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Index March 2010

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How Our Entire Economy Became a Ponzi Scheme

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We’re only just discovering how widespread the rip-off schemes riddling our economy are - Published on, by Andy Kroll, March 18, 2010.

Every great American boom and bust makes and breaks its share of crooks. The past decade – call it the Ponzi Era – has been no different, except for the gargantuan scale of white-collar crime. A vast wave of financial fraud swelled in the first years of the new century. Then, in 2008, with the subprime mortgage collapse, it crashed on the shore as a full-scale global economic meltdown.  As that wave receded, it left hundreds of Ponzi and pyramid schemes, as well as other get-rich-quick rackets that helped fuel our recent economic frenzy, flopping on the beach. Continue Reading…

Mortgage lending falls to a nine-month low

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Published on Times, by Robert Lindsay, March 29, 2010.

Mortgage approvals fell to their lowest level in nine months during February, the Bank of England has revealed, fuelling concerns that a recovery in the British market has stalled … //

… Last week, Alistair Darling announced in his Budget that stamp duty on homes worth less than £250,000 would be removed immediately and paid for with an increase in duty on those above £1 million, which will come into effect next year.  Continue Reading…

EBRD hopes for 10 billion euros more cash

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Bankwatch calling for environment, social justice and transparency

Published on IFIwatchnet, by CEE Bankwatch, March 18, 2010.

On Tuesday 23rd March, the directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development EBRD are due to sign off on a document that lays out the bank’s intentions for lending in central and eastern Europe for 2011-2015 – based on this document, the EBRD hopes to receive an extra 10 billion euros in capital from its shareholders, international governments who provide the EBRD with public money … //

… Bankwatch’s concerns are outlined on a new website featuring cartoons to illustrate some of the weaknesses in the EBRD’s operations. Join us … EBRD country representative … (full text) … (more info).

Excessive Centralization Creates Inefficiency

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… and Prevents Authentic Popular Protagonism – Published on Zcommunications, by Marta Harnecker, March 21, 2010.

… 2. Decentralization: An Antidote to Bureaucratism:

Obviously this was not Lenin’s idea; he always related the phenomenon of bureaucracy to the state inherited from capitalism.  When he died he was worried about the “bureaucratic ulcer” which was affecting the state apparatus. In one of his last writings he maintained that “our state apparatus is to a considerable extent a survival of the past and has undergone hardly any serious change. A few days earlier he had described it as “a bourgeois and tsarist hotch-potch.”  Continue Reading…

Is It The Operation Maoist Hunt?

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Published on World Prout Assembly, by Gladson Dungdung, March 21, 2010.

After a long preparation, debate and politics, finally the Indian government launched the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ (OGH) in Jharkhand on March 10 with the objective of cleansing the Maoists from the state. Though P. Chidambaram the CEO of the OGH declines it calling the Operation Green Hunt but his officers are using the term shamelessly. Nearly 10,000 security forces consisting of CRPF, Cobra, Jaguar, STP and other groups have been deployed in the forests, choppers are roaming over the forests, schools are converted into military camps, forests are sealed and the combing operations are being carried out in the forests with the support of local Adivasi youth who are named as the Special Police Officers (SPO) duplicated from the Salwa Judum theory of Chhatisgarh.  Continue Reading…

Financial Fraud in America. Wall Street: The Next Big Fight

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Published on Global, by Danny Schechter, March 25, 2010.

In Britain, the police are raiding Hedge Funds to bust insider traders. In America, the Hedge Funds are still raiding us, even as public opinion calls for a crackdown on Wall Street. One recent poll, in a nation that seems so divided on everything, showed 82% for aggressive action. 82%!

A new Bloomberg survey says the public wants the government to punish  the financial fraudsters. “57 percent of Americans have a mostly unfavorable or very unfavorable view of Wall Street, versus fewer than one-quarter who have a favorable opinion. Banks are viewed badly by 54 percent of poll respondents, and 60 percent have a negative opinion of insurance companies.” Continue Reading…

Selling South Africa: Poverty, Politics and the 2010 FIFA World Cup

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Published on Global, by Chris Webb, March 24, 2010.

Why is it that governments can find billions of dollars for global sporting events and little to deal with the grinding poverty that affects impoverished populations? Canada applauded itself for the $135-million in aid and disaster relief it sent to an earthquake ravaged Haiti while spending nearly $6-billion on the two-week long Vancouver Olympics. A similar contradiction is revealing itself in South Africa, where massive amounts of public and private spending on the upcoming 2010 Soccer World Cup are expected to salve a faltering economy and crippling poverty. Most South Africans, however, will see little direct or sustained economic benefit from the games let alone muster the funds to even purchase a ticket.  Continue Reading…

Some Notes on Poverty and the Responsibility of Government

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Published on political affairs pa, by Frank Chapman, 2-22-2010.

… The U.S. Census Bureau released in November, 2009 a report on poverty, healthcare insurance and unemployment. This report covers the period the period 2007-2008 and makes the following points:

That there are 39,108,422 people living in poverty in the United States. States with the largest cities are of course the hardest hit. E.g. California has 4,781,201, New York 2,595,816, Florida 2,375,225, Ohio 1,489,314, Pennsylvania 1,454,240, Michigan 1,402,738 and Georgia 1,388,959 people living in dire poverty.  Continue Reading…

Disinformation and the Capitalist Economic System: What Is To Be Done

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Published on Global, by Walter Crompton and Finian Cunningham, March 23, 2010.

An especially frustrating and destructive facet of being humanitarian in these times is the feeling of hopelessness in damming the swelling stream of lies and ominous news.  The proliferation of alternative news media, such as Global Research, is testimony that people around the world can see beyond the veil of disinformation and misinformation, through to the hideous truth of domination by organized anti-social forces. But what good are sharp vision and a good heart if our hands and feet are not brought into the picture? …  //   Continue Reading…

back in the real world

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.R (8) korrigiert 30p.

This picture was made by one of our Thai Divemasters during the many safaris.