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Index May 2010

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Our Planet Is At A Crossroads

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Linked with International Vegetarian Union IVU. – Published on IVU, by George Jacobs, not dated.

Our planet is at a crossroads. The good news is that, partly through the efforts of the member organizations of the International Vegetarian Union, more and more people are turning away from meat, and plant-based foods are becoming more readily available. Unfortunately, at the same time, worldwide meat consumption continues to rise.

Vegetarian activists from around the world will together in Indonesia from 1-7 October, 2010. We will be meeting at a time when our planet is at a crossroads. We are at a crossroads because the destruction that meat consumption causes has never been greater, nor have we ever had a clearer, more science-based picture of why we need to switch to a plant-based diet. Continue Reading…

Call For a European Mobilisation Against the Dictatorship

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Linked with CADTM (its Homepage). – Published on Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt CADTM, by Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt, May 28, 2010.

Protests have been taking place regularly for months in Greece to express opposition to the austerity plan the Greek government, European leaders, and the International Monetary Fund decided to impose on the Greek people. Today, the leadership of this country is no longer in the hands of its elected officials, but has been placed under the authority of the IMF and European institutions, which means an absence of any democratic control. Several general strikes have already taken place since the beginning of 2010 in response to a call from all the unions and left-wing political parties. The exemplary Greek struggle echoes what happened in Eastern Europe in Romania, Hungary, and Latvia, and in other Balkan countries such as Bosnia, or in Ireland and more recently Iceland, which have all faced similar austerity plans.  Continue Reading…

Afghanistan: Reading between the lines

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Linked with Eric Walberg – Canada. – Published on Online Journal, by Eric Walberg, May 28, 2010.

The movement to “get the troops out now!” has found unlikely converts in the form of the Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition in Britain. The election campaign suggested nothing new could be expected from any of the parties on Afghanistan, despite the fact that over 70 percent of Britons want the troops home.

So eyebrows were raised with the news that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was Prime Minister David Cameron’s first visitor at Chequers. They went higher still when Foreign Minister William Hague made his first foreign destination Kabul, where he called for the withdrawal of troops as soon as possible.  Continue Reading…

Calculus of Congress Party Failure

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Published on CHOWK (first in Daily Times, 13th May 2010), by Rakesh Mani, May 17m 2010.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is on the cusp of celebrating the first birthday of its second term in office. But far from being a celebratory occasion where the party and the people can look to further consolidation in the four years to come, the mood is gloomy. There is almost a sense of shoulder-shrugging disenchantment palpable. The government, re-elected as the alternative to the right-wing Hindu parties, has struggled with a boatload of problems on the domestic front. Continue Reading…

EU proposes bank tax to end unacceptable taxpayer bailouts

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Published on Telegraph.co.uk, BST, 26 May 2010.

Banks must face new taxes to avoid repeating the ‘unacceptable’ bail-outs of failed banks that cost taxpayers billions, the European Union’s chief financial regulator warned.

European banks may face taxes on the size of their balance sheets, on how much they owe other institutions or on how much profit they make, Michael Barnier, the EU’s Financial Services Commissioner said on Wednesday.

The cash raised would be used to pay for future bail-outs.  Continue Reading…

UK unveils 1st round of cuts; much more to come

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Published on News Center, by Reuters, May 25, 2010.

… But the rest would be used to bring down the deficit. Government advisory bodies – known as “quangos” – would lose 513 million pounds in funding. There would be a hiring freeze across the civil service and almost all departments would have to find savings.

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The business ministry, for example, will have its budget cut by more 800 million pounds. Continue Reading…

Let them eat Twinkies

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(what’s a Twinkie?) – Published on Online Journal, by Linh Dinh, May 24, 2010.

The working class and peasants of Thailand were protesting a system that had repeatedly disenfranchised them, most notably in the ouster of populist Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Streaming in from the provinces, these men, women and children set up camp in the heart of commercial Bangkok. Disrupting business as usual, they had specific demands.

