Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Greece is coming close to falling into complete anarchy!

THENS (Dow Jones)--Resistance to Greece's latest austerity measures mounted Tuesday with opposition lawmakers rejecting the government plan and the country's two major unions vowing a series of general strikes against the cuts.
After meeting with the country's prime minister, opposition New Democracy party chief Antonis Samaras said he wouldn't support the package when it came to a vote in parliament, and charged that the measures would deepen Greece's recession and do little to close the country's budget gap.
"I am not prepared to consent to this demonstrably wrong policy," Samaras said in a televised statement.
The announcement knocked Greece's equity market, shaving a percentage point off an early rally in the Athens Stock Exchange, and also temporarily weakening the euro against the dollar.
The remarks came a day after Greece's cabinet broadly approved some EUR6 billion in new austerity measures to narrow Greece's budget deficit this year, as well as steps to speed up the government's ambitious privatization drive.
In the next 10 days, it will also detail a further EUR22 billion in new spending cuts and tax increases to bring the budget deficit below 1% of gross domestic product by 2015, from 10.5% last year.
In May last year, Greece narrowly avoided default with the help of a joint EUR110 billion bailout from its fellow euro-zone members and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for fixing its public finances and undertaking far reaching reforms.
But steep spending cuts and sharp tax increases taken since then have also hit the Greek economy--now in its third year of recession--with unemployment and business bankruptcies soaring.
On Tuesday, Greece's two main umbrella unions--private sector GSEE and public sector ADEDY--said they would stage a series of general strikes next month to oppose the government's latest austerity measures.
"As long as these catastrophic policies continue, we will continue with our strikes," said Stathis Anestis, spokesman for the 800,000 strong private sector union GSEE. "We are not talking about one strike, we are talking about more than one strike."
Officials at ADEDY confirmed that the two unions were looking at staging more than one general strike next month and that final decisions would be taken in the next few days.
Greece's smaller unions, especially in state-owned companies slated for privatizations have also voiced their opposition. Workers at Hellenic Postbank (GPSB.AT), where the government wants to sell-off its 34% stake this year, occupied the company's main premises earlier Tuesday and vowed to expand their protest Wednesday.
Likewise, workers at state-gambling monopoly OPAP SA (OPAP.AT), which is due to be privatized at the start of next year, have announced a 24-hour strike Wednesday.
Recently, Greece's militant power workers union, Genop, also threatened rolling 48-hour strikes opposing the new measures and plans to privatize the national utility, Public Power Corp. (PPC.AT).
-By Alkman Granitsas, Dow Jones Newswires; +30 210 331 2881; alkman.granitsas@dowjones.com

Sunday, May 8, 2011

RogueGovernment.com - No Proof Has Been Offered Suggesting That The Official Osama Bin Laden Death Narrative Is Even Remotely True
US meddled in 50 nations over 130 times in 121 years | Revolt of the Plebs


Jeffrey D. Sachs | The Global Economy's Corporate Crime Wave
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Project Syndicate: "Poor-country governments probably accept more bribes and commit more offenses, but it is rich countries that host the global companies that carry out the largest offenses. Money talks, and it is corrupting politics and markets all over the world. Hardly a day passes without a new story of malfeasance. Every Wall Street firm has paid significant fines during the past decade for phony accounting, insider trading, securities fraud, Ponzi schemes, or outright embezzlement by CEOs. A massive insider-trading ring is currently on trial in New York, and has implicated some leading financial-industry figures. And it follows a series of fines paid by America's biggest investment banks to settle charges of various securities violations. There is, however, scant accountability."
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Henry A. Giroux | Youth in a Suspect Society: Coming of Age in an Era of Disposability
Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: "For over 30 years, the North American public has been reared on a neoliberal dystopian vision that legitimates itself through the largely unchallenged claim that there are no alternatives to a hyper-market-driven society, that economic growth should not be constrained by considerations of social costs or moral responsibility and that democracy and capitalism are virtually synonymous. At the heart of this market rationality is an egocentric philosophy and a culture of cruelty that sells off public goods and services to the highest bidders in the private sector, while simultaneously dismantling those public spheres, social protections and institutions serving the public good. As economic power succeeds in detaching itself from government regulations, a new global financial class reasserts the prerogatives of capital and systemically destroys those public spheres - including the university - that traditionally advocated for social equality and an educated citizenry as the fundamental conditions for a viable democracy."
