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Hometown: Saskatchewan
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Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
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From Greece to Puerto Rico, the Financial Rules Are Rigged to Favor the 1%

By Bernie Sanders
Source: Democracy Now
August 22, 2015

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders recently convened a panel of economists in Washington to discuss the debt crisis in Greece and throughout the world. In his opening statement, Sanders talked about the debt crisis in Greece as well as in Puerto Rico. “It is time for creditors to sit down with the governments of Greece and Puerto Rico and work out a debt repayment plan that is fair to both sides,” Sanders said. “The people of Greece and the children of Puerto Rico deserve nothing less.”

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: " we are here today to talk about is the very, very important issue regarding the ongoing debt crisis in Greece and the way that people and governments all over the world are struggling with too much debt. This is—we’re going to be focusing on Greece, but, in truth, this issue goes beyond Greece. And countries that are struggling not only with too much debt, too much inequality, and too little growth and income.

Today, as I think all of you know, there is a very, very serious economic situation unfolding in Greece. In many ways, Greece today resembles the United States of the 1930s in the midst of the worst depression, economic downturn in the history of our country. The Greek economy has basically collapsed, and the people of Greece are trapped in a very, very deep depression.

I want to begin by expressing my solidarity with the people of Greece, where five years of cruel and counterproductive austerity policies, policies demanded by the European Central Bank, the European Commission and International Monetary Fund, have left the people of Greece facing a full-blown humanitarian crisis. In my view, there is no more obvious example of the failure of austerity policies than what is going on in Greece."

Over 70 years ago, the major economic leaders of 44 countries gathered at a hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to establish international economic and financial rules. As a result of that conference, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were established. I think it is clear to anyone who has taken a look at this situation that the rules regarding our international financial system today are rigged in favor of the wealthy and the powerful at the expense of everyone else. Today, 85 of the wealthiest people in this world own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population, over 3 billion people. By next year, Oxfam has estimated that the top 1 percent of the world’s population will own more wealth than the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population. In my view, we have got to begin—and I hope this forum today is a start in that process—a serious discussion about how we change our international financial rules to expand—expand economic opportunity and reduce income and wealth inequality, not only in Greece and in Puerto Rico, but throughout the world. The global economy is simply unsustainable when so few have so much and so many have so little.

Full Transcript: http://www.democracynow.org/2015/8/21/sen_bernie_sanders_from_greece_to

Sorry, I forgot to do a search and just discovered this is a duplicate. It showed up on one of my email notices for a site I read from just today ......... they're a teeny bit slow I guess, but it's a great video so I'll leave it. If the hosts want it removed I will delete, or they can.

The Revolutionary Act of Telling the Truth

by John Pilger / September 30th, 2015

George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Edward Bernays, who invented the term, “public relations” as a euphemism for “propaganda”, predicted this more than 80 years ago. He called it, “the invisible government”.

He wrote, “Those who manipulate this unseen element of constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country …. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of …”

The aim of this invisible government is the conquest of us: of our political consciousness, our sense of the world, our ability to think independently, to separate truth from lies.

This is a form of fascism, a word we are rightly cautious about using, preferring to leave it in the flickering past. But an insidious modern fascism is now an accelerating danger. As in the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the regularity of a metronome. Muslims are bad. Saudi bigots are good. ISIS bigots are bad. Russia is always bad. China is getting bad. Bombing Syria is good. Corrupt banks are good. Corrupt debt is good. Poverty is good. War is normal.

Those who question these official truths, this extremism, are deemed in need of a lobotomy – until they are diagnosed on-message. The BBC provides this service free of charge. Failure to submit is to be tagged a “radical” – whatever that means.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/the-revolutionary-act-of-telling-the-truth/

License to Kill

SEPTEMBER 24, 2015


An indefatigable humanitarian warmonger, Power resents Russia’s opposition to a resolution to bomb the hell out of “atrocities” in Syria, without specifying that the main “atrocity” in her government’s eyes is President Assad.

