May 312013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE AGE OF AUTHORITARIANISM: GOVERNMENT OF THE POLITICIANS, BY THE MILITARY FOR THE CORPORATIONS

By John W. Whitehead, LewRockwell

big club

“[F]orce alone cannot make us safe. We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the well-spring of extremism, a perpetual war – through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments – will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.” ~ Barack Obama, May 23, 2013

President Obama’s declaration that “America is at a crossroads” in the fight against terror, a fight that is increasingly turning inwards, setting its sights on homegrown extremists, should give every American pause.

We have indeed reached a crossroads. History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a militaristic state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom. Certainly, this is a time when government officials operate off their own inscrutable, self-serving playbook with little in the way of checks and balances, while American citizens are subjected to all manner of indignities and violations with little hope of defending themselves. We have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age, let’s call it the age of authoritarianism.

Even with its constantly shifting terrain, this topsy-turvy travesty of law and government has become America’s new normal. Don’t believe me? Let me take you on a brief guided tour, but prepare yourself: the landscape is particularly disheartening to anyone who remembers what America used to be. […]

READ @ http://lewrockwell.com/whitehead/whitehead84.1.html

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* EURO CRISIS: BETWEEN THE STREETS AND THE TRADING FLOORS

By Jerome Roos, Roarmag

Athens-riots

Between the Streets and the Trading Floors:
Popular Resistance and the Structural Power of Financial Capital in the European Debt Crisis

Jérôme E. Roos
European University Institute

Paper to be presented at the Fourth Annual IIPPE Conference:
‘Political Economy, Activism and Alternative Economic Strategies’
International Institute of Social Studies
The Hague, July 9-11, 2013

“The citizens will revolt against the dictatorship of the markets.”
~ Jean-Pierre Jouyet, President of the Financial Markets Authority in France

READ FULL PAPER IN .PDF VERSION

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On June 28, 2011, as Greek lawmakers prepared to vote on an austerity memorandum demanded by the European Union and IMF, hundreds of thousands of outraged Greeks descended upon Syntagma Square to defend their livelihoods and contest the vote. With the country grinding to a halt in the first 48-hour strike since the fall of the military junta, and with the activists at Syntagma – who had already held Athens’ central square occupied for over a month – announcing their intention to encircle parliament and prevent the vote from taking place, international creditors and national authorities braced themselves for the worst. For two days, as police battled mostly unarmed protesters with inordinate amounts of asphyxiating gas, both the Greek people and global financial markets held their breath. A no-vote risked plunging Greece into a disorderly state of default, potentially unleashing a negative spiral of market panic that could culminate into a catastrophic collapse of the Eurozone. A yes-vote, by contrast, would condemn the Greek people to years, if not decades, of devastating austerity measures. As lawmakers voted and the square in front of parliament descended into chaos, sending echoes of Argentina’s 2001 default through the financial community, the fate of both Greece and global financial markets now seemed to hang in the balance. One of the two would have to give. As BBC Newsnight editor Paul Mason summarized the situation, “Syntagma Square had become the front-line of the global financial system,” (2013:99).

Eventually, the creditors won. The austerity memorandum was passed. EU leaders and global financial markets let out a sigh of relief. Unlike Argentina, Greece would continue to service its debts to foreign bondholders. But for those who experienced the state crackdown from up close, the dramatic events of June 28-29 in Athens raised a number of profound questions. How could the democratically elected representatives of a center-left party (PASOK) that claimed to represent working people turn so resolutely against their own constituency? How could a supposedly democratic state ever become so unresponsive to the needs of its own people, so violent towards peacefully protesting citizens, and so submissive to the demands of foreign creditors? And, perhaps the most puzzling question of all, how could a group of unarmed citizens peaceably assembled in a leafy square in a small peripheral country whose GDP constitutes a mere 2 percent of the Eurozone total ever come to be considered an existential threat to the monetary union, let alone the global financial system? Clearly, these questions force analysts of the crisis to confront the fundamentally contested concept of power. In fact, it seems that in June 2011, Syntagma briefly became the principal battleground in a global power struggle that has come to define the neoliberal era; a struggle that has already been playing out across much of the developing world for the past three decades but that has only recently penetrated into what was once the First World. It is the struggle of the people against the banks; of debtors against creditors – of the streets against the trading floors.

This paper concerns itself with this power struggle as it continues to unfold in the ongoing European debt crisis. Rather than pursuing an in-depth empirical investigation of the crisis itself, however, the paper instead aims to revive the contributions of a number of critical theorists in political economy in an attempt to provide an alternative conceptual framework for understanding the growing power of global finance over nation states, and the way in which these changing power relations at the transnational level are transforming predominant forms of political activism and social struggle within nation states. Most importantly, it argues that the ability to withhold much-needed credit endows private investors with a form of structural power over elected officials, allowing them to discipline government behavior without having to resort to direct political pressure. To expand on the ideas developed by Charles Lindblom, today’s globalized financial markets have come to resemble a prison – an automatic disciplinary mechanism that “is not dependent on conspiracy or intention to punish” (Lindblom 1982:237). With the capitalist state trapped in this global debtors’ prison, and with a generation of neoliberal technocrats now seeking to internalize the dictates of market discipline into the state apparatus, European citizens have become ever more aware of the limits to state-oriented forms of political activism (Holloway 2013). In other words, the way in which the ongoing European debt crisis is being managed has given rise to a widespread crisis of representation and a concerted move towards more autonomous forms of popular resistance that reject the political system altogether and seek to maintain living standards and bring about social change through direct action, mutual aid and prefigurative politics instead (Hardt and Negri 2011; Graeber 2011a). […]

READ @ http://roarmag.org/2013/05/jerome-roos-structural-power-crisis-autonomy/

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* SOME MONEY LAUNDERERS ARE “MORE EQUAL” THAN OTHERS

By Mike, LibertyBlitzkrieg

animal-farm1

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
 George Orwell’s Animal Farm

It’s been many, many years since I read George Orwell’s Animal Farm, but the message conveyed in it will remain with me forever.  The book is many things, but more than anything else, it is a portrayal and critique of human nature and the political systems that we create. For those that need a refresher, or have not read the book, here’s the basic plot.

There’s a farm headed by a Mr. Jones, who drinks so much he becomes unable to take care of the farm and feed the animals.  Over time, the animals (in particular the pigs), decide human beings are parasites and the pigs lead a revolt and run Mr. Jones off the property.  They change the farm’s name from Manor Farm to Animal Farm and create a list of 7 commandments.  They are:

  1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
  2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
  3. No animal shall wear clothes.
  4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
  5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
  6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
  7. All animals are equal.

Rather quickly, the pigs assume leadership over the farm and one pig in particular, Napoleon, consolidates power after running his primary competitor off the property.  It goes downhill from here fast.  The pigs start to walk on two legs, drink alcohol and sleep in beds, amongst other things. Understanding that their new lifestyle in in direct contrast with their original seven commandments, they simply decide to make some adjustments.  The adjustments are:

  1. No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
  2. No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.
  3. No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.

Rather quickly, even these adjustments becoming too binding for the glutinous and power hungry pig oligarch class.  They decide to just condense everything down to one commandment:  All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

The above process is one for the ages, a process that has been reenacted time and time again by our species over the millennia.  It is exactly what is happening in these United States right now.

The reason I spend so much time on the Constitution and civil liberties these days is because I can see the above unfolding right before my eyes.  I also see an opportunity to stop it before it reaches its final, most destructive stage.  Whether it’s the Department of Justice turning journalism into a criminal act, the IRS going after political enemies, or our Noble Peace Prize winning President droning thousands of innocent men, women and children all over the world with flying robots, the oligarch class in this country is dismantling the Bill of Rights one amendment at a time. […]

READ @ http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2013/05/30/some-money-launderers-are-more-equal-than-others/

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* THOUSANDS OF ANTI-CAPITALISTS BLOCK ACCESS TO EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK IN FRANKFORT

Source: RT

Police try to prevent protestors from breaking through barricades near the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters during an anti-capitalist "Blockupy" demonstration in Frankfurt, May 31, 2013. (Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach)

Police try to prevent protestors from breaking through barricades near the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters during an anti-capitalist “Blockupy” demonstration in Frankfurt, May 31, 2013. (Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach)

The entrance of the ECB is blocked by over 3,000 ‘Blockupy’ protestors in a march against austerity. ‘Blockupy’ has announced the coalition has “reached its first goal” of the day.

