…en garde! too late, you lazy greeks…

…with a pliant media, the culprit transforms the victim into a horrid, despicable criminal…

As leading economists such as Paul Krugman, Simon Wren-Lewis, James K Galbraith, and Joe Stiglitz revisit the Greek austerity crisis, its Great Depression, from varying perspectives to attract and educate a wider readership, others have also joined the fray, and with a focus also on the personal and political motives of the individual players involved.

Whereas the expectation of the layperson is that the professional would dispense duties based on specific terms of reference, the reality may be somewhat different, indeed very different. The Greek crisis is a case in point. Motives of participants from the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) can often not coincide with their respective, specific duties and responsibilities. In case of the IMF, Michael Hudson weaves into his analysis alarming details, Why No Means Yes. Read the rest of this entry »


…a mug of the brew, and some toes for tapping…

…silence is golden, until broken by golden sounds…

…greece, an odyssey from debt to deliverance…

…no need for charon or cerberus…

Brazil has a population of some 200 million, compared with Greece with one of some 11 million.

So we set sail with a teaser from down south. And for that we have to thank Jake Johnston of The Americas Blog of CEPR. From this, armed with analysis our imaginations can safely take to flight, but without the bravado of Icarus. Why is the US Government Still Hiding What They Did to Brazil in 1998?  Read the rest of this entry »

…the greek tragedy, a vindication of the bolivarian strategy…

…the troika of global capitalism will crush any deviation from neoliberal policies…

The prescience of the late Hugo Chávez of Venezuela shines bright at each twist and turn in Greece’s negotiations with the troika of the IMF, the ECB and the EU. Instead of the latter two, for Latin America and the Caribbean, there would be the World Bank, to a lesser extent the Inter-American Development Bank, and the US, with the same bitter prescription – until ‘the rending of the veil’, that is. High oil revenues, an ascending China combined with an unwavering policy of state independence would smooth the transition. Read the rest of this entry »

…’free trade’, corporate free-for-all? the fault, dear Ralphie, is not in…

…our stars, but in ourselves, that we are neither corporations nor their lackeys…

[As the Bard glowers at this abuse of one of his chef d’oeuvres – clearly, not hors d…]

And the challenge could not be more insurmountable, as Rex-cum-President would hold court among his fawning supplicants, and is interrupted by an interloper, ‘You’re In My House’: Obama Shuts Down Heckler At White House. Lest there be any doubt of ‘L’état, c’est moi!’,

“As a general rule, I am just fine with a few hecklers but not when I am up in the house,” he said later, to laughter from the crowd. “If you are eating the hors d’oeuvres, know what I’m sayin’? And drinking the booze.”

[bold added for emphasis]

Class, real class. Or should that be crass? Clearly, the peasants get the ‘booze’, the ‘elites’, the Dom Perignon, Château Neuf du Pape, and similar ‘unpronounciable’ boissons. (Was there not some ban against French in the US Congress, where ‘French fries’ would become ‘Freedom fries’ and similar asininity?) Hors d’oeuvres for the plebs, not ‘finger food’ – progress?

Yet such an exceptional performance of a graceless but educated ‘elite’ toward an impolite and under-educated illegal (!) that garnered media raves would fail to impress or deter or daunt Ralph Nader.

Nader continues to show fine form. This week he bemoans the fate that is to befall many of the US populace with the progress to passage of the plethora of ‘T’s’ – TPA, TAA, TPA, TTIP. In, King Obama, His Royal Court, and the TPP, one of the observations he makes, one, known to US legislators but ignored,

Only corporations, astonishingly enough, are entitled to sue the U.S. government for any alleged harm to their profits from health, safety or other regulations in secret tribunals that operate as offshore kangaroo courts, not in open courts.

The good news here is that this is a condition that faces very many countries, many weak countries, and no way, no how will the US have to undergo anything remotely similar. After all, which country writes and rewrites (and enforces) the rules, when the rules rule against it? The US and the multinational corporations (MNCs) and, especially, ICSID of the World Bank have not been particularly considerate toward many such countries. (It is already established that the US is a corporate ‘democracy’, with extravagant, media promoted, theatre.)

One case in point is El Salvador, a very poor country with great mining potential, but one with severe water supply problems. Poor country or not, El Salvador is being sued for wanting to prevent further pollution of its already severely contaminated water resources. A recent article from The Guardian is apt,  Lawsuit against El Salvador mining ban highlights free trade pitfalls. We begin to get a picture,

El Salvador is an impoverished country, but its citizens live above riches: the country has an estimated 1.4m ounces of gold buried underground, as well as silver and copper.

