Monday, February 02, 2015

I Can't Take it Anymore - Feb 2015 update

  •  last week, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney sharply criticized austerity policies common to the Eurozone states, warning that the single-currency area was constrained by strangulating levels of debt that could plunge it into years of stagnation. 
  •  Following Carney’s comments, UK economist and anti-austerity campaigner Michael Burke argued that debt burdens of struggling EU states such as Greece and Ireland are unsustainable, and must be largely written off if real growth is to occur in these states.

Jan 2015 update. The sweeping victory of Alexis Tsipras's left-wing Syriza party raises hope for a better life in Greece and dashes Merkel's demands for endless austerity.  Read on.

"The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945"
Dmitri  Christoulas
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Our Capitalist Manifesto: Welcome to laissez-faire Global Capitalism!! Anything goes! We the bankers and international oligarchs own the system, enforce the rules, and the public must pay for it.  As personal profit is our sole motive we shelter our wealth off shore to hide it from Nation States, lend without discipline and constraints to create collapsing bubbles, day trade for speculation from tax havens sums that exceed by many times the world's daily GDP , and take ownership of the media and flood the political system with largess to ensure it does our bidding. We grab hold of an ever increasing share of the nation's wealth from a less worthy citizenry and accept that many will provide their inexpensive labour within a modern framework of serfdom.

In the US, Canada, Great Britain and the greater part of Europe the public, largely disillusioned and passive, have retreated from participation in the public debate. Demonstrations are scattered, lacking teeth and soon forgotten. France is currently an exception that raises hope for revolutionary reforms. This hope for change comes from a movement on the Far Left that has become the third force in the election battle. It is a revolutionary call for citizens to take charge to gain their rights and bring an end to laissez-faire capitalism. It's apparent that there is an awakening of a disillusioned public, many of whom in the past have retreated from voting. With more than 15% of the popular vote and not far behind the UMP(conservatives) and PS(Socialists) they have become a deciding factor in who will take power in France. It is also a cry that is reaching the public in Greece, Spain and other countries now facing years of brutal restraints to pay off the bankers who are largely responsible for creating the financial mess they are in.

This movement is being led by a fiery orator,  Jean-Luc Melanchon who is attracting audiences of  70, 000 or more wherever he speaks filling public squares and surrounding streets.  Here is a video of his oration in Toulouse. You don't have be bilingual to gain an impression of his passionate delivery and the audience's enthusiastic response. 

His critics, of which he has many, say that his programs for radical reforms are unaffordable, in conflict with France's trading partners and excessively idealistic. Clearly his is critics are right if France decided to go it alone, but I think Melanchon  is reaching out for an international audience to bring about unbearable pressures on laissez-faire capitalism and those fighting to maintain the status quo. 

The months ahead will determine whether this movement burns out from exhaustion or this is the beginning of a constructive and hopefully non-violent revolutionary movement that will spread.

Feb 2015 update.
Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras
Feb 2015 Update!! On Jan 25th the Greeks finally gave voice to "I can't take it anymore" and elected the left-wing party SYRIZA led by Alexis Tsipras winning a legislative election for the first time ever, securing 149 out of the 300 seats, 2 seats short of an absolute majority. On the other hand, conservative and then-ruling New Democracy lost 53 seats and obtained its worst result ever in terms of seats won.

 The above was written in 2012. With the election of Alexis Tsipras, Merkel's demands for endless austerity is being challenged and with it the overpriced Euro. In the months ahead we predict that southern European countries including France will rally around Greece's issues . Like Roosevelt before them, they realize  that austerity is the problem and not the solution.

Thomas Friedman,"Imperial Messenger''

The armchair warriors of Official Washington are eager for a new war, this time with Russia over Ukraine, and they are operating from the same sort of mindless “group think” and hostility to dissent that proved so disastrous in Iraq, 

Robert Parry.

The Nitwits are in charge
Exclusive: Pundit Thomas Friedman laments that the new Cold War isn’t funny enough for him, but there really isn’t anything funny about the U.S. plunging into an unnecessary nuclear showdown with Russia over Ukraine while Friedman and his fellow VIPs misreport what’s happening, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Sometimes I wonder if today’s crop of U.S. pundits and pols could ever rise to meet some truly urgent need of the American people, let alone the interests of the world. Everything, it seems, is done with a snigger and an attitude – even as we stumble into a wholly unnecessary confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia over which batch of thieves and oligarchs gets to run Ukraine.

Friedman's position as one the world’s leading pundits is “testament to the degenerate state of the mainstream media”, and right to characterize him as a “mouthpiece for empire and capital” and “resident apologist for US military excess and punishing economic policies”.

 BelĂ©n Fernández, Verso

 “The walls had fallen down and the Windows had opened, making the world much flatter than it had ever been--but the age of seamless global communication had not yet dawned.”
Matt Taibbi's  comments about  Friedman's prose:
“How the fuck do you open a window in a fallen wall? More to the point, why would you open a window in a fallen wall? Or did the walls somehow fall in such a way that they left the windows floating in place to be opened? Four hundred and 73 pages of this, folks. Is there no God?”

Though Thomas Friedman, a leading New York Times Columnist is clearly a shill and has been wrong again and again such as promoting the stampede into Iraq, He is still regarded as perhaps the preeminent foreign policy pundit in the U.S. media.  I find  him horribly glib and superficial. He is a booster of globalization and with it the spreading of the good will and intentions of US foreign policies and initiatives. He even sees the wars in Iraq, Aghanistan and other foreign interventions as beneficial, spreading American know how, and enlightenment to backward nations. The violence and killings are merely an inconvenient but  necessary shaking up of backward people. 

Here are a few a few of his observations and beliefs.
  •  “to be a French educated Arab intellectual is the worst combination possible for understanding globalization. It is like being twice handicapped” 
  • “the education of Hezbollah….the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians – the families and employers of militants – to restrain Hezbollah in the future”
  • Friedman announces in 2003 that the reason for the invasion of Iraq was the need to burst a “terrorism bubble” that had emerged in “that part of the world”:
  •  His complaint that American occupying forces in Iraq “are baby-sitting a civil war” is a direct echo of Barack Obama’s promise during the 2007 presidential election campaign that “we're not going to babysit a civil war”, as though the bloodbath engulfing the country was attributable to the infantilism of its people and not to the effects of it being violently invaded by a foreign power. Elsewhere, Friedman’s likening of the US occupation of Afghanistan to the adoption of a “special needs baby” 
In the Ukraine Friedman states as fact that 9,000 Rusian troops are in Ukraine. As usual Friedman throws around accusations without adequate evidence. The Guardian provides a much more balanced perspective while aware of thae dated photos and uncertainty of much of the evidence.

Which brings us to the issue of his views about Ukraine and Russia. As the United States rushes into a new Cold War with Russia, we are seeing the makings of a new McCarthyism, challenging the patriotism of anyone who doesn’t get into line. Friedman and Hilary likening Putin with Hitler is a pathetic cheap shot unworthy of a leader. It might be more rational to associate the very active Nazi's movement in Kiev with Poroshenko and his aid and support from the US's notorious Victoria Nuland, the famous 'regime change advocate' who when working for Dick Cheney promoted the disasters in Iraq and Libya and  hand picked the leadership in Kiev. Seems this would be worth Friedman's comments.