Jan 302013
 

Photography by Elias Theodoropoulos, DEMOTIX

Today in Athens, the government-of-the-regime showed their real face against the Greek people, the workers and the unions. Within the last couple of weeks, the rioting police and SWAT teams attacked the metro workers, the municipality workers and now the union PAME. Thirty-five workers, who were engaged in a symbolic occupation of the MInistry of Labor, were arrested and are being held at Police Headquarters.

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Jan 302013
 

El análisis de James Petras

Los cancilleres de Irán, Ali Akbar Salehi y de Argentina Héctor Timerman, durante la firma del acuerdo.

Los cancilleres de Irán, Ali Akbar Salehi y de Argentina Héctor Timerman, durante la firma del acuerdo.

“Quiero mencionar rápidamente el acuerdo alcanzado entre Irán y Argentina, para formar una comisión investigadora sobre el asesinato de los judíos en el acto terrorista de 1994 (atentado contra la AMIA). Lo que es interesante marcar es que los sionistas en Argentina y el gobierno de Israel están en contra de esto. Ellos quieren manipular la acusación contra Irán para metas políticas, no quieren considerar si realmente los culpables son iraníes, quieren simplemente manipularlos para demonizar a Irán”, dijo el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras en su columna del lunes 28 en CX36 Radio Centenario (*). Agregó que ese acuerdo bilateral “tira afuera la intervención israelita que trata de utilizar el incidente para fomentar la agresividad contra Irán”. Petras analizó además los resultados de la cumbre de la CELAC; así como los de las reuniones de la CELAC con la UE, y del Foro Económico de Davos que sesionaron el domingo.”

Efrain Chury Iribarne: Nuestro saludo y la bienvenida a James Petras, desde California.

James Petras: Si, esta es la última semana de vacaciones, así que la próxima semana volvemos al horario habitual de este espacio, los lunes a las 11 horas de Uruguay.

EChI: Muy bien. Para empezar, queríamos pedirle una evaluación de la reunión que se celebra en Santiago de Chile la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC); así como la cumbre CELAC – Unión Europea.

JP: Antes voy a señalar las contrapartidas de estas reuniones.

Los países de CELAC muestran una cara de gran crecimiento frente a la depresión y a la recesión europea. Mientras Europa está con grandes deudas, su economía estancada, sin perspectivas, con niveles de desocupación astronómicas; América Latina en su conjunto muestra señales de crecimiento económico y mejores programas sociales, que los que pudimos ver en Europa. Por otro lado, los países que integran CELAC han elegido como presidente a Raúl Castro, lo que es un repudio a la política norteamericana que trata de bloquear a Cuba. El hecho de que Raúl Castro sea el presidente del bloque hasta la próxima reunión, es una buena señal del crecimiento de la independencia en la región.

Pero no todo está bien en América Latina, debemos anotar varios problemas más allá de las mejores que hemos reconocido. A pesar del crecimiento, las desigualdades siguen creciendo entre las clases altas y los trabajadores. Segundo, los grandes capitales pagan muy bajos niveles de impuestos para financiar programas sociales, se escapan de los impuestos a través de varios mecanismos. Tercero, tenemos el hecho que gran parte de la prosperidad viene de la exportación de materias primas y la falta de diversificación de la Economía totalmente dependiente de la exportación de productos agro – minerales y petróleo, y eso es siempre un peligro, porque la dependencia no puede sostenerse de manera estable. Finalmente tenemos la destrucción ambiental y la criminalización de los movimientos sociales que sigue siendo un factor a pesar de la supuesta prosperidad.

La prosperidad en América Latina, el crecimiento de los ingresos, están muy concentrados. Del otro lado, los movimientos sociales que tratan de mejorar la vida, siguen encontrando problemas. Ayer, por ejemplo, en Brasil mataron a un dirigente del Movimiento de los Sin Tierra en Río de Janeiro (1), un machetero de azúcar que era líder en la ocupación de una finca abandonada por los dueños; y algunos pistoleros obviamente vinculado con los dueños de la tierra, lo mataron mientras viajaba en su bicicleta. Y esto ocurre mucho más que lo que reconocen los medios.

Las cifras que tenemos es que las amenazas de muerte en Brasil se han triplicado en los últimos dos años, y eso es parte de la realidad. Mientras la Economía crece, los ingresos del Estado crecen y hay mayores gastos; del otro lado, las desigualdades y las amenazas a los movimientos sociales sigue siendo otro lado de la moneda.

Entonces, queremos hacer una comparación doble en América Latina. Frente a Europa obviamente que América Latina ha avanzado. Pero frente al pueblo, sigue habiendo los mismos problemas de siempre, entre los acomodados y los trabajadores.

EChI: Nos vamos de la región, te pedimos tu opinión sobre lo que sucede con Francia que consolida su invasión colonialista en Mali, a la vez se mantiene el ataque imperial a Siria, mientras Turquía continúa haciendo méritos para ingresar a la Unión Europea.

JP: Obviamente Europa después de varios años de ser un factor menor en el imperialismo mundial, ha aceptado un papel más activo, empezando por Libia, luego Siria y ahora Mali. Lo que pasa es que los europeos no pueden consolidar un régimen colonial o neocolonial, como pasó en Libia desplazan un gobierno progresista como el de Muammar Gadaffi, que había hecho muchas cosas positivas en la economía africana, y lo reemplazan con nada, con grupos islámicos, terroristas, armados, un caos.

Lo mismo están pretendiendo en Siria ahora, los islámicos están encabezando los actos terroristas y destruyen el país.

Ahora en Mali, los franceses avanzan.

Lo que pasa es que Europa tiene capacidad militar pero no tiene capacidad política para imponer un régimen estable que genere la riqueza que quieren alcanzar. En todo caso, por ejemplo en Libia destruyeron un gobierno, destruyeron relaciones económicas estables, y no pueden imponer un régimen que pueda conseguir  la legitimidad, la estabilidad, y gobernar en beneficio de los colonialistas.

Lo mismo está pasando en Siria, atacan al gobierno y destruyen la infraestructura, la capacidad productiva, y tarde o temprano el país termina destruido.

Ahora en Mali, los franceses avanzan con aviones de guerra y los tanques, y pueden tomar las ciudades, pero no pueden gobernar. En el momento en que Francia retire las tropas, los insurgentes van a regresar, con la diferencia que los franceses están destruyendo todo lo que existía anteriormente y van a dejar el país peor que antes.

Entonces, el neocolonialismo no tiene la capacidad ni la fuerza ni el apoyo suficiente para sostener realmente un imperio colonial al estilo del siglo XiX y primer parte del siglo XX.

Entonces es una victoria pírica, lo que ganan lo queman, y eso  es una forma de pensar en un imperio que sube rápido pero que cae en forma acelerada. Los europeos se equivocan pensando que pueden volver a la “gloria” del siglo XVIII o XIX en el contexto actual. Hay demasiados factores conflictivos, suficientemente desarrollados, como para establecer cualquier proyecto colonial en esta época.

EChI: Como siempre, te dejo tiempo para que t refieras a los temas en los que está trabajando.

JP: Bueno, quiero comentar varios puntos.

Primero la terrible tragedia, el incendio en el club nocturno en Brasil, todo el mundo habla del accidente, pero donde está la regulación, dónde  está la seguridad, dónde está la preparación o la intervención estatal para que estos clubes estén funcionando en condiciones seguras. Hemos visto en Argentina y otros países, incluso en Estados Unidos que estos clubes funcionan en una forma totalmente por fuera de la ley y los muertos son producto de la ineficiencia y la incapacidad del Estado, de imponer reglas seguras sobre los clientes. Debemos investigar entonces, no sólo a los dueños de los clubes, sino también a los oficiales encargados de asegurar la seguridad en esos clubes.

En Asia queman trabajadores, en América Latina y Estados Unidos, queman a gente que busca alguna diversión. Entonces, no es solamente una tragedia para llorar, sino que es el momento de  tomar en cuenta que el Estado que no interviene y no impone condiciones de seguridad, tiene culpa también.

En segundo lugar quiero referirme a la reunión del gran capital y los economistas en Davos (2), una ciudad en Suiza, donde se reunieron los grandes jefes de bancos, gobernantes, o sea la clase dominante mundial para discutir las condiciones mundiales. Lo que uno pudo averiguar es que no hay optimismo.

El mundo capitalista está muy preocupado, dicen que toda la situación financiera es muy precaria, no saben en qué grado los Estados Unidos pueden superar sus problemas fiscales y arreglar la solidez económica, en Europa ni hablar, y lo que uno tiene que decir es que Davos es una manera de conceptualizar una nueva forma de poner la crisis sobre los hombros de los trabajadores, nada positivo puede salir que favorezca las clases populares. Allá los grandes capitales se reúnen cada año para proyectar políticas que favorecen sus intereses y perjudican a los trabajadores.