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Nominate Elizabeth Warren - Provide the Pecora Hearings We Need
Simon Johnson, The Baseline Scenario: "Elizabeth Warren has worked long and hard to build a working relationship with reasonable people in the banking community. These investments now seem to be paying off, with the president of the American Banker Association saying this week that his organization would support Professor Warren if she is nominated (although he later backtracked and said he meant they would be supportive 'if she is appointed'). Community bankers have already expressed support in various ways. Her arguments are very hard for Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee or more intransigent bankers to refute in any kind of public setting - because there is very little of the 'market' in our currently predominant banking sector arrangements."
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Tom Englehardt | It's Time to Stop Celebrating and Go Back to Kansas
Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch: "As everybody not blind, deaf, and dumb knows by now, Osama bin Laden has been eliminated. Literally. By Navy Seals. Or as one of a crowd of revelers who appeared in front of the White House Sunday night put it on an impromptu sign riffing on The Wizard of Oz: 'Ding, Dong, Bin Laden Is Dead.' And wouldn't it be easy if he had indeed been the Wicked Witch of the West and all we needed to do was click those ruby slippers three times, say 'there's no place like home,' and be back in Kansas. Or if this were V-J day and a sailor's kiss said it all. Unfortunately, in every way that matters for Americans, it's an illusion that Osama bin Laden is dead. In every way that matters, he will fight on, barring a major Obama administration policy shift in Afghanistan, and it's we who will ensure that he remains on the battlefield that George W. Bush's administration once so grandiosely labeled the Global War on Terror."
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Paul Krugman | The "American Hooliganism" on Which China and Russia Rely
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: "The funny thing is that Russia, like other emerging markets, is suffering from inflation precisely because it doesn't want to let the United States reduce its trade deficit. Capital wants to flow to the emerging markets, with the counterpart of that flow being a move on their part into trade deficit, while the United States reduces its trade deficit. But the necessary counterpart of that move is a real appreciation on the part of the emerging markets - a rise in the relative prices of their goods and services. They could let their currencies rise; if they won't, the real appreciation will take place via inflation, which is what is happening. What's really weird, of course, is the large number of analysts in the United States who are taking the side of China and Russia in this business. Why do they hate America?"
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Troy Davis Facing the Death Gurney
Robert Wilbur, Truthout: "By the time this article sees print, Georgia will almost certainly have set an execution date - his fourth - for Troy Anthony Davis, a black man who was condemned to death for killing a white Savannah police officer in 1989. Having exhausted his court appeals, Davis may well end his life strapped down to Georgia's death gurney. But if the criminal justice system allows this execution to go forward, it will commit one of the gravest miscarriages of justice in American history - an abomination facilitated without a word of explanation by the United States Supreme Court."
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House Progressives Call for Withdrawal From Afghanistan After Bin Laden's Death
Nadia Prupis, Truthout: "Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) co-chairs on Wednesday sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling for the reduction of US troops in Afghanistan following Osama bin Laden's death. Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) and CPC Peace & Security Task Force co-chairs Mike Honda (D-California), Barbara Lee (D-California), Maxine Waters (D-California) and Lynn Woolsey (D-California) wrote that Bin Laden's death offered the US a new opportunity to end their involvement in the war in Afghanistan."
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Fourteen Percent Budget Cut to Key Energy Agency Wins Few Fans
Elizabeth McGowan, SolveClimate News: "Congress's 14 percent paring - a drop from an allotted $110.6 million in fiscal year 2010 - leaves the EIA with a $95.4 million budget for the 2011 fiscal year that ends September 30. Though the trims evidently won't require EIA staff reductions, they will mean stakeholders such as the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy won't be able to count on certain databases. 'EIA had already taken a number of decisive steps in recent years to streamline operations and enhance overall efficiency,' EIA Administrator Richard Newell wrote in a news release last week outlining the initial round of agency adjustments. 'We will continue to do so ... to minimize the impact of these cuts at a time when both policymaker and public interest in energy issues is high.' The lower funding level will require significant cuts in four broad categories of EIA's data, analysis and forecasting activities. These include detailed data about oil and natural gas; electricity, renewables and coal; consumption, efficiency and international energy statistics; and energy analysis."
