Tag Archives | European Union

The Euro And Austerity As A Powder Keg In Europe

Via Critical Legal Thinking, excerpts from a translated interview with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza (the Coalition of the Radical Left), Greece’s new second largest political party:

I believe the European model has to be rebuilt from below. We can’t be sat­is­fied with what today is called Europe. The cur­rent crisis is not a European crisis but a global one. Europe today does not have the mech­an­isms to con­front it or con­trol the world­wide fin­an­cial attack against its peoples. Hence why Europe became a con­tin­ent where the attack of the global fin­an­cial sys­tem was fero­cious.

The [euro currency] has become a prison for the peoples of Europe, espe­cially the weak­est eco­nom­ies on the peri­phery going through the crisis. The con­tra­dic­tion is in the base on which the euro was built. The euro is a powder keg that is going to explode if we con­tinue in this dir­ec­tion.

Greece became an ultralib­eral exper­i­ment, a guinea pig.

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The United States of Europe Continues its Decline…

Picture: SsolbergJ (PD)

The struggling European Supertstate has demanded an extra £1 billion from a cash strapped United Kingdom. The EU’s central command centre (located in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium) is due to issue its latest demands later in the month.

From Aol.co.uk:

Brussels is to bill Britain £1bn extra because it’s blown its 2012 budget. Brussels will pitch its demand for UK taxpayer cash – £976 million, to be exact – in late October, shortly before MEPs rubber-stamp a 7% hike in the EU’s annual budget.

The move puts more pressure on the UK government’s relationship with Brussels as EU spending strays, again, beyond previous estimates.

American readers who are not familliar with the ins and outs of the EU are directed towards this excellent guide from This American Life:

This American Life: Continental Breakup

If you’re like us, when the words “European debt crisis” pop up in the news you feel a little worried, and a little like taking a nap.

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Greece’s Cashless, Euro-Free Currency Working

HermesReports Jon Henley in the Guardian:

In recent weeks, Theodoros Mavridis has bought fresh eggs, tsipourou (the local brandy), fruit, olives, olive oil, jam, and soap. He has also had some legal advice, and enjoyed the services of an accountant to help fill in his tax return.

None of it has cost him a euro, because he had previously done a spot of electrical work – repairing a TV, sorting out a dodgy light – for some of the 800-odd members of a fast-growing exchange network in the port town of Volos, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki.

In return for his expert labour, Mavridis received a number of Local Alternative Units (known as tems in Greek) in his online network account. In return for the eggs, olive oil, tax advice and the rest, he transferred tems into other people’s accounts. “It’s an easier, more direct way of exchanging goods and services,” said Bernhardt Koppold, a German-born homeopathist and acupuncturist in Volos who is an active member of the network.

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The Euro As A Mass Weapon Of Class Warfare

gasFormer member of European Parliament Steve McGiffen reveals what he sees as the true purpose of the uniting of Europe under the euro currency, via Spectrezine:

Where I differ from much progressive criticism of the euro is that I actually see [the current crisis] not as proof of massive incompetence, but, in fact, as [purposeful]. The euro’s purpose was not to facilitate the creation of a Europe of transfrontier love, peace, harmony, boosted trade and economic efficiency, but to attack the economic, social and political gains of working people, accumulated over two centuries in the most bitter struggles. What is happening in country after country, starkest of all in Greece, Ireland and Portugal, but also in Britain, is nothing less than the opening salvoes of a new, more intense and more dangerous phase of class war.

If governments and national banks give up the economic leverage they gain from an ability to determine their own levels of spending and borrowing, if they can no longer decide interest or exchange rates, they will have only one means left to maintain or enhance competitiveness: our wages, our pensions, our welfare rights, our children’s education, will all have to cost less – this is of course what has since been called ‘internal devaluation’.

