Cowering Before Capital

If this were debt cancellation and stimulus it would be interesting and the details are not out but I somehow doubt this will be much more than doing what the markets want, the level of debt created by financialisation and neoliberal policies is socially unsustainable unless police states become standard. Nowhere in the article are people mentioned, just banks & governments. The quote ‘inability of the Greek government to live within its means‘ is such a poisonous falsehood, as if financial institutions did not for years bribe key people into endless debt restructuring not because it helped them but because it made money for the banks. This is a merry game played by elites with the costs passed onto those not allowed to participate, yet the besuited oligarchs have the chutzpah to project their irresponsibility onto their victims. This is a rescue package within the rules of the game, better than what could have happened but ultimately it prolongs the scam. Neoliberalism, does not work, financialisation in place of actual productivity does not work (excuse the pun), capitalism unregulated and unconstrained does not work, Adam Smith was actually very clear on that despite what Randroids and laissez faire fundamentalists prefer to read into his works (by current standards he’d be labeled a socialist by corporate media). What we are seeing is a rolling breakdown of  systems of human activity because we are serving the economy not making the economy serve us.

Oh and some spurious wonky shit about elections, is it just me or are you sick of the (very masculine) obsession with numbers and deals and very little mention of the consequences to people of the cuts no one seems to want to think about (is this I suspect because they are all convinced of the neoliberal arguments and wouldn’t know a socialised market if they fell over one). Or am I just stupid for hoping just a tiny bit a coalition and public appetite for reform might stymie the cuts agenda of a lib/lab coalition because they can see the tories waiting to profit off the market fetishised ‘austerity’ measures (nice euphemism for class war and shock doctrine beloved by all those who fully expect not to suffer one iota because of them, until maybe that crime spike means it’s their home invaded and they get beaten the shit out of to give up all their valuables, no really I’m trying to feel sympathy for the self absorbed privileged twats).

What? You didn’t order a rant, well you got one anyway. Try the veal, I’ll be here all week… then I’ll be at http://www.tenpercent.org.uk/

Peace out motherfunkers.

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Yeah, But They Really Needed That Billion

In 2009, the worst economic year for working people since the Great Depression, the top 25 hedge fund managers walked off with an average of $1 billion each. With the money those 25 people “earned,” we could have hired 658,000 entry level teachers. (They make about $38,000 a year, including benefits.) Those educators could have brought along over 13 million young people, assuming a class size of 20.

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Potemkin’s R Us

Fake businesses are to be used to lessen the impact of the recession on high streets in North Tyneside. With 140 empty shops in the borough, council bosses think they have come up with a unique way of ensuring shopping areas remain as vibrant as possible. The first empty shop unit to be given a makeover with a “flat pack” shop front is in Whitley Bay. North Tyneside Council said the move was cost-effective and would help to attract new investment.

In Speaking, To Listen

Or- Too Long for Twitter again. So to this absolute must read, and I mean that, you must read it, there will be a written test and all those failing will be barred from the interwebs for a week! Yes, I have that power… A progressive left blog from Pakistan who say this about themselves-

We call for a Pakistan grounded in principles of justice and fairness which includes a commitment to federalism and respect for the rights of provinces, and of minorities as equal citizens of the state. This requires that there be no discrimination on the basis of sex/gender, class, province/ethnicity, religion/sect, or sexual orientation. This is only possible if and when there is a clear separation between religion and state, when there are strong independent democratic institutions such as the judiciary and media , when the army’s role is confined to defence and when it is under the complete control of a civilian government which truly represents the people of Pakistan, and when there is a genuine effort to improve people’s quality of life through the provision of universal adult literacy, universal healthcare, and people-centered development.

Writes on the Sahgal/Amnesty affair, an excerpt but again, this is a must read!-

The larger issue, however, is this: why do our so-called allies constantly demand that we articulate our disavowal of the Taliban? Do they perhaps believe that in some deep dark religious corner of our lefty Pakistani hearts, we nurture a secret love for the ruthless brutish bearded circus called the Taliban?  Why are we being constantly asked to prove our bona fides as secularists and as humanists (in the sense that we believe in the dignity of *all* humanity)?  And that too by those who appear to have little qualms about retracting dignity from a man whose words and appearance unsettle us but who has done nothing – in terms of his actions – but run a girls’ school in Afghanistan and, now, defend the rights of precisely those that the American empire has reduced to ‘bare life.’ [1]  Does the problem lie in the fact that he “has championed the rights of jailed Al-Qaeda members and hate preachers…” as the Sunday Times puts it? But isn’t the selective granting of rights precisely what the Left is critical of in general?  Or is it that he stated in his memoirs that the Taliban were “better than anything Afghanistan has had in the past twenty-five years.” Yes, these views are abhorrent, but by no means unique. I heard much the same thing from the Afghans I met when I traveled to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border town of Chaman (in Balochistan) over a month ago.  These were Afghans who all hated the Taliban now (among them were ex-Taliban fighters).  To them, the Taliban had seemed like an answer to the corruption, chaos and random murders that had afflicted Afghanistan for decades when they first rose to power. They left when they realized that this was not the case or that the price they were being asked to pay was too high.

