Apr 142014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE RED LINE AND THE RAT LINE

By Seymour M. Hersh, London Review of Books

ERDOGAN-OBAMA GORUSMESI

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. * Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’ […]

READ @ http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

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* ALL THE PRESIDENTS’ BANKERS: THE WORLD BANK AND THE IMF

By Nomi Prins, zerohedge

Lloyd Blankfein, James Dimon, John Mack, Brian Moynihan

The following is an excerpt from ALL THE PRESIDENTS’ BANKERS: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power by Nomi Prins (on sale April 8, 2014). Nomi Prins is a former managing director at Goldman Sachs.

The World Bank and the IMF: Expanding Wall Street’s Reach Worldwide

Just after the United States entered World War II, two simultaneous initiatives unfolded that would dictate elements of financing after the war, through the joint initiatives of foreign policy measures and private banking whims. Plans were already being formulated to navigate the postwar peace, especially its international power implications for finance and politics, in the background. American political leaders and scholars began considering the concept of “one world” from an economic perspective, void of divisions and imbalances. Or so the theory went.

The original plans to create a set of multinational entities that would finance one-world reconstruction and development (and ostensibly balance the world’s various economies) were conceived by two academics: John Maynard Keynes, an adviser for the British Treasury, and Harry Dexter White, an economist in the Division of Monetary Research of the US Treasury under Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau.

By the spring of 1942, White had drafted plans for a “stabilization fund” and a “Bank for Reconstruction and Development.” His concept for the fund became the seed for the International Monetary Fund. The other idea became the World Bank. But before those entities would come to life through the Bretton Woods conferences, many arguments about their makeup would take place, and millions of lives would be lost. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-12/all-presidents-bankers-world-bank-and-imf

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* EURODAD REPORT SHOWS HOW IMF LENDING OFTEN MAKES CRISIS COUNTRIES’ SITUATION WORSE

Source: Eurodad, CADTM

IMF_2012-04-22

IMF loans come with conditions which are often highly controversial, for example influencing taxes and cutting spending; freezing or reducing public sector wages; and mandating cutbacks in welfare programmes, including pensions. There are also conditions on the restructuring and privatisation of public enterprises, and conditions that reduce minimum wage levels.

Although the IMF has said it has tried to “streamline” its conditional lending, Eurodad counted an average of 19.5 structural conditions per programme – a sharp increase since 2005-7 when Eurodad found an average of 13.7 conditions. The biggest loans had the heaviest conditions, with exceptionally high numbers in Cyprus, Greece and Jamaica – which totalled an average of 35 structural conditions per programme.

Almost all the countries were repeat borrowers from the IMF, suggesting that it is propping up governments with unsustainable debt levels, not lending for a temporary balance of payments problems – its true mandate. Developing countries have a limited voice and minority vote at the IMF, and so these developments are especially worrying for them.

The Ukraine is the latest country to have been in negotiations with the IMF, with conditions attached to their proposed loan reported to include a cut in energy subsidies for consumers and a rise in gas prices by 50 per cent. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/Eurodad-report-shows-how-IMF

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* WHITEWASHING THE UGLY FACE OF CAPITALISM

By Patrice Greanville, Greanville Post

capitalism-crash-600x374

(NOTE: This essay is a revised version of the original first published in the fall of 1982 in the premiere edition of Cyrano’s Journal, America’s First Radical Media Review. )

GLOSSARY OF MAJOR DISTORTIONS

1 Capitalism = human nature

This propaganda equation is one of the oldest and most effective ideological weapons utilized in defense of capitalism. It pays off handsomely in a number of important ways. First, if capitalism is congruent with “human nature,” then the capitalist system must be the most “natural” and “logical” form of social organization, as people will have a built-in tendency to observe its basic rules. Second, “human nature,” as defined in bourgeois terms (which the press of course follows) is characterized by two significant traits: immutability and unalterable egoism.

The first “fact” automatically discourages most efforts at seriously reforming, let alone revolutionizing, society. Why should anyone bother if in the end the stubborn intractability of human nature will render all schemes for change and improvement of social conditions worthless and utopian? It’s evident that when sufficient numbers of people are made to believe that an eternal, immutable and invincible “human nature” will time and again scuttle the best-laid plans and the costliest sacrifices for change, then most threats to the status quo will be defanged at the outset.

The second “fact,” addressing the supposed individualistic nature of people, provides a convenient justification for the harsh, dog-eat-dog conditions that prevail under the so-called free-enterprise system. In this vision, all human motivation is supposed to flow from the desire for pecuniary gain and self-aggrandisement. Individuals are perceived uni-dimensionally as simple atoms of unrelenting hedonism, constantly pursuing the calculus of profit and loss, pain and pleasure, as they irrepressibly “maximize” their options to fulfill the dictates of hopelessly greedy natures. This is the fabled “homo economicus” of free market literature; the heroic “rugged individualist” so dear to conservatives, and supposedly the creature on which all human progress and wealth depend. But why do the media–and especially the wilier corporate apologists– embrace this tack with so much fervor? As suggested above, the very possibility of changing things is a highly contested ideological area. Radicals argue that society can and should be drastically changed. Conservatives (and the media, which incorporates the mildly reformist liberal viewpoint) contend that nothing basic can or should be changed because our behavior is rooted in an unchanging human nature true for all epochs, systems, and states of human evolution, and, besides, the system is quite sound as it is. History, however, when properly read, is not very kind to conservative social science. As economists E.K. Hunt and Howard Sherman have pointed out, “human nature” seems quite adept at changing to reflect each new set of prevailing social circumstances.

Thus, “it’s no coincidence that the dominant view or ideology under slavery supports slavery; that under serfdom [it] supports serfdom; and that under capitalism [it] supports capitalism. (…) Since our ideology is determined by our social environment, radical economists contend that a change in our socioeconomic structure will eventually change the dominant ideology. Before the Civil War most Southerners (including their social scientists and religious leaders) believed firmly that slavery, an essentially pre-capitalist, agricultural system, was natural and good; but after 100 years of dominance by capitalist socioeconomic institutions, most Southerners (including their social scientists and religious ministers) now declare that capitalism is “natural and good”. So the dominant ideas of any epoch are not determined by “human nature” but by socioeconomic relations and can be changed by changes in these underlying relationships. There is thus hope for a completely new and better society with new and better views by most people.” (F.K. Hunt and Howard J. Sherman, Economics, Harper & Row, 1978, p. xxviii.)

Further, if “human nature” is inherently greedy, competitive and egoist, how do we explain altruism, sharing, selflessness and social cooperation, which can be readily observed to this day in many human institutions and societies throughout the world? It should be borne in mind that class-divided societies and private property made their appearance barely 10,000 years ago, roughly congruent with the rise of agriculture, food surpluses, sedentarism and animal-domestication, while the bulk of our time on earth as a species has been spent under tribal or primitive communitarianism which stressed familial bonds and a sharing of the commonwealth.Question for our pro-capitalist theoreticians: Did native Americans have a human nature?

READ @ http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/04/11/whitewashing-capitalism-the-medias-false-propaganda-equations-and-assertions/

Apr 052014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* IT’S NOT JUST THE STOCK MARKET THAT’S RIGGED: THE ENTIRE STATUS QUO IS RIGGED

By Charles Hugh Smith, Washington’s Blog

bubbles1

[…] The stock market is only the tip of the iceberg of what’s being rigged. For a taste of what’s rigged, ask yourself this question: if Mr. Elite Insider perpetrates a scam, and Mr. John Q. Citizen breaks similar laws, is there any difference between the treatment each receives?

Let’s go even deeper and ask: why is looting legal, even though it is obviously crooked? Why is high-frequency trading legal? Why is it legal for the Fed to offer money at 0% to its buddies but not to Mr. John Q. Citizen?

Why is it legal to issue student loans to future debt-serfs that is unlike all other debt in that it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy?

Since the legal looting continues unabated regardless of what party or toady is in office, then what actual difference is there between the Demopublicans and Republicrats?

It’s not just the stock market that’s rigged–the entire Status Quo is rigged. There are two sets of laws and two sets of opportunities: one for those holding the concentrated wealth and power, and the other for the rest of us debt-serfs.

If the system isn’t rigged, then why are insolvent banks and bankers protected from the creative destruction of capitalism that befalls John Q. Citizen when his risky bets go bad? Why do we as a nation keep insisting the Emperor’s new clothes are splendid when he is in fact parading around buck-naked?

One has to wonder why we are dodging this truth about what we’ve become: a nation that turns a blind eye to skimmers, scammers and legal looting. Perhaps, in Joseph Conrad’s phrase, we hope to escape the grim shadow of self-knowledge. Here is the passage from Chapter 7 of Lord Jim:

I gave no sign of dissent. I had no intention, for the sake of barren truth, to rob him of the smallest particle of any saving grace that would come in his way. I didn’t know how much of it he believed himself. I didn’t know what he was playing up to–if he was playing up to anything at all–and I suspect he did not know either; for it is my belief no man ever understands quite his own artful dodges to escape from the grim shadow of self-knowledge. […]

READ @ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/04/just-stock-market-thats-rigged-entire-status-quo-rigged.html

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* CIA TORTURE AND THE THREAT OF DICTATORSHIP

Source: GreanvillePost

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These CIA crimes are not blemishes on an otherwise healthy military-intelligence apparatus, but the products of a depraved and deeply criminal American ruling class…

Only one conclusion can be drawn from the report published in the Washington Post Tuesday giving grisly details of CIA torture of prisoners and systematic lying by government officials to cover it up: the US ruling elite as a whole is guilty of war crimes for which it must be held accountable.

The Post report, based on leaks from unnamed “US officials,” describes the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the operation of CIA “black sites”—the secret prisons in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, Thailand and other countries where prisoners were held for “interrogation,” i.e., waterboarding, sleep deprivation, beatings, stress positions, induced hypothermia and other forms of torture.

The article provides only a brief extract of the material compiled in the massive committee report, which the CIA has been fighting for more than a year to suppress. On Thursday, the Senate committee is expected to vote to seek the declassification and publication of a 400-page executive summary.

