Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* TOMORROW: WEDNESDAY, 20 FEBRUARY, STOPCARTEL TV BACK ON THE STREETS OF ATHENS LIVE!
On Wednesday, 20 February, STOPCARTEL TV crew will be present once again on the front lines, during the big demonstrations that will take place in Athens the day of the General Strike.
STOPCARTEL TV crew will begin the LIVE broadcast at 12:30 pm starting from Omonoia Square and moving, as the marches will be underway, towards Syntagma Square.
WATCH THE LIVE BROADCAST @ http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr
It is expected to be a dynamic demonstration of Greek citizens, covered by STOPCARTEL TV crew, with overall information, reports and comments in English and Greek.
STAY TUNED @ http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr
FUNDRAISER FOR StopCartel Livestream from Athens @ http://stopcarteltv.chipin.com/stopcartel-tvgr
* FISCAL MULTIPLIERS, A CAUSE WORTH FIGHTING FOR
Source: The Prodigal Greek
It was in the IMF’s October 2012 World Economic Outlook (WEO), in Box 1.1 with the title “Are We Understanding Short-Term Fiscal Multipliers” that Olivier Blanchard and Daniel Leigh presented for the first time the findings of their study into the impact of fiscal consolidation on economic activity.
Using data from 28 different economies – G20 and EU member countries – for the years 2010 and 2011, they concluded that there is strong evidence that the fiscal multipliers used since the Great Recession that started in 2008 were systematically miscalculated by a range of 0.4 to 1.2. The implicit 0.5 multiplier used in international organizations’ models to forecast economic growth – which was based on empirical evidence from the three decades prior to 2009 – might be significantly higher, between 0.9 and 1.7, they found. In simple terms, it had previously been thought that cutting a euro from the government deficit would have an impact of 50 cents on economic output but their findings suggest that the damage on the real economy can be more than three times than initially thought, with a euro of deficit reduction coming at a cost of between 90 cents and 1.70 euros on the economy.
The underlying model of the study is too technical for someone without an econometrics background but their findings are straightforward and robust. Even excluding economies that would be considered outliers and are part of IMF programs, the value of the variable that captures the economic activity forecast error indicates a significant miscalculation.
At the time, not many picked up on this major policy-related development and the discussion was primarily limited to think-tanks and economists. It was not before January 3rd, when the full paper was published in the IMF publications section that the issue became an agenda-topping item and one of the main discussion points at the end-of-January press conference during the World Economic Outlook update.
Unsurprisingly, Blanchard’s and Leigh’s research is one of the main topics in the public debate in Greece and the battleground between the coalition government and the opposition parties. Even Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras inquired at the latest Eurogroup if the troika has a consolidated view in light of the newly discovered evidence and its implications for the Greek program. […]
* LIFE AND DEBT IN THESSALONIKI
By Nick Dearden, CADTM
We met three people today who summed up the depth of the crisis being experienced by Greek people, but also the courageous attempts to build a new, more democratic society. I had to pinch myself to remember I was in Europe, the stories are so familiar – but from Latin America.
First a representative of Woman Against the Debt, a network started 18 months ago to support woman experiencing the worst aspects of the crisis. Women are often the first to lose their jobs, and often have to care for kids whose kindergartens have closed down, and for the ill whose healthcare has been removed.
A trip to the doctor or hospital now costs €25 – and climbing. Having a baby sets you back €800 – double that if you need a caesarian. Without the money, you’re told to ‘go home and do the best you can’. Free access to contraception and abortion have been removed. Vaccinations for children have virtually stopped. The big pharmaceutical companies now refuse to sell medicines to the hospitals.
We spoke to a pharmacist who said every day she came across people who couldn’t afford their medication, and many who take a vastly reduced dosage to make it last longer. She told us: “In this corner of Europe, the situation is very bad – it’s tragic. People die through lack of access to basic health services.” […]
* SKI SLOPES OF DEBT IN SPAIN
By Nick Dearden, CADTM
Last week a former businessman told me with great conviction that the Spanish people had ‘lived beyond their means’. Tonight’s meeting showed just who has lived beyond their means. Iolanda Fresnillo from the Spanish Debt Platform told us some incredible stories about her country’s Public Private Partnerships – the most useless projects imaginable which the state has ended up underwriting.
