Apr 302012



By Noam Chomsky, Common Dreams

[…] If you’re a serious revolutionary, then you are not looking for an autocratic revolution, but a popular one which will move towards freedom and democracy. That can take place only if a mass of the population are implementing it, carrying it out, and solving problems. They’re not going to undertake that commitment, understandably, unless they have discovered for themselves that there are limits to reform.

A sensible revolutionary will try to push reform to the limits, for two good reasons. First, because the reforms can be valuable in themselves. People should have an eight-hour day rather than a twelve-hour day. And in general, we should want to act in accord with decent ethical values. […]

READ @ http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/29-4



By Jared Bernstein, Rolling Stone

Here’s what Social Security is not:

• going broke;
• a Ponzi scheme;
• expected to stop paying out benefits in your lifetime;
• bankrupting our nation or future generations.

Here’s what Social Security is:

• a critical source of income support for millions of retirees;
• an elegant and binding intergenerational contract between yesterday’s and today’s workforces;
• a progressive social insurance program that efficiently provides a reliable, affordable, guaranteed pension to those past their working years.
• a national treasure to be fiscally strengthened and carefully preserved for both today’s elderly and for future generations. […]

READ @ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/straight-talk-on-social-security-20120427



By John Pilger, Truthout

You are all potential terrorists. It matters not that you live in Britain, the United States, Australia or the Middle East. Citizenship is effectively abolished. Turn on your computer and the US Department of Homeland Security’s National Operations Center may monitor whether you are typing not merely “al-Qaeda,” but “exercise,” “drill,” “wave,” “initiative” and “organization”: all proscribed words. The British government’s announcement that it intends to spy on every email and phone call is old hat. The satellite vacuum cleaner known as Echelon has been doing this for years. What has changed is that a state of permanent war has been launched by the United States and a police state is consuming Western democracy.

What are you going to do about it? […]

READ @ http://truth-out.org/news/item/8782-you-are-all-suspects-now-what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it



By E.L. Doctorow, NYTimes

TO achieve unexceptionalism, the political ideal that would render the United States indistinguishable from the impoverished, traditionally undemocratic, brutal or catatonic countries of the world, do the following:


If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, ignore the first sacrament of a democracy and suspend the counting of ballots in a presidential election. Appoint the candidate of your choice as president.

If you’re the newly anointed president, react to a terrorist attack by invading a nonterrorist country. Despite the loss or disablement of untold numbers of lives, manage your war so that its results will be indeterminate.

Using the state of war as justification, order secret surveillance of American citizens, data mine their phone calls and e-mail, make business, medical and public library records available to government agencies, perform illegal warrantless searches of homes and offices.

Take to torturing terrorism suspects, here or abroad, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. Unilaterally abrogate the Convention Against Torture as well as the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. Commit to indeterminate detention without trial those you decide are enemies. For good measure, trust that legislative supporters will eventually apply this policy as well to American citizens. […]

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/unexceptionalism-a-primer.html?_r=1&hp



By Robert Freeman, Common Dreams

The Vietnam War produced more than its share of iconic idiocies. Perhaps the most revelatory was the psychotic assertion of an army major explaining the U.S. bombing of the provincial hamlet of Ben Tre: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” If only such self-extinguishing claims for intelligence were confined to military war.

The U.S is ratcheting up a societal-level war on public education. At issue is whether we are going to make it better — build it into something estimable, a social asset that undergirds a noble and prosperous society — or whether we’re going to tear it down so that private investors can get their hands on the almost $1 trillion we spend on it every year. The tear-it-down option is the civilian equivalent of Ben Tre, but on a vastly larger scale and with incomparably greater stakes: we must destroy public education in order to save it. It’s still early in the game, but right now the momentum is with the wreckers because that’s where the money is. Whether they succeed or not will be up to you.

Here’s a three-step recipe for how to destroy education. It maps perfectly to how to make a prodigious profit by privatizing it. It is the essential game plan of the big money boys. […]

READ @ http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/29-0



Source: youtube







VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH9k8L3oDa4

Apr 302012

Posted by Elena Tiniakou



On April 26, 2012 at 20:00 let’s turn off the TV and turn to an alternative source of information. The creators of Debtocracy, a documentary viewed by millions of people around the world, present their new production, entitled CATASTROIKA, on the website www.catastroika.com.

The documentary uncovers the forthcoming results of the current sell-off of the Greek public assets, demanded in order to face the country’s enormous sovereign debt. Turning to the examples of London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and Rome, CATASTROIKA predicts what will happen, if the model imposed in these areas is imported in a country under international financial tutelage.

Slavoj Zizek, Naomi Klein, Luis Sepulveda, Ken Loach and Greg Palast talk about the austerity measures, the Greek government as well as the attack against Democracy on Europe, after the general spreading of the financial crisis. Academics and specialists like Dani Rodrik, Alex Callinicos, Ben Fine, Costas Douzinas, Dean Baker and Aditya Chakrabortty present unknown aspects of the privatization programs in Greece and abroad.

Just like Debtocracy, CATASTROIKA is co-produced by the public, which contributed both financially and with ideas to its creation. The documentary will be available free of charge, under creative commons license. High-resolution files will be available for TV and cinema broadcasts in various languages.

The journalists Aris Chatzistefanou and Katerina Kitidi are responsible for writing and directing the documentary, while Leonidas Vatikiotis undertook its scientific editing. Active Member and Ermis Georgiadis created the soundtrack of CATASTROIKA, while the editing was made by Aris Triantafyllou. Infowar Productions and Thanos Tsantas are responsible for producing the film.

For more information, please visit www.catastroika.com or contact us at +306945161147.

Apr 292012



NATO Invades Chicago: But Where is the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) for Citizens in this War-Zone City?

By Ross Ruthenberg, StopNATO

The city of Chicago will be invaded by a NATO conference next month, costing US taxpayers up to $100 million for the provision of facilities and security for 50 delegations comprising some 100 dignitaries and thousands of advisors.

But instead of providing ring-of-steel security for the NATO bureaucrats in attendance, what the hard-pressed citizens of Chicago would appreciate more is a little application of the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine that NATO powers are so keen on bestowing on other parts of the world wracked by violence.

Chicago’s notoriety as a violent city has gone into overdrive in recent years with an epidemic in fatal shootings. Last year, nearly 2,300 people were shot in the Windy City, resulting in 441 homicides, including men, women and children. In the first three months of this year, some 656 were shot, with 145 homicides. At that rate, the victims of gun crime will amount to over 2,600 shootings and 580 homicides by the end of this year alone.

With this level of violence, the people of Chicago do not feel safe in their own city, and the state and federal authorities are conspicuously inadequate in their duty to protect citizens. […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/nato-invades-chicago-where-is-responsibility-to-protect/



By Richard Rozoff, StopNATO

The State Department’s top Eurasia hand addressed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’s Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia on April 26 to present Washington’s perspective on and expectations of next month’s summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In a presentation titled “The Chicago Summit and U.S. Policy,” the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Tina Kaidanow, laid out what the military alliance’s main powerhouse and financial backer demands of its 27 allies and in so doing indicated many of the top geopolitical objectives of her department and the U.S. government as a whole for the upcoming years.

Commenting on the fact that the May 20-21 gathering of over fifty heads of state from nations supplying troops for the longest war in her nation’s history, that in Afghanistan, will occur in Chicago, only the second NATO summit in the U.S. and “the first ever outside of Washington,” Kaidanow reiterated the main purpose of the world’s only military bloc:

“Our hosting of the Summit is a tangible symbol of the importance of NATO to the United States, as well as an opportunity to underscore to the American people the continued value of the Alliance to the security challenges we face today…NATO is vital to U.S. security. More than ever, the Alliance is the mechanism through which the U.S. confronts diverse and difficult threats to our security…Our experiences in the Cold War, in the Balkans, and now in Afghanistan prove that our core interests are better protected by working together than by seeking to respond to threats alone as individual nations.” […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/state-department-reveals-21st-century-natos-global-priorities/



By Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times

The head of Chicago’s NATO Host Committee said Thursday she was blindsided by the federal government’s decision to create a militarized “Red Zone” in the Loop to protect federal buildings in the run-up to the May 20-21 summit at McCormick Place.