Blockupy spokesman Ani Diesselmann announced, “The blockade is standing. The business of the ECB is successfully disrupted.”

The ECB spokesman told The Guardian that the Blockupy protests have not disturbed day to day operations at the bank, but would not specify how many bankers had turned up to work.

Blockupy’s official website has live updates and invites participation:

“We call up everyone to join our protests.”

Anti-capitalist protestors have taken to the streets the financial heart of Frankfurt a day ahead of Europe-wide gatherings planned for June 1 to protest leaders handling of the three-year euro debt crisis.

Next they plan to siege Deutsche Bank at 10:30am (8:30 GMT) local time and then move on to the Frankfurt National Airport.

The crowd, estimated at 2,500 by local authorities, is clutching signs demanding ‘humanity before profit’. […]

 

READ / VIDEO @ http://rt.com/news/protest-austerity-troika-frankfurt-042/

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* TURKISH POLICE BREAK UP ‘OCCUPY TAKSIM PARK’ PROTEST IN ISTANBUL

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gZg4smpagas

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oIM829xvfN8

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* TURKISH POLICE USE SUBWAY STATION LIKE “HITLER’S GAS CHAMBERS” 

BLlz_q1CEAALHcZ.jpg-large

#direngeziparkı pic.twitter.com/L0PPhwDBJH

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* TAKSIM GEZI PARK PROTESTERS SPEAK UP ON POLICE RAID

By Nilay Vardar, Bianet

erdgezi

Police raided Taksim Gezi Park early morning, casting tear gas bombs and allegedly burning tents of protestors who were staying overnight to stop the planned the project to turn the park into a shopping mall.

Speaking up after the police intervention in Taksim Gezi Park early morning, protestors reiterated that they were “here and not going anywhere”.

Following the police intervention at 5 am, protestors set up their tents again. The group received several politicians so far, including Peace and Democracy Party deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Republican People’s Party deputy chairperson Gürsel Tekin and deputy Umut Oran.

Due to an intervention made by deputy Önder, bulldozers are yet to start their engines. However, police detained Cenk Levi, who is in charge of Greenpeace’s energy campaign. Hazar Berk Büyüktunca, a protestor who hugged a tree, became subjected to police violence and got hospitalized.

“It was hard to see anything”

A witness who spent the night in the park said:

“We were sleeping. Patrollers shouted that police was coming. We didn’t know what to do. We just at on the floor and held each other by arms. Then police casted tear gas bombs at us. Even though I had a gas mask, it was unbearable. I walked almost 70 meters without seeing anytning. We all headed towards Şişli afterwards. After pushing us out, they casted more tear gas bombs from above. Then they just came closer. Police tanks were also spraying water at everybody. It went on around 45 minutes like that.  We saw a black smoke from far away. Undercover police burnt out tents.”

“Police burnt our tents”

In a statement, Mücella Yapıcı from Chamber of Architects denied allegations that protestors burnt their tents themselves.

”Dear top official [PM Erdoğan] has ruled yesterday. He said: ‘I decided and it will be removed’. And then came the intervention at 5 am – the time of morning prayer – with tear gas bombs. It violated all sorts of jurisdiction, including the holy book he believed. Let him know well that we are here and determined. This is not only a park, this is where this country takes a breath. Come and join us your breath with ours.” (NV/BM)

The protests are expected to maintain throughout the day with different activities.

Video: Bimen Zartar

READ / VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbfiSBl1JPQ

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* HALF A MILLION BRITONS USING FOOD BANKS. WHAT KIND OF COUNTRY IS THIS BECOMING

By John Harris, Guardian

A report warns of 'destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale'. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

A report warns of ‘destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale’. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

Let’s not mess about: a skyrocketing number of people simply cannot afford to eat, thanks to deliberate government policy

Let no one say we didn’t see it coming. Half a million people are now accustomed to using food banks, and according to a report by Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty, the UK is now facing “destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale”. Whether this news will achieve the impact it deserves is currently unclear: it doesn’t quite feel like it, which only underlines how inured the media seems to have become to rising poverty, and how easily the government seems to be getting off the hook. Yet the facts are obvious enough: “Food aid” is something firmly built into our national life, the supposed safety net of social security is getting more threadbare by the month – and the question demands to be asked, not for reasons of melodrama, but hard political fact: what kind of country is Britain becoming?

According the Trussell Trust, the UK’s single biggest organiser of food banks, in 2011-12, the number of people who received at least three days’ emergency food was around 130,000. Their own informational material says that in 2012-13, “food banks fed 346,992 people nationwide”, and of those who received help, “126,889 were children”. Now comes this latest report, and the skyrocketing numbers speak for themselves – as does the mess of factors behind them, and the responsibility of the coalition for pushing up the demand – no, need – for food banks so drastically. While we’re here, it may also be worth cutting through the kind of officialspeak used to deal with such things: even the term “food bank” occasionally seems designed to obscure what’s actually afoot, which is simple enough. So, let’s not mess about: a skyrocketing number of people simply cannot afford to eat, and they have been put in that predicament thanks to deliberate government policy. […]

READ / VIDEO @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/food-banks-half-million

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* THE UNITED STATES OF ALEC

Source: Bill Moyers

READ / VIDEO @ http://billmoyers.com/2013/05/30/alec-update/

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* THE U.S. AND THE EURO-CRISIS: LESSONS FROM A COMPARISON

By Mark Weisbrot, Aljazeera

Populist Beppe Grillo and his anti-establishment Five Star Movement has gained much popularity in Italy, as he is willing to talk about a referendum on leaving the euro [AFP]

Populist Beppe Grillo and his anti-establishment Five Star Movement has gained much popularity in Italy, as he is willing to talk about a referendum on leaving the euro [AFP]

The eurozone recession is now the longest on record for the single currency area, according to official statistics released last week, as the economy shrank again in the first quarter of this year. A comparison with the US economy may shed some light on how such a profound economic failure can occur in high-income, highly-educated countries in the 21st century.

While the US economy is still weak and vulnerable, the record 12.1 percent unemployment in the eurozone is still a lot worse than our 7.5 percent here. The most victimised countries like Spain and Greece have unemployment of about 27 percent.

The contrast between the US and Europe is all the more striking because Europe has much stronger labour unions, social democratic parties, and a more developed welfare state. Yet the eurozone has implemented policies far to the right of the US government, causing needless suffering for millions more people. How does this happen? The answers have little to do with a “debt crisis” but everything to do with macroeconomic policy, ideology, and – perhaps most importantly – democracy. As such these questions are relevant not only to the populations of both of these economic superpowers, but to most of the world. […]

READ @ http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/05/201352623459882636.html

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* WAKE UP CITIZENS OF THE WORLD

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzNxI3ESmPI&feature=youtu.be

May 302013
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

images

Introduction

Many billions of Euros are being extracted from Europe’s vassal-debtor nations – Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland –and transferred to the creditor banks, financial speculators and swindlers located in the City of London, Wall Street, Geneva and Frankfort.  Under what has been termed ‘austerity’ programs vast tributary payments are amassed by ruling Conservative and Social Democratic regimes via unprecedented savage budget cuts in salaries, public investment, social programs and employment.  The result has been a catastrophic growth in unemployment, under-employment and casual labor reaching over 50% among young workers under 25 and between 15% and 32% of the total labor force.   Wages, salaries and pensions have been slashed between 25% and 40%.  The age of retirement has been postponed from 3 to 5 years.  Labor contracts (dubbed ‘reforms’) concentrate power exclusively in the hands of the bosses and labor contractors who now impose work conditions reminiscent of the early 19th century.

