Tag Archives | USA

Cuba estimates US embargo has cost island $116.8bn in damages in 55 years

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre by flippinyank via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

via The Guardian:

The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution

US economic sanctions against Cuba have cost the island nation $3.9bn in foreign trade over the past year, helping to raise the overall estimate of economic damage to $116.8bn over the past 55 years, Cuba said on Tuesday.

The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution urging an end to the comprehensive US economic embargo and other sanctions against Cuba’s Communist government.

The United Nations has passed the resolution for 22 straight years with overwhelming support. Last year the vote was 188 to 2, with only the United States and Israel voting against the resolution.

Although many US allies join Washington in criticizing Cuba’s one-party system and repression of political opponents, the Americans have lost nearly all international support for the embargo since the collapse of the Soviet Union.… Read the rest

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Inequality and the USA: A Nation in Denial?

Homeless female holding up sign (7617876912).jpg

Photo: Alex Proimos (CC)

Sam Pizzigati of Inequality.org writes at PressTV that “the United States… doesn’t just have the world’s most unequal major developed economy… [it] has the most people in denial about the inequality they live amid”:

Every August, for most of the last four decades, top central bankers from around the world have been making their way to the Wyoming mountain resort of Jackson Hole for an invitation-only blue-ribbon economic symposium.

This year’s Jackson Hole hobnob, once again hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, last week attracted the usual assortment of central bankers, finance ministers, and influential business journalists. But this year’s gathering also attracted something else: protesters.

For the first time ever, activists converged on Jackson Hole — to let the Fed’s central bankers know, as protest organizers put it, that “it’s not just the rich who are watching them.”

Over 70 groups and unions backed the protest and signed onto an open letter that calls on America’s central bankers to start nurturing an economy that works for workers.

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U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Discusses Who Should Rule Ukraine on Behalf of the United States

via chycho

ukraine coup

To say that what’s happening in Ukraine is extremely important is an understatement. It will be precedent setting, just like what’s happening in Syria (2), and just like what happened in Afghanistan and Iran, but a lot more on that later. For now, the following has been added as an update to: “What Cold War? This Cold War: Death Follows McCain to the Ukraine as the Armenia-ultimatum to Screw over Russia Fails Again for the EU and the U.S.”

Ukraine crisis: Leaked phone call embarrasses US – “The two officials also discuss frankly the merits of the three main Ukrainian opposition leaders – Vitaly Klitschko, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Oleh Tyahnybok. The female speaker says that Mr Klitschko, the former heavyweight boxing world champion, should not be in any new government. ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea.’ She adds: ‘I think Yats (Arseniy Yatseniuk) is the guy who’s got the economic experience.’”

Марионетки Майдана (Marionettes of Maidan)

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David Simon Speech: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’

David Simon at Rising Tide 2011Best known as the creator of seminal TV series The Wire, David Simon gave an impromptu speech about the divide between rich and poor in America at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, and how capitalism has lost sight of its social compact. This is an edited extract via The Guardian:

America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It’s astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.

There’s no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know.

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America: Afraid of Shadows in the Dark While Ignoring the Elephants in the Room

via chycho
usa-fear_thumb

What baffles the mind about the United States of America is that many of its citizens have been conditioned to fear shadows in the dark while ignoring the elephants in the room.

I. Homelessness and Bankruptcies

For example, in the last few years anti-homelessness laws have been passed across the United States, some going as far as making it illegal to feed the homeless. As if that wasn’t enough, to deal with America’s homelessness problem (2), some government representatives have turned to violence:

“Remarkably, this vigilante isn’t just some random Hawaiian, but five-term State Rep. Tom Brower (D).

“Noting that he’s ‘disgusted’ with homeless people, Brower told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about his own personal brand of ‘justice’: ‘If I see shopping carts that I can’t identify, I will destroy them so they can’t be pushed on the streets.’ Brower has waged this campaign for two weeks, estimating that he’s smashed about 30 shopping carts in the process.

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Recolonization of Africa, a Symptom of Our Addiction to Growth: Differential Accumulation, Why GDP Growth Rates Influence Foreign Policy

via chycho

The name of the game when it comes to investing in the markets is that you must not only be ahead of inflation but you must also beat the averages, exceeding the normal rate of return. If you don’t do both then you are neither protecting nor accumulating capital, i.e., in the limit you will lose your wealth. This principle also applies to nations.

Ignoring our need to rely on different economic measures (pdf) other than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a nation to indicate progress, wealth and well-being, if a countries GDP growth rate is below the global average, then over time that country will lose influence and be subject to an unstable economy. In essence, how a countries economy performs is relative to how other countries perform – there is a “growth imperative in capitalist economies” (pdf).

But why do capitalist economies need to grow?

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George Washington Named Britain’s Greatest Foe

Reports Jasper Copping in the Telegraph:
The American was voted the winner in a contest run by the National Army Museum to identify the country's most outstanding military opponent. He was one of a shortlist of five leaders who topped a public poll and on Saturday was selected as the ultimate winner by an audience of around 70 guests at a special event at the museum, in Chelsea, west London. In second place was Michael Collins, the Irish leader, ahead of Napoleon Bonaparte, Erwin Rommel and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. At the event, each contender had their case made by a historian giving a 40 minute presentation. The audience, who had paid to attend the day, then voted in a secret ballot after all five presentations had been made. Dr Stephen Brumwell, who had championed Washington, said: "As British officers conceded, he was a worthy opponent."
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Symbolic? Washington Monument Cracks in Quake

Washington MonumentJennifer Epstein writes in the Politico:
The earthquake didn’t cause widespread damages or injuries, but it did put a crack in the Washington Monument. After unconfirmed reports suggested the monument was tilting, park officials said Tuesday night that the 550-foot obelisk suffered a crack in the 5.8-magnitude rumble centered in Mineral, Va., near Charlottesville. Inspections conducted by helicopter found a crack “at the very, very top” of the monument, park service spokesman Bill Line told The Washington Post, and the monument and plaza surrounding the structure will be closed indefinitely as it is examined. Though it suffered damage, the monument isn’t leaning, the Park Service said. The Park Service has also temporarily closed the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial pending further inspection, while other landmarks — including the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial set to be officially unveiled this weekend — remain open.
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The Koch Brothers Echo Chamber Attacks Social Security

Senator Sanders connects the dots between the Koch brothers and the attacks on Social Security. This video, part of the Brave New Films' Koch Brothers Exposed campaign, investigates the millions of dollars that the Koch brothers spend to create an echo chamber to take away our Social Security. Read more about the right wing echo chamber at Alternet. Help spread the word so we can expose the Koch brothers and protect our Social Security.
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