The image of federal agents on downtown streets far from McCormick Place — in battle gear, weapons slung — three weeks before the summit is certain to have a chilling effect on those who live and work in the Loop. It also calls into question Host Committee Executive Director Lori Healey’s oft-repeated message that Chicago will remain “open for business” during the summit.

On Thursday, Healey found herself in the difficult position of having to convince the public that a scary headline that blindsided even her is not an indication that the feds are bracing for weeks of trouble. […]

READ @ http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/12151651-418/local-nato-summit-planners-red-faced-over-red-zone-militarization-plan.html



Source: HuffPo

Activists preparing to protest the NATO summit in Chicago next month leaked what they claim is the Secret Service’s security perimeter for the event on Tuesday.

Andy Thayer, spokesman for the Coalition Against NATO/G8 protest group, said, according to NBC Chicago, that the Secret Service told activists that their security boundaries around McCormick Place would extend west from Lake Michigan to the Dan Ryan Expressway. The northern boundary, Thayer claimed, is fluid, varying between 21st Street and West Roosevelt depending on summit activities and the southern boundary is I-55.

Secret Service told ABC Chicago that they met Tuesday with protest groups, but would not confirm whether the security perimeter protesters detailed was accurate or disclose any additional details.

Because of the security perimeter, protesters’ May 20 protest march, beginning at Grant Park’s Petrillo Music Shell, is now slated to end at the intersection of Cermak Road and Michigan Avenue, a block west of where initially outlined in the route the city and protesters agreed to, CBS Chicago reports. That plan was, of course, contingent upon Secret Service’s plan.

Protesters are not pleased that their demonstration will no longer be within sight and sound of the summit site.

We’ll be blocks away,” Thayer told Reuters. […]

READ and VIDEO @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/nato-security-perimeter-c_n_1451811.html



By Wendy McElroy, Freeman

In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states (Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland), it is now illegal to record an on-duty police officer even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested.   Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

Massachusetts attorney June Jensen represented Simon Glik who was arrested for such a recording. She explained, “[T]he statute has been misconstrued by Boston police. You could go to the Boston Common and snap pictures and record if you want.”  Legal scholar and professor Jonathan Turley agrees, “The police are basing this claim on a ridiculous reading of the two-party consent surveillance law — requiring all parties to consent to being taped. I have written in the area of surveillance law and can say that this is utter nonsense.” […]

READ @ http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/are-cameras-the-new-guns/



By David Swanson, War Is A Crime 

[…] Now, history does not actually repeat itself. It’s far too complex and unpredictable. But a few facts leap out at us today:

We are at war with the world without end for the sake of war itself.

We have given power over from the Congress to the President.

We have allowed the Supreme Court to give power over the President to financial and weapons interests.

We have developed a central corporatist and militarist communications system.

Our government operates in great secrecy, censoring and prosecuting whistleblowers.

Our military conducts criminal trials that people strain themselves not to laugh at or condemn, thereby training themselves in a new kind of behavior.

Our president claims the power to imprison, torture, or murder.

Our society has labeled a class of people “illegals” and subjected them to a secondary and abusive status.

Our police have been militarized, nationalized, and empowered to strip-search us or assault us with tasers.

A soldier was just dismissed for speaking unacceptably of the President.

Our government and large corporate partners spy on everything we say on a telephone or near a cell phone, and everything we do or type on the internet.

Our government kills people all over the world with drones and is now putting drones in our own skies.

And we’ve advanced from lying about wars to joking about the lies about the wars to not even bothering with the lies or any legal pretense whatsoever.

Have we killed as many people as Hitler did? No, not in the same manner. But by sins of both commission (Iraqis bombed and shot, for example) and omission (children starving and suffering from preventable illness, for example) of course we have. And we have the potential to quite easily kill many more.

I can still write this.

I can still post this on marginal websites unseen by the masses.

I can still say these things openly on the street.

But reporters are being preemptively detained. Peace activists’ homes are being raided. And the number two excuse I get from people for their inaction (after futility, which is always number one) is fear (which is not always high on the list — it had to be put there). […]

READ @ http://warisacrime.org/content/global-war-terror-original-german



Source: RT

Spain has plunged into what the government calls a ‘crisis of huge proportions’, with its jobless rate rising towards a record one in four. Boasting the highest unemployment in Europe, the country’s deficit and the deteriorating economic situation are only likely to be met with a backlash from angry Spaniards. But as Jacob Greaves reports, the more public frustration grows, the harsher the authorities’ response becomes.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AN6Pg6RqcnI&feature=player_embedded



By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet

Why has Big Pharma failed to produce new antibiotics for deadly infections like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci), C. Difficile and Acinetobacter baumannii even as they leap from hospital to community settings? Because there is no money in it.

Pharma executives “have shown less interest in medicines like antibiotics that actually cure disease than in those that only treat symptoms,” writes Melody Petersen, author of Our Daily Meds. “Most blockbusters are pills for conditions such as anxiety, high cholesterol or constipation that must be taken daily, often for months or years. They are designed for rich Americans who can afford to buy them.” Nor are medicines for tropical diseases like malaria, which kills a child every 30 seconds, a priority, notes Petersen. They also lack ka-ching.

Since direct-to-consumer drug advertising debuted in the late 1990s, the number of people on prescription drugs — especially prescription drugs for life — has ballooned. Between 2001 to 2007 the percentage of adults and children on one or more prescriptions for chronic conditions rose by more than 12 million, reports the Associated Press and 25 percent of US children now take a medication for a chronic condition. Seven percent of kids take two or more daily drugs. Who says advertising doesn’t work?

Of the top-selling drugs in 2011, led by Lipitor, Nexium, Plavix, Advair Diskus, Abilify, Seroquel, Singulair and Crestor, none is taken occasionally, or “as needed” and the treatment goal is never to get off the drug, like an antibiotic. Why would Pharma deal itself out of the game? […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/155170




APRIL 24, 2012


[…] Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall:  President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.

Give it up everybody.  David Koch.

Little known fact — David, nice to see you again, sir.

Little known fact, David’s brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential.  Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million.  That’s kind of cheap, Dave.

Sure, he’s all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave’s always in the men’s room.  I’m sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.

I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am — thank you, thank you — and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC.  And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there’s no way for you to ever know whether that’s a joke. […]

READ @ http://thepage.time.com/2012/04/25/clinton-and-colbert-at-the-time-100/



Source: RT

Outcry from Internet users, over the controversial cyber security act ‘CISPA’, is set to spill onto the streets. The hacker group Anonymous is hitting back in response to the bill by launching what it calls ‘Operation Defense Phase two’. CISPA, having passed the US House of Representatives on Friday, is now a step closer to becoming law. It’s now heading to the Senate, as the White House continues to threaten a veto of the bill. The act could allow Internet companies to legally share sensitive user information with the American government – a move critics say infringes on privacy and civil liberties. Journalist David Seaman explains how this bill puts everyone at risk. Luke Samuel, from Online Magazine “Spiked” thinks the CISPA bill is one of the latest attempts by the US government to limit the first amendment rights of its citizens.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi5sxub2VEM&feature=player_embedded

Apr 272012



Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-CpCUOygqU&feature=player_embedded



By Richard Rozoff, StopNATO

[…] In short, NATO’s 21st century global expeditionary force and its top commanders. An international military coalition never authorized by the United Nations or discussed at any conference or other fora except at NATO Headquarters and at the bloc’s summits.

On the second day of the Military Committee conference in Brussels, NATO’s Allied Command Operations reported on a training course underway at the Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters in Brunssum, the Netherlands where staff officers from NATO’s Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnerships are being instructed to “work as augmentees in a Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJF HQ) environment. […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/partners-across-the-globe-nato-consolidates-worldwide-military-force/



By Amy Goodman, Truthdig

Three targeted Americans: A career government intelligence official, a filmmaker and a hacker. None of these U.S. citizens was charged with a crime, but they have been tracked, surveilled, detained – sometimes at gunpoint – and interrogated, with no access to a lawyer. Each remains resolute in standing up to the increasing government crackdown on dissent

The intelligence official: William Binney worked for almost 40 years at the secretive National Security Agency (NSA), the U.S. spy agency that dwarfs the CIA. As technical director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, Binney told me, he was tasked to “see how we could solve collection, analysis and reporting on military and geopolitical issues all around the world, every country in the world.” Throughout the 1990s, the NSA developed a massive eavesdropping system code-named ThinThread, which, Binney says, maintained crucial protections on the privacy of U.S. citizens demanded by the U.S. Constitution. He recalled, “After 9/11, all the wraps came off for NSA,” as massive domestic spying became the norm. He resigned on Oct. 31, 2001.

