EU leaders in the early hours of Friday (19 October) agreed that a eurozone banking supervisor should come into life next year, opening the way for troubled banks to access bailout money directly.
Speaking in a neighbouring press room, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the new supervisor would take just "a few months" to get up and running after the 1 January law is in place.
In exchange for German support for this "solidarity facility" - as German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it - leaders also tasked Van Rompuy to further explore the idea of making reform promises more binding.
They said he should look into "individual arrangements of contractual nature with the EU institutions."
Hollande added that Merkel's idea of creating a super-commissioner for eurozone fiscal affairs is "totally respectable."But he said it would require EU treaty change, juts like the eurobond move.
Then comes the building up of the supervisory authority. Only when this is “able to work” can direct bank recapitalization begin.
It is also still unclear how the new supervisory authority would work with the existing European Banking Authority - a body co-ordinating work of all EU national supervisors - or how to deal with non eurozone countries that have banks in euro countries.
The issue is key. Without the supervisor, the eurozone bailout fund will not be allowed to directly recapitalize ailing banks.
Double Take: EU 'Tolerance' Poster Includes The Cross, The Star Of David, And...Wait, What Is That?
The hammer and sickle symbol made infamous by the Soviet Union made its way onto a poster promoting inclusion and tolerance? We could go on about the irony of placing a symbol that’s as closely tied to communism as the swastika is to Nazism next to the symbols of Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism, but Hannan says it best:
For three generations, the badge of the Soviet revolution meant poverty, slavery, torture and death. It adorned the caps of the chekas who came in the night. It opened and closed the propaganda films which hid the famines. It advertised the people’s courts where victims of purges and show-trials were condemned. It fluttered over the re-education camps and the gulags. For hundreds of millions of Europeans, it was a symbol of foreign occupation. Hungary, Lithuania and Moldova have banned its use, and various former communist countries want it to be treated in the same way as Nazi insignia.Yet here it sits on a poster in the European Commission, advertising the moral deafness of its author (I hope that’s what it is, rather than lingering nostalgia). The Bolshevist sigil celebrates the ideology which, in strict numerical terms, must be reckoned the most murderous ever devised by our species. That it can be passed unremarked day after day in the corridors of Brussels is nauseating.
Turning to the Middle East:
The assassination of the anti-Syrian Head of the Lebanon's Internal Security Forces intelligence branch, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, Friday, Oct. 19, by a huge car bomb blast in East Beirut’s Ashrafiya district marked the brutal spillover of the Syrian bloodbath into a second Arab capital and the threat of itsl spread towards Israel.
Eighteen months ago, in May 2011, shortly after Syrians rose up against Bashar Assad, Rami Makhlouf, a leading architect of his tactics of suppression, warned, “If there is no stability here, there’s no way there will be stability in Israel.”
After nearly two years, those illusions have been dissipated: The Syrian bloodbath is spreading more malignantly than ever with solid Iranian and Hizballah support and Tehran is closer than ever to realizing its nuclear aspirations.
Every few days, the Syria-Hizballah-Iran bloc ratchets up the violence with a new outrage in the certainty that there will be no comeback.
Sunday, Oct. 21, the US and Israel launch Austere Challenge 12, which they are calling their biggest joint war game ever, to practice defending Israel against a missile attack.But in tune with the general air of denial hanging over Washington and Jerusalem, the exercise has been reduced in scale to just 1,000 soldiers on each side, with most of the action conducted through simulated computer games. As every soldier knows, this is a far cry from real operations on a battlefield.
Both American and Israeli war planners also realize that even these games are only applicable to defenses against an Iranian ballistic missile attack - not a triple Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah missile assault. This would call for US-Israeli air force intervention. But the air force is not taking part in the war game.
This is a fascinating read and very much worthwhile. Below is just the introduction to this article:
What would a nuclear conflict in the Middle East look like? The results would be catastrophic for everyone involved and disastrous for the rest of the world, but realistically, how would it come about?
Herman Kahn, the founder of the Hudson Institute, built his reputation on his unflinching look at the way a nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union would actually be fought. His speculations were so realistic, or sounded so realistic, that Soviet intelligence supposedly imagined that Kahn’s ideas reflected actual US military doctrine. His seminal work “On Thermonuclear War” is still one of the best examinations of what a real conflict using nuclear weapons would be like.
Since Anthony Cordesman of the Center for International and Strategic Studies, published his grim but outstanding 2007 study there has been little unclassified speculation about what a near-term (2014-2020) Iranian nuclear attack on Israel might look like. Cordesman estimated that Iran would have less than 50 nuclear weapons, 30 of which would be missile warheads and 20 of which would be bombs dropped from aircraft. He guessed that Iran’s weapons would be mostly in the 20 to 30 kiloton range, with a few having as much as 100 kilotons of explosive power. By comparison, the US bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 is estimated to have had a yield of about 15 kilotons.
The first phase of the attack would consist of several volleys of between 50 to 100 missiles each. All the missiles in each volley would be fired within a few minutes of each other. The goal of the first phase of the attack would be to overwhelm Israel’s missile defenses. In each volley there would be one or two missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. The other missiles in each barrage would be equipped with either high-explosive or chemical warheads. These would serve as decoys whose primary purpose would be to confuse and exhaust the defenders and allow the nuclear weapons to reach their targets.
The first volley might not even include any nuclear weapons; its purpose would be to degrade and wear down Israel’s defenses and pave the way for the nuclear warheads that would be included in the second and third volleys. The second phase of the attack would hit Israel with a large number of chemical and biological weapons. The goal would be to wipe out the bulk of the surviving Jewish population.
Each phase of the attack from Iran would be accompanied by a volley of shorter range missiles and rockets launched from Gaza, Syria and Lebanon. The rockets coming from Gaza and Lebanon would be armed with high explosives, while the ones from Syria would probably be a mix of high explosives and chemical and biological weapons.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday criticized the European Union, Britain, and France for their condemnation of a plan to construct hundreds of additional apartments in a Jerusalem neighborhood situated south of the 1967 Green Line.
The Interior Ministry on Thursday approved a plan to expand the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo by 797 units. The plan was published for validation in an Israeli newspaper in what was the last phase of the planning process, AFP reported.
“Gilo is an inseparable part of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is an inseparable part of Israel,” Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) said in a statement. ”These automatic condemnations indicate a lack of a basic understanding of the reality in the region.”
While millions of Americans were busy watching the elephant puppet battle the ass puppet at the latest political circus, the United States Congress quietly introduced a new piece of legislation ordering the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin preparing for mass casualties throughout the country.
House Resolution 6566, also known as the Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act, would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to mandate that FEMA immediately begin conducting "mass fatality planning" in preparation for a major event or series of events that may kill off untold numbers of people.
Introduced by Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Ca.), H.R. 6566 provisions that the Administrator of FEMA -- William Craig Fugate currently holds the Administrator position at FEMA (http://www.fema.gov/leadership/william-craig-fugate) -- provide "guidance and coordination" for dealing with a mass casualty event arising from a natural disaster, terrorist act, or "other man-made disaster."
The bill also ominously sets up the FEMA Administrator as a type of emergency dictator with the power to control how local communities, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, religious organizations, and even individuals prepare for and respond to a mass fatality event.