Archive for May, 2009

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Double, double, toil and trouble: Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

May 31, 2009


‘Double, double, toil and trouble: Fire, burn, and cauldron, bubble.’
-The Witches, 4.1, Macbeth

Not in eighty years have the conditions for global revolution been so ripe. A glance at the following thirteen headlines, taken together, should be enough to alarm anyone with synaptic activity that revolutionary consciousness is awakening internationally.
Why now? Because never has so much affluence been lost in the Western standard of living than in the period we are currently experiencing. And things will get worse. The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer and the middle class is quickly disappearing.

The more protests and demonstrations, the better; the quicker the Masters of the Universe will get the message that they cannot rule people who are unwilling to be impoverished for the coffers of the Elite. Capitalism is dying an ugly death; but in the end, people will not care about ideology – they will care about the decline in the stardard of living to which they have become accustomed.

People are about to change the Darwinistic political/economic paradigm that has dominated earth for so long. And there will be blood.

Truly wise Masters of the Universe would act now to eliminate the suffering of ordinary people. However, it does seem we are ruled by madmen. Time for a challenge to the status quo; and the cauldron is seething.

Injustice boils in men’s hearts as does steel in its cauldron,
ready to pour forth,
white hot,
in the fullness of time. -Mother Jones

European farmers protest to demand help on milk prices

May 26, 2009

Furious farmers have blockaded roads and forced a halt to production at scores of dairies as part of Europe-wide protests designed to reverse a slump in the wholesale price of milk.

As they gathered on Monday, European Union farm ministers met to discuss the crisis, with nations divided over those wanting the quota system, set to be scrapped within six years, maintained in one form or another.

In Brussels, farm tractors blocked major roads in the city’s European quarter, where police said about 900 demonstrators had rallied to make their voices heard by the agriculture ministers.

Riot police were seen trying to hold back the protesters, who converged on the Belgian capital from 10 countries, but the farmers broke through their barricade, despite receiving truncheon blows from some officers. Read entire article

FACTBOX-Trade union activity in Western Europe

May 28, 2009

Unions across Europe protesting. Read entire article

Civil Unrest

Michael C. Ruppert
27/02/09

It Seems as if The World is Holding Its Breath for Obama’s change…

Already devastated by auto layoffs and other massive corporate failures, Ohio’s industrial areas border and are in close proximity to Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Lots of kindling in those states. At the same time as Ohio is devastated by DHL, auto and other layoffs, much of the nation’s high-tech wind turbine industry in Ohio is also shutting down at the same time… just when we need it. The snake eats its own tail for nutrition. It is the way money works… for now.

Civil unrest in Ohio could easily infect across state lines here, and cross another fault line that runs east and west, separating north from south; the Mason Dixon. Other earthquakes might be triggered. Eastward from Ohio are Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I wonder how much inter-agency advance planning DHS and FEMA have gone through so that they might operate fluidly across many borders, radio frequencies and jurisdictions. Those contingencies were planned for in the Patriot Act which congress didn’t or couldn’t read before voting on it. Read article

George Soros, the man who broke the Bank,
sees a global meltdown

March 28, 2009

This recession, he explains, is a “once-in-a-lifetime event”, particularly in Britain. “This is a crisis unlike any other. It’s a total collapse of the financial system with tremendous implications for everyday life. On previous occasions when you had a crisis that was threatening the system the authorities intervened and did whatever was necessary to protect the system. This time they failed.” Read entire article

California’s new budget proposal
slashes welfare, releases inmates

By Kevin Yamamura
The Sacramento Bee

In California’s latest doom-and-gloom announcement, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Department of Finance on Tuesday proposed closing the state’s main welfare program, releasing nonviolent prisoners one year early and shuttering up to 80 percent of state parks to shrink the state’s $24.3 billion budget deficit. Read entire article

Amnesty Report Warns World on
Verge of Global Unrest

29 May 2009

Amnesty International released its annual report yesterday, warning that that the world is on the verge of global unrest, with existing poverty severely worsened by the international economic crisis. In every major geographic area the report details conditions relating to social and economic insecurity, poverty and deprivation, and more. Read entire article

World Bank warns of social unrest

World Bank President Robert Zoellick has warned of the destabilising effects of unemployment.

The head of the World Bank has warned that the global economic crisis could lead to serious social upheaval.