Along with several other NSA officials, Binney reported his concerns to Congress and to the Department of Defense. Then, in 2007, as then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was being questioned on Capitol Hill about the very domestic spying to which Binney objected, a dozen FBI agents charged into his house, guns drawn. They forced aside his son and found Binney, a diabetic amputee, in the shower. They pointed their guns at his head, then led him to his back porch and interrogated him. […]

READ @ http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/294-159/11144-the-nsa-is-watching-you



By Leigh Beadon, TechDirt

Up until this afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be tomorrow. Then, abruptly, it was moved up today—and the House voted in favor of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that’s not even the worst part.

The vote followed the debate on amendments, several of which were passed. Among them was an absolutely terrible change (pdf and embedded below—scroll to amendment #6) to the definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government’s power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.

Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for “cybersecurity” or “national security” purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA. […]

READ @ http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120426/14505718671/insanity-cispa-just-got-way-worse-then-passed-rushed-vote.shtml



By Natasha Korecki, Chicago Sun-Times

Starting next week, expect to see a showing of federal law enforcement in “battle” gear, weapons slung, in a highly visible effort to protect a perimeter that encompasses the federally operated buildings in the Loop.

Law enforcement has dubbed their efforts “Operation Red Zone.” It’s headed by the Federal Protective Service, which is working with state, federal and local law enforcement in anticipation of the NATO Summit in Chicago on May 20 and 21.

Even though the actual meetings for the summit will happen at McCormick Place, federal law enforcement is aiming to protect a vast area in the Loop where thousands of federal employees and dozens of government offices are located.

Included in the zone is the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, the Kluczynski Building, the RH Metcalfe Building and the Metropolitan Correctional Center. It also includes the so-called “State Street cluster” — other federally owned buildings on State Street. The perimeter runs from Harrison Street to the south, Adams Street to the north, State Street to the east and Franklin to the west. […]

READ @ http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/12136227-418/federal-agents-to-begin-protecting-red-zone-for-nato-next-week.html



By Rick Ungar, Forbes

[…] We are consistently led to believe that it is the ‘aging workforce’ that rests at the heart of Social Security’s funding problems. Tune in to any of the media reports covering the numbers just out and this is what you are going to see and hear.

The claim, while legitimately representing a small piece of the problem, fails to explain the lion’s share of the crisis we will experience in the Social Security Trust —and by lion’s share I mean a full 60 percent of the entitlement’s funding shortages.

The ‘aging workforce’ narrative serves to encourage and support the critics who claim that our problem is too many retirees lining up to collect their entitlements only to find that the government has failed to properly manage the Social Security trust fund—leaving the next generation of beneficiaries to be shortchanged 25 years down the line. As a result, the privatization pushers argue that Americans would be far better off looking out for their own retirement accounts so that government mismanagement will not come between hard-working citizens and their retirement money.

This is the Great American Social Security Lie. […]

READ @ http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/04/24/the-great-american-social-security-lie/



By Simon Johnson, Baseline Scenario

Most Americans paid no attention this weekend when the International Monetary Fund announced it was well on its way to roughly doubling the money that it can lend to troubled countries – what the organization calls a $430 billion increase in the “global firewall.”

The United States declined to participate in this round of fund-raising, so the I.M.F. has instead sought commitments from Europe, Japan, India and other larger emerging markets.

At first glance, this might seem like a free pass for the United States. The additional I.M.F. lending capacity is available to euro-zone countries that now face pressure, such as Spain or Italy, so it might seem that global financial stability is increased without any cost to the American taxpayer.

But such an interpretation mistakes what is really happening – and actually represents a much broader problem with our budgetary thinking. The I.M.F. represents a contingent liability to taxpayer sin the United States – much as the Federal National Mortgage Association (known as Fannie Mae) and Freddie Mac (formerly the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) have in the past — and as too-big-to-fail mega-banks do now. […]

READ @ http://baselinescenario.com/2012/04/26/american-taxpayer-liabilities-just-went-up-again-why-isnt-congress-paying-attention/#more-10094



“We’re continuing to pull up oil in our nets. People who live here know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters.”

By Joieau, Daily Kos

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources acted this week to close waters along the Gulf Coast to shrimping due to [EDIT: amidst] widespread reports from scientists and fishermen of deformed seafood and drastic fall-offs in populations two years after the BP oil spill. [‘Official’ reason is now reported to be smaller than average shrimp.]

All waters in the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay, and some areas of Bon Secour, Wolf Bay and Little Lagoon were closed to shrimpers. Reports of grossly deformed seafood all along the Gulf from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle have been logged with increasing urgency, but Alabama is the first state to actually close waters to the seafood industry.

And it’s not just the shrimp. Commercial fishermen are reporting red snapper and grouper riddled with deep lesions and covered with strange black streaks. Highly underdeveloped blue crabs are being pulled up in traps without eyes and claws…

Commercial fishers Tracy Kuhns and Mike Roberts from Barataria, LA reported to Al Jazeera when showing samples of eyeless shrimp…

“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these. Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”

READ @ http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/26/1086617/-Gulf-Coast-Waters-Closed-to-Shrimping



Source: youtube


VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fOu6jt5VXEU

Apr 262012

Source: Den Plirono Media Team – Athens, Greece

Ολοι μαζί μπορούμε! Ψηφίζουμε ΚΙΝΗΜΑ ΔΕΝ ΠΛΗΡΩΝΩ
Τίποτα δεν τελείωσε, όλα τώρα αρχίζουν…

Together, we can make a difference. It’s not over, it’s just beginning!




– Κίνημα ΔΕΝ ΠΛΗΡΩΝΩ spot οι θέσεις μας: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFGuwKny0jA&feature=watch_response

ΔΕΝ ΠΛΗΡΩΝΩ: Η λύση σε ότι μαυρίζει την ζωή μας: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2De-vP310ns#!

– VIDEO: 99% v. 1% – ΚΙΝΗΜΑ ΔΕΝ ΠΛΗΡΩΝΩ – DEN PLIRONO MOVEMENT – WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?:http://99getsmart.com/?p=3047

– ΤΟ ΚΙΝΗΜΑ ΔΕΝ ΠΛΗΡΩΝΩ ΣΤΗΝ ΠΑΡΕΛΑΣΗ 25ης ΜΑΡΤΙΟΥ – VIDEO: http://99getsmart.com/?p=2869

– The DEN PLIRONO MOVEMENT in Greece takes direct action and opens the toll booths @ Afidnes 18-3-12 VIDEO: http://99getsmart.com/?p=2824

– 16-03-12 GREECE: DEN PLIRONO TAKES DIRECT ACTION – AFIDNES TOLLS – VIDEO: http://99getsmart.com/?p=2796



– GREEK STEEL WORKERS ON STRIKE FOR OVER 125 DAYS – VIDEO: http://99getsmart.com/?p=2556

– VIDEO: “I DON’T PAY” MOVEMENT GIVES INTERVIEW ON BBC: http://99getsmart.com/?p=2291

– VIDEO: “I DON’T PAY”: ΔΕΝ ΠΛΗΡΩΝΩ ΔΡΑΣΗ ΜΕΤΡΟ ΣΥΝΤΑΓΜΑ 17/2/2012: http://99getsmart.com/?p=2285

– VIDEO: MOVEMENT “I DON’T PAY” IS SPREADING ACROSS EUORPE: http://99getsmart.com/?p=2280

Apr 262012



By Hale Stewart, The Big Picture

From the Financial Times:

“We can only win back confidence if we bring down excessive deficits and boost competitiveness,” he said. “In a such a situation, consolidation might inspire confidence and actually help the economy to grow.”