Ojalá los trabajadores, empleados, obreros tuvieran la capacidad de convocar a una reunión internacional de estas dimensiones con un programa de acción y plan de lucha, pero parece que los capitalistas están más concientes de sus intereses internacionales que los trabajadores.

Otro punto que quiero mencionar rápidamente, es el acuerdo alcanzado entre Irán y Argentina (3), para formar una comisión investigadora sobre el asesinato de los judíos en el acto terrorista de 1994 (atentado contra la AMIA). Es una medida muy importante y el canciller argentino Héctor Timerman debe ser citado por su positiva gestión. Ahora, lo que es interesante marcar es que los sionistas en Argentina y el gobierno de Israel están en contra de esto. Ellos quieren manipular la acusación contra Irán para metas políticas, no quieren considerar si realmente los culpables son iraníes, quieren simplemente manipularlos para demonizar a Irán.

Mientras el gobierno de Cristina Fernández y el gobierno de Irán, acordaron nombrar un jurado de cinco jueces independientes, que no sean ni argentinos ni iraníes para investigar pruebas y testimonios y llegar a una conclusión definitiva, tirando afuera la intervención israelita que trata de utilizar el incidente para fomentar la agresividad contra Irán. Creo que los israelitas son los grandes perdedores en este acuerdo.

EChI: Muchas gracias Petras, nos reencontramos el próximo lunes a la hora habitual.

JP: Muy bien, gracias y un gran saludo a la audiencia.

Notas de Redacción

(1) Asesinado un destacado dirigente del Movimiento de los Sin Tierra en Brasil

Cícero Guedes, uno de los principales dirigentes del Movimiento de los Sin Tierra (MST) en el estado brasileño de Río de Janeiro, fue asesinado a tiros esta madrugada por desconocidos, informó la organización.

El cuerpo de Guedes, con heridas de bala en la cabeza, fue hallado en una carretera rural de Campos de Goytacazes, municipio en el interior del estado de Río de Janeiro, en un local próximo al Asentamiento Oziel Alvez, un campamento del MST del que era el principal coordinador.

http://www.elconfidencial.com/ultima-hora-en-vivo/2013/01/asesinado-destacado-dirigente-movimiento-tierra-brasil-20130126-87039.html

(2) Reunión de Davos termina con prudente optimismo

La reunión anual del 41º Foro Económico Mundial (FEM) concluyó el domingo en Davos, Suiza, con un sentimiento de prudente optimismo.

En los cinco últimos días, más de 2.500 participantes, entre ellos líderes mundiales, funcionarios gubernamentales, ejecutivos empresariales, académicos, personajes de la sociedad civil y representantes de los medios de comunicación, realizaron profundos debates sobre temas como la recuperación económica global, los riesgos mundiales y las negociaciones sobre el comercio internacional de la Ronda de Doha, bajo el lema de “Normas compartidas para una nueva realidad”.

http://spanish.peopledaily.com.cn/31620/7278243.html

(3) Acuerdo de Argentina e Irán por temas vinculados al ataque a la Amia

La Presidenta anunció a través de sus cuentas de Twitter y Facebook la firma de un “histórico” memorándum de entendimiento sobre los temas vinculados al ataque terrorista a la sede de la AMIA.

El primero de los nueve puntos del documento establece la creación de una Comisión de la Verdad compuesta por juristas internacionales para analizar toda la documentación presentada por las autoridades judiciales de la Argentina y de la República Islámica de Irán.

http://www.telam.com.ar/notas/201301/5905-acuerdo-de-argentina-e-iran-por-temas-vinculados-al-ataque-a-la-amia.html

Jan 282013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* EVO MORALES: TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR CONFRONTING CAPITALISM AND CONSTRUCTING A CULTURE OF LIFE

By Evo Morales, President of Bolivia

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Sisters, brothers: The world is being hit by a world-wide multiple crisis that is manifested in a climate, financial, food, institutional, cultural, ethical and spiritual crisis. This crisis indicates to us that we are living in the final days of capitalism and unbridled consumerism; that is, of a model of society in which human beings claim to be superior to Mother Earth, converting nature into an object of their merciless predatory domination.

The ideologues of capitalism argue that the following are the solutions to the crisis of the capitalist system:

On the one hand, more capitalism, more privatization, more commoditization, more consumerism, more irrational and predatory exploitation of natural resources and more protection for companies and private profit.

On the other hand, fewer social rights, less public health, less public and free education, and less protection for human rights.

Today the societies and peoples of the developed countries are tragically experiencing the capitalist crisis created by its own market. Capitalist governments think that it is more important to save the banks than to save human beings, and it is more important to save the companies than to save people. In the capitalist system the banks have priority economic rights and enjoy first-class citizenship, which is why we can say that the banks are worth more than life. In this unfettered capitalism, individuals and peoples are not brothers and sisters, they are not citizens, they are not human beings; individuals and peoples are debt defaulters, borrowers, tenants and clients; in short, if people do not have money, they are nothing.

We are living in the kingdom of the colour green. Green like dollars are the monetary policies, green like dollars are the development policies, green like dollars are the housing policies, green like dollars are the human development policies and environmental policies. That is why, faced with the new wave of crisis of the capitalist system, its ideologues have come out in favour of privatizing nature through the so-called green economy or green capitalism.

However, the recipes of the market, of liberalism, of privatization simply generate poverty and exclusion, hunger and marginalization. […]

READ @ http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_65333.shtml

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* ICELAND PRESIDENT: LET BANKS GO BANKRUPT

Source: Aljazeera

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sDgkFalIqo

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* THE COST OF INEQUALITY: HOW WEALTH AND INCOME EXTREMES HURT US ALL

Source: OXFAM

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The world must urgently set goals to tackle extreme inequality and extreme wealth

It is now widely accepted that rapidly growing extreme wealth and inequality are harmful to human progress, and that something needs to be done. Already this year, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report rated inequality as one of the top global risks of 20131. The IMF and the Economist2 agree. Around the world, the Occupy protests demonstrated the increasing public anger and feeling that inequality has gone too far3.

In the last decade, the focus has been exclusively on one half of the inequality equation – ending extreme poverty. Inequality and the extreme wealth that contributes to it were seen as either not relevant, or a prerequisite for the growth that would also help the poorest, as the wealth created trickled down to the benefit of everyone.

There has been great progress in the fight against extreme poverty. Hundreds of millions of people have seen their lives improve dramatically – an historically unprecedented achievement of which the world should be proud4. But as we look to the next decade, and new development goals we need to define progress, we must demonstrate that we are also tackling inequality- and that means looking at not just the poorest but the richest5. Oxfam believes that reducing inequality is a key part of fighting poverty and securing a sustainable future for all. In a world of finite resources, we cannot end poverty unless we reduce inequality rapidly.

That is why we are calling for a new global goal to end extreme wealth by 2025, and reverse the rapid increase in inequality seen in the majority of countries in the last twenty years, taking inequality back to 1990 levels67.

Extreme wealth and inequality are reaching levels never before seen and are getting worse. […]

READ @ http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/cost-of-inequality-oxfam-mb180113.pdf

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* “CONSPIRACY THEORY”: FOUNDATIONS OF A WEAPONIZED TERM

Subtle and Deceptive Tactics to Discredit Truth in Media and Research

By Prof. James F. Tracy, Global Research

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“Conspiracy theory” is a term that at once strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of most every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate. Especially in the United States raising legitimate questions about dubious official narratives destined to inform public opinion (and thereby public policy) is a major thought crime that must be cauterized from the public psyche at all costs.

Conspiracy theory’s acutely negative connotations may be traced to liberal historian Richard Hofstadter’s well-known fusillades against the “New Right.” Yet it was the Central Intelligence Agency that likely played the greatest role in effectively “weaponizing” the term. In the groundswell of public skepticism toward the Warren Commission’s findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA sent a detailed directive to all of its bureaus. Titled “Countering Criticism of the Warren Commission Report,” the dispatch played a definitive role in making the “conspiracy theory” term a weapon to be wielded against almost any individual or group calling the government’s increasingly clandestine programs and activities into question.

This important memorandum and its broad implications for American politics and public discourse are detailed in a forthcoming book by Florida State University political scientist Lance de-Haven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America. Dr. de-Haven-Smith devised the  state crimes against democracy concept to interpret and explain potential government complicity in events such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the major political assassinations of the 1960s, and 9/11. […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/conspiracy-theory-foundations-of-a-weaponized-term/5319708

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* A LEADER’S LEXICON FOR THE 21st CENTURY

By Lesley Docksey, Global Research

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Intended to help all 21st Century leaders (Western of course) when making speeches or statements to the press and their gullible public.  N.B.: this is not an exhaustive list, and leaders will invent their own useful words and phrases, freely copied by their fellows.

Insurgents (also known as terrorists, Mujahideen, Al Qaeda, Taliban, Islamists): bad.  We don’t support them.