It may be surprising, then, that no mining is allowed. In 2008, after mining operations polluted the water supply in San Sebastián, sparking a clean water crisis, then-president Antonio Saca stopped issuing new mining permits. Its legislature has considered and failed to pass an official moratorium or permanent ban on mining since then, but the government has continued to deny all permit applications.

And here is where the Investor-State Dispute mechanism enters. As The Guardian would report,

The Pacific Rim case, which has been ongoing since 2009, has been a mix of public and private. Pacific Rim initially claimed that El Salvador had violated the Central American Free Trade (Cafta) treaty. The tribunal proceedings for the case were streamed on the internet and all documents were posted to the World Bank International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes website.

Then in 2012, the tribunal found that Pacific Rim, as a Canadian company, could not invoke Cafta. The company changed its claim, accusing El Salvador instead of violating its own investment law.

As we see, the corporation exercises the initiative, health or environmental cost irrelevant. TeleSUR would have its take, OceanaGold vs El Salvador: Foreshadowing ‘Trade’ Under the TPP?

The Central American country of El Salvador could be forced to pay US$301 million to Canadian-Australian mining multinational OceanaGold as the two face off in a World Bank investor-state tribunal with proven tendency to favor corporate interests over arguments for protecting national sovereignty, the environment, and human rights.

Where did OceanaGold come from? It is the new name – complicated, this corporation business. And, yes, should El Salvador lose, that US$301M is a hefty chunk of change for the country, some two percent of its GDP.

That has been one area of extreme vulnerability of such countries, though Bolivia has recently enacted law to ‘level the playing field’. Another area concerns Intellectual Property (IP) Rights – patents and copyrights. The medical benefits that flowed from generics in such countries may well be reduced. Dean Baker in his post at Truth-Out, The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Drug Patents and President Clinton, makes this point,

There are many serious issues raised by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the one that may have the greatest long-term impact is its provisions on drug patents. The explicit purpose is to make patent protection stronger and longer. While these provisions are likely to lead to higher drug prices in the United States, they will have their greatest impact in the developing world.

[bold added for emphasis]

No great imagination is needed to envisage the likely impact of any merger among health insurance companies in the US – with the more robust patent protection of ‘free trade’ in force – and the deleterious effects beyond its borders. That the US populace is acquiescent, resigned to a regimen of high health costs and low benefits is no reason, no incentive for other countries to imperil or unravel their own social and economic gains – to benefit corporate, in particular US, interests.

…independent states or serfdom, for whom the bell tolls?…


…has greece lost its marbles? o, imf, where’s thy ‘sting’?…

…in that crazy interconnected world of global finance, even the slow of mind can detect patterns…

The Troika is predictably not amused. And the IMF is fed up, ‘mad as Hell and is not going to take it anymore’ sort of thing. Greece has been sent to Coventry for total misbehaviour: to return only when ties can be found and worn, and the miscreants return with with some drachmas euros by the palette full.

The democratically elected – no, not ‘democratically elected’ – Prime Minister of Greece and his colleagues have seemed too preoccupied with the mandate conferred upon them by the Greek people, not good. What audacity. What, well, hubris! And for that, IMF walks out of Greece bailout talks. As The Guardian would report,

The International Monetary Fund dramatically pulled out of talks with debt-stricken Greece on Thursday after it accused Athens of failing to compromise over labour market and pension reforms.

Read the rest of this entry »

…en honduras, ‘we came, we saw, he…

…well, not that ‘he’ in this case; instead, in the other, that ‘he’ was merely deposed and chaos unleashed…

The suffering of the Honduran people, and the violence and deaths, would continue unabated, and ignored by the US corporate MSM. After all, ‘Mission Accomplished’, and all that.

Addiction to that irrestible narcotic, power, often tends to invite the past to intrude as unwelcome guest to the present, an unpleasant presence that now routinely confronts the US President. And no different with one resolute candidate.

Deirdre Fulton in a very recent post over at common dreams returns those who have forgotten to a time recently past, that year, 2009, when the US President had attended V SOA. There, after a refreshing and promising exchange with the late Venezuelan President, he would, in a character defining moment, almost immediately and furiously backpedal, and allow his agents to then engage in gratuitous insults toward the late President Chávez. Read the rest of this entry »