To learn first-hand about the capitalist crisis and the workers’ responses, I spent the better part of May in Ireland and the Basque country meeting with labor leaders, rank and file militants, unemployed workers, political activists, academics and journalists.  Numerous interviews, observations, publications, visits to job sites and households – in cities and villages -provide the basis for this essay.

Ireland and the Basque Country:  Common Crises and Divergence Responses

The Irish and Spanish states, societies and economies (which includes the Basque country pending a referendum) – have been victims of a prolonged, deep capitalist depression devastating the living standards of millions.  Unemployment and underemployment in Ireland reaches 35% and in the Basque country exceeds 40%, with youth unemployment reaching 50%. Both economies have contracted over 20% and show no signs of recovery.   The governing parties have slashed public spending from 15% to 30% in a range of social services.  By bailing out banks, paying overseas creditors and complying with the dictates of the autocratic ‘troika’ (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission) the capitalist ruling class in Ireland and the Basque region have undermined any possible investments for recovery.  The so-called ‘austerity’ program is imposed only on the workers, employees and small businesspeople, never on the elite.  The Brussels-based ‘troika’ and its local collaborators have lowered or eliminated corporate taxes and provide subsidies and other monetary incentives to attract multi-national corporations and foreign finance capital.

The incumbent bourgeois political parties, in power at the beginning of the crash, have been replaced by new regimes which are signing additional agreements with the ‘troika’ and bankers.  These agreements impose even deeper and more savage cuts in public employment and further weakened workers’ rights and protection.  The employers now have arbitrary power is to hire and fire workers at a moment’s notice, without severance pay or worse.  Some contracts in Ireland allow employers to demand partial repayment of wages if workers are forced to leave their jobs before the end of their contract because of employer abuse.  The Spanish economy – including the Basque country– is subject to a modern form of ‘tributary payments’ dictated by the ruling imperial oligarchy in Brussels.  This oligarchy is not elected and does not represent the people they tax and exploit.  They are only accountable to the international bankers.  In other words, the European Unions has become a de facto empire – ruled by and for the bankers based in the City of London, Geneva, Frankfort and Wall Street.  Ireland and the Basque country are ruled by collaborator vassal regimes which implement the economic pillage of their electorate and enforce the dictates of the EU oligarchy – including the criminalization of mass political protests.

The similarities in socio-economic conditions between Ireland and the Basque country in the face of crisis, austerity and imperial domination, however, contrast with the sharply divergent responses among the workers in the two regions due to profoundly different political, social and economic structures, histories and practices.

Facing the Crisis:  Basque Fight, Irish Flight

In the face of the long-term, large-scale crisis, Ireland has become the ‘model’ vassal state for the creditor imperial states.  The leading Irish trade union confederation and the dominant political parties – including the Labor Party currently in the coalition with the ruling Fine Gael Party – have signed off on a series of agreements with the Brussels oligarchs to slash public employment and spending.  In contrast, the militant pro-independence Basque Workers Commission, or LAB, has led seven successful general strikes with over 60% worker participation in the Basque country – including the latest  on May 30, 2013.

The class collaborationist policies of the Irish trade unions have led to a sharp generational break – with the older workers signing deals with the bosses to ‘preserve’ their jobs at the expense of job security for younger workers.  Left without any organized means for mass struggle, young Irish workers have been leaving the country on a scale not seen since the Great Famine of the mid-19th century:  Over 300,000 have emigrated in the past 4 years, with another 75,000 expected to leave in 2013, out of a working population of 2.16 million.  In the face of this 21st century catastrophe, the bitterness and ‘generational break’ of the emigrating workers is expressed in the very low level of remittances sent back ‘home’.  One reason Irish unemployment rate remains at 14% instead of 20-25% is because of the astounding overseas flight of young workers.

In contrast there is no such mass emigration of young workers from the Basque country.  Instead of flight, the class fight has intensified.  The struggle for national liberation has gained support among the middle class and small business owners faced with the complete failure of the right-wing regime in Madrid (ruled by the self-styled ‘Popular Party’ ) to stem the downward spiral.  The fusion of class and national struggle in the Basque country has militated against any sell-out agreements signed by the ‘moderate’ trade unions, Workers Commissions (CCOO) and the General Union of Workers (UGT).  LAB, the militant Basque Workers Commission, has vastly more influence than their number of formally affiliated unionized workers would suggest.  LAB’s capacity to mobilize is rooted in their influence among factory delegates who are elected in all workplaces which far exceeds all trade union membership.  Through the delegates meeting in assemblies, workers discuss and vote on the general strike – frequently bypassing orders from central headquarters in Madrid.  Direct democracy and grass roots militancy frees the militant Basque workers of the centralized bureaucratic trade union structure which, in Ireland, has imposed retrograde ‘give backs’ to the multi-national corporations.

In the Basque country, there is a powerful tradition of co-operatives, especially the Mondragon industrial complex, which has created worker solidarity in the urban-rural communities absent among Irish workers.  The leading Irish politicians and economic advisers have groveled before the multi-national corporations, offering them the lowest tax rates, biggest and longest-term tax exemptions and most submissive labor regulations of any country in the European Union.

In the Basque country, the nationalist-socialist EH Bildu- Sortu political party, the daily newspaper Gara and the LAB provide mutual political and ideological support during strikes, electoral contests  and mass mobilizations based on class struggle.  Together they confront the ‘austerity’ programs as a united force.

In Ireland, the Labor Party, supposedly linked to be trade unions, has joined the current governing coalition.  They have agreed to a new wave of cuts in social spending, layoffs of public employees, and wage and salary reductions of 20%.  The trade union leadership may be divided on these draconian cuts yet most still support the Labor Party.  The more militant retail workers union rejects the cuts but has no political alternative.  Apart from support from the republican-nationalist Sein Fein and smaller leftist parties – the political class offer no clear progressive political program or strategy.  The Sein Fein has made the ‘transition’ from armed to electoral struggle. According to the latest (May 2013) polls it has doubled its voter approval rating from under 10% to 20% due to the crisis.  However, Sein Fein is internally divided: the ‘left’ pro-socialist wing looks to intensifying the ‘anti-austerity’ struggle while the ‘republican’ parliamentary leaders focus on unification and downplay class struggle.  As a result of its collaboration with the ‘troika’ and the new regressive tax laws, the Labor Party is losing support and the traditional right-wing party, Fianne Fail, which presided over the massive swindles, speculative boom and corporate giveaways, is making an electoral comeback – and may even return to power!  This helps to explain why Irish workers have lost hope in any positive political change and are fleeing in droves from the perpetual job insecurity imposed by their elite:  ‘Better a plane ticket to Australia than a lifetime of debt peonage, regressive bankruptcy laws and boss-dictated contracts approved by trade union chiefs who draw six digit salaries’.

The Basque country’s revolt against centralized rule from Madrid is partly based on the fact that it is one of Spain’s most productive, technologically advanced and socially progressive regions.  Basque unemployment is less then that of the rest of Spain.  Higher levels of education, a comprehensive regional health system, especially in rural areas and a widespread network of local elected assembles, combined with the unique linguistic and cultural heritages has advanced the Basque Nation toward greater political autonomy.  For many this marks the Basques as a political ‘vanguard’ in the struggle to break with the neo-liberal dictates of the EU and the decrepit regime in Madrid.

Conclusion:  Political Perspectives

If current austerity policies and emigration trends continue, Ireland will become a ‘hollowed out country’ of historical monuments, tourist-filled bars and ancient churches, devoid of its most ambitious, best trained and innovative workers:  a de-industrialized tax-haven, the Cayman Island of the North Atlantic.  No country of its size and dimensions can remain a viable state faced with the current and continuing levels of out-migration of its young workers.  Ireland will be remembered for its postcards and tax holidays.  Yet there is hope as the left republicans of the Sein Fein, socialists, communists and anti-imperialist activists, join the unemployed and underpaid workers in forming new grassroots networks.  At some point the revolving doors of Irish politicos in and out of office may finally come to a halt.  Unemployed educated angry young people may decide to stay home, stand their ground and turn their energies toward a popular rebellion.  One consequential socialist leader summed it up: “Deep pessimism and the influence of bankrupt social democracy and imperialist ideology within the labor movement are very strong.  As you know we can’t start a journey other than from where we are”.  The determination and conviction of Irish trade union militants is indeed a reason to hope and believe that current flight will turn into a future fight.

