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Links 11/29/09

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Siberian tiger in severe decline BBC

Is Global Warming Unstoppable? Science Daily

China takes a new look at Marxism Asia Times

Overcapacity in China: Causes, Impacts and Recommendations European Chamber of Commerce in China (hat tip reader Michael) and Dangers of an Overheated China Tyler Cowen, New York Times

Food Stamp Use Soars Across U.S., and Stigma Fades New York Times

Bernanke May Not Remember That the Fed Brought the Economy to the Brink of Collapse, but Reporters Should Dean Baker

Wallison: Timmy!’s Nose is Growing Streetwise Professor

Abu Dhabi rides in to rescue Dubai from debt crisis Times Online and Abu Dhabi will not race to Dubai’s rescue Telegraph. Notice the difference in headlines and emphasis with pretty much the same fact set. The Telegraph’s spin looks truer to the fact set. This suggests the rescue is going to be tougher to negotiate and less comprehensive than the US markets seemed to assume on Friday.

Antidote du jour. Reader Martine reports:

Attached is a picture I would entitle “True bears face a recession of their own”. Indeed, the cool and extremely wet summer we had here in Quebec has left the bushes almost devoid of berries. This bear came in my backyard a week ago, toppled over the garbage bin three times and – finally – ate apples form the appletrees on the edge of the forest…. 15 feet away from my back door.

IMG_0461

And a bonus (hat tip reader Michael T), of sunset at the North Pole with the moon at its closest point.
sunsetnorthpole

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29 comments

  1. Kevin Smith

    From Clusterstock:

    The Geopolitics Of The Dubai Debt Crisis: It’s Iran vs. The United States
    John Carney|Nov. 28, 2009, 6:36 PM

    The role of Iran may be the most overlooked in the Dubai debt crisis.

    Of all the states of the United Arab Emirates federation, Dubai has maintained the closest ties to Iran. Indeed, as international pressure has built on Iran over the past decade, Dubai has prospered from those ties. It provides critical banking and trade links for Iran, often serving as the go-between for European or Asian companies and financial firms that want to do business with Iran without violating international sanctions.

    Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest member of the UAE and a close ally of the US, may be pressuring Dubai to limit its links to Iran. Indeed, this pressure may be behind statements coming from Abu Dhabi about offering “selective” support for Dubai. Companies or creditors thought to be too linked to Iran could find themselves shut out of any bailout.

    The United States government, which has remained somewhat taciturn throughout this crisis, is no doubt encouraging Abu Dhabi to apply this pressure. In part because of Dubai’s connections to Iran, US financial institutions are not among the biggest creditors to Dubai World.

    It’s not all Iran, of course. The problems in Dubai, the member of the United Arab Emirates that has found itself in a dire financial crisis, closely mirror those behind the global financial crisis.

    Over the past decade, the country attempted to diversify its economy away from dependence on its declining oil reserves—and largely succeeded. But, like a Wall Street investment bank attempting to overcome the decline of its traditional businesses by becoming heavily invested in leveraged real estate products, Dubai accumulated huge debt obligations—estimated to amount to some $80 billion. Much of Dubai’s assets were dependent on tourism, shipping, construction and real estate—which have been in trouble during the global economic downturn.

    Like its fellow members of the UAE, Dubai is ruled by an expansive royal family. In this case, they are called Al Maktoum family. Exactly what counts as the personal property of ruling family and what is government owned in Dubai is more than a bit fuzzy. The Dubai government owns three companies: Dubai Holding, which is run by Mohammed Al Gergawi; Dubai World, which is run by Sultan bin Sulayem; and the Investment Corporation of Dubai.

    Abu Dhabi has been trying to put pressure on Dubai to cut ties to Iran. The split between Abu Dhabi and Iran is in part rooted in an older territorial dispute, fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, religious differences between Shiites and Sunnis, and—importantly—Abu Dhabi’s close ties to Washington, DC.

    The UAE is close to reaching a nuclear power cooperation deal with Washington, a move that many regional experts say would challenge the traditional Saudi hegemony in the Gulf. One sticking point in the negotiations with Washington has been concerns that Dubai could share US nuclear technology with Iran.