The above statement shows why austerity is simply one of the dumbest policies on the planet.  First, The EU region was already growing at a slow rate when people started to talk about austerity.  Consider the following chart: […]

[…] Since the end of the recession, the best seasonally adjusted annual rate of growth (SAAR) is 2.4%.  But that figure is really an outlier; looking at the chart we see that the rate of growth can be broken down into two time periods.  The first — the five quarters coming out of the recession — growth was actually OK; it averaged 1.78% while the median number was 2%.  But since then — when the continent decided to implement austerity — the growth rate slowed.  Either way, growth was not strong enough for the economy to achieve “escape velocity” — a rate of growth that creates a self-sustaining, private sector led growth rate over 2.5%.  As a result, unemployment hasn’t dropped, but instead has risen: […]

[…] Coming out of the recession, we see increased unemployment — which is to be expected, as unemployment is a lagging indicator.  However, since then unemployment hasn’t dropped, indicating that the economy hasn’t hit that critical growth level where employment picks up.  In fact, we see unemployment increase overall,  


READ and CHARTS @ http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/04/people-are-finally-figuring-out-austerity-is-stupid/



By Delusional Economics, Naked Capitalism

Overnight the president of the European Central Bankmag-glass_10x10.gif, Mario Draghi, gave a speech to the Hearing at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament. The speech was not particularly out of line with what Mr Draghi usually says, such as:

Available indicators for the first quarter of 2012 broadly confirm a stabilisation in economic activity at a low level. Latest developments in survey data are mixed, highlighting prevailing uncertainty. Looking ahead, growth should be supported by foreign demand, the very low short-term interest rates as well as our non-standard measures. At the same time, downside risks relate in particular to a renewed intensification of tensions in euro area sovereign debt markets and their potential spillover to the real economy. Further increases in commodity prices may also hamper economic activity.

This is the same speech lead-in we have been hearing since Mario Draghi took over the helm of the ECB from Jean-Claude Trichet. Given recent PMI data much of this statements appears to be completely disconnected from the reality of what is happening in Europe, but this isn’t the first time I have noted Mr Draghi’s apparent delusion. […]

READ @ http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/the-ecb-is-on-mars.html



Source: My Budget 360

The news for young Americans doesn’t seem to be getting any better.  Earlier this week it was announced that Social Security will be running out of funds by 2033, three years earlier than expected.  What this means if nothing is changed is that future retirees will receive only 75 percent of expected payouts.  Not a good item of news considering inflation in daily goods is high thanks to the bailout policies and quantitative digital printing taken on by the Federal Reserve.  The full retirement age of Social Security for those impacted will be 66 or 67 by 2033 for everyone born after 1954 or 1960 and 21 years from now will come up a lot quicker than most realize.  Yet many recent graduates, those under 25 with a bachelor’s degree are either unemployed or severely underemployed.  What is worse, the young generation is shouldering most of the massive debt in the student loan market.  Older generations are being impacted since many are moving back home or are requiring resources merely to stay afloat.  Hard to imagine a future generation with lower financial living standards but this is simply the continuing trend of breaking apart the middle class. […]

READ and CHARTS @ http://www.mybudget360.com/young-jobless-half-of-bachelors-degree-holders-under-the-age-of-25-unemployed-underemployed-social-security-system-financial-trend-for-future/



By Annie Lowrey, NYTimes

[…] Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have spent the last decade tracking the incomes of the poor, the middle class and the rich in countries across the world. More than anything else, their work shows that the top earners in the United States have taken a bigger and bigger share of overall income over the last three decades, with inequality nearly as acute as it was before the Great Depression.

Known in Washington and the economics profession by the of-course-you-know shorthand “Piketty-Saez,” the two have been denounced on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and won mention in White House budget documents.

Mr. Saez, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has won the John Bates Clark Medal, an economic laurel considered second only to the Nobel, as well as a MacArthur Fellowship grant. Mr. Piketty, 40, of the Paris School of Economics, has won Le Monde’s prize for best young economist, among other awards.

Both admire, even adore, the United States, they say, for its entrepreneurial drive, innovative spirit and, not least, its academic excellence: the two met while re-searchers in Cambridge, Mass. But both also express bewilderment over the current conversation about whether the wealthy, who have taken most of America’s income gains over the last 30 years, should be paying higher taxes.

“The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.” […]

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/business/for-economists-saez-and-piketty-the-buffett-rule-is-just-a-start.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all



Source: youtube 

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence questions witnesses at a hearing entitled: “DHS Monitoring of Social Networking and Media: Enhancing Intelligence Gathering and Ensuring Privacy.”

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7fcj2znlbnU



Source: ABC News

[…] “I would say to you, let’s relax, let the professionals do what they do best and let’s have a good time during this 24, 48 hours,” said Terry Hillard, Hillard Heintze Security.

Officials say with anywhere from 100 to 140 motorcades going between McCormick Place and hotels where dignitaries are staying, any major disruptions during the summit will more than likely come from traffic congestion, not protesters.

Permits have been granted for six protest events. Still, officials are prepared to crack down on unruly demonstrators.

“We embrace and we will welcome First Amendment activity,” said Deb Kirby, Chicago Police Department. “But criminal conduct will be addressed. And we will address it appropriately, and surgically in terms of making sure that we are able to stop criminal conduct while at the same time supporting first amendment conduct.”

The NATO summit will take place May 20-21 in Chicago.[…]

READ @ http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news%2Flocal&id=8634508



The US government’s suppression of all accountability and transparency in prosecuting the WikiLeaks suspect is totalitarian.

By Michael Ratner, AlterNet

[…] As an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and a legal adviser to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, I continue to attend Manning’s hearings and can only describe them as a theater of the absurd: the trial involves numerous and lengthy off-the-record conferences, out of sight and hearing of the press and public, after which the judge provides an in-court summary that hardly satisfies standards of “open and public”. Perhaps more remarkable is the refusal even to provide the defense with a pre-trial publicity order signed by the judge – an order that details what lawyers can and cannot reveal about the case. Yes, even the degree to which proceedings should be kept in secret is a secret, leaving the public and media chained in a Plato’s Cave, able only to glimpse the shadows of reality.

The press and advocacy groups, however, have not been quiet about the trampling of their rights. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, on behalf of 46 news organizations, urged the Department of Defense to take measures that would allow the news media to view documents prior to court arguments. The committee pointed out that the trial for the “alleged leak of the largest amount of classified information in US history” is of “intense public interest, particularly where, as here, that person’s liberty is at stake”. The Center for Constitutional Rights, too, has requested access in the interest of an “open and public” trial, but neither appeal has been answered.

This is a clear violation of the law, but it will likely take burdensome litigation to rectify this lack of transparency. The US supreme court has insisted that criminal trials must be public, and the fourth circuit, where this court martial is occurring, has ruled that the first amendment right of access to criminal trials includes the right to the documents in such trials.

The greater issue at hand is why this process should be necessary at all. As circuit judge Damon Keith famously wrote in Detroit Free Press v Ashcroft, “Democracies die behind closed doors.” Yet it is evident from the many layers of secrecy around Manning’s arrest, imprisonment and prosecution that the government shows no sign of relinquishing its claimed powers to obscure rightfully transparent judicial proceedings. The doors appear to be tightly shut.

Unless we challenge the growing culture of secrecy within our government, and counter the ever-increasing, reflexive claims of “national security” by claiming our own constitutional rights, we risk finding those doors shut indefinitely.

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/story/155136/bradley_manning%3A_a_totalitarian_show_trial_of_state_secrecy?page=entire



Source: youtube


Every activist should know shit the FBI says. Learn more about how the FBI is targeting political activism as “terrorism” at GreenIsTheNewRed.com.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rI8INgw0xq0#!


