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Bridge 23 January 2011

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Switzerland.

Lausanne, Switzerland: People walk in a bridge and enjoy the sunshine on a beach on Geneva Lake Laurent Gillieron/EPA


Climb on a flying canape… 31 January 2010

Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Switzerland, Viva La Revolucion!.

Movers, shakers and canapes – a typical Davos scene [Laurent Gillieron/EPA]

…and just zoom from international conference to international conference.  Bloviating and accomplishing nothing.

A plan.

And, a job. I think they go for the free food and …oh… the night action, shall we say. Plus ca change.

Talk about a bunch that should be put on enforced video conferencing.  Our man in Davos is Larry Summers.  And entourage of course.

If they’d shift the conference to somewhere in the Pacific region, in the heat, the ptb would be sending Ob…

Bless them, every one.

The anti Davos… 29 January 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Brazil - Lula, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Switzerland.

Brazil World Social Forum

Indians gather during a meeting to discuss rights of indigenous peoples at the World Social Forum, in Belem, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. The World Social Forum, the annual countercultural gathering to protest the simultaneous World Economic Forum in Switzerland, is taking place until Feb. 1. [AP/ Andre Penner] link to larger version

As for Davos… it’s from Wonkette… but! any port in a PR storm!

Upon arriving here on Wednesday afternoon, he conducted a series of quiet meetings with foreign leaders that culminated in an intense late-night discussion with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The two former presidents met at a Sheraton hotel where Putin held a private party, following an early evening reception at a local museum hosted by Clinton.

Putin greeted Clinton cordially as “our good friend” as they raised glasses of vodka and then listened to a pianist pound out “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” When the musical entertainment concluded, they moved to a table in a separate room with access strictly controlled by Secret Service and Russian security agents. Flanked by aides and an interpreter, the two men talked for nearly 90 minutes before they rose and walked out together for a few pictures with partygoers and members of Clinton’s entourage.

In the Hall of the Mountain King” ??? Okaaay. Whatever props up the great men.  I can see how, in some idealistic Great Man drivel, they see a scenario of Peer Gynt escaping from the trolls and the king, the great hall tumbling down as they escape.  When in truth rather than fiction it is thieves escaping in the night intent on both their bags of cash and their histories of perfidy.


Intermittent Bystander linked to the Reuters report on Erdogan and Putin in Davos… and someone just sent me the NYT version…

Panel discussions at Davos are strictly restricted to one hour, but Mr. Erdogan insisted on responding to Mr. Peres. Red faced, and with one hand grasping the arm of the moderator, David Ignatius of the Washington Post, Mr. Erdogan turned to the Israeli president.

“Mr. Peres, you are older than me,” he said. “Your voice comes out in a very high tone. And the high tone of your voice has to do with a guilty conscience. My voice, however, will not come out in the same tone.”

Resisting efforts by Mr. Ignatius to end the session, Mr. Erdogan continued, saying to Mr. Peres, “When it comes to killing, you know well how to kill.”

Eventually, the prime minister gathered up his papers and departed from the stage, saying, “And so Davos is over for me from now on.”

Mais Oui!

Closer to home but so evocative… this scene, or set of scenes, at the WH yesterday.

Of those who braved the weather to meet with President Obama today were just over a dozen CEOs from around the nation, who sat down with Obama to discuss the impact of the weakening economy on business and workers.

“They make things, they hire people,” Obama said of the meeting participants. “They are on the front lines in seeing the enormous problems in the economy right now.  Their ideas and their concerns have helped to shape our recovery package in order to get this economy back on track.”

When I read they were served orange juice, well… I just KNEW those great men had donated blood. Surely.  Donated, as they stood, poorly dressed for the weather, in the snow.  Having walked miles to get to the WH and will have to manage the miles again, in reverse.  You just know it!

Afterwards, the dulcet tones of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” filled the East Room as President Obama shook the hands of the business leaders who had come to Washington, DC, to express their support for his plan.

No lyrics could be heard — just the melody to the song that would otherwise proceed “Night and day, you are the one/Only you beneath the moon or under the sun/Whether near to me, or far/Its no matter darling where you are” — while in the next room, Staff Sgt. Russell Wilson of the U.S. Marine Corps Band tickled the ivories at a tax-payer-financed orange-juice-and-coffee reception awaiting the CEO crowd and their appetites.

There is such a mincing quality to it all… but, who cares.  As long as it is not too chilly in that draughty old Southern Manse.  If it were I would be so worried.  Very very worried.

Presto chango! 12 November 2008

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Switzerland, WAR!.


People in Japan continue to weather the economic storm, as share prices fall amid concerns over the weak global economy. [AFP via BBC – Day in Pictures – November 12]

Nevertheless…BBC headline

Paulson says US bail-out working

it is one of the standard BBC round up pieces… and certainly if Paulson is lecturing us – and seems to be off his bony knees before Madame Speaker… then it should be a headline. Seems, as well, he is nixing the Detroit bail out.