Rebels: good.  We support them, with weapons and other equipment, training by our own forces (that are not there) because…

Boots on the ground: we are not going to send in any of our own troops (because they went in secretly last week/month/year).

Regimes, dictatorships: legitimate governments we don’t support.

Governments: regimes and dictatorships we do support.

We are proud of our special relationship’: we buy arms from them.

Partners’: we sell arms to them.

Friendly nations: and them.

Global allies: and them too.

We welcome the new government/the overthrow of the last government: we want to sell arms to them.

Regimes: people we used to sell arms to.

Dictatorships: as above.

Rogue state: one that has got entirely out of the West’s control. […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/a-leaders-lexicon-for-the-21st-century/5320232

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* WAR ON TERROR FOREVER

By Pepe Escobar, InformationClearingHouse

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[…] Algerian public opinion is immensely suspicious, to say the least, of all the players’ motives, including the Algerian government and especially France. Here is a fascinating sample. This perspective, by a political science professor, is worth quoting at length, as it neatly summarizes the French “lead” in the new GWOT chapter.

In an interview with the French-language daily Le Soir d’Algerie, political science professor Ahmed Adimi described the intervention as an attempt to “undermine Algeria” and a “step in a plan for the installation of foreign forces in the Sahel region”. Adimi’s thesis is that France has worked for years to destabilize the Sahel as a means of strengthening its geopolitical stance.

Asked whether the French operation in Mali was consistent with United Nations security council resolution 2085, Adimi states that the resolution “does not pose much of a problem in itself. Western powers have used it to intervene and adopt resolutions to justify their military operations. This has already happened in Iraq. In fact, the French operation may seem legal since it comes at the request of the Acting Present of Mali. However, it is important to remember that the current government came to power in a coup. Regarding the intervention, it was certainly predictable but the French have precipitated matters. […] These terrorist groups are being manipulated by foreign powers,” continuing to argue that these groups were “allowed” to move south to Konna as means of justifying the French intervention.

Adimi argues that Algerians have “been sounding the alarm about the situation in the Sahel in general. Ahmed Barkouk and myself have organized several seminars on this topic. We discussed the role of France and its commitment to the region. It was France that was behind the creation of the movement for the Azawad, and I speak of course of the political organization and not of the people of Azawad, who have rights as a community. The French knew that their intervention in Libya would lead to a return of the pro-Qaddafi military Tuareg to Mali. They also planned the release of Libyan arms stockpiles across the Sahel band. The project is to transform the region into a new Afghanistan, the result of long-term planning.” […]

READ @ http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33708.htm

Jan 232013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE UNTOUCHABLES: HOW THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PROTECTED WALL STREET FROM PROSECUTIONS

By Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian

A new PBS Frontline report examines a profound failure of justice that should be causing serious social unrest

Eric Holder talks to DOJ Criminal Chief Lanny Breuer in 2010. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

Eric Holder talks to DOJ Criminal Chief Lanny Breuer in 2010. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

PBS‘ Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.

What Obama justice officials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. Indeed, financial elites were not only vested with impunity for their fraud, but thrived as a result of it, even as ordinary Americans continue to suffer the effects of that crisis.

Worst of all, Obama justice officials both shielded and feted these Wall Street oligarchs (who, just by the way, overwhelmingly supported Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign) as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig put it two weeks ago when expressing anger over the DOJ’s persecution of Aaron Swartz: “we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House.” (Indeed, as “The Untouchables” put it: while no senior Wall Street executives have been prosecuted, “many small mortgage brokers, loan appraisers and even home buyers” have been). […]

READ @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/23/untouchables-wall-street-prosecutions-obama

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* THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM DOESN’T MATTER

By Natasha Lennard, Salon

800px-Luftbild_Davos-620x412

World leaders, CEOs and economists are this week tucked away in a skiing village in Switzerland, making predictions — which have historically not borne out — about the economy, the climate and impending doom or lack thereof. As the annual World Economic Forum begins at Davos Tuesday, there will be networking, hobnobbing, blue-sky thinking, auguring and at the end of it all, many commentators note, not much changes for the rest of us.

The WEF, Andrew Ross Sorkin noted in the New York Times Monday, is rife with prediction-making. “The predictions that have emanated from Davos always have a ring of plausibility to them, in part because of the credibility of the speakers. But all too often they fall short.” Sorkin notes that Bill Gates didn’t think much of “the Google guys” in 2003; and, in 2008, C. Fred Bergsten, senior fellow and director emeritus of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, said “It is inconceivable — repeat, inconceivable — to get a world recession.”

WEF founder Klaus Schwab since issued a mea culpa about the Forum’s collective failure to anticipate the financial crisis. “We let it get out of control, and attention was taken away from the speed and complexity of how the world’s challenges built up,” he said. But as Jem Bendell, a professor of sustainability leadership, commented on Al Jazeera Tuesday, “I wondered at the time whether an institution that pays its bills by convening the world’s largest companies to entertain them at high-powered meetings would be beset by a form of systemic sycophancy, restricting its ability to explore any root causes that might challenge members.” Does the echo chamber reverberate too loudly in those Swiss mountains? […]

READ @ http://www.salon.com/2013/01/22/davos_doesnt_matter/?source=newsletter

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* THIS TECH ENTREPRENEUR IS ABOUT TO LAUNCH THE BLACKWATER OF THE HIGH SEAS

By Spencer Ackerman, Wired

Anthony Sharp

Anthony Sharp

Beware, pirates of Africa. You may have outlasted years of patrols from the world’s navies. You may have driven fear into the hears of shipping magnates and sent insurance rates skyrocketing. But now you’ll have to contend with a dapper British investor who is seeking to privatize the fight against seafaring brigands.

Anthony Sharp, a 50-year-old veteran of tech startups, grew up with a love for ships. On February 7, he’ll turn that boyhood affection into what might be the first private navy since the 19th century. Sharp’s newest company, Typhon, will offer a fleet of armed ex-Royal Marines and sailors to escort commercial ships through pirate-infested waters. In essence, Typhon wants to be the Blackwater of the sea, minus the stuff about accidentally killing civilians.

Sharp thinks the market is ripe for Typhon, a company named for a monster out of Greek myth. Budget cuts are slicing into the wallets of the militaries that provide protection from pirates. The conflicts and weak governments that incubate piracy in places like Somalia persist. “Maritime crime is growing at the same time that navies are shrinking,” Sharp tells Danger Room by telephone from the U.K. “The policemen are going off the beat.” Sharp thinks that creates a potent opportunity for the fleet he’s buying. […]

READ @ http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/01/private-navy/all/

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* THE ROAD TO WORLD WAR III

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP7L8bw5QF4

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* MALI: ONE WAR CAN HIDE ANOTHER

By Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire

A long time in the making and announced by François Hollande six months in advance, the French intervention in Mali was portrayed as an emergency decision in response to dramatic developments. This scheme aims not only at seizing Mali’s gold and uranium, but more especially at paving the way for the destabilization of Algeria.

75e36ef7c7a6e0abc85973b87b2e180009f37d84

Appetite comes with eating”, says the proverb. After having re-colonised the Ivory Coast and Libya, then having attempted to get a hold on Syria, France is now setting its sights on Mali in order to take Algeria from behind.

During the attack on Libya, the French and the British made wide use of the Islamists to fight the power structure in Tripoli, since the Cyrenaican separatists had no interest in overthrowing Muammar al-Gaddafi once Benghazi became independent. At the fall of the Jamahiriya, I was personally witness to the reception of the leaders of AQMI (Al Qaida in Islamist Mahgreb) by members of the National Transitional Council in the Hotel Corinthia, which had just been secured by British special forces who had come from Iraq for that purpose. It was clear that the next target for Western colonialism would be Algeria, and that AQMI would play its part, but at that time I could not see which conflict could be used to justify international intervention.

Paris has imagined a scenario in which war will enter Algeria via Mali.

Shortly before NATO’s capture of Tripoli, the French managed to bribe and return the Tuareg groups. They had the time to supply them with abundant funds and weapons, but it was already too late for them to play a role on the ground. Once the war was over, they went back to their desert. […]

READ @ http://www.voltairenet.org/article177190.html

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* REGULATORS DISCOVER A HIDDEN VIRAL GENE IN COMMERCIAL GMO CROPS

By Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson

camv-structure3

How should a regulatory agency announce they have discovered something potentially very important about the safety of products they have been approving for over twenty years?

In the course of analysis to identify potential allergens in GMO crops, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has belatedly discovered that the most common genetic regulatory sequence in commercial GMOs also encodes a significant fragment of a viral gene (Podevin and du Jardin 2012). This finding has serious ramifications for crop biotechnology and its regulation, but possibly even greater ones for consumers and farmers. This is because there are clear indications that this viral gene (called Gene VI) might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance. […]

READ @ http://independentsciencenews.org/commentaries/regulators-discover-a-hidden-viral-gene-in-commercial-gmo-crops/

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* RICHEST 100 ‘COULD END POVERTY NOW’

By Rory MacKinnon, CADTM

Illustration : CC / Hikingartist.com

Illustration : CC / Hikingartist.com

Oxfam said today that the world’s 100 richest people could easily afford to end the hunger, thirst and basic illness of every person of Earth.

