the failure of planned economies

McDonald’s won the cold war



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2005 Russia proposes Nordstream, a gas line directly into the EU markets.

“The new gas pipeline is very important in terms of meeting the increasing natural gas demand in the European gas market. Gas imports to the EU countries are anticipated to grow in the nearest decade by nearly 200 bcm, or more than 50 per cent. Due to a direct connection between the world’s largest gas reserves located in Russia and the European gas transmission system, Nord Stream will be able to satisfy circa 25 per cent of the foregoing extra demand for imported gas.

There are no transit countries on Nord Stream’s route, which enables to reduce Russian gas transmission costs and exclude any possible political risks. Nord Stream will provide the most reliable gas deliveries to customers in Western Europe.”

because of the geographical bypass and strong potential to gouges the prices Poland is the staunchest opposition to the Nordstream pipeline from the beginning, this is from 2005 and was in the nytimes

” Moving to bolster its energy security, Poland is set to become the first East European country to try to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas imports by increasing its sources, according to government officials involved in Poland’s energy sector.

The reason why Poland wants to diversify its gas imports is not just because of the rising prices. Polish officials said the country’s newly elected conservative government believes that President Vladimir Putin of Russia is using his country’s vast energy reserves to exert influence in the region. Gazprom, for example, has spent the past few years buying gas distribution companies and terminals throughout Eastern Europe and the Baltic states to control prices and gain direct access to the energy markets of countries that joined the European Union in2004.”

The Polish in union with other regional countries, came close to shutting it down in 2008

“FRANKFURT (Thomson Financial) – The financing of the 5 bln eur Nord Stream project is on the brink of collapsing, as the European Investment Bank (EIB) is unlikely to have a political majority to finance the Baltic Sea gas pipeline, Die Welt reported.

The newspaper quoted Polish economy minister Waldemar Pawlak saying that a public financing is unthinkable as besides Poland, ‘several countries’ oppose it.

EIB planned to finance some 50 pct of the pipeline’s costs with a low-interest loan, but needs a political agreement between the European Union’s 27 member states on the financing.”

There is a lot of money on the table, and bespokecashmere understand that cash rules everything, and so the nordstream pipeline continues to clear the hurdles that are always around projects like this. Then on the 2nd of March, 2010:

“In a Securities and Exchange disclosure from last Thursday Chevron confirmed that it won new rights to explore Poland for potential shale gas, although the size of the acreage was not divulged. Noted in the annual report, Chevron has acquired rights to explore for natural gas in the Grabowiec concession, located in the southeastern part of Poland.

The confirmation follows Chevron’s announcement in December that the company was awarded three five-year exploration licenses for the Zwierzyniec, Kransnik and Frampol concessions, also located in Poland, to explore for unconventional gas resources, Dow Jones reported.

In December 2009, the Environment Ministry of Poland granted Chevron permission to carry out seismic studies and exploratory drilling up to 3,500 meters underground, as well as to develop shale gas resources.

Keep in mind that Chevron isn’t alone in Poland. Exxon, Conoco, and Marathon are there as well investigating shale’s potential. Which means that Polish shale is likely chock full of gas.

This is getting too big to ignore. One company takes a gamble, two might be foolish, three might simultaneously jump on a band wagon and drive off a cliff. But there is a critical mass of companies in Poland. Something is going on, and it’s unlikely that many companies will be wrong all at the same time.”

The consequence of these discoveries are devastating to the Russian monopoly on gas delivery, especially considering the economies of scale required to realize the desired profits on the nordstream project. Construction starts on April 9th 2010.

“PORTOVAYA BAY, Russia, April 9 (UPI) — Construction of the controversial Nord Stream pipeline linking Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea has officially started.

Portovaya Bay in Russia has surely never seen so many VIPs. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, the European Union’s Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder all traveled to this sea port near the Finnish border to attend Friday’s ceremony launching the construction of Nord Stream.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the ceremony called Nord Stream, which will cost $10 billion, a “contribution to Europe’s energy security.”

Moscow has long lobbied for the project. The pipeline was designed to bypass transit countries in Eastern and Central Europe.”



Yemeni government forces have been fighting Houthi loyalists in the country’s north for weeks, vowing to crush them with an “iron fist”


THE body of the young man lay on a scarlet bier. He was in his colonel’s uniform and beret, with white gloves that made his hands seem enormous beside his emaciated body. His face was set in a rictus of death that was somewhat like a smile. But the portly, mustachioed man who stood looking at him, in a short-sleeved white shirt and blue trousers, hands clasped awkwardly in front of him, was not smiling.