“If we do no take measures, there is a risk of a serious human and social crisis with very serious political implications,” Robert Zoellick said. Read entire article

Cities across the world become platform for hundreds of thousands of protesters against Gaza fighting

11th January 2009

Cities across the world became the platform for protest on Israel’s military action in Gaza today.

Organisers said more than 250,000 people marched through Spain’s capital of Madrid, with other European cities including Athens, Brussels, Rome, Naples Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin also the focal points of protesters.

The protest in Madrid was the largest of demonstrations across Europe, although there were expressions of both support and opposition for the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Read article; see photos

More EU protests planned over unemployment

May 15, 2009

MADRID, Spain (CNN) — Protests are expected to continue in Brussels on Friday after tens of thousands marched on the streets of Spain’s capital Thursday to demand better protection for workers hit hard by the economic crisis. Thousands take part in the Madrid demonstration, organized by the European Trade Confederation.

Dressed in funeral black to mourn the estimated 4 million jobless in Spain, demonstrators had a simple message for the government: Enough corporate bailouts; it’s time to focus on the workers. Read article

Up to 100,000 demonstrate in Berlin for more job protection

16.05.2009

The protests came only two weeks after massive demonstrations on May 1. Up to 100,000 protestors have marched through the heart of Berlin, demanding the government do more to protect jobs during the recession. The rally was part of a series of protests across the European Union.

Trade union officials said 100,000 people took part in Berlin’s protest, while police put the total at “several tens of thousands”.

The rally was organized by the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) as part of a series of four demonstrations across Europe with the motto “Fight the crisis. Europe needs a new social deal”.

Amidst Germany’s deepest recession since World War Two, unemployment has risen consecutively in the past 6 months and forecasts for the coming year are even bleaker. Demonstrators accused the government of putting big business first, and not doing enough to protect the people. Read entire article

Economic crisis damaging human rights, report says

ELITSA VUCHEVA
28.05.2009

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Human rights violations remained widespread across the world in 2008, including Europe, with the global economic crisis not only aggravating the existing problems, but creating new ones as well, human rights group Amnesty International’s yearly report released on Thursday (28 May) shows.

“The global economic crisis is an explosive human rights crisis. A combination of social, economic and political problems has created a [across the world],” said Irene Khan, the group’s secretary general.

“There are growing signs of political unrest and violence, adding to the global insecurity that already exists because of deadly conflicts which the international community seems unable or unwilling to resolve. In other words: we are sitting on a powder keg of inequality, injustice and insecurity, and it is about to explode,” she wrote in the introduction to Amnesty’s report on the situation of human rights in the world. Read article

France NATO protesters, police clash; Michelle Obama hospital visit cancelled over security worries

April 4th 2009

STRASBOURG, France — Black-clad protesters attacked police and set a customs station ablaze Saturday on a bridge linking France and Germany that served hours earlier as the backdrop for a show of unity by NATO leaders.

AP photographers saw other protesters storm a nearby Ibis hotel, setting fires and pilfering alcohol from its bar.

Stacks of old tires were also set ablaze, unleashing thick plumes of black smoke that could be seen from across the river. Near the bonfire was a sign welcoming visitors to Strasbourg.

First lady Michelle Obama and other spouses canceled a visit to a cancer hospital out of concern for security, the French president’s office said. Some 1,000 protesters were staked out near the hospital they were to visit.

Some of the protesters say they want an end to war and call NATO a tool of Western imperialism. Others simply appear bent on causing chaos. Read article

Civil Unrest in America?

José Miguel Alonso Trabanco
Global Research
March 9, 2009

The only thing that can be taken for granted and that one can be sure of is that the unthinkable has now become thinkable.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor and early supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, has warned that civil unrest on American soil is a possibility that should not be dismissed. Brzezinski explains that “[the United States is] going to have millions and millions of unemployed, people really facing dire straits. And we’re going to be having that for some period of time before things hopefully improve. And at the same time there is public awareness of this extraordinary wealth that was transferred to a few individuals at levels without historical precedent in America…” Brzezinski concludes with this noteworthy remark “…hell, there could be even riots”….