The charity demanded an end to “extreme wealth” as David Cameron prepared for next week’s annual billionaire bash at the Davos World Economic Forum.

The event, held at a Swiss ski resort, attracted 70 billionaires last year to hobnob with world leaders and mere millionaires who were “committed to improving the world.”

The guests’ total wealth was £269 billion – enough to wipe out poverty seven times over.

Even a quarter of the world’s hundred richest people’s annual income would be enough to supply basic health care, food and clean drinking water for everyone, costing about £37.5bn.

Since 1990 the billionaires and millionaires making up the world’s richest 1 per cent have seen their incomes grow by 60 per cent.

And they have grown even faster since the 2008 financial crash. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/Richest-100-could-end-poverty-now

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* MEGAUPLOAD ASSISTED U.S. PROSECUTIOIN OF SMALLER FILE-SHARING SERVICE

By David Kravets, Wired

Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom

Eighteen months before Megaupload’s operators were indicted in the United States, the company complied with a secret U.S. search warrant targeting five of its users, who were running their own file-sharing service using Megaupload’s infrastructure, according to interviews and newly unsealed court documents.

The June 24, 2010 warrant to search the Megaupload servers in Virginia (.pdf) was part of a U.S. criminal investigation into NinjaVideo, which was piggy-backing on Megaupload’s “Megavideo” streaming service. Though the feds had already begun quietly investigating Megaupload months before, in this case the government treated Megaupload as NinjaVideo’s internet service provider, serving Megaupload with the warrant and asking them to keep it quiet.

Megaupload responded as “good corporate citizens,” said Ira Rothken, who represents founder Kim Dotcom. The company kept the warrant a secret and turned over information on the alleged NinjaVideo operators, as well as database information on the 39 pirated movies detailed in the warrant. The NinjaVideo probe led to the indictment of the five top NinjaVideo administrators, including founder Hana Beshara, on charges similar to those now faced by Dotcom and other Megaupload operators.

“Megaupload complied with the warrant and cooperated with the government’s request,” Rothken said. He said Megaupload had gotten “a number of such warrant and subpoena type requests a year and still have an expectation that as classic ‘online service providers’ they are immune from liability for the acts of users who are the target of such warrants and subpoenas.”

Despite Megaupload’s cooperation, the 39 infringing NinjaVideo files were later used against the popular file-sharing service as evidence to seize Megaupload.com domains and prosecute Dotcom and others connected to the site. […]

READ @ http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/11/megaupload-investigation-roots/

READ MORE: KimDotcom: A Master of Delusions, Illusions and Double-Cross @ http://pastebin.com/xdTdsgAe

Jan 222013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* HOW AMERICA BECAME A GLOBAL KIDNAPPER AND TORTURER

By Ian Cobain, Alternet

An excerpt from the new book, ‘Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture.’

shackles

Two days after the 9/11 attacks, during a meeting of Bush’s closest advisers, Cofer Black declared the country’s enemies must be left with ‘flies walking across their eyeballs’. It was an image of death so striking that Black became known among the President’s inner circle as ‘the flies on the eyeballs guy’. Unlike its allies – the UK, France, Spain and Israel – the US had little experience of serious terrorist attacks on its own territory, nor any understanding of the need for a patient response. Bush was impressed by Black. Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, could see that the President wanted to kill somebody. The problem, as successive attorneys general had warned one president after another, was that they did not enjoy unfettered powers of life and death over the nation’s enemies. The CIA had been banned from carrying out assassinations since 1976.

The President turned to his Department of Defense and found that it had no cogent, off-the-shelf plan for responding to an attack of this nature on the United States. The CIA, on the other hand, did have something in its arsenal: it had the rendition program.

Since 1987, the CIA had been quietly apprehending terrorists and ‘rendering’ them to the US for prosecution, without any regard for lawful extradition processes. In 1995, President Bill Clinton – apparently with the full encouragement of his vice-president, Al Gore – agreed that a number of terrorists could be taken to a third country, including countries known to use torture, a process that would come to be known as extraordinary rendition.

Mike Scheuer, the CIA officer who started that programme, faced few objections from Clinton’s national security advisers when he began taking prisoners to Egypt, where they could be interrogated under torture. ‘They just didn’t want to know what we were doing,’ he says.

Before 9/11, however, there were limits. In 1998, for example, the CIA had drawn up a plan to kidnap Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and take him to Egypt. A shipping container was installed inside a Hercules aircraft and inside that was bolted a dentist’s chair fitted with restraints. The CIA were all ready to go when, at the last moment, the FBI persuaded Clinton’s attorney general, Janet Reno, that bin Laden’s inevitable death at the hands of the Egyptians would be an act of murder and that US officials would be responsible. Reno vetoed the plan.

By 13 September, with a still-unknown number of Americans dead and the President wanting action, all such legal squeamishness had vanished. President Bush and Dick Cheney both believed al-Qaida had succeeded because government lawyers had been expecting the CIA to do its job with one hand tied behind its back. Bush said as much to his attorney general, John Ashcroft, when he warned him: ‘Don’t ever let this happen again.’ So when the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, went to brief the President a few days after 9/11 and began to talk of the need to gather evidence for future prosecutions, he was promptly silenced by Ashcroft. Prosecutions were beside the point, Ashcroft said. All that mattered was stopping another attack.[…]

[…] Exactly what was required of America’s allies in the fight against terror soon began to emerge. On the evening of 18 December, Paul Forell, a uniformed officer of the Swedish Border Police, watched as two cars pulled up outside his office at Bromma airport in Stockholm. A group of plain-clothes officers of the Säkerhetspolisen, the security service, walked into the office and informed him that a deportation operation was under way. Ten minutes later two more men arrived. They gave Forell their first names and said they were from the US embassy. As they were speaking, a US-registered Gulfstream V jet touched down and began to taxi towards Forell’s office. Some of the Säkerhetspolisen men went to greet it.

They returned with eight people: six Americans and two Egyptians. One of the Americans was a doctor. All of them were dressed in black and wearing black masks with small eye-holes. The visitors went to the parked cars and brought from them two handcuffed men: terrorism suspects Mohammed al-Zery and Ahmed Agiza.

The two prisoners were stripped and searched carefully. Their clothes were cut into pieces and placed in bags. Their hair, mouths and ears were carefully examined. Sedatives were administered by anal suppositories and they were put into nappies. They were then dressed in overalls, handcuffed again and leg irons were locked around their ankles. Then they were photographed and hoods without eye-holes were placed over their heads. Throughout this process the men in masks talked rapidly to each other in low voices. The two prisoners were walked to the Gulfstream and strapped onto mattresses at the rear of the aircraft, which immediately took off for Cairo.

Forell had witnessed one of the first of Cofer Black’s extraordinary rendition operations. Two men had been abducted from a European capital and taken to the Middle East to be interrogated.

Over the next few years, scenes like this would be repeated hundreds of times across the world. Men were rendered not only from the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq but from Kenya, Pakistan, Indonesia, Somalia, Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, Gambia, Zambia, Thailand and the United States itself. The US was running a global kidnapping programme on the basis of Cofer Black’s plan and the agreements reached at October’s NATO meeting.

Some prisoners were dispatched to Middle Eastern countries, including Jordan and Syria, or to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. An unknown number were sent to secret prisons that the CIA operated in Thailand, Poland, Lithuania and Romania. Wherever the prisoners ended up, however, they had one thing in common: they were going to be tortured. […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/books/how-america-became-global-kidnapper-and-torturer?paging=off

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* SECRET NEGOTIATIONS HIDE THE TPP’s MOST DAMAGING PROVISIONS

By John Olen, EconomyInCrisis

End-secrecy-in-the-TPP1

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade deal proposed with countries such as Vietnam and Singapore,  has largely been negotiated in secret. This has angered many who are concerned about what damaging details may be included in the deal, and the little bit we know for sure confirms these suspicions. Despite promises from President Obama during his campaign, documents leaked from the secret negotiations show that foreign corporations will gain the right to challenge U.S. laws in secret tribunals. This is an affront to American sovereignty and the laws we choose to abide by as citizens. These negotiations need to be brought into the light of day so that Americans can see how damaging this free trade deal is before it is too late.

Under the proposed agreement, American laws regarding labor, environmental or financial issues would apply to companies based in America, but foreign companies operating in the U.S. could challenge these laws in a secret international tribunal if they felt these laws affected their ability to do business. If the tribunal rules in favor of the corporations, the U.S. could be forced to overturn the law or face sanctions or penalties from member countries.

