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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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USA: The Worst Economic Condition in 75 Years & Implications of the so called “Recovery”



Published on Oct 18, 2014
The Otterbein University Department of History and Political Science Speaker Series presents Richard D. Wolff on "Our Economic Futures: Can Democracy Cure Capitalism?"

http://www.rdwolff.com

http://www.democracyatwork.info/

In this talk, once again, Prof. Wolff explains how we got to where we are in no nonsense terms.

He offers solutions, please check the above links. He has a youtube channel and Pacifica podcast.
Social issues require a social movement, he advocates for changes in the workplace.

Posted by mother earth | Wed Mar 4, 2015, 09:13 PM (6 replies)

"They are fearful that if the Greeks pull it off, the disease will spread." Chris Hedges/Tariq Ali

I highly recommend reading Hedges' full article, this is just an excerpt. There's a whole lot more than meets the eye with Greece, which makes this article (3 pages) a must read.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/category/hedges/P0

Tariq Ali: The Time Is Right for a Palace Revolution

Posted on Mar 1, 2015


By Chris Hedges


The cost of open defiance, which, Ali pointed out, is our only escape route from corporate tyranny, will at least at first be painful. Our corporate masters do not intend to release their death grip without a brutal fight.

Ali recalled that even his late friend Hugo Chavez, the firebrand socialist president of Venezuela, was not untouched by intimidation from Establishment forces. “I remember talking to Chavez many times and saying, ‘Comandante, why do you stop there?’ ” Ali said. “He said it is not realistic to do it at the present time. We can regulate them, make life difficult for capitalism, use oil money for the poor, but we can’t topple the system.”

Ali added, “The Greeks and the Spanish are saying the same.”

“I don’t know what Syriza thought,” he said. “If it thought we can divide the European elite, we can make a big propaganda campaign in Europe and they will be forced to make concessions, that was foolish. This European elite, led by the Germans, doesn’t crack easily. They have walked all over the Greeks. The Greek leaders should have said to their own people, ‘We are going to try and get the best possible conditions—if not we will report to you what has happened and what we need to do.’ Instead, they fell into the European trap. The Europeans made virtually no concessions that mattered.”

The clash between the Greeks and the corporate elites that dominate Europe, Ali said, is “not economic.”

The European Union is “prepared to pour billions into fighting Russians in the Ukraine,” he said. “It’s not a question of the money. They can throw away the bloody money, as they are preparing to do and are doing in the Ukraine. With the Greeks they pretend it is economic, but it’s political. They are fearful that if the Greeks pull it off, the disease will spread. There are elections in December in Spain. If Podemos [Spain’s left-wing party] wins with Greece already having won and proceeding, however modestly, on a different path, the Spanish will say the Greeks have done it. And then there is the Irish waiting patiently with their progressive parties, saying, ‘Why can’t we do what Syriza has done? Why can’t we unite and take on our extreme center?’ ”

Ali said he was “shocked and angry about all the hopes that were invested in Obama by the left.” He lambasted what he called the American “obsession with identity.” Barack Obama, he said, “is an imperial president and behaves like one, regardless of the color of his skin.” Ali despaired of the gender politics that are fueling a possible run for the White House by Hillary Clinton, who would be the first woman president.

“My reply is, ‘So bloody what?’ ” he said. “If she is going to bomb countries and put drones over whole continents, what difference does her gender make if her politics are the same? That is the key. The political has been devalued and debased under neoliberalism. People retreat into religion or identity. It’s disastrous. I wonder if it is even possible to create something on a national scale in the United States. I wonder if it would be better to concentrate on big cities and states to develop some movements where they can have an influence in Los Angeles, New York or in states such as Vermont. It may be wiser to concentrate on three or four things to show that it can be done. I can’t see the old way of reproducing a political party of the left, modeled on the Republican and Democratic structures, as working. These people only work with money. They do not even speak with very many ordinary people. It is credit-card democracy. The left cannot and should not emulate this. America is the hardest nut to crack, but unless it is cracked we are doomed.”

