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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

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07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

07.02 American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion laws

07.02 'Committed' CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, study finds

07.01 New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

07.01 Freak summer hailstorm buries cars in Mexico's Guadalajara [0:50 video]

07.01 Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages [13:48 video]

06.30 American farmers can't afford this administration's climate apathy

06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]

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07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

07.15 Finding the Future in Radical Rural America

07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]

07.15 If there is an 'immigrant' who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

07.15 Trump tells Ocasio-Cortez and other female progressives to 'go back' to 'original' countries

07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]

07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]

07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]

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07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

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07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  Print view: Destructive Neoliberal Austerity
ECONOMIC ANALYSIS:

Destructive Neoliberal Austerity

Snake oil peddled as an economic elixir has corrupted morals/thinking of politicians and central bankers who fight to enact harmful policies that will enrich the super-rich and impoverish the rest of us.

by Stephen Lendman
Monday, 22 November 2010
In the 1980s, it was called Reaganomics, trickle down, and Thatcherism. Today it's destructive "shock therapy" called austerity, the same scheme pitting capital against people.

Instead of vitally needed stimulus, Washington and European governments dictate austerity. The pretext of deficit reduction is being used to transfer more wealth to those already with too much, plus the usual canard over the urgency to save national banking systems.

In other words, make ordinary people bear the burden of bailing out banking giants responsible for the severest economic crisis since the Great Depression. How? The usual IMF solution, involving preservation of capital at the expense of workers - a package including wage and benefit cuts, less social spending, privatization of state resources, mass layoffs, deregulation, lower "onerous" taxes, maintaining corporate debt service, and harsh crackdowns against resisters.

In the 1980s, it was called Reaganomics, trickle down, and Thatcherism. Today it's destructive "shock therapy" called austerity, the same scheme pitting capital against people - disposable workers tossed out for big money's gain.

It's how predatory capitalism works, destructively for so many to enrich an elite few - snake oil peddled as an economic elixir, corrupted politicians and central bankers forcing harmful policies that, in fact, don't work.

Three years of failure showed imposed measures have hurt, not helped, and the longer they continue, the more sickness will spread and deepen, causing imposed poverty. It's why independent experts see long-term depression, rising unemployment, human deprivation, and bigger than ever bonuses for bankers until the inevitable house of cards collapses. Welcome to the new world order, phase two.

In America, the Fed furiously monitized debt. First QE I, now II, likely III and IV coming that could have worked the first time if constructively, not destructively used, an earlier article explained.

Swapping credit for toxic assets helps banks, not the economy. However, using it for productive investment works. In her September 8 Webofdebt.com article titled, "How to Reverse A Deflation: Helicopter Ben Needs to Drop Some Money on Main Street," Ellen Brown explained that:

"Running the government's printing presses to pay its bills has not seriously been tried since the Civil War, when President Lincoln saved the North from a crippling war debt at usurious interest rates by printing greenbacks (US notes, interest free). Other countries, however, have tested and proven this model more recently. They include Germany, which pulled itself out of a massive financial collapse in the early 1930s by printing a form of currency called "MEFO bills," and Australia, New Zealand and Canada, all of which successfully funded public works in the first half of the 20th century simply by advancing the credit of the nation. China, Malaysia, Guernsey, Jersey, India, Argentina, and other countries" also tried it successfully during hard times to revive their economies.

Why not ailing America and European ones today. Central bank money creation (credit) for public projects and other productive investments stimulates economic growth, creates jobs, and turns depression into prosperity - inflation free by keeping credit and productive investment in balance. Whenever and wherever it's been tried, it worked when done right.

Instead, sweeping austerity measures are dictated for America and Europe. Last spring, an EU summit announced a Greece bailout package, dependent on "budgetary discipline" and imposed poverty, the same IMF prescription for Latvia, Iceland, Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine. Now eurozone shock therapy, what economist Michael Hudson calls a:

"neoliberal experiment....to drastically change the laws and structure of how European society will function for the next generation. If (successful, they'll) break up Europe, destroy the internal market, and render that continent a backwater."

Calling it a "financial coup d'etat," he said "bankers are demanding (and getting governments to) rebuild their loan reserves at labor's expense," Washington using the same ugly scheme.

Throughout the West, neoliberals are empowered. "From Brussels to Latvia, (they) aim to shrink their economies (by) roll(ing) back wage levels by 30 percent or more - depression-style levels," making Europe and America banana republics.

In late September, EU countries, led by Germany, increased pressure on member states to cut deficits by lower public spending, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in fact, demanding sanctions on offenders and suspending their voting rights for continued policy breaches. At the same time, corporate taxes have been cut, continuing a burden shift to workers. Since 2000, 12 of the 27 EU countries raised VAT rates, Hungary, Denmark and Sweden now charging 25% for commodity purchases while wages and benefits are being slashed. Some new world.

