May 172013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* UPCOMING TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP (TPP) LOOKS LIKE CORPORATE TAKEOVER (BECAUSE IT IS)

By Dave Johnson, OpEdNews

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You will be hearing a lot about the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. TPP’s negotiations are being held in secret with details kept secret even from our Congress. But giant corporations are in the loop.

TPP is a “trade” agreement between several Pacific-rim countries that is actually about much more than just trade. It will be sold as a trade agreement (because everyone knows that “trade” is good) but much of it appears to be (from what we know) a corporate end-run around things We the People want to do to reign in the giant corporations — like Wall Street regulation, environmental regulation and corporate taxation.

One-Sided Process

The TPP process appears to be set up to push corporate interests over other interests. The TPP is being negotiated in secret, so what we know about it comes from leaked documents. Even our Congress is being kept out of the loop. But 600 corporate representatives are in the loop while representatives of groups that protect working people, human, political and civil rights and our environment are largely not in the loop.

This one-sided participation unfortunately indicates that the interests of giant corporations are likely to override the interests of working people and those who want to protect non-corporate interests. Otherwise there would be more representation by representatives of organizations representing these concerns, and greater transparency into the process.

TPP Is A Very, Very Big Deal […]

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/articles/Upcoming-Trans-Pacific-Par-by-Dave-Johnson-130516-918.html

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

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* SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE – NOMINATION HEARING FOR FRED HOCHBERG

Source: youtube

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Q&A at the May 7, 2013 Senate Banking Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Fred P. Hochberg to serve as President of the Export-Import Bank.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fmgaz-9DX3I

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* DRONE PILOTS EXPOSE POLITICIAN’S LIES

By David Swanson, War Is A Crime

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Our elected and unelected officials tell us that drone strikes target top level enemies of the United States who are imminent threats to us, and that killing innocent people is avoided altogether or minimized.

Congressional hearings, with a couple of excellent exceptions, question outside academics about the legality of this purported strategy.  The Obama administration declines to send any witnesses.

But drone pilots have begun talking to the media.  And they describe policies that bear a lot closer resemblance to reporting from the areas where the missiles strike.  These pilots should be brought before Congress.

Here is a stunning new interview with one of them:

“So the pilot is not only flying the airplane, he or she is using all those sensors to watch a potential target, circling over it for hours or days at a time. What can you really see?

“Okay, so in a village in, say, country X, where the houses are built together, there are adults who live in this house, and these children belong to those adults because we see them out in the fields together or we see them eating dinner. So you can start figuring out who is associated with who. Who is a stranger, who is it that’s visiting this house? There’s a dog and it barks at strangers, so if we needed to go in and free a hostage or conduct a raid, you’d want to tell the land forces there’s a dog there and either it’s an attack dog or it alerts the village that somebody’s coming.

“You must develop an emotional tie with the people on the ground that makes it hard if there is going to be a strike or a raid, people are going to be killed.

“I would couch it not in terms of an emotional connection, but a … seriousness. I have watched this individual, and regardless of how many children he has, no matter how close his wife is, no matter what they do, that individual fired at Americans or coalition forces, or planted an IED — did something that met the rules of engagement and the laws of armed conflict, and I am tasked to strike that individual.  The seriousness of it is that I am going to do this and it will affect his family. But that individual is the one that brought it on himself. He became a combatant the minute he took up arms.”

This pilot, in fact this director of the Air Force Remotely Piloted Aircraft Capabilities Division, has not said that a high level operation leader of terrorists who is imminently threatening the United States is targeted.  He has said that some ordinary guy who has chosen to violently resist the hostile foreign occupation of his country by shooting at the occupiers is targeted.

He has also not said anything to satisfy those who support the notion of just wars but want them conducted in compliance with the Geneva Conventions and other such legally binding limitations.  This director of a U.S. drone kill program openly says that our public employees target a family for death if needed in order to blow up a foreign soldier from thousands of miles away.  Every effort is made to avoid killing innocent family members, he says in the interview, but if it can’t be avoided, well, the target “brought it on himself.”

Here another pilot describes specific such incidents.  Here the New York Times reports on the resulting PTSD suffered by drone pilots.