Somebody, whoever it may be, does not agree:

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

Bailout Plan Revamp Sends Dow Down More Than 400 Points [4:08 p.m. ET]

For more, go to abcnews.go.com?CMP=EMC-1396

All I know is we are in a hole and still digging in deeper… At least it feels that way.  Hole, tunnel, daylight, oncoming train… I cannot tell the difference anymore.

Closer to home… Calistoga Bottling laid off 80 workers in a town of roughly 5000.  The initial story on the lay offs was very depressing… workers there as long as 26 years lost their jobs… and that number, 80, is most of the work force.  75%.  A local news crew went thru and filmed closed shops and papered over windows, in the heart of the wine and spa region. Locals worried at the extended down turn, and worried that winter is coming.   Calistoga is a long established spa area with volcanic mud baths and mineral rich waters, I would guess that Calistoga bottled water goes back at least 80 years… over the past thirty years it had gone from a small town retreat and resort area to effusively charming, shall we say.  Small, older hotels on the main drag (of which it has one and a few side streets – you can walk thru town in a few minutes) were bought and rehabbed… old time spas from the 30s were bought and rehabbed.  Restaurants and a wine bar or two proliferated.  Not now.

Reading a little further, part of the problem is Nestle.  Or, more precisely, Nestle Waters North America. They had bought the bottling plant, which I had not known….  Nestle has been making moves on water resources in Northern California (video of a California Connected show, but the comments tell the story too), for some years now. Swarm a small town with big money bonhomie, I certainly get whiffs of bribery, pillars of the town are bought or resist… factions fight back, and so it goes. Water privatisation, in a quick take.  We’re not alone, we all know the game is global.  And in Nestle’s game Northern California, Washington, Maine, Florida, Canada – as well as others are under assault.  The good thing, there is frontal assault in return, on Nestle.

Too often, Nestle’s able to cast decisions about its bottling plants in pro-jobs vs anti-growth terms, overlooking the simple fact that small towns can typically do a lot better than an economic development model where the profits are pipelined back to a foreign multinational.

Sadly, many towns are abdicating control of their precious water resources in return for some property tax revenues and a handful of jobs that even Nestle admits are salaried at levels no higher than the prevailing wages in the area.

In simplest terms, sustainable, high-quality rural economic development isn’t about attracting big businesses, which take an area’s resources and the profits and ship them elsewhere – leaving behind a lot of infrastructure costs and a handful of jobs (which isn’t true in the case of loading stations or water extraction points).

My own guess, the acquisition of water rights, rights to “run off” or ”extra water” (lordy, talk about missing the point) rights to aquifers is the reality. That would be the 100 + year plan…  Bottling plants of whatever size, whether plans to build or buying out existing companies and thus offering to be a good neighbor and “provide jobs” (sounds just like the prison guard lobby! And the California Department of Prisons too!), is a short to mid term ruse. The 20 year plan, or until a handy bust following boom comes along.  Which ever comes first.  A con.

Just a wild crazy guess… water diversion, a game as old as the hills here…

Salut! Compagnie Helvetia (CH) 14 May 2006

Posted by marisacat in Europe, Sex / Reproductive Health, Switzerland.

 Via the BBC comes news of the latest of the Swiss campaigns against HIV/AIDS (English version).

                        Swiss AIDS poster

A new public health campaign in Switzerland is raising eyebrows.

The campaign, from the Federal Health Office's Aids prevention section, features fencers and ice hockey players enthusiastically pursuing their sport.

But there is one unexpected difference – all the players are stark naked.

The contrast of healthy flesh and sharp blades is supposed to hammer home the message "no action without protection".

The campaign is now running on television, in cinemas and on billboards around the country.

The advertisements are certainly attracting attention, and that is exactly what the Federal Health Office wants.

They have been clever, eye catching and non-judgemental in the past too:

A few years ago the health office focused on adultery, telling those who were tempted to stray from their long-term partners that infidelity must always be accompanied by a condom.

 They have had for several years a border campaign (English version), rather different from ours!, but a border campaign to publicise condoms as people enter the country.

  Get this, one plea – as a border poster, asks clergy to dispense with religious belief and at least talk about condoms. 

(As I am typing this C-Span has a clip of McCain in suck-up mode at Liberty Whatever with Falwell.  Little hope for America any time soon.  McCain goes to Falwell, Howard goes to Robertson's hang out.  Fools.)

Further, all of this was critically necessary to stem what was an early problem of significantly high rates of infection:

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Swiss had the highest HIV infection rate in Europe, partly because of high intravenous drug use, and partly because the wealthy Swiss were frequent travellers in countries where Aids was already well-established.

The prevention campaigns, together with a vigorous policy of needle exchange and even heroin prescription for long-term drug users, have brought the infection rate down.

 Sanity.  It is within reach.  If you use your brain.  Which the Swiss identify as an important part of arousal.  They ask that you keep on using it.  But add a condom.

Very practical people.