After two months, they were finally routed by troops and armored cars, but not before they could torch Central World, one of the biggest shopping malls on earth, and the Thai Stock Exchange. Through all this popular discontent then bloody crackdown, there was not a peep from Washington, but that’s no surprise, really. Whatever its rhetoric, the U.S. has always backed business interests over human or worker’s rights. Our labor history is proof enough of this.   Continue Reading…

Euro Collapse Looms?

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Will the Ban on Naked Short Selling Reverse the Slide of the Euro?

Watch this video of 5.02 min., published on Global Research.ca, by F. William Engdahl, May 22, 2010.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Euro currency is at risk and that Europe faces its greatest challenge since the EU was formed. It comes as stock markets in Europe and Asia tumbled on the surprise news that Berlin was banning types of ’short selling’ where investors profit by betting that shares will drop in value.

(Global Research Articles by F. William Engdahl).

The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the XXI Century – Preface

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Linked with Michel Chossudovsky – Canada. – Published on Global Research.ca, by Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, for May 25, 2010.

The following text is the Preface of The Global Economic Crisis. The Great Depression of the XXI Century, Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall (Editors), Montreal, Global Research, 2010, which is to be launched in late May … //

… Our Analysis in this Book:  Continue Reading…

Standing in the way of development?

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Linked with European Network on Debt and Development EURODAD.

Published on EURODAD, by a report by Eurodad & Third World Network,  20 April 2010.

In an effort to respond to the global financial crisis, the G20 dramatically strengthened the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in developing countries, including in low income countries (LICs). To address the urgent financing needs of LICs, the G-20 boosted the Fund’s concessional lending capacity, which in 2014 will be ten times higher than before the crisis.  Continue Reading…

The German Government Has Had Enough

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Published on The Market Ticker, by Karl Denninger, May 18. 2010.

If you thought the German government was going to be a lapdog for Sarcozy, or worse, was going to fellate Brussels and the ECB, you got a rude shock today. It appears that the German Government has just plain had enough of the crap that the banksters have tried to pull, and has decided to do what Barack Obama should have done in early 2009. That is:

  • No more naked credit crap, especially against sovereigns but not only against sovereigns.  No insurable interest, no CDS – period.
  • Naked shorting will now be actually stopped in 10 leading financial institutions.
  • Germany has had it with naked shorting of Gold, and specifically noted bank manipulation of gold prices via naked shorts beyond intent or ability to deliver.
  • Germany has also said that they’re not going to permit Euro derivatives that are not a “bonafide” FX hedge.  That is, no more naked bets on Euro movements either.
  • Hedge funds are going to be regulated, position size limits mandated and enforced, reporting enhanced and a transaction tax is coming. Continue Reading…

How to Break Up the Banks …

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… and stop massive bonuses, and rein in wall street greed

Published on AlterNet, by Zach Carter interviewing Nouriel Roubini, May 18, 2010.

… AlterNet economics editor Zach Carter recently spoke with Roubini about the financial crisis, the subsequent bailout, the financial reform bill moving through Congress, and the global economic outlook:

Zach Carter: How is the financial reform legislation goingContinue Reading…

Strategy shift in the Middle East

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Published on Voltairenet.org, by Thierry Meyssan, May 16, 2010.

The failure to reshape the Greater Middle East has left the field open to a new alliance, the Tehran-Damascus-Ankara triangle. Since nature is allergic to vacuums, Moscow is filling the space left vacant by Washington. The wind has changed and it’s blowing strong. In a matter of a few months, the entire regional balance of power has tipped.

In recent months the equilibrium of the Middle East has undergone a complete shift. First of all, the capabilities and positions of a number of players have changed … (full text).

Basculement stratégique au Proche-Orient

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Publié sur Voltairenet.org, par Thierry Meyssan, 15 Mai 2010.

L’échec du remodelage du Grand Moyen-Orient a laissé le champ libre à une nouvelle alliance, celle du triangle Téhéran-Damas-Ankara. La nature ayant horreur du vide, Moscou comble l’espace laissé vacant par Washington. Le vent a tourné et il souffle fort. En quelques mois, c’est tout l’équilibre régional qui a été bouleversé.

