Europeans March To Survive–Americans Play Army and Pray for Unemployment Extensions

[Because the people are so programmed to see things through the rose-colored lenses supplied by Hollywood, it is presently impossible to make a logical assessment of the American psyche and have it understood by more than a handful.  If, by some miracle, it was possible to write a comprehensible assessment, it could not circulate beyond the alternative universe.

For those reasons, it will be up to future historians to interpret why the American people of the current generation just sat on their asses quietly, passively, while their world caved-in all around them.  Maybe some of us who still bother to think for ourselves should leave them a few clues to aid them in their investigation of our collective dereliction of duty.  Perhaps they will have to look no deeper than our national addiction to electronic entertainment, but in my opinion, the downfall of the American Republic reflects mankind’s genetic flaws, imperfections of the human experiment.

We were genetically programmed to fail, because man, the hybrid animal (neanderthal + homo sapien), has always been at war with himself–and modern man (Americans especially) has done nothing to bring that inner conflict to an end.  We have no science that is dedicated to healing the mental turmoil that is “Man.”  To the contrary, every available means has been exploited by the American and British governments to exacerbate human conflict, in particular, primitive human reactions have been exploited by amoral political scientists to serve as the basis for an elementary system of behavioral mind-control.

Where man, the psychologically conflicted being, was naturally going to have problems evolving beyond his primitive state, Americans, as life-long subjects in a massive illegal mind-control experiment, have had to overcome a form of evolutionary sabotage coming from a hidden military dictatorship masquerading as a benevolent govt.  In my mind, where the Creator might have created us in an imperfect form, American govt. has compounded those imperfections and guaranteed the failure of the political experiment known as the American Republic, in order to multiply profits for a limited few, many of them not even American citizens.

America, the strong “superpower” is fast becoming a pauper state which cannot be saved by any conceivable military action, no matter what the brainwashed “warrior culture” believes to the contrary.  Americans will remain on their asses, while the TV tells them that some “surge,” escalation, or other military ejaculation issues forth to cover the crime scenes with their superior warrior seed, thus miraculously saving the town and the blushing leading lady, and the “hero” rules the day.  The armchair patriots will wipe a tear from their eyes, knowing that all is swell here in “Pleasantville,” and the bankers will really haved saved our Nation from the greed that enslaves us all, until their TVs are taken or have no power, and their busted armchairs sit propped-up on bricks in the alley or behind the local mall.

Sit on your asses and mock those stupid Europeans, as they pour into the streets and demand that government save their “Socialist” health care system.  Suppress your instinct to react to my words by smacking me in the face for a few moments, while your minds have time to reflect on what I have said, and your wiser internal voice will tell you that I am right.]

Italian students demonstrate against new education law

Italian students demonstrate against new education law

Italian students hold anti-government protests

ROME : Students took to the streets across Italy on Wednesday amid heavy security to protest against a radical reform of the university system planned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government.

The rallies came just over a week after protest clashes in the centre of Rome that injured nearly 200 people and saw cars set alight and tear gas fired in some of the most tourist-heavy streets of the Italian capital.

Protest organisers on Wednesday said they would avoid a confrontation with police by steering clear of the “palaces of power” in the city centre.

A student delegation was set to meet with President Giorgio Napolitano later on Wednesday to present a list of complaints over the planned reform.

“I hope that everything takes place without any serious incidents,” Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini told reporters.

Several hundred students clashed with police in Palermo in Sicily, as they tried to enter a local government building. A group of students was later seen throwing stones and bottles against the main police station in the city.

The university reform — which would merge some smaller universities, limit academic hiring and introduce non-academic university deans — is set to be adopted definitively by the Senate, the upper house of parliament, this week.

Napolitano would then have to sign the reform into law.

The student protest has become part of a wider opposition movement against the government’s austerity measures and high rates of youth unemployment.

– AFP /ls

Protesters gather during a rally in Athens

Protesters gather during a rally in Athens

Protests in Athens ahead of 2011 austerity budget vote

ATHENS : Protests and rubbish clogged central Athens on Wednesday as lawmakers prepared to approve an austerity budget under a tough economic overhaul imposed after the debt-hit country’s international bailout.