In the case of the Basque country the rising class and national mass struggle, linked to the legacy of powerful co-operatives and solidarity based worker assemblies, provides hope that the current reactionary regime in Madrid can be defeated.  The ruling neo-fascist junta (the ruling party still honors the Franco dictatorship and military) is increasingly discredited and has to resort to greater repression.  With regard to the militant Basque movements, the regime has taken violent provocative measures:  criminalizing legal mass protests, arresting independence fighters on trumped up charges and forcefully banning the public display of the photos of political prisoners (called ‘terrorists’ by Madrid).  It is clear the government is increasingly worried by the strength of the general strikes, the rising electoral power of the pro-independence left – and has been trying to provoke a ‘violent response’ as a pretext to ban the press,  party and program of the EH Bildu Sortu and LAB.

My sense is that Madrid will not succeed.  Spain as a centralized state is disintegrating: the neo-liberal policies have destroyed the economic links, shattered the social bond and opened the door for the advance of mass social movements. The bi-party system is crumbling and the class-collaborationist policies of the traditional trade union confederations are being challenged by a new generation of autonomous movements.

May 292013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* AWASH IN SELF-DELUSIONAL CORNUCOPIANISM

By Tyler Durden, zerohedge

Submitted by James H. Kunstler via Peak Prosperity

mrburnsdesk9bq

For most people, the collapse of civilizations is a subject much more appetizingly viewed in the rear-view mirror than straight ahead down whatever path or roadway we are on.

Jared Diamond wrote about the collapse of earlier civilizations to great acclaim and brisk sales, in a nimbus of unimpeachable respectability. The stories he told about bygone cultures gone to seed were, above all, dramatic. No reviewers or other intellectual auditors dissed him for suggesting that empires inevitably run aground on the shoals of resource depletion, population overshoot, changes in the weather, and the diminishing returns of complexity.

Yet these are exactly the same problems that industrial-technocratic societies face today, and those of us who venture to discuss them are consigned to a tin-foil-hat brigade, along with the UFO abductees and Bigfoot trackers. This is unfortunate but completely predictable, since the sunk costs in all the stuff of daily life (freeways, malls, tract houses) are so grotesquely huge that letting go of them is strictly unthinkable. We’re stuck with a very elaborate setup that has no future; but we refuse to consider the consequences. So messengers are generally unwelcome.

Awash in Self-Delusional Cornucopianism

Will the cost or availability of oil threaten America’s Happy Motoring utopia? There should be no question. But rather than prepare for a change in our daily doings, such as rebuilding the railroad system or promoting walkable neighborhoods over suburban sprawl, we tell ourselves fairy tales about how the Bakken shale oil play will make America “energy independent” to provide the illusion that we can keep driving to WalMart forever.

This is an especially delusional season in the USA, with salvos of disinformation being fired every day by happy-talkers seeking to reassure a nervous public that everything is okay. Just in the past few weeks we’ve seen an Atlantic Magazine cover story titled “We Will Never Run Out of Oil” followed by a report from the International Energy Agency stating that the USA would become the world’s number one oil producer by the year 2020, and many other bulletins of comforting optimism from The New York Times, NPR, and Forbes. The Atlantic Magazine used to be a credible organ of the American thinking classes, and the Paris-based IEA is vested with authority, though its political agenda (to prop up the status quo) is hidden. In any case, these are the interlocutors of reality for the public (and its leaders) and the memes they sow travel far, wide, and deep, whether they are truthful or not. The infectious cornucopianism they gleefully retail has goosed the stock markets and made it even more difficult to put out the contrary view that we are in deep trouble, perhaps even on the verge of an epochal disruption. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-28/awash-self-delusional-cornucopianism

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* MONSANTO HIRES INFAMOUS MERCENARY FIRM BLACKWATER TO TRACK ACTIVISTS AROUND THE WORLD

By Carolanne Wright, Natural News

Swat-Gun-Weapon

Remember the private mercenary army Blackwater that caused such a stir in Iraq during an unprovoked attack in 2007? Apparently, Monsanto and the controversial security firm are in bed together, described by blogger Randy Ananda as “a death-tech firm weds a hit squad.” At this point, you might be wondering what in the world the GM seed giant needs with the services of a ‘shadow army’? It appears as though the corporation found it necessary to contract with Blackwater in order to collect intelligence on anti-Monsanto activists as well infiltrate their ranks.

Notorious for the Iraqi Nisour Square Massacre, Blackwater “created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq,” reports the New York Times. One of these subsidiaries became Total Intelligence, the company contracted by Monsanto between 2008-2010 to collect intelligence on activists rallying against GMO crops and other Monsanto activities. Journalist Jeremy Scahill states in The Nation:

“… entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater’s work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater’s owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation.” […]

READ @ http://www.naturalnews.com/040492_GMO_activists_Monsanto_blackwater.html#ixzz2URtdXpXu

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* REBELS WITH A CAUSE: SCIENTISTS FIGHT BACK IN THE WAR ON SCIENCE

By Elizabeth Hand, Desmog

Image from the Union of Concerned Scientists anti-science cartoon competition.

Image from the Union of Concerned Scientists anti-science cartoon competition.

It has been called “Stephen Harper’s war on science” in Canada and just plain “war on science” in the US. But whatever you call it, scientists everywhere are frustrated with how scientific research is treated in North America. With the American sequester cuts looming on the horizon and the Canadian government openly admitting that it is no longer interested in funding “discovery science,” scientists are feeling accused, cut-off and shut-up.

It is becoming a trend in the United States and Canada to treat scientists like nay-sayers or rebels without a cause instead of like respected public figures. In cases where scientific evidence doesn’t support industry, governments in both countries have allowed corporations and oil companies to cast doubts on research.

By dirt digging into scientists’ private lives and creating false parallel science, the pursuit of doing good science has become a complicated job. Character defamation and false research has not only offered enough leeway to proceed on potentially dangerous projects, it has done endless damage to the reputation of the scientific community.

Though President Obama promised otherwise when he “told scientists, engineers and doctors that his goal is to reach for a public and private research and development investment that we haven’t seen since the space race.”

The reality is, the 2013 sequester is expected to be devastating to many non-defense agencies. The National Institutes of Health will sustain funding cuts of around $1.6 billion, the National Science Foundation is losing $283 million, and the American Association of Science is looking at a cut of about $9.3 billion. […]

READ @ http://desmog.ca/2013/05/24/rebels-cause-scientists-fight-back-war-science

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* OBAMA EXPANDS MILITARIZATION OF POLICE

Source: TheRealNews

Among items transferred to local law enforcement agencies: assault rifles, grenade launchers, even Blackhawk helicopters and .50 caliber machine guns. In 2011 alone, the Pentagon transferred almost $500 million worth of materials to domestic law enforcement — near double the previous year’s total.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3kL8pIqMU6c#!

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* NO TO NATO

Source: vimeo

On May 20th -21st the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit was held in Chicago. Thousands of protesters carried their anti-war message to world leaders at the summit, in a mostly peaceful march led by a group of Iraq War veterans who symbolically gave back their military medals.

Videography: Jorge Alva – Huerto

Additional Video Images: Eric Allin

Still Images: Occupy Everywhere

Music:

Pyroklast “Welcome to the 3rd World”

Son Solidario: “Siquisiri”

Hatekrusher: “Annihilation-Salvation”

Adelit@s: “Police State”

Sin Dios: “O.T.A.N. NO”

VIDEO @ http://vimeo.com/49799154#

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* THE REAL NUMBERS: HALF OF AMERICA IN POVERTY – AND IT’S CREEPING UPWARD

By Paul Buchheit, AlterNet

505a0-american_way

The Census Bureau [3] has reported that 15% of Americans live in poverty. A shocking figure. But it’s actually much worse. Inequality is spreading like a shadowy disease through our country, infecting more and more households, and leaving a shrinking number of financially secure families to maintain the charade of prosperity.