The bulk of the report, which runs to 6,300 pages, is never to be made public, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate panel. The Post article describes its text as divided into three volumes, one giving a full chronology of the secret interrogations, a second contrasting what CIA officials said about the program with what they knew was really happening, and a third giving a detailed accounting of nearly all of the roughly 100 prisoners held at “black sites” between 2002 and 2006. […]

[…] What the report describes is not “excess” or the actions of “rogue” individuals, but a systematic, organized, fully authorized program, endorsed by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. The cover-up, in turn, continues to this day, with the active involvement of the Obama administration, implicating top officials up to and including the president. Directly involved is CIA Director John Brennan—a former top aide in the Obama White House and official in the Bush administration. […]

READ @ http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/04/03/cia-torture-and-the-threat-of-dictatorship/

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* PROMOTION GIVEN TO COPS WHO SHOT OCCUPY ACTIVIST SCOTT OLSEN

By Brandon Turbeville, Activist Post

scott-olsen-x-jay-finnburgh-reuters

As if there was any doubt that police departments all across America are rewarding their officers for egregious acts of violence, the Oakland police department has recently promoted two of the police officers involved in the shooting of Occupy activist Scott Olsen.

Olsen, readers may remember, was an Occupy activist and Iraq war veteran who was shot in the head with beanbag bullets by Oakland police in 2011. Olsen was only about fifteen feet away from the officer who shot him, fracturing his skull and sending him to the hospital in critical condition. Police also fired flash grenades at activists who rushed to Olsen’s aid and continued to assault the demonstrators as they attempted to drag Olsen to safety and provide him with medical attention. Olsen temporarily lost his ability to speak, perform basic motor functions, and concentrate adequately. While he has recovered the ability to speak, his speech is still slurred and his memory and concentration are still significantly impaired.

Yet despite the fact that the City of Oakland was forced to pay out $4.5 million to Olsen in a settlement, the Oakland Police Department has now promoted two of the cops involved in the shooting. […]

READ @ http://www.activistpost.com/2014/04/promotion-given-to-cops-who-shot-occupy.html

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* CHRISTINE LAGARDE IS CLUELESS: 70 WORDS OF PURE KEYNESIAN CLAPTRAP

By David Stockman, Contracorner

imf-lagarde_2531143b

The world’s official economic institutions are run by people who believe in monetary fairy tales. The 70 words of wisdom below from IMF head Christine Lagarde are par for the course. She asserts that a new jabberwocky expression called “low-flation” is the main obstacle to higher economic growth in Europe and the DM areas generally and that it can be cured by more central bank money printing.

The first obstacle is… the emerging risk of what I call “low-flation,” particularly in the Euro Area. A potentially prolonged period of low inflation can suppress demand and output—and suppress growth and jobs. More monetary easing, including through unconventional measures, is needed in the Euro Area to raise the prospects of achieving the ECB’s price stability objective. The Bank of Japan also should persist with its quantitative easing policy.

Now there is not a shred of credible evidence that prolonged low CPI inflation causes workers to produce less, businesses to invest less or entrepreneurs to invent less. Since these are the fundamental ingredients of economic growth on the free market, the question recurs as to why Keynesian Kool-Aid drinkers like Lagarde (and the huge staff of IMF economists she lip-syncs) apparently believe that eroding the value of savings by say only 1% per year vs. 2% will “suppress demand and output”. […]

READ @ http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/2014/04/04/christine-lagarde-is-clueless-70-words-of-pure-keynesian-claptrap/

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* THE US-EU TRANS-ATLANTIC FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (TAFTA). DEVASTATING SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES

By Colin Todhunter, Global Research

corporatocracy

The Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) between the US and EU aims to ‘protect’ investment and remove ‘unnecessary regulatory barriers’. Corporate interests are driving the agenda, the public have been sidelined and unaccountable, pro-free-trade bureaucrats are facilitating the strategy (1). 

There is growing concern that the negotiations could result in the opening of the floodgates for GMOs and shale gas (fracking) in Europe, the threatening of digital and labour rights and the empowering of corporations to legally challenge a wide range of regulations which they dislike.

One of the key aspects of the negotiations is that both the EU and US should recognise their respective rules and regulations, which in practice could reduce regulation to the lowest common denominator. The official language talks of ‘mutual recognition’ of standards or so-called reduction of non-tariff barriers. For the EU, that could mean accepting US standards in many areas, including food and agriculture, which are lower than the EU’s.

Even the leaders of the US Senate Finance Committee, in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, made it clear that any agreement must reduce EU restrictions on genetically modified crops, chlorinated chickens and hormone-treated beef.

Food lobby group Food and Drink Europe, representing the largest food companies (Unilever, Kraft, Nestlé, etc.), has welcomed the negotiations, with one of their key demands being the facilitation of the low level presence of unapproved GM crops. […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-us-eu-trans-atlantic-free-trade-agreement-tafta-devastating-social-and-environmental-consequences/5375692

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* NATO AT 65: PHOTO GALLERY

Source: StopNATO

BkXdrtLCAAA5eoC.png-medium

NATO’s large-scale military operations

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed 65 years ago on April 4, 1949

NATO is a military alliance with the purpose of collective defense. NATO conducts military operations of two kinds: peacekeeping and peace enforcing ones. The difference is that peace keeping actions are realized with the mutual agreement of the parties involved. The ground base for interference in peace enforcing operations is a resolution of the United Nations security council. In reality, however, such operations have taken place without UN’s approval: in 1995 NATO forces interfered in the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina with no UN approval, neither was sanctioned the 1999 NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia. The most widely known large-scale military operations of the NATO in this photo gallery by ITAR-TASS

Captions for photographs:

NATO’s first operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994-1995. Citizens are hiding behind a peacekeeper in Sarajevo in 1995

NATO’s first operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994-1995.

NATO bombs a Serbian arsenal in Pale, near Sarajevo on August 30, 1995

NATO heads the KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, July 14, 1999 Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: a power plant on fire in Belgrade on March 24, 1999

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: a brigde across the Danube destroyed by NATO bombing in Novi-Sad

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: a bridge across the Danube destroyed by NATO bombing in Novi-Sad

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: NATO bombardment results in the city of Surdulica, Yugoslavia

Operation ‘Allied Force’ in Yugoslavia, 1999. Photo: NATO bombardment results in the city of Aleksinac […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/nato-at-65-photo-gallery/

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* US THREATENS RUSSIA OVER PETRODOLLAR-BUSTING DEAL

Source: zerohedge

Obama vs Putin

On the heels of Russia’s potential “holy grail” gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil “barter” deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar

  • *U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL
  • *U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS
  • *U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS

We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-04/us-threatens-russia-sanctions-over-petrodollar-busting-deal

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* BLACK SEA: U.S. TO DEPLOY GUIDED MISSILE WARSHIP AGAINST RUSSIAN

By Hendrick Simoes, StopNATO

14

[…] “We are making plans to meet the intent vocalized by (U.S. and NATO officials) to lay out a sustainable maritime presence in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, but we do not have anything to announce at this time,” said Capt. Gregory Hicks of the U.S. European Command. He said the Navy routinely operates ships in the Black Sea to demonstrate U.S. commitment to working closely with allies in the region.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the deployment of U.S. warships in the Black Sea during a joint press conference with Kazakhstan’s foreign minister.

According to Russian media reports, Lavrov accused the U.S. of violating the Montreux Convention — a 1936 international agreement that restricts the passage through the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states. […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/black-sea-u-s-to-deploy-guided-missile-warship-against-russia/

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* THE DIVISION OF TURKEY

By Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire

1622847_298033060350263_2004375708_n

The evolution of Turkish politics since Prime Minister Erdoğan disclosed his affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood is comparable to that of Egypt: the unquestionable support he enjoys is only matched by the hatred he arouses. More than ever, the country is divided, with no democratic solution in sight, and a future that – in whatever form – will necessarily be violent.

Political life in Turkey descended into chaos after the anonymous YouTube release, March 27, of the excerpts from recordings of a national security meeting in which the government was contemplating a false flag attack to trigger an open war against Syria [1].

This is not the first time that illegal recordings have been leaked. On February 24, an audio tape exposed the Prime Minister telling his son to stash 30 million euros in cash before the police arrive to search his home [2]. Despite Erdoğan’s denials, this incident shattered his image of a pious and law-abiding man.

In reality, things have stopped functioning normally since the courts and the police launched a vast crackdown at the end of 2013 against corrupt high-profile figures. The Prime Minister decried a plot hatched by his former erstwhile ally and current rival, Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen [3]. He responded by sacking thousands of public servants accused of being his disciples.

While the Western press has focused on the embezzlement scandal per se, the Turkish people have also opened their eyes to the real policies of Mr. Erdoğan. He funded – at the expense of the Turkish state – Al-Qaeda in Syria going so far as to receive several visits from the banker of the sect, despite his name appearing on the United Nations most wanted list of international terrorists [4]. Last Friday’s tapes throw the spotlight on the Foreign Minister, his deputy, the deputy chief of staff and the chief of intelligence. The four men were planning to stage a covert operation to be executed by Syrian agents and attributed to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in order to justify a Turkish invasion. […]

READ @ http://www.voltairenet.org/article183137.html

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* VENEZUELANS WARY THAT FOOD ID CARDS ARE THIN END OF RATIONING WEDGE

By Virginia López, Guardian

Venezuelan police clash with demonstrators in Caracas

Electronic cards that restrict families to shopping once a week aim to prevent widespread food shortages across country

Venezuelans queued on Friday to register for an electronic card system designed to end food shortages that have plagued the country – but which some fear may be the thin end of the rationing wedge.

The ID card, introduced this week, will limit Venezuelans to once-a-week shopping and will set off an alarm to halt any transaction if a purchaser breaks the rules. The government wants to prevent individual shoppers from “over-buying” in a country hit by acute shortages of basic items including milk, sugar and toilet paper. Critics say it is an admission of failure of economic policy in one of the world’s big oil-producing nations. […]

READ @ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/04/venezuela-queues-food-ration-cards

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* THE STRATEGY OF THE VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION AND HOW IT WORKS

By Steve Ellner, GreanvillePost

Opposition protest in Caracas

The strategy and tactics of the Venezuelan opposition is a replay of events that took place leading up to the coup against Hugo Chávez on April 11, 2002 and is similar (although in some ways quite different) from the script that has been used in the Ukraine and elsewhere. The blatant distortions and in some cases lies of the media (CNN in Spanish playing a lead role) represent an essential element in the strategy.

