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mother earth

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Member since: Wed Nov 10, 2004, 06:08 PM
Number of posts: 6,002

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Warren & Cummings Launch Middle Class Prosperity Project


The Middle Class Prosperity Project is a collaborative effort by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to focus greater congressional and public attention on the challenges facing the middle class, and to formulate and implement concrete policy changes in order to address these challenges.

While billions are set to be spent on 2016 for the reigning Oligarchy candidates, income inequality

is set to be a topic of "concern"...we have team Hillary & team Lunatic (most likely Jeb Bush), both are pleasing to the Oligarchs. TPP is yet to be mentioned by Hillary, so forgive my lack of enthusiasm. I'm waiting on Bernie or Warren.

As for logos, BOTH parties should simply use $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

New Oxfam report says half of global wealth held by the 1%

[div class="excerpt"}
Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
• The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
• The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
• Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
• The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
• In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems. Instead of moving forward together, people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown.

Global Capitalism: April 2015 Monthly Update, Richard Wolff



Edited to add: While Prof. Wolff's updates are always informative and important, I think this one in particular brings home the truth of what the new normal means. There is a distinct deterioration, and desperation and strife are part of that norm. Very potent is the opinion that what is playing out in Greece is part of what is similarly playing out here, and likely to get worst (i.e., Ferguson), social unrest comes with inequality, while the rich prosper during the worst economic times. All we have to do is look around, we see the changes everywhere. We feel the inequality growing, and EVERYWHERE, the root of that inequality is the same, predatory capitalism or feudalism, the serfs vs. the oligarchs.

Reform is unavoidable, and everyone can impact that change. I suspect the upcoming election will be different. Same old, same old does not bode well for our country.
Posted by mother earth | Thu Apr 9, 2015, 10:20 AM (4 replies)

“we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but we will say that heroes fight like Greeks”

Payback Time 04.08.151:36 PM ET

Even as Greek PM Schmoozes Putin, He Demands Germany Pay Its Nazi Debt

The attempt to claim reparations from Berlin may be an act of desperation, but it reminds Greeks of the desperate times they survived as heroes during WWII.

“Our allies the Greeks, have seen off the Italian army,” said Winston Churchill near the height of the Second World War. “Hence,” he declared, “we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but we will say that heroes fight like Greeks.”

Those words live on in Greece’s national imagination.

The war irretrievably scarred the country. Some figures estimate that almost one in ten Greeks died fighting the Nazis—and it wasn’t in vain. Greek resistance at the Battle of Crete on May 20, 1941, caused the Germans more loss of life in a single day than the Wehrmacht had experienced up until that point. Even more importantly, Greek resistance delayed the German invasion of the USSR by almost two months, dramatically changing the outcome of the war.

But Greece paid heavily for its bravery. Entire villages were massacred in retaliation for the actions of resistance forces that continued to fight on after the Germans had conquered the country. The Greeks suffered pervasive war crimes, looting and heavy damage to property as well as a €10.3 billion occupation loan that the Bank of Greece was forced to pay the Nazis.

It is these issues—and the wounds they have left—that Greece’s new hard left governing party Syriza is now seeking to exploit in its ongoing battle with the International Monetary Fund and European Union led by Germany, to which it owes hundreds of billions of euros.

The E.U. is demanding payment of its loans; the Greek government is doing its best to renegotiate the terms. In the latest rhetorical blow in this ongoing saga Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has demanded that Germany pay—literally—for the destruction it visited on his country almost 70 years ago.

After only a few months in power, and desperately trying to stave off bankruptcy, the new government’s general accounting office has found the time to calculate (for the first time in Greece’s history) that Germany owes it nearly €279bn ($303bn) in reparations.

The Germans reject the claim, pointing to a payment of 115 million Deutschmarks they made to Greece in 1960, and consider the matter closed. This didn’t stop Tsipras bringing the demand up in a recent meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

It’s a typical Syriza move: deeply populist and somewhat cynical as it seeks to distract from the vast sums Greece owes to its creditors—most immediately an outstanding €450m loan from the IMF due this week—and to build on widespread anti-German sentiment across Greece at the same time.