Across the continent, painful worker hammering continues, Ireland the latest troubled country making headlines. On November 13, Wall Street Journal writers Neil Shah and Marcus Walker wrote: "Ireland Stirs Specter of EU Default," saying:

"Europe's debt crisis is still smoldering (months) after relative calm," showing it deceptively hid big trouble, awaiting its moment to surface. The challenges facing Ireland "show few signs of abating soon," a worrisome contagion affecting Europe's largest economies, leading analysts to wonder what shoe will drop next.

Workers, of course, are most affected, spending cuts and high unemployment taking a punishing toll. More are coming, assuring greater deprivation and added impetus for increased emigration. Monthly, 1,250 students leave Ireland as well as thousands of young workers, seeing no future at home. Those remaining face growing burdens, including homeowners to avoid forclosure. One in eight mortgages is underwater. The worst is yet to come, and similar trouble affects Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Britain, and elsewhere across the continent, yet policy fixes assure worse ahead, not better.

Also in America, planned austerity the wrong solution for a sick economy, yet bipartisan support and two deficit cutting commissions back it, an earlier article explained.

It covered Obama's proposed social spending cuts, while leaving defense, banker bailouts, and other corporate subsidies intact, a prescription from hell promising harder than ever hard times for millions. On November 10, Obama's deficit cutting commission outlined its plan. The above link discussed it, a thinly veiled scheme to serve capital, not people when they most need it.

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) was also mentioned, a lesser known group for the same purpose, its proposal imminent at the time. Now it's out with draconian measures as destructive as Obama's commission - proposing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social benefit cuts, harming working households most, the way elitists always cheat ordinary people for themselves.

Co-chaired by former Senator Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office, it's called "Restoring America's Future," saying:

America "fac(es) two huge challenges that can only be surmounted" by bipartisan support "to curb the mounting debt (to) reinforce recovery, not impede it."

Typical elitist boilerplate, then proposing punishing measures on working households for greater enrichment for themselves. They include:

  • indexing Social Security benefits to life expectancy to reduce benefits as longevity increases; in other words, "incentiviz(ing) people to work longer to compensate for lower benefits;
  • eliminating annual cost of living adjustments (COLAs), justified by claiming inflation is overstated when, in fact, it's higher, especially for retirees facing costly medical expenses;
  • over the next 38 years, "rais(ing) the amount of wages subject to payroll taxes (now capped at $106,800) to cover 90% of all wages" - suggesting bonuses, capital gains, dividends, and other executive compensation be exempt, for many, the lion's share of their earnings;
  • instituting a one-year payroll tax holiday for workers and employers, Social Security to get no funding for 12 months to save an estimated $650 billion; supposedly, future general revenue will replenish the shortfall;
  • cutting Medicare benefits, including by higher Part B premiums (from 25 to 35% of total program costs), co-pays, and fees for outpatients services; also establishing privately owned, lower-cost, health insurance exchanges to be given competitive cost advantages over Medicare - a de facto Trojan horse to replace it eventually, leaving recipients at the mercy of predatory insurers that profit by denying expensive care;
  • by 2018, cutting Medicaid by the amount it grows faster than GDP, providing less care to the indigent, perhaps eventually none;
  • shielding insurers and drug giants from malpractice lawsuits by making it harder to file them; then capping non-economic and punitive damage awards, suits to be adjudicated in "specialized malpractice courts," that may, in fact, be civilian equivalents of military commissions, used to deny so-called "terrorists" due process and judicial fairness;
  • instituting a 6.5% national sales tax (called a Debt Reduction Sales Tax - DRST); like European VATs (value added taxes), they'll hit ordinary people hardest and can be incrementally raised anytime to hit harder;
  • simplifying the tax code to two brackets (15 and 27%), favoring the rich; regressively cutting the top personal and corporate tax rate from 35% to 27%, claiming it "will make the tax system more progressive;"
  • eliminating home mortgage and most other deductions and credits;
  • taxing employer provided health insurance to encourage less comprehensive coverage and make healthcare cost more;
  • freezing non-defense discretionary spending for four years, then capping it according to GDP growth - a prescription to slash social benefits, perhaps eliminating them later;
  • freezing "discretionary" defense spending for five years, then capping it with GDP growth; doing it, among other ways, by "reforming military health care;" in other words, cutting veterans' (and perhaps active duty forces') health benefits; and
  • various other schemes hitting working households hardest.

BPC said "19 Americans (elitist ones) from across the country, with diverse backgrounds and views, examined a broad range of spending and revenue options for the federal government....We believe (their plan) provides a comprehensive, viable path to restore our economy and build a strong America for future generations and for those around the world who look to the United States for leadership and hope."

More boilerplate, disguising a scheme to enrich the few while denying equal opportunity to growing millions, especially the poor, disadvantaged, needy dependents, disabled and retirees, leaving them more than ever on their own and out of luck, the "future America" none of them want or deserve.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on November 22, 2010.
 

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