Apr 262012
 

 

* PEOPLE ARE FINALLY FIGURING OUT: AUSTERITY IS STUPID

By Hale Stewart, The Big Picture

From the Financial Times:

“We can only win back confidence if we bring down excessive deficits and boost competitiveness,” he said. “In a such a situation, consolidation might inspire confidence and actually help the economy to grow.”

The above statement shows why austerity is simply one of the dumbest policies on the planet.  First, The EU region was already growing at a slow rate when people started to talk about austerity.  Consider the following chart: […]

[…] Since the end of the recession, the best seasonally adjusted annual rate of growth (SAAR) is 2.4%.  But that figure is really an outlier; looking at the chart we see that the rate of growth can be broken down into two time periods.  The first — the five quarters coming out of the recession — growth was actually OK; it averaged 1.78% while the median number was 2%.  But since then — when the continent decided to implement austerity — the growth rate slowed.  Either way, growth was not strong enough for the economy to achieve “escape velocity” — a rate of growth that creates a self-sustaining, private sector led growth rate over 2.5%.  As a result, unemployment hasn’t dropped, but instead has risen: […]

[…] Coming out of the recession, we see increased unemployment — which is to be expected, as unemployment is a lagging indicator.  However, since then unemployment hasn’t dropped, indicating that the economy hasn’t hit that critical growth level where employment picks up.  In fact, we see unemployment increase overall,  

INDICATING THAT AUSTERITY IS FAILING. […]

READ and CHARTS @ http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/04/people-are-finally-figuring-out-austerity-is-stupid/

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* THE ECB IS ON MARS

By Delusional Economics, Naked Capitalism

Overnight the president of the European Central Bankmag-glass_10x10.gif, Mario Draghi, gave a speech to the Hearing at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament. The speech was not particularly out of line with what Mr Draghi usually says, such as:

Available indicators for the first quarter of 2012 broadly confirm a stabilisation in economic activity at a low level. Latest developments in survey data are mixed, highlighting prevailing uncertainty. Looking ahead, growth should be supported by foreign demand, the very low short-term interest rates as well as our non-standard measures. At the same time, downside risks relate in particular to a renewed intensification of tensions in euro area sovereign debt markets and their potential spillover to the real economy. Further increases in commodity prices may also hamper economic activity.

This is the same speech lead-in we have been hearing since Mario Draghi took over the helm of the ECB from Jean-Claude Trichet. Given recent PMI data much of this statements appears to be completely disconnected from the reality of what is happening in Europe, but this isn’t the first time I have noted Mr Draghi’s apparent delusion. […]

READ @ http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/the-ecb-is-on-mars.html

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* THE YOUNG AND THE JOBLESS – HALF OF BACHELOR’S DEGREE-HOLDERS UNDER TEH AGE OF 25 ARE UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED, IN THE U.S. SOCIAL SECURITY SHORT FALL HIGHLIGHTS DEEPER REALITY OF ECONOMY

Source: My Budget 360

The news for young Americans doesn’t seem to be getting any better.  Earlier this week it was announced that Social Security will be running out of funds by 2033, three years earlier than expected.  What this means if nothing is changed is that future retirees will receive only 75 percent of expected payouts.  Not a good item of news considering inflation in daily goods is high thanks to the bailout policies and quantitative digital printing taken on by the Federal Reserve.  The full retirement age of Social Security for those impacted will be 66 or 67 by 2033 for everyone born after 1954 or 1960 and 21 years from now will come up a lot quicker than most realize.  Yet many recent graduates, those under 25 with a bachelor’s degree are either unemployed or severely underemployed.  What is worse, the young generation is shouldering most of the massive debt in the student loan market.  Older generations are being impacted since many are moving back home or are requiring resources merely to stay afloat.  Hard to imagine a future generation with lower financial living standards but this is simply the continuing trend of breaking apart the middle class. […]

READ and CHARTS @ http://www.mybudget360.com/young-jobless-half-of-bachelors-degree-holders-under-the-age-of-25-unemployed-underemployed-social-security-system-financial-trend-for-future/

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* FOR TWO ECONOMISTS, THE BUFFETT RULE IS JUST A START

By Annie Lowrey, NYTimes

[…] Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have spent the last decade tracking the incomes of the poor, the middle class and the rich in countries across the world. More than anything else, their work shows that the top earners in the United States have taken a bigger and bigger share of overall income over the last three decades, with inequality nearly as acute as it was before the Great Depression.