1. Almost half of Americans had NO assets in 2009 

Analysis of Economic Policy Institute [4] data shows that Mitt Romney’s famous 47 percent [5], the alleged ‘takers,’ have taken nothing. Their debt exceeded their assets in 2009.

2. It’s Even Worse 3 Years Later 

Since the recession, the disparities have continued to grow. An OECD report [6] states that “inequality has increased by more over the past three years to the end of 2010 than in the previous twelve,” with the U.S. experiencing one of the widest gaps among OECD countries. The 30-year decline in wages [7] has worsened since the recession, as low-wage jobs havereplaced [8] formerly secure middle-income positions.

3. Based on wage figures, half of Americans are in or near poverty. 

The IRS [9] reports that the highest wage in the bottom half of earners is about $34,000. To be eligible for food assistance, a family can earn up to 130% [10] of the federal poverty line [11], or about $30,000 for a family of four.

Even the Census Bureau recognizes that its own figures [12] under-represent the number of people in poverty. Its Supplemental Poverty Measure [13] increases, by 50%, the number of Americans who earn between one-half and two times the poverty threshold.

4. Based on household expense totals, poverty is creeping into the top half of America. 

A family in the top half, making $60,000 per year, will have their income reduced by a total tax bill of about $15,000 ($3,000 for federal income tax [14] and $12,000 for payroll, state, and local taxes [15]. The Bureau of Labor Statistics [16] and the Census Bureau [17] agree that food, housing, and transportation expenses will deduct another $30,000, and that total household expenditures will be about $50,000. That leaves nothing.

Nothing, that is, except debt. The median debt level [18] rose to $75,600 in 2009, while the median family net worth [19], according to the Federal Reserve, dropped from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/print/economy/real-numbers-half-america-poverty-and-its-creeping-toward-75-0

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* GREECE BECOMES TRADE BATTLEGROUND AS FOREIGN INVESTORS SWOOP

By Helena Smith, Guardian

Gytheio harbour, Greece. The country can become a gateway for investment and trade flows between China and Europe, says its prime minister. Photograph: Alamy

Gytheio harbour, Greece. The country can become a gateway for investment and trade flows between China and Europe, says its prime minister. Photograph: Alamy

The Chinese are interested in airports, harbours and railways. The Russians are determined to infiltrate the energy market. The Qataris have made clear they want to invest in property.

Three years to the month after becoming the first eurozone country to be bailed out by the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), Greece has finally got its long-delayed privatisation campaign off the ground, and the programme has turned the debt-choked country into a battleground for nations seeking access to the EU trading bloc.

“We have to transmit the message that this is a different Greece,” the development minister, Kostis Hadzidakis, said in an interview. “We have to surprise in a positive way. Privatisations will send the message that we are a business-friendly country.”

The prime minister, Antonis Samaras, took that message to Beijing this month, urging China to participate in what he described as Athens’ success story. He was buoyed by a raft of unusually good news: international creditors had agreed to prop up the economy with another €8.8bn (£7.5bn) in rescue funds, Fitch had upgraded Greece’s credit rating, while borrowing costs on 10-year bonds in May fell to their lowest level since the outbreak of the debt crisis.

If ever there was a time, it was now, for the Asian tiger to pursue its desire to make Greece a gateway to Europe by investing in infrastructure projects beyond Piraeus port. As Europe’s biggest passenger harbour and one of its top 10 container terminals, the docks at Piraeus have become an operational base for the Chinese since Cosco, its state-run shipping company, paid €500m to lease half of them in 2010. […]

READ @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/27/greece-trade-battleground-foreign-investors-swoop

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* UK COURTS TO BE PRIVATIZED, THIS IS NOT SATIRE

Source: Scriptonite Daily

jmeme

Today’s front page of The Times newspaper was issued ahead of time yesterday evening, bearing the headline ‘Courts to be privatised in radical justice shake-up’.  While many hoped it was a late April Fool or a piece of over-zealous reporting, closer investigation suggests these hopes were futile.  The UK Government has once more chosen to pillage a public service in the pursuit of private profit.  These changes, in combination with other privatisations and cuts, will result in a two tier justice system – or justice to the highest bidder alone.

The Privatisation of our Courts

These plans have been entirely closed to public debate.  In fact, there has been only one public reference to this fundamental overhaul of our justice system.

Chris Grayling, Minister of Justice, made an oblique reference to a review of the justice system in remarks to parliament this March:

“The courts and tribunals are at the centre of our justice system, relied on by the public to enforce their rights and uphold the rule of law. As in other areas, we need to look at the way we deliver our services to provide a more efficient service that delivers access to justice quickly and effectively, while delivering value for money for the taxpayer. At the same time, we must preserve the independence of the judiciary, which lies at the heart of our constitutional arrangements.”

According to The Times report today:

“Courts in England and Wales are facing wholesale privatisation under revolutionary plans that would end the system that has existed since Magna Carta. The idea would establish the courts service as a commercial enterprise, paying its way and freed from Treasury control, with court buildings and thousands of staff put in the hands of private companies. It would save the Ministry of Justice £1 billion a year.”

“Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, instructed officials this year to explore plans for reform to ensure that the Courts and Tribunal Service provides value for money.

A paper outlining options is expected to go to Mr Grayling within two weeks, with a tight timetable for action under which the shake-up could proceed this autumn. The plan is strongly backed by the Justice Secretary.

Options under discussion include hiving off court buildings to a private company, which would run and maintain them, or a more radical proposal in which the 20,000 courts staff would also transfer to the private sector.” […]

READ @ http://scriptonitedaily.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/uk-courts-to-be-privatised-this-is-not-satire/

May 292013
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

“Por primera vez Bashar Al Assad está armando milicias populares, vecinos, han armado grupos populares para unirse al ejército contra esta turba de grupos terroristas que vienen a masacrar al pueblo, respaldados fundamentalmente por Inglaterra, Francia y Estados Unidos”, explicó este lunes en CX36 el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras (*). Agregó que actualmente “lo que podemos decir son dos cosas: primero que Hezbolá y Siria juntos son totalmente capaces de derrotar y echar a los terroristas. Pero, al mismo tiempo, los países imperialistas –lo ha hecho Israel- reconocen esto por lo que quieren una gran escalada de armas, incluso hablan de armas pesadas, y hasta misiles de gran potencia”.  Además, Petras se refirió a la actualidad política venezolana y comentó su reciente gira por Irlanda y el País Vasco.

A continuación transcribimos la Columna de James Petras que puede escuchar/descargar aquí

image002

Efraín Chury Iribarne: Es un gusto retomar el contacto de cada lunes –tras dos semanas sin tenerlo- con James Petras desde Nueva York. Buenos días, bienvenido.

James Petras: Buenos días. Estamos felices de volver al programa después de mi viaje por Irlanda y el País Vasco.

Estuvimos en el País Vasco, dando algunas conferencias invitados por el sindicato LAB (1) en Bilbao y mantuvimos una gran reunión en Pamplona, con casi mil personas.

EChI: Muy bueno, entonces si te parece podríamos comenzar con una reseña de lo que dejó este viaje.

JP: Si. Hay un enorme contraste entre Irlanda el País Vasco, ambos enfrentan una gran crisis y altas tasas de desocupación. Pero en Irlanda donde no hay una organización de masas clasista, con una visión de transformación, la respuesta de los jóvenes es salir del país, 300 mil jóvenes y trabajadores han salido del país en los últimos cuatro años. Estamos hablando de casi el 10% de toda la población activa, de la mano de obra, en el país.

Mientras que en el País Vasco hay convocada una huelga general para este jueves 30 de mayo, donde todas las fuerzas populares están movilizadas y nosotros pudimos ver e incluso pudimos apoyar, en conferencia de prensa (2), hacer una declaración de apoyo a este gran acto que va a unificar todos los problemas de los participantes en una gran lucha.