“The Germans are trying to take over Europe again,” is a comment I’ve heard in various forms over the past few years in Greece as bitterness at the harsh, German-led austerity reforms that successive Greek governments have been forced to impose on their people in exchange for massive cash bailouts has grown. Greeks have seen their standard of living plummet as salaries and pensions have been slashed and unemployment risen to around 25 percent of the population.

Syriza was elected on a platform that promised to end the austerity measures. Its rhetoric was aggressive and confrontational—promising Greek voters a Syriza government wouldn’t bend to E.U. demands. But so far it has been forced to backtrack because its still needs E.U. funds in order to avoid going bankrupt. The fighting rhetoric has so far not been matched by deeds.

So the rhetoric continues.

“The demand for war reparations shows a reinvigorated determination by the new government in Athens to press the issue of war reparations and the forced loan,” says Jens Bastian, an independent economic advisor for Southeastern Europe based in Athens. “This issue has been raised before, most recently by the previous Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, but he never put a specific number on the amount to be claimed, nor did he threaten to confiscate certain institutions such as the Goethe Institute owned by Germany in Greece.”

“This has a lot to do with domestic politics,” continues Bastian. “It is to show to the electorate and the general public that Syriza means business and that it will stand up to Germany.”

The issue is certainly emotive. Many in Greece still feel that Nazi Germany’s crimes in the country have received scant attention compared to its atrocities elsewhere. The question is: will it work? It seems unlikely in the extreme that Germany will be paying Greece close to €300 billion any time soon and Bastian believes that Greece would be ill-advised to use the war reparations as leverage in any attempts to negotiate the restructuring of its accumulated sovereign debt.

More fruitful might be repayment of the forced loan. “The interesting thing is that it [the loan] is based on a contract,” says Bastian, “and it included a timetable for repayment including interest that would accrue. In this case it is much more difficult for Germany to say the matter is legally and politically closed.”

Whether or not any claim succeeds, Syriza continues to show its displeasure with the E.U. and is keen to show its European “partners” that it has options. Tsipras has just flown to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At issue as far as he is concerned will be any possible financial assistance that Russia might be able to offer Greece. For his part, Putin will be more than happy to try to further divide the E.U.

But Russia has its own problems. With oil prices collapsing and its war in Ukraine emptying it of cash and men, Moscow is unlikely to offer Greece anything of real help.

In the meantime, Greece and the E.U. grow farther and farther apart, the consequences of which could reverberate across the continent for many years to come.

Posted by mother earth | Wed Apr 8, 2015, 08:54 PM (2 replies)

Youth of SYRIZA: More Radical on Debt, Grexit and Redistribution in Greece TRNN

Aris Spourdalakis, member of the Youth of Syriza, speaks out on the debt management and the opportunity for democracy and redistribution in Greece - April 7, 2015

Aris George-Baldur Spourdalakis has been a member of SYRIZA Youth since 2007. He attends the University of Athens, where he is a student of physics and an activist.


SPOURDALAKIS: Well, I would say on a political level we would be against exiting the euro. However, the main slogan that we remain true to is the slogan which states that we won't have any more austerity simply to save the euro. Therefore, even though a Grexit may not be something that we would aspire to, it might prove to be necessary in the coming months or years of the negotiation.

PERIES: Now, SYRIZA committed to more than--no new austerity. They promised to roll back austerity of the previous government. And I imagine that the supporters of SYRIZA, when they voted for SYRIZA, was with the understanding that that's what they were going to get from SYRIZA. But clearly that's not what they're able to deliver, given the current financial situation. What is the discussion about that?

SPOURDALAKIS: Well, I think there's an understanding that the negotiation isn't over and that in order to make such a big change within an international system, which is so much rigidly in favor of neoliberalism and of austerity, there has to be some time and there have to be major changes.

