* EUROPE’S CASH-FOR-TRASH LTRO-‘SCAM’ AND THE INDENTURED SERVITUDE OF THE CITIZENRY
By Tyler Durden, zerohedge
In a must-watch follow-up to his original Punk Economics Lesson, David McWilliams describes how the new bankocracy in Europe will lead to a massive injection of liquidity; blowing bubbles in financial assets while the citizenry is bled dry (ring any recent bells?). The banks again get all the money they need while the average citizen shoulders the burden. Specifically in the case of the Greeks, they are left with the uncertainty of a return to the Drachma or the certainty of decades of indentured servitude.
Don’t be fooled that the European debt story is over, it is not. In fact, he finishes – rather ominously, the interesting bit hasn’t even started yet.
PUNK ECONOMICS: LESSON 2
By David McWill, youtube.com
* FOR WHOM THE BAILOUT TOLLS
By Edward Hugh, A Fistful Of Euros
“On an optimistic view, that a deal was struck implies that neither side was ultimately willing to risk a Greek exit because they recognise that no one fully understands all the ramifications of such a decision. Under this scenario, when pressure again builds, the authorities will do the same: let Greece remain in the euro, even if it fails to keep to its adjustment programme. So, the reality of “bail-out II” means that, if the situation becomes critical, there will be a bail-out III”. Sushil Wadhwani, writing in the Financial Times
So Greece has finally been awarded a second bailout. One may wish the country will live to tell the tale.
According to IMF DG Christine Lagarde, speaking at the post agreement press conference, “It’s not an easy (program), it’s an ambitious one,”. Never a truer word was said, and certainly not in jest. Not only is the program an ambitious one, it is more than probably a “pie in the sky” one too. The objective of 120% for Greek debt in GDP is totally unrealistic, not only because it won’t be attained (it won’t), but because even if it were the country would still be in an unsustainable situation in 2020. So this is hardly something to be proud of, or look forward to. […]
* THE GREEK TRAGEDY AND GREAT DEPRESSION LESSONS NOT LEARNED
By Nomi Prins, zerohedge
Greece has been the most pillaged country in Europe this Depression, among other reasons, because no one in any leadership position seems to have learned lessons from the 1930s. Plus, banks have more power now than they did then to call the shots.
Despite no signs of the first bailout working – certainly not in growing the Greek economy or helping its population – but not even in being sufficient to cover speculative losses, Euro elites finalized another 130 billion Euro, ($170 billion) bailout today. This is ostensibly to avoid banks’ and credit default swap players’ wrath over the possibility of Greece defaulting on 14.5 billion Euros in bonds.
Bailout promoters seem to believe (or pretend) that: bank bailout debt + more bank bailout debt + selling national assets at discount prices + oppressive unemployment = economic health. They fail to grasp that severe austerity hasn’t, and won’t, turn Greece (or any country) around. Banks, of course, just want to protect their bets and not wait around for Greece to really stabilize for repayment.
So in March 1932, the League of Nation’s (the precursor bank bailout entity to the ECB/IMF) agreed to provide a loan to service Greece’s debt in return for – wait for it – austerity measures. Unlike today, the government said ‘hell no.’ Instead, in April, 1932, it floated the Drachma – which devalued quickly. It also declared a public debt moratorium, and increased infrastructure spending to strengthen its economy. It negotiated repayment terms with creditors for overdue interest. By 1934, agriculture and industrial production rose, the currency was more stable, employment increased, and the budget balanced.
Yet lessons from the Great Depression exist. By floating the Drachma (the equivalent of leaving the Euro), negotiating individually with creditors (telling banks to back off), and increasing internal public focus (the opposite of what’s going on now) Greece was able to stabilize more quickly than larger European countries. It’s not entirely too late to try again: but it requires the currently unimaginable: a political will that is population – rather than bank – oriented.
* USDA TO GIVE MONSANTO’S NEW GMO CROPS SPECIAL APPROVAL
Posted by TA, TrueActivist
If you thought Monsanto’s lack of testing on their current GMO crops was bad before, prepare to now be blown away by the latest statement by the USDA. Despite links to organ damage and mutated insects, the USDA says that it is changing the rules so that genetically modified seed companies like Monsanto will get ‘speedier regulatory reviews’. With the faster reviews, there will be even less time spent on evaluating the potential dangers. Why? Because Monsanto is losing sales with longer approval terms.
The changes are expected to take full effect in March when they’re published in the Federal Register. The USDA’s goal is to cut the approval time for GMO crops in half in order to speedily implement them into the global food supply. The current USDA process takes longer than they would like due to ‘public interest, legal challenges, and the challenges associated with the advent of national organic food standards‘ says USDA deputy administrator Michael Gregoire.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, problems like public interest (activist groups attempting to bring the dangers of GMO crops to light), legal challenges (farmers suing Monsanto over genetic contamination), and national food standards are all getting in the way of their prime goal — to helpMonsanto unleash their latest untested GMO creation. In fact, the concern is that Monsanto may be losing cash flow as nations like Brazil speed genetically modified seeds through laughable approval processes.
If you can reduce the approval time, as in the time it takes to determine if these food products are safe, then you can get sales much faster. Is the USDA working for the United States consumer, or is it working for Monsanto?
* THE GLOBAL WARMING CONTROVERSY
By Mary, TheLeftCoaster
One of the more eerie predictions from global warming is the prediction that the warming will be more extreme at the poles than the near the equator. Because the two poles are covered with ice, the warming atmosphere and increasingly the warming ocean cause the ice to melt and the shrinking abledo causes less solar reflection and greater solar capture and thus greater warming of the polar zones. This feedback mechanism is one of the most worrying phenomena from global warming.