War is murder, and this type of war ought to look to most people like the murder that it is.  But even if you accept war, this is not how ANYBODY claims it is to be legally done.  This is beyond what Congressional witnesses or even Congress members would say is acceptable or legal.  Yet this pilot blurts it out to the media with apparently no concern that his life will be inconvenienced by further questioning.

Enough is enough is enough. End this madness now.

READ @ http://warisacrime.org/content/drone-pilots-expose-politicians-lies

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* GREEK ADDICTS TURN TO DEADLY SHISHA DRUG AS ECONOMIC CRISIS DEEPENS

By Helena Smith, Guardian

A sisa user smoking his pipe on Kapodistriou Street.

A sisa user smoking his pipe on Kapodistriou Street.

Nobody knows which came first: the economic crisis tearing Greece apart or shisha, the drug now known as the “cocaine of the poor”. What everyone does accept is that shisha is a killer. And at €2 or less a hit, it is one that has come to stalk Greece, the country long on the frontline of Europe‘s financial meltdown.

“As drugs go, it is the worst. It burns your insides, it makes you aggressive and ensures that you go totally mad,” said Maria, a former heroin addict. “But it is cheap and it is easy to get, and it is what everyone is doing.”

The drug crisis, brought to light in a new film by Vice.com, has put Athens’s health authorities, already overwhelmed by draconian cuts, under further strain.

The drug of preference for thousands of homeless Greeks forced on to the streets by poverty and despair, shisha is described by both addicts and officials as a variant of crystal meth whose potential to send users into a state of mindless violence is underpinned by the substances with which the synthetic drug is frequently mixed: battery acid, engine oil and even shampoo.

Worse still, it is not only readily available, but easy to make – tailor-made for a society that despite official prognostications of optimism, and fiscal progress, on the ground, at least, sees little light at the end of the tunnel.

“It is a killer but it also makes you want to kill,” Konstantinos, a drug addict, told Vice. “You can kill without understanding that you have done it … And it is spreading faster than death. A lot of users have died.” […]

READ @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/16/greek-addicts-sisha-drug-crisis

SEE VIDEO @ http://www.vice.com/es

VIDEO: PART 1 @ http://www.vice.com/en_uk/vice-news/sisa-cocaine-of-the-poor-part-1

VIDEO: PART 2 @ http://www.vice.com/en_uk/vice-news/sisa-cocaine-of-the-poor-part-2

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* JOHN HENLEY: WHY SOCIAL MEDIA WAS CRUCIAL OT GREECE ON THE BREADLNE

Source: The Guardian

VIDEO @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/mar/27/greece-breadline-debt-crisis-video

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* UKIP’s NIGEL FARAGE MOBBED BY PROTESTERS IN EDINBURGH

Source: The Guardian

The leader of the UK Independence party, Nigel Farage, is hounded by protesters in Edinburgh on Thursday. The crowd, chanting ‘Ukip scum, off our streets’, encircles a taxi Farage attempts to get away in. The politician is followed to a pub where he planned to hold a news conference, with police forced to barricade him inside to keep him apart from the crowd.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nh8NIB9q9o

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* IMF CHIEF LAGARDE HECKLED BY STUDENTS IN AMSTERDAM

Source: Roarmag

Dutch, Greek and Spanish members of the Occupy movement interrupt a lecture by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the University of Amsterdam. 

Christine Lagarde, the former French Finance Minister and current Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, was treated to an Occupy-style mic-check at the University of Amsterdam on Tuesday. During a lecture at the university’s economics department, a group of students rose up to interrupt (or rather start) the discussion, confronting the Fund’s chief with a number of inconvenient questions.

Attendees had been asked to send in questions before the “debate”, but the protesters were angry that their critical notes appeared to have been ignored. By standing up and submitting the IMF chief to a mic-check, they tried to get their concerns across anyway: “why is technocracy better than democracy?” one activist asked. Another asked Lagarde why the IMF submits developing countries to Western imperialism, to which the upper-class moderator tellingly responded that “we will not do that question”.