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Cinco de Mayo Battle: A Great Victory
Patrick Osio, Jr., HispanicVista: "Once this was done, Mexico entered into one of its most important historical periods, the formation of its Constitution of 1857. There were two political forces at work, the Liberals who wanted to create a country not unlike the US: A representative republic, democratic, federal, religiously tolerant, free market economy, and an educational system independent of religion, and, most importantly - separation between the State and religion. This instrument would provide Mexican citizens with vast constitutional protections rivaling those in the U.S. The other political force was the Conservatives who wanted strong ties to Spain, only the Catholic religion would be allowed, national industrial protectionism (limited imports), regulated freedom of expression, no opposing political parties."
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Monsanto in Haiti
Haiti Grassroots Watch: "The first shipment - 60 tons of seed - arrived in early May, and according to Monsanto, a second shipment of 70 tons was to have arrived sometime shortly thereafter. Not surprisingly, the 'gift' caused controversy in Haiti and abroad due to Monsanto's history. Monsanto is the world's largest seed company and is one of the world's largest pesticide companies. The behemoth dominates world proprietary seed market, a market worth almost $32 billion in 2010, up 10 percent from the previous year. The agribusiness giant is renowned for its aggressive marketing and sometimes-illegal maneuvers, which include creating a potential worldwide monopoly by buying up all competitors, bribes, infiltration of farmers' associations through the use of mercenaries and 'ruthless legal battles' including lawsuits against farmers. The company is currently being investigated in seven US states for potentially locking out competitors."
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News in Brief: Obama's Approval Rating Increases After Bin Laden's Death, and More ...
President Obama's approval rating has shot up since the killing of Osama bin Laden, with 56 percent saying they approve of him; a suicide bomber crashed a bomb-filled vehicle into the barrier outside a police station in central Iraq on Thursday morning; General Motors posted $3.2 billion in profits for the first quarter today, the highest quarterly earnings the company has seen in more than a decade; the White House opposes a pair of GOP oil drilling bills in the House that it claims would "undercut" safety and environmental reforms; the number of Americans filing state unemployment claims rose to an eight-month high last week.
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House Passes "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act"
Amanda Litman, Ms Magazine Blog: "The bill goes beyond the Hyde Amendment, which has banned federally-funded abortions for the past 30 years except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the woman's life. Furthermore, HR 3 denies tax credits to small businesses that purchase a health insurance policy that includes abortions-currently 87 percent of private insurance plans do - and enacts strict requirements for private insurance companies that cover abortions. Additionally, the bill eliminates privately funded insurance coverage for abortion in the health-care exchanges (marketplaces for insurance purchasers) established by the Affordable Care Act. NARAL Pro-Choice America estimates that 13.5 million women who receive health coverage through Medicaid and other government-sponsored programs will permanently lose access to abortion coverage if the bill is made law."
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Death of Osama bin Laden Makes Peace Groups Ask: "What's Next?"
James Russell, Truthout: "On the phone from Chicago, Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of the peace group Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV), paused and breathed deeply before answering the question about her initial thoughts on Bin Laden's death. After a few reflective moments, she said she wondered if his death, 'will signal the end of warfare in Afghanistan.' Her hope soon faded as President Obama made his announcement about Bin Laden's death on Sunday night. To Kelly, the disappointment came when Obama did not use his announcement as 'a teachable moment.' Instead of invoking the pacifism and restraint urged during the Vietnam War by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 'Obama presented the death as a victory for American exceptionalism,' she said."
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Obama Administration Plans Corporate Tax Cut in Year of Record Profits
Allison Kilkenny, The Nation: "As nationwide budget protests continue this week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is prepared to unveil the Obama administration's plan to lower the top corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent to less than 30 percent, and as low as 26 percent. In order to pay for the cuts, the proposal calls for closing loopholes and slashing exemptions. Politico reports that Geithner has already begun meeting privately with CEOs, academics, labor unions, and liberal and conservative think tanks, and his aides say he is 'encouraged by the response.'"
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Reflections on May Day Celebrations
Peter Mayo, Truthout: "Turkey's celebration of May 1 as international workers day was of particular significance. This was only the third time this celebration was held - following its long ban, finally lifted by the government in 2009. In 1977, a similar celebration was marred by fatal attacks which left dozens of protesters dead as unknown gunmen opened fire. The victims' names were called out on May 1, 2011, by a famous Turkish actor, in a poignant moment which brought to mind the country's tragic past - including a 1980 military coup that paved the way for the onset of neoliberalism (shades of Chile seven years earlier). The memory of protests and violence also led one to remember what was going on all over the region with the struggle for work and dignity, and greater democratic openings, in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya."
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