This video features Chicago Lawyer, Jerry Boyle, from the NLG, giving a workshop to Occupy Chicago. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS TRAINING: http://99getsmart.com/?p=146



Source: anarkismo.com

The repression continues after the general strike. This morning, while she was on her way to work, the Mossos d’Esquadra [Catalonian police] arrested the Organization Secretary of the CGT-Barcelona, Laura Gómez and took her to the police station in Les Corts. The charge by the police is arson and fire damage to the Barcelona Stock Exchange. This and other charges against her have no foundation and are an attempt to create an image of a violent person. Laura does not have a criminal record, and all that the police can cite are peaceful actions during the struggle for labour rights in Barcelona.

The truth – without exaggerating – is that already after the general strike we said, literally, “it is true that members of the CGT burned a couple of papers in a box in front of the Barcelona Stock Exchange, and threw a few eggs, actions that were fully symbolic and carried out openly. That is what the plainclothes police in our modst must have thought too, given that they did not bother to identify anyone. It is by no means true that it was the first fire, in Mercabarna, in the Zona Franca, etc. there were several fires throughout the night, most of which were started by other unions’ pickets”. […]

READ @ http://www.anarkismo.net/article/22628



Source: Local Federation Unions

Today, Judge of the Court of Instruction No. 23, Barcelona has decreed prison without bail to the Organizing Secretary of the CGT-Barcelona with alternative charges of fire damage, coercion, crime and public disorder offenses against fundamental rights.

The CGT believes that they are paying off political pressure, both the court and the prosecution, as a person with no criminal record, established fixed, steady job, a daughter who lives with her, is said by the prosecution that is at risk leakage and relapse before even being tried and convicted. These scales do not apply to the bankers, or politicians investigated for anti-corruption prosecutors who were released. We really question the “judicial independence” from the rest of power in a so-called “rule of law.”

Since the CGT believe that there is no reason to justify his detention, much less to his imprisonment, which is a clear abuse of power and violation of the right not to be deprived of liberty. […]

READ @ http://tinyurl.com/6mktlpb

Apr 252012



Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hyx4ch2Gc4&feature=related



By Allison Kilkenny, Truthout

When it was announced in March that the G-8 summit would not take place in Chicago as scheduled, but instead Camp David, Occupy Wall Street activists declared victory. After all, it was Occupy that had been making waves all fall, threatening to tarnish some of the glossiest public facades of the most powerful companies and figures in the world, and it is Occupy that is working to organize thousands of protesters expected to flood Chicago next month in anticipation of NATO and (at the time) G-8.

Suddenly, there was Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for President Obama’s National Security Council, admitting that the G-8 was high-tailing it from Chicago, Obama’s hometown, because of “political, economic and security issues.”

But real victory for activists was far from secure. The NATO and International Security Assistance Force meetings are still scheduled for the third week of May, and Occupy Chicago, along with other protest groups, are prepared to demonstrate despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s police state-esque transformation of the Chicago Police Department.

Even though the G-8 will now be held in a friendly-sounding bunker, the world should still watch Chicago this May, if only to bear witness to the clash between forces bearing wildly different styles of armor. Protesters will be armed with, well, nothing. Signs, maybe some banners. These activists will face a police force on steroids and a mayor wielding unprecedented levels of power, who essentially has full carte blanche to crush protest actions under the guise of maintaining security. […]

READ @ http://truth-out.org/news/item/8687-why-you-should-still-care-about-chicagos-nato-summit



Source: youtube

Many people are going to oppose NATO Summit in Chicago May 19, 2012. We made series of TV shows that will explain why folks are protesting the NATO. Occupy Chicago and Other will attend the march that will leave Daley Center 12:00 PM noon that day.This show is hosted by Andy Thayer and Produced by Patrick McDonough of Chicago Clout.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4lBB-NGaU0&context=C4dcada6ADvjVQa1PpcFNyG1wlormPNhzL9Hy-AUB3CYnuZaIKlBo=



Source: The Albert Einstein Institution

(from Gene Sharp, The Methods of Nonviolent Action, Boston 1973)



  1. Public speeches
  2. Letters of opposition or support
  3. Declarations by organizations and institutions
  4. Signed public declarations
  5. Declarations of indictment and intention
  6. Group or mass petitions


  1. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
  2. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
  3. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
  4. Newspapers and journals
  5. Records, radio, and television
  6. Skywriting and earthwriting


  1. Deputations
  2. Mock awards
  3. Group lobbying
  4. Picketing
  5. Mock elections […]

Link to the Albert Einstein Institution for more of Gene Sharp’s work

READ @ http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/198_methods-1.pdf



Source: New World Next Week

Welcome back to http://NewWorldNextWeek.com — the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GHAQUxtnHAk



Source: youtube

“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” — William Colby, former CIA Director, quoted by Dave Mcgowan, Derailing Democracy

“You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.” — CIA operative, discussing the availability and prices of journalists willing to peddle CIA propaganda and cover stories. Katherine the Great, by Deborah Davis

“There is quite an incredible spread of relationships. You don’t need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are [Central Intelligence] Agency people at the management level.” — William B. Bader, former CIA intelligence officer, briefing members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, The CIA and the Media, by Carl Bernstein

“The Agency’s relationship with [The New York] Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. [It was] general Times policy … to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.” — The CIA and the Media, by Carl Bernstein.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF96CJxNwzc&feature=player_embedded



Tearing down sovereign nations and replacing them with global system administrators

By Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer Report

Part 1: Imperialism is Alive and Well

The British Empire didn’t just have a fleet that projected its hegemonic will across the planet, it possessed financial networks to consolidate global economic power, and system administrators to ensure the endless efficient flow of resources from distant lands back to London and into the pockets of England’s monied elite. It was a well oiled machine, refined by centuries of experience.

While every schoolchild learns about the British Empire, it seems a common modern-day political malady for adults to believe that reality is organized as their history books were in school – in neat well defined chapters. This leads to the common misconception that the age of imperialism is somehow a closed-chapter in human history. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Imperialism did not go extinct. It simply evolved. […]

READ @ http://landdestroyer.blogspot.fr/2012/02/empires-double-edged-sword-global.html



Source: Infowars, youtube 

Hr 1505 if passed will make over 21 million miles of parkland into Homeland Security Zones

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nu7o6TldG4&feature=share



By Josephine Moulds, Guardian UK

12.36pm: Compass, the left-wing pressure group, argues that neither Labour nor the Conservatives have the right policies to end the economic crisis.

Neal Lawson, chair of Compass, said Ed Miliband and Ed Balls should be bolder:

Labour’s ‘5 point plan’ doesn’t go far enough. Ed Miliband and Ed Balls need to go on the offensive by presenting a clear alternative to the failed politics of austerity, rather than offering up a lightweight version of the “Osbornomics” which has let the country down so badly these last two years.

• Reversing the cuts until the economy is growing strongly.
• A new round of Quantitative Easing to be directed to a Green New Deal, to insulate and prepare large numbers of buildings to use renewable energy.
• Cancelling PFI debts, saving the nation £200bn in debt repayments.
• Increasing some benefits for the poorest, who are most likely to spend any extra income, thus boosting demand.
• Introducing a Financial Transaction tax on the City to be used for public investment purposes.
• Closing the £70 billion lost tax gap with a range of anti-avoidance measures including a general anti-avoidance principle. […]

READ @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/apr/25/eurozone-crisis-live-uk-double-dip-recession



By Charles Hugh Smith, ZeroHedge

Issuing debt and printing money do not create wealth. All they can create is a temporary illusion of wealth.

I could have written “if all the money vanishes,” but that would be misleading, for all unbacked money will most certainly vanish into thin air. The only question is when, not if. Frequent contributor Harun I. explains why:

Those who fail to understand that the Status Quo is impossible to maintain will be shocked when the disintegration is undeniable. But the whole thing was perverse to begin with. Words like capitalism and meritocracy are thrown around to make people feel good when, in reality, we have never owned anything, not even ourselves.

How can we own ourselves when the very thing we use for subsistence can be cheapened or reduced to nearly nothing, not by market forces, but by central banks acting at the behest of governments? When a person does not control his labor, what is he?