In a sign of the academic freedom at the University of Amsterdam, and civil liberties in the Netherlands more generally, the students — who reportedly included Dutch Occupy protesters, Spanish indignados and Greek activists associated with ReINFORM – were immediately escorted away by security and event organizers. Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reports that some of the event organizers seemed to act like a “gang” in their willingness to use physical force while removing the activists. […]

READ / VIDEO @ http://roarmag.org/2013/05/imf-chief-lagarde-heckled-by-students-in-amsterdam/

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* THE TRICK TO SUPPRESSING THE REVOLUTION: KEEPING DEBT/TAX SERFDOM BEARABLE

By Charles Hugh-Smith, Of Two Minds

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The 30 million whose labor funds the parasitic status quo don’t have to rebel; they simply have to stop going to work, stop starting enterprises, stop being productive.

Parasites must balance their drive to maximize what they extract from their host with the risk of losing everything by killing their host. This is the dilemma of the parasitic partnership of the central state and financial Elites everywhere: to extract the maximum possible in debt payments and taxes without sparking rebellion and revolution.

I have often commented on the current class structure, which paradoxically unites the interests of the top 1/5% of 1% and their political-class toadies and the bottom 50% who are drawing transfer payments/benefits from the state: both support the status quo because both receive direct benefits from it.

The 20% who pay most of the tax and service much of the debt are in the middle, a political minority of debt/tax serfs who finance the status quo, i.e. cartel-crony capitalism owned and operated by the financial and political Elites:

The Three-and-a-Half Class Society (October 22, 2012)

Entitlements, Taxes, Inequality and Three-Way Class Warfare (September 20, 2010)

Tyranny of the Majority, Corporate Welfare and Complicity (April 9, 2010)

Two Americas: The Gap Between the Top 5% and the Bottom 95% Widens (August 18, 2010)

READ @ http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com.es/2013/05/the-trick-to-suppressing-revolution.html

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* 10 AMAZING CHARTS THAT DEMONSTRATE THE SLOW, AGONIZING DEATH OF THE AMERICAN WORKER

By Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse

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The middle class American worker is in danger of becoming an endangered species.  The politicians are not telling you the truth, and the mainstream media is certainly not telling you the truth, but the reality is that there is nothing but bad news on the horizon for workers in the United States.  In the old days, when the big corporations that dominate our society did well, that also meant good things for American workers since those corporations would need more of us to work for them.  But in the emerging one world economic system that our economy is being merged into, those corporations have other choices now.  For instance, the big corporations can now choose to limit the number of “expensive” American workers that they employ by shipping millions of jobs to the other side of the world.  And from their perspective, it makes perfect sense.  They can make much bigger profits by hiring people on the other side of the planet to work for them for less than a dollar an hour.  If they can get good production out of those people, then why should they hire Americans for ten to twenty times as much, plus have to give those Americans health insurance and other benefits?  Another major factor in the slow, agonizing death of the American worker is technology.  We live during a period when technology is advancing at a pace that is almost unimaginable at the same time that it is steadily becoming cheaper and cheaper.  That means that it is going to become easier and easier for companies to replace workers with robots and computers.  As I have written about previously, it is being projected that our economy will lose millions of jobs to technology in the coming years.  Yes, some of us will still be needed to help build the robots and the computers, but not all of us will.  And of course the overall general weakness of the economy is not helping matters either.  The American people inherited the greatest economic machine in the history of the world, and we have wrecked it.  Decades of very foolish decisions have resulted in the period of steady economic decline that we are experiencing now.

America is simply not the economic powerhouse that it once was.  Back in 2001, the U.S. economy accounted for 31.8 percent of global GDP.  By 2011, the U.S. economy only accounted for 21.6 percent of global GDP.  That is a collapse any way that you want to look at it.

Today, American workers are living in an economy that is rapidly declining, and their jobs are steadily being stolen by robots, computers and foreign workers that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  Politicians from both political parties refuse to do anything to stop the bleeding because they think that the status quo is working just great.

So don’t expect things to get better any time soon.

The following are 10 amazing charts that demonstrate the slow, agonizing death of the American worker… […]

READ / CHARTS @  http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/10-amazing-charts-that-demonstrate-the-slow-agonizing-death-of-the-american-worker

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