My favourite example was the airport where a plane has never landed or taken off, because airlines can’t afford to use it. They have had to employ birds of prey to prevent rabbits taking over the runways. A close runner-up is the enormous library which doesn’t have any books in it because the council ran out of money after construction of the building went massively over-cost.
Then there’s a ski resort which was guaranteed by a tourist housing project. When the housing project collapsed – like so many other such projects built during the real estate bubble – the government ended up bailing out the resort. As Iolanda says “the dream of creating the Alps in Spain, has ended up building a ski slope of debt.”
Of course, fortunes were made from Spain’s unsustainable construction boom. The investors who supported these projects were protected by guarantees and bail-outs when the bubble burst. What’s more the big banks have become even ‘too-bigger-to-fail’ because the crisis has allowed them to buy up smaller banks for prices as a low as €1. […]
* SHOULD EUROPEAN CITIZENS BE HAPPY ABOUT THE ESM?
Source: The Eblana European Democratic Movement
While the European people are suffering from the ongoing economic crisis, they look up to their leaders for a solution. They want to stop living in austerity, losing their jobs, seeing their incomes shrink.
They want a better, secure future for them and their children. They wish to be able to make plans and provide for their families. But who listens to them?
Europe’s leaders seem to have lost touch with their citizens reality. People need real solutions and fast. We are forcing a whole generation of European young people into a dead end. So what is our leader’s response to our needs?
Well one of these “solutions” was the launching of the ESM (European Stability Mechanism). It is an international organization located in Luxembourg, which provides financial assistance to members of the euro-zone in financial difficulty. The ESM was established on 27 September 2012, and will function as a permanent firewall for the euro-zone with a maximum lending capacity of €500 billion.
It will replace the two existing temporary EU funding programs: the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism (EFSM). All new bailout applications and deals for any euro-zone member state with a financial stability issue, will in principle from now on be covered by ESM, while the EFSF and EFSM will only continue to handle transfer and monitoring of the previously approved bailout loans for Ireland, Portugal and Greece.
In other words Greece, Ireland and Portugal can not have their debt weights lifted right now. Only Spain, Italy and any other country that hasn’t received a bail out package so far, will immediately benefit from this. Greece will be able to join only if they fulfill the austerity plan and return to the markets. So there is no soothing for the poor Greek folk in their troubles, for the foreseeable future.
The very establishment of such organization clearly shows where Europe is heading. Our leaders’ agenda is not finding solutions to our problems or proceeding with real reforms. In Greece for example the public has experienced only severe cuts and reduction of their incomes. Real reforms like those needed in the taxation system have never occurred.
Even the IMF has apologized to Greece, because apparently their estimations were wrong and the cuts imposed on the country too severe! So instead of helping the country, they have actually pushed it in deeper recession. But there is no schedule to reverse the cuts or lessen the burden for the Greek people. Was it a genuine mistake or is there an agenda behind it?
If the IMF that is part of the Troika can make such tragic “mistakes” that have a huge impact on the fortunes of European people, can they be trusted? Despite the huge sacrifices that the Greek, Irish, Portuguese and other nations had to make, the crisis is only getting worse and there is no end to this tunnel.
Currently Spain and Cyprus are in talks with the Troika for loans that will allegedly help them come out of their difficulties; or will they? If what happened to Greece is going to pass without any consequences for the people who made these mistakes, then is the Troika acting for the best interest of the European citizens?
We are witnessing the greatest financial experiment in the modern history of Europe. Austerity seems to be unavoidable for European states. It is clearly an agenda, not a solution. Our leaders are trying to change the way we work, the way we live, think of our future and our expectations. Europe is being redesigned for a new reality; but what will this new reality going to be?
That is confirmed by the very establishment of the ESM. Because every new country that wants to be part of this plan and avail of its benefits, it has to accept austerity and the regulations coming from the IMF. In that way our governments legitimize austerity all over Europe from now on! […]
* THE MORAL DECODING OF 9-11: BEYOND THE U.S. CRIMINAL STATE, THE GRAND PLAN FOR A NEW WORLD ORDER – PART 1
By Prof. John McMurty, Journal of 9/11 Studies
[…] The genocide of Iraq, as the long-opposing “evil empire” was in free-fall, is the most important strategic anchoring prior to “9-11”. Covert strategic policy to forward the supreme goal is by now self-evident, but the inner moral logic is assumed not penetrated. The most influential of Rockefeller’s protégés in this regard is the “philosopher king” of the U.S. covert state, Leo Strauss. While he never worked in a philosophy department or has any training in logic, his concept of “natural right” fits exactly to the “supranational sovereignty” of private money-sequence rule of the world – what “the intellectual elite” Rockefeller refers to invoke as “moral anchor”, “right” and “justice”.