Ali said he fears that should Americans become politically conscious and resist, the corporate state will impose naked forms of militarized repression. Government’s reaction to the 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon stunned him. Authorities “closed down an entire city with the support of the population.” He said that the virtual declaration of martial law in Boston was “a dress rehearsal.”

“If they can do it in Boston they can do it in other cities,” he said. “They needed to try it on in Boston to see if it would work. That frightened me.”

“The manufacturing of threats manufactures fear,” he said. “It creates sleepwalking citizens. They [officials] never tried to do this on this scale when they were fighting the Soviet Union and the communist enemy, which was supposed to be the worst, most dangerous threat ever. Now they do it over a handful of bloody terrorists.”

Groups such as Black Lives Matter, he said, offer some hope.

“Just as the traditional left parties have been wiped out all over the world, so has the radical segment of the African-American population and their organizations,” he said. “They were physically wiped out. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, some of the most gifted leaders, were assassinated. The Black Panthers were destroyed. Areas where blacks lived on the West Coast were flooded with drugs. It was a well-planned assault. But the young people who came out in Black Lives Matter have this older spirit. When Jesse Jackson went to Ferguson and engaged in demagogy he was heckled. They did the same on the East Coast with [Al] Sharpton. These black leaders, bought off, are being seen for what they are.”

Chris Hedges "Fascist Corporatocracy: False Left-Right Paradigm"



mother earth’s DISCLAIMER:
WARNING, this topic may not be safe for all viewers, the opinions and views presented are just that, opinions & views which do not necessarily represent those of the poster, DU or any DU'ers who offer opinion on the subject. Please proceed at your own risk.
If you are unable to discuss, venture into thought, or in any way confront the problems of capitalism this video may cause severe medical reactions which may include convulsions, or may require protective gear for safeguarding head injury. Please seek medical attention and inform your doctor if you suffer any ill effects.

CONTENT: I am including an M rating for mature since Hedges is candidly discussing issues that reveal the false paradigm.
There is no RT warning, so it is safe for those over age 18 to view.



Posted by mother earth | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 08:08 PM (7 replies)

Prof. Richard Wolff on Real Time



mother earth’s DISCLAIMER:
WARNING, this topic may not be safe for all viewers, the opinions and views presented are just that, opinions & views which do not necessarily represent those of the poster, DU or any DU'ers who offer opinion on the subject. Please proceed at your own risk.
If you are unable to discuss, venture into thought, or in any way confront the problems of capitalism this video may cause severe medical reactions which may include convulsions, or may require protective gear for safeguarding head injury. Please seek medical attention and inform your doctor if you suffer any ill effects.

CONTENT: I am including an M rating for mature since Marxism is candidly discussed. There is no RT warning, so it is safe for those over age 18 to view.


For further thought provoking info: http://www.rdwolff.com/

Academic positions

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan.
Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne).

Education
BA in History from Harvard College (1963);
MA in Economics from Stanford University (1964);
MA in History from Yale University (1967); and a
PhD in Economics from Yale University (1969)

For more info on published works & public presentations:
http://www.rdwolff.com/content/about

Be sure to also check:
http://www.democracyatwork.info/

-----------------

Seems the video may need to be viewed on youtube.




Posted by mother earth | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 03:53 PM (8 replies)

Wars for the Oligarchs, Has the IMF Annexed Ukraine?



Uploaded on Feb 13, 2015

Michael Hudson Report: Finance is a new kind of war and forced sell offs that the IMF is imposing is a new kind of battle ground

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13211


HUDSON: Well, the terms on which the IMF make loans, first of all, are based on austerity. The terms require more austerity and a withdrawal of all the public subsidies. Now you have Ukrainian population absolutely devastated. The only result of the IMF's austerity a program that--the conditions that it's laying down for making loans to Ukraine is you have to repay the debts. But you don't have the ability to repay their debts. So there's only one way to do it, and that's the way that we've told Greece and other countries to do: you have to begin selling off whatever you have left of your public domain, or you have to have your meeting oligarchs take on partnerships with American or European investors, so that they can buy out into the monopolies in the Ukraine. So, essentially, the IMF has a two-stage one-two punch. The punch number one is: here's the money; now you have to repay us after cutting back public spending and causing a depression. The two punch is: oh, you can't pay us? I'm sorry that all of our projections are wrong. And the IMF has been wrong on Ukraine year after year, almost as much as it's been wrong on Ireland and on Greece.