There are two main groups that the opposition has mobilized and from all appearances the two act in coordination even though their style, and even social background, differs from one another. One group is non-violent and the other engages in acts of aggression in some cases endangering lives.

On the one hand, students and other young people carry out protests which the media and the opposition deceptively call “peaceful.” These mobilizations involve to a disproportionate extent students from private universities and operate almost exclusively in wealthy areas whose mayors (and in some cases governors) belong to the opposition. The protests are not legal, even though many of the protesters are convinced (or have been convinced by their leaders) that they are exercising the constitutional right of dissent. However, nearly all of these protests take over main avenues and highways in urban areas, typically forcing traffic to a halt and then having to pass through just one lane. It often takes hours for cars to pass through these points. In most cases the protesters consist of between 15 and 80 people, and in a few cases over one hundred. […]

READ @ http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/03/28/the-strategy-of-the-venezuelan-opposition-and-how-it-works/#more-68491

Mar 292014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* UN COMMITTEE ISSUES SCATHING REPORT U.S. GOVERNMENTS HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD

Source: Center for Constitutional Rights

GuantanamoBay_large

Today, the UN Human Rights Committee issued highly critical concluding observations on the United States’ compliance with international human rights requirements. CCR had submitted several detailed reports to the committee in advance of its hearings March 13-14, and much of their substance was reflected in both the committee’s questioning and its conclusions.  The committee expressed deep concern over:

  • the U.S. “targeted killing” program;
  • the lack of progress in the closure of Guantánamo, urging the U.S. to expedite the process of transferring detainees out of the prison, including to Yemen, and reiterating its position that the U.S. must end its practice of indefinite detention without charge or trial;
  • the secrecy and lack of accountability around Bush-era abuses, including the limited number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of contractors and high ranking U.S. officials for killings and torture of detainees;
  • the imposition of the death penalty in a racially discriminatory manner and the conditions on death row;
  • reports of criminalization of people living on the street for everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, and sitting in particular areas, raising concerns of discrimination and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment;
  • the use of prolonged solitary confinement, particularly for at-risk people and those in pretrial detention, urging the abolition of solitary for people under 18 and for people with serious mental illness, and strict limitations on its use, overall; and
  • the targeting of Muslims by the NYPD, and racial profiling overall (while underlining its support for recent plans to reform the use of stop and frisk). […]

READ @ http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/un-human-rights-committee-highly-critical-of-u.s.-government

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* PUTIN CALLS OBAMA TO “DRAW ATTENTION TO UKRAINE EXTREMISTS”, OBAMA REPLIES WITH REQUEST FOR PUTIN TO PULL OUT

Source: zerohedge

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Moments ago the White House made a fine point of announcing that – for the first time since the Ukraine crisis erupted and led to the unanswered annexation of Crimea by Russia – Putin called the White House first to discuss what was vaguely enough described as “a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.” However a more detailed read through of what actually happened reveals that there is less here than meets the eye (as a rational person would suspect since any truly good news would have been divulged during market trading hours).

As the Kremlin’s own interpretation of the call between the two leaders discloses, “Vladimir Putin drew Barack Obama’s attention to continued rampage of extremists who are committing acts of intimidation towards peaceful residents, government authorities and law enforcement agencies in various regions and in Kiev with impunity.”

Here, Putin undoubtedly is focusing on last night’s storming of the parliament by the “Right Sector” neonazis, which initially had been insturmental in the violent Ukraine coup and have now become a huge nuisance to the acting government. Which, as we noted yesterday, meant they suddenly had become Putin’s best friend. Because in bringing attention to their actions, the Kremlin makes it quite clear that the Russian case of neofascists running rampant in Kiev, was in fact at least partially accurate.

Kremlin goes on:

In light of this, the President of Russia suggested examining possible steps the global community can take to help stabilise the situation. The two presidents agreed that specific parameters for this joint work will be discussed by the Russian and US foreign ministers in the near future.

Vladimir Putin also pointed out that Transnistria is essentially experiencing a blockade, which significantly complicate the living conditions for the region’s residents, impeding their movement and normal trade and economic activities. He stressed that Russia stands for the fair and comprehensive settlement of the Transnistria conflict and hopes for effective work in the existing 5+2 negotiation format. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-28/putin-calls-obama-draw-attention-ukraine-extremists-obama-replies-request-putin-pull

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* THE REAL FACE OF UKRAINE’S MAIDAN “DEMOCRATS”

By Ulrich Rippert, wsws.org

Alexander Musytchko

Alexander Musytchko

Two events this week have exposed the propaganda used by the German government and its allies to justify their actions in Ukraine: the death of Alexander Musytchko and a telephone conversation with Yulia Timoschenko, which was intercepted and made public.

Musytchko, coordinator of the fascist Right Sector in western Ukraine, was shot on Monday in a police operation near the west Ukrainian town of Rivne. Reports on his death are contradictory.

Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Yevdokimov stated that Musytchko, who was wanted for “malicious hooliganism and resisting state forces,” was killed during an exchange of shots with the police when he put up armed resistance to his arrest.

By contrast, Right Sector activists claim that their leader was in fact executed. They said that armed men arrived in two VW buses and forced Musytchko and five others to leave a cafe in Rivne. Behind the cafe, they made sure that Musytchko was not wearing a bulletproof vest and then killed him with two shots in the heart. […]

READ @ http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/03/28/the-real-face-of-ukraines-maidan-democrats/

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* US SETS EUROPE AND RUSSIA AT WAR

By Finian Cunningham, PressTV

356339_Russia, US, Ukraine, Crimea, EU, rejoin, secession, sanctions-1

When US President Barack Obama embarked on his European tour this week there was the usual sycophantic Western media image of the American leader as a benefactor. Obama, so the story went, was coming to unite and support Europe in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine.

With tiresome florid speechifying, Obama claimed that the US and Europe have together historically built up institutions of international law and democracy and that the “allies” would now stand together against Russian “brute behavior” just as they had done during the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

The facts are the opposite. The US has sought to divide Europe from Russia and sow conflict in Eurasia ever since the end of the Second World War nearly 70 years ago. That is a continuum to the present day. The main objective for Washington is to prevent Europe developing closer relations with Russia. Central to the problem, from the US point of view, is to curb Europe and Russia becoming strategic energy partners. […]

READ @ http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/03/28/356339/us-sets-europe-and-russia-at-war/

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* REGIME CHANGE IN UKRAINE AND THE IMF’s BITTER “ECONOMIC MEDICINE”

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, GlobalResearch

Interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk meets President Obama at White House, March 2014 (White House photo)

Interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk meets President Obama at White House, March 2014 (White House photo)

n the days following the Ukraine coup d’Etat of February 23, leading to the ousting of a duly elected president, Wall Street and the IMF–in liaison with the US Treasury and the European Commission in Brussels– had already set the stage for the outright takeover of Ukraine’s monetary system. The EuroMaidan protests leading up to “regime change” and the formation of an interim government were followed by purges within key ministries and government bodies.

The Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Ihor Sorkin was fired on February 25th and replaced by a new governor: Stepan Kubiv.[right]

Stepan Kubiv is a member of Parliament of the Rightist Batkivshchyna “Fatherland” faction in the Rada led by the acting Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk (founded by Yulia Tymoshenko in March 1999). He previously headed Kredbank, a Ukrainian financial institution largely owned by EU capital, with some 130 branches throughout Ukraine. Ukraine Central Bank Promises Liquidity To Local Banks, With One Condition, Zero Hedge, February 27, 2014).

Kubic is no ordinary bank executive. He was one of the first field “commandants” of the EuroMaidan riots alongside Andriy Parubiy co-founder of the Neo-Nazi Social-National Party of Ukraine (subsequently renamed Svoboda) and Dimitry Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector Brown Shirts, which now has the status of a political party.

Kubiv was in the Maidan square addressing protesters on February 18, at the very moment when armed Right Sector thugs under the helm of Dmitry Yarosh were raiding the parliament building. […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/regime-change-in-ukraine-and-the-imfs-bitter-economic-medicine/5374877

 

Mar 232014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* SPAIN ‘MARCHES FOR DIGNITY’: MASSIVE MARCH AGAINST AUSTERITY

Source: CommonDreams

Massive crowds gather during a protest against the Government in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Hundreds of thousands from different parts of Spain marched towards the Capital to join a large anti-austerity demonstration, demanding the resignation of the Government and to express their anger at government financial cuts, its housing rights policies, and the high unemployment rates. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Massive crowds gather during a protest against the Government in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Hundreds of thousands from different parts of Spain marched towards the Capital to join a large anti-austerity demonstration, demanding the resignation of the Government and to express their anger at government financial cuts, its housing rights policies, and the high unemployment rates. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Hundreds of thousands of people have trekked across Spain to protest austerity they claim is destroying their country. Under the banner of “No More Cuts!” the protesters are calling for an end to the Spanish government’s “empty promises.”

Six columns of protesters, some walking; others in trains, cars and buses — each from a different region of Spain — arrived at the outskirts of the city early Saturday before heading for Colon square, carrying banners bearing the slogan M22 or ‘‘Marches for Dignity.’’

By late Saturday afternoon, Madrid’s main boulevard, Paseo del Prado, was completely packed with loud chants against austerity policies and cuts to social programs. […]

READ @ http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/03/22-1

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* GREEK PRESIDENCY OF THE EU: THE REALITY BEHIND THE PROMO VIDEO

Source ZIN TV.org

VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNRelmEXYT8&feature=player_embedded

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* NEOLIBERALISM AS SOCIAL NECROPHILIA: THE CASE OF GREECE

By Panayota Gounari, AthenianVoice

2014_0321-4

[…]Greece is the most recent and historically unprecedented neoliberal experiment on a global scale. The neoliberal offensive is moving head on in the country and, if Chile “was the laboratory for the early phases, Greece has become the laboratory for an even more fierce implementation.” What we have in place right now in Greece can be best described as the “downsizing of a country” that brings profound changes in its social and economic fabric. Greece’s economy has shrunk by nearly one-third since 2007, and the debt has become unmanageable. Through cut-throat austerity measures, massive privatizations and cuts in the most sensitive sectors of public education and public health, the constant process of de-industrialization and the loss of sovereignty, it looks like “Greece will emerge as a poorer country, with a diminished productive base, with reduced sovereignty, [and] with a political class accustomed to almost neo-colonial forms of supervision.”