However damaging this may be, it is not a new idea. Chapter 11 of NAFTA provides for similar powers for corporations, and the new trade agreement with South Korea (KORUS FTA) contains a similar provision. With these provisions in place, a foreign company can sue because an American restriction on lead in toys has cut into their profits. Damages may be awarded, or the law may be overturned and American taxpayers would be on the hook for the expense, no matter how justified the law was to begin with.

President Obama specifically stated that he would not pass free trade agreements with these kind of provisions while campaigning in 2008.

“We will not negotiate bilateral trade agreements that stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors; require the privatization of our vital public services; or prevent developing country governments from adopting humanitarian licensing policies to improve access to life-saving medications,” stated an Obama campaign document. […]

READ @ http://economyincrisis.org/content/secret-negotiations-hide-the-tpps-most-damaging-provisions

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TPP: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement @ http://99getsmart.com/?p=3715

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* CORNEL WEST EXPLAINS WHY IT BOTHERS HIM THAT OBAMA WILL BE TAKING THE OATH WITH MLK’s BIBLE

Source: MoxNews

VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=96d_CzrfxsM

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* CARMEN ORTIZ’S SORID RAP SHEET

By Christian Stork, HowWhatWhy

Carmen Ortiz

Carmen Ortiz

The suicide last Friday of information activist, computer hacker and technical wunderkind Aaron Swartz has focused attention on Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, whose overzealous prosecution may have led to his death. Swartz, co-founder of a website later acquired by Reddit as well as a prime developer of the online publishing infrastructure known as Rich Site Summary (RSS), was under federal indictment for logging into JSTOR—a database of scholarly articles accessible from universities across the country—and downloading its content with the intent to distribute the articles online free of charge.

Despite JSTOR’s subsequent securing of the “stolen” content and refusal to press charges, Swartz was arrested by the feds and charged originally with four felony counts under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. On those charges alone, Swartz was facing a possible 35-year sentence and over $1,000,000 in fines. Just three months ago, a “Superseding Indictment” filed in the case by the U.S. attorney’s office upped the felony count from four to 13. If convicted, Swartz was looking at possibly over 50 years in prison: a conceivable life sentence.

Ortiz, the politically ambitious U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, spearheaded the prosecution against Swartz. “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar,” Ortiz proclaimed in a 2011 press release. Her point man in the case was Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann, a specialist in computer crime and son of Philip Heymann, the United States Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton administration. Stephen Heymann led the 2010 investigation into Albert Gonzalez, the TJX hacker, in the largest identity fraud case in history. Heymann’s office suspected that one of the unindicted co-conspirators named in that criminal complaint—“JJ”—was Jonathan James, a juvenile hacker who also killed himself two weeks after his house was raided.

The details of the Swartz case are so suggestive of  prosecutorial abuse that they have already led to widespread condemnation of Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann. However, what’s missing from much of the expressed outrage is recognition that the “bullying” tactics employed by Ms. Ortiz are standard operating procedure for federal prosecutors when pursuing criminal cases. […]

READ @ http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/01/17/carmen-ortizs-sordid-rap-sheet/

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* TO THE CRUCIBLE: AN IRISH ENGAGEMENT WITH THE GREEK CRISIS AND THE GREEK LEFT

By Helena Sheehan, IrishLeftReview

syriza

A Greek tragedy

A monumental drama is playing out before our eyes. It is a true Greek tragedy.  The plot: A society is being pushed to its limits. The denouement is not yet determined, but survival is at stake and prospects are precarious. Greece is at the sharp end of a radical and risky experiment in how far accumulation by dispossession can go, how much expropriation can be endured, how far the state can be subordinated to the market. It is a global narrative, but the story is a few episodes ahead here.

Greece is the crucible.1  It is a caldron where concentrated forces are colliding in a process that will bring forth either a reconfiguration of capitalism or the dawn of its demise.

Salaries, pensions, public services are falling, while prices and taxes are rising. Massive asset stripping is underway. Water, power, ports, islands, public buildings are for sale. Unemployment, emigration and evictions have brought a sense of a society unraveling. Homeless people wander the streets and scavenge for food in bins or beg it from the plates of those eating in tavernas. If they are immigrants, they are terrorised. Those looking into a horizon without hope either drift into desolation or perform the ultimate decisive act of suicide.  Some have done so in private spaces, while others have chosen public places to underline the political nature of their fate, as they jump from heights, set themselves on fire or shoot themselves. In April 2012, Dimitris Christoulas, a retired pharmacist, who felt he could no longer live a dignified life after his pension had been slashed, shot himself in front of parliament. His last words were: “I am not committing suicide. They are killing me.” He urged younger people to fight.

Speaking to Greeks, it is hard to find any without a far reaching systemic critique. They tell you so many details of the deceits of the troika, the corruption of government, the decline in their own standards of living, the pervasive sense of social disintegration. When asked if they see any hope, few answer in the affirmative.

Nevertheless, some do. It is a precarious hope. For some, it is hesitant and weak, full of doubt, but a faint sense of some possible breakthrough from the morass. They protest, they march, they strike, even if they sometimes feel as if they are just going through the motions, because they do it so often now. They are not sure what it will take to break this cycle and move it on to another level, but they know it cannot go on as it is. For others, hope is clearer and stronger, although not without doubt and not without a sense of nearly overwhelming forces that could swamp all their best efforts. These are the ones who are not only critiquing and resisting, but also strategising and organising for a social transformation that would chart a path out of the crisis, ultimately a new path out of capitalism and to socialism. Conscious of all previous attempts that have crashed and burned or have betrayed the hopes they engendered, they are sober about their chances, but determined in their work. […]

READ @ http://www.irishleftreview.org/2013/01/21/crucible-irish-engagement-greek-crisis-greek-left/

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* WHAT ARE THE GERMAN BANKERS THINKING?

Source: TheRealNews

Michael Ash: German bankers can be ruthless bill collectors, wild speculators, social planners and austerity hawks but they seem to ignore the damage they are doing to Europe.

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

Jan 212013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* CAYMAN ISLANDS TO DISCLOSE HIDDEN COMPANIES AND DIRECTORS

By icarus, ClassWarfareExists

Caymans

The Cayman Islands has been just one of a handful of countries which are primarily used for tax evasion by exploiting the tax code and the protections of foreign governments.  As a British territory – their laws are very much under the influence of what Britain does and doesn’t want.  Which makes it all the more interesting that the Cayman Islands monetary authority is now going to be disclosing a laundry list of previously hidden corporations and hedge funds using the Caymans for cover from transparency.  In addition – the names of those involved will be visible for the first time as well which will make it that much easier for Western governments to identify tax schemes.  This is an assault on tax cheats – mainly corporations and wealthy individuals.

The Caymans Islands is just the latest country to submit to banking transparency in a very long recent list. […]

READ @ http://www.classwarfareexists.com/cayman-islands-to-disclose-hidden-companies-and-directors/

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* PRISON LABOR BOOMS IN US AS LOW-COST INMATES BRING BILLIONS

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CySzoJFkTA8

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* GREEK ANARCHISTS ON THE ANARCHIST MOVEMENT IN GREECE

By Sean Matthews, anarkismo

greek_anarchist_demo_big

Last weekend in the largest show of strength in over a decade thousands of anarchists marched to protest against the violent eviction of the squats of Villa Amalias and Skaramagka and Patision Streets in Athens and also the very repressive climate that police and the State have created in the last months in Greece.

Below is an interview with one of the largest anarchist groups in Greece – the Anti-Authoritarian Movement (AK) in relation to the present political and social climate in Greece, the threat posed by the far-right and of course the work of the anarchist movement. […]

READ @ http://www.anarkismo.net/article/24735?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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* GREECE: OUR HOMES

Source: youtube

This video was made in response to the recent wave of evictions of squats and of repression of the anarchist movement by the greek State.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zGpB7I5AcaY#!

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* GREEK FINANCE MINISTER RULES OUT HEATING OIL SUBSIDY AS HE SITS IN OFFICE HEATED BY TAXPAYERS

Source: KeepTalkingGreece

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras

I didn’t know Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras had such a bitting sense of arrogance. On Monday, January 7th 2013, he called on Greeks to be patient for another year.” At the same time he dismissed suggestions by coalition government and opposition parties that heating oil subsidy might be extended to more social groups.

Stournaras rules out wider heating oil subsidy, focuses on next tranche

“I wish there was fiscal capacity do to so but there isn’t,” Stournaras told Vima FM in a response to a question about assistance for poor families to buy heating oil.

MPs from a number of parties, including coalition partners New Democracy and PASOK, have called over the last few days for there to be more help for less well-off families.

Last year, the government raised the tax on heating oil to match unleaded fuel, leading to the price rising by 40 percent. Demand for heating oil has since dropped by a reported 80 percent.

However, Stournaras added that many of those who qualified for a heating oil subsidy this year have failed to apply for one.

The finance minister stressed that it was important for Greece to continue its tight control over public finances as it looks to convince the troika to release three more loan tranches over the next three months.

