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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

Journal Archives

Greece and the Crisis of Europe: Which Way Out?


from Dollars & Sense:


Greece and the Crisis of Europe: Which Way Out?
By Marjolein van der Veen | May/June 2013


The Greek economy has crashed, and now lies broken on the ground. The causes of the crisis are pretty well understood, but there hasn’t been enough attention to the different possible ways out. Our flight crew has shown us only one emergency exit—one that is just making things worse. But there is more than one way out of the crisis, not just the austerity being pushed by the so-called “Troika” (the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Commission, and European Central Bank (ECB)). We need to look around a bit more, since—as they say on every flight—the nearest exit may not be right in front of us. Can an alternative catch hold? And, if so, will it be Keynesian or socialist?

The origins of Greece’s economic crisis are manifold: trade imbalances between Germany and Greece, the previous Greek government’s secret debts (hidden with the connivance of Wall Street banks), the 2007 global economic crisis, and the flawed construction of the eurozone (see sidebar). As the crisis has continued to deepen, it has created a social disaster: Drastic declines in public health, a rise in suicides, surging child hunger, a massive exodus of young adults, an intensification of exploitation (longer work hours and more work days per week), and the rise of the far right and its attacks on immigrants and the LGBT community. Each new austerity package brokered between the Greek government and the Troika stipulates still more government spending cuts, tax increases, or “economic reforms”—privatization, increases in the retirement age, layoffs of public-sector workers, and wage cuts for those who remain.

While there are numerous possible paths out of the crisis, the neoliberal orthodoxy has maintained that Greece had no choice but to accept austerity. The country was broke, argued Troika officials, economists, and commentators, and this tough medicine would ultimately help the Greek economy to grow again. As Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) put it, “[T]he EU authorities have opted to punish Greece—for various reasons, including the creditors’ own interests in punishment, their ideology, imaginary fears of inflation, and to prevent other countries from also demanding a ‘growth option.’” By focusing on neoliberal solutions, the mainstream press controls the contours of the debate. Keynesian remedies that break with the punishment paradigm are rarely discussed, let alone socialist proposals. These may well gain more attention, however, as the crisis drags on without end. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2013/0513vanderveen.html



Robert Parry: Regret over Gary Webb’s Demise

from Consortium News:


Regret over Gary Webb’s Demise
June 1, 2013

Exclusive: For several decades, mainstream U.S. journalists have fled from the career-threatening label “liberal,” even to the point of destroying honest colleagues who got in the crosshairs of the Right. The story of the late Gary Webb and his Contra-cocaine revelations was a troubling case in point, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry


One of the Los Angeles Times reporters who joined in the orchestrated destruction of investigative journalist Gary Webb’s career has acknowledged that the newspaper’s assault – joined by the Washington Post and the New York Times – was a “tawdry exercise” amounting to “overkill,” which later contributed to Webb’s suicide.

This limited apology by former Los Angeles Times reporter Jesse Katz was made during a radio interview and comes as filming is about to start on “Kill the Messenger,” a movie about how, in 1996, Webb revived the scandal of the Reagan administration’s protection of cocaine traffickers involved in the CIA-backed Contra war against Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government.

Webb’s investigative series for the San Jose Mercury News traced some of the Contra cocaine to one of the most important early manufacturers of “crack” in Los Angeles. His articles aroused anger toward the CIA especially from African-American communities which bore the brunt of crack-related violence in the 1980s. That pressure, in turn, forced the U.S. government to begin providing answers as to why sporadic media and congressional investigations into the Cocaine-cocaine issue in the 1980s had been met with such hostility.

In December 1985, my Associated Press colleague Brian Barger and I had been the first reporters to disclose the problem of many Contra units getting involved with the drug trade as a means of raising money. Our story prompted then-freshman Sen. John Kerry to conduct an investigation which turned up more evidence implicating the Contras. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2013/06/01/regret-over-gary-webbs-demise/



How Big Finance is Eating the World’s Agricultural Wealth


from Naked Capitalism:


Saturday, June 1, 2013
Sasha Breger: How Big Finance is Eating the World’s Agricultural Wealth


By Sasha Breger, a lecturer at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and author of the recent book Derivatives and Development. Her research includes global finance, derivatives, social policy, food, and farming. Cross posted from Triple Crisis


If you hear a kind of whooshing, rushing noise, don’t worry—it’s not US jobs moving to China. Today’s great sucking sound is the sound of agricultural wealth being siphoned off into the global financial system. Dragging poverty and insecurity in its wake, this broad movement of wealth from agriculture into finance is enriching and empowering finance capital at the expense of farmers, traders, consumers, rural communities and the earth. In fact, that sucking sound is really the sound of injustice.