L’équilibre du Proche-Orient a été entièrement modifié au cours des derniers mois. Tout d’abord, les capacités et les positions de plusieurs acteurs ont changé … (lire le long texte entier).

Socialism in North Dakota

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Published on People’s World, by John Case, May 14 2010.

The Bank of North Dakota is the only state-owned bank in America. Despite that, or because of it, the bank earned a record profit last year even as its private-sector corollaries lost billions.

Some who have difficulty even absorbing news of a profitable socialist enterprise point to North Dakota’s well-insulated economy, which is heavy on agricultural staples and light on housing speculation, as the source of its success … //

… They also provide a dividend back to the state. The Bank of North Dakota stands to make somewhere north of $60 million this year, and will turn over about half of the profits back to the state general fund. And so over the last 12 years, a third of a billion dollars has been returned to the general fund to offset taxes and to aid in funding public sector needs.  Continue Reading…

The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States

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Published on Global Research.ca, by David DeGraw,May 15, 2010.

As the Economic Elite continue their plunder, the people in Greece riot and the big banks score yet another big blow against the people of the United States.

  • I: Democracy Vs. Oligarchy: Lessons from History
  • II: The Second Civil War: Financial Reform 2010
  • III: Financial Terrorism Operations: 9/29/08 & 5/6/10
  • IV: Economic Imperialism and Blowback
  • V: Propagandized in America
  • VI: Save Yourself and Take Action  Continue Reading…

Brazil’s President To Visit Iran In ‘Last Chance’ To Avert UN Sanctions

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Published on Radio Free Europe /Radio Liberty, by Michael Hirshman, May 15, 2010.

A country with an active nuclear program comes under intense international pressure. Many suspect that, despite stated goals of producing nuclear power, a secret weapons program is under way.

While this scenario describes Iran today, it also describes Brazil during the late 1970s and ’80s. After opting for cooperation over defiance, the South American country voluntarily ended its nuclear-weapons program and has retained its civilian nuclear industry while raising its diplomatic stature.  Continue Reading…

Financial Reform: How We Can Save Our Economy

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Linked with Propsperity Agenda.us, with Mobilize for our Economy, and with A New Way Forward.

Published on Global Research.ca (first on Prosperity Agenda), by Tiffiny Cheng and David DeGraw and Kevin Zeese, May 13, 2010.

The next few weeks will culminate into a defining moment in American history and lay the course for our economic future. After two years of being asleep at the switch, Congress is finally stepping up and taking action on financial reform. The resulting bill will be a clear indication and definitive proof as to who is actually running our country. Will it reinforce the dominance of the Wall Street elite, or will it mark a rebirth of the rule of law and economic prosperity for millions of Americans who have seen their standard of living decline? … //  Continue Reading…

Feast and famine

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As the world is hit by a food crisis, the markets see nothing immoral in skimming off a profit

Published on The Guardian, by Zoe Williams, 12 May 2010.

The price of cheddar is going to go up by 10% over the next six months. This is quite a rare food story, now, in terms of price rises: it’s localised; it pertains directly to British weather conditions (too wet – cows don’t like it); it feels containable, finite. This makes it a marked contrast to the general run of agricultural stories, which foretell total disaster. The UN this week made its report, tangentially about food, foreseeing price hikes, shortages and wars, all plausible consequences of the world’s failure to halt biodiversity loss … //  Continue Reading…

Behind the burqa

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Published on Le Monde Diplo, by Serge Halimi, April 2010.

The French probably know more about the number of minarets in Switzerland (four) and burqas in France (367) (1) than they do about the French exchequer’s loss of €20bn as a result of a technical executive decision.

When the French government rescued banks 18 months ago, it did not in return take shares, which could have been sold later at a handsome profit, preferring instead to grant a loan on favourable terms – for the banks. Twenty billion euros ($27bn) more for the shareholders, almost as much as the social security deficit last year ($29bn) and 40 times as much as the state saves each year by replacing only half the civil servants who retire.  Continue Reading…

Economics Representations

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Published on real-world economics review blog, by David Ruccio, May 8, 2010.