    This power struggle between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia is also playing a role. In May, the UAE May pulled out of a proposed Gulf monetary union over Saudi insistence that it would host the regional central bank.

    Dubai, which is a very open and tolerant place compared to Iran, is viewed by many Iranians as a place to let their hair down. It has a thriving Iranian ex-pat community. Iran is Dubai airport’s top destination, with more than 300 flights per week.

    More importantly, Dubai is a major exporter to Iran and a major re-exporter of Iranian goods. The trade between Iran and Dubai is one of the principal sources of Tehran’s confidence that it can survive US-led sanctions. Iranian investment in Dubai amounts to about US $14 billion each year. US intelligence officials have long suspected that the Iranian government uses Dubai based front companies to get around sanctions.

    Some of the banks said to have the largest exposure to Dubai debt have in the past been linked to Iran. Notably, HSBC, BNP Paribas and Standard Chartered came under investigation and pressure from US authorities in recent years to cut ties to Iran. Some US officials have quietly protested that these banks just shifted to doing business with Iran through Dubai. The US may want to see these creditors take losses from their Dubai exposure.

    Make no mistake: the US government does not want to see the financial ruin of Dubai. Apart from its ties from Iran, Dubai is widely viewed as a model Islamic country. It has a relatively clean government, and there is a remarkable level of religious tolerance and progressive attitudes toward women for the region. American diplomats have held up Dubai as their model for a new Baghdad—progressive, tolerant, and capitalist.

    What is most likely happening is more nuanced. The US and Abu Dhabi are hoping to use Dubai’s financial troubles as a way of finally severing the close ties to Iran. For years, Dubai has enjoyed the benefits of walking the line between its military and economic alliance with the US and economic benefits from banking and trade ties to Iran. The price of a bailout from Abu Dhabi may be having to finally choose to give up the Iran connection.

  2. attempter

    Wallison’s analysis is correct and yet the mirror obverse of the truth.

    He’s right that the AIG bailout couldn’t have been both necessary to keep the counterparties from going down and yet not necessary to do that. That’s a fallacy.

    So if the bailout wasn’t necessary then it was the pretext for something. Wallison for ideological reasons chooses to interpret the pretext as being extension of government control (by a “Democratic” congress, never mind that it was the Bush admin who inaugurated the bailouts, and that’s whose cadre Geithner was a part of).

    In fact the correct question is whether the bailout was “necessary” or whether it was disaster capitalism, meant to launder loot to Goldman and others.

    GS’s own testimony tries to thread the needle of contradiction, saying the bailout wasn’t necessary for its own sake, and by implication for others (since GS’s scenario implicitly requires the continued solvency of all its other counterparties in the event of an AIG bankruptcy, as well as the continued integrity of market prices for all other securities), but that it nevertheless was “beneficial” for everyone.

    I take this as an admission that, regardless of whether the AIG collapse would have dragged them down too, they were intent on exploiting it to the extreme at taxpayer expense. Enabling this preadtion was the government’s main goal (Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner).

  3. Walther

    Well for anybody with a little understanding in astronomics
    and how our solar system works it’s clear that this constelation of north pole sun and moon never can occur.

    It’s a beuatiful picture bur a construct.

    How closer to the equator how more the moon can be seen as an crescent on it’s back. closer to the poles the moon is standing strait up.

    http://www.hoax-slayer.com/north-pole-moon.html

  4. Carrick

    Semi off-topic link/discussion here…

    The new targets China has set to “reduce emissions” uses guidelines they’ve invented — MRV. They refer to it as the “carbon intensity” or “energy intensity” needed to generate a single unit of GDP. At first glance, this reads to me as “we adjust our currency, note that “energy intensity” has decreased, ignore actual emissions, and the West sucks on it.”

    Anyone care to follow up on this?

    light analysis article:
    Three Letters That Mean A Lot–MRV
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/11/china-mrv.php

    source article:
    China climate goal faces test of trust
    http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-GreenBusiness/idUSTRE5AQ1X720091127

    from the article:
    “What does ‘energy intensity’ even mean?” Well, first a definition. Energy intensity refers to energy output per unit of gross domestic product. So the Chinese are saying that as their booming economy continues to boom, they will reduce the amount of energy it takes to create one yuan.