Unionists, Communists and leftists staged separate demonstrations to reject the economic blueprint containing over 14 billion euros in savings for 2011 in a bid to restore balance to Greece’s woeful public finances.

The streets of the capital were already clogged with traffic since morning from a public transport strike — the fourth this month — against wage cuts and parts of the city are overflowing with garbage after a sanitation walkout.

The 2011 budget includes cuts in the badly mismanaged Greek health sector and public companies, a two-percent increase in the lower sales tax rate from 11 to 13 percent, a tax evasion crackdown, lower defence spending and a nominal pension freeze.

The Socialist government of George Papandreou has a six-seat majority in parliament and is expected to carry the vote to be held after midnight.

But the strain of the fiscal correction after decades of profligacy has exposed deep strains in the ruling Pasok party, with many prominent lawmakers now publicly questioning a strategy that has plunged Greece into recession.

“Is this budget reliable? The answer is no,” said Vasso Papandreou, the head of the Greek parliament’s economic affairs commission, and no relation to Prime Minister George Papandreou.

“It has shortcomings in its aims and execution,” she argued in the chamber.

Investors also doubt that Greece can pull off what it promises, despite having slashed its public deficit by some six percent of output this year.

One of the big rating agencies, Fitch, said on Tuesday it could downgrade its rating on Greece after a similar warning from another agency, Moody’s, last week.

In an interview with Newsweek magazine on Wednesday, the prime minister insisted that “reform was long overdue.”

“Greece is one of the richest countries in the world but was also one of the most mismanaged. The world financial crisis highlighted all our weaknesses.”

With thousands of jobs already lost, wages cut and prices climbing from tax hikes, the country’s influential unions have hit back with seven general strikes this year and waves of street protests.

“Right now people are in limbo,” Papandreou admitted on Wednesday.

“Our drastic measures are still fresh, and people feel the pain. Reforms need time to kick in and show results,” he said.

Fearful of further social unrest in the midst of the festive season, the government has opted to postpone to early next year a controversial reform to liberalise scores of regulated professions.

Officials say that existing entry or pricing restrictions in these sectors have stymied competition for decades but many of the professionals targeted in the reform, including notaries, pharmacists, engineers and architects, counter that the measure will harm quality of service and have pledged to resist it.

The economic overhaul has been mandated by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund which in May extended Greece a 110-billion-euro (145-billion-dollar) loan when the country came close to bankruptcy.

The money is released in instalments conditional on Greece making progress in its reforms.

Under the terms of the rescue, Greece agreed that its public deficit would be reduced to 7.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2011, aiming to eventually reach the EU limit of three percent.

But additional measures became necessary after the 2009 public deficit was revised upwards last month to 15.4 percent of GDP from the previous 13.6 percent by Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.

The resulting effect is that the 2010 shortfall will now be 9.4 percent of output, above the 8.1 percent target.

Accordingly, Athens has had to find extra savings to keep its finances on track to meet the 2011 target.

– AFP /ls

20% of Detroit To Be Abandoned By City Govt.–the shape of things to come

[Which film clip below represents Detroit’s real future (or are both predictions correct)?]

Less Than a Full-Service City

Plan for Detroit Would Pull Resources—and Population—From Blighted Districts

By MATTHEW DOLAN

DETROIT—More than 20% of Detroit’s 139 square miles could go without key municipal services under a new plan being developed for the city, with as few as seven neighborhoods seen as meriting the city’s full resources.

Those details, outlined by Detroit planning officials this week, offer the clearest picture yet of how Mayor Dave Bing intends to execute what has become his signature program: reconfiguring Detroit to reflect its declining population and fiscal health. Yet the blueprint still leaves large legal and financial questions unresolved.

Associated PressDetroit’s Michigan Central Depot train station is now abandoned.

DETROIT

Until now, the mayor and his staff have spoken mostly in generalities about the problem, stressing the need for community input and pledging to a skeptical public that no resident would be forced to move.

But the approach discussed by city officials could have that effect. Mr. Bing’s staff wants to concentrate Detroit’s remaining population—expected to be less than 900,000 after this year’s Census count—and limited local, state and federal dollars in the most viable swaths of the city, while other sectors could go without such services as garbage pickup, police patrols, road repair and street lights.

