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mother earth

mother earth's Journal
mother earth's Journal
March 31, 2015

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.
March 31, 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

March 31, 2015

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:

March 30, 2015

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?”


March 29, 2015

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.
March 20, 2015

Amy Goodman: Flush the TPP (TPP was started under GW)


Posted on Mar 20, 2015

By Amy Goodman

President Barack Obama and the Republicans in Congress are united. Yes, that’s right. No, not on Obamacare, or on the budget, or on negotiations with Iran, or on equal pay for women. But on so-called free-trade agreements, which increase corporate power and reduce the power of people to govern themselves democratically, Obama and the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder. This has put the president at loggerheads with his strongest congressional allies, the progressive Democrats, who oppose the TPP, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the most far-reaching trade agreements in history. TPP will set rules governing more than 40 percent of the world’s economy. Obama has been negotiating in secret, and the Democrats are not happy.

The battle lines are being drawn over the TPP and TPA. If you are confused, well, that is exactly what many of the most powerful corporations in the U.S., and around the world, are counting on. Trade policy is arcane, complex and long the domain of economists and technocrats. But the real-world implications of these dry texts are profound. President Obama wants to pass the TPP, which is a broad trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries in the Pacific Rim: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. In order to expedite the process, President Obama is seeking the second acronym, TPA, or Trade Promotion Authority, also called “fast-track.” Fast-track gives the president authority to negotiate a trade deal, and to then present it to Congress for a yes-or-no vote, with no amendments allowed. A growing coalition is organizing to oppose TPP and the president’s request for fast-track. The outcome of this conflict will reverberate globally for generations to come.

The TPP negotiations have been held in secret. Most people know what little they do because WikiLeaks, the document disclosure and whistle-blower website, released several chapters more than a year ago. Members of Congress also have been given limited access to briefings on the negotiations, but under strict secrecy rules that, in at least one instance recently, include the threat of imprisonment if details leak.

The TPP would be an expanded version of earlier trade agreements, like NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, involving the U.S., Canada and Mexico. NAFTA went into effect on Jan. 1, 1994, and was so harmful to the culture and economy of the indigenous people of Chiapas, Mexico, that they rebelled on that very day, in what is known as the Zapatista Uprising. Attempts to create a global trade deal, under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, provoked one of the largest protests against corporate power in history, in Seattle in late 1999. Thousands of protesters locked arms and literally blocked delegates from getting to the ministerial meeting. As unexpected solidarity between union members and environmentalists flourished in the streets, despite widespread police violence, the WTO talks collapsed in total failure.

The TPP, if passed, would implement trade rules that make it illegal for governments to create and enforce regulations on everything from environmental standards, to wage and labor laws, to the duration of copyrights. A law prohibiting the sale of goods made in sweatshops in Vietnam could be ruled illegal, for example, as a barrier to trade. Or certification requirements that lumber not be harvested from old-growth forests in Malaysia could be overturned.

Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch program is one of the leading critics of TPP:

“It’s a delivery mechanism for a lot of the things [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell and the Republicans like. So, for instance, it would increase the duration of patents for Big Pharma and, as a result, give them windfall profits but increase our medicine prices. It could roll back financial regulation on big banks. It could limit Internet freedom, sort of sneak through the back door the Stop Online Piracy Act, SOPA,” Wallach explained. “It would give special privileges and rights for foreign corporations to skirt around our courts and sue the U.S. government to raid our treasury over any environmental, consumer health law that they think undermine their expected future profits, the so-called ‘investor-state’ enforcement system. Plus, it would have the NAFTA-style rules that make it easier to offshore jobs, making it easier to relocate to low-wage countries.”

The TPP, she went on, “was negotiated with the assistance of 600 corporate advisers, official corporate trade advisers in the U.S. The agreement has been the initiative of the Obama administration. It was started by [President George W.] Bush, but instead of turning it around and making it something different, the Obama folks picked it up and, frankly, have made it even more extreme.”

Grass-roots activists are organizing against the TPP and fast-track. They work on diverse issues ranging from human rights and Internet freedom to fair trade, labor rights and the environment. The moneyed interests in Washington have the ear of the president, so they need only whisper. Now people must raise their voices, in unison, and demand to be heard.


