World View: Over 100 Afghan Diplomats Defect Rather than Return to Kabul

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Sectarian coordinated bombings in Iraq kill 31 in Shia neighborhoods
  • Fed official warns of 'feral hogs' who harm the economy
  • German climate expert says climate models must change
  • Over 100 Afghan diplomats defect rather than return to Kabul
  • John Kerry arranges for sweet Obamacare bonus for Massachusetts

Sectarian coordinated bombings in Iraq kill 31 in Shia neighborhoods

Scene of two parked car bombs north of Baghdad on Sunday (AP)
Scene of two parked car bombs north of Baghdad on Sunday (AP)

At least 10 parked vehicles rigged with bombs exploded in eight Shia neighborhoods across Baghdad on Monday, killing 31 people. The targets included a market place and a restaurants, and occurred as Shia Muslims marked Shabaniyah, the anniversary of the birth of Imam Mehdi, a key figure in their faith. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings, but sectarian violence by Sunnis targeting Shias has been increasing throughout the Mideast, particularly since the invasion of the Iran-backed Shia terrorist group Hezbollah into Syria in support of the regime of president Bashar al-Assad. Terrorist violence in Iraq has been increasing ever since American forces withdrew in December, 2011. Al-Jazeera and AFP

Fed official warns of 'feral hogs' who harm the economy

Prices of both stocks and bonds fell sharply on Monday, prompting Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve to accuse "feral hogs" of scenting weakness and taking advantage of it:

"Markets tend to test things. We haven't forgotten what happened to the Bank of England [on Black Wednesday]. I don't think anyone can break the Fed . . . . But I do believe that big money does organize itself somewhat like feral hogs. If they detect a weakness or a bad scent, they'll go after it."

His comment refers to a 1992 attack led by George Soros on the Bank of England, which led to the UK crashing out of the European exchange rate mechanism.

That's just another one of the desperate attempts to explain the sharp selloff. See "23-Jun-13 World View -- The 'experts' scramble to explain the stock market plunge".

Besides feral hogs, some experts are pointing to another reason for the global selloff: A "cash crunch" in China. China's economy is even more dysfunction than America's, with a gargantuan real estate bubble and a huge credit bubble driven by a shadow banking system. The Chinese authorities are attempting to control both bubbles by reducing the money supply, and this creating a credit crunch that's slowing down the economy. This is having a ripple effect in the fall of global commodity prices, as stock prices are falling throughout Asia. Bloomberg

German climate expert says climate models must change

German meteorologist and climate expert Hans von Storch says that climate scientists are puzzled by the fact that even though recent CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions have actually risen even more steeply than politicians and scientists feared, there has been almost no temperature rise in the last 15 years. The climate models devised by scientists 10-15 years ago predicted a very significant rise in temperatures by now, but it just hasn't happened, indicating that their climate models are "fundamentally wrong," according to von Storch. There are two possible explanations: Either the rise in CO2 does not affect climate as much as scientists predicted, or else scientists underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes. Spiegel

Over 100 Afghan diplomats defect rather than return to Kabul

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Administration aren't begging Russia to return Edward Snowden or to stop supporting Bashar al-Assad, they're begging the Afghanistan Taliban to hold peace talks.

The U.S. Administration has been so desperate to get the Afghan Taliban to have peace talks, they've even dropped the preconditions announced last year by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: They must forego suicide talks and violence, they must sever ties with al-Qaeda, and they must accept Afghanistan's constitution, including protections for women and minority. The Taliban have rejected all of these demands, and the Administration have acquiesced.

It now turns out that some 105 Afghanistan diplomats defected en masse on Saturday, when they were all supposed to return to Kabul for scheduled rotation. They've remained in the country where they have been posted, and said that they would apply for asylum in their respective host countries. Many Afghan diplomats are the sons and daughters of high-ranking politicians who are also trying to go abroad as soon as possible and stay there until the situation in Afghanistan becomes clearer.

The U.S. could use a diplomatic victory about now. Let's see where Snowden ends up. Spiegel and South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP)

John Kerry arranges for sweet Obamacare bonus for Massachusetts

Without specifically mentioning Massachusetts, then-Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts inserted an opaque provision into the Obamacare bill when it was first created in 2009, requiring Massachusetts hospital workers to get significantly higher wages than workers in other states. The change has allowed Massachusetts to raise its Medicare payout by $257 million, forcing cuts to hospitals in 40 other states. The Massachusetts manipulation of the program would hand that state $3.5 billion over the next 10 years at the expense of Medicare beneficiaries everywhere.

Since I live in Massachusetts, I guess this helps me at the expense of most of you. Tough luck, suckers!

(Actually, the provision is expected to be repealed, which would "harm patient care," according to Massachusetts officials.) Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe


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