So now the real problem is: what is Ukraine going to have to sell off to pay the foreign debts that it gets for having waged the war that's devastated the economy? Well, the main things that the foreign investors want are Ukrainian farmland. Monsanto has been buying into Ukraine. But Ukraine has a law against alienating its farmland and agricultural land to foreigners. And a matter of fact, its law is very much the same as what the Financial Times reports that Australia is wanting to do today, to block Chinese and American purchase of farmlands. The IMF's position is you have to dismantle public regulations against foreign investment and you have to dismantle consumer production and environmental protection regulations. So, in other words, what is in store for Ukraine is a neoliberal policy that's guaranteed to actually make it even worse. And in that sense, finance is war, finance is the new kind of warfare using finance and forced selloffs in the IMF is a new kind of battlefield. So I'm not sure how all of this is going to really help Ukraine, and it promises to lead to yet another crisis down the road very, very quickly.

PERIES: Michael, let's unpack the debt of this crisis. Now, the war has led Ukraine into a deeper crisis. Talk about the devastation that has caused and what they have to manage in addition to what the IMF is trying to impose on it.

HUDSON: Well, when Kiev went to war against Eastern Ukraine, it fought primarily the coal mining region and the export region. Thirty-eight percent of Ukraine's exports are to Russia. And yet this was the--the export capacity has been bombed out of existence. And, in fact, the electric companies that fuel the electricity to the coal mines been bombed out. So Ukraine can't even supply itself with coal.

Now, that's very--what is so striking about all this is that just a few weeks ago, on January 28, Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, said the IMF does not make loans to countries that are engaged in war. That would be funding one side or another. And yet Ukraine is involved in a civil war.

And also the IMF articles of agreement say that it cannot make loans to an insolvent country. So how on earth can the IMF be part of a loan bailout for the Ukraine if, number one, it's at war, the war has to stop totally; number two, it's insolvent? The only solution is that Ukraine will somehow scale back its debts to private investors. And that means a lot of contrary hedge funds investors.

So, again, the Financial Times today has an article showing that an American investor has $7 billion of Ukraine debts and wants to speculate in it. How is Ukraine going to treat the speculators? And then, finally, how is the IMF going to treat the fact that Russia's sovereign fund lent 3 billion euros to the Ukraine on harsh terms through the London agreement terms that can't be written down? Is the IMF going to insist that Russia take the same haircut that it's imposing on the hedge funds? All of this is going to be the kind of conflict that's going to take much more effort than even the solutions that we've seen over the last few days have taken on the military battlefront.

PERIES: And so how could Ukraine imagine getting out of this crisis?

HUDSON: It imagines it'll get out of the crisis by the West giving it $50 billion and saying, here's all the money you need, spend it as you want. That's the extent of its imagination. This is fantasy. It's living in a dream world, except that a few weeks ago, George Soros came out in The New York Review of Books and said, give Ukraine $50 billion and look at it as a down payment on military or with Russia. Well, immediately Kiev said, yes, we will only spend them on defensive arms. We will defend Ukraine all the way up to Siberia as we wipe out the Russians.

Today, yet another Financial Times article said, yes, give Ukraine the 50 billion that George Soros asked for. We've got to enable it to have enough money that it can fight America's war against Russia. And the Europeans are saying, wait a minute, not only at the end of this, but there'll be no more Ukrainians to fight, but the war is going to spread into Poland and into elsewhere, because if the money that's given to Ukraine is really for what the Obama administration and Hillary and Soros are all pressing for to go to war with Russia, then Russia's going to say, okay, if we're being attacked by foreign troops, we're going to have to not only bomb the troops, but the airports are coming in, the railway stations are coming in. We're going to extended towards Europe. And apparently there are reports that Putin told Europe, look, you have two choices before you. The one choice: Europe, Germany, and Russia can be a very prosperous area. With Russia's raw materials and European technology, we can be the most prosperous area in the world. Or you can go to war with us and you can be wiped out. Take your choice.