Karla Henderson, a city planning official leading the mayor’s campaign, said in an interview Thursday that her staff had deemed just seven to nine sections of Detroit worthy of receiving the city’s full resources. She declined to identify the areas, but said the final plan could include a greater number.

Ms. Henderson said her team amassed hundreds of data—on household income, population density, employment, existing city services, philanthropic investments and housing stock —in its effort to identify the neighborhoods with the brightest outlook—those that could be stabilized with additional city, state and federal resources.

“What we have found is that even some of our stronger neighborhoods are at a tipping point with vacancy,” Ms. Henderson said. “Vacancy adds to blight and blight is a disease that takes over the whole neighborhood. So the sooner we can get those homes occupied, the better for the city.”

Officials bristle when their efforts are described as downsizing, saying their aim is to repurpose portions of the city, not redraw its borders. “We will not be shrinking the city,” Ms. Henderson said. “We are 139 [square] miles and we’ll stay that way.”

Lynn Garrett, president of the North Rosedale Park Civic Association, applauded the mayor’s effort to reimagine how the city will function, especially as her own northwest Detroit area fights encroaching blight. But the wife of a former city fire-commissioner said many details remained unknown.

“I haven’t really quite got my arms around that,” she said of proposals to encourage people to move to more viable neighborhoods and convert vacant land to other uses, including farming. “It’s an urban city. I do understand that the population is decreasing, but what would the advantages be?”

The city plans to present its findings publicly in meetings this winter and spring, culminating in June with at least three options for supporting targeted areas and pulling services from thinly populated neighborhoods. The city estimates it has about 60,000 parcels of surplus land.

The final plan, though, may need local and state approval, as well as an influx of funds to rehabilitate vacant homes in neighborhoods deemed worthy of saving and to move residents wishing to leave areas with reduced services.

Already, city officials say, Detroit is failing to properly serve many neighborhoods, making the effort to refocus services all the more urgent. “If we have an honest conversation, we know there are many areas of the city where we are not providing adequate service at this time,” Ms. Henderson said.

Write to Matthew Dolan at matthew.dolan@wsj.com

Does Every Imperialist Country Muck About In Colombia?

UK helps Colombian commandos fight cocaine trade

By Frank GardnerBBC security correspondent

A Jungla counter-narcotics commando putting on body armour A man holding a rope

British intelligence and counter-narcotics agents are playing an increasingly active role in Colombia’s war on drugs.

British agents, we discovered, are helping to run networks of informants in the country through vetted units of Colombians and setting up communications intercepts to try to stem the flood of South American cocaine coming into Britain.

In a lush green valley west of Bogota the police commandos line up for their turn.

One by one they grip the rope that dangles alarmingly down to the ground far below, then step off the metal platform and shin down at speed, breaking their fall at the last minute.

It’s called “fast roping” and it’s how the men of the Jungla, Colombia’s elite police counter-narcotics commandos, train to descend from Black Hawk helicopters to seize remote cocaine laboratories deep in the jungle.

Set up by Britain’s SAS in 1989, and trained by them, then the Americans, the Jungla have become largely self-sufficient.  (read HERE)

In Neo-Soviet Belarus, Run for President Go To Jail for 15 Years

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — A Belarusian human rights organization says seven of the candidates who ran against the country’s authoritarian leader face charges that could lead to 15 years in prison in the wake post-election violence and massive arrests.

Ales Belyatsky of the human rights center Vesna said the charges have been filed by the KGB, as the former Soviet state’s security service is still called.

Some 700 people, including the candidates, were arrested after Sunday’s election that gave authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko a fourth term in office. Many of the arrests came on Sunday night, when thousands protested over what international monitors called fraudulent results.

Two of the arrested candidates were later released, but Belyatsky said Wednesday that one of them, Grigory Kostusyev, had been brought in by the KGB for further questioning.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Veterans for Peace White House Civil Disobedience to End War

[This is it, folks.  Whenever the returning vets turn to the protest lines to say “no” to more of the illegal hell on earth that they have experienced—Then you know that the revolution has come–All that holds it back is you, and me.