    Climate negotiators will now have to decide if China’s pledge is measurable, reportable and verifiable–MRV. It’s not that China can’t be trusted; it’s that it’s metric–energy intensity–is not easily measured like emissions are from smokestacks and tailpipes. Also the pledge is not binding, so there would be no consequences for non-compliance.”

  5. rjs

    note on the NYTimes interactive graphic, those states most opposed to “government run health care” have the highest % usage of food stamps..

  6. Ronald

    Said European Chamber President Joerg Wuttke, “Our study shows that the impact of overcapacity is subtle but far reaching, affecting dozens of industries and damaging economic growth not only in China but worldwide. Domestically, excess capacity squeezes profit margins, hampers innovation and prevents the emergence of true local champions”

    Manufacturing overcapacity driven by automated manufacturing running high volume standardized output is not limited to China.

  7. eric anderson

    “note on the NYTimes interactive graphic, those states most opposed to “government run health care” have the highest % usage of food stamps..”

    Perhaps that is because they most directly see the ill effects, the soft tyranny of nanny state-ism, the soul-draining nature of the entitlement mentality, the inefficiency of government bureaucracy, the misuse of such programs, and the ingratitude of the recipients. That sort of thing can sour a populace on supporting more government “help.”

  8. eric anderson

    Is global warming unstoppable? Well, no. It has already stopped, at least for the time being. Sea level looks to be flat or falling in recent years too, according to the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    What seems unstoppable is the lying in the scientific community and the attempts to cover up climategate by the mainstream media and other true believers in global warming religion.

    Then again, this conspiracy probably won’t work. Even before the release of the hacked (or leaked) HADCRUT emails and documents, 47% of the voters thought warming is caused by planetary trends, and only 38% attributed it to human activity. What will polling show once the warmists’ data manipulation and climate computer model code-tampering is fully disseminated through alternative media?

    Amazingly, a Google search for “global warming” turns up 10.1 million hits, while a search for “climategate” gets over 12 million results. The scandal has already eclipsed the “consensus”-borne myth. The MSM can ignore it, but by doing so, they further discredit themselves. And they are already a laughingstock. Only 10% of the population has “a great deal of trust” in our media.

    I think I’m going to look into buying a coal furnace to fend off the record cold temperatures I’m expecting based on solar inactivity.

    1. DownSouth

      I don´t think I’d be popping the champagne corks just yet.

      You seem to have cherry picked the results of a poll that bolsters your preconceived notions. Pollingreport.com does a survey of various polls, some of which show results diametrically opposed to the one you cite:

      ABC News/Washington Post Poll. Nov. 12-15, 2009

      “How serious of a problem do you think global warming is right now: very serious, somewhat serious, not so serious or not serious at all?”

      Very serious or somewhat serious: 82%
      Not so serious or not serious at all: 17%

      http://www.pollingreport.com/enviro.htm

      Of course if one looks down through the long list of polls Pollingreport.com cites, there are some that make it seem like the climate change deniers like yourself are winning in the courtroom of public opinion, and others that make it seem like you are losing.

      How can that be?

      The veteran pollster Daniel Yankelovich gives the following possible explanation:

      Unfortunately the full capabilities of public opinion polling are mostly hidden from public view. The polls the public sees are those favored (and supported) by the media. Much polling, however, is done by businesses in market research and by political candidates and officials who hold public office. These polls are private…

      The primary sources of poor-quality poll findings are those inventoried by Eleanor Singer quoted in chapter 1—dumb questions, obtuse questions, single questions that focus on limited aspects of complex issues, questions without proper context or framework, questions that elicit people’s opinions on subjects to which they have not given a moment’s thought, and so forth. It is possible that editors who cite the sampling error to give credibility to their poll findings do not realize how misleading their polls may be. But perhaps they do not want to know because knowing would have consequences they do not wish to confront.
      –Daniel Yankelovich, Coming to Public Judgment