An example I often use at the start of my introductory economics courses is a “man sitting on a street corner, with no job.” I ask the students to tell a story about the man: who he is, and why he has no job. As readers can imagine, they tell a wide variety of stories—imagining different ages and races, and different reasons why he has no (apparent) job. He’s alternately black, white, and hispanic; he’s young, old, and middle-aged; he either doesn’t have a job or he’s doing something illegal; and, if he doesn’t have a job, it’s because he’s lazy, uneducated, or the economy isn’t supplying enough decent jobs at decent wages.  Continue Reading…

KEEN’S DEBT MARCH: Twin peaks

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Published on Business Spectator, by Rob Burgess, 23 Apr 2010.

… In nine days on the road with Steve Keen, Business Spectator has witnessed many debates lead by this obsessive but intellectually dynamic professor. He’s stopped to drink wine with his dozen-strong entourage, gorged on pub meals to replace the calories burned up through hours of walking and running, pacing back and forth, mobile to ear, organising and reorganising motels and transport. And he’s spent hours telling anyone who’ll listen that Australia is headed for the mother of all financial collapses, the result of a debt fuelled housing bubble that simple cannot get much bigger.

Today, a short 20km sprint up the mountain will finish the Canberra to Kosciusko ‘Keen Debt March’ – a physical and intellectual experience the likes of which no member of the walking party is likely to see again.  Continue Reading…

The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the XXI Century

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, May 9, 2010.

(The following text is the Preface of  The Global Economic Crisis. The Great Depression of the XXI Century, Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall (Editors), Montreal, Global Research, 2010, which is to be launched in late May):

The Failure of Mainstream Economics:

The economics profession, particularly in the universities, rarely addresses the actual “real world” functioning of markets. Theoretical constructs centered on mathematical models serve to represent an abstract, fictional world in which individuals are equal. Continue Reading…

Global food bubble on the way?

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Linked with More arms, less food for people, with There’s a food crisis coming, with (Mis)investment in Agriculture, with Food stamp usage at record levels – America the hungry, and with Jean Ziegler – Switzerland and its links.

Watch the two videos, published on The Real News.com:

Conservation’s poverty reduction claims questioned

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Does greater biodiversity help or hinder the world’s poorest people? – Published on Nature.com, by Natasha Gilbert, 6 May 2010.

The conservation of biodiversity is often touted as a win-win solution both for the environment and for the world’s poorest people, who rely on vanishing natural resources for food and income.

But several studies presented at a meeting of the Zoological Society of London last week challenged the largely anecdotal evidence linking conservation projects with a reduction in poverty. Instead, researchers argued, the financial or employment opportunities that arise from conservation efforts all too often go to more affluent people in local communities. “If poverty reduction is your objective for a conservation project, it’s not a good focus,” says social scientist Craig Leisher, a senior adviser to the Nature Conservancy, a conservation agency in Arlington, Virginia. “There are better ways to do it” … //  Continue Reading…

Cutting Public Debt: Economic Science or Class War?

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Linked with Politics and International Studies ESSL. – Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin No. 350, by Hugo Radice, May 4, 2010.

… Class Warfare:

The answer to this question, now as in the 1970s, lies not in economics, but in politics, or more specifically, in class warfare. It concerns the privileged position of private wealth within our restricted form of democracy. After 1945 the propertyless in most parts of the world, West, East and South, made remarkable gains in their well-being and in the strength of their political voice. By the mid-1970s, the propertied classes, whether capitalists, usurers, merchants or landlords, or indeed the Soviet-bloc bureaucratic elite, found themselves on the defensive on many fronts.  Continue Reading…

a high finance predator’s attack?

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Sorry found only in german: Die Euro-Festung wird sturmreif geschossen (english: the Euro under predator’s attack):

Published on Kopp-Verlag.de, by Niki Vogt, May 05, 2010.