The moral thought system is not unlike that of Mein Kampf without the racist rant, camouflaged everywhere in practice by the method of big lies – “noble lies” as Strauss exalts them.[xx] The innermost value driver is a perpetual war of dispossession of the weaker for the private transnational money-capital multiplication of the rich.
Nothing in this doctrine is too mendacious, greed-crazed and murderous if it fulfills the plan of this limitless private-capital rule as ultimate moral ground and compass. In Strauss’s canonical teaching of U.S. national security advisers and intellectual following, the ruling moral absolute is expressed by the core master idea behind the “supranational sovereignty” of an “intellectual elite and bankers”:“limitless capital accumulation – — the highest right and moral duty”.[xxi]
This is the ethical absolute of the covert U.S. state and its strategic decision structure. And there is no internal limit within this moral universe to life means seizure from poorer societies and resource looting for the supreme goal. It is the natural and absolute Good.
To justify its meaning, the Straussian canon adopts a potted reading of Western moral and political philosophy from Plato through Hobbes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx and Weber. This impresses American political operatives of the faith, but Strauss is a failed philosopher turned down by Paul Tillich for his post-doctoral Habilitation and only saved from academic ruin in Germany by Rockefeller grant money. While not taken seriously as philosophy anywhere else, it is worth decoding its talmudic involution for the borrowed ideas that drive its covert state disciples and neo-fascist public “intellectuals” in America.
The ultimately organising idea is to commend all forms of conquering and limitlessly expanding private capital as “natural right and law” with genocidal subjugations justified in glowing moral terms. For example, “noble lies” is the moral category for limitless mendacity. One may wonder how educated people can be so bent out of moral shape. So I now concisely provide what cannot be found elsewhere: the inner logic of the supreme doctrine as perversions of great thinkers.
Its framework of meaning and value helps us to understand why the 9-11 event could easily follow for the managers of the covert U.S. state and its Straussian planners as not at all anomalous or evil within their moral logic. 9-11 follows as a maximally rational and unique tool to achieve the objectives in fact achieved by 9-11, and the geo-strategic cabal behind it is servilely linked from the beginning to the dominant private transnational corporate and banking interests exemplified by David Rockefeller.
To understand this brutal moral universe and its connection to 9-11, the 9-11 wars and a globalizing police state, we need to understand the deformations of its basic organising ideas. Plato’s idea of “the noble lie” means, in fact, a myth or parable to communicate an underlying truth about the triadic human soul of reason, spirit and appetite which, Plato argues, should be reflected in the construction of the ideal state (in which the rulers are communist in their common property to keep them uncorrupted and true).
But through the prism of U.S. global money-party rule a la Strauss this idea becomes the principle of lying to the public to keep the vulgar herd – the people themselves – ignorant and obedient. The philosophies of Hobbes and Hegel are also grist for this mill. Hobbes argues that “man is moved by a restless desire for power after power that ceaseth only in death”, but this brute desire in the “State of Nature” is tamed by “the covenant of peace” ordered by the internal sovereign as absolute.
Via Strauss and the U.S. covert state this becomes right is might and the ultimate “natural right” is limitless private capital power and empire with no end of totalization across the peoples and lands of the world. Hegel too suits a fascist-capitalist reading since he argues “the State is the march of God through the world”, and war itself is history’s test of which State is a higher realisation of “the absolute Idea”. But Hegel still envisaged a “universal state”to supersede the competitive private-property division of capitalism in the “universalization of right and law on earth”.
Once again U.S. private money-capital power with no bound, the supreme moral goal in the Rockefeller-Strauss doctrine, is opposite to the classical philosophy it invokes. Once more dialectical development of reason to more coherently inclusive conception and life is reversed into one-way private money capital sequences maximized to rule the world with the U.S. military as its instrument of force and terror.
However it conceals its meaning, all positions come down to this underlying value code – as may be tested on whatever transnational money-sequence demand, right or war is launched next. 9-11 construction in such a moral world does not violate this value code. It expresses it in self-maximizing strategic turn to achieve the ultimate goal.