Velupillai Prabhakaran always said this was the moment, four years into the war in September 1987, when he gave up any faith in non-violence. The young man before him, Thileepan, had fasted to death to highlight the plight of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority and their demands for independence. The Sinhalese majority had paid no attention. So Prabhakaran pledged himself and his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to a path of unremitting carnage.

The world had to notice when, in 1996, a truckload of explosives was driven through the gates of the Central Bank in Colombo, killing 90 and injuring more than 1,000. And it had to wake up to Tamil demands when, in 1991 (though Prabhakaran always ducked away from blame for it), India’s former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, was blown up by a female bomber who had bent to touch his feet. By the time Prabhakaran was felled by a bullet in his last redoubt, his war had claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Sri Lankans.

And in fact his commitment to violence had been there from the beginning. On his first operation, bunking off school at 17 with his mates, he threw a bomb into a group of soldiers. His first “political” act, in 1975, was to shoot the mayor of Jaffna at point-blank range for betraying the Tamil cause, as he believed. After the founding of the LTTE, in 1976, leaders of rival groups and Tamils too moderate to agree with him were sought out and killed; he signed their death warrants. In person he was stocky, soft-spoken and with a pleasant smile, like a middle-order restaurant manager. But his wife, who first caught his eye by throwing a bucket of coloured water over him at the holifestival, burst into terrified tears when she had done it. And the girls he “cared for” at his special school in Vanni, his embryonic Tamil homeland in the north-east of the island, were trained to strap explosive belts underneath their dresses, a branch of warfare he had more or less invented.

He was a shy, coddled child, the son of a land officer. His parents, both pious Hindus, were followers of Mahatma Gandhi and his doctrine of ahimsa, or non-violence. But the books young Prabhakaran read, out on the veranda under the banana tree, were biographies of Alexander the Great and Napoleon. He treasured the Bhagavad Gita not for its spiritual riches but for the passage where Krishna told Arjuna that it was his duty to fight and kill even his relations. His great hero, “a beacon to me”, was not Gandhi but Subhas Chandra Bose, who had tried to drive the British out of India with armed force.

In night classes at the Aladi School he reinforced his outrage that Tamils were passed over for civil-service jobs and university places, and were sometimes beaten up in the streets. He practised martial arts, saved money for a revolver, and in 1972 slipped away into the jungle, where he lived for much of the rest of his life.


As a leader of terrorists he built up an impressive reputation. He waged war for 26 years. At one time, as much as a third of Sri Lanka was under his control. Prabhakaran divided his thousands of Tiger recruits into an army, a navy (with some light boats) and an air force (with flimsy aircraft), and raised money for weapons by extortion, robbery and arm-twisting of the Tamil diaspora. He refused to compromise the cause or make encumbering alliances. When India began to sponsor Tamil groups, he kept clear of them, and when Indian peacekeepers came to Sri Lanka in the 1980s he ended by fighting them.

No philosophy or ideology guided him, as far as anyone could tell. He did not like abstractions. Nor could he tolerate debate. Despite a peace agreement in 2002 a separate Tamil homeland, with its enemies eliminated, was all he would accept. In Vanni he more or less constructed one, neat and organised as he always was, with thatched huts and coconut groves along dirt roads. There was no power, but the place had its own banks and law courts. The Sinhalese army fenced it in with barbed wire and bombed it. Among the craters were the remains of lush gardens, and lagoons filled with lilies, that might have made the sort of Tamil paradise Prabhakaran carried in his head.

Both the Sri Lankan and Indian governments had arrest warrants out for him. He stayed mostly underground where, like some large grub, he was oiled twice a day by his bodyguards and fed on curry and Clint Eastwood movies, in which cops and cowboys shot themselves out of trouble. He had an escape plan, or several. His cadres would kill him, and burn the body; he would squeeze himself into a submarine; he would bite on the cyanide capsule that hung on a black string round his neck.

His people, confined in the end to a beach in north-eastern Sri Lanka and shelled by the Sinhalese army, could not get away so easily from the mayhem Prabhakaran had drawn them into.



— This isn’t the future our mother warned us about

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