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It’s ok, I’ll wait until you’ve clicked over and read it all, tum ti tum, doobie doo, ooh is that a cobweb in that corner….hmmm…mmmm…mmmm, um chocolate croissant…mm…hmuph….mm, ggr…. slurp, crumbs….nice glass of water…ahhh. Ok good, excellent wasn’t it? Now in what you might call related affairs-

Daily Beast Female Elites Denounce Global Human Rights Violations While Ignoring U.S. Crimes- Promising solutions for international women’s rights problems, the Daily Beast’s ‘Women in the World’ conference ended up supporting the status quo for US foreign policy.

Eikenberry was not the only spouse of a major player in current U.S. military misadventures to speak at the conference. “Morning Joe” host Mike Brezenski interviewed Cherie Blair, “Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women,” who also happens to be married to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, our great ally in invading Iraq on false pretenses. (Another infamous Iraq war cheerleader, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, was a featured lunchtime speaker.)

Taken as a whole, the Women in the World conference was itself, ironically, a microcosm of the systemic reasons women are in dire straights across the globe. Just as its most high-profile featured speakers have been inextricably linked to war crimes and deadly foreign policy, its corporate sponsors have been inextricably linked to the suffering of women — from the victimization of women in oil-rich nations (sponsored by Exxon), predatory lenders and families losing their homes (sponsored by Bank of America) and the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, even as corporate bonuses are doled out (sponsored by Goldman Sachs). The aggressively pro-market message of much of the weekend — empowering women through entrepreneurship — made it clear that the “solutions” for women in the world are more neo-liberal economic policies and unchallenged U.S. military dominance.

Another good read that requires thinking about the entitlements and privileges of the Anglosphere elite (ht’s2 Earwicga who also is now contributing to Pickled Politics). A shiny world view that is helped by ignoring the domestic abuses-

A group of detainees who claim they suffered ‘inhumane and degrading treatment’ while at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are suing the Home Office. The 11 women have employed Leigh Day & Co solicitors to seek damages from the government and Serco, the private security company which runs the Clapham detention centre. The women, who are still detained and are on hunger strike, allege that their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and their rights not to be tortured, suffer inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment were all breached by employees of Serco.

Medialens continues the exposure of the execution of men, women & child civilians by NATO forces. Another role of media is to not report the successes of citizen direct action against the war machinery, lest the masses get ideas to do take our responsibility for war crimes (our tax money, our govts, our families feeding the recruiters targets) and reject it with activism-

Three activists from Swords into Ploughshares have been found NOT GUILTY of all charges laid against them in a New Zealand court for their action breaking into the Waihopai spybase in Blenheim in April 2008, and deflating one of the two domes covering the satellite dishes which capture intelligence data.

The jury heard that the Waihopai Echelon spy base is New Zealand’s largest contribution to the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. The ongoing war has resulted in horrific war crimes, including more than one million dead Iraqi civilians, torture, and permanent poisoning of parts of Iraq by the use of depleted uranium munitions.

The jury also heard evidence from a former British Echelon intelligence analyst, Katherine Gunn. She blew the whistle on secret Echelon spying operations when she was instructed by the US National Security Agency to spy on United Nations Security Council members leading up to the US invasion in 2003.

“Evidence presented in the court confirmed that the ongoing war in Iraq is illegal, and causing massive human suffering”, said Adrian. “As an outcome of this trial, we hope that New Zealanders will insist on an enquiry into the activities of the spy base and its links to US-led illegal wars”.

Father Peter, Sam and Adrian expressed gratitude for all the support they have received from family, friends and the New Zealand public.

Anniversaries – Happy St. Pat’s especially to all LGBTQ people (I’d like to think I’m saucy enough to figure in there somewhere), fuck bigots who make parades their private reich. Bad anniversaries- 1000 Days of the siege of Gaza, and a story about the difficulties and resourcefulness needed to get a laptop into Gaza. Andy Worthington on Vindictive judge gives Muslims prison sentences for Gaza protest.

Also the Swiss Banks, y’know those secretive Nazi moolah hiding, global tax evading troughs of evil are so sure of banks supremacy (and to be honest, they are probably right on that) they propose a global flat tax at rates they will set! Also at the excellent Richard Murphy’s blog- How Lehman fiddled the books and a great new acronym-

Prem Sikka– Accountants disarm journalists, critics, regulators and the general public by claiming that the accounts are fairly presented in accordance with some generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), but the Lehman report shows that they are based in carefully rejigged accounting practices (CRAP).