Professor Michel Chossudovsky observed that the US Army 3rd Infantry’s 1st Brigade Combat Team returned from Iraq some months ago. That information is extremely disturbing because such military unit “may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control”, according to official sources. Now, what scenario could possibly require the operational deployment of said units on American soil? Professor Chossudovsky puts forward an intriguing hypothesis that must be borne in mind. He argues that “Civil unrest resulting from from the financial meltdown is a distinct possibility, given the broad impacts of financial collapse on lifelong savings, pension funds, homeownership, etc”. Read full article

Some day the workers will take possession of your city hall, and when we do, no child will be sacrificed on the altar of profit! -Mother Jones

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Shape of things to come

May 19, 2009


I have written on the shape of things to come before here. Disturbing trends are converging at a rapid rate which portend an entirely different future than humans have imagined (except in science-fiction).

Three articles below stand out as huge milestones in the relentless march toward a New World Order: sophisticated human implants, corporation monopolies of food production and the alliance of China and Russia politically. The vehicle of implementing surveillance through implants and DNA collection, could very well be world hunger as corporations have taken over food production.

When I first blogged on these issues, I was alarmed. But finding the ongoing progress of technology to control the masses, I am beginning to fear the road ahead for us. Not that I have a solution – but the first step in definitely being aware.

Saudi ‘Killer Chip’ Implant Would Track,
Eliminate Undesirables

05-17-2009
Source

It could be the ultimate in political control — but it won’t be patented in Germany.

German media outlets reported last week that a Saudi inventor’s application to patent a “killer chip,” as the Swiss tabloids put it, had been denied.

The basic model would consist of a tiny GPS transceiver placed in a capsule and inserted under a person’s skin, so that authorities could track him easily.

Model B would have an extra function — a dose of cyanide to remotely kill the wearer without muss or fuss if authorities deemed he’d become a public threat.

The inventor said the chip could be used to track terrorists, criminals, fugitives, illegal immigrants, political dissidents, domestic servants and foreigners overstaying their visas.

“The invention will probably be found to violate paragraph two of the German Patent Law — which does not allow inventions that transgress public order or good morals,” German Patent and Trademark Office spokeswoman Stephanie Krüger told the English-language German-news Web site The Local.
Click to enlarge pic.

The 21st century’s bleak harvest


Rising food prices increased the aid dependency of developing countries [GALLO/GETTY]

By Asif Mehdi, development practitioner
Source

As the world staggers from one economic crisis to another, it seems easy to forget the global food crisis that occupied centre stage in 2008.

World prices for essential grains more than doubled between 2006 and 2008.

Rice, the staple food of most of Asia, doubled in price in just seven months. And, despite their commitments to trade liberalisation, a few significant grain-exporting developing countries rushed to protect domestic grain stocks by banning exports.

The poor, who typically spend between 50 and 70 per cent of their meagre incomes on food, were most affected by the crisis.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the food crisis raised the number of undernourished people from 923 million to more than one billion by this year.

In late 2007 and 2008, the crisis caused food riots in at least 15 countries across the world, from Brazil to Bangladesh, and international media and forums spoke of little else.

Then, as suddenly as it struck, declining prices relegated the food crisis to collective global amnesia.

Causes not addressed

However, while prices for grains and foods have declined in 2009, they are still higher than pre-crisis levels and the fundamental causes of their volatility have not disappeared.

The international economic system has witnessed a dramatic disbanding of trade and investment barriers.

However, the international market for agricultural commodities, the nature of industrial agriculture, changing consumption patterns and international finance all threaten to make food price volatility and food insecurity a recurrent feature of the early 21st century.

Agriculture offers a textbook case of international market distortion. And in this case, the market distortion is created by precisely the developed countries that extol the virtues of free markets.

Double standards

The developed world protects its domestic agriculture with any number of subsidies and technical barriers to trade.

In 2006, for example, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimated that agricultural subsidies in OECD member countries were about $230bn.

In contrast to the magnitude of those subsidies, Official Development Assistance from OECD member states amounted to $120bn (the US alone had a military budget of $600bn in 2007).

The agricultural subsidies cover a host of measures – from domestic price support, to compensation to farmers for maintaining fallow land, to export price subsidies to dumping, some of which is disguised as food aid.

Paradoxically, international trade negotiations and, more importantly, International Monetary Fund (IMF) lending conditions expect developing countries to remove agricultural subsidies and liberalise domestic markets to imported foods.

While these measures allow for the increased availability of food, they have also eroded domestic agriculture and impoverished the rural economy, often in the most economically fragile states.

It was not surprising that the most impoverished countries were unable to meet the international price surge with increased domestic production, or the release of buffer stocks of staple food commodities.