Known in Washington and the economics profession by the of-course-you-know shorthand “Piketty-Saez,” the two have been denounced on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and won mention in White House budget documents.

Mr. Saez, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has won the John Bates Clark Medal, an economic laurel considered second only to the Nobel, as well as a MacArthur Fellowship grant. Mr. Piketty, 40, of the Paris School of Economics, has won Le Monde’s prize for best young economist, among other awards.

Both admire, even adore, the United States, they say, for its entrepreneurial drive, innovative spirit and, not least, its academic excellence: the two met while re-searchers in Cambridge, Mass. But both also express bewilderment over the current conversation about whether the wealthy, who have taken most of America’s income gains over the last 30 years, should be paying higher taxes.

“The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.” […]

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/business/for-economists-saez-and-piketty-the-buffett-rule-is-just-a-start.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

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* SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN MEEHAN QUESTIONS WITNESSES AT HEARING ON DHS SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING

Source: youtube 

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence questions witnesses at a hearing entitled: “DHS Monitoring of Social Networking and Media: Enhancing Intelligence Gathering and Ensuring Privacy.”

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7fcj2znlbnU

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* ACLU: NATO SUMMIT SECURITY PLAN REVEALED BY SECRET SERVICE

Source: ABC News

[…] “I would say to you, let’s relax, let the professionals do what they do best and let’s have a good time during this 24, 48 hours,” said Terry Hillard, Hillard Heintze Security.

Officials say with anywhere from 100 to 140 motorcades going between McCormick Place and hotels where dignitaries are staying, any major disruptions during the summit will more than likely come from traffic congestion, not protesters.

Permits have been granted for six protest events. Still, officials are prepared to crack down on unruly demonstrators.

“We embrace and we will welcome First Amendment activity,” said Deb Kirby, Chicago Police Department. “But criminal conduct will be addressed. And we will address it appropriately, and surgically in terms of making sure that we are able to stop criminal conduct while at the same time supporting first amendment conduct.”

The NATO summit will take place May 20-21 in Chicago.[…]

READ @ http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news%2Flocal&id=8634508

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* BRADLEY MANNING: A TOTALITARIAN SHOW TRIAL OF STATE SECRECY

The US government’s suppression of all accountability and transparency in prosecuting the WikiLeaks suspect is totalitarian.

By Michael Ratner, AlterNet

[…] As an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and a legal adviser to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, I continue to attend Manning’s hearings and can only describe them as a theater of the absurd: the trial involves numerous and lengthy off-the-record conferences, out of sight and hearing of the press and public, after which the judge provides an in-court summary that hardly satisfies standards of “open and public”. Perhaps more remarkable is the refusal even to provide the defense with a pre-trial publicity order signed by the judge – an order that details what lawyers can and cannot reveal about the case. Yes, even the degree to which proceedings should be kept in secret is a secret, leaving the public and media chained in a Plato’s Cave, able only to glimpse the shadows of reality.

The press and advocacy groups, however, have not been quiet about the trampling of their rights. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, on behalf of 46 news organizations, urged the Department of Defense to take measures that would allow the news media to view documents prior to court arguments. The committee pointed out that the trial for the “alleged leak of the largest amount of classified information in US history” is of “intense public interest, particularly where, as here, that person’s liberty is at stake”. The Center for Constitutional Rights, too, has requested access in the interest of an “open and public” trial, but neither appeal has been answered.

This is a clear violation of the law, but it will likely take burdensome litigation to rectify this lack of transparency. The US supreme court has insisted that criminal trials must be public, and the fourth circuit, where this court martial is occurring, has ruled that the first amendment right of access to criminal trials includes the right to the documents in such trials.

The greater issue at hand is why this process should be necessary at all. As circuit judge Damon Keith famously wrote in Detroit Free Press v Ashcroft, “Democracies die behind closed doors.” Yet it is evident from the many layers of secrecy around Manning’s arrest, imprisonment and prosecution that the government shows no sign of relinquishing its claimed powers to obscure rightfully transparent judicial proceedings. The doors appear to be tightly shut.