It's interesting that this was started under GW, yet somehow some still believe we are not under corporate rule.
March 20, 2015

Part 2, The ECB's Trillion Euro Plan to Keep The Banks Afloat

The European Central Bank's Trillion Euro plan to make the economy grow will only help keep the banks afloat - March 11, 2015

Taken from full interview at above:
So, in that sense quantitative easing and the refusal of central banks to fund governments, but only to fund commercial banks, is a new kind of class war. And it's not the old kind of class war, which was simply between employers and their workforce over what wages will be. It's by the financial sector trying to take over the economy, and especially to take over the public sector, to take over the public domain, to take over public utilities, to take over whatever assets a government has, and to force governments to--essentially, if governments cannot borrow from central banks, they have to begin selling off property.
PERIES: Michael, this is exactly what's happening in Greece right now. The SYRIZA government is somewhat forced to continue privatization as a part of the agreement of the loans that they have been given by European banks. What could they do in this situation?
HUDSON: Well, this is really a scandal, because most privatizations are corrupt. In Greece, they're almost as corrupt as they are the United States--well, nothing could be that corrupt. But the SYRIZA Party coming in said, wait a minute, the privatizations that have been done are by a governmental people to their own cronies at a giveaway price. How can we balance the budget if we're giving away the public utilities instead of getting a fair price for them? The European Central Bank said, no, no, you have to give away privatization to cronies at pennies on the dollar just like Russia did under Yeltsin, just like the United States did with the railroad giveaways of the 19th century.
And remember, the American privatization [incompr.] cronies created essentially the ruling class of the 20th century. It created the stock market. Well, the same thing's happening in Greece. It's told, create a new oligarchy, endow a new kind of a feudal lord--although in the case of some monopoly lord, by giving them away, these privatization giveaways--and if you don't do that, we're going to bankrupt the banking system. Well, Varoufakis went back to the party congress in Parliament and said, will you approve this? Well, so far, the left wing in Greece has said, no, we won't approve the giveaways. This is crazy. The pretense is that privatization is to make money. But the European central bank is really saying, no, no, you can't make money; you have to give it away to your cronies, who are our cronies, and it's all one happy financial family. This is escalating financial warfare.

March 20, 2015

Understanding Quantitative Easing & Why Only The l% Are Thriving

Michael Hudson says quantitative easing is a pretext for assisting banks to make even more profit - March 11, 2015

Part 1 of 2

Michael Hudson, the president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends, is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is a Research Associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. He is the author of Super Imperialism, The Bubble and Beyond and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents. His upcoming book is titled Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.

Killing The Host, Michael Hudson
“The financial sector has succeeded in depicting itself as part of the productive economy, yet for centuries banking was recognized as being parasitic. The essence of parasitism is not only to drain the host’s nourishment, but also to dull the host’s brain so that it does not recognize that the parasite is there.

This is the illusion that much of Europe and the United States suffer under today. The aim of this book is to pierce this illusion and replace junk economics with economics based on reality. In Killing the Host, Michael Hudson argues that financial crises will continue unless we radically transform our economic and political structures, and reclaim the best ideas of classical economics.”

Full interview at link:
its cover story is it's supposed to help employment. And the pretense is an old model that used to be taught in textbooks 100 years ago. The pretense is that banks lend money to companies to invest and build equipment and hire people. But that's not what banks do. Banks lend money to real estate. They lend money to corporate raiders. They lend money to buy assets. They don't lend money for companies to invest in equipment and hire. Just the opposite. They do lend money to corporate raiders, and when they take over companies, they outsource labor, they downsize labor, and they try to squeeze out more from the labor force, and they try to grab the pensions.
So the Fed was pretty open in what quantitative easing is supposed to do since 2008. It's supposed to lower the interest rates, which raises bond prices, and it inflates the stock market. And since 2008, they've had the largest monetary inflation history--$4 trillion of quantitative easing by the Fed. But it's all gone into the stock market and the bond market.
So what has this done? Well, it's helped stock and bond holders get richer. And who are the stock and bond holders? They're the 1 percent and they're the 10 percent. And people are wringing their hands and saying, why isn't the economy getting richer? Why is it since 2008 economic inequality and the distribution of wealth have worsened instead of gotten closer together? Well, it's because of quantitative easing. It's because quantitative easing has increased the value of the stocks and the bonds that the 1 percent or the 10 percent hold, and it hasn't helped the economy at all, because the Fed is really concerned with its constituency, which are the banks.
March 17, 2015

From Nov. 2014, Predictors of 29 Crash See 65% Chance of 2015 Recession

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- In 1929, a businessman and economist by the name of Jerome Levy didn’t like what he saw in his analysis of corporate profits. He sold his stocks before the October crash.