Finance capital globally deploys a huge variety of methods and techniques that generally serve to redistribute wealth from agriculture to finance. These include debt, farmland acquisition, commodity hoarding, and derivative and insurance markets. In the following posts, I outline the wealth transfer mechanism in each of these contexts, focusing largely on new data and evidence from the past several years.

Debt

Debt markets are one of the oldest meeting places for agriculturalists and financiers. Under the right conditions and in the correct amounts, debt can finance long-term, productive agricultural investments that improve the well-being of farmers, boost rural communities, and grow and diversify national economies. Unfortunately, lots of agricultural debt around the world is more odious in nature. At the national level, the governments of commodity dependent states frequently borrow too much and for the wrong purposes (for a whole host of interesting reasons). Agricultural wealth in the form of commodity export earnings and government revenues is then utilized to service sovereign debts to financial institutions (usually foreign), a practice which in turn reinforces commodity dependence and undermines public investment, among other harms that have long been noted by debt scholars like Susan George.

At the farm level, debts have been rising for several decades as governments closed up their rural development banks (which used to offer subsidized credit), crops failed, input prices soared and crop prices at the farm gate fell in real terms. In some of these cases, debt repayment works as a mechanism to siphon agricultural wealth off into the informal financial system; in others, debts result in a redistribution of wealth toward the formal financial system. .................(more)

Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/06/sasha-breger-how-big-finance-is-eating-the-worlds-lunch-agricultural-wealth.html#QpwYVhDSD9SMeQzu.99



How Big Finance is Eating the World’s Agricultural Wealth


from Naked Capitalism:


Saturday, June 1, 2013
Sasha Breger: How Big Finance is Eating the World’s Agricultural Wealth


By Sasha Breger, a lecturer at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and author of the recent book Derivatives and Development. Her research includes global finance, derivatives, social policy, food, and farming. Cross posted from Triple Crisis


If you hear a kind of whooshing, rushing noise, don’t worry—it’s not US jobs moving to China. Today’s great sucking sound is the sound of agricultural wealth being siphoned off into the global financial system. Dragging poverty and insecurity in its wake, this broad movement of wealth from agriculture into finance is enriching and empowering finance capital at the expense of farmers, traders, consumers, rural communities and the earth. In fact, that sucking sound is really the sound of injustice.

Finance capital globally deploys a huge variety of methods and techniques that generally serve to redistribute wealth from agriculture to finance. These include debt, farmland acquisition, commodity hoarding, and derivative and insurance markets. In the following posts, I outline the wealth transfer mechanism in each of these contexts, focusing largely on new data and evidence from the past several years.

Debt

Debt markets are one of the oldest meeting places for agriculturalists and financiers. Under the right conditions and in the correct amounts, debt can finance long-term, productive agricultural investments that improve the well-being of farmers, boost rural communities, and grow and diversify national economies. Unfortunately, lots of agricultural debt around the world is more odious in nature. At the national level, the governments of commodity dependent states frequently borrow too much and for the wrong purposes (for a whole host of interesting reasons). Agricultural wealth in the form of commodity export earnings and government revenues is then utilized to service sovereign debts to financial institutions (usually foreign), a practice which in turn reinforces commodity dependence and undermines public investment, among other harms that have long been noted by debt scholars like Susan George.

At the farm level, debts have been rising for several decades as governments closed up their rural development banks (which used to offer subsidized credit), crops failed, input prices soared and crop prices at the farm gate fell in real terms. In some of these cases, debt repayment works as a mechanism to siphon agricultural wealth off into the informal financial system; in others, debts result in a redistribution of wealth toward the formal financial system. .................(more)

Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/06/sasha-breger-how-big-finance-is-eating-the-worlds-lunch-agricultural-wealth.html#QpwYVhDSD9SMeQzu.99



Keiser Report: Debt Death Camps





Published on Jun 1, 2013

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert the many ways to skin a debt cat: from Iceland where foreign unsecured creditors have been stiffed; to Greece where debtor prisons are under consideration; and to Spain where citizens were steered into Bankia shares before collapsing 99 percent in value; and, finally, the UK where inflation is the preferred debt/death camp option. In the second half, Max talks to George Galloway about Scottish independence, Rocky Marciano at the Senate hearings and the problem with unilateral socialism in a cold water Cuba.




Keiser Report: Love, Trade, Recession





Published on May 30, 2013

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert observe that spankings are trading at an all time high in London while on international markets, the enduring love for gold sees record volumes of physical metal trading hands. In the second half, Max talks to Mitch Feierstein, author of Planet Ponzi, about VIX volumes surging as old dummies are replaced with new dummies in the global central bank operated ponzi scheme. They discuss the optimism bias that provides a ripe environment into which UK chancellor, George Osborne, can introduce the biggest ponzi of them all with his "Help to Buy" scheme.




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