I have been studying the monetary history of the world for the past few weeks. I can tell you that the second oldest profession is currency debasement. Nothing is new. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-what-happens-when-all-money-vanishes-thin-air

Apr 242012



By Chris Hedges, OpEdNews

[…] The extremists, of course, are already in power. They have been in power for several years. They write our legislation. They pick the candidates and fund their campaigns. They dominate the courts. They effectively gut regulations and environmental controls. They suck down billions in government subsidies. They pay no taxes. They determine our energy policy. They loot the U.S. treasury. They rigidly control public debate and information. They wage useless and costly imperial wars for profit. They are behind the stripping away of our most cherished civil liberties. They are implementing government programs to gouge out any money left in the carcass of America. And they know that Romney or Barack Obama, along with the Democratic and the Republican parties, will not stop them.

The abrasive Nicolas Sarkozy is France’s oilier version of Bush. Sarkozy, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has done the dirty work for bankers. He and Merkel have shoved draconian austerity measures down the throats of Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy. The governments of all these countries, not surprisingly, have been deposed by an enraged electorate. And if the new governments in these distressed European states continue to be ineffectual — which is inevitable given the sacrifices demanded by the banks — the instability will get worse.

Politicians such as Obama — and, I fear, Holland — who carry out corporate agendas while speaking in the language of populism become enemies of liberal democracies. Labor unions, environmentalists, anti-war activists and civil libertarians, blinded by the images and lies disseminated by public relations offices, stop watching what these politicians do. They mute their criticism to give these politicians, whose rhetoric is rarely matched by reality, a chance. The result accelerates our disempowerment. It is also, more ominously, a discrediting of traditional liberal democratic values. The longer the liberal class does not vigorously denounce expanded oil drilling, our corporate health insurance bill and the National Defense Authorization Act, simply because these initiatives have been pushed through by the Democrats, the more marginal the left becomes. If Bush had carried these policies, “liberal” pundits would have thundered with feigned outrage. The hypocrisy of the American left is too blatant to ignore. And it has effectively left us disempowered as a political force. […]

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=149307



By Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times

As many as 500 troopers from the Illinois State Police will assist the Chicago Police Department in handling thousands of protesters expected to descend on Chicago during the May 20-21 NATO summit, City Hall sources said Friday.

The 500-trooper contingent would represent nearly 40 percent of the statewide total, raising questions about how the State Police would be able to juggle their other responsibilities to patrol state expressways and tollways and perform other emergency functions. […]

READ @ http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/12033252-418/as-many-as-500-troopers-from-the-illinois-state-police-will-assist-the-chicago-police.html



Source: youtube

SPVM Shoots demonstrator point blank with CS canister gun at the montreal congress center.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0Gm4_cix8w&amp



Source: Canadian Press

Unusually violent clashes with police, projectiles thrown at highway vehicles, an apparently hacked government website, and a joke by Premier Jean Charest about it all that some thought in bad taste.

At a moment when Quebecers thought the mood couldn’t be more venomous between student protesters and the government, events degenerated once again Friday.

Protesters, primarily those raging over planned hikes to college and university tuition, showed up at Montreal’s convention centre, where hundreds of business people were gathered to hear Charest vaunt his “North Plan,” a major mining and natural resource development strategy in the province’s north.

They pounded on the centre’s multicoloured windows and picketed the entrances. Then about 150 found their way inside and Charest’s speech was delayed.

Shortly after noon, police declared the demonstration illegal and moved to disperse those inside and outside the centre. […]

READ @ http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1165275–charest-speech-erupts-into-rowdy-protest-in-montreal



By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge

If there is anyone shocked by today’s announcement by the Bank of Greece that the country is once again slashing its full year economic forecast by 10%, aside from the IMF of course, please raise your hand. As a reminder, the IMF, whose projections were the basis for the recently released second bailout, and which assume a flat GDP in 2013, somehow has visibility through 2020. Which is more than can be said for the Bank of Greece: its latest forecast of 4.5% GDP decline was made three weeks ago. THREE WEEKS. And it already is being revised. In other news, we look forward to updating the deposit flight out of Greek banks when the most recent monthly update is released shortly, confirming that the local economy continues to be, simply said, dead. A few more such comparable downward revisions, and the Third Greek bailout (Of European Banks), which is due any second now, may be jeopardized (as it will be more difficult to sell to Germans why they are once again bailing out French banks). […]

[…] And some more bad news: more wage cuts are coming. Yes, soon our Onionesque forecast of negative wages will come true…

Apart from reiterating its call for further layoffs in the public sector, the Bank of Greece also said that wages should be cut further in order to boost competitiveness. It added that Greece is still missing structural reforms that could boost productivity, services and the business environment generally. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/it-took-bank-greece-only-three-weeks-revise-it-2012-gdp-forecast-even-lower



Source: youtube

Greek town develops bartering system without euro. As Greece wonders whether its debt crisis will eventually spell its exit from the euro, one town in the centre of the country, Volos, has formed an alternative local currency. It works through a bartering system or exchange of goods.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTMXhSSOBSk



Source: keeptalkinggreece

That’s the country of economic miracles full of paradoxes. While the incomes decrease and wages undergo more and more cuts of 20-30%, prices keep going higher and higher. As if the 40% hikes in heating oil were not enough, prices for public transport and utilities are expected to rise at 25%. Greek media report that public transport tickets will be up, the same will happen with electricity and water consumption.

Tickets for one public transport mean (bus, trolley and tram) will increase from €1.20 to €1.50, while tickets for the metro and combined for all transport means will reach €1.75 -from €1.40 today. Increases of 25% will also affect the fares for trains and Proastiakos.

Electricity bills for households and small enterprises are expected to rise with the arrival of 2013, while water bills will see hikes within 2012.

According to the Greek media, the administrations of the state-run enterprises are on ‘reorganization tour’ as dictated in the second loan agreement between Greece and its lenders: The plans include these 25% hikes, further decreases in wages and operating costs. And getting ready for privatizations. […]

READ @ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2012/04/24/greeks-to-pay-25-increases-in-public-transport-electricity-and-water/



By Claire Valdini

A member of Qatar’s royal family has purchased a Greek island for €5m, according to a local report.

The 1,236-acre island, named Oxia, was initially advertised by owners the Greek-Australian Stamoulis family for €6.9m ($9.1m), Greek daily Ekathimerini reported, citing unnamed sources.

The island’s new owners are expected to develop part of the island, it added.

The island is located in the Ionian Sea, near Ithaca, and is protected by the Natura 2000 ecological network, the newspaper said.

Greece’s government has been under pressure to privatise the country’s islands in the wake of its sovereign debt crisis.

The sale follows a week after Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund announced it had signed an agreement to acquire Smeralda Holding, owner of luxury hotel resorts on Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. […]

READ @ http://m.arabianbusiness.com/qatar-royal-buys-greek-island-report-454838.html



By Carey L. Biron, IPS

[…] According to activists and farmers speaking ahead of the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty here in Washington, part of the blame also needs to be placed on the Bank’s own technical assistance, past and present. The issue formed a core message during more than 250 protests worldwide on Apr. 17, marked as the International Day of Peasant Struggle.

‘Decades of World Bank policies have created the basis for what is happening today,’ Giulia Franchi, a campaigner with the Italian Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale, said on Monday.

Franchi and others express particular frustration with a Bank-led initiative known as the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that Respects Rights, Livelihoods and Resources (commonly referred to as RAI), which came into existence in January 2010.

The RAI, Franchi says, constitutes ‘an attempt to support transnational corporations to acquire land worldwide. While it looks like it’s standing with local communities, there is no way that the expropriation of people’s lands can be considered responsible.’ […]

READ @ http://www.globalissues.org/news/2012/04/23/13444



By Django, Libcom.org

[…] The official demands of the protest were an end to the austerity measures (at least in their current form, the dissolution of the government and new elections. Recent corruption scandals have also led to demands to “clean up” politics. The demand for elections may materialise, as the coalition teeters on the brink of collapse following the disintegration of the Public Affairs party. The Social Democrats would stand to benefit, followed by the Communist Party who currently are standing second in opinion polls.

However, the composition of attendees, and the numbers (double what was expected by the organisers) show a current of anger over an erosion of day-to-day living standards. AFP quoted a pensioner, Jana Sizlingova on her reasons for attending: “I’m upset with corruption, non-transparent procurement, the health system, the social system — simply, there’s nothing good about this government,”

The protest numbers among the largest since those which brought down the Stalinist government in conjunction with a general strike in 1989. Until a similar protest last year, large-scale demonstrations of this kind have been rare in the Czech Republic.

