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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 18-May-2011
18-May-11 World View -- EU proposes Greek 'soft' default

Web Log - May, 2011

18-May-11 World View -- EU proposes Greek 'soft' default

France's first lady, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, is pregnant

This morning's key headlines from

EU official proposes 'soft' default of Greece's debt

Top level European officials have been studiously avoiding any suggestion of a default on Greece debt, for fear that stating the obvious would panic investors. Instead, they've been buying time by giving Greece new credit cards to use to pay off the old one, in order to buy time. But on Tuesday, former EU president and current Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker proposed a "soft" restructuring of Greece's debt, if it quickly presses ahead with its plan to privatize 50 billion euros ($70.8 billion) in assets and embark on other reforms that have been resisted so far. The soft restructuring would involved extending the due date of the loans. One BBC commentator called this an "elaborate pretense," since it's a default by another name, and because it will simply postpone the problem a little longer. Market Watch

Austria: 'If you've cheated your way into the euro ...'

Greece will have to "do its homework" -- fulfill its previous promises to sell assets and lay off workers -- before it can receive any more bailout money, according to Austrian finance minister Maria Fekter. "Before Greece does its homework, no money can flow. You can't make promises and then not get privatisation on its way. Greece is still remaining in the state we had in the seventies. It doesn't work that way. If you've cheated your way into the euro, then you have to catch up on your homework now." Reuters

France's first lady, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, is pregnant

The political field for France's presidential campaign, which culminates in two rounds of voting on April 22 and May 6 next year, is changing rapidly. First, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, expected to run on the Socialist ticket, is sitting in a jail cell in New York, and may be there for some time. And now, Sarkozy's father has confirmed that Carla is pregnant, and will probably give birth right in the middle of the campaign. AFP

French politicians outraged at treatment of Strauss-Kahn

Perp walks may be common in America, but they're illegal in France before a man is found guilty, since they prejudice the jury, and French politicians are outraged at the treatment of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. One Former Culture Minister Jack Lang calls the treatment a "lynching" that had "provoked horror and aroused disgust." He said that the U.S. justice system was "politicized" and was determined to "make a Frenchman pay." Former Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou, who drafted the French law on presumption of innocence, called the pre-trial publicity "absolutely sickening." One BBC commentator said that the accusations didn't make sense, since Strauss-Kahn would not have acted so recklessly, while the accuser was a single mother who had an opportunity to make a great deal of money. Daily Mail

The 'Gang of Six' bipartisan deficit group may be collapsing

Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn says that the "Gang of Six" could not reach agreement on how to achieve their objective of cutting the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. They were working on a plan to increase taxes of $1 trillion in return for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but leaders in both parties were cool to these efforts. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this failure is expected. The generational paradigm in a Crisis era is that these agreements will always collapse in bitterness, until a "regeneracy" event occurs, an event that regenerates civic unity. In this case, the anticipated regeneracy event will be a financial collapse so enormous that both sides will have to agree, since no other choices will be available. At that point, my expectation is that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will all be thrown out, and marginal tax rates will return to the 95% levels of World War II. In the meantime, the "Gang of Six" is just a circus act. Washington Post

Kurds clash with Turkish troops in eastern Turkey

Hundreds of supporters of Kurdish separatists attacked police with stones and fire bombs on Tuesday in southeastern Turkey. The clash occurred after a funeral, attended by thousands of separatist supporters, of one of 12 Kurdish rebels killed by Turkish troops as they attempted to sneak into Turkey from their bases in northern Iraq. The rebels are seeking an autonomous Kurdistan. AP

Bill Gates calls for worldwide vaccination program

In a speech on Tuesday, Bill Gates called for a worldwide vaccinations program to protect children from infectious diseases. "If donors are generous, we will prevent 4 million deaths by 2015. By 2020, we can prevent 10 million deaths." I met Bill Gates several times when I was a technology journalist, and he's a very interesting guy who is now devoting his life to a worthy cause that he believes in passionately. Unfortunately, it falls to me, the gloomiest person in the world, to point out that reducing child mortality only worsens the population explosion and the food shortage, and will mean hundreds of millions of additional deaths in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war. Reuters

Brain wave sensor technology being used in novelty cat ears

Brainy chick with cat's ears
Brainy chick with cat's ears

If you wear these Neurowear cat ears, and your brain concentrates on something, then these cat ears perk up. If your brain relaxes, so do the cat ears. This may be the first commercial product that uses the new brain technology that's been under development for a number of years. The cat ears come with a headband with a forehead brain wave sensor, and have built-in motors that can make the cat ears react to an appropriate (or inappropriate) change in brain waves. A Japanese company Neurowear, hopes to market the item by the end of the year. Price has not yet been determined. CNet

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-May-11 News -- Pakistan military demands 'flag meeting' over US incursion thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-May-2011) Permanent Link
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