Feb 132012
 

 

* GREECE MPs PASS AUSTERITY PLAN AMID VIOLENT PROTESTS

Greek MPs have approved a controversial package of austerity measures, demanded by the eurozone and IMF in return for a 130bn euro ($170bn; £110bn) bailout.

Source: BBC

The vote was carried by 199 in favour to 74 against.

Coalition parties expelled more than 40 deputies for failing to back the bill.

Tens of thousands protested in Athens, where there were widespread clashes and buildings were set on fire. Violent protests were reported in cities across the country.

Protesters outside parliament threw stones and petrol bombs, and police responded with tear gas. Scores of police and protesters were injured.

[…]

The austerity measures include:

  • 15,000 public-sector job cuts
  • liberalisation of labour laws
  • lowering the minimum wage by 20% from 751 euros a month to 600 euros […]

READ and VIDEO @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17007761

READ MORE @ http://www.stltoday.com/news/national/greece-erupts-as-cutbacks-ok-d/article_6374c1f3-717d-53ff-97aa-9b275f83c206.html

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* THE KILLING OF GREECE

Source: Delusional Economics

As you have probably heard, the Greek parliament, if you can still call it that, has passed the austerity bill. Overnight Athens has erupted in protest with a reported 80,000 people on the streets and up to 30 buildings on fire.

All of KKE, Syriza and Democratic Left members voted no, as well as 21 New Democracy members and 13 Pasok members. Laos members also voted No with their leader absent. All but one Democratic Alliance members voted Yes.

The political fallout is in full swing as I type, with Antonis Samaras expelling 21 members from his party and George Papandreou doing the same. 43 members in total have been removed.

What a complete mess.

What makes the situation completely surreal are the numbers. Greek debt in 2008 was approximately 260bn Euro. The first bailout was 110bn, the current one, that appears to be tearing the country apart, is 130bn. Add in the PSI+ haircut of approximately 100bn ( after sweetener deduction ) and you realized that Europe could have simply paid the entire bill in 2008 and saved itself 80bn Euro. Ok, that is an oversimplification of the problem but you can see my point. […]

READ @ http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/02/the-killing-of-greece.html

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* THE FIRST DOMINOES: GREECE, REALITY AND CASCADING DEFAULT

By Zeus Yiamouyiannis, zerohedge.com

[…] The central question, obscured by all the hand wringing and crocodile tears is simply this: Why should public citizens who have no stake in private enterprises, who received no profits or dividends, who had nothing to do with creating losses, be forced to pay for private losses? The only legitimate answer is, “They shouldn’t.” Period. Anything that does not acknowledge this tenet is not functioning capitalism, and if it is functioning capitalism it cannot violate this tenet.

Yet we witness apologist expert after expert excusing this fatal breach in capital practice as “regrettable but necessary to save the system.” They seem not to have noticed that the system has already killed itself by violating its own foundational laws and principles. If anything, current conventional practice might be accurately described as an all-out anti-capitalist assault on democratic free enterprise.

So now the follow-up question is easy to answer: “Why are we paying for something we did not buy and had no hand in creating?” The answer: We no longer have functioning capitalism. Call it what you want— corporate socialism, crony capitalism, cancer capitalism, plutocracy, kleptocracy, oligarchy, neofeudalism— the system we have now is the equivalent of an individual going up to a complete stranger on the street and shaking that stranger down for “protection money” to pay for the individual’s underwater house mortgage. […]

READ @ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-first-dominoes-greece-reality-and-cascading-default

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* HOW THE GOP BECAME THE PARTY OF THE RICH

The inside story of how the Republicans abandoned the poor and the middle class to pursue their relentless agenda of tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent

By Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

The nation is still recovering from a crushing recession that sent unemployment hovering above nine percent for two straight years. The president, mindful of soaring deficits, is pushing bold action to shore up the nation’s balance sheet. Cloaking himself in the language of class warfare, he calls on a hostile Congress to end wasteful tax breaks for the rich. “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” he thunders to a crowd in Georgia. Such tax loopholes, he adds, “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary – and that’s crazy.”