No, no—it’s her humanitarian concern over the 250,000 Syrian already dead ; it’s the refugees’ flight she means to stem .

Russia is preventing all this humanitarianism: “It’s a Darwinian universe here,” she tells The Guardian. “If a particular body reveals itself to be dysfunctional, then people are going to go elsewhere, and if that happened for more than Syria and Ukraine and you started to see across the board paralysis … it would certainly jeopardise the security council’s status and credibility and its function as a go-to international security arbiter. It would definitely jeopardise that over time.”

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s UN Ambassador, responded to Power’s allegations by pointing out the obvious:

Some countries were trying to involve the Security Council in regime change operations in Syria and we were telling them that it’s not the business of the Security Council to go into regime change mode. This is a fundamental difference and it’s not the fault of the Security Council that this difference is there.

It certainly isn’t. The task of the United Nations, as per its Charter, is “to prevent the scourge of war”; the task of the Security Council is to resolve disputes, authorizing war only after all other options for peace fail. This awesome responsibility is subject to veto. The veto is a restraining mechanism for members too fond of wars. Besides, nowhere in the Charter does it say that a single member should take it upon itself to go on humanitarian crusades for unilaterally perceived and selectively declared atrocities or genocides, but this option is what the US is beginning to argue for—an option that would permit the removal of the veto in cases of Right to Protect (R2P), the US policy which materialized out of the NATO assault on Yugoslavia. You kill a nation in order to protect it. And Russia is crazy enough to oppose this humanitarian medicine. Legalistic perverts.

Full article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/24/license-to-kill-2/

The Uses of ISIS

By Justin Podur
Source: teleSUR English
September 27, 2015

In the West, ISIS videos are used to stoke nightmares and justify police powers, and are politically valuable to fear-mongering politicians. As the collapse of Syria proceeds under the weight of the war and millions of Syrians are on the move, Westerners are being led to believe that every refugee family might be a secret ISIS cell. Local countries are hit far harder by the refugee crisis: Western countries are only taking a small fraction of the refugees.

Despite the horrors of their videos, and the airstrikes that have been organized against ISIS, the West, and its allies, have found several uses for ISIS.

ISIS provides Western allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar a way to advance their influence in the region against Iran. ISIS provides an outlet for the people that Saudi clerics have fired up to hate everyone but their sect, people who might otherwise stay in their own Gulf countries and take up arms.

ISIS provides the troops for Western ally, Turkey, to fight the Kurds, who created an autonomous zone in Iraq, have recently done so in Syria and have long been trying to advance their agenda of self-determination in Turkey.

For Western ally, Israel, ISIS bleeds Hizbollah and has helped destroy Syria, creates massive numbers of refugees, and so diverts and destroys military forces that might otherwise be facing off with Israel.

What could be more important than an end to the war and the defeat of ISIS? For the West, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel, many things: weakening Iran and Hizbollah, showing toughness to Russia, the chance of overthrowing Assad, destroying the basis for Kurdish independence. To those steering the Syrian war, these are higher priorities than the plight of millions of refugees and the destruction of several countries.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-uses-of-isis/

Iran’s Parchin Nuclear Myth Begins to Unravel

by Gareth Porter / September 24th, 2015

For well over three years, heavy doses of propaganda have created a myth about a purported steel cylinder for testing explosives located on a site at Iran’s Parchin military testing reservation. Iran was refusing to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the site while it sought to hide its past nuclear weapons-related work, according to that storyline.

Now Iran has agreed to allow the IAEA to visit the site at Parchin and environmental samples have already been collected at the site. However, the politically charged tale of the bomb test chamber of Parchin is beginning to unravel. IAEA director general Yukiya Amano entered the building in which the explosives chamber had supposedly been located on Monday and announced afterward that he found “no equipment” in the building.

That is surely a major story, in light of how much has been made of the alleged presence of the chamber at that location. But you may have missed that news, unless you happened to read the story by Jonathan Tirone of Bloomberg Business News, who was the only journalist for a significant news outlet who chose to lead with the story in his coverage of Amano’s Monday visit.