I glance through snapshots in the news: grim faces, desperate eyes, angry gazes, frustration, and, most of all, fear. The city of Athens is slowly turning into a cemetery for the living. The transformation of the city, both as a physical and as a symbolic space, is shocking to the eye; as a public space and a habitat for its people, it now gets fragmented into deserted stores “for rent,” broken façades and abandonment apartment windows and balcony doors tightly locked behind iron bars for “extra safety,” carton beds and, along them, homeless people’s possessions: an old dirty blanket, oversized worn out sneakers, plastic flowers, empty water bottles, stale bread. Different parts of the city palpably illustrate a degenerating social fabric, as more Greeks are now joining the ranks of what Zygmunt Bauman has called “human waste”: unemployed, working poor, immigrants, all the outcasts, victims of “economic progress,” preys of rampant neoliberal policies, “casualties,” real victims to what the Greek prime minister has recently called a “success story” on the road to privatization and the wholesale of Greece’s national assets and sovereignty.

Greece is radically and violently transformed into the land field of “wasted lives” in the giant trashcan of global capitalism. Witnessing as I do this novel form of social necrophilia that eats alive every inch of human life, workspace and public space, I cringe at the sound of the words “sacrifice,” “rescue” and making Greece, according to the claims of Greek PM Antonis Samaras, a “success story.” Whose sacrifice and whose rescue? Who succeeds and who loses? Numbers are telling. […]

READ @ http://athenianvoice.wordpress.com/category/articles-in-english/

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* TURKEY SET TO BLOCK YOUTUBE MOMENTARILY, AFTER GOOGLE REFUSES TO YANK CLIPS EXPOSING PRIME MINISTER

Source: zerohedge

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As was reported earlier, the Turkish premier, embroiled in what increasingly appears a career terminating corruption and embezzlement scandal (it is not exactly clear yet just how involved the CIA is in this particular upcoming government overthrow), blocked Turkey’s access to Twitter last night, hours after vowing to “destroy twitter.” The idiocy of this escalation against dissemination of information in the internet age needs no comment. Well maybe one. This is what we said in our post from this morning:

“since Turkey will certainly not stop at just Twitter, here is what is coming next: “Last week, Erdogan said the country could also block Facebook and YouTube.” It now appears that at least half of this threat is about to materialize because moments ago Google just announced that it would not remove a previously uploaded video, one in which Erdogan tells his son to hide money from investigators (one which can be seen here), and which Erdogan demanded be pulled from Google (seemingly unaware that by doing so he simply made sure that everyone saw it). This means that within days, if not hours, Turkey will likely block Google-owned YouTube, if not Google itself.

From the WSJ:

Google Inc. has declined Turkish government requests to remove YouTube videos alleging government corruption, people familiar with the matter said, the latest sign of resistance to a crackdown against social media led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish authorities have in recent weeks asked Google to block the videos from YouTube’s Turkish website, the people familiar with the matter said. But amid a national scandal over corruption allegations, Google refused to comply because it believes the requests to be legally invalid, the people added.

Google’s refusal to remove videos raises the specter that Turkey could move to block access to YouTube within the country, after blocking the microblogging service Twitter Inc. late Thursday night. Both sites have been central conduits for allegations of corruption against Mr. Erdogan’s government and faced public threats of a blackout by Mr. Erdogan. 

Some people within Google had feared a YouTube blackout could be imminent, after the Twitter takedown, the people familiar with the matter said. “We feel an immediate threat,” one of the people said.

Sadly in Erodgan’s berserk regime, this is not only possible but very probable. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-21/turkey-set-block-youtube-momentarily-following-google-refusal-yank-clips-exposing-pr

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* THE NEW COLD WAR “SHIELD”

By Manlio Dinucci, Voltaire

1-4339-46fb8-ca589

Washington is making hay of its defeat in Ukraine: it is getting the Europeans to cut themselves off economically from Russia and is already imposing on them the expansion of its missile coverage. While the Western media focus on NATO’s narrative of events (the so-called “military annexation” of Crimea), the Alliance is noiselessly deploying its imperial apparatus.

Vice President Joe Biden’s flash visit to Poland and Estonia to ensure that, in the face of “Russia’s shameless incursion” in Ukraine – a country determined to build “a government for the people” (guaranteed by the neo-Nazis [1] brought to power by the “new Gladio” coup [2] ) – the United States reiterates its unwavering commitment to comply with Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty on “collective defense.” As Ukraine is now a de facto, but not official, member of NATO, there is always “non-Article 5,” urging members to “execute evolving missions not described under Article 5,” which was promoted by the Italian government of Massimo D’Alema during the NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999, and later also applied to the wars on Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

To help “NATO emerge from this crisis stronger … than ‘ever’,” the United States repledged its commitment to the “missile defense” of Europe. However, by correlating the “missile defense” to the Ukrainian crisis, Joe Biden gave his game away. Washington had persistently maintained that the U.S. “shield” in Europe is not directed against Russia, but against the threat of Iranian missiles. In Moscow, on the contrary, this was always perceived as an attempt to gain a decisive strategic advantage over Russia: the U.S. could hold it under the threat of a nuclear first strike, relying on the ability of the “shield” to neutralize the retaliation effects [3] The new plan launched by President Obama, compared with the previous one, provides for a larger number of missiles lined up on Russia’s doorstep. Since they are under U.S. control, no one can find out whether they are interceptors or nuclear missiles. […]

READ @ http://www.voltairenet.org/article182862.html

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* FROM IRAQ TO UKRAINE: A PATTERN OF DISASTER

By Justin Raimondo, AntiWar.com

gulf_oil_disaster

[…] In Iraq we used “hard power” to install a regime that is not only tyrannical but also hostile to the US. Today in Ukraine we are deploying “soft power” to ensconce a government that will not only be a financial burden for as far as they eye can see, but which may also turn out not to be as “pro-American” as their effusive neocon cheerleaders would have us believe.

The Svoboda party claims to represent all Ukrainians in the region, and openly talks about a “Greater Ukraine” extending into parts of neighboring countries which may indeed have pockets of Ukrainians. The national-ethnic conflicts that have periodically transformed the map of south-central Europe go back a long way. Once this can of worms is opened there is no putting it back.

Quite aside from that, however, I thought I would never live to see the day when the US State Department whitewashed the neo-Nazi views and heritage of a gang of thugs who had seized power in a violent coup d’etat.

In Iraq, Libya, and Syria, US policymakers empowered radical Islamists of one sort or another. That was bad enough. Today, however, in Ukraine they are empowering the heirs of Adolf Hitler.

How is this not a scandal? […]

READ @ http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/03/16/from-iraq-to-ukraine-a-pattern-of-disaster/

Feb 172014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* WORLD BEYOND WAR

Source: youtube

Here are more ways to help move us from war culture to peace culture:

All individuals and organizations, all over the world, are invited to sign a statement in support of ending all war, and to join in the planning of a new movement to be launched on September 21, 2014. This is the statement:

I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace.

To sign this, and to get involved in many different ways, individuals should click here and organizations here.

READ @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDiY8p8AAoU

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* GERMANY’S CHOICE: AUTHORITARIANISM OR HEGEMONY?

By Yanis Varoufakis

hegemony

For those of us who grew up under totalitarian regimes, it is noteworthy that Europeans are resorting to a time-honoured tradition: telling jokes as a form of defiance. Here is one: “Why did Europeans agree to form the euro?” “Because”, the joke goes, “the French feared the Germans, the Irish wanted to escape Britain, the Greeks were terrified of Turkey, the Finns wanted to prove they were more European than the other Scandinavians, the Spanish wanted to become more like the French, the Italians wanted to become German, the Dutch and the Austrians had all but become German, the Belgians sought to join both Holland and France, and, finally, the Germans feared… the Germans!”

The genuinely good news is that the Germans no longer fear the Germans. Germany’s elites today are confident in their capacity to fend off authoritarianism from within their nation. They have no qualms, any longer, to speak their minds on Europe but also beyond (e.g. the German refusal to join the US in Iraq or NATO in Libya). This renewed confidence has, thankfully, not been allowed to spill over into jingoism or to foster some ambition to rule over Europe. German elites cherish being thought of as good Europeans and have no interest in ordering the rest of the Europeans around.

Over the past four years, of the Eurozone crisis, the German authorities have made a habit of saying ‘Nein’ again, and again, often to the dismay of Paris, Rome, Madrid, Athens – not to mention Washington and Beijing. They have said no to Eurobonds, no to a proper banking union, no to a European Marshall Plan, no to a New Deal for Europe. Even when they agreed to intervene in the crisis, they did so reluctantly, maximizing in the process the cost of doing that to which they eventually agreed (e.g. setting up of the bailout finds, the Greek debt re-structuring). […]

READ @ http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2014/02/03/germanys-choice-authoritarianism-or-hegemony/

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* TAKE A STREET AND BUILD A COMMUNITY

Source: TedxTalks

How well do you know your neighbours? Suburban life is often isolating and rarely a true community experience. This is not the case in Hulbert Street.

Shani Graham helped lead a sustainable-living revolution that ultimately resulted in strong neighbourly relationships, the fences pulled down and the establishment of a street festival. In this talk, she explains how it happened.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1WSkXWSJac

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* EUROPE CONSIDERS WHOLESALE SAVINGS CONFISCATION, ENFORCED REDISTRIBUTION

By Tyler Durden, zerohedge

grand-theft-eurozone

At first we thought Reuters had been punk’d in its article titled “EU executive sees personal savings used to plug long-term financing gap” which disclosed the latest leaked proposal by the European Commission, but after several hours without a retraction, we realized that the story is sadly true. Sadly, because everything that we warned about in “There May Be Only Painful Ways Out Of The Crisis” back in September of 2011, and everything that the depositors and citizens of Cyprus had to live through, seems on the verge of going continental. In a nutshell, and in Reuters’ own words, “the savings of the European Union’s 500 million citizens could be used to fund long-term investments to boost the economy and help plug the gap left by banks since the financial crisis, an EU document says.” What is left unsaid is that the “usage” will be on a purely involuntary basis, at the discretion of the “union”, and can thus best be described as confiscation.

