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. […]
* THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WATCH MAINSTREAM MEDIA TV NEWS
Source: The Onion
* TPP: POISON OF LOCAL COMMUNITY RESILIENCE
By Richard Heinberg
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. […]
* FTA EU-MERCOSUR: WHY DO ONLY THE NEGOTIATORS WANT TO SIGN IT?
By Aram Aharonian, CADTM
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. […]
* MAPPING LI(E)BORGATE – PRESENTING THE OCTOPUS IN THE LIBOR-RIGGING SCANDAL
By Tyler Durden, zerohedge
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.
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. […]
* WIKILEAKS: DEFEATING THE CONSPIRACY OF GOVERNANCE
By Nozomi Hayase, RoarMag
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.” […
* 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. […]