----------------

All roads lead to the same villains.

Edited to add: I am no Putin lover or apologist, he certainly has shown us who and what he is, but beyond that, I am no lover of these financial wars aimed at bringing nations to their knees.

Having said that, I am really tired of the RT slams on this board too. Is there no room for opposing opinions, are we to only post and view what is presented by our own mainstream media? If that is the case, we are in more serious trouble than I believed possible. If a democratic board cannot allow for opinions which mostly come from our own US presenters simply because they are on RT...then we are beyond lost and no different than the GOP who get their lockstep talking points. Aren't we the party that self-examines & sees the bigger picture.

This is my humble opinion, but I honestly think if we call everything conspiracy if it does not fit with what TV tells us to think, we've lost our capacity for rational and free thinking, and we may as well all join the military, because it is our main focus, not life, not people, just war and more war.

In the above snipped interview...it states
there'll be no more Ukrainians to fight, but the war is going to spread into Poland and into elsewhere


When is enough, enough? Ok, stepping off the soapbox, but I do feel it needs to be said. We are democrats, we once believed and were told by FDR that dissent is our duty.

Unconditional Basic Income explained by Barbara Jacobson, European Citizens' Initiative


Published on Mar 24, 2014
World Finance interviews Barbara Jacobson, one of the organizers of the European Citizens' Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income, about whether such a system is feasible for Europe.


Universal Basic Income, Rethinking How Society Works




Army Spied on Hero Over Amazon Review


Published on Oct 15, 2013
President awards William Swenson, a former active duty Army Captain, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Captain Swenson received the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an Embedded Trainer and Mentor of the Afghan National Security Forces with Afghan Border Police Mentor Team, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, during combat operations in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on September 8, 2009.

MILITARY INTELLIGENCE
02.26.15
Exclusive: Army Spied on Hero Over Amazon Review
President Obama gave this outspoken, brave soldier the Medal of Honor. The Army dug through his trash and bothered his girlfriend.
Will Swenson is officially an American war hero, awarded the Medal of Honor, the military’s most prestigious decoration for his actions in Afghanistan. But in the eyes of the Army, he was, for a time, a target of surveillance. Army investigators staked out his house. They went through his trash. And it all started because Swenson was mentioned in a book review posted to Amazon.com.
The Army’s treatment of Swenson is one of a number of high-profile cases where the military has launched investigations into highly-decorated troops—only to have the investigations themselves come under scrutiny. Top congressmen have demanded answers from the Secretary of the Army, while insiders speculate that the deep dive into Swenson’s life was a political stunt. Before President Obama gave Swenson the Medal of Honor, he was known as much for his stinging criticism of Army leadership as he was for his heroism at the Battle of Gangal.
“There’s good reason to suspect that the investigation into Swenson was really about his award, his criticism of the Army, and the hope that agents would find something to shut him up,” said a source knowledgeable about the investigation. “All of the details the Army was looking to confirm were all within their reach from the beginning, without speaking to Swenson.”
A single Internet comment started the trail that led agents to Swenson’s Seattle condo in May of 2012, a year before Obama hung the medal on him. Documents obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast show that the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division, or CID, sent agents to question Swenson because he was thanked—along with several other people—in a paragraph-long book review.

MORE:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/26/exclusive-army-spied-on-hero-over-amazon-review.html

Richard Wolff, Global Capitalism: February 2015 (Highly Recommend)



Published on Feb 5, 2015


Monthly Economic Update
Co-sponsored by Democracy at Work, Left Forum, and Judson Memorial Church

Richard D. Wolff

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 7:30pm

“The Economics of a New Year” Judson Memorial Church Assembly Hall 239 Thompson Street at
Washington Square, Manhattan

These programs begin with 30 minutes of short updates on important economic events of the last month. Then Wolff analyzes several major economic issues. For this January 14, these will include:

1. Causes and consequences of the oil price collapse: can it produce another crash?
2. Greece: if Jan. 25 election brings Syriza victory, what happens to Europe?
3. The economics of Cuba, 1959-2014: embargo, survival, new industries, and the turn toward worker cooperatives

.......