In fact, those countries became ever more aid dependent as governments struggled to find the resources to pay the bills for imported food (and fuel), in the face of sharpened threats of hunger and undernourishment.

Industry domination

The opening of developing country markets does not benefit the average farmer in the developed world.

The international agricultural industry is dominated by a few grain, seed, chemicals and oil companies.

Such is their market power that three companies control the global grain trade and one company controls 60 per cent of seed production.

The grain trading conglomerates have unchecked market power to hoard and influence world prices.

Seed companies have employed breakthroughs in biotechnology to produce seeds that are compatible only with certain brands of pesticide or supply patented terminator seeds which germinate just once, and therefore the seed from a harvest cannot be used to grow a second crop.

This last feature of the seed business ensures a seed serfdom for the farmer, who cannot set aside part of the harvest for replanting.

It is no wonder, then, that the profits of the grain traders soared to astronomical heights in 2007, in one case up by 60 per cent over the previous year.

And it is no wonder that small farmers are bankrupted by one crop failure because of their inability to afford to buy or finance the procurement of seed for a new crop.

Industrialised agriculture

The other facet of industrialised agriculture is its energy intensity and reliance on hydrocarbon resources, whether as fertiliser or as fuel.

The poorest were most seriously impacted by rising food prices [GALLO/GETTY]
During the heyday of the Green Revolution, one study noted that between 1945 and 1994 US energy input for agriculture increased four-fold while crop yields only increased three-fold.

Since then, energy input has continued to increase without a corresponding increase in crop yield.

Barring a breakthrough in seed technology, industrial agriculture has reached a point of diminishing marginal returns from energy usage.

In addition, the fact that oil resource availability has peaked suggests that oil prices will be on a long-term increase, thereby increasing the costs of food production.

Given the nature of the financial crisis in developed countries, it is highly doubtful that governments will have the fiscal resources to increase subsidies to the agricultural sector, in order to contain the increase in prices.

For the developing world, fiscal constraints on governments and the likely drying up of development assistance will have the same impact.

Food to fuel

The recent movement in the developed world to produce bio-fuels is yet another factor propelling the price of grains.

A World Bank study, prepared in April 2008, pointed out that a third of US corn production goes to produce ethanol and half the vegetable oils produced in the EU to the production of biodiesel.

This diversion from food to fuel is subsidised extensively, while imports from Brazil (which has had the longest standing and most extensive bio ethanol production) are subjected to tariff barriers that effectively prohibit imports of Brazilian ethanol into these markets.

Commodity speculators, seeing the potential from increased demand for grains in these subsidised programmes, drove up futures commodity prices which in turn raised current prices in grain markets.

The same World Bank study contends that 75 per cent of the food price increase was due to bio-fuels, a figure hotly contested by the Bush administration at the time.

An International Food Policy Research Institute study asserts that the effect was somewhat less, at 30 per cent of the food price increase.

Ideology of the rich

The financial crisis in itself was a cause for the food price hike.

While prices rose steadily through 2006 and 2007, the latter half of 2008 saw a sharp increase in prices, in a so-called price spike.

However, little had changed in the fundamental conditions of supply or demand to cause such dramatic market adjustments.

If the financial crisis reduces aid another food crisis could be devastating[GALLO/GETTY]
By now it is clearly evident that as the unregulated and complex financial sector of the US was facing the unfolding effects of the real estate bubble, trillions of dollars moved across sectors and spaces and invested in food and primary commodities, causing another price bubble, this time of an altogether more serious consequence.

The simultaneous inflation of oil and food futures caused cost increases in the production of food while inflating its trading prices at the same time.

It seems that finance had run out of opportunities for profit, so it turned to the earth as a means of generating speculative profit, whether through real estate or primary commodities and food.

As the more recent financial crisis has shown, there is no regulatory capacity to stop such profiteering from reoccurring.

These are the difficult prospects and consequences of a world run by the ideology of the rich and powerful.

Development lessons

There are development lessons to be learned here.

First, food security is an issue requiring long-term international effort and food security demands that local agriculture be able to supply domestic needs wherever possible and that reserve stocks are garnered for difficult times.

Second, the developing nations are justified in holding out in the Doha Round of trade negotiations until real and tangible concessions are made with regard to trade in agricultural products.