The source of this stunner is a document seen be Reuters, which describes how the EU is looking for ways to “wean” the 28-country bloc from its heavy reliance on bank financing and find other means of funding small companies, infrastructure projects and other investment. So as Europe finally admits that the ECB has failed to unclog its broken monetary pipelines for the past five years – something we highlight every month (most recently in No Waking From Draghi’s Monetary Nightmare: Eurozone Credit Creation Tumbles To New All Time Low), the commissions report finally admits that “the economic and financial crisis has impaired the ability of the financial sector to channel funds to the real economy, in particular long-term investment.”

The solution? “The Commission will ask the bloc’s insurance watchdog in the second half of this year for advice on a possible draft law “to mobilize more personal pension savings for long-term financing“, the document said.”

Mobilize, once again, is a more palatable word than, say, confiscate.

And yet this is precisely what Europe is contemplating:

Banks have complained they are hindered from lending to the economy by post-crisis rules forcing them to hold much larger safety cushions of capital and liquidity.

The document said the “appropriateness” of the EU capital and liquidity rules for long-term financing will be reviewed over the next two years, a process likely to be scrutinized in the United States and elsewhere to head off any risk of EU banks gaining an unfair advantage.

But wait: there’s more! […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-12/europe-considers-wholesale-savings-confiscation-enforced-redistribution

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* 19 STATISTICS ABOUT THE DRUGGING OF AMERICA THAT ARE ALMOST TOO CRAZY TO BELIEVE

By Michael Snyder, The American Dream

hypnotized_gir_by_justananimefreak123-d4m50kt

The American people are the most drugged people in the history of the planet.  Illegal drugs get most of the headlines, but the truth is that the number of Americans that are addicted to legal drugs is far greater than the number of Americans that are addicted to illegal drugs.  As you will see below, close to 70 percent of all Americans are currently on at least one prescription drug.  In addition, there are 60 million Americans that “abuse alcohol” and 22 million Americans that use illegal drugs.  What that means is that almost everyone that you meet is going to be on something.  That sounds absolutely crazy but it is true.  We are literally being drugged out of our minds.  In fact, as you will read about below, there are 70 million Americans that are taking “mind-altering drugs” right now.  If it seems like most people cannot think clearly these days, it is because they can’t.  We love our legal drugs and it is getting worse with each passing year.  And considering the fact that big corporations are making tens of billions of dollars peddling their drugs to the rest of us, don’t expect things to change any time soon.  The following are 19 statistics about the drugging of America that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 An astounding 70 million Americans are taking legal mind-altering drugs right now.

#2 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors wrote more than 250 million prescriptions for antidepressants during 2010.

#3 According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, nearly 70 percent of all Americans are on at least one prescription drug.  An astounding 20 percent of all Americans are on at least five prescription drugs. […]

READ @ http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/19-statistics-about-the-drugging-of-america-that-are-almost-too-crazy-to-believe

DOCUMENTARY: Making a Killing: The Untold Story Of Psychotropic Drugging. Full Documentary Film @ http://99getsmart.com/?p=2930

Feb 012014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* CAPITALISM

By Saliha Bouziane, Art et Création

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

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* US WANTS CONTROL OF AFGHANISTAN’S RESOURCES

By John Robles, StopNATO

OP SLIPPER - MTF-1

Download audio file

The amount of money that the US Government has poured into Afghanistan on non-military aid is approaching $100 billion yet children are starving and the country is completely decimated. The US agencies that are supposed to implement development projects are completely incapable of carrying out their missions due to corruption and a complete lack of oversight. In an interview with the Voice of Russia’s John Robles three time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly, who recently completed her twelfth stay in Afghanistan said she would not recommend that US agencies that are supposed to be involved in development work be given the authority or the funds to provide assistance because their abysmal track records. Ms. Kelly believes the reason the US wants to maintain a militarily presence in Afghanistan may be a US interest in controlling the pricing and flow of precious resources found in Afghanistan. When asked whether opium was one of these resources Ms. Kelly agreed that at this point that appears to be true.

This is John Robles. You are listening to part 1 of an interview with Kathy Kelly, the coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She is also a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee. This is part 1 of an interview in progress.

Robles: Hello! How are you this evening?

Kelly: I’m good, thank you.

Robles: It is a pleasure to be speaking with you. I understand you’ve just returned from Afghanistan and I was wondering if you could tell us about your trip and what is going on with your fight against the drones.

Kelly: Thank you. I returned from Afghanistan about four days ago after having spent a month living in a working class neighborhood in Kabul as a guest of a group called the Afghan Peace Volunteers.

I think this was the twelfth time that I’ve been a guest of these young people. It is a privilege really to be with them. They are young people who want to live together inter-ethnically, they come from Hazara and Pashto and Tajik backgrounds and they share together also a good deal of altruism and had initiated projects that try to be of service to people who are extremely needy. […]

READ @ http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/interview-us-wants-control-of-afghanistans-resources/

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* IMPERIAL CONQUEST: AMERICA’S “LONG WAR” AGAINST HUMANITY

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research

us-imperialism

The following text was presented  at the Rosa Luxemburg Conference, Berlin, January 11, 2014.

The event was organized by the German daily “junge Welt”.  This year, the Rosa Luxemburg Conference marked the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

In this regard, the history of wars is important because it helps us understand today’s wars.

Our objective is World Peace. Our objective is to criminalize war.

The concept of the Long War is part of US military doctrine since the end of World War II. In many regards, todays wars are a continuation of the Second World War.

Worldwide militarization is also part of a global economic agenda, namely the application of the neoliberal economic policy model which has led to the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

Michel Chossudovsky, Berlin, January 11, 2014

Introduction

The world is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. This “war without borders” is being carried out at the crossroads of the most serious economic crisis in World history, which has been conducive to the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

The concept of the “Long War” has characterized US military doctrine since the end of World War II. Worldwide militarization is part of a global economic agenda.

Militarization at the global level is instrumented through the US military’s Unified Command structure: the entire planet is divided up into geographic Combatant Commands under the control of the Pentagon. US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska plays a central role in coordinating military operations.

According to former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, the Pentagon’s military road-map consists of a sequence of war theatres:

“[The] five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.” (Democracy Now, 2007) […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/imperial-conquest-americas-long-war-against-humanity/5364215

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* MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE – TRAILER

Source: Arsenal Filmverleih

This documentary features an elite German investment banker as he reveals the bankers’ plans to rule the world. Filmmaker says it’s a frightening megalomaniacal, quasi-religious parallel world

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIUPWWwEclc#t=103

Jan 292014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* IS THE WORLD REBALANCING?

By Yanis Varoufakis

WideModern_Rebalance_062813620x413

Before the Crash of 2008, the dominant view amongst the world’s policy-making elites was that global imbalances were not a problem. The great and the good in Washington and in London, in Paris and in Frankfurt, at Davos and on the golf courses where deals of note are struck, dismissed as economically-illiterate moaning-minnies all those who dared warn against large current account imbalances. Caught up in the soothing fiction of the ‘Great Moderation’, and the toxic fantasy that finance had invented ‘riskless risk’, the powers-that-be were adamant that we were living in a ‘new paradigm’. In this ‘new paradigm’ of their over-excited imagination, risk was being dispersed (through financialisation) from the global financial centres to the rest of the world, net capital was flowing the other way (from the Periphery to the capitalism’s Metropoles), and the result was sustainably unbalanced current and capital accounts. In short, from the gilded perspective of the true believers in some fictional ‘Great Moderation’, untrammelled markets had produced, at a planetary scale, a virtuous, sustainable, and highly lucrative ‘equilibrium imbalance’.

After the Crash of 2008, their tune changed. And it changed even more radically when, two years later, the Eurozone’s never-ending crisis followed suit. Suddenly, it became fashionable to blame, retrospectively, the hitherto benign global imbalances for the crisis. America’s pre-crisis gargantuan current account deficit, amounting to 6% of the planet’s largest national income, as well as China’s 10% of GDP current account surplus, were no longer thought of as innocuous. Similarly, within the Eurozone, Germany’s and Holland’s pre-2008 combined €35 billion-plus current account surplus, juxtaposed against Portugal’s, Greece’s and Spain’s combined current account deficit of €31 billion, metamorphosed from ‘natural’ repercussions of creating a common currency area to sources of local and global instability. In short, the crisis of 2008 turned imbalances from symptoms of the neoliberal ‘Great Moderation’ to the villains of the piece.

Six years have passed since those heady days and it is now clear that the global imbalances are waning. America’s current account deficit has fallen from 6% to less than 3% of GDP while China’s current account surplus has diminished from a breathtaking 10% to a reasonable 2.5%. Even within the long suffering Eurozone, quasi-insolvent nations like Spain and Italy are eliminating their current account deficits, despite the rise and rise of Germany’s surplus. Perused from a planetary perspective, German surpluses and Turkey’s or India’s deficits seem like minor problems that should perhaps be of concern to Europeans or Asians though not to the world at large. From this perspective, the world seems better balanced now than at any time since the 1980s. But is it so? […]

READ @ http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2014/01/28/is-the-world-re-balancing/

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* THE EUROPEAN PERIPHERY AS A POLITICAL LABORATORY

By Ricardo Campos, roarmag

The austerity imposed on the EU periphery is part of a wider and more ambitious experiment to suspend democracy and commodify all aspects of social life.

The austerity imposed on the EU periphery is part of a wider and more ambitious experiment to suspend democracy and commodify all aspects of social life.

The periphery of the Eurozone has been in the spotlights since 2010, when the Greek government requested a bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission (EC) — or the ‘Troika’, as these three powers are collectively known. It has become a familiar story, with Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus eventually following, while Slovenia seems to be next and both Spain and Italy remain under stress. This sovereign debt crisis has been presented from its very start as the mere sum of distinct national macroeconomic performances, with some countries failing to be competitive enough (or, according to a less sophisticated formula, showing themselves to be ‘lazy’) and some governments failing to control the budget deficit appropriately (or, according to a less sophisticated formula, showing themselves to be ‘big spenders’).

