Europe’s small, debt-strapped countries could follow the lead of Argentina and simply walk away from their debts. That would shift the burden to the creditor countries, which could solve the problem merely by a change in accounting rules.
Total financial collapse, once a problem only for developing countries, has now come to Europe. The International Monetary Fund is imposing its “austerity measures” on the outer circle of the European Union, with Greece, Iceland and Latvia the hardest hit. But these are not your ordinary third world debtor supplicants. Historically, the Vikings of Iceland repeatedly repulsed British invaders; Latvian tribes repulsed even the Vikings; and the Greeks conquered the whole Persian empire. If anyone can stand up to the IMF, these stalwart European warriors can.
http://www.ted.com Ryan Lobo has traveled the world, taking photographs that tell stories of unusual human lives. In this haunting talk, he reframes controversial subjects with empathy, so that we see the pain of a Liberian war criminal, the quiet strength of UN women peacekeepers and the perseverance of Delhi’s underappreciated firefighters.
While Congressman Ron Paul’s Free Competition in Currency Act is not a workable proposal, it points to a deeply serious problem with the Federal Reserve System that must be faced if the U.S. economy is to have a future.
Over the last 40 years the Federal Reserve, with the acquiescence of Congress and the executive branch, has become the primary regulator of the economy. The prevailing philosophy is called monetarism, and it’s based on the raising and lowering of interest rates.
This period has been marked by the successive creation and destruction of several gigantic investment bubbles. After the Federal Reserve brought on the recession of 1979-83 by raising interest rates to over 20 percent, we had a bubble during the Reagan/G.H.W. Bush years based on business mergers and acquisitions. It was then that the fulcrum of the U.S. economy shifted from manufacturing to finance. This bubble collapsed in a recession that brought Bill Clinton to the presidency in 1992.
Yemen will become a battleground for a proxy war between the United States and Saudi Arabia – whose state-to-state relations are among the strongest and most durable of the entire post-World War II era – on one hand and Iran on the other.
It is perhaps impossible to determine the exact moment at which a U.S.- supported self-professed holy warrior – trained to perpetrate acts of urban terrorism and to shoot down civilian airliners – ceases to be a freedom fighter and becomes a terrorist. But a safe assumption is that it occurs when he is no longer of use to Washington. A terrorist who serves American interests is a freedom fighter; a freedom fighter who doesn’t is a terrorist. Continue reading →
I thought that headline would get your attention. And it’s true.
I’m biting my nails waiting for the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which could come down as early as today. At issue: whether corporations, as “unnatural persons,” can make contributions to political campaigns.
The outcome is foregone: the six GOP appointees to the court are expected to use the case to junk federal laws that now bar corporations from stuffing campaign coffers.
Riddle of the week, month, or past year. Policy overlaps aside, how does a well-versed, savvy campaigner who glories in knowledge merge increasingly into his most uncurious, uninformed predecessor, who gloried what he didn’t know? How did this high-risk candidate, taking on his entire party establishment, turn adverse to risk even before he stumbled?
How can the Barack Obama who won the election, and the Nobel Peace Prize, by being not-Bush, match Dubya’s impulse to detach, delegate and default? And the final puzzle: how did a dense, inarticulate bully command his bully pulpit while the infinitely more articulate, tolerant newcomer fails to frame, let alone command key debates?
Imagine saying to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, “My, you’re very tall.”
Imagine denigrating anything not hailed as truth by institutions such as government, or mainstream media, as “conspiracy theory.”
What’s the connection? Much deeper than at first it might seem, much deeper than the absence of critical thinking—it’s a pattern of apathy. Both instances lack wit and subtlety…no thinking, whether stating the obvious, or scoffing at any truth not “official.” So why has conspiracy theory become such a knee-jerk label? First, let’s look at what “conspiracy theory” means, institutionally and officially.
Conspiracy theory is most often used to identify secret military, banking, or political actions aimed at stealing power, money, or freedom from the people. “Wikipedia” even adds the zest, or invitation for the absurd (more on this in a moment), of secret plots by conspirators of “…almost superhuman power and cunning.”
By Carl Herman ICH – December 15, 2009 Examiner – December 14, 2009
Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr
Look in any textbook or encyclopedia and compare US policy (not rhetoric) to the definitions of fascism and constitutional republic. I’ll explain it here, but check my work. If at the end of your consideration, you agree that the United States of America is now a fascist state, please speak-up about it. Also, consider the policy requests at the end of the article. Continue reading →
http://www.ted.com Loretta Napoleoni details her rare opportunity to talk to the secretive Italian Red Brigades — an experience that sparked a lifelong interest in terrorism. She gives a behind-the-scenes look at its complex economics, revealing a surprising connection between money laundering and the US Patriot Act.