentially remains the same irrespective of drastic increases in price the commodity is said to be totally inelastic.
a monopoly of one company over a necessary good can artificially impose demand inelasticity by setting the price as high as they damn well please and if people want the product by golly they'll pay for it.
Cigarettes, as brits and aussies found out from taxing the shit out of them, have a very low elasticity. the addiction is powerful enough to drive many smokers to purchase the same amounts as always even when prices get as high as 16 dollars a pack.
A more relevant commodity for discussion is Gasoline and Petroleum more generally, the products my previous post dealt with, which have a very low elasticity. That is to say our transportation infrastructure and economy are so heavily dependent upon them that demand will remain fairly stable or decrease only ever so slightly, to the point where in a situation where price rises too fast, we risk economic collapse.
The most outstanding example of what should come under discussion is the pharmaceutical industry, specifically prescription drugs and the healthcare economy more generally. the cost of prescription drugs is almost totally inelastic. demand does not respond to market forces, and nor does price. This is largely due to the necessary middlemen in the equation, most notably physicians but also insurance companies. where neither of these exist, as in over the counter drugs, prices respond to normal market forces. this is why drug companies will fight tooth and nail against the FDA changing their prescription drugs to over the counter classifications. This is a significant part of what accounts for the skyrocketing cost of healthcare worldwide. these skyrocketing costs, like the consistently rising costs of oil, threaten to eventually collapse the economy.
So the question to the political community on this issue regards government involvement in the economy. does the government not have a responsibility to correct for market failures of this sort (i.e. situations in which exceptional circumstances dictate that the market does not in any way shape or form in this instance behave the way it is supposed to) in a capitalist system to keep the market operating smoothly in the first place? Particularly in instances like these where such failings act as a metal bar thrown into the cogwheel machinery of a self-sustaining free market based economy?
Does the government not have a responsibility to acknowledge observable and consistent trends and anticipate their inevitable outcomes and plan accordingly? Does the government not have a responsibility to head of emerging crises before they become catastrophes?
Does the government not have a responsibility to stop individual entities which are acting against the public good, even if that means defiling the sacred cow and directly intervening in the market? Basic social contract theory as I understand it.
Most importantly, just how does a government go about doing this without merely causing more problems? How does a government respect the integrity of a free market system and solve the problem without upsetting the balance of market forces?
I personally like the idea of making price gauging illegal, assuming it is done properly, and preferably in tandem with a number of other measures as the situation warrants. It holds the potential to counterbalance the effect of those exceptional factors that confound the proper functioning of the market in the first place, but yet does NOT involve price ceilings (take note, lordbrand) or other artificial measures that disrupt the proper equilibrium of market forces.
more concrete suggestions like this one are most appreciated (pick your commodity if necessary). I'll give you an e-cookie if you dont spout off stupid partisan talking points and actually come up with some original ideas.
an xpost from politicsforum