The dominant narrative of the political economy of the Eurozone is neither innocent nor accurate and plays a deliberate strategic role. It is rather obvious that the specific economic and social backgrounds of each country — including different intensities of social conflict and forms of resistance — explain the different pace of the austerity measures applied and the capacity of each government to negotiate distinct conditions for loans. But there is no such thing as an independent national context within the Eurozone, as becomes clearer every time a mission of the Troika lands in a country under intervention. The alleged purpose of the policies imposed on these countries — controlling public debt by reforming the state and regaining external competitiveness in order to lower the trade balance deficit — are further from being achieved now than they were before the bailouts. The ECB is now studying how to keep the “adjustment” in these countries beyond the previously agreed schedule, even though all the austerity measures included in its recessive arsenal have been applied. […]

READ @ http://roarmag.org/2014/01/austerity-europe-neoliberal-laboratory/

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* ESCAPED MARXIST GUERRILLA CHRISTODOULOS XIROS ALARMS GREECE WITH PLEDGE TO RETURN TO ARMS

By Helena Smith, Guardian

Christodoulos Xiros of the 17 November guerrilla group delivering his video message. He escaped from prison less than a month ago. Photograph: AP

Christodoulos Xiros of the 17 November guerrilla group delivering his video message. He escaped from prison less than a month ago. Photograph: AP

A video threat by a member of the disbanded 17 November terror group creates a new crisis for a weakened state

Up close, Christodoulos Xiros does not come across as a menacing man – in many ways he still resembles the soft-spoken craftsman he once was. But this weekend, barely three weeks after absconding from the high-security Korydallos prison in Athens, the dark-eyed 56-year-old, a key member of the defunct 17 November terror group, has struck fear into the hearts of many across crisis-hit Greece.

In the space of five days, panic-stricken authorities have launched the biggest manhunt in modern times, placed a €4m bounty on his head – dead or alive – and thrown a security cordon around the capital not seen since the 2004 Olympics.

On Friday, as European justice ministers gathered in the country that currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, there were sharpshooters on the roofs, sniffer dogs roaming the streets and more than 2,000 riot police outside government offices and hotels.

“I am worried that soon there will be an attack,” said former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, giving voice to the fears stalking Greece after Xiros failed to report to authorities while visiting his family during a nine-day leave from prison earlier this month.

It was 15 days before the self-described “free member of 17 November” re-emerged, with a video message vowing a return to armed action. “It’s time for battle,” Xiros said against a background of images depicting resistance fighters and a second world war communist hero. “I have decided to thunder the guerrilla shotgun against those who stole our lives and sold our dreams for profit.” […]

READ @ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/26/marxist-guerrilla-christodoulos-xiros-17-november-greece

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* ‘ONE BIG PROJECT’: ITALY’S BURGEONING MOVEMENT FOR HOUSING AND INCOME

By Alfredo Mazzamauro, roarmag

In the context of a deepening housing crisis, Italy’s movements are becoming increasingly united in their opposition to neoliberalism and austerity.

In the context of a deepening housing crisis, Italy’s movements are becoming increasingly united in their opposition to neoliberalism and austerity.

If there is one day that can symbolically represent the current struggle against austerity and neoliberalism in Italy it must be the 19th of October 2013 — the day of the General Uprising (“sollevazione generale”) against austerity. On that date, behind a banner that read “Only One Big Project: Income and Houses for Everyone!” around one hundred thousand people took the streets of Rome in what could be considered the most successful demonstration by the Italian social movements since the economic crisis began in 2007.

The demonstration was the last day of a week of struggle structured around four national events. The first was the day of struggle against the environmental devastation caused by capitalism on October 12. The second was the European social strike on October 15, launched during the Hub meeting in Barcelona. The third day was the general strike of the rank-and-file unions with a national demonstration in Rome and many local marches across the country on October 18. The final day was the national demonstration against austerity in Rome on October 19.

This agenda was set up and promoted by the Living in the Crisis Network (“rete abitare nella crisi”) — a network of Italian housing action movements — along with many grassroots movements and autonomous groups such as student movements, rank-and-file unions, precarious workers and migrants following a series of assemblies organized by the No-TAV movement in Val Susa over the last summer. The purpose of the October week of struggle was to bring together in a few big national events all the grassroots movements and the local groups who work every day in their neighborhoods to oppose and resist the neoliberal attempt to make workers and the lower classes pay for the crisis of capitalism. In particular, the October 19 demonstration aimed to make visible the housing emergency which is affecting ever more families and low-income earners in Italy. […]

READ @ http://roarmag.org/2014/01/italy-movement-housing-income/

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* THE WORKERS’ SCORECARD ON NAFTA

By David Bacon, Truthout

NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO - 05JUNE09 - The settlement of Blanca Navidad, on the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo, just south of the U.S. border.  Blanca Navidad was created by workers looking for land to build a place to live, and is part of a network of radical communities on the border, and throughout Mexico, sympathetic with the Zapatista movement.  Most residents work in the maquiladoras. Photo by David Bacon

NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO – 05 JUNE 09 – The settlement of Blanca Navidad, on the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo, just south of the U.S. border. Blanca Navidad was created by workers looking for land to build a place to live, and is part of a network of radical communities on the border, and throughout Mexico, sympathetic with the Zapatista movement. Most residents work in the maquiladoras. Photo by David Bacon

Sold by its promoters as a migration-preventing device that ultimately would produce more and better-paid jobs in all three countries, the North American Free Trade Agreement has displaced jobs and people, weakened unions and ravaged US cities and rural Mexico. But worker solidarity may prove to be its most important product.

In 1986, a provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act created a commission to investigate the causes of Mexican migration to the United States. When it made its report to Congress in 1992, it found, unsurprisingly, that the biggest was poverty. It recommended the negotiation of a free trade agreement, modeled on the one that had been implemented a few years before between the United States and Canada. The commission argued that opening the border to the flow of goods and capital (but not people) would, in the long run, produce jobs and rising income in Mexico, even if, in the short run, it led to some job loss and displacement.

The negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement began within months. When completed, it was sold to the public by its promoters on both sides of the border as a migration-preventing device. During the debate, executives of companies belonging to USA-NAFTA, the agreement’s corporate lobbyist, walked the halls of Congress wearing red, white and blue neckties. They made extravagant claims that US exports to Mexico would account for 100,000 jobs in the agreement’s first year alone.

Some skeptics warned that the agreement would put downward pressure on wages and encourage attacks on unions, because its purpose was to create an environment encouraging investment and free markets. Their warnings were met with another promise – that a parallel labor side agreement would establish a mechanism for protecting workers’ rights.

Twenty years later, workers have a scorecard. The promises of profits from increased investment and freer markets were kept. But the promises of jobs and benefits for working people were not. As the commission predicted, NAFTA did lead to increasing unemployment, displacement and poverty. Workers in all three countries are still living with these devastating consequences, while the predicted long-range benefits never materialized. […]

READ @ http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/21370-the-workers-scorecard-on-naftaf

Jan 212014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE WAR ON THE PLANET

By Kirkpatrick Sale

Climate-change-a-moral-issue1

Some recent evidence in the contest between capitalism and the earth:

In October, the U.S. officially edged past Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, an achievement largely due to the great increase in natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing of shale (fracking). Inasmuch as the process puts into the ground (and groundwater) 40 gallons of up to 600 chemicals in every well, no one doubts that it is one of the dirtiest and most polluting industries ever created.

Capitalism 1, Earth 0.

In December, the New England shrimp fishery was officially shut down for at least a year, maybe three, to allow a restoration of vastly depleted shrimp stocks, now at historic lows due to overfishing and warmer waters. Shrimpers made $10 million two years ago, just $1.2 million this year, and it is uncertain if or when the stocks will come back.

Capitalism 2, Earth 0.

According to a UN report in December , climate-change gasses in the atmospthere set a record high in 2012. The U.N. World Meteorological Organization said warming gasses increased 32 per cent 1990 to 2012, with Co2, industrialization’s chief byproduct, accounting for 80 per cent of that. […]

READ @ http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/01/16/the-war-on-the-planet/

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* TRUTH BEHIND FREEDOM INDUSTRIES BANKRUPTCY

Source: MSNBC

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JykxZxps5Jk

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* FIFTY STATES OF FEAR

By Peter Ludlow, NYTimes

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The British philosopher Bertrand Russell, writing as World War II was drawing to a close in Europe, observed that “neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.” Russell’s point was that irrational fear can propel us into counterproductive activities, ranging from unjust wars and the inhumane treatment of others to more mundane cases like our failure to seize opportunities to improve our everyday lives.

It is hard to dispute Russell’s claim. We all know that fear can impair our judgment. We have passed up opportunities in our personal lives and we have also seen groups and nations do great harm and unravel because of their irrational fears. The 20th century was littered with wars and ethnic cleansings that were propelled in large measure by fear of a neighboring state or political or ethnic group. Given this obvious truth, one might suppose that modern democratic states, with the lessons of history at hand, would seek to minimize fear — or at least minimize its effect on deliberative decision-making in both foreign and domestic policy.

But today the opposite is frequently true. Even democracies founded in the principles of liberty and the common good often take the path of more authoritarian states. They don’t work to minimize fear, but use it to exert control over the populace and serve the government’s principal aim: consolidating power. […]

READ @ http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/fifty-states-of-fear/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&hp&rref=opinion&_r=1&

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* THE WORLD OF SURVEILLANCE, PRIVATE AND PUBLIC

By Phil Ebersole

281106surveillance

Senator Jay Rockefeller is rightly indignant that somebody has compiled lists of rape victims, which are sold to marketing companies for who-knows-what purpose.

But the fact is that we all provide information to private businesses that, when shared, enables them to know all about us. Short of never using a store discount card, never buying anything over the Internet and never using a credit card, there is no realistic way to get around it.

What I worry about is not so much what people in these companies know, or think they know, as what they do with the information. If the information is used by marketing companies to guess what products I might buy, this may be annoying, but it does me no great harm.

If it is turned over to lenders or employers and affects my chances of getting credit or a job, this would be a serious problem.  If it is turned over to government agencies to determine whether I am a potential terrorist or even a troublemaker, this would be an even more serious problem.