Friedrich Nietzsche may provide the best fodder for the doctrine when he advises that “life is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of what is alien and weaker, imposing of one’s own forms, and at its mildest exploitation” in his superman vision of “beyond good and evil”. For philosophical Nietzscheans, this is code for the inner meaning of the angst of artistic creation. But this meaning is predictably lost on the U.S. covert-state school seeking the “supranational sovereignty” of “limitless capital accumulation” as the supreme good with the “intellectual elite” as servants to it. Karl Marx’s link of capitalism’s success to productive force development is the ultimate equivocation upon which this ruling doctrine depends – making no distinction between productive capital providing life goods and unproductive money sequencing hollowing out the world by money-capital multiplication. Marx, it must be acknowledged, did not made the distinction himself since this mutation of capital came a century after his death.[xxii]
Finally Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism does not ground this doctrine of “limitless capital accumulation as the highest right and duty” with the state to serve it, as Strauss again torturously suggests. In fact, Weber deplores any such perversion of public authority. His capitalist model is a young Benjamin Franklin speaking of money saved and invested as like having “a breeding sow”, not a transnational money-sequence juggernaut of eco-genocidal expansion. Revealingly, Benjamin Franklin and “the protestant ethic” in general were most concerned about non-waste, which Strauss explicitly excludes from the meaning of “limitless capital accumulation”. For Leo Strauss and his U.S. “national security” disciples, the capitalist may waste as much as he wants by “natural right”.
Further, in complete inversion of source, the greed worship of the U.S. state, its patrons and its academy disciples reverses the model of the “spirit of capitalism” exemplified by Benjamin Franklin in proprietary claim on knowledge and inventions. He,in fact,refused to patent his famous Franklin Stove because he believed that no innovation or new knowledge from which other people could benefit should be denied them – just as he himself had benefitted from the community of knowledge and science as the distinguishing feature of being a civilised human being.
In short, it is important to recognise how twisted the covertly ruling doctrine is. No element of it is life coherent or true to the classical thinkers in which it costumes itself. In the end, only the transnational U.S. money party has any place in its rights and obligations, and any sacrifice of other life to its supreme goal is legitimate – linking back to the Nazi-U.S. corporate axis that nearly destroyed the civilised world once before. […]
* AT LEAST WE’RE NOT MEASLES: RATIONALIZING DRONE ATTACKS HITS NEW LOW
By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
Read an absolutely amazing article today. Entitled “Droning on about Drones,” it was published in the online version of Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, and written by one Michael Kugelman, identified as the Senior Program Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
In this piece, the author’s thesis is that all this fuss about America’s drone policy is overdone and perhaps a little hysterical. Yes, he admits, there are some figures that suggest that as many as 900 civilians have been killed in drone strikes between 2004 and 2013. But, he notes, that only averages out to about 100 civilians a year. Apparently, we need to put that number in perspective:
Now let’s consider some very different types of statistics.
In 2012, measles killed 210 children in Sindh. Karachiites staged numerous anti-drones protests last year, but I don’t recall them holding any rallies to highlight a scourge that was twice as deadly for their province’s kids than drone strikes were for Pakistani civilians.
Nor do I recall any mass action centered around unsafe water. More people in Karachi die each month from contaminated water than have been killed by India‘s army since 1947 . . . 630 Pakistani children die from water-borne illness every day (that’s more than three times the total number of Pakistani children the BIJ believes have died from drone strikes since 2004).
So I’m reading this and thinking, he’s not really going to go there, is he? But he does: […]
* UNITED STATES, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
By Brianna Smith, Economy in Crisis
A lot can change in ten years, especially where the United States economy is concerned. After suffering from multiple “free trade” agreements such as NAFTA and KORUS, and becoming a member of the World Trade Organization, our country has gone from a prosperous powerhouse to one suffering through an economic decline. We’ve seen what economic catastrophe looks like in countries like Greece and Iceland. The U.S. is not far behind. That being said, our leaders would do well to heed the mistakes of nations who have already tumbled off the cliff.
At the start of the 21st century, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that the United States was producing 32 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). In fact, we were sporting a budget surplus–our government was actually receiving more than it was spending. Over the course of the decade, though, that 32 percent decreased significantly to 24 percent. The scary thing about that number is that it is still declining. Even more alarming is that the surplus we started the 21st century with has now morphed into a deficit equal to about 10 percent of our GDP. […]