However, what I think is important also to keep in mind is despite the fact that SYRIZA was voted in for the reason that you said, mainly to oppose austerity and to roll back the measures that were taken in the past five years, the majority of the population is also in favor of the euro and remaining within the European Union and the Eurozone. Therefore this is also important to take into account, that SYRIZA didn't have, wasn't elected in order to take the country outside the euro on the first sign of trouble.

PERIES: Now, the assumption that most of SYRIZA and Greeks don't want to exit the euro has been contested by some polls that were done actually by the European Union, according to somebody we had interviewed earlier this month by the name of Michael Nevradakis, who actually challenged that some polls actually indicate that Greeks actually do not mind leaving the euro if that's what it comes down to. What are your feelings about that?

SPOURDALAKIS: Well, I think that the main question is the question of policy. The main question is if we want neoliberal reforms and austerity or if we want to roll back austerity and we want democratic reforms in the state. And this isn't a question of currency. It's a question of politics, both internal and external. Therefore I think that it's very difficult to go forward with this program when the international situation is so much against us, regardless of whether we're within the Eurozone or not.

So I think that there is a crucial amount of people who understand this. And I also think that if the negotiation proceeds and if the European Union proceeds with a very rigid line--continue the negotiation--we might come to a Grexit. And I think that people will support the government if it chooses to take this road.

However, it's still going to be very difficult. I don't think it'll change the core problem, which is the fact that both inside Greece and internationally the political situation is very much against the program that we want to implement.

PERIES: And if Greece takes this path, I understand some plans are underway in terms of plotting a path to an exit within the party. What does that look like?

SPOURDALAKIS: There's really no--there's no defined outline on what that would mean. There's no--there hasn't been big preparation, there haven't been big preparations about this plan B. And I guess each person or each tendency you talk to who might support exiting the Eurozone has a slightly different view of this.

PERIES: So, Aris, in terms of the broader politics and the other issues that are being debated, for example privatization, restoring the labor and public employees that were fired by the previous government, and other issues that are immediately at hand at SYRIZA, what are some of the other issues that the youth front is advocating? And is that more radical than the position that SYRIZA is hoping to implement right now?

SPOURDALAKIS: Well, I would say that both SYRIZA and the youth wing are more radical, at least in their positions, than the government is. For example, the youth wing has opened the issues of human rights, the issues of immigration, the issues of equal rights for the LGBT community, and so on. And these are issues which are not popular in the Greek society. And, therefore, the government's positions, I would say, are less radical than those of the party or those of the youth. And what we're trying to do is both [incompr.] pressure and check the government into implementing this kind of policy, but also trying to create a movement which will change the view that the society has on these issues.

PERIES: And what are some of the issues that are really at heart for the youth movement?

SPOURDALAKIS: Well, I would say that a very important issue is, of course, privatizations and stopping the privatizations that are going on right now, for example the mining operation in northern Greece, which has been temporarily stopped, but it hasn't been brought back entirely. It's the issue of the concentration camps that were created by the previous government for immigrants and shutting them down. And it's also the issue of--also the issue of human rights, [human] rights of prisoners. And then, of course, also the LGBT issue of civil union for gay couples.

And these are all issues that the government has made some promises on but that remained to be quite--they're still quite unpopular with the society. The society still is quite conservative on these issues.

So what we're trying to do is create a movement that will both pressure the government into more progressive positions, but will also create sort of a social consensus to back these changes.

PERIES: So, other countries, when they're in this kind of situation of not having very much money in their public treasury to stimulate the economy, has come up with certain economic development plans to develop the local economy by its people with the limited resources it has. Is there any economic plan of that sort being discussed or developed by SYRIZA?

SPOURDALAKIS: The program does include cooperative forms of economy and investment. Also, there is, at least in theory, the encouragement for workers to take over closing factories, which--this has already taken place in Thessaloniki in a factory. This has been going on for at least two or three years now. And the program is to support these kind of measures. So I guess the main answer to this question would be sort of cooperative and solidarity type economics, we call it, which is more of a social kind of economics. It's not a public sector, not private sector, but sort of a cooperative type of investment.