Third, national development efforts need to be replenished with such ‘old fashioned’ endeavours as investing in rural production, water availability and the empowerment of the small farmer.

Economic history shows us that industrialisation was preceded by agricultural transformations, with the state playing a heavy role.

And economic history is a better guide to policy than the theorising of free marketers serving powerful corporate interests.

Asif Mehdi works in international development with an international intergovernmental organisation and has worked extensively in Asia and Africa during his 29-year career as a development practitioner.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Al Jazeera.

China’s top legislator: China-Russia partnership
enjoys fast growth

05-17-2009
Source

The strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Russia is currently showing all-round momentum and rapid growth as high-level contacts remain frequent, China’s top legislator said in Moscow on Wednesday.

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, made the remark during a meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.

Wu, who arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for an official goodwill visit, said he appreciates the frequent contact between leaders of the two countries.

He said Medvedev’s visit to China last year helped lay the foundation for continuous growth of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Medvedev said that he and Chinese President Hu Jintao held their first meeting this year during the London G20 summit in April. He expressed the wish that they will have more meetings later this year.

The Russian president said he expects Hu to pay a state visit to Russia in June. Medvedev also expects to meet with Hu during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit and the summit of “BRIC” countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India and China, later this year.

China and Russia this year also are to hold a series of activities to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Wu and Medvedev stressed the importance of parliamentary exchanges between the two countries, saying they reflect the high level of development of the China-Russia partnership of strategic cooperation.

Wu said the strong China-Russia partnership is reflected in such areas as frequent contacts between top leaders of the two countries, the staging of “Russian Language Year” in China, the signing of an oil cooperation agreement between the two governments, and exchanges between the NPC and the Russian parliament.

Russia, Medvedev said, places high importance on parliamentary exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.

The Russian president also said Wu’s visit reflects the momentum of fast growth in bilateral links.

Source: Xinhua

http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2009-05/14/content_252734.htm

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Jimmy told us about torture in 2007

May 15, 2009
Jimmy Carter: U.S. Tortures Prisoners

Friday, October 12th, 2007

AP Source

The U.S. tortures prisoners in violation of international law, former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday, adding that President Bush makes up his own definition of torture. “Our country for the first time in my life time has abandoned the basic principle of human rights,” Carter said on CNN. “We’ve said that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to those people in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo, and we’ve said we can torture prisoners and deprive them of an accusation of a crime.” Bush, responding to an Oct. 4 report by The New York Times on secret Justice Department memorandums supporting the use of “harsh interrogation techniques,” defended the techniques Friday by proclaiming: “This government does not torture people.”

Carter said the interrogation methods cited by the Times, including “head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures,” constitute torture “if you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored — certainly in the last 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated. “But you can make your own definition of human rights and say we don’t violate them, and you can make your own definition of torture and say we don’t violate them,” Carter said. In an interview that aired Wednesday on BBC, Carter ripped Vice President Dick Cheney as “a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military.”

Carter went on to say Cheney has been “a disaster for our country. I think he’s been overly persuasive on President George Bush.” Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell declined to speak to Carter’s allegations. “We’re not going to engage in this kind of rhetoric,” she said. In the CNN interview, the Democratic former president disparaged the field of Republican presidential candidates. “They all seem to be outdoing each other in who wants to go to war first with Iran, who wants to keep Guantanamo open longer and expand its capacity — things of that kind,” Carter said.

He said he also disagreed with positions taken by Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who have declined to promise to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq over the following four years if elected president next year.

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52% Say Legalise Marajuana in US

May 14, 2009
“Cannabis by Night”
Colurtesy: geopium.org

New Poll: 52% Say Marijuana Should Be Legal,
Taxed, Regulated

Zogby Poll Commissioned by Conservative Group
Is Similar to Other Recent Surveys.

Salem-News.com
Source
May-06-2009

(WASHINGTON D.C.) – A new Zogby poll commissioned by the conservative-leaning O’Leary Report has found 52 percent voter support for treating marijuana as a legal, taxed, regulated substance.

The survey, published as a full-page ad in today’s issue of the political newspaper The Hill, polled a sample of 3,937 voters weighted to match the 2008 presidential outcome — 54 percent Obama voters and 46 percent McCain supporters.

“This new survey continues the recent trend of strong and growing support for taxing and regulating marijuana and ending the disastrously failed policy of prohibition,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C.