And finally this great meme, the theme for your blog, as I am also slowly getting the stuff together for Ten Percent to go to its own hosts and thus be free of accidental or otherwise WordPress bans this could be an ongoing process to find the definitive theme together with votes and prizes possibly. More on that soon…

Christianists & Empire

This passed me by at the time but his recent comments set me wondering and indeed, the current Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Matt Baggott is a born again christian and chairman of the christian police officers association and vice president of the National Association of Police Chaplains, hmmm.

He has a fondness for the Old Testament and recently wrote an article for Britain’s Christian Police Association (CPA) urging officers to become followers of the Prophet Malachi so “our prayers, attitudes and actions will bring many to the reality and hope of the cross”.

He is president of the CPA, an evangelical Protestant group that believes “the Bible is the inspired Word of God without error and is the only complete authority on matters of faith and doctrine”. In public, however, he is more given to management speak than biblical quotations.

He was born in 1959 in an affluent Christian family and attended a public school in Croydon; Axcell thinks it was Trinity School, a Christian foundation with high academic standards.

But

Bernard Greaves, a gay-rights activist and member of Leicester Police Authority, is equally positive. “I have a good, effective relationship. He knows I am gay and there is never any problem,” he says. “The police have an excellent hate crimes unit which is very supportive of the lesbian, gay and bisexual community.”

Leicester is the most ethnically diverse city in the UK and is expected to have a non-white majority by 2011. Baggott and his force seem popular in all parts of the community. Hanif Aqbany, a Labour councillor, said: “We are delighted with the local police. They are approachable and accessible.”

He has been seen to be proactive in publicly apologising for racism, sexism & skiving when exposed by Dispatches. However-

He was staff officer to Sir Paul Condon, then the Met commissioner, for 18 months. As a chief superintendent, he was given the sensitive job of heading the team assisting the public inquiry into the force’s botched investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager stabbed to death in 1993.

The evidence against the Met was damning; it was found guilty of “institutional racism” and corruptly covering up mistakes. Baggott made one of his few PR mistakes when he said the fact that the killers shouted racist abuse did not prove the killing was racially motivated.

Although the gang that murdered Stephen is not disputed to have called out ‘What, what, n*gger?’, police claimed at various points during the inquiry that the attack on Stephen was not racist. CS Matt Baggott (who heads the police team at the inquiry) stated, contradicting police guidelines, ‘Words are not sufficient evidence of racial motivation.’

His reported charm and professionalism seem to have served him well and his affluent and christian background have cemented his establishment credentials rather than created an iconoclast. And after the mess of the Lawrence case he has at least known enough to at appear more concerned with ‘canteen culture’. Still, is having another religious person (and predictably of prostestant extraction) in the mix the wisest idea?

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Every Cloud

Hedge funds have made large profits from Greek debt and providing insurance to overexposed European banks, it emerged on Sunday.

France signalled that private banks were likely to help in any rescue plan for Athens.

The hedge funds have been successful as traders anticipated that over-exposed European banks would drive a wave of selling against Greece, industry insiders told the Financial Times.

“There are a group of funds, perhaps three or four, that have played this as a huge sovereign basis trade, and made a lot,” said a strategist at one of London’s biggest hedge funds.

But as we know the wonder of the financiers is they can make money from a crisis, thus the Greeks will be safe knowing they will be ok as the hedge funds will use these profits to ensure human welfare…Oh no wait, the other thing, fuck the people over completely so they can buy themselves a third yacht. I knew it was one of the two!

200,000 Dead, But Haiti Is A Business Opportunity

Haiti’s misery: good news for big business
Raul Connolly

There has been much ink spilled in the corporate press about the number of dollars and soldiers being committed to Haiti by “the international community”, but as a January 20 US ABC News headline bluntly put it: “In rebuilding Haiti, opportunity knocks and companies profit.”

More than 200,000 Haitians may already be dead as a consequence of the January earthquake, but that hasn’t stopped corporate hyenas looking for a profit — both in rebuilding Haiti’s infrastructure and the long-term exploitation of the country.

‘Reforms’

In a January 16 New York Times op-ed, James Dobbins, a former special envoy to Haiti under President Bill Clinton, spied an “opportunity to accelerate oft-delayed reforms”. Examples of reforms, Dobbins wrote, include linking money for repairing the country’s telecommunications system “to breaking up or at least reorganizing the government-controlled telephone monopoly”.

“The same goes with the Education Ministry, the electric company, the Health Ministry and the courts. Repair or replace the buildings, by all means, but also insist on fundamental reforms in their management.”

The purpose of these steps is laid bare in Haiti: From Natural Catastrophe to Economic Security, a report prepared for the UN by Oxford University economist Paul Collier: “From the important perspective of market access Haiti is now the world’s safest production location for garments.

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