Below are photos I took on the demonstration today, which began in the historically working class district of Žižkov and culminated in a rally in the packed out Wenceslas square (so packed, in fact, that I was caught in a nasty crush on one side of the square). Police presence was low (perhaps because they’d underestimated numbers in the same way as the organisers), and the demonstration was incredibly noisy but not especially boisterous. […]

READ and PHOTOS @ http://libcom.org/blog/stop-vládě-union-demo-prague-21042012



The Dutch government has collapsed as the Prime Minister handed in his resignation following this weekends news of the rejection of austerity measures needed to save the Euro.

By Alexander Higgens

As I reported on Saturday, the Dutch government was facing collapse after politicians rejected EU mandated austerity measures needed to secure an EU bailout to keep the Euro alive and fight of the contagion that has now officially led to a depression in Greece and has Spain teetering on the brink of collapse.

Making the bloodbath worse are news headlines that the Chinese manufacturing has contracted for 6th straight month in a row.

Combine that with news coming out of France that has the Global banking cartel shaking in fear – The candidate who won the first round of the French elections and is expected to win by a landslide in the upcoming run-off against Sarkozy plans on rejecting EU austerity measures while promising to “rip up France’s agreement to the European fiscal pact.”

That is truly disturbing news since the entire Eurozone is being kept afloat on the backs of German and French taxpayers. […]

READ and CHARTS @ http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2012/04/23/collapses-dutch-government-eu-stock-markets-125911/



By Joshua Keating, Foreign Policy

In 2009, Iceland’s Geir Haarde became the first European leader to lose power as a result of the financial crisis. (Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte seems to be the latest.) He is now also the first country leader in the world convicted of negligence because of the crash, though he was cleared of three other charges and will face no jail time. Haarde’s prosecution has unsurprisingly been controversial:

Mr Haarde pleaded not guilty and called the accusations “political vendetta” that would set a “terrible precedent”. “Nobody predicted that there would be a financial collapse in Iceland” in 2008, he said.

Criticism of the trial has been widespread throughout Iceland. Many questioned why the centre-left controlled parliament chose to put only Mr Haarde on trial while rejecting charges against Social Democratic ministers who were serving in government at the same time.

Others have criticised that fact that the trial was not televised and complained that much of the political elite of Iceland chose to support Mr Haarde with their testimony.

READ @ http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/04/23/former_icelandic_pm_convicted_for_negligence_over_financial_collapse



By Juan Cole, AlterNet

[…] Although the Iraqis managed to compel the withdrawal of US troops by the end of last year, Washington is nevertheless seeking to remain influential through shadow power. The US embassy in Baghdad has 16,000 employees, most of them civilian contractors. They include 2,000 diplomats and several hundred intelligence operatives. By contrast, the entire US Foreign Service corps comprises fewer than 14,000. The Obama administration has decided to slash the number of contractors, planning for an embassy force of “only” 8,000. This monument to shadow power clearly is not intended merely to represent US interests in Iraq but rather to shape that country and to serve as a command center for the eastern reaches of the greater Middle East. The US shadow warriors will, for instance, attempt to block “the influence of Iran,” according to the Washington Post. Since Iraq’s Shiite political parties, which dominate Parliament and the cabinet, are often close to Iran, that charge would inescapably involve meddling in internal Iraqi politics.

Nor can we be sure that the CIA will engage only in espionage or influence-peddling in Iraq. The American shadow government routinely kidnaps people it considers dangerous and has sent them to black sites for torture, often by third-party governments to keep American hands clean. As usual with the shadow government, private corporations have been enlisted to help in these “rendition” programs, which are pursued outside the framework of national and international law and in defiance of the sensibilities of our allies. How the United States might behave in Iraq can be extrapolated from its recent behavior in other allied countries. In November 2009 an Italian court convicted in absentia twenty-three people, most of them CIA field officers who had kidnapped an alleged Al Qaeda recruiter, Abu Omar, on a Milan street in the middle of the day and sent him to Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt for “interrogation.” Obama has explicitly continued this practice as a “counterterrorism tool,” though he says torture has been halted. Iraq is likely to continue to be an arena of such veiled struggles. […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/155000



The old, white, rich men who are buying this election 

By Frank Rich, NYTimes

If you want to appreciate what Barack Obama is up against in 2012, forget about the front man who is his nominal opponent and look instead at the Republican billionaires buying the ammunition for the battles ahead. A representative example is Harold Simmons, an 80-year-old Texan who dumped some $15 million into the campaign before primary season had ended. Reminiscing about 2008, when he bankrolled an ad blitz to tar the Democrats with the former radical Bill Ayers, Simmons told The Wall Street Journal, “If we had run more ads, we could have killed Obama.” It is not a mistake he intends to make a second time. The $15 million Simmons had spent by late February dwarfs the $2.8 million he allotted to the Ayers takedown and the $3 million he contributed to the Swift Boat Veterans demolition of John Kerry four years before that. Imagine the cash that will flow now that the GOP sideshows are over and the president is firmly in Simmons’s crosshairs.

His use of the verb killed was meant in jest, of course, much as Foster Friess ($1.8 million in known contributions, and counting) was joking when he suggested that “gals” could practice birth control by putting Bayer aspirin between their knees. America’s billionaires are such cards! And we had better get used to their foibles and funny bones. Whatever else happens in 2012, it will go down as the Year of the Sugar Daddy. Inflamed by Obama-hatred, awash in self-pity, and empowered by myriad indulgent court and Federal Election Commission rulings, an outsize posse of superrich white men will spend whatever it takes to have its way with the body politic and, if victorious, with the country itself. Given the advanced age of most of this cohort, 2012 may be seen as the election in which the geezer empire struck back.

This isn’t quite what was supposed to happen. When the Supreme Court handed down its five-to-four Citizens United decision in 2010, pre-vetting Mitt Romney’s credo that “corporations are people,” apocalyptic Democrats, including Obama, predicted that the election would become a wholly owned subsidiary of the likes of Chevron and General Electric. But publicly traded, risk-averse corporations still care more about profits than partisanship. They tend to cover their bets by giving to both parties. And they are fearful of alienating customers and investors. Witness, most recently, the advertisers who fled Rush Limbaugh, or the far bigger brands (­McDonald’s and Wendy’s, Coke and Pepsi) that severed ties with the conservative lobbying mill responsible for pushing state “stand your ground” laws like the one used to justify the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. While corporations and unions remain serious players in the campaign of 2012, their dollars don’t match those of the sugar daddies, who can and do give as much as they want to the newfangled super-PACs. […]

READ @ http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/72-72/11085-sugar-daddies

Apr 232012



Source: The Burning Platform

 “Facts are to the mind what food is to the body.” – Edmund Burke

No wonder one third of Americans are obese. The crap we are shoveling into our bodies is on par with the misinformation, propaganda and lies that are being programmed into our minds by government bureaucrats, corrupt politicians, corporate media gurus, and central banker puppets. Chief Clinton propaganda mouthpiece, James Carville, famously remarked during the 1992 presidential campaign that, “It’s the economy, stupid”. Clinton was able to successfully convince the American voters that George Bush’s handling of the economy caused the 1991 recession. In retrospect, it was revealed the economy had been recovering for months prior to the election. No one could ever accuse the American people of being perceptive, realistic or critical thinking when it comes to economics, math, history or distinguishing between truth or lies. Our government controlled public school system has successfully dumbed down the populace to a level where they enjoy their slavery and prefer conscious ignorance to critical thought.

The next six months leading up to the November elections will surely provide a shining example of the degraded society we’ve become. Both parties and their propaganda machines, SuperPacs, and corporate media sponsors will treat the igadget distracted masses to hundreds of hours of lies, spin, and vitriol, designed to divert the public from the fact that both parties act on behalf of the same masters and have no intention of changing course of the U.S. Titanic to avert the iceberg dead ahead. We will be treated to storylines about race, gun control, the war on women, energy independence, global warming, the war on terror, the imminent threat of Iran and North Korea, Obamacare, Romneycare, and of course the economy, stupid.