Voters were asked: “Scarce law enforcement and prison resources, a desire to neutralize drug cartels and the need for new sources of revenue have resurrected the topic of legalizing marijuana. Proponents say it makes sense to tax and regulate the drug while opponents say that legalization would lead marijuana users to use other illegal drugs. Would you favor or oppose the government’s effort to legalize marijuana?”

The results showed a decisive majority of 52 percent in favor with 37 percent opposed and 11 percent not sure — slightly higher than the 46 percent support reported in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released at the end of April.

In California, the respected Field poll recently found 56 percent support for making marijuana a taxed, regulated product that is legal for adults.

“Voters are coming to realize that marijuana prohibition gives us the worst of all possible worlds — a drug that’s widely available but totally unregulated, whose producers and sellers pay no taxes but whose profits often support murderous drug cartels,” Kampia said.

“The public is way ahead of the politicians on this.”

With more than 27,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

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Baby eagle cam live

May 12, 2009

eagles x2.  1 eggThanks to Reject the Herd for this great find!

Baby Eagle Cam HERE

This image will only be clear for daylight hours of Canada’s west coast PST. I have never been in an eagle’s nest with a chick before and never thought I would be: but, among the amazing things I have seen in this cam view, is the mother eagle feeding the baby chick and ‘doing housekeeping’ chores. The absolute vigilant strength of a mother’s instinct in this magestic predator is spellbinding for me.

Also amazing is how many viewers are like me, watching this cam; 500+ at one time. There is also a chat room at the cam site…tho I am not sure that words can express the miracle that happens in this eagle’s nest. Hope you enjoy it and catch an active period on the cam.

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Economic quick fix – HA HA HA

May 10, 2009


The Patriotic Retirement Plan
“How Would You Fix the Economy?”

Source
May 09, 2009

The St. Petersburg Times Newspaper, Business Section asked readers for ideas on “How Would You Fix the Economy?” This guy nailed it!

Dear Mr. President,

Please find below my suggestion for fixing America’s economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force.

Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings – Unemployment fixed.

2) They MUST buy a new American CAR. Forty million cars ordered – Auto Industry fixed.

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing Crisis fixed.

It can’t get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress and their constituents pay their taxes…
If you think this would work, please forward to everyone you know. If not, please disregard.

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Ireland must re-invent itself

May 9, 2009



One of the main drivers of the Celtic Tiger was the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Ireland with lower corporation taxes. Ireland having been in the economic dumps for decades jumped with glee at the prosperity of jobs that American corporations brought to Irish people. The other main driver was the property boom, fueled by low interest rates and speculation.

Both drivers are bust now: the corporations that fueled our economy are moving jobs to countries with lower costs (wages); thus we are again seeing a migration of Irish people to countries that have been the benificiaries of these jobs. It was, of course, inevitable. The bottom has fallen out of the property market worldwide and will not recover soon.

Yet Ireland is capitalistic, through and through. We seek not to examine our system and its moral failures, but to maintain our prosperity. It has not really occurred to the government (or the people) that capitalism itself is failing from internal contradictions, way beyond the control of the Irish government and industry.

Ireland is more dependent than ever on the EU, our own Big Brother, and locked into a capitalist form of economy for the foreseeable future. But the capitalist system is doomed, sooner or later.

For our own good, and the good of all, the word ‘socialism’ must creep back into our moral dialogue as a partial solution to the crisis of today. Putting ‘people before profits’ must be our priority in fashioning the Ireland of tomorrow. Ireland was a leader in economic development for the world previously; it must now find the courage to lead again with innovative thinking that moves us away from the shackles of corporate capitalism.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Economic theory without a moral dimension is savagery. When Ireland prospered from FDI and the jobs of foreign corporations, the people gorged themselves on affluent consumption without a thought to the real corporate priority of ‘profits’ before people. The consequences of ignoring the moral dimension of corporate strategy has left the Irish gobsmacked with the speed at which jobs are leaving the country.
  • It is always a mistake to ignore the basic philosophy of those on which one depends. What goes around comes around. It was Einstein who said that the definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We cannot fix what was the wrong direction; we can only be aware of the right direction. The Irish people themselves must decide whether personal affluence or common good is a priority for Ireland’s future.
  • With the current economic crisis, the approval of the Lisbon Treaty is likely as terrified Irish people vote in a desperate attempt to save themselves. Personally, I find provisions of the Treaty very troublesome, especially the prospect of having Nicholas Sarkozy or Tony Blair president of the EU for 2 1/2 years. (Both did extreme damage to the political unity of the EU in just the 6 short months of their terms recently: imagine what havoc they could wreak for five times that period?)
  • The Irish government scrambling to maintain Ireland’s lower tax rate for corporations may very well be in vain. First with more power, the EU has a strong eye toward ending this deferential designation for the entire Eurozone. Second, Obama is getting set to close the loopholes for American corporations who outsource their operations to avail of tax breaks internationally. (Article below) So the strategy of attracting more FDI for another boom maybe fatally flawed altogether.
  • We are not going back to the Celtic Tiger consumer frenzied lifestyle. The entire Western world is in the same position. Ireland is about to relearn the lessons it has forgotten from days gone by: less is often more. Waste and self-indulgence support corporate profits, but do not necessarily produce a happy, secure culture.