Knowledge is power, and there is a lack of balance of power. These people know, or think they know, a lot about me. I ought to be able to know who they are and what they know, or think they know, about me. If my life is an open book to them, I ought to be able to read that book. […]

READ @ http://philebersole.wordpress.com/tag/civil-liberties/

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* VICE MEETS GLENN GREENWALD

Source: VICE

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

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* THE BIGGEST THREAT TO DEMOCRACY SINCE WORLD WAR II – AND THEY TRIED TO KEEP IT SECRET

By Mike Sivier, Vox Political

Corporate trade a-greed-ment: Notice that this image of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has mighty corporations straddling the Atlantic while the ‘little’ people – the populations they are treading on – are nowhere to be seen. [Picture: FT]

Corporate trade a-greed-ment: Notice that this image of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has mighty corporations straddling the Atlantic while the ‘little’ people – the populations they are treading on – are nowhere to be seen. [Picture: FT]

Editorial comment: TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), is the latest one of the heinous trade agreements that are already destroying the lives of people to enrich the corporations. George Monbiot in the Guardian is speaking freely about this new attempt to make the multinational corporations even more powerful and to take away any possibilities for the people to make themselves heard that might still exist. But where are the other media? Silenced by a down and out publication ban or by self-censorship? Is George Monbiot the only one who manages to speak out in the mass media? We need to hear masses of loud voices fighting tooth and nail against this horrible threat, the last straw in the killing of democracy, the killing of the people. If this latest trade agreement becomes a reality which is currently being negotiated and which is destined exclusively to enrich the corporations that are already rolling in money, then governments will officially be nothing but the puppets of Big Business.  – SON

 

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is bitter pill for anyone to swallow, if they have spent any time defending Britain’s membership of the European Union.

The partnership between the EU and the United States would open America to the kind of free trade deals that have been going on in Europe ever since the original Economic Community was formed – but there is a problem.

It isn’t a problem for businesses; they are in line to get a deal better than anything ever experienced in the world of trade. Citizens and national governments, on the other hand – you, me, and the people who represent us – will be railroaded.

This is because the agreement includes a device called ‘investor-state dispute settlement’, which allows corporate entities to sue governments, overruling domestic courts and the will of Parliaments.

In other words, this could be the biggest threat to democracy since World War II. […]

READ @ http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_66339.shtml

 

Jan 162014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* AMERICA IS PLUNGING INTO KAFKA’S NIGHTMARE

By Brandon Smith, Alt-Market

There is a certain level of dishonesty in the common study of history. We look back at the tyrannies of the past, the monstrous governments, the devastating wars and the unimaginable crimes, and we wonder how it could have been possible. How could the people of that particular generation let such atrocities come to pass? Why didn’t they do something? Why didn’t they protest? Why didn’t they fight back?

We wonder all of this as we absorb the lists of dates, names and actions in books written by other men who memorized other lists of dates, names and actions. We are taught to study and wonder without ever actually applying the lessons of the past to the developments of today. We are conditioned to assert our own narrow spin on yesterday, instead of placing ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors or recognizing that their struggles remain our struggles. The modern method of viewing history detaches us from it, making it seem distant, alien or surreal.

Perhaps many societies fail to prepare or act in the face of tyranny because they had forgotten their own histories, making the demise of their culture appear so schizophrenic they would not believe what their eyes were telling them.

Often, the only way to grasp the more complete truth of the present is to examine it through the lens of the absurd. Sadly, our Nation, our culture and most of the world around us have become so backward, ugly, feeble and twisted that the only adequate comparison is to the nightmares of surrealists.

When I examine recent U.S. legislation, the exposure of classified documents, and the openly admitted criminality of political leadership, I am consistently reminded of Franz Kafka’s The Trial. […]

[…] In the U.S. today, the kind of establishment terror Kafka imagined is indeed a reality. We are not on the verge of a total surveillance state, we are there. It exists. And if we do not accept that this is our social condition, there may be no historians tomorrow to look back on our era and wonder: “Why didn’t they do something? Why didn’t they fight back?” […]

[…] The Web cannot be made free or private from within; our courts cannot be made fair and just from within; neither political party can be forced to represent the common man from within; and our government cannot be made honest or transparent from within. To play games of activism within establishment dominated systems is to play make-believe within a surrealist nightmare; a piece of “Alice in Wonderland” political quackery. Like the audience at Josef’s trial, the elites simply laugh at such activists, or feign applause, while continuing forever with the same corruption and the criminal status quo. […]

READ @ http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1939-america-is-plunging-into-kafkas-nightmare

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* THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WATCH MAINSTREAM MEDIA TV NEWS

Source: The Onion

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

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* TPP: POISON OF LOCAL COMMUNITY RESILIENCE

By Richard Heinberg

DonkeyHotey-Flickr-Carver-TPP-300x300

The past couple of decades of globalization have been a disaster for planetary ecosystems, indigenous peoples, and most middle-class citizens, but a gravy train for big investors, investment bankers, and managers of transnational corporations. This unprecedented expansion of international trade was driven by the convergence of key resources, developments, and inventions: cheap oil, satellite communications, container ships, computerized monitoring of inventories, the flourishing of multinational corporations, the proliferation of liberal trade treaties (including NAFTA), and the emergence of transnational bodies such as the World Trade Organization.

Economists said everyone would eventually benefit, but casualties quickly mounted. Inflation-adjusted wages for American workers stagnated. Manufacturing towns throughout the Northeast and Midwest withered. Meanwhile, China began burning immense amounts of coal to make mountains of toys, furniture, clothing, tools, appliances, and consumer electronics, cloaking its cities in a pall of toxic fumes and driving its greenhouse gas emissions to world record-setting levels. In effect, the United States has been importing cheap consumer goods while exporting jobs and polluting industries. In both China and the US, levels of economic inequality have soared.

Now comes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new trade deal negotiated in secret (only corporations get to contribute to, and look at, the draft language). The point of the Treaty: to double down on globalization at precisely the moment in time when the entire enterprise is beginning to fail as a result of stubbornly high oil prices, worsening climate change impacts (floods, droughts, wildfires), debt deflation, and middle-class fears of losing even more ground. […]

[…] Educate yourself on the issue (see this fact sheet) and let your congressional representatives know what you think by contacting them here. […]

READ @ http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/01/15-0

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* FTA EU-MERCOSUR: WHY DO ONLY THE NEGOTIATORS WANT TO SIGN IT?

By Aram Aharonian, CADTM

arton9817-5cffb

A Free Trade Agreement (FTA), under the conditions posed by the European Union (EU) for other countries (such as Colombia and Peru), is totally in contradiction with the goal of independent economic development that governments of Mercosur (the Common Market of the South) have repeatedly put forward, having rejected the proposal of a similar agreement, the ALCA, with the United States in 2005.

Even without designating it as a “Free Trade” agreement, but rather as one of “economic cooperation”, as the European Union has done in other cases, what is proposed is similar, and perhaps even more negative, than many Free Trade Agreements that have encountered strong resistance in Argentina and Venezuela, and important opposition in Brazil.

Among the predicted impacts of a Free Trade Agreement are a significant increase in unemployment, due to the liberalization of trade in industrial and agricultural products, the fall in salaries associated with unemployment; and in addition, a fall in tax revenue, along with serious impacts in the reduction of expenses in health, education and social programmes.

But the most serious problem is in the secrecy with which such public affairs are being conducted. Given the possible consequences for the peoples concerned, these negotiations cannot be left in the hands of a group of “specialists” and the pressures of interest groups or sectarian or biased media. There must be consultation with the people, opening all the conditions to debate, eliminating the levels of confidentiality demanded by European negotiators. There is a need for real transparency. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/FTA-EU-MERCOSUR-Why-do-only-the

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* MAPPING LI(E)BORGATE – PRESENTING THE OCTOPUS IN THE LIBOR-RIGGING SCANDAL

By Tyler Durden, zerohedge

What is the LIBOR?

The Libor manipulation scandal has, as WSJ reports, ensnared at least 17 financial institutions and 22 individuals in a wide-ranging investigation spanning 11 countries and four continents. So far, it has netted at least $5 billion in penalties, with more on the way. The Wall Street Journal has taken the most complete list of allegedly involved parties and mapped an extensive web of 298 reported connections that reveals the depth of the alleged conspiracy from the ‘alleged’ ringleader Tom Hayes and involving practically ever major bank in the world.

Full Interactive “Spider-Web” here.

The alleged ringleader… Tom Hayes…

Former UBS and Citigroup trader, criminally charged with fraud in U.S. and U.K. Pleaded not guilty to U.K. charges; hasn’t entered a plea to U.S. charges. Told WSJ that “this goes much much higher than me.” The institutions and individuals in the web allegedly worked with him to manipulate rates or previously employed him when he was allegedly manipulating rates, according to the U.S. Justice Department, U.K. Serious Fraud Office and people familiar with the investigation. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-15/mapping-lieborgate-presenting-octopus-libor-rigging-scandal

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* WIKILEAKS: DEFEATING THE CONSPIRACY OF GOVERNANCE

By Nozomi Hayase, RoarMag

The contagious courage of the whistleblowers — from Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden — is helping to defeat the conspiracy of illegitimate governance. Illustration by Latuff

The contagious courage of the whistleblowers — from Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden — is helping to defeat the conspiracy of illegitimate governance.
Illustration by Latuff

In 2010, ongoing wars and government corruption spread through a fog of apathy. The world appeared to be reaching a tipping point for either global crisis or transformation. In this climate, WikiLeaks emerged into the limelight like a call to the conscience of humanity. Over the last few years, they released secret documents revealing Kenyan government corruption, Iceland’s financial collapse, the criminality of US wars in the Middle East and more. Their very existence and what they revealed called into question the legitimacy of imperial power structures around the world.

Ever since its initial public insurrection, WikiLeaks kept making the headlines. In spite of founder Julian Assange being immobilized — first under house arrest and then confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London — the stateless organization has continued to publish documents, shedding light on corruption and abuse of power. One might well have thought the life of this transparency advocacy group would be over after the massive US government retaliation and financial blockades by PayPal, Visa and other US financial giants. Yet, in the year 2013, WikiLeaks showed itself to be resilient and relevant as ever by releasing a secretive draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty and aiding the world’s most wanted whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, in his quest for asylum.

The inception of the WikiLeaks whistle-blowing website goes all the way back to late 2006. At that time, Assange wrote a kind of Manifesto called Conspiracy as Governance. In analyzing how corruption and secrecy are tied together, he described how “illegitimate governance is by definition conspiratorial—the product of functionaries working in collaborative secrecy … to the detriment of a population.” […

READ @ http://roarmag.org/2014/01/wikileaks-conspiracy-of-governance/

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* GREECE AND THE FUTURE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

By Iddhis Bing, indiegogo

"We have it in our power to begin the world over again." - Tom Paine

Most people are unaware of what's going on in Greece. If you have read anything it's on the order of, "Greece is going through economic difficulties while it restructures its economy, forcing it to make painful adjustments."