      But while Yankelovich seems to confirm your dismal appraisal of the MSM and the fact it has few qualms about misusing polls, you don’t seem to be above deploying such tactics yourself. Don’t you find it rather hypocritical that you, in the paragraph just prior to where you lambast the MSM, use one of these very same poor-quality polls that are available to the general public to argue your own case? Here’s the poll you cite, with the same wording and results:

      http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/energy_update

      There is another possible reason Yankelovich cites that the public opinion on this issue “is defined by the defects of inconsistency, volatility, and nonresponsibility,” and that is that the jury of public opinion is still out. Yankelovich calls this poor-quality public opinion “mass opinion,” as opposed to “public judgment” to refer to good-quality public opinion in the sense of opinion that is stable, consistent, and responsible.

      It is not difficult to find out whether an opinion poll is measuring mass opinion or public judgment, Yankelovich goes on to explain,

      One test is to ask questions in opinion polls in several slightly different ways that do not change the essential meaning of the question. If people change their answers in response to slight shifts in question wording, this is a sure sign that their opinions are volatile. A second test is to plant questions that probe for inconsistencies and contradictions—another sign of mass opinion. A third test is to confront respondents with difficult trade-offs that directly challenge wishful thinking. This approach presents people with the consequences of their views and then measures their reactions.

      Your conviction that scientists are flagrantly conspiring with the MSM while major producers and consumers of hydrocarbons, along with the advocacy groups they fund, sit idly by, twiddling their thumbs, also seems extremely farfetched. As Yankelovich explains, the manipulation of poll results—knowing the exact wording of questions to ask beforehand to elicit the desired results—is an expensive, in-depth undertaking. To believe that industry lobbyists would be laggard in this regard, that they would lack financial wherewithal, or that they would be bereft of their own MSM contacts, defies common sense.

      1. Dan Duncan

        Check back with us when you get a poll taken after the revelation of ClimateGate.

        Regardless of what you believe about AGW, there is good reason to believe that the actions of these “scientists” are devastating to The Apocalyptic Climate Change Movement.

        Of course, all this controversy should be put to rest as the CRU has agreed to FINALLY release all the underlying data…after years of requests.

        Oh, but wait…

        This, from today’s UK Times Online:

        “SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

        “It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

        “The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.”

        Who needs the underlying data? Completely irrelevant.

        Instead, let’s talk about polling methodologies!

        1. DownSouth

          Yes, by all means let’s take a look at the polls in six months or so, after the effects of “ClimateGate” have had time to percolate.

          My guess is that the results of these low-quality polls will be just as ambiguous then as they are now, that the “controversy” will have had no effect whatsoever.

          I’d even be willing to venture a much bolder prediction. I’d bet that, if asked directly about “ClimateGate” or the University of East Anglia six months from now, 95% or better of respondents would be clueless as to what you’re talking about.

          “ClimateGate” involves only one amongst dozens of scientific societies and organizations that investigate climate change and that have joined the global warming consensus. That consensus also includes hundreds of individual climate scientists who over the last several decades have published thousands of articles in scientific journals that explicitly endorse the consensus position.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

          “ClimateGate” is like firing a BB gun into the hull of an aircraft carrier. This baby’s got no legs.

          1. Skippy

            Warming/cooling have become the boggy men of the debate, sigh[!?]. This is the MSM paper seller, not empirically backed theory (btw which is in flux at all times) due to the nature of analyzing new vs old data, trying to find better, more stable, filling the gaps, irrefutable data going back eons.

            Yes, unfortunately this exercise has become polarized by politics, religion and by the world economy (*buy* which many procure their daily bread). The real debate to me is how much can the planet take, how much can we take (Ok Teddy mine Bechtel anyone), in a system that has evolved with out us to a point not that far back chronologically, compared to life’s inception on this once craggy rock.

            Is it not a closed loop (can any one deny this simple fact), come on now, the people that come here too talk are not deluded unto them selves purely out of self indulge-ment, right[?]. Old upstream property river rights again folks!

