* MASS ANTI-AUSTERITY PROTESTS SWEEP THROUGH SPAIN
By Staff, RT News
At least 100,000 protesters angered by the country’s grim economic prospects turned out for street demonstrations in 80 cities across Spain. This marked the one-year anniversary of a movement that inspired similar activist groups in other countries.
In the capital Madrid, thousands of protesters chanted and beat drums as they marched from different directions to converge on the central Puerta del Sol Square. The square was brimming with demonstrators during the evening, but visibly emptied as some of the protesters left after 10pm local time
Authorities have vowed to block any attempts by protesters to camp out on the square, which is the popular movement’s epicenter. Marches were also held in Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga and Seville. […]
* COALITION TALKS STALL, GREECE FACES MOMENT OF TRUTH
Greek political leaders on Sunday ignored a final plea from the president to form a coalition government to avert a repeat election, pushing the debt-stricken nation closer to bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro zone
By By Lefteris Papadimas and Harry Papachristou, Reuters
Leaders of the three biggest parties met at the presidential mansion for a final attempt to bridge their differences, but the talks quickly hit an impasse as they traded accusations on a deeply unpopular bailout package tied to harsh spending cuts.
Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, who finished first in last week’s election, pinned the blame on the far-left SYRIZA party, which flatly rules out backing a pro-bailout coalition with Samaras’s New Democracy and Socialist PASOK parties.
“They are not asking for agreement, they are asking us to be their partners in crime and we will not be their accomplices,” said Alexis Tsipras, who has become an overnight sensation since leading SYRIZA to a surprise second place in the vote.
The other leader at the morning talks – Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos – said he was holding on to hopes that a deal could still be salvaged, but warned time was running out. […]
* GREECE’S MEDIA CRISIS
* INCOMING FRENCH PRESIDENT SIGNALS BUDGET CUTS, HANDOUTS TO BANKS
By Kumaran Ira and Alex Lantier, Global Research
After winning the French presidential election on Sunday, the Socialist Party’s (PS) François Hollande is already positioning himself to drop his limited election promises on social spending and attack the working class with deep budget cuts.
Hollande’s victory reflected a broad popular rejection of incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy’s austerity policies and his unpopular imperialist wars. However, any hopes for change from the incoming government will be rapidly disappointed by Hollande, who is moving to carry out reactionary policies. During his campaign, Hollande vowed to slash over €100 billion in deficit spending to have a balanced budget by 2017, while making a few proposals for social measures, like increasing school subsidies and hiring more teachers.
On Tuesday, Hollande’s campaign team told Reuters that Hollande’s advisers are pressing him to use a report from France’s leading audit body, the Cour des comptes, to justify ditching his limited campaign promises and intensify social cuts.
The report is due to be released after the June 10-17 legislative election. This would allow the PS to conceal its agenda of social austerity from the voters, while it seeks to put together a government, then rapidly move on with cuts after it has assembled a parliamentary majority and formed a cabinet on the basis of deceitful promises. […]
* WILLIAM ENGDAHL: U.S. WON’T RECOVER FOR AT LEAST 15 YEARS
Source: RT News
* WHAT AMERICANS CAN LEARN FROM EURO CRISIS
Source: The Real News
Michael Hudson: From the Democratic Party to European “Socialists”, they manage crisis in the interests of finance.
READ and TRANSCRIPTS @ http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=830
* WILL DEMOCRATS EMBRACE “AUSTERITY AMERICAN STYLE?” CRASH THIS PARTY AND FIND OUT
By Richard (RJ) Eskow, Campaign For America’s Future
Heard about the meeting that’s being held to decide your economic future? If the answer’s “no,” don’t feel bad: That’s because you weren’t invited. But Tim Geithner was. So was Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican member of Congress whose radical right-wing plans for cutting Medicare have made him the subject of a Mitt Romney “bromance.” So was Bill Clinton, who showed up last year and uttered the usual Beltway insider’s falsehoods about what’s really wrong with Social Security.
Hey, maybe your invitation to billionaire Pete Peterson’s “Fiscal Summit” got lost in the mail. Or maybe they really, really didn’t want you there. Who cares? That’s no reason not to go anyway.
Hey, Sen. Bernie Sanders wasn’t invited, and his proposal for Social Security was much more popular with the American people than anything that’s likely to be discussed at this little get-together. […]
* WHY CAN’T OBAMA BRING WALL STREET TO JUSTICE?
Despite his populist posturing, the president has failed to pin a single top finance exec on criminal charges since the economic collapse. Are the banks too big to jail—or is Washington’s revolving door at to blame?
By Peter J. Boyer and Peter Schweizer, The Daily Beast
[…] With the Occupy protesters resuming battle stations, and Mitt Romney in place as the presumptive Republican nominee, President Obama has begun to fashion his campaign as a crusade for the 99 percent–a fight against, as one Obama ad puts it, “a guy who had a Swiss bank account.” Casting Romney as a plutocrat will be easy enough. But the president’s claim as avenging populist may prove trickier, given his own deeply complicated, even conflicted, relationship with Big Finance.