Unless we challenge the growing culture of secrecy within our government, and counter the ever-increasing, reflexive claims of “national security” by claiming our own constitutional rights, we risk finding those doors shut indefinitely.

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/story/155136/bradley_manning%3A_a_totalitarian_show_trial_of_state_secrecy?page=entire

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* SHIT THE FBI SAYS

Source: youtube

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! ACTIVISM IS NOT TERRORISM!

Every activist should know shit the FBI says. Learn more about how the FBI is targeting political activism as “terrorism” at GreenIsTheNewRed.com.

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rI8INgw0xq0#!

RELATED POST: 

This video features Chicago Lawyer, Jerry Boyle, from the NLG, giving a workshop to Occupy Chicago. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS TRAINING: http://99getsmart.com/?p=146

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* CGT STATEMENT ON THE ARREST OF BARCELONA ORGANIZATION SECRETARY, LAURA GOMEZ

Source: anarkismo.com

The repression continues after the general strike. This morning, while she was on her way to work, the Mossos d’Esquadra [Catalonian police] arrested the Organization Secretary of the CGT-Barcelona, Laura Gómez and took her to the police station in Les Corts. The charge by the police is arson and fire damage to the Barcelona Stock Exchange. This and other charges against her have no foundation and are an attempt to create an image of a violent person. Laura does not have a criminal record, and all that the police can cite are peaceful actions during the struggle for labour rights in Barcelona.

The truth – without exaggerating – is that already after the general strike we said, literally, “it is true that members of the CGT burned a couple of papers in a box in front of the Barcelona Stock Exchange, and threw a few eggs, actions that were fully symbolic and carried out openly. That is what the plainclothes police in our modst must have thought too, given that they did not bother to identify anyone. It is by no means true that it was the first fire, in Mercabarna, in the Zona Franca, etc. there were several fires throughout the night, most of which were started by other unions’ pickets”. […]

READ @ http://www.anarkismo.net/article/22628

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* PRISON FOR THE SECRETARY OF ORGANIZATION OF CGT-BARCELONA

Source: Local Federation Unions

Today, Judge of the Court of Instruction No. 23, Barcelona has decreed prison without bail to the Organizing Secretary of the CGT-Barcelona with alternative charges of fire damage, coercion, crime and public disorder offenses against fundamental rights.

The CGT believes that they are paying off political pressure, both the court and the prosecution, as a person with no criminal record, established fixed, steady job, a daughter who lives with her, is said by the prosecution that is at risk leakage and relapse before even being tried and convicted. These scales do not apply to the bankers, or politicians investigated for anti-corruption prosecutors who were released. We really question the “judicial independence” from the rest of power in a so-called “rule of law.”

Since the CGT believe that there is no reason to justify his detention, much less to his imprisonment, which is a clear abuse of power and violation of the right not to be deprived of liberty. […]

READ @ http://tinyurl.com/6mktlpb

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  One Response to “THURSDAY READ”

  1. Posted by SnakeArbusto

    In the video of the hearing chaired by Mr. Meehan, Ms. Callaghan (in charge of secrecy issues, it would seem) makes a point of saying that “What we’re interested in is What, not Who” – in other words, she implies that individuals are afforded anonymity. But on p. 16 of the Analyst’s Desktop Binder we read

    “Analysts are responsible for:
    – […] Identifying the specific media source and entering it in the proper field”

    Mr. Meehan is to be commended on making the distinction between journalists who publish what they write for public scrutiny and bloggers, say, or users of social media. His point in making that distinction is that this program of surveillance of all media including blogs and social media by the DHS, though it establishes a hierarchy of credibility for sources, even by so doing places major news outlets and bloggers and users of social media in the same category of “source.” That means that if an “Item Of Interest” comes from my blog or my daughter’s Facebook wall, I or my daughter will be identified as the “specific media source.” To me that means that Ms. Callaghan’s reassurances about anonymity are simply false, based on the instructions being given to the “analysts” who will be doing the surveillance.

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