Almost eight decades later, the consultancy company that bears his name declared “the next recession will be caused by the deflating housing bubble.” By February 2007, it predicted problems in the subprime-mortgage market would spread “to virtually all financial markets.” In October 2007, it saw imminent recession -- the slump began two months later.

The Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, based in Mount Kisco, New York, and run by Jerome’s grandson David, is again more worried than its peers. Its half-dozen analysts attach a 65 percent probability of a worldwide recession forcing a contraction in the U.S. by the end of next year.

That call runs counter to the forecasts of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The two banks posit an expansion that has plenty of room to run.

“Clearly the direction of most of the recent global economic news suggests movement toward a 2015 downturn,” chairman David Levy told clients in an Oct. 23 edition of a monthly forecasting report, which at over 60 years purports to be the oldest of its kind.

Why the gloom? Levy argues the U.S. and many advanced economies still have balance-sheet excesses exposing them to renewed financial crisis. There is limited room for policy makers to reverse any slump, and low inflation risks tipping into deflation in many parts of the world.

U.S. Exposure
While the U.S. is doing relatively well, Levy is worried that at about 13 percent of gross domestic product, U.S. exports represent their largest share ever.

American companies also are getting a historically large proportion of earnings from abroad and households are vulnerable to any bear market because their ratio of stocks to disposable income is higher than at any point aside from the start of this century, he said.

Granted, there have been some misfires. In September 2010, Levy told Bloomberg Television that he saw a 60 percent chance of another U.S. recession. Instead the world’s largest economy has gained in strength.

The upshot of the latest forecast is that even if a slump is avoided, the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates near zero until the next decade, according to Levy.

“Without first strengthening substantially, we think it highly unlikely that global financial stability will hold together long enough for the Fed to signal and execute a rate increase,” he said.

March 16, 2015

Syriza - a Necessary Compromise or Avoiding an Inevitable Conclusion?

Dimitri Lascaris and Leo Panitch discuss the Greek government's negotiating strategy and whether it should be preparing to leave the Eurozone - March 15, 2015

Excerpt from: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13412

LASCARIS: I don't know whether they're going to actually survive from a fiscal perspective until beyond March, let alone a year or months down the road. They have to make a choice. It's unfortunate that there being put to this choice, these very extraordinary and difficult circumstances, but that's the choice confronting them. And they can either continue down this path, or they can liberate themselves from the straitjacket of the Eurozone and recover some degree of sovereignty and have some degree of latitude to address the humanitarian crisis, or they can continue to see a contraction of their GDP, they can continue to see an increase in poverty, they can continue to see a rise in the suicide rate. That's the choice confronting them, unfortunately. They don't have the luxury of time.
JAY: Leo, quick final word.
PANITCH: I don't think it's that simple, I must say. I agree with you, Dimitri, yeah, I agree that Europe is not going to give them a lot of breathing space. I think they're going to have some. I think the big difference between them and the previous government is that they are going to be implementing this, rather than a set of reactionaries. And I think that does make some difference.
And one has to weigh that against what the implications would be for the Greek people of pulling out. And when you speak of a humanitarian crisis, you need to speak of a country that, unlike Venezuela, did not have high oil prices to fund its social solidarity program. That's the country you're speaking of. And you need to then--you need to think through what a wealth tax and what some nationalization would give them in order for the humanitarian crisis not to get worse when they pull out.
So I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. I just think one needs to be [incompr.] going to be honest, one needs to not only say they haven't got that much space in Europe; one needs to ask how much--what will be the short-term implications and be honest about it in terms of being cut off at the moment. But I'm not sure in the end that they won't have to go. I just don't think one can expect this to be determined within weeks of the election.


An interesting interview further explaining the rise of the far right throughout Europe due to austerity. The far right very definitely will cause the collapse of the EU and are calling for it. The reality is there is no compromise by Germany to bring an end to austerity, which remains completely unsustainable, so the question remains for Syriza, for Greece, to stay within unsustainable austerity or to leave, all of which will likely play out over the coming weeks. It seems there is only one way through all of this, either an exit through chaos and a far right takeover, or an exit due to no compromise via Germany's stranglehold and Syriza's lead. Leaving the EU means more pain, but with no let up of austerity measures, there would be seen a light at the end of the tunnel. While there is a seeming stalemate at hand, it seems an exit is still very much ahead for Greece.

Shall we see total revolt & a far right exit, or perhaps a more reasoned exit via Syriza? Certainly the people have overwhelmingly rejected austerity and that rejection is sweeping throughout Europe. Germany, you have forgotten the mercy shown you in your darkest moment, and you are forcing what lies ahead.

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