Tag Archives | European Union

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.”

Read More on Mother Jones

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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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EU To Ban Cars From Cities By 2050

No Cars AllowedBruno Waterfield writes in the Telegraph:
The European Commission on Monday unveiled a "single European transport area" aimed at enforcing "a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers" by 2050. The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail. Top of the EU's list to cut climate change emissions is a target of "zero" for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU's future cities. Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto "alternative" means of transport. "That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres," he said. "Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour."
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IMF Prepares For “Threat To International Monetary System”

IMFTyler Durden writes on Zero Hedge:

There is a new threat to the international monetary system which means Europe May 2010 redux is imminent. US taxpayers: our condolences.

Back in April 2010, before Waddell and Reed sold a few shares of ES, effectively destroying the market on news that Europe was insolvent, we made the following observation: “The IMF has just announced that it is expanding its New Arrangement to Borrow (NAB) multilateral facility from its existing $50 billion by a whopping $500 billion (SDR333.5 billion), to $550 billion.” Little did we know that our conclusion “something big must be coming” would prove spot on just a month later after Greece, then Ireland, then Portugal, and soon Spain, Italy, Belgium, and pretty much all other European countries would topple like dominoes tethered together by a flawed monetary regime. Well, based on news from Dow Jones we can now safely predict the following: “something bigger must be coming.”…

For more information, see original article.… Read the rest

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