“We won’t get the next instalment if we let up,” said Stournaras. “If the pullover starts to unravel, we’ll lose the trust we’ve started to rebuild. We have set targets that we have to meet.”

The disbursal of the next tranche, worth 9.2 billion euros is due after the January 21 Eurogroup. By then, Greek Parliament will have to approve a new tax code. […]

READ @ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/01/07/greek-finmin-rules-out-heating-oil-subsidy-as-he-sits-in-office-heated-by-taxpayers-money/

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* DEMOCRACY, DISTRUST AND THE RIGHT TO RESIST, TODAY

By Javier de Lucas and Maria Jose Anon

15-M-Puerta-del-Sol-at-Midnight-14-May-2012

Demo­cracy means dis­sent, dis­trust and resistance

Accord­ing to clas­sical the­ory, the roots of demo­cracy are in con­sensus. The truth, how­ever, is quite the oppos­ite. Exper­i­ence has shown us that the key to demo­cracy lays else­where; in the capa­city to accept and even guar­an­tee dis­sent and cri­ti­cism of the estab­lished powers, with res­ist­ance to these powers play­ing an even more import­ant role. Although trust is a vital com­pon­ent of demo­cracy, dis­trust and main­tain­ing a per­man­ently crit­ical atti­tude towards the exe­cu­tion of power are even more essen­tial. The way in which this power is exer­cised must be con­trolled if we hope to pre­serve any essence of the notion of power to the people. A ser­i­ous look at the crit­ical evid­ence leaves us in no doubt that this is the case, as we take into account the con­flict­ing and plur­al­istic nature of any kind of social real­ity. The only chance that demo­cracy has to flour­ish is if the vast range of con­flict­ing interests and needs are acknow­ledged and ways are found to respect these as far as possible.

In order to nego­ti­ate the recog­ni­tion of these interests and needs and respect them accord­ingly, the pub­lic pres­ence of each and every citizen’s voice must be amp­li­fied to the max­imum. In his Polit­ical Treat­ise (Tractatus Polit­i­cus)(chapter V, para­graph 4), Spinoza demon­strated that the key to assess­ing the qual­ity of gov­ernance is a crit­ic­ally engaged, act­ive soci­ety con­scious of its sov­er­eignty: “Besides that com­mon­wealth, whose peace depends on the slug­gish­ness of its sub­jects, that are led about like sheep, to learn but slavery, may more prop­erly be called a desert than a com­mon­wealth.“1 But this dis­trust works both ways. As J. Ran­cière explains, the his­tory of demo­cracy can be explained as a his­tory of hatred towards the very mean­ing of the concept;2the power of the people as a sov­er­eign author­ity, the power of equals, those upon whom iura paria has been bestowed (to use the words of Cicero on the sub­ject of his notion of res pub­lica).

Now, this is where the dif­fi­culty arises. Those who rep­res­ent the centres of power within the so- called “insti­tu­tion­al­ised demo­cracy”, usu­ally con­sist­ing of a mixtum of “polit­ical” aris­to­cracy and eco­nomic olig­archy, have always been reluct­ant to place their faith in the people as a genu­ine sov­er­eign subject. Balibar provides a clear explan­a­tion for this:

… demo­cracy, under­stood in a rad­ical man­ner, is not the name of a polit­ical régime, but only the name of a pro­cess which we could call tau­to­lo­gic­ally the demo­crat­iz­a­tion of demo­cracy itself (or of what claims to rep­res­ent a demo­cratic régime), there­fore the name of a struggle, a con­ver­gence of struggles for the demo­crat­iz­a­tion of demo­cracy… a per­man­ent struggle for its own demo­crat­iz­a­tion and against its own reversal into olig­archy and mono­poly of power”.3 […]

READ @ http://greekleftreview.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/democracy-distrust-and-the-right-to-resist-today/

Jan 192013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE GM LOBBY AND ITS ‘SEVEN SINS AGAINST SCIENCE’

By Peter Melchett, The Ecologist

The pro-GM lobby has sought to take the ‘scientific high-ground’ by positioning itself as the voice of reason and progress, while painting its opponents as unsophisticated ‘anti-science’ luddites. In a scathing response Peter Melchett turns the tables.

Genetic_Manipulation1

Powerful forces in Western society have been promoting genetic engineering (now usually genetic modification – GM) in agricultural crops since the mid-1990s. They have included many governments, in particular those of the USA and UK, powerful individual politicians like George Bush and Tony Blair, scientific bodies like the UK’s Royal Society, research councils, successive UK Government chief scientists, many individual scientists, and companies selling GM products. They have ignored the views of citizens, and most sales of GM food have relied on secrecy – denying consumers information on what they are buying (20 US States are currently embroiled in fierce battles over GM labeling, strenuously opposed by Monsanto). Worse, they have consistently promoted GM in ways which are not only unscientific, but which have been positively damaging to the integrity of science.

This is, of course, an argument usually aimed at those who, like me, are opposed to GM crops. We are accused of being ‘anti-science’, emotional and irrational, and more recently, of being as bad as ‘Nazi book burners’ by the President of the National Farmers’ Union (of the UK). This criticism has been effective in framing the debate about GM crops in the media in the UK, where the conflict over GM is routinely presented as a debate between those who are pro and those who are anti-science. This is reinforced by the fact that those selected to speak in favour of GM are usually themselves scientists (albeit often working for GM companies, or funded to work on GM crops), and those selected to oppose GM crops are usually environmentalists, farmers, or citizens concerned about the safety of the food they eat. Scientists who are critical of GM crops are almost never interviewed by the media.

This characterization of those opposed to GM as being anti-science has always ignored the fact that the NGOs concerned, like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Soil Association, are staunch supporters of science, have scientists working for them, and run campaigns to combat problems which were only identifiable through scientific investigation, like the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change. People opposed to GM, including farmers and environmentalists, often have professional or scientific qualifications, and are well versed in the scientific disciplines that affect agriculture. This has not stopped supporters of GM crops dismissing all of these people as irrational, emotional, anti-science zealots. […]

READ @ http://www.cornucopia.org/2013/01/the-gm-lobby-and-its-seven-sins-against-science/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-gm-lobby-and-its-seven-sins-against-science

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* INDIGENOUS PEOPLE FEND OFF OIL COMPANY, ARMY WITH ARSENAL OF ‘SPEARS, BLOWPIPES, MACHETES’

By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian

blowpipe-darts-savages

An indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon has won a reprieve after building up an arsenal of spears, blowpipes, machetes and guns to fend off an expected intrusion by the army and a state-run oil company.

The residents of Sani Isla expressed relief that a confrontation with Petroamazonas did not take place on Tuesday as anticipated, but said the firm is still trying to secure exploration rights in their area of pristine rainforest.

“We have won a victory in our community. We’re united,” said the community president, Leonardo Tapuy. “But the government and the oil company won’t leave us alone. […]

READ @ http://www.businessinsider.com/indigenous-people-fend-off-oil-company-army-with-arsenal-of-spears-blowpipes-machetes-2013-1#ixzz2IQusnNKS

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* STATEMENT BY VON IZUMI YMAGUCHI ZUR RE: COMMUNITY PANEL DISCUSSION ABOUT FUKUSHIMA AND THE CONSEQUENCES

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbbOzOEjth0&feature=player_detailpage#t=45s

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* CORPORATE CEO ‘EXTREMISTS’ TARGET SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE

By Jacob Chamberlain, CommonDreams

obamamcnerney2012businessroundtable640_0

CEOs from America’s largest corporations—including its biggest banks, retailers, and insurance companies who helped drive the country into the worst recession in nearly a century— are now calling on Congress to punish the nation’s working class and society’s most vulnerable by advocating major changes to Social Security and Medicare in a new lobbying push that critics say reveal the cruelty and selfish nature of the country’s corporate class.

The Business Roundtable, comprised of more than 200 chief executives and some of the nation’s wealthiest individuals, began lobbying DC lawmakers Wednesday in a press conference calling for major cuts to Social Security (including a raise in elgibility age to 70) and a new push to privatize Medicare.

Critics of the group call the move a clear assault by the nation’s wealthiest on the social safety net that protects millions of working people.

As Richard Eskow explains, the Business Roundtable itself was formed decades ago specifically to serve the interests of the “largest and most ruthless companies in America.” […]

READ @ http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/17-3

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* THE UGLY FACE OF RACISM

By Eirene, A Place Called Space

17Racist thugs riding their motorbikes at night, looking for another victim, is becoming a common phenomenon on the streets of Greece. The latest victim was a Pakistani worker who was murdered while on his way to work in the early hours of Thursday January 17th. The racists stabbed him to death.  Neighbours who heard his screams managed to get the bike’s number plate and alerted the authorities who have arrested the perpetrators. The following were found in the house of one of them: Neo-Nazi leaflets, bullets, an airgun, knives, batons. So, despite the fact that the Greek police are trying to persuade us that the murder did not have a racist motive, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Will they be punished? That is a good question. To this day no perpetrator of a racist attack has yet been prosecuted in the Greek courts. The authorities are turning a blind eye to racist violence and it is estimated that 50% of the Greek police force voted for the Neo-Nazi party in the last elections. Victims are discouraged from filing complaints if they have been atttacked and are threatened with detention by the police.