The reality is far more devastating and has implications for the rest of the world. And yet reliable, in-depth reporting is hard to come by. As an independent journalist, I'm going to Greece to investigate the truth behind the news.

The New York Times said recently that Greece's "blighted economy" was "plunging further towards the Abyss." Public services have been cut in half, unemployment is 30% or worse (3 youths out of 5 under 24 unemployed), suicide is at an all-time high, and an openly Nazi party has 18 seats in the Greek Parliament and rampages through the streets. You didn't read any of that wrong. The IMF and the banks meanwhile demand ever more concessions. All of this passes under the radar of the mainstream media. That's why I'm going to see and write about it.

The Greeks protest on a daily basis, villages wage low-intensity battles against mining operations in the countryside, and those who can choose exile. A new political party is contesting the old dinosaurs in local spring elections and the European Union. It's a serious matter when Nazis are back on the playing field.

Greece, one of Europe's oldest cultures, is its new reality. Even the conservative Katheramini newspaper recently admitted that the country "may cease to be a viable nation state." It's time English-language readers had a chance to see that culture and its current impasse up-close.

Since everything we read about the splendid progress being made in Greece comes courtesy of politicians and the IMF, this writer has decided to report from the other side of the mirror: I'm going to Greece to record the stories of what people are going through, about survival in difficult times, people's reflections on the society they live in, its conflicts and contradictions.

If it can happen in Greece, it can happen where you live. The economic model being imposed on the Greeks is already being exported to other countries in the European Union and has plenty of adherents in the United States.

Right now we have a chance to be participants. But we can only do that if we know what's happening, and for that we need reports from the real world. You can help me get the real story out. You can give a human face to what is happening in Greece. Awareness is power. […]

READ / VIDEO @ http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/greece-and-the-future-of-the-european-union

Jan 062014
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE DANGEROUS RETURN OF WATER PRIVATIZATION

By Maude Barlow and Wenonah Hauter, Utne Reader

It’s time for an integrated, holistic national water policy, including the establishment of a federal water trust fund. Instead we face the cannibalization of our public utilities by private corporations. Photo By Paul Goyette

It’s time for an integrated, holistic national water policy, including the establishment of a federal water trust fund. Instead we face the cannibalization of our public utilities by private corporations. Photo By Paul Goyette

The United States has one of the best public water supply systems in the world. More than 250 million people count on local governments to provide safe drinking water. Over the last 40 years, federal, state, and municipal governments have worked together to improve and protect water resources. The Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act have kept the U.S. on target for preserving rivers, lakes, watersheds, wetlands, natural aquifers, and other sources of fresh water.

Great strides have been made in managing waste water and storm water. More than 90 percent of community water systems in 2012 met all federal health standards. Public water utilities have been a tremendously successful model for the U.S. and continue to keep drinking water safe, accessible, and affordable for all Americans.

It hasn’t always been this way.

During the 1800s, private companies controlled the water systems of several large U.S. cities—to dire effect. Because the companies were more interested in making a profit than providing good service, many poor residents lacked access to water. As a result, cholera outbreaks were common in poor neighborhoods; water pressure was sometimes too low to stop fires, which destroyed both homes and businesses. […]

READ @ http://www.utne.com/politics/water-privatization-zm0z14jfzros.aspx#axzz2nlZyXlKM

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* EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO BAN HEIRLOOM SEEDS – CRIMINALIZE PLANTS NOT REGISTERED WITH GOVERNMENT

By Arjun Walia, Alt-Market

seedling

The European Commission is changing the European Union’s plant legislation, apparently to enhance food safety across the continent. This move has sparked a heavy  opposition from many, saying that the measure will threaten seed diversity and favour large agrochemical businesses. This new law creates new powers to classify and regulate all plant life anywhere in Europe. You can view the entire proposal in the list of sources at the bottom of this article.

The “Plant Reproductive Material Law” regulates all plants. It contains restrictions on vegetables and woodland trees, as well as all other plants of any species. It will be illegal to grow, reproduce, or trade any vegetable seed or tree that has not been been tested and approved by the government, more specifically the “EU Plant Variety Agency.” This agency will be responsible for making a list of approved plants and an annual fee must also be forwarded to the agency if growers would like to keep what they grow on the list. The new law basically puts the government in charge of all plants and seeds in Europe, and prevents home gardeners from growing their own plants from non-regulated seeds. If they did, they would now be considered criminals.

The draft text of the law has already been changed several times due to a large backlash from gardeners.

This law will immediately stop the professional development of vegetable varieties for home gardeners, organic growers and small scale market farmers. Home gardeners have really different needs – for example they grow by hand, not machine, and can’t or don’t want to use such powerful chemical sprays. There’s no way to register the varieties suitable for home use as they don’t meet the strict criteria of the PLant Variety Agency, which is only concerned about approving the sort of seed used by industrial farmers – Ben Gabel, Director of The Real Seed Catalogue […]

READ @ http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1913-european-commission-to-ban-heirloom-seeds-criminalize-plants-not-registered-with-governm

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* DUMBING AMERICA DOWN

By Susan J. Douglas, In These Times

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Among the many visionary goals of our nation’s right wing—impoverish older people, starve the poor, deny climate change, outlaw abortion and contraception, eliminate healthcare for millions—few are more foundational than defunding education in general and higher education in particular. Public colleges and universities nationwide have seen significant funding cuts over the past five years, and while the recession is usually blamed, the Right keeps the fiscal screws tight by cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Here in Michigan, in Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s first budget, there was a 15 percent cut in state aid to universities and a $1.8 billion tax cut for businesses. This equals a win-win for the Right: Keep the fat cats in your corner, and constrain the opportunity for young people to learn a host of things that might, well, make them interrogate right-wing policies. The Pew Research Center and others have found that lower income and less-educated whites are becoming more likely to vote Republican than Democrat, with 54 percent of those without a college degree identifying as Republican in 2012; only 37 percent identified as Democratic, so the gap is, well, quite wide.

And here’s the ideological bonus: Public universities, clobbered by defunding, raise tuition. Then conservative pundits like S.E. Cupp can scream about the outrageous unaffordability (and elitism, of course) of a college degree and claim that it’s money down a rat hole. As she put it, colleges are “not meeting the demand of manufacturers and employers who want people who can’t just, you know, read Freud and Nietzsche … but who can actually read a business plan.” She’s hardly alone— stories asking “Is College Worth It?” are everywhere now. Few put two and two together: that the government cuts have to be made up somehow.

The recent assaults on the value of a college degree (coupled with the shameful student loan scandal) have borne fruit: According to a College Board and National Journal poll, 46 percent of respondents believe a college degree isn’t necessary for success, while only 37 percent said so in the previous year’s poll. Here is another victory of opinion over fact. Even with the high cost of college, graduates make an average $365,000 more during their lifetimes—after you subtract all the costs of going to school—than their counterparts with only a high school degree. At the University of Michigan, where I teach, a recent calculation showed that after accounting for tuition and fees, a Michigan grad made $901,400 more than a non-college graduate. […]

READ @ http://inthesetimes.com/article/15989/dumbing_america_down/

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* THE RISKS OF TRUSTING THE SNOWDEN STORY

Source: Dig Within

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[…] It was originally reported that the number of documents Snowden had stolen was in the thousands. Today, however, that number is said to be nearly two million. This calls into question Snowden’s early statement, as reported by Greenwald, that he “carefully evaluated every single document… to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest.” The huge, new number also reveals that less than one tenth of one percent of the documents (only about 900) have actually been released to the public.

How could Snowden have “carefully evaluated every single” one of what is now being said to be nearly two million documents? He only worked for Booz Allen Hamilton for a few months. According to NSA Director Keith Alexander, Snowden also worked directly for NSA for twelve months prior to that, which is interesting. But still, that would require carefully evaluating thousands of documents a day during that entire time. Didn’t he have a job apart from that?

Journalist Margie Burns asked some good questions back in June that have not yet been answered. She wondered about the 29-year old Snowden who had been a U.S. Army Special Forces recruit, a covert CIA operative, and an NSA employee in various capacities, all in just a few, short years. Burns asked “How, exactly, did Snowden get his series of NSA jobs? Did he apply through regular channels? Was it through someone he knew? Who recommended him? Who were his references for a string of six-figure, high-level security jobs? Are there any safeguards in place so that red flags go up when a subcontractor jumps from job to job, especially in high-level clearance positions?” […]

READ @ http://digwithin.net/2014/01/01/snowden/

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* THE PERFECT STORM IN TURKEY – CORRUPTION, CONFLICT, CONSPIRACY

By Michael Collins, InformationClearingHouse

Photo by Jordi Bernabeu Farrús

Photo by Jordi Bernabeu Farrús

The Republic of Turkey is consumed by intense conflict, conspiracy charges, and underlying financial problems that simply won’t go away. A perfect storm is brewing in Turkey.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and supporters are charged with a secret gold-for-oil deal with Iran. The deal, in violation of trade sanctions against Iran, enriched the PM’s ministers and other key supporters involved (including the PM’s son), according to prosecutors. The deal also involved misreporting billions of dollars in trade, which, in turn, resulted in Turkey overstating national income and understating its current account deficit.

A more ominous charge focuses on Erdogan’s open support of a wealthy Saudi known for funding al Qaeda and the PM’s alleged support of Al Qaeda fighters engaged against the Syrian government. Just today, we say this headline: Turkish governor blocks police search on Syria-bound truck reportedly carrying weapons . Erdogan is a strong supporter of the Syrian rebels, assumed recipients of the weapons.

The crisis started on December 17, 2013 when dozens of Erdogan’s close associates were arrested for corruption. The arrests included the CEO of Turkey’s state bank caught with million in euros stuffed in shoeboxes. Charges and arrests continued. Prosecutors and police who handled the case were fired at the behest of the Prime Minister. The Turkish supreme court ruled that the government couldn’t interfere with police investigations through firings and intimidation. Undeterred, Erdogan fired more prosecutors claiming the charges were an attack on the Turkish state. To top it all off, authorities banned reporters from police stations and pressured the media to stop focusing on the scandals. […]

READ @ http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37298.htm