Este contraste hay que analizarlo porque en Irlanda optan por la salida del país y en el País Vasco por la lucha. Esto tiene que ver con la existencia de organización política, orientada hacia asambleas en los centros de trabajo que son capaces de informar, organizar y participar. En Irlanda el Partido Laborista está colaborando en los pactos, que incluyen en recortes a los programas sociales y las exenciones a las multinacionales, mientras sigue bajando el nivel de vida en forma vertical.

Es muy impresionante como en dos situaciones similares, las respuestas son tan divergentes y que da tan pocas posibilidades a los irlandeses y todas las posibilidades a los vascos.

Ni hablemos de las diferencias gastronómicas, de eso podríamos hablar en otro momento, pero la gastronomía vasca es de gran categoría.

EChI: Es curioso porque la ‘crisis madre’ es la misma en ambos lugares.

JP: Si. Por eso digo que la diferencia es en la estructura política y social, y de la organización de conciencia. En el país Vasco hay una fusión entre la conciencia nacional, emancipadora y la lucha de  clases; mientras que los irlandeses tienen una desconexión, no están identificados con nada antiimperialista, es el lugar más propicio para las multinacionales, donde pagan el menor impuesto y la lucha de clases ha desparecido con la colaboración entre sindicatos, sindicalistas amarillos y las multinacionales.

Son diferentes culturas que determinan la gran divergencia en la reacción a la crisis.

EChI: ¿Cómo esta el tema Siria?

JP:  Siria obviamente es  el epicentro de las grandes luchas entre el imperialismo y antiimperialismo en este momento.

Los últimos acontecimientos muestran que el poder del gobierno de Siria y los pueblos sirios, están a la ofensiva. Por primera vez Bashar Al Assad está armando milicias populares, vecinos, han armado grupos populares para unirse al ejército contra esta turba de grupos terroristas que vienen a masacrar al pueblo, respaldados fundamentalmente por Inglaterra, Francia y Estados Unidos.

Lo que está en juego ahora es muy claro, la táctica del imperialismo es dividir y conquistar. Primero empezaron con Irak, ahora están atacando Siria, después van a dividir Irán del Líbano, después atacarán Hezbolá y después atacarán Irán. Es un cadena. Por eso Hezbolá ha entrado a colaborar con el gobierno y el pueblo sirio, atacando a los terroristas que están  tratando de combinar la lucha contra Siria, con un ataque al Líbano.

Hay mucho en juego y por eso Hassan Nasrallah, el dirigente de Hezbolá, ha dicho claramente que si cae Siria, le sigue Líbano e Irán, y los que van a sufrir más son los palestinos. Por esta razón Israel colabora con Estados Unidos, Inglaterra y Francia, atacando Siria, porque sabe que Siria y Hezbolá son los que han quedado como los principales defensores del pueblo palestino. Y esta situación es muy grave porque Inglaterra y Francia están exigiendo mayor financiamiento para armar a los terroristas.

Muestran con toda vulgaridad la capacidad de intervenir y destruir un país, pues saben muy bien que dar más armas a los terroristas significa más destrucción y más muerte, más asesinatos.

Hasta ahora, Austria y algún otro país en la Unión Europea están bloqueando esta medida, que tiene el apoyo también de los Estados Unidos, pero con la mano escondida. El canciller (estadounidense, John) Kerry está actuando ahora junto con la quinta columna palestina, el sector de gran capital palestino, que hay algunos requisados, forman un acuerdo de negocios dentro de lo que queda de Palestina, estos pequeños pedazos palestinos, especie de bantustanes, para formalizar alguna neutralización de la campaña palestina a favor de Siria.

Esto es muy complicado.

Lo que podemos decir son dos cosas: primero que Hezbolá y Siria juntos son totalmente capaces de derrotar y echar a los terroristas. Pero, al mismo tiempo, los países imperialistas –lo ha hecho Israel- reconocen esto por lo que quieren una gran escalada de armas, incluso hablan de armas pesadas, y hasta misiles de gran potencia.

Entonces el avance de la liberación en Siria va contra los esfuerzos del imperialismo de intervenir con mayor fuerza.

EChI: En Venezuela también han sucedido varias cosas, el desabastecimiento, el protagonismo de las Fuerzas Armadas, etc. ¿Qué visión tiene de todo esto?

JP: Todavía no hemos visto una clara nueva iniciativa, creo que la cosa sigue igual. Hay declaraciones del presidente (Nicolás) Maduro,  que la amenaza de golpe por parte de la oposición han bajado, las presiones norteamericanas siguen avanzando pero sin ningún cambio estratégico hasta este momento. El gobierno todavía no ha lanzado ninguna campaña de rectificación y eso es un problema. Deben reorganizarse, repensar las prácticas administrativas, las iniciativas políticas. Estamos en un período de pausa, por lo que debemos esperar a ver si en los próximos meses o semanas, si el gobierno reconoce la necesidad de reforzar el sector administrativo, popular, político y económico.

Una cosa, las refinerías que había propuesto el Ministerio de Petróleo hace años, todavía no se han construido. Están importando diesel de Estados Unidos, lo que es ridículo.

Deben lanzar un programa de autosuficiencia en alimentación, mientras están importando el 85% de los alimentos.

En tercer lugar, la idea de algún alto funcionario, ministros -como Alí Rodríguez- de buscar aliados en el sector privado, me parece muy cuestionable porque no indica que sectores privados pueden prestar una mano, que tipo de ayuda o colaboración pueden ofrecer; en que tipo de actividades y cómo eso va a afectar su posición política. Me parece que se está dando una perspectiva privatizadora, conciliadora,  pero sin base económica. Es más una estrategia política para calmar los ánimos. Pero no se si es una salida económica, porque hasta ahora el capitalismo, el sector privado, sólo sabe chupar dolares del Estado sin hacer ninguna inversión productiva que sirva para dinamizar la Economía.

Eso es un peligro porque frente a la confrontación, que es cada vez más grave  hay sectores y personas como el señor Ali, que piensan evitarlo a partir de la conciliación; mientras la derecha y los capitalistas aceptan todas las concesiones, sin dar respuesta  ninguna de reciprocidad. Ese me parece el principal tema político internamente.

EChI: En otro orden, los comunistas chilenos han decidido apoyar a la candidata de la concertación Michelle Bachelet para las elecciones del 30 de junio.

JP:  Bachelet no ofreció nada durante su Presidencia frente a los temas que hoy enfrenta Sebastián Piñera, como Educación, empleo, salarios. Ella ha sido muy demagoga, ese es su estilo, juega las cartas del feminismo, del progresismo, pero Piñera no inventó estos problemas, son también el producto de los 20 años de Concertación. No debemos engañarnos y pensar que Bachelet representa una ruptura con el pasado. Ni con el pasado de Piñera ni con su propio antecedente.

Lo que falta en Chile hace años es una verdadera alternativa entre la derecha y el centro derecha; porque se llaman centro izquierda, pero si analizamos a Chile en la economía internacional, en la estructura de clases, es un país de centro derecha. Muy autoritario dentro del sistema electoral, muy pero muy colaboracionista con Wall Street, forma parte del PAN Pacifico como miembro fundador, colaborando con Estados Unidos para debilitar el ALBA, Mercosur y otras alianzas regionales. Recordemos que PAN-Pacífico es una alianza centrada en Estados Unidos y Chile es su socio favorito, junto a Japón y otros países que tratan de formar un cerco alrededor de China y debilitar el regionalismo latinoamericano. En ese panorama, Bachelet es muy funcional.

Hemos recibido noticias, no se si está circulando en Uruguay, que el presidente José Mujica ha sido muy complaciente para entrar al PAN Pacífico; considerándolo incluso como una opción seria, que podría ser útil para el sector agro exportador uruguayo.

PAN Pacífico es la alternativa que Estados Unidos está proponiendo para América Latina y para el Pacífico. Dirigido contra cualquier progresismo regionalista latinoamericano, debilitar a la Argentina y a otros países independientes, y fortalecer lazos a partir de la asociación –supuestamente- con el Pacífico. Lo mismo que aliados  con Japón y Australia, está tratando de montar una alternativa a China.

