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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 21-Apr-2014
21-Apr-14 World View -- Palestinian president Abbas, 79, faces life after 'peace talks' collapse

Web Log - April, 2014

21-Apr-14 World View -- Palestinian president Abbas, 79, faces life after 'peace talks' collapse

Massive attack on AQAP in Yemen kills dozens of militants

This morning's key headlines from

Gunfight in east Ukraine raises fears of renewed violence

Site of the gunfight in Slavyansk in east Ukraine on Sunday (AFP)
Site of the gunfight in Slavyansk in east Ukraine on Sunday (AFP)

Just four days after Russia, Ukraine and the West signed an agreement calling for the de-escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, a gunfight at a checkpoint in east Ukraine, killing three people, has raised fears that the agreement may collapse.

At around 2 am on Sunday morning, unidentified men in four vehicles opened fire at a checkpoint near Slavyansk manned by pro-Russian activists, killing three. The activists returned fire, destroying the two cars and injuring some of the attackers.

Russia is expressing outrage, blaming the attack on Right Sector, a nationalist militia group that was prominent in the February revolution in Kiev.

However, the Ukraine government says that forensic evidence gathered at the scene does not support the claim that Right Sector was involved, but instead appears to show that the evidence was staged to falsely implicate Right Sector.

At any rate, so far this is an isolated incident, and does not yet appear to signal the beginning of a wider war. Irish Independent

Palestinian president Abbas, 79, faces life after 'peace talks' collapse

The Mideast "peace talks" between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, set up last year by the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry, have never been anything but a joke, but at least they were something to talk about as supposedly providing "hope for a lasting Mideast peace, with Israel and Palestine as two separate and equal nations living side by side in peace forever."

But now the self-imposed deadline for the talks to end, April 29, is approaching, and neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis are indicating much desire to extend the deadline. Israel will never agree to return to pre-1967 borders or "right of return," and the Palestinians will never agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or to guarantee Israel's security.

So now, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is wondering what to do next, now that even the pretend-hope solution is disappearing. Abbas is quoted in an interview Sunday as saying:

"A new generation arrives and asks us: ‘What have you done?’ I am now 79 years old, going on 80. Time has really flown by.

There is no other option except to pass the flag and move on, but it is difficult to do so now because the burden is a tough one and the responsibility is great while the dangers trump the achievements. Who of our people will support us and who will oppose us? What will the Palestinian people do? How will history judge us? The settlements endanger the peace process, and the new generation sees the two-state solution is becoming less and less likely, and that there is no escape from the one-state solution."

What does the "one-state solution" mean? It means that the Palestinian Authority (PA) would dissolve, Mahmoud Abbas would retire, and the only state left would be Israel. Either Israel or the United Nations would then be responsible for governing the West Bank. Without the "peace process," according to Abbas, this is the only remaining choice.

The major aspirant to replace Abbas is his bitter rival, 52 year old Mohammed Dahlan. Dahlan has called Abbas a "catastrophe" for the Palestinian people, and would take a much more confrontational, possibly violent approach to Israel. When Abbas asks the question, "Who of our people will support us and who will oppose us?", he's suggesting that passing the flag to Dahlan and the younger generation will lead to war -- among the Palestinians and with Israel.

Israel's economy minister Naftali Bennett responded on Sunday to Abbas' statement:

"“Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] encourages terrorism against Israel as the head of the Palestinian Authority, and then he threatens us with his resignation.

If he wants to go, we won’t stop him. The Jewish people do not negotiate with a gun held against their temple."

Jerusalem Post and Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Massive attack on AQAP in Yemen kills dozens of militants

A high-level official in Yemen's government is saying that a "massive and unprecedented" military operation against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is under way, and that at least 30 AQAP militants have already been killed. Yemen's state news agency said that airstrikes completely destroy an al-Qaeda training camp, where the fighters were "preparing to launch attacks against Yemeni and foreign interests in the area." It's believed, but not confirmed, that U.S. drones were used in the attack. CNN and AP

Suicide and murder rate for bankers continues to increase

It's being increasingly noticed, though discussed in only hushed tones, that that there have been quite a few bankers committing suicide in the last few months. Some reports suggest, without official confirmation, that some of the bankers who committed suicide were under investigation for fraud and other irregularities. There have been 24 suicides or suspicious deaths in the last few months, six of them related to JP Morgan.

In the past couple of weeks, suicides have been replaced with murder. A banker in Lichtenstein and a banker in Belgium were both murdered, probably by disgruntled clients.

As I've said in the past, when I was growing up in the 1950s, I never understood why my parents and teachers and so many other people really hated bankers. Bankers seemed like perfectly reasonably people, and it seemed strange to me that so many people hated them. This was a mystery to me for my whole life. It wasn't until the 1970s or so that people seemed to like bankers again.

The mystery was finally solved for me in 2009. (See "An angry President Obama strongly condemns Wall Street bonuses" from 2009.) That's when I was shocked to learn that Citibank, Bank of America and other banks announced that they would continue paying million dollar bonuses to their employees that had created the financial crisis. These and other banks had caused the financial crisis by creating worthless structured securities and fraudulently selling them to investors. Paying big bonuses to people who defrauded the public for years is, at the very least, a public relations disaster.

So that's when I understood that bankers in the 1930s were like bankers today. Just like today, bankers had defrauded people in the 1920s and 1930s, although they used synthetic securities based on foreign government bonds in those days, rather than synthetic securities based on subprime mortgages as in the recent episode. (See "The bubble that broke the world" from 2007.) And people came to hate bankers so much, that the hatred lasted well into the 1950s and 1960s.

This has also led to a personal revelation for me. My mother's father was a Greek immigrant who came to Chicago and built a very successful retail candy business in the 1920s. But he "lost his business" in the 1930s, and died soon after "of a broken heart," according to my mother. I now realize what must have happened. Some banker had convinced my grandfather to invest his savings and mortgage his business to invest in foreign government bonds or other synthetic securities, and he "lost his business" when he couldn't repay his debt. My mother then had to go out and earn money to support her family. This is like so many people in the last decade who lost their homes and businesses after investing in fraudulent subprime-based securities. That would explain why my mother's hatred of bankers ran so deep, even in the 1950s. She must have blamed a banker not only for making her father lose her business, but also for causing his death and forcing her into the workplace.

There have been a million jokes and stories told about bankers and stock brokers who killed themselves in the 1930s by jumping out of buildings. The recent spate of banker suicides may be history repeating itself. And if history is any guide, and it is, then bankers are going to be even more hated in the decades to come. ZeroHedge and Prison Planet

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Apr-14 World View -- Palestinian president Abbas, 79, faces life after 'peace talks' collapse thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Apr-2014) Permanent Link
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