Listen to Chris Hedges speak of hope and know that something has to change –NOW.  If We the People want our children and our grandchildren  to fight for corporate profits for what amounts to all of their lifetimes, then we will turn away from these brave veterans and the cause of Peace which compels them to chain themselves to the White House fence in the freezing cold.

Fighting this war is NOT our Manifest Destiny, but ending the war is one step closer to our best destiny, towards that American ideal that our troops have always thought they were defending.  That was the reason all of these good veterans offered their own lives in battle, thinking that they were defending all that “America” stood for.  The corporate reality they were really fighting for was a big fat lie, adorned in the most complicated of Hollywood’s illusions.  This protest is them offering their own bodies once again, to defend that one universal human right, which is worth all of our lives.  The Right to Live.]

This video, featuring portions of a speech given by Chris Hedges, was shot outside the White House on Dec. 16, 2010.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

 

Exclusive: US empire could collapse at any time, Pulitzer winner tells Raw Story

By Nathan Diebenow
Friday, December 17th, 2010 — 9:42 am

ChrisHedges Exclusive: US empire could collapse at any time, Pulitzer winner tells Raw StoryAmerica’s military and economic empire could collapse at any time, but predicting the precise day, week or month of its potential demise is unattainable, according to a former New York Times war correspondent who spoke with Raw Story.

“The when and how is very dangerous to predict because there’s always some factor that blindsides you that you didn’t expect,” Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges said in an exclusive interview. “It doesn’t look good. But exactly how it plays out and when it plays out, having covered disintegrating societies, it’s impossible to tell.”

He explained that he learned this lesson as events unfolded around him in the fall of 1989. Then, members of the opposition to the Soviet Empire told him that they predicted travel across the Berlin Wall separating East from West Germany would open within the year.

“Within a few hours, the wall didn’t exist,” he said.

Hedges was one of the 131 activists were arrested in an act of civil disobedience outside the White House yesterday, even as Obama was unveiling a new report citing progress in the Afghanistan war.

Speaking to Raw Story on Wednesday night, he said the signs of US collapse are plain to see and compared the country’s course through Afghanistan to Soviet Russia’s.

“We’re losing [the war in Afghanistan] in the same way the Red Army lost it,” he said. “It’s exactly the same configuration where we sort of control the urban centers where 20 percent of the population lives. The rest of the country where 80 percent of the Afghans live is either in the hands of the Taliban or disputed.”

“Foreigners will not walk the streets of Kabul because of kidnapping, and journalists regularly meet Taliban officials in Kabul because the whole apparatus is so porous and corrupt,” he said.

One day after this interview was conducted, reports hit the global media noting the CIA’s warning to President Obama, that the Pakistan-supported Taliban could still regain control of the country.

Hedges predicted that President Obama’s war report released Thursday would “contradict not only [US] intelligence reports but everything else that is coming out of Afghanistan.”

His prediction came startlingly true: the CIA’s own assessment was said to stand in striking contrast with President Obama’s report.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, however, insisted that the US controlled more territory in Afghanistan than it did a year ago.

‘A corporate coup d’état in slow motion’

Hedges said he attended the protest and planned to get arrested because he is against the corporate powers that have enveloped the nation.

“We’ve undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion,” he said. “Our public education system has been gutted. Our infrastructure is corroding and collapsing. Unless we begin to physically resist, they are going to solidify neo-feudalism in this country.”

“If we think that Obama is bad, watch the next two years because these corporate forces have turned their back on him,” Hedges warned.

Hedges, author of “Death of the Liberal Class,” said that his vision of America is one with a functioning social democracy, which stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of the corporate state.

“American workers, as they are repeatedly told, will have to become competitive with prison labor in China,” he said. “That’s where we’re headed, and all the pillars of the liberal establishment are complicit in this.”

“At least if you get sick in the UK, you don’t go bankrupt or die,” he added.

Hedges said that another pressure point is the US dollar, which he pointed out had been dropped by Russia and China in favor of modified ruble/renminbi exchanges.

“A few more deals like that, and our currency becomes junk,” he said.

Hedges continued, “As long as we have relative stability, these lunatic fringe movements can be held at bay, but if we don’t undertake serious structural reform, which we’re not doing, then it is inevitable that we will come to a tremendous crisis – economic and political as well as environmental.”