Amnesty International has issued a report condemning Greek authorities for their inability to tackle racist violence. […]

READ / PHOTOS @ http://a-place-called-space.blogspot.gr/2013/01/the-ugly-face-of-racism.html

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* 7 BRILLIANT INSIGHTS FROM NOAM CHOMSKY ON AMERICAN EMPIRE

By Laura Gottesdiener, AlterNet

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Noam Chomsky is an expert on many matters — linguistics, how our economy functions and propaganda, among others. One area where his wisdom especially shines through is in articulating the structure and functioning of the American empire. Chomsky has been speaking and publishing on the topic since the ’60s. Below are seven powerful quotes on the evils, atrocities and ironies of the American empire taken from his personal site and from a fan-curated Web site dedicated to collecting Chomsky‘s observations.

1. [In early 2007] there was a new rash of articles and headlines on the front page about the “Chinese military build-up.” The Pentagon claimed that China had increased its offensive military capacity — with 400 missiles, which could be nuclear armed. Then we had a debate about whether that proves China is trying to conquer the world or the numbers are wrong, or something. Just a little footnote. How many offensive nuclear armed missiles does the United States have? Well, it turns out to be 10,000. China may now have maybe 400, if you believe the hawks. That proves that they are trying to conquer the world.

It turns out, if you read the international press closely, that the reason China is building up its military capacity is not only because of U.S. aggressiveness all over the place, but the fact that the United States has improved its targeting capacities so it can now destroy missile sites in a much more sophisticated fashion wherever they are, even if they are mobile. So who is trying to conquer the world? Well, obviously the Chinese because since we own it, they are trying to conquer it. It’s all too easy to continue with this indefinitely. Just pick your topic. It’s a good exercise to try. This simple principle, “we own the world,” is sufficient to explain a lot of the discussion about foreign affairs. — from ” We Own the World” January 1, 2008. […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/activism/7-brilliant-insights-noam-chomsky-american-empire?paging=off

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* THE INCREDIBLE DEBT SPIDER: IT’S TIME TO END THE PRIVATE FED

By Rand Clifford, InformationClearingHouse

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The “Federal Reserve Bank” (Fed) is not part of the United States Government. The Fed is a private, for-profit corporation ultimately owned by eight elite banking families:

1. Rothschild’s of London and Berlin
2. Lazard Brothers of Paris
3. Israel Moses Seaf of Italy
4. Kuhn, Loeb & Co. of Germany and New York
5. Warburg & Company of Hamburg, Germany
6. Lehman Brothers of New York
7. Goldman, Sachs of New York
8. Rockefeller Brothers of New York

Magically, the Fed has exclusive rights to the dollar, and for them it’s even better than money growing on trees. Whether paying nominal U.S. mint printing costs for Federal Reserve Notes (like those papering your wallet), or simply entering digits into their banks’ computers, they lend this “money” back to us at a profit, making the following seem inevitable: […]

[…] Here’s some truth from Wright Patman, Texas Democratic congressman from 1929 to 1976:

…it is absolutely wrong for the Government to issue interest-bearing obligations. It is not only wrong: it is extravagant. It is not only extravagant, it is wasteful. It is absolutely unnecessary.

Congressman Patman was chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency for forty years; for twenty of those years he introduced legislation to repeal the Federal Reserve Banking Act of 1913.

Patman also said:

I have never yet had anyone who could, through the use of logic and reason, justify the Federal Government borrowing the use of its own money. I believe the time will come when people will demand that this be changed. I believe the time will come in this country when they will actually blame you and me and everyone else connected with the Congress for sitting idly by and permitting such an idiotic system to continue.

That “idiotic system” is the Fed.

$454,393,280,417.03…for the year 2011, that’s how much Americans paid a consortium of twelve private banks for creating dollars out of nothing, and loaning them to the government at interest.

There may be no greater con job than the Fed. Even the name is a con—any influence the United States Government has over the Fed is a dog and pony show. […]

READ @ http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33643.htm

Jan 182013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* 2013 AND THE NEW SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA

By Chris Mardsden, InformationClearingHouse

africa_map

France’s military aggression in Mali is only the latest expression of a renewed Scramble for Africa being undertaken by all of the continent’s former imperialist overlords. This involves not only those powers that directly ruled Africa from the late nineteenth century through to the 1960s, such as France and Britain, but above all the United States.

Paris has never fully abandoned its imperial designs on Africa, as its recent record in Rwanda and Libya demonstrates all too brutally. It still has 9,000 troops stationed in the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad and Djibouti. Its return to Mali is not about combating Al Qaeda and Islamist fundamentalism, but rather a means of staking its claim to the country’s uranium, gold and untapped oil deposits and those of the West African region and throughout a landmass recently proclaimed by President Francois Hollande as “the continent of the future.”

It is as yet unclear whether the US will go beyond providing aerial support to France in Mali. But if it does not, it is only because it does not want to help a rival predatory power. 2013 opens amid a whole number of military operations being waged by Washington in a continent upon which America now depends for fully a quarter of the oil and raw materials it consumes—including oil, gold, diamonds, copper, iron and big money crops such as cocoa.

Africa is in play as far as Washington and all other major powers are concerned. US aims in Africa centre on securing hegemony over the entire continent, a conflict in which its chief rival is now China. […]

READ @ http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33637.htm

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* MALI WAR: U.S. MILITARY TRAINERS ON THE GROUND BY WEEKEND – CLINTON

By Richard Rozoff, StopNATO

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US will provide France airlift help, ‘training’ for Mali operation – reports

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Germany sent two military Transall transport airplanes from the 63rd Luftwaffe squadron to join the mission in Mali.

France at the moment has 1,400 troops of the ground in Mali, with 1,100 more – including French Foreign Legionnaires – expected to be deployed over the next few days.

Algeria was intended to be the next domino to fall, but when the insurgency began spreading to southern Mali, France kicked off its campaign “to bomb the rebels back into Algeria.” […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/mali-war-u-s-military-trainers-on-ground-by-weekend-clinton/

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* BY DESIGN: FRENCH MALI INVASION SPILLS INTO ALGERIA

By Tony Cartalucci, GlobalResearch

algerie

Exactly as predicted, the ongoing French “intervention” in the North African nation of Mali has spilled into Algeria – the next most likely objective of Western geopolitical interests in the region since the successful destabilization of Libya in 2011.

In last week’s “France Displays Unhinged Hypocrisy as Bombs Fall on Mali” report, it was stated specifically that:

“As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:

Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.

And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become – a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-Qaeda. AQIM’s headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of “Which Path to Persia?” which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there – illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy.” […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/by-design-french-mali-invasion-spills-into-algeria/5319313

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* GOVERNMENT PUSHES PROPAGANDA THROUGH VIDEO GAMES

Source: Washington’s Blog

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Military Recruits Young People Through Misleading Games

We documented yesterday that American movies, television and news are dominated by the CIA and other government agencies.

The government also spreads propaganda through video games.

By way of example, former CIA director William Colby went to work for a video game company after he retired, and a former United States marine allegedly confessed to working at a video game company which was really a CIA front to create a game to drum up support for war against Iran.

The Guardian reports:

“For decades the military has been using video-game technology,” says Nina Huntemann, associate professor of communication and journalism at Suffolk University in Boston and a computer games specialist. “Every branch of the US armed forces and many, many police departments are using retooled video games to train their personnel.”

Like much of early computing, nascent digital gaming benefited from military spending. The prototype for the first home video games console, the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey, was developed by Sanders Associates, a US defence contractor. Meanwhile, pre-digital electronic flight simulators, for use in both military and civilian training, date back to at least the second world war. […]

READ @ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/01/government-pushes-propaganda-through-video-games.html

Jan 172013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE WOES OF AN AMERICAN DRONE OPERATOR

By Nicola Abe, Tlaxcala

A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. But then, one day, he realizes that he can’t do it anymore.

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For more than five years, Brandon Bryant worked in an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) and, for security reasons, the door couldn’t be opened. Bryant and his coworkers sat in front of 14 computer monitors and four keyboards. When Bryant pressed a button in New Mexico, someone died on the other side of the world.

The container is filled with the humming of computers. It’s the brain of a drone, known as a cockpit in Air Force parlance. But the pilots in the container aren’t flying through the air. They’re just sitting at the controls.

Bryant was one of them, and he remembers one incident very clearly when a Predator drone was circling in a figure-eight pattern in the sky above Afghanistan, more than 10,000 kilometers (6,250 miles) away. There was a flat-roofed house made of mud, with a shed used to hold goats in the crosshairs, as Bryant recalls. When he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact.