Israeli-supplied documents

The IAEA member state that had provided the information about a purported bomb cylinder was never identified by the IAEA. But IAEA director-general Mohamed El Baradei asserts in his memoirs that in the summer of 2009 Israel turned over to the IAEA a number of intelligence documents purporting to show that Iran had carried out nuclear weapons work “until at least 2007,” most of which consisted of purported Iranian official documents whose authenticity had been questioned by some of the agency’s technical experts.

The story continues ...........

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/irans-parchin-nuclear-myth-begins-to-unravel/

Time for UN to Shift Mission in Yemen

by Nicola Nasser / September 28th, 2015

Peace in Yemen will continue to be elusive unless the United Nations shifts its mission from sponsoring an inter-Yemeni dialogue to mediating ceasefire negotiations between the actual warring parties, namely Saudi Arabia & allies and the de facto representatives of Yemenis who are fighting to defend their country’s territorial integrity and independent free will, i.e., the Huthi-Saleh & allies.

The Saudi insistence on dictating a fait accompli on Yemen is undermining the UN efforts to bring about a political solution, which was made impossible by the Saudi – led war on Yemen.

Long history of Saudi military intervention

Long before there was an “Iran threat” or a “Shiite threat,” the Saudi ruling family never hesitated to interfere in Yemen militarily or otherwise whenever Yemenis showed signs of breaking away from Saudi hegemony towards a free will to determine their lives independently.

In the 1930s the Saudis engaged in a war on the Mutawakkilite Imamate of Yemen and succeeded in annexing the Yemeni provinces of Asir, Jizan and Najran to their kingdom, thus creating a border dispute that was not settled until 2000, but the current Saudi war on Yemen seems to reignite it.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/time-for-un-to-shift-mission-in-yemen/

The TPP and Canada

Playing the Fool

by Binoy Kampmark / September 29th, 2015

The very fact that Stephen Harper is still in with a chance come the Canadian election is a summary of political survival and grand deception. The recent debates have seen him come back from the dead and showing signs of considerable life. His treatment of the Syrian refugee situation has proven miserly and calculating. Like his counterparts in the Commonwealth (Australia and the UK), taking in refugees is a matter of a few spaces rather to satisfy temporary moral outrage. The hope is that consciences will be salved, allowing for the general business of government to go on.

Then comes the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement which is being sold by various trade ministers within the group of 12 negotiating delegations as reaching the final stages for the September 30 meeting in Atlanta.

The negotiating patterns show time and again that overall capitulation will take place if, in the broader assessment, it is deemed appropriate, however erroneous that assessment is. Ex post facto justifications will be provided, suggesting that the negotiators were being realistic, when, in truth, they were bulldozed without a prayer. Bouchard does herself concede that any such access, on such a scale, without appropriate trade-offs, will be “catastrophic” for the Canadian dairy industry. Belief will have to be the not so worthy substitute.

Effectively, such concessions imply acts of negotiated suicide. This is the grand act of hegemonic victory, and should it succeed, the vassalised states will only have themselves to blame. Accommodation, in such cases, tends to be a form of mild economic servitude.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/the-tpp-and-canada/

Mom, Is it War Yet?

Part 1: The Trojan War

by T.P. Wilkinson / September 1st, 2015

After combined US and UK forces defeated the Greek anti-fascists, destroying much of the country and killing thousands in the resulting civil war, Greece, together with Turkey, were sucked into the NATO vortex (1952). This helped the Greek regime to top the league tables in European military expenditure as a proportion of GDP—but somehow could not prevent it from warring with Turkey over the island of Cyprus.6 As in other European dictatorships belonging to NATO, Anglo-American imperial interests have not only taken precedence over local popular will they have also assured that military budgets remain sacrosanct—even after those dictatorships yielded to parliamentary government.

It is within this context that Greek fiscal policy has to be understood. No military budget can ever be financed without either a repressive tax system or a thoroughly corrupt state bureaucracy. “Corrupt” means that the inherently corrupt system of military appropriations and expenditure has to be controlled by those who dominate the global weapons market: international weapons manufacturers and banks.