There are some that dismiss global warming outright. However, in the past few years we have seen increased melting at the poles that follows the predictions of climate scientists. NASA just published a study which shows that the earth is losing half a trillion tons of ice every year. And then there is this ominous crack in the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica that will lead to the birth of an iceberg the size of Rhode Island very soon. […]
* MORE QUESTIONS REGARDING TWITTER’S NEW CENSORSHIP POLICY
By Russ Baker, WhoWhatWhy
Recently, we expressed concerns about Twitter’s newly announced policy to retroactively delete tweets that violate laws in particular countries. At the time, we hadn’t been able to fully digest what was going on. Here are further thoughts—and some more questions.
In Twitter’s disturbingly brief and bland announcement post, they mentioned “retroactively withholding” tweets in countries “when required to do so in response to what we believe to be a valid and applicable legal request.”
Twitter stressed that it would not delete the tweets outside the country involved, and would also announce the act of censorship. It insisted that this “granular” approach was preferable to blacking out messages to the entire world (though it doesn’t seem clear that they’ve ever actually done that). At best, the granular approach does benefit secondary audiences, but is of no consolation to those who lose their voices while perhaps advocating for just causes like liberty or human rights to their own fellow citizens.
What exactly does retroactive withholding mean? Further study showed that they meant they would not filter tweets as they are posted. Instead, they will, upon receiving complaints, block them in such a way that after that point no one in the complaining country could read the offending posts. […]
* CAUGHT ON TAPE: WISCONSIN REPUBLICANS COMMITTING VOT FRAUD IN ASSEMBLY
By Sarah Jones, politicususa
Yesterday in Wisconsin, a hidden camera caught a certain Republican voter ID law advocate violating the assembly rules to cheat and vote for colleagues who were not present. This is also referred to as vote fraud.
This is your Wisconsin GOP, and you wonder why cameras are banned:
READ and VIDEO @ http://www.politicususa.com/en/tape-republican-breaking-voting
* AMERICA’S FLAWED POLITICAL SYSTEM
By Thomas Heffner, Economy In Crisis
Our political system is flawed and no longer benefits Americans. It is to a great degree directed by lobbyists hired and paid for by special and foreign interests for their benefit – not ours.
Most of the lobbies include ex-elected and appointed government officials at the highest levels with intimate knowledge of what it takes to have legislation passed for the benefit of their sponsors, who may pay them up to 20 times or more as lobbyists than they earned as government employees. * You can presume your representatives are not representing you at all when you observe what is happening to us – when you see what your representatives are allowing foreign countries to do to us.
One may wonder how the US has descended in so short a time from being a wealthy and productive nation to one now having the profile of a third-world country – forced to live on imports, ever increasing debt and liquidating our best companies to foreign ownership. […]
* IS THE REVOLVING DOOR BIG ENOUGH?: 400 FORMER HOUSE STAFF REGISTERED TO LOBBY IN PAST 2 YEARS
By Suzanne Merkelson, Republic Report
What happens when you leave your job on the Hill? You’re welcomed with open arms on K Street. At least, that was the case for nearly 400 former House staffers who left Congress to register as lobbyists from 2009 to 2011, according to a new Sunlight Foundation study. Sunlight’s Leo Drutman writes:
More than two in five former House staffers who registered as lobbyists went to one of Washington’s many lobbying firms. One in five went to lobby for a for-profit corporation, and another one in five went to lobby for a business or trade association. In other words, corporate America is capturing the lion’s share of former Hill staffers’ expertise. A large number also represent state and local governments and universities in their work for lobbying firms. […]
* MORE THAN 3,000 CHICAGO JANITORS RALLY FOR GOOD JOBS TO STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY
By Kate Thomas, SEIU
Aldermen, community leaders and workers call out Bank of America for approving $4 billion for executive bonuses – the equivalent of 175,000 tellers’ jobs
On Sunday afternoon, over 3,000 janitors and community supporters crowded into the historic Chicago Theater and then marched to LaSalle Street in an effort to call attention to low-wage workers struggling to keep afloat in a time when corporate CEOs are still getting bonuses.
SEIU Local 1 janitors and other rally participants spoke about bailed-out banks–such as Bank of America–who paid huge bonuses to well-compensated executives at the same time they were eliminating jobs in the working- and middle-class sectors. “Instead of using taxpayer money to save jobs, Bank of America approved $4 billion for executive bonuses,” said Urszula Przybys, a downtown janitor. “Those executives are secure and we’re barely making it. They are not even being asked to take responsibility for the mess they created, but we’re paying for their mistakes.”
With $4 billion, Bank of America could have created nearly 175,000 jobs at an average bank teller’s annual salary of $22,901. “Communities need good jobs, not more money put into pockets of the richest Americans and big corporations,” said Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1. […]
Watch video coverage from the event here:
(video courtesy of Progress Illinois)
* PROOF THAT WAR IS BAD FOR THE ECONOMY
Source: Washington’s Blog
Top Economists Say War Is Bad for the Economy
Preface: Many Americans – including influential talking heads – assume that war is good for the economy. As demonstrated below, it isn’t true.
Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that war is bad for the economy:
Stiglitz wrote in 2003:
War is widely thought to be linked to economic good times. The second world war is often said to have brought the world out of depression, and war has since enhanced its reputation as a spur to economic growth. Some even suggest that capitalism needs wars, that without them, recession would always lurk on the horizon.
Today, we know that this is nonsense. The 1990s boom showed that peace is economically far better than war. The Gulf war of 1991 demonstrated that wars can actually be bad for an economy. […]