Professor Wolff's Website: www.rdwolff.com

Professor Wolff's Podcast: http://www.truth-out.org/economic-upd...

Financial Times: What next for Greece?



Published on Feb 24, 2015
Syriza, Greece’s ruling leftist party, has radical options to avoid both Grexit and eurozone demands, but would they work? FT columnist and associate editor Wolfgang Münchau debates with Reuters News editor-at-large Hugo Dixon. Lex’s Robert Armstrong chairs

----------------


Greek PM Tsipras Briefs SYRIZA MPs on Negotiations (Feb. 25, 2015)

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gathered SYRIZA’s Parliamentary Group in order to brief the party’s MPs in detail regarding the government’s moves since it took office on January 26. Tsipras referred to the difficulties and climate the new government had to face, the alliances formed and the conflicts that took place, as well as how things progressed between the three consecutive Eurogroup meetings and how the government managed to secure a strong negotiation position.

According to SYRIZA sources, the Premier referred to the government’s achievements during that period of time. Those gains include: The distinction of the loan agreement from the Memorandum. The disengagement from the Memorandum, as an austerity policy framework. The interim agreement, which gives a breather to the Greek people. The avoidance of a plan aimed at economic and fiscal asphyxiation and essentially aimed at the government being considered a “left parenthesis.” The end of unrealistic primary surpluses. Stability in the financial system by reaching a Eurogroup agreement.

Regarding the list of the reforms approved by the institutions and loan partners yesterday, Tsipras noted that the government managed to replace the previous government’s measures with a series of targets based on the so-called “Thessaloniki program.” Furthermore, he stressed that an important step has been taken, even though things remain difficult, and that the government is judged by its ability to negotiate and govern. Finally, he said that the government should quickly put its plan forward, specify reforms and gain credibility on the basis of implementing those reforms along with credibility to loan partners about “willing to make the necessary changes in thorny issues that persist for decades.”

It should be noted that today’s meeting was scheduled for Tuesday night, after the Government Council, but it was adjourned due to the Parliament’s eventful meeting discussing the immunity lift or not of New Democracy MP Adonis Georgiadis.

Reactions prior to the meeting

Among the meeting’s participants was Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis who yesterday, during the Governing Council, expressed his objections on the reform program, estimating that the agreement is not compatible with everything SYRIZA committed it will implement.

On her behalf, Deputy Finance Minister Nadia Valavani stressed her worries on the “speed” with which the government can “run” a negotiation regarding the pre-election proclaimed measure of the so-called “100 installments.” As she underlined, it is an absolute necessity not to waste time. Moreover, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias expressed his belief that the negotiations should also have a geopolitical dimension.

The above objections came as a continuation of the criticism expressed on Sunday by SYRIZA MEP Manolis Glezos, who has heavily criticized the Greek government for the way it handled the Eurogroup negotiations as well as the agreed outcome. In a sharp statement published on the website of the Movement for Active Citizens that he founded, Glezos apologized to the Greek people for contributing to this “illusion,” as he characterized the negotiations from which many expected that Greece will have more gains.

In response to the historic member of the Greek Left, the Government Spokesperson Gavriil Sakellaridis commented that “in any case, we will not cease to honor and respect Manolis Glezos, but that was a misguided and wrong statement.”

Finally, on his behalf, SYRIZA MP Kostas Lapavitsas, in an article published on his personal blog, called for an immediate Parliamentary Group meeting, expressing his “deep concerns” regarding the Eurogroup agreement and the reforms expected by the government’s loan partners
- See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/02/25/greek-pm-tsipras-briefs-syriza-mps-on-negotiations/#sthash.Cz8rOXwd.dpuf

*Thessaloniki program:
http://syriza.gr/article/id/59907/SYRIZA---THE-THESSALONIKI-PROGRAMME.html#.VO5tqrl0yM8


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