There are 240 million voting age Americans. About 130 million will likely vote in the 2012 election based upon recent voter participation results. This means that 110 million Americans don’t give a crap about who runs this country. […]

READ and CHARTS @ http://www.theburningplatform.com/


* FACTS, 360 B.C. – A.D. 2012

By Rex W. Huppke, Chicago Tribune

A quick review of the long and illustrious career of Facts reveals some of the world’s most cherished absolutes: Gravity makes things fall down; 2 + 2 = 4; the sky is blue.

But for many, Facts’ most memorable moments came in simple day-to-day realities, from a child’s certainty of its mother’s love to the comforting knowledge that a favorite television show would start promptly at 8 p.m.

Over the centuries, Facts became such a prevalent part of most people’s lives that Irish philosopher Edmund Burke once said: “Facts are to the mind what food is to the body.” […]

READ and VIDEO @ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-talk-huppke-obit-facts-20120419,0,809470.story



Source: youtube

Irish journalist Vincent Browne confronts the ECB’s (European Central Bank) Klaus Masuch demanding to know where the money is going.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pCHu1kRT6hU#!



Source: Staff Report, The Daily Bell

The Dutch government’s failure to reach an agreement in talks to achieve tough spending cuts could see ratings agencies cut the country’s prized AAA-rating and nervous investors push up the country’s borrowing costs, and it will also have wider implications for the euro zone as a whole, analysts said on Monday. Prime Minister Mark Rutte will meet the Dutch queen on Monday afternoon to tender the government’s resignation, Dutch broadcaster RTL reported. – CNBC

Dominant Social Theme: This is only to be expected. Wars are not won in a day, and neither will be the battle to save the EU.

Free-Market Analysis: Like some kind of rolling contagion, the insolvency affecting the Southern PIGS is spreading northward toward the supposedly solvent part of the EU.

Now it’s Holland’s turn. We learn that austerity hasn’t been a soft sell in Holland any more than it has been in Greece, Portugal, Spain or Italy. Or Ireland, for that matter.

Of course, we figure the elites orchestrated first the downfall of Europe, from what we can tell, and then the following austerity. But maybe it is not working out as planned.

True, there are elite apparatchiks running Italy and Greece now, but the public furor hasn’t died down and in the case of Greece and Spain seems to be growing stronger.

We figure this is partially because of what we call the Internet Reformation. The STATED plan (the Euro-crats have admitted as much) is that a Euro-crisis would eventually bring greater union to the unruly empire-in-progress.

The Eurozone is extremely important to the one-world government that is apparently being built brick-by-brick by the dynastic families of Europe and America. But the Internet itself has evidently and obviously exposed these plans. […]

READ @ http://www.thedailybell.com/3819/EU-Unraveling-Now-Its-Hollands-Turn



By Kevin Gosztola, FireDogLake

Twenty-eight protesters were preemptively arrested in DeWitt, New York as they tried to reach Hancock Air Force Base for a demonstration outside the gates against the use of drones. The protesters were charged with “failing to obtain a town permit,” according to the Post-Standard.

Concerned citizens from Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca, Binghamton, Syracuse, Rome and Albany had planned a “Peace Walk” to the base, where Reaper drones are present. They planned to protest “murderous use” of drones, which violates international law, just as they did last year. But the group reached an intersection near a commercial strip mall and about ten sheriff’s cars pulled out to block the road.

In the parking lot was a Greyhound bus for arrestees. The police began grabbing people and saying everyone was under arrest. Debra Sweet, director of the World Can’t Wait, reported the police in the town of DeWitt were issuing all sorts of orders. It was confusing. They were saying you could put down your signs and go back to where you came and avoid arrest. They also were saying anyone walking away would be charged with resisting arrest.

Sandy Kessler, who is from Rochester, said anyone walking on the road with a sign would be arrested.

I said, what if I put my sign back? He said no you will get arrested. I said why? He said there can be no individual protests, no group protests. You don’t have a permit. Well, nobody really ever gets a permit. Last year, with the big one where thirty-eight people got arrested, yes, we got a permit. But we just decided we really didn’t need a permit. This is America. […]

In the video above, the military police can be seen doing some kind of fascist goose step toward the protesters. They smack their wooden batons on their police shields as they advance with jackbooted bravado and close in on a small group of activists singing songs with Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly leading them. […]

28 military DRONE protesters arrested in DeWitt near Hancock Air Base. […]

READ and VIDEO @ http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/04/22/drone-protesters-preemptively-arrested-before-reaching-hancock-air-force-base/



Chances are, you’ll snag the wrong people, and when you do, how can you tell? How do you clear suspects of crimes that haven’t happened?

By Alexander Furnas, The Atlantic

[…] The U.S. Department of Homeland security is working on a project called FAST, the Future Attribute Screening Technology, which is some crazy straight-out-of-sci-fi pre-crime detection and prevention software which may  come to an airport security screening checkpoint near you someday soon. Yet again the threat of terrorism is being used to justify the introduction of super-creepy invasions of privacy, and lead us one step closer to a turn-key totalitarian state. This may sound alarmist, but in cases like this a little alarm is warranted. FAST will remotely monitor physiological and behavioral cues, like elevated heart rate, eye movement, body temperature, facial patterns, and body language, and analyze these cues algorithmically for statistical aberrance in an attempt to identify people with nefarious intentions. There are several major flaws with a program like this, any one of which should be enough to condemn attempts of this kind to the dustbin. Lets look at them in turn.

First, predictive software of this kind is undermined by a simple statistical problem known as the false-positive paradox. Any system designed to spot terrorists before they commit an act of terrorism is, necessarily, looking for a needle in a haystack. As the adage would suggest, it turns out that this is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Here is why: let’s assume for a moment that 1 in 1,000,000 people is a terrorist about to commit a crime. Terrorists are actually probably much much more rare, or we would have a whole lot more acts of terrorism, given the daily throughput of the global transportation system. Now lets imagine the FAST algorithm correctly classifies 99.99 percent of observations — an incredibly high rate of accuracy for any big data-based predictive model. Even with this unbelievable level of accuracy, the system would still falsely accuse 99 people of being terrorists for every one terrorist it finds. Given that none of these people would have actually committed a terrorist act yet distinguishing the innocent false positives from the guilty might be a non-trivial, and invasive task. […]

READ @ http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/homeland-securitys-pre-crime-screening-will-never-work/255971/



By Harper’s Magazine

The April 2012 issue of Harper’s Magazine includes “The Warrior Class,” a feature by Charles Glass on the rise of private-security contractors since 9/11. The conclusion to the piece describes a series of videos shown to Glass by a source who had worked for the private-security company Blackwater (now Academi, formerly also Xe Services) in Iraq. Clips and photos from the videos are shown below, introduced by Glass’s descriptions:

The first , identified as “Baghdad, Iraq, May–­September 2005,” showed Blackwater convoys racing through town. Suddenly, the door of a Blackwater SUV opened and a rifle fired at passing traffic. “They opened the door,” my companion said. “You should never break the seal.”


READ / PHOTOS / VIDEOS @ http://harpers.org/archive/2012/04/hbc-90008515



Source: youtube

‘Geo-engineering’ is the ultimate in pursuit of high risk ‘techno-fixes’ to the world’s big ecological problems. Its proponents want to use technology to attempt to ‘re-engineer’ the environment, for example by fertilising the ocean to produce huge algal blooms that supposedly will absorb carbon dioxide, or by polluting the upper atmosphere with nanoparticles in an attempt to deflect UV radiation and stop global warming. 191 countries recently rejected geo-engineering as environmentally reckless. But this week an announcement for the Australian Government’s “Climate Ready Program” suggested that geo-engineering projects using genetic engineering or nanotechnology may be eligible for federal funding: http://nano.foe.org.au/node/254

The Air Force is on record as saying they want to control the weather by 2025. The Massachusetts School of Law’s Educational Forum presents part 2 of a Conference on Global Climate Change with Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, author, educator and environmental writer. For more information visit mslaw.edu.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hb6BpBm-F8Q