“These moments are like in slow motion,” he says today. Images taken with an infrared camera attached to the drone appeared on his monitor, transmitted by satellite, with a two-to-five-second time delay.

With seven seconds left to go, there was no one to be seen on the ground. Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. Then it was down to three seconds. Bryant felt as if he had to count each individual pixel on the monitor. Suddenly a child walked around the corner, he says.

Second zero was the moment in which Bryant’s digital world collided with the real one in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.

“Did we just kill a kid?” he asked the man sitting next to him.

“Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.

“Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

Then, someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. “No. That was a dog,” the person wrote.

They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs? […]

READ @ http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=9000

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* CHICAGO FACTORY OCCUPIERS FORM WORKER COOPERATIVE

Source: libcom.org

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First, they occupied the factory to get their wages from the bosses that owned the machinery. Then, they occupied their factory to keep the second bosses from shutting down their machinery. And, now, they are on their way to owning and running the machinery.

The group of workers who occupied their Chicago factory in 2008 and again in 2012 incorporated a worker-run cooperative on May 30, 2012. The factory window makers will take over was formerly owned by Republic Windows and Doors and then Serious Energy, and will now be run by New Era Windows, LLC.

Their battle to win wages and back pay from Republic Windows and Doors by occupying the factory is often mentioned in the same breath as the occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union bill as a flash point of progressive struggle since the recession took hold.
Armando Robles, president of the United Electrical Workers Local 1110, said that the school of struggle the workers went through with both factory occupations helped them win the confidence to take over their factory.

“We learned how to fight against the bosses and now to negotiate contracts with the owners of Republic and Serious Energy, how to negotiate in contract negotiations and how to make escalating actions before going on strike.”[…]

READ @ http://libcom.org/news/chicago-factory-occupiers-form-worker-cooperative-15012013

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* PARADIGM SHIFT FOR THE HEALTHCARE EXPENSE MONSTER

Source: Testosterone Pit

US-Healthcare-pie-2012-by-sourceA sadly familiar theme in the US—the growing ranks of the working poor—was fleshed out today. But the report, “Low-Income Working Families: The Growing Economic Gap,” did something else: it added graphic details to the conundrum of US healthcare spending. While it ballooned to $2.7 trillion, 17.9% of GDP, or $8,680 per capita, households have lowered their share. And so have businesses. What gives?

Despite improvements in the unemployment rate, 32.1% of all working households “may not have enough money to meet basic needs,” the report found. That was for 2011. In 2007, 28% of all families fell into that category. There are now 47.5 million low-income working families (earning less than 200% of the official poverty rate of $22,811 for a family of four). The report fingers in part the new job market. As people are finding jobs, they’re earning lower wages and have fewer benefits “compared with the middle-class jobs they held before.”

After housing expenses—81% of those below the official poverty level and 62% of low-income working families spent over 33% of their income on housing—and after day-to-day essentials, such as food and energy, little if any money remains for medical expenses.

But there is a parallel phenomenon: high-deductible health insurance plans linked to tax-advantaged IRA-like Health Savings Accounts. While deductibles range from $1,000 to $4,000 or more, the much lower premiums and tax savings can turn this into a bonanza for healthy people—if they keep their medical expenses down. The plans have taken off, much to the lament of healthcare providers. In 2006, only 10% of those with health insurance opted for a high-deductible plan; by 2012, their ranks had swollen to 34%! […]

READ @ http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2013/1/15/paradigm-shift-for-the-healthcare-expense-monster.html

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* TRANSOCEAN SETTLES FOR $1.4 BILLION IN CRIMINAL AND CIVIL CHARGES

By Bryan Dyne, Axis of Logic

File photo of fire boat response crews battling the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana

Editor’s Note: British Petroleum’s oil “spill” is the biggest environmental disaster in history and another vile corporate crime against the earth and humanity. Aside from those workers who were killed in the explosion, the total cost of the damages to the Gulf of Mexico and coastal ecosystems, including the destruction of the fishing industry, related businesses, long-term health problems for the population in the region and tourism industries was estimated to be over a trillion dollars in 2010. May the gods damn British Petroleum, their owners and directors, shareholders and the US government for the travesty of justice reported below. – Les Blough, Editor 

Transocean Deepwater Inc. has settled for only $1.4 billion towards all criminal and civil claims relating to the company’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010, which leaked 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killed eleven workers. The settlement was announced by the Department of Justice on Thursday.

The settlement, which must still be approved by US District Judge Carl Barbier, precludes other criminal fines that would have arisen if Transocean went to trial in New Orleans over the spill, which was set to begin February 25. Furthermore, the settlement will not require Transocean to plead guilty to any crime relating to the deaths of the eleven workers killed on the oil rig, in contrast to BP, which pleaded guilty to eleven counts of manslaughter.

The deal consists of criminal penalties and fines of $400 million. $150 million of the criminal settlement goes towards restoring the habitats in the Gulf of Mexico that were affected by the spill and a further $150 million will go towards oil spill prevention and response research in the Gulf. The criminal penalties are from a charge of “negligence” against Transocean by the Justice Department. The more serious charge of “gross negligence,” defined as “wanton and reckless conduct,” was not levied.

The civil settlement is $1 billion in civil penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act. $800 million of that will be directed by the RESTORE Act of 2012 and will be used to fund environmental and economic projects for Gulf states. The civil resolution also reserves the claims for natural resource damages and clean-up costs. […]

READ @ http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_65287.shtml

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* EUROPEAN LEADERS ANNUAL FORUM IN DAVOS

Source: AP

German Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum, WEF, gestures during a press conference, in Cologny near Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. The World Economic Forum today unveiled the programme for its Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, including the key participants, themes and goals. The Meeting, will take place from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27, 2013 .

German Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum, WEF, gestures during a press conference, in Cologny near Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. The World Economic Forum today unveiled the programme for its Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, including the key participants, themes and goals. The Meeting, will take place from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27, 2013 .

GENEVA (AP) — Promoting measures to get the global economy out of its crisis mode will be the focal point of next week’s annual gathering of world leaders and power brokers in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, organizers said Wednesday.

Four European leaders — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Premier Mario Monti — will deliver speeches on how to push forward the global economic revival, according to officials from the World Economic Forum.

The global economy has faced a number of hurdles over the past few years, but next week’s meeting in Davos appears to be taking place in a more benign atmosphere than many participants may have thought possible just a few months ago. […]

READ @ http://www.mail.com/int/news/world/1824010-european-leaders-headlining-annual-forum-davos.html#.1258-stage-set2-3

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* GREECE: THE BLAME GAME 

By Eirene, A Place Called Space

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The attack using Kalashnikoff rifles on the Athens New Democracy offices is part of a package of escalating violence in the capital in the last few days. There was a spate of makeshift bomb attacks against journalists and political figures last week as well as against three regional offices of New Democracy.

What is odd about this situation, is that although all parties immediately condemned the attack, chaos ruled in Parliament on Monday night as each group started attacking the others and apportioning blame.

The blame game is big in Greek politics at the moment. Nothing is happening, nothing is being done, ‘nothing is moving’ as people say to me every day. So, the political elite start blaming others to hide, to camouflage the fact that nothing is going on, that they are unable and unwilling to govern. The so-called Lagarde list is a case in point. The politicians are all blaming each other for the fact that the list, unlike what happened in all other European countries, was kept in a drawer instead of the people who have accounts in Switzerland being investigated and prosecuted if wrong-doing was discovered. They are still not investigating the list. They are just blaming each other. […]

READ / PHOTOS @ http://a-place-called-space.blogspot.gr/2013/01/the-blame-game.html

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* NATIONALISM SEMANTICS

Source: The Eblana European Democratic Movement

300px-Raphael_School_of_Athens

I often get very embarrassed by the rise of nationalism in my home country, Greece. Somehow, a bunch of misguided airheads and the youths that fell for their doctrine of hatred believe that they are true Greeks and they represent Hellenism or protect it from the “corrosion” of immigration.

I feel so ashamed that the Greek nation became synonymous with xenophobia, neo-Nazism and far-right nationalism. In a country that suffered so much by the Nazi occupation and that had experienced mass emigration to Europe, the Americas and Australia, to have now groups of skin-heads beating up any immigrant they find is disappointing.

How can they ever call upon the ancient Greek ancestors of theirs, to justify their brutality and ignorance? If they had ever read the speech of Alexander the Great at Opis, where he famously claimed that he does not classify people according their descendance or race but their virtue, I wonder why then they think they honor his memory by beating immigrants.

Have they ever understood the teachings of many ancient Greek philosophers, especially of the Stoic movement and those of Zeno of Citium? They promoted cosmopolitanism and believed that all people are manifestations of the one universal spirit and should live in brotherly love and readily help one another.

So if the Greek mind has in the past given birth to those ideas, how on Earth their descendants believe that with their actions are protecting and promoting Hellenism and “Greekness?” […]

READ @ http://eblanademocraticmove.blogspot.ie/2013/01/nationalism-semantics.html