In 1981 the people of Greece were again permitted to elect a parliamentary government. However, this did not end the indebtedness incurred by over thirty years of military domination, not to mention the debt forced upon Greece under Nazi occupation (money extorted by Germany). It did not end the de facto privilege of the military-industrial-banking complex in Greece which even when the most recent debt crisis arose was able to force the purchase of two German submarines.

Under these “third world” conditions, Greece was admitted to the EU and then into the Euro Zone. Only wilful ignorance and/or deceit could have persuaded the officials in Brussels that Greece met the financial and fiscal criteria for admission to the Euro Zone—corrupt reporting to corrupt Eurostat notwithstanding.

A long, thought provoking essay. Greece is just one of many nations discussed.

Part 1: Mom, Is it War Yet? http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/mom-is-it-war-yet/

Part 2: Two Suns in the Sunset http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/two-suns-in-the-sunset/

Part 3: Terminological Inexactitudes: Except from an Etiquette Manual for Deceit http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/terminological-inexactitudes-except-from-an-etiquette-manual-for-deceit/

The Wicked War on Syria

by Rick Sterling / September 29th, 2015

This description is widespread but misleading. In his 2007 article Seymour Hersh exposed the U.S. promotion of Sunni fundamentalists to undermine Syria and Iran. In 2010 Secretary of State Clinton pressed Syrian President Bashar al Assad to comply with Israeli and US calls to stop supporting the Lebanese resistance and break relations with Iran. Was Clinton especially hostile to the Syrian President because he did not comply with her requests/demands and soon after forged an agreement with Iran? She makes no mention of this in her book but it is obviously relevant to the issue of Syria-USA relations.

Regarding the so-called peaceful protesters, in fact, there was a violent element from the start. In Deraa in March 2011 several police were killed. In the original “capital of the revolution”, Homs, a very credible eye-witness reported armed demonstrators initiating the violence.

The solution is not impossible. What is wicked is the devastation of Syria by some of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world. What is wicked is the justification of this on a “humanitarian” pretense. The solution simply requires countries such as the USA and allies to stop their illegal and destructive efforts to overthrow any government they don’t like. It’s up to the people of Syria to determine their government. It’s time for the United Nations and genuine humanitarian organizations to demand the end of this war so that Syrians can start reconciliation and rebuilding.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/the-wicked-war-on-syria/

Arrest Tony Blair for War Crimes in the Middle East

Petition to UK Parliament: A Few Reasons Why

by Felicity Arbuthnot / September 29th, 2015

The word genocide comes to mind.

— Weapons expert Dai Williams, letter to Tony Blair warning of consequences of Iraq action, 13th October 2002

On the same day as Al Faqi’s arrest a petition to the British Parliament was released to “Arrest Tony Blair for war crimes in the Middle East and for misleading the public.”

Britain is a signatory to the 123 nation-backed ICC. Thus the petition’s aims are possible.

Blair indeed blatantly misled the public and the Parliament he headed. The disinformation was breathtaking and the result was “a callous assault on the dignity and identity of entire populations and their religious and historical roots.” The people of Iraq too deserve “justice for the attacks against their cities, their beliefs and their communities.”

On September 24, 2002 Blair addressed Parliament. He began:

Today we published a 50-page dossier detailing the history of Iraq’s WMD, its breach of UN resolutions and the current attempts to rebuild the illegal WMD programme.

If a man is deemed a war criminal for the terrible destruction of history in Mali is delivered to the ICC, Bush and Blair – whose actions destroyed virtually the whole of Iraq, a swathe of its history and set in train the ongoing destruction, indeed genocide, should be treated no differently. Tony Blair’s assertions in Parliament in 2002 were integral in the excuse for the illegal invasion and ongoing bloodbath now also engulfing Syria.

Full article: http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/09/arrest-tony-blair-for-war-crimes-in-the-middle-east/
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