            Skippy…I would not shat in the drinking water upstream of your house, just to spite ya now. How the hell am I to teach my kids personal responsibility when adults wish to flaunt their lack of it…shezz.

          2. DownSouth

            Skippy,

            When you say that “Warming/cooling have become the boggy men of the debate, sigh[!?]. This is the MSM paper seller…”, you hit the nail squarely upon the head.

            This is nowhere better borne out than in comparing the CNN coverage to the coverage by the Times coverage.

            A search of CNN yields only one story, buried in the Tech section and concludes that:

            “If you read all of these e-mails, you will be surprised at the integrity of these scientists,” he says. “The unfortunate thing about this is that people can cherry pick and take things out of context.”
            http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/11/23/hacker.climate/index.html

            The Murdock-owned Times, on the other hand, gives the story prominent coverage and concludes:

            This weekend many of Jones’s colleagues were standing by him. Tim Lenton, professor of earth system science at UEA, said: “We wouldn’t have anything like the understanding of climate change that we do were it not for the work of Phil Jones and his colleagues. They have spent decades putting together the historical temperature record and it is good work.”

            The problem is that, after the past week, both sceptics and the public will require even more convincing of that.
            http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6936289.ece

            Why does global warming remain the centerpiece of the CO2 contamination debate? The increase in acidity of the oceans is just as devastating as global warming and is much better documented. Talk about a slam dunk for the environmentalists, and yet you hear nothing of it. Why is that?

            http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/beyond-belief-candles-in-the-dark/tony-haymet

            Sometimes I think Al Gore is to protecting the environment what Obama is to “Change you can believe in.”

      2. eric anderson

        DownSouth, as a “major” (haha) consumer of hydrocarbons, I am certainly not sitting idly by. I want to be able to continue to consume them without excessive taxation, especially because the US has such abundant resources. I guess that makes me a biased “special interest group.”

        One can only hope that truth will rule the day. I’m not sure how we can find the truth, now that HADCRUT has destroyed the data. Inconvenient, huh?

        I am certainly no expert on polling. I know that in Iowa, a state that is politically moderate, purple I guess you’d call it, there is plenty of skepticism and outright disbelief about warming alarmism. For my own part, after looking at the scientific articles and IPCC reports, and seeing major questions ignored or left unanswered, followed by the current revelations of fraud and manipulation, I’ve concluded firmly that this is, as one British paper called it, the biggest scientific hoax of our generation. It brings nothing but shame upon the credulous media that supports it.

  9. Wade Kelman

    Most people know that the moon and the sun appear to be the same size when seen from the Earth. Are you guys Economists?

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Regarding China’s new take on Marxism, the first step is to update the party’s name to The Capitalist Party of China.

    If they keep reforming, perhaps one day, they can call themselves the Hybrid Communist/Capitalist Party of China – that’s the way to get more mileage out of the party, go hybrid.

  11. LeeAnne

    Looks like a liar’s bubble:

    “Bernanke May Not Remember That the Fed Brought the Economy to the Brink of Collapse, but Reporters Should Dean Baker’” Yves

    ‘Perino: “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term”‘ Media Matters

    When will the liars’ bubble burst? When will ordinary peer pressure and peer disapproval return to rein in the perpetrators and the media that enable them? Why aren’t these people embarrassed?

    It seems to be the mark of a cult to be unembarrassed by the wild claims of leaders, and imperative upon devotees to repeat the lie.

    We watched Perino in training to become a liar for the Bush cause and its positively breathtaking to watch this little Bush mouth grow into such a big liar. Like so many Bush appointees she stood out as over her head as press secretary, but scholarly enough to be programmed as she was for Bush propaganda purposes.

    Is there no way to legally rein in officials and former government employees who go beyond plain vanilla deception into outright perpetration of lies? Surely the media can refuse to print lies; they can certainly distinguish between lies and censorship.

    We seem to be a nation stripped bare of anything anyone would want.

  12. Brain

    Came to this blog for the first time after a long time… I see that Yves is still spreading lies about Global Warming. Facts probably don’t matter to the author of this blog.

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