Once the Irish are finished lamenting the loss of materially surpassing the rest of the world, they may consider how to re-invent themselves and their economy in a way which affirms the basic values deeply embedded in the Irish culture. This will require some real focus on the now-to-the-future link, rather than action from financial panic; it will require solidarity and vision.

Ireland is small, but that is as much a boon as a disadvantage. By bonding with other small countries in the EU like the Czech Republic, the Irish people can change the future. Small countries of the EU can indeed tip the scale on the direction of what ‘political unity’ means in Europe.

Now is the time to lead with fresh thinking. But first we must stop and reconsider our basic values and shade the glare of unfettered consumerism from our vision; we must stop panicking and start observing the abundant opportunities that surround us. If the Irish people do not decide the direction of their future now, it will be decided for them.

European ‘tax havens’ face Obama action
President Obama is spearheading a tax shake-up

By Alex Ritson
BBC News
Source

Ireland and the Netherlands are two countries which could fall foul of President Obama’s plan to crackdown on tax havens.

For many years, some of the best-known American companies in the world, including the software giant Microsoft have maintained large operations in European countries with low corporate tax rates.

President Obama claims current US tax law for American corporations has created a system where “you pay lower tax if you create a job in Bangalore, India than if you create a job in Buffalo, New York”.

The argument centres on what are known as “tax deferral rules”, which make it more expensive for American companies to reinvest overseas profits at home than abroad.

Tax rates

Now tax experts are warning that President Obama’s proposals will make many American corporations reconsider their overseas investments – and that this could be very bad news for Ireland and the Netherlands.

Currently, an American company which invests in Ireland pays corporation tax on its profits there of 12.5% to the Irish government.

In the Netherlands, the rate of corporation tax is 25.5%.

As long as the American company never brings the profits home to America, that’s the only tax it will ever have to pay.

Until now, that’s been a big disincentive to ever bringing the profits home, where the corporation tax rate is more than three times that of Ireland’s – at 39.25%.

President Obama sees that as a loophole and believes that by closing it, he will raise an extra $60bn in taxation over the next five years for US government finances.

Different standpoints

John Christensen, from the UK-based pressure group the Tax Justice Network, says action is long overdue.

“This will start to undermine the tax advantages that countries used for booking profits offshore like the Netherlands and Ireland offer to the American companies that use these places.,” he says.

“These countries are tax havens – not in the traditional sense, of offering secretive banking like Switzerland or the Cayman Islands – but in terms of offering facilities for profit shifting to international corporations.

“It’s just the start – and it’s clear that Obama will go a lot further”.

But Charles Cain, the chairman of the CM Skye investment fund, which is based on the Isle of Man says the United States will ultimately be the country that suffers most.

“If Obama’s plans go through, US corporations will find a way to move out of the US altogether, so as to avoid the problems,” he says.

“In so doing, probably Ireland and the Netherlands will be net beneficiaries”.

Recession deepens

The Irish Government told the BBC it would monitor the progress of any legislation carefully, and says it has sent a senior executive to its embassy in Washington to engage with the US administration and Congress.

As the global recession deepens, the US government, is keen to gain a bigger slice of the profits which multinational corporations keep in so-called tax havens around the world in order to pay for spending commitments at home.

But it is likely to win few friends in Ireland or the Netherlands by grouping them with Bermuda as “small, low tax countries” that supposedly account for a disproportionate share of the foreign profits of American companies.