Preacherlike, the president draws the crowd into a call-and-response. “Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver,” he demands, “or less?”

The crowd, sounding every bit like the protesters from Occupy Wall Street, roars back: “MORE!”

The year was 1985. The president was Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Today’s Republican Party may revere Reagan as the patron saint of low taxation. But the party of Reagan – which understood that higher taxes on the rich are sometimes required to cure ruinous deficits – is dead and gone. Instead, the modern GOP has undergone a radical transformation, reorganizing itself around a grotesque proposition: that the wealthy should grow wealthier still, whatever the consequences for the rest of us.

Modern-day Republicans have become, quite simply, the Party of the One Percent – the Party of the Rich.

“The Republican Party has totally abdicated its job in our democracy, which is to act as the guardian of fiscal discipline and responsibility,” says David Stockman, who served as budget director under Reagan. “They’re on an anti-tax jihad – one that benefits the prosperous classes.”

The staggering economic inequality that has led Americans across the country to take to the streets in protest is no accident. It has been fueled to a large extent by the GOP’s all-out war on behalf of the rich. Since Republicans rededicated themselves to slashing taxes for the wealthy in 1997, the average annual income of the 400 richest Americans has more than tripled, to $345 million – while their share of the tax burden has plunged by 40 percent. Today, a billionaire in the top 400 pays less than 17 percent of his income in taxes – five percentage points less than a bus driver earning $26,000 a year. “Most Americans got none of the growth of the preceding dozen years,” says Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. “All the gains went to the top percentage points.”[…]

READ @ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-gop-became-the-party-of-the-rich-20111109?print=true

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* BRUCE BARTLETT ON WHERE THE RIGHT WENT WRONG

By Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers talks with conservative economist Bruce Bartlett, who wrote “the bible” for the Reagan Revolution, worked on domestic policy for the Reagan White House, and served as a top treasury official under the first President Bush. Now he’s a heretic in the conservative circles where he once was a star.  Bartlett argues that right-wing tax policies — pushed in part by Grover Norquist and Tea Party activists — are destroying the country’s economic foundation.

VIDEO @ http://vimeo.com/36529531

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* THE PROUDEST COLLAPSING COUNTRY

By Thomas Heffner, Economy In Crisis

Americans have become so oblivious or apathetic to our country’s peril, that they are unaware of how far gone the U.S. already is.

The United States must stop fooling itself. We are riding on the wealthy coattails of the elite who came before us, squandering away their wealth and faking the good life.

We no longer have the industrial productive capacity to sustain ourselves. In September alone industrial production plummeted to astounding lows that haven’t been witnessed in almost 34 years, according to Bloomberg.

In America, imported products dominate the purchases of U.S. households and businesses. Over 92 percent of the money Americans spend on footwear goes overseas. Americans purchase 90 percent of their audio and video equipment from foreign produced entities and 90 percent of the money Americans spend on leather travels back overseas. […]

READ @ http://economyincrisis.org/content/proudest-collapsing-country

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* SYRIA, THE NEW LIBYA

By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

A Kalashnikov in Iraq, until recently, sold for US$100. Now it’s at least $1,000, and most probably $1,500 (those were the days when Sunnis joining the resistance in 2003 could buy a fake Kalashnikov made in Romenia for $20).

Destination of choice of the $1,500 Kalashnikov in 2012: Syria. Network: al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers, also known as AQI. Recipients: infiltrated jihadis operating side-by-side with the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Also shuttling between Syria and Iraq is car bombing and suicide bombing, as in two recent bombings in the suburbs of Damascus and the suicide bombing last Friday in Aleppo.

Who would have thought that what the House of Saud wants in Syria – an Islamist regime – is exactly what al-Qaeda wants in Syria? […]

READ @ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NB14Ak01.html

 

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