Obama came into office vowing to end business as usual, and, in the gray post-crash dawn of 2009, nowhere did a reckoning with justice seem more due than in the financial sector. The public was shaken, and angry, and Wall Street seemed oblivious to its own culpability, defending extravagant pay bonuses even while accepting a taxpayer bailout. Obama channeled this anger, and employed its rhetoric, blaming the worldwide economic collapse on “the reckless speculation of bankers.” Two months into his presidency, Obama summoned the titans of finance to the White House, where he told them, “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”
The bankers may have found the president’s tone unsettling. Candidate Obama had been their guy, accepting vast amounts of Wall Street campaign money for his victories over Hillary Clinton and John McCain (Goldman Sachs executives ponied up $1 million, more than any other private source of funding in 2008). Obama far outraised his Republican rival, John McCain, on Wall Street–around $16 million to $9 million. As it turned out, Obama apparently actually meant what he said at that White House meeting–his administration effectively would stand between Big Finance and anything like a severe accounting. To the dismay of many of Obama’s supporters, nearly four years after the disaster, there has not been a single criminal charge filed by the federal government against any top executive of the elite financial institutions.
“It’s perplexing at best,” says Phil Angelides, the Democratic former California treasurer who chaired the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. “It’s deeply troubling at worst.” […]
* JOHN PERKINS SPEAKING FREELY
* GEORGE BUSH ‘GUILTY OF TORTURE‘
Source: Express UK
FORMER US President George W Bush and seven key members of his team have been found guilty of war crimes by a tribunal in Malaysia.
Bush, his Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and five of their legal advisers were tried in their absence and convicted on Friday.
Victims of torture told a panel of five judges in Kuala Lumpur of their suffering at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among the evidence, Briton Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee, said he was beaten, put in a hood and left in solitary confinement. Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi said she was stripped and humiliated in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
Transcripts of the hearing will be sent to the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, the United Nations and the Security Council.
The five-day trial was regarded by some as purely symbolic. However, a member of the prosecution team, Professor Francis Boyle of Illinois University’s College of Law, said he was hopeful that Bush and his colleagues could soon find themselves facing similar trials elsewhere in the world. […]
* FUKUSHIMA CATASTROPHE EXPLAINED
“Soon after the Fukushima accident last month, I stated publicly that a nuclear event of this size and catastrophic potential could present a medical problem of very large dimensions. Events have proven this observation to be true despite the nuclear industry’s campaign about the “minimal” health effects of so-called low-level radiation.” –Dr. Helen Caldicott
* CHICAGO NATO SUMMIT: PREVIEW AND PERSPECTIVE
Source: Global Research TV
Ever since its inception there have been those who have warned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, far from offering a simple “collective security” pact to ensure the integrity of its member nations’ borders, would in fact be used as an offensive tool of imperial adventurism and conquest. Since the NATO-led Kosovo bombing campaign of 1999 at the very least, those fears have appeared more and more justified.
Since that time, NATO has continued to take a lead role in more and more overtly offensive campaigns of aggression in theatre after theatre. By now it is commonly understood to be an extension of the Pentagon itself, a convenient international military instrument for Washington to wield whenever the pretense of an international consensus cannot be achieved at the UN Security Council.
Find out more in this week’s GRTV Backgrounder on Global Research TV.
* DHS CONCEDING FULL BODY SCANNER MIGHT NOT WORK
By Irene North, Daily Censored
From the very first installation of full body scanners at the nation’s airports there have been questions about their legality as well as their effectiveness. An unclassified report, which can be found on the US government’s website, now concedes that the scanners probably don’t work.
Exactly how bad the body scanners are is not being divulged publicly, but the Inspector General report made eight separate recommendations on how to improve screening.
It was not immediately known when the TSA published its unclassified summary, TSA Penetration Testing of Advanced Imaging Technology. It comes with a “November 2011″ date and can be found on the DHS Office of Inspector General website under the heading “OIG Reports: Fiscal Year 2012.”
It’s not the first time the body scanners, produced by Rapiscan and L-3 Communications, have come under attack. In a three-part series last year, Wired reported that, indeed, there were suspected security flaws with them. Even the Government Accountability Office — Congress’ investigative arm — said the devices might be ineffective. And the Journal of Transportation Security suggested terrorists might fool the Rapiscan machines by taping explosive devices to their stomachs. […]
* MAKING BANKS SMALL ENOUGH AND SIMPLE ENOUGH TO FAIL
By Simon Johnson, Baseline Scenario
Almost exactly two years ago, at the height of the Senate debate on financial reform, a serious attempt was made to impose a binding size constraint on our largest banks. That effort – sometimes referred to as the Brown-Kaufman amendment – received the support of 33 senators and failed on the floor of the Senate. (Here is some of my Economix coverage from the time.)
On Wednesday, Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, introduced the Safe, Accountable, Fair and Efficient Banking Act, or SAFE, which would force the largest four banks in the country to shrink. (Details of this proposal, similar in name to the original Brown-Kaufman plan, are in this briefing memo for a Senate banking subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, available through Politico; see also these press release materials).
His proposal, while not likely to immediately become law, is garnering support from across the political spectrum – and more support than essentially the same ideas received two years ago. This week’s debacle at JP Morgan only strengthens the case for this kind of legislative action in the near future. […]
* THE EVOLUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PLANTATION
By Larken Rose, Alt-Market
A dramatic and well written parable of the insane and despotic nature of our current society. America has indeed become a propaganda machine designed to encourage self-enslavement. This is the essence of the collectivist ideal; to convince the masses that they must be subservient to the “greater good”. But who determines what the “greater good” entails? Well, the “qualified experts”, of course. Collectivism is a plague that destroys the creative individualism and freedom of a culture and leaves it a worthless remnant. The husk of a once meaningful endeavor. The most successful of all tyrannies are those that are able to manipulate the people into participating in their own subjugation. In the words of Goethe:
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”