Es muy difícil en el caso de China, porque está muy involucrada en los países asiáticos y Australia; y otros países como Perú y Chile, dependen de las exportaciones a China. Pero en todo caso, Estados Unidos está metido en formar un nuevo cerco, es su idea, un cerco militar con consecuencias económicas.

Muy complicado como decía, China está involucrada a gran escala en toda Asia, con inversiones. Incluso está extendiendo sus inversiones en el Caribe, hay un enorme flujo de inversiones y proyectos en el Caribe. Por tanto, la competencia del nuevo poder económico chino y el declive estadounidense se está intensificando e involucrando a Latinoamérica. A ver cuál es ahora la posición de Uruguay sobre PAN Pacífico.

EChI: Es cierto Petras, el gobierno uruguayo se ha declarado favorablemente a integrar la Alianza del Pacífico.

JP: Si hay tiempo quiero comentar dos cosas más.

EChI: Si, adelante.

JP: Primero es la política de la mal llamada socialdemocracia. El señor (presidente de Francia, Françoise) Hollande en las páginas financieras  anuncia que va a cortar el Presupuesto, gastos públicos, en 50 mil millones en los últimos años de su gobierno. Esto incluye el despido de empleados públicos, recortes en salarios, aumentar la edad de jubilación, recortes en programas sociales –pensión por desempleo, asignaciones familiares-. En otras palabras Hollande está haciendo todo lo que son los programas de (David) Cameron, (George) Bush; (Barack) Obama; etc. O sea, ha cumplido el ciclo: empezó como demagogo criticando a la derecha y luego imitándolo hasta las últimas.

Esto me parece que confirma la idea de que no hay diferencia entre la socialdemocracia y la derecha. Junto con Cameron son los principales apoyantes del terrorismo en Siria, los mas agresivos son precisamente Hollande y Cameron, que están exigiendo que la Unión Europea aumente el flujo de armas pesadas para los terroristas; son los que están atacando a Hezbolá que etsá defendiendo la frontera.

Ni en política interna ni en política externa, Hollande demuestra el mínimo de progresismo, de demócrata y mucho menos de socialismo.

Vamos a ver si ahora, tan debilitado, podrá enfrentar las protestas, que imagino y espero que los sindicatos rompan con Hollande y lancen protestas masivas. Porque los recortes que  anuncia Hollande tarde o temprano llevan a la confrontación y todos los socialistas, marxistas, comunistas, trostkistas que apoyaron a Hollande como el mal menor, ahora están comiéndose sus propias palabras.

El otro tema es el tornado en Oklahoma, que mató a  una veintena de jóvenes estudiantes y niños de una escuela. Esta región constantemente tiene tornados, no son la excepción, son la regla. Por lo que tener una escuela que no tenga un lugar de seguridad para que cuando se anuncie con varios minutos que viene un tornado, puedan bajar a un sótano de concreto y se puedan salvar esas vidas, es inaceptable. Y ayer Obama visitando a las familias y dando consuelo es realmente inaceptable.

Hay miles de millones de dólares gastados en bases militares en 800 lugares del mundo, mientras que en Oklahoma y otras regiones afectadas por los tornados, la gran mayoría de las escuelas  no tienen  ninguna protección.

Estas cosas se repiten cada año. Las amenazas existen siempre. Pero indica que la seguridad de la patria no es la prioridad del gobierno, porque no hay seguridad para los niños, para la gente que vive en casas precarias no tienen donde escapar cuando les avisan por radio que viene un tornado. No tienen donde ir para protegerse. En la gran mayoría de los pueblos no tienen donde ir y sufren los muertos como cualquier animal del campo.

EChI: Bien Petras, ha sido un gusto, un abrazo.

JP: Bien, un abrazo. Y en especial a los vascos, porque me recordaron con mucho cariño la solidaridad del pueblo uruguayo y tienen un día de recuerdo cada año para los dos uruguayos que murieron peleando para evitar la extradición hace unos 20 años (3). Lo recuerdan con un gran cariño.

Gracias, hasta el lunes.

(*) Escuche en vivo los lunes a las 11:30 horas (hora local) la audición de James Petras por CX36, Radio Centenario desde Montevideo (Uruguay) para todo el mundo a través de www.radio36.com.uy

Notas de Redacción

(1) LAB: Langile Abertzaleen Batzordeak (en euskera: Comisiones de Obreros Abertzales) es un sindicato nacionalista vasco, integrado en la izquierda abertzale, y considerado parte del Movimiento de Liberación Nacional Vasco. Creado en el otoño de 1974, mantiene su presencia fundamentalmente en País Vasco y Navarra (España); a partir de su V congreso (San Sebastián, 2000) extendió su actividad sindical al País Vasco francés. A nivel internacional, LAB forma parte de la Federación Sindical Mundial.

(2) James Petras apoya la huelga general en Euskal Herria

Ver video de la conferencia de prensa en:  http://agoitzgorria.info/wp/?p=9598

(3) La masacre del Filtro fue una masacre que desató el gobierno uruguayo, el 24 de agosto de 1994, contra miles de personas que se concentraban el las inmediaciones del Hospital Filtro, en apoyo al pedido de asilo político de tres ciudadanos vascos y en reclamo de otorgarle el asilo político. En rechazo a su extradición, los vascos estaban realizando una huelga de hambre, motivo por el cual el 19 de agosto son internados en dicho hospital, rodeados de decenas de miles de uruguayos que se concentraban allí para apoyar que se le otorgara el derecho de asilo. Pero el gobierno resolvió sacarlos a la fuerza y extraditarlos en la noche del 24 de agosto. Se desplegó un operativo represivo para ‘abrir camino’ a las ambulancias que conducirían a los detenidos, operativo que fue conducido por el Inspector Nacional José Dávila y el Inspector General Pablo Gerjiulo que dependían de la orden directa del Ministro del Interior de entonces, Ángel María Gianola, dejando como saldo la muerte de Fernando Morroni y Roberto Facal y cientos de heridos.

May 282013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Bologna, 27 Maggio 2013 Gli studenti universitari si incontrano in Piazza Verdi alle 18.00 per tenere un’assemblea pubblica nella quale discuteranno di attualità e problematiche, l’iniziativa è stata prontamente bloccata dalla polizia con cordoni che, dopo pochi minuti, hanno caricato gli studenti. Questi ultimi hanno risposto alla carica e sono riusciti a penetrare in Piazza Verdi scacciando la polizia e svolgendo la tanto agognata assemblea.

Translation by google: Bologna, May 27, 2013. College students meet at 18.00 in Piazza Verdi to hold a public meeting to discuss current events and issues. The initiative was promptly blocked by police cordons, after a few minutes, they loaded the students . The students responded to the charge and were able to penetrate in Piazza Verdi driving out police and carrying out the long-awaited meeting.

VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zPYUUnkBlq0#!

May 272013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* MONSANTO’S GMO KILLER SEEDS: PROFITS ABOVE HUMAN HEALTH

By Stephen Lendman, Global Research

On May 25, more than two million people marched against Monsanto Worldwide. They did so in dozens of countries worldwide. They had good reason.They want consumer protections enacted. They want safe food to eat. They want governments assuring it. They want GMO foods and ingredients labeled.

gmoroundup

March Against Monsanto” (MAM) headlined “Why Do We March?”

Independent research shows GMO foods and ingredients cause “serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects.”

Former Monsanto executives run the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An obvious conflict of interest exists.

Provisions of the March 2013 Monsanto Protection Act include “ban(ning) courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds.”

“For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism.”

“Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.”

“Monsanto’s GM seeds are harmful to the environment; for example, scientists have indicated they have contributed to Colony Collapse Disorder among the world’s bee population.”

MAM advocates:

  • buying organic foods;
  • boycotting Monsanto-owned companies;
  • repealing Monsanto Protection Act harmful provisions;
  • more independent research on the effects of GMOs on human health;
  • holding Monsanto officials and complicit politicians accountable;
  • informing the public about “Monsanto’s secrets;” and
  • “taking to the streets to show the world and Monsanto that we won’t take these injustices quietly.”

