Tuesday, December 15, 2009

farmdoc's blog post number 604

Every week I listen to the This American Life podcast. Each episode comprises a few stories on one theme. Today’s Farmdoc’s Blog post copies that format. The theme’s ‘money’:

I wrote last Sunday that COP15 grinds on. Now, with four days to go, it looks to be inexorably headed toward a stalemate, or an at best meagre agreement. Look at its sponsors. I don’t know of them all, but I see four car makers, an airline and a transport firm. Who the sponsors are mightn’t affect the deliberations of apparatchiks, but it’s unethical and improper for a UN conference – not to mention a climate change one – to have privates sponsors at all let alone this lot of carbon mega-polluters.

Fighting terrorists and terrorism militarily is expensive, and going by recent experience it’s not so effective either. So what to do? As per the old adage, follow the money. The Jerusalem Post reports that 18 months ago a US Federal Court froze US$2B of Iranian money which is at the centre of a legal struggle between US Marine victims of a 1983 Hizbullah terror attack on a Marine barracks in Beirut, and a Luxembourg bank (which I guess is an Iranian proxy or front). Terrorists needs lots of money. So hit ’em where it hurts. In the wallet.

Meantime President Obama and the US Congress are hitting greedy, amoral, unrepentant Wall Street leeches with a host of new measures aiming to rein in their excesses and increase their accountability. Will these measures work? No-one knows yet. But there’s no downside to trying.

Finally I’ve just read here that if Australia’s successful in its bid to host FIFA’s 2018 or 2022 soccer World Cup, it’ll cost A$2.9B. Thank you, but no thank you, FIFA.

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