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Synarchy: The Hidden Hand Behind the European Union

Flag of EuropeLynn Picknett and Clive Prince, the writing team whose once obscure research skyrocketed to fame in the wake of The Da Vinci Code, write in New Dawn Magazine of “synarchy,” a politico-occult movement they claim to be the “hidden hand” behind the European Union:

While questions remain about the existence of a single global elite with an agenda that goes beyond simply keeping itself very, very rich, there are certainly groups that want to run the world for quite other reasons. And with the increasing globalisation of political and economic institutions, it has become easier for a relatively small group to inveigle itself into quite staggeringly influential positions. One cabal in particular reveals – alarmingly – what a small group, driven by a fanatical belief system, can achieve from the shadows. And writing as we are in the United Kingdom, this group is on our doorstep, and has been for over a century.

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Pirate Party Rep. Becomes Youngest Ever Member Of European Parliament

ameliaTorrentFreak talks to Amelia Andersdotter of Sweden’s fantastic Pirate Party. If only they had a U.S. presence:

In a few weeks Amelia Andersdotter will be the second Pirate Party member to take a seat at the European Parliament in Brussels. The 24-year-old Swede was voted in more than two years ago, but due to bureaucratic quibbles her official appointment was delayed.

When elected Andersdotter was only 21, but the now 24-year-old will still be the youngest member to hold a seat in the current parliament.

For the remainder of her term as MEP, which end in 2014, Andersdotter will focus on issues like competition in the telecommunication area. “European approaches to competition law need to be changed, at least a bit. Better sector adaptation, for instance. The lack of real control over vertical integration creates the situation where telcos (or media enterprises) own everything from the backbone cables to the music streaming service – that’s not good.

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The Gift That (We) Keep(s) on Giving: Through January 2013

“Demand a property tax on idle wealth.  Demand it NOW.” —Liam McGonagle

“Seriously, do you expect a better opportunity to extract concessions from your enemies than when they lay begging, bleeding at your feet?” Liam McGonagle

In case you were in the washroom when ‘Jersey Shore’ was interrupted with this late-breaking newstory:  Ben Bernancke just committed the U.S. to provide the European Central Bank (“ECB”) with an unlimited line of credit.

That’s right, a brand new bailout.  Structurally along the lines that Business Insider had warned us about in September, but much more ambitious; that article had postulated a trifling $1 trillion, not the bottomless pit we’re actually being presented with.

The basic deal is that we hand dollars over to the ECB in exchange for Euros, the value of which, has become highly dubious to say the least. The ECB will in turn invest those dollars in large corporate banks to bolster balance sheets they themselves ruined through reckless underwriting practices and constant pressures for tax holidays and austerity measures.… Read the rest

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EU Bans Airport X-Ray Scanners Over Health Concerns

TSA ScanReports Julia Whitty on Mother Jones:

Citing health concerns, the European Union banned from European airports this week the same kind of X-ray scanners used by TSA in airports across the US. Here’s the EU’s wording:

In order not to risk jeopardising citizens’ health and safety, only security scanners which do not use X-ray technology are added to the list of authorised methods for passenger screening at EU airports.

In How Safe Are TSA’s Porno Scanners? I wrote about the risks of using ionizing radiation in routine airport screenings. Concerned scientists have noted the health risks of X-ray scanners, where even low levels of radiation increase cancer risks. They also note that TSA’s safety testing is flawed, since:

  1. testing is not done on the skin, which receives most backscatter X-rays
  2. the devices used for testing airport scanners are not designed for testing airport scanners

Worse, as Pro Publica points out, TSA’s safety tests are strangely obtuse:

The researchers’ names have been kept secret, and the report on the tests is so “heavily redacted” that “there is no way to repeat any of these measurements.”

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Cloud-Based Data Outside the U.S. Not Exempt From PATRIOT Act Spying

Bald EagleStephen C. Webster writes on The Raw Story:

In the brave new world of cloud computing, where data is stored off-site in massive server farms instead of on a user’s local hard drive, privacy and security are paramount in the consumer’s mind.

Unfortunately for privacy advocates, their concerns are essentially moot thanks to the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which a key Microsoft official said recently permits the U.S. to spy on data stored within cloud servers across the European Union.

The revelation of transcontinental spying, which has long been suspected, came from Gordon Frazer, Microsoft U.K.’s managing director, speaking at an announcement event for the company’s new suite of office software.

Frazer’s admission was caught by ZDNet reporter Zack Whittaker, who’s long covered data security issues as they relate to the Patriot Act.

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