“We will not stand for cronyism. We will not stand for poison. That’s why we March Against Monsanto.” […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsantos-gmo-killer-seeds-profits-above-human-health/5336399

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* MONSANTO PROMOTES GMO ABROAD WITH U.S. TAX MONEY?

Source: RT

Amid accusations the Monsanto corporation enjoys protection from the authorities, a recent report showed the US government has been aggressively lobbying for GM foods all across the world. RT America correspondent Megan Lopez reports.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWyMDGTRFEo&feature=em-subs_digest

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* 2 MILLION PEOPLE IN 52 COUNTRIES MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO

Source: Washington’s Blog

images

Monsanto’s Arguments Debunked

2 million people in 52 countries protested against Monsanto today. (Pictures here, here and here.)

In response to the protest, Monsanto’s spokesperson said:

Among the challenges facing agriculture are producing food for our growing population and reducing agriculture’s footprint on the environment. While we respect each individual’s right to express their point of view on these topics, we believe we are making a contribution to improving agriculture by helping farmers produce more from their land while conserving natural resources such as water and energy.

Is this true?

The Independent noted in 2008:

Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.

The study – carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas in the US grain belt – has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields.

Professor Barney Gordon, of the university’s department of agronomy, said he started the research – reported in the journal Better Crops – because many farmers who had changed over to the GM crop had “noticed that yields are not as high as expected even under optimal conditions”. He added: “People were asking the question ‘how come I don’t get as high a yield as I used to?’”

***

The new study confirms earlier research at the University of Nebraska, which found that another Monsanto GM soya produced 6 per cent less than its closest conventional relative, and 11 per cent less than the best non-GM soya available.

***

A similar situation seems to have happened with GM cotton in the US, where the total US crop declined even as GM technology took over.

***

Last week the biggest study of its kind ever conducted – the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development – concluded that GM was not the answer to world hunger.

Professor Bob Watson, the director of the study and chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when asked if GM could solve world hunger, said: “The simple answer is no.” […]

READ @ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/05/2-million-march-in-50-countries-against-monsanto.html

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* #MAM: THE GRASSROOTS UPRISING

Source: Corbett Report

Monsanto is a company feared and reviled by the public in equal measure. But whatever cases Monsanto has lost in the court of public opinion it has made up for in the courts of justice thanks to its revolving door with the upper reaches of Washington. Now, a new movement is seeking to galvanize grassroots resistance to the corporation, and derail its agenda. Find out more in this week’s Backgrounder from Global Research TV.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bbJSRsNq7gc

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* GLOBAL PROTEST AGAINST MONSANTO

Source: TheRealNews

In more than 400 cities protestors call for a ban on GMO food.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJlQpBwrY7o&feature=share

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* MANIMAL RIGHTS

By Daniel Engber, Slate

It may not be so long before we're faced with some hairy bioethics: What rights should we assign to mice with human brains? Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

It may not be so long before we’re faced with some hairy bioethics: What rights should we assign to mice with human brains? Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Attention, sane and insane scientists: Your experiments to create half-men, half-beasts may not be legal in every jurisdiction. The construction of such hybrid life forms is now prohibited in several Sun Belt states, including Arizona and Louisiana, and Mississippi lawmakers have introduced a bill to do the same.

These regulations have become a hobby-horse of the religious right, and so an endless source of mirth for science-minded lefties who think they have the better grasp of biotechnology. “Mississippi Bill Would Ban Manimals, Mermen, and Minotaurs,” according to a blogger at Mother Jones. Republicans are scared of “some sort of human-brained lion with bear paws,” said a writer at Daily Kos, “because scientists are this close to doing that just for the flying hell of it.”

This knee-jerk sarcasm is no less embarrassing today than it was in 2006, when progressives piled on President Bush for mentioning “human-animal hybrids,” among other “egregious abuses of medical research,” at the back-end of a State of the Union address. Jon Stewart called that digression a “brief stop in Crazytown;” BoingBoing mocked him with a T-shirt.

For all the hee-haws, though, this Republican agenda item speaks to something very real in bioscience. Human cells or DNA are planted into laboratory animals as a matter of routine, and nonhuman parts end up in people, too. Both forms of interspecies mixing—from us to them, and them to us—hold tremendous opportunities for therapy and could lead one day to biological enhancement. But they also bring to light some important moral quandaries.

The word hybrid, in the scientific sense, describes an organism that carries DNA from different species in each of its cells. Human-animal combos of this kind have indeed been created by several different labs—though only at the very early stages of development, and never in the hopes of making full-grown, crossbred monsters. For an old-fashioned test for male fertility, doctors would try to fertilize a set of hamster eggs with a patient’s sperm. (If they succeeded, the hybrids would be destroyed.) More recently, British scientists implanted cow eggs with nucleic acids drawn from human skin as a means of growing human stem cells in a dish. (The constructs would never progress beyond this point.) […]

READ @ http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/superman/2013/05/human_animal_hybrids_chimeras_with_mice_pigs_and_goats.html

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* MONSNTO FOUND GUILTY OF CHEMICAL POISONING IN LANDMARK CASE

Source: Natural News

7984-monsanto-poison-sprayed-on-crops-041712

A French farmer who can no longer perform his routine farming duties because of permanent pesticide injuries has had his day in court, literally, and the perpetrator of his injuries found guilty of chemical poisoning. The French court in Lyon ruled that Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller formula, which contains the active ingredient alachlor, caused Paul Francois to develop lifelong neurological damage that manifests as persistent memory loss, headaches, and stuttering during speech.

Reports indicate that the 47-year-old farmer sued Monsanto back in 2004 after inhaling the Lasso product while cleaning his sprayer tank equipment. Not long after, Francois began experiencing lasting symptoms that prevented him from working, which he says were directly linked to exposure to the chemical. Since Lasso’s packaging did not bear adequate warnings about the dangers of exposure, Francois alleged at the time that Monsanto was essentially negligent in providing adequate protection for its customers.

To the surprise of many, the French court agreed with the claims and evidence presented before it, declaring earlier this year that “Monsanto is responsible for Paul Francois’ suffering after he inhaled the Lasso product … and must entirely compensate him.” The court is said to be seeking expert opinion on how to gauge Francois’ losses in order to determine precisely how much Monsanto will be required to compensate him in the case.

“It is a historic decision in so far as it is the first time that a (pesticide) maker is found guilty of such a poisoning,” said Francois Lafforgue, Paul Francois’ lawyer, to Reuters earlier in the year. […]

READ @ http://www.realfarmacy.com/monsanto-found-guilty-of-chemical-poisoning-in-landmark-case1/

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* ILLINOIS ILLEGALLY SEIZES BEES RESISTANT TO MONSANTO’S ROUNDUP; KILLS REMAINING QUEENS

Source: Global Research 

Screen-Shot-2013-05-24-at-6.35.19-PM

The Illinois Ag Dept.  illegally seized privately owned bees from renowned naturalist, Terrence Ingram, without providing him with a search warrant and before the court hearing on the matter, reports Prairie Advocate News.

Behind the obvious violations of his Constitutional rights is Monsanto. Ingram was researching Roundup’s effects on bees, which he’s raised for 58 years.  “They ruined 15 years of my research,” he told Prairie Advocate, by stealing most of his stock.

A certified letter from the Ag Dept.’s Apiary Inspection Supervisor, Steven D. Chard, stated:

“During a routine inspection of your honeybee colonies by … Inspectors Susan Kivikko and Eleanor Balson on October 23, 2011, the bacterial disease ‘American Foulbrood’ was detected in a number of colonies located behind your house…. Presence of the disease in some of your colonies was confirmed via test results from the USDA Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland that analyzed samples collected from your apiary….”

Ingram can prove his bees did not have foulbrood, and planned to do so at a hearing set in April, but the state seized his bees at the end of March. They have not returned them and no one at the Ag Dept. seems to know where his bees are. […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/illinois-illegally-seizes-bees-resistant-to-monsantos-roundup-kills-remaining-queens/5336210

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* MONSANTO AND CANCER MILK. FOX NEWS KILLS STORY AND FIRES REPORTERS

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JL1pKlnhvg0

May 262013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

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