World View: Israeli Arabs and Ultra-Orthodox Jews No Longer Exempted from Draft

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
  • Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews react in fury to new draft law
  • Computerized trading results in 'Mini Flash Crash' on Wall Street
  • Investors shed a tear as Fed fails to announce new quantitative easing
  • New report warns of deteriorating security for the Philippines
  • After a shouting match, Greece's leaders agree to austerity measures
  • Greece's far right Golden Dawn distributes food for Greeks only

Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews react in fury to new draft law

Wednesday was the expiration date of Israel's "Tal Law," exempting Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews from compulsory military service, after the Supreme Court struck the law down as unconstitutional. Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the army to prepare a plan to draft tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military, starting in a month. The situation has caused a bitter split in prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government coalition, and one ultra-Orthodox leader has said that drafting his people would unleash a "civil war." Similarly thousands of Israel's Arab citizens could be drafted, and they're refusing as well. According to one activist, "When the moment comes and we are asked to perform civil service, we will resist. Israel wants us to do service to the state, but first of all this state has to treat us as equal citizens." AP and CS Monitor

Computerized trading results in 'Mini Flash Crash' on Wall Street

Back in the 1970s, when I was programming IBM mainframes, I learned the saying, "To err is human; to really f--k things up takes a computer." And that's what keeps happening on Wall Street as trading becomes increasingly dominated by computer algorithms or "high frequency trading" (HFT). Any software engineer knows that there's no such thing as software without bugs, something to think about if you have an implanted heart device. May 6, 2010, was the date of what has become known as the "Flash Crash," when a bug in a computer program caused stock prices to fall 10% within a few seconds, and then recover a few minutes later. Then there was the recent botched handling of Facebook's IPO by Nasdaq, which has also been blamed on computers. On Wednesday, certain stocks, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber, China Cord Blood and CoreLogic, saw violent swings in the first hour of trading, and some were actually halted for moving more than 10% within a five-minute period. This time, the blame is being assigned to software bugs in the trading algorithms of Knight Capital Group who, ironically, has been claiming that they lost $30-35 million because of the botched Facebook IPO. Forbes

Investors shed a tear as Fed fails to announce new quantitative easing

Bankers and investors had been hoping that the Federal Reserve would announce a new quantitative easing program on Wednesday, providing new liquidity to flow into their accounts and their 7-digit bonus packages. But they were disappointed on Wednesday when the Fed failed to announce any such program. Theoretically, quantitative easing is supposed to boost the economy, but numerous bouts of fiscal and monetary policy that has poured money into the economy have failed to help the economy, because of generational reasons. People are refusing to borrow money and spend it because they've been badly burned in the last ten years, and this is resulting in a deflationary spiral that can't be stopped by quantitative easing. That's the reason that the Fed doesn't want to try QE right now -- because they've learned that it simply doesn't work. QE doesn't benefit any of us poor slobs, but it does help enrich investors and banksters, which is why they're pressuring the Fed for more of it. USA Today

New report warns of deteriorating security for the Philippines

A new research report says that the Philippines faces a "significant security challenge" because of its deteriorating relationship with China. According to the report: 

The report's general conclusion is that tensions with China caused by territorial disputes in the South China Sea will lead to some long-overdue investment in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Manila is increasing its own defence budget, while allies such as the US and Japan can be expected to provide excess defence articles either freely or cheaply.

However, BMI regards Manila's deteriorating relationship with Beijing as a significant security challenge. Investment in the AFP will take years to come through, and the Philippines cannot be completely confident that its Mutual Defence Treaty with the US would protect it in the event of a conflict with China. For the Philippines, much will depend on ASEAN's ability to broker a deal with China in the form of a new code of conduct governing behaviour in the South China Sea.

The last sentence reflects a great deal of denial and wishful thinking. China has repeatedly made it clear that it expects to annex the entire South China Sea region and will use its vast military power to punish anyone who tries to stop them. The only "code of conduct" that China will agree to is one where everyone harmoniously does whatever China demands. Business Monitor International

After a shouting match, Greece's leaders agree to austerity measures

Leaders of the three parties in Greece's governing coalition agreed to a package of spending cuts totaling 11.5 billion euros, to comply with demands by European officials and the IMF for further bailout loans. The agreement came when the two parties that had been demanding a go-slow approach to further austerity measures backed down, in the face of threat by the IMF to terminate all bailout measures. Greece has agreed to austerity measures in the past in exchange for bailout money, but once the bailout money was provided, the austerity measures were not implemented. Kathimerini

Greece's far right Golden Dawn distributes food for Greeks only

Members of Greece's far right Golden Dawn party handed out free food to hundreds of people in Athens' Syntagma Square on Wednesday, but only to people showing ID cards proving that they're Greek citizens. The Golden Dawn party has demanded the expulsion of all immigrants from Greece, and has been accused of being "neo-Nazi." Kathimerini 

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