Full Transcript:
Posted by mother earth | Wed Apr 8, 2015, 04:08 PM (0 replies)

War on Terror kills 1.3 million people: Report

Kabul- The U.S.-led "war on terror" in Afghanistan has left about 220,000 people killed, following the 9/11 attacks in the United States, according to a new finding of investigators.

The report has found that a total of around 1.3 million people, directly or indirectly, have lost their lives in the U.S. wars on terror including one million people killed in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan.

The report has been jointly prepared by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

According to the report, the figure "is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs."

However, the report which is titled Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the "War on Terror" has noted that it was a conservative estimation, and the total number killed in the three countries "could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely."

"At a time when we're contemplating at this point cutting off our removal of troops from Afghanistan and contemplating new military authorization for increasing our operations in Syria and Iraq, this insulation from the real impacts serves our government in being able to continue to conduct these wars in the name of the war on terror, with not only horrendous cost to the people in the region, but we in the United States suffer from what the budgetary costs of unending war are," said Dr. Robert Gould, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and co-author of the forward to the report.

The U.S.-led war on terror in Afghanistan was started after September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States that left close to 3,000 people dead.

The report came only days after the U.S. President Barack Obama announced to slow the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, maintaining the current posture of 9,800 soldiers until the end of 2015.

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, from the same conference:

At the Hofstra Conference on the George W. Bush Presidency, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman says one million died over the last decade in a country that the Bush administration said they were going to save


TRNN: Only Appropriate Public Event for Bush is War Crimes Trial

Institute for Policy Studies Fellow Phyllis Bennis speaks at the Conference on the George W. Bush Presidency about why the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan violated international law - March 27, 2015

Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow and the Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. She is the author of Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer, Before and After: US Foreign Policy and the September 11 Crisis , Ending the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer and Understanding the US-Iran Crisis: A Primer.

Full transcript:

USAWatchdog: Warren Pollock-War Is the Greatest Expression of Failure There Can Be

We Are Headed for War Because There Is No Truth-Warren Pollock

By Greg Hunter On March 11, 2015

Wall Street analyst Warren Pollock said six months ago that the “damage control (about the bad global economy) was going to start to wear off in 2015.” What are the signs the spin is wearing off? Pollock says, “Go to your super market, and that is a sign the damage control is wearing off. Prices are going up, and the quality of food is going down. The numbers of ounces on each package are going down . . . This is the damage control wearing off. A lot of people don’t have that purchasing power, and they won’t have that purchasing power in deflation or inflation. When framing an issue, why do we even frame it as inflation or deflation? Why not just talk about purchasing power? Ask our government, how come my purchasing power has gone away. Why do I have to take a seven year loan to buy a car?”


USAWatchdog: Alasdair Macleod on AIIB, Implications for USD, EU, Global Debt

Published on Mar 24, 2015
When will the Chinese make their next big move? Financial expert Alasdair Macleod says, “Their style is not to go in and disrupt markets. They act very, very quietly. You would hardly know they are there. This is certainly how they have handled their acquisition of gold. I don’t think they would want to be blamed for destabilizing western capital markets. What could happen is if we set a chain of events going that would lead to our own demise, then the Chinese would protect themselves. There is so little gold left in western vaults now . . . anything that changes the really sunny outlook for bonds equities and all the rest of it . . . and for people to realize that people don’t have any gold, that could drive the price sharply higher because there is not enough gold for us to buy. The stocks are very, very low, and anybody who comes into the market is going to have to bid it up to get it.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-one-One with Alasdair Macleod of GoldMoney.com.


An excellent interview that lays out the global economy including the newly formed AIIB and just where it all seems to be leading to. Much of what seems to be playing out may be upon us come the Fall, and with Spain's election later this year, the perfect storm seems to be brewing. Where this all leads is anyone's guess, but we do have the history of the Great Depression to draw from, one thing is certain, the new normal is a definite deterioration and I wonder if this is the foremost reason for our gov't rush to try to fast track TPP, as a last ditch effort.
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