Am gestrigen Dienstag-Nachmittag meldete die israelische Website »Globes«, dass Spanien einen Hilfskredit von 280 Milliarden Euro fordere. Deutschland sei weder fähig noch willens, Spanien bei einer solchen Summe noch Rückhalt zu bieten. Daher sei das Schicksal des Euro besiegelt. Das Gerücht verbreitete sich wie ein Lauffeuer an den Börsen … //  Continue Reading…

(Mis)investment in Agriculture

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The Role of the International Finance Corporation In Global Land Grab – Linked with Oakland Institute.

Published on The Oakland Institute, 59 pdf pages, by Shepard Daniel with Anuradha Mittal, Foreword by Howard G. Buffett, Copyright © 2010 by the Oakland Institute.

… Introduction:

The global land grab, to a great extent, has been spurred by the events surrounding the Food and Financial Crises of 2008. In response to the crises, many developing countries looking to regain their economic footing increased their openness to foreign direct investment (FD I) in emerging markets—particularly in agribusiness and tourism.  Continue Reading…

London: the most unequal city in the developed world

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Published on Tax Justice Network’s Blog, May 03, 2010.

Linked on our blogs with Tax Justice Network (/their Homepage).

Recently we revealed the fact that land ownership in Britain is more unequal even than in Brazil. Now The Guardian expands on this theme, noting that the richest tenth of the London population has amassed 273 times the wealth owned by the bottom tenth:

We are getting wealth inequalities in London now as far as we know that have not been seen since the days of a slave-owning elite. The lesson is that it is not enough to just stop the disparity in incomes from getting bigger – you have to make it smaller to stop wealth inequality from getting worse … //    Continue Reading…

Ron Paul and Alan Grayson: Audit the Fed!

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Ron Paul and Alan Grayson appeared on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show to discuss their efforts to audit the secretive Federal Reserve:

Watch the video published on YouTube: Audit the Federal Reserve: HR 1207 and S 604, 13.34 min.

Restructuring the Bretton Woods Twins

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Watch this video published on ZNet, 7.56 min, by Jayati Ghosh, May 03, 2010. – Prof. Jayati Ghosh of Jawahar Lal Nehru University talks about restructring the I.M.F and World Bank in the context of the BRIC and Ibsa Summit (India, Brazil, South Africa) of April 2010.

Links:

If We Broke Up Standard Oil, We Can Break Up the Giant Banks

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Published on Global Research.ca, by Washington’s Blog, April 30, 2010.

If we broke up standard oil, we can break up the giant banks. Says who? Senator Ted Kaufman (interviewed recently by The American Prospect’s Tim Fernholz).

You and Senator Sherrod Brown have proposed an amendment that would cap the size of the largest banks and, in effect, break them up. How do you sell this to people who are leery of what seems like a radical move? … // Continue Reading…

The Rise of the Economics Underdogs

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Published on Real-World Economic Review Blog, by Norbert Haering, April 28, 2010.

No economist saw the crisis coming? But some did, and the Real-World Economics Review Blog has announced a prize for the best doom-mongers. To decide who should get it, Internet users can vote online.

The question of which representatives of the economic profession deserve the biggest blame for the Great Financial Crisis, has already been resolved: Alan Greenspan, Milton Freedman and Larry Summers. Now the alternative economists from the network for post-autistic economics want to show that many economists have warned of the crisis. Only no one with the power to do anything has paid attention, because those who warned did not belong to the mainstream.  Continue Reading…

War with China? The Dangers of a Global Conflagration

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Rising and Declining Economic Powers: The Sino-US Conflict Deepens

Linked on our blogs with James Petras – USA. – Published on Global Research.ca, by Prof James Petras, April 29, 2010.

… US Responses to Imperial Decline:  Saving the Empire Sacrificing the Nation – Washington has pursued at least six responses to its decline:

1.

  • The long term, large scale response of Washington to its declining position in the world economy and its declining political influence in several regions is to extend and reinforce its global military base networks[21].  Beginning in the 1990’s it converted the former Warsaw pact countries – Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, etc. – into NATO members under US military leadership.  It then extended its military reach by incorporating the Ukraine and George as “associate” members of NATO.  This was followed by establishing bases in Kyrgystan, Kosova and other statelets of the ex Yugoslavian republic. Continue Reading…