Europe Taking Lead on Speculations Tax

Perhaps every single share of stock, every single bond traded, every credit default swap traded should be taxed that way the Wall Streets and lazy rich pigs who use their money to exploit others will be the ones to pay for their fucking endless wars and rape of the earth.

From Common Dreams:

by Sarah Anderson
Published on Friday, July 1, 2011 by Foreign Policy In Focus

Out of the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, an idea that progressives have been kicking around for decades – a financial transactions tax (FTT) – took on new life.

There were high hopes that the G-20, which had declared itself the “premier forum for international economic coordination,” would take up the proposal as a way to raise massive revenues to pay for the costs of the crisis and also discourage reckless short-term financial speculation.

And there were some early encouraging signs. In the summer of 2009, the chief financial regulator of the United Kingdom, Europe’s biggest financial market, came out strongly in support of expanding that country’s existing tax on securities trades to include derivatives and foreign exchange. By the fall, the leaders of Germany and France pledged to put the issue on the agenda of the G-20’s summit in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, there seemed to be at least a small kernel of potential in the Obama administration, as the president lashed out at “fat cat bankers” and proposed a levy on top banks to pay for bailouts.

Today, however, European leaders appear to have given up on a G-20 agreement and are going ahead on their own. The European Commission has included an EU-wide financial transactions tax in its budget proposal for 2014-2020. According to reports, the EC estimates that it would raise about 30 million euros ($43 million). The EU tax commissioner, who previously insisted that such taxes would only be feasible if coordinated globally, has now said there “there are ways to implement a financial transaction tax in the EU while mitigating the main risks identified.”

This comes on the heels of resolutions in support of such taxes that passed by strong majorities in the European Parliament and the French national parliament. A new Eurobarometer poll shows 61 percent of Europeans favor the plan.

Why has the debate moved so much further ahead in Europe than the United States?

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Accomplished Women: Feminist Movement 1970s Documentary – Part 3

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Forest Service’s Gestapo Like Tactics Mar Rainbow Family Annual Gathering

From The Seattle PI:

SHANNON DININNY, Associated Press
Saturday, July 2, 2011

GIFFORD PINCHOT NATIONAL FOREST, Wash. (AP) — Lights flash in the dusk as police cars surround a blue school bus painted with colorful hearts and flowers. Several youthful hippies watch while officers search their bags and a police dog sniffs for drugs.

They were pulled over for failing to use a turn signal on a remote forest road. Minutes later, two pose for mug shots after the search turns up marijuana.

It’s a scene likely to be played out again in the next week as thousands descend on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in southwest Washington for the 40th annual gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light, a group of peace activists borne out of the ’60s counterculture movement.

Brought in to keep their own peace: 30 U.S. Forest service law enforcement personnel from around the country, working 24-7 on three rotating shifts.

The Forest Service says the sheer number of people warrants the heavy police presence. Critics call it overkill in a remote forest that could be easily policed — or at least managed — by local law enforcement.

“There’s no accountability,” said Paul Pearce, local Skamania County commissioner.

Said Gary Stubbs, a decades-long Rainbow gatherer from Marysville, Calif., “They treat us like terrorists.”

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“This Land is Your Land”

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Corporate Cash Con

From The New York Times:
July 3, 2011

Watching the evolution of economic discussion in Washington over the past couple of years has been a disheartening experience. Month by month, the discourse has gotten more primitive; with stunning speed, the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis have been forgotten, and the very ideas that got us into the crisis — regulation is always bad, what’s good for the bankers is good for America, tax cuts are the universal elixir — have regained their hold.

And now trickle-down economics — specifically, the idea that anything that increases corporate profits is good for the economy — is making a comeback.

On the face of it, this seems bizarre. Over the last two years profits have soared while unemployment has remained disastrously high. Why should anyone believe that handing even more money to corporations, no strings attached, would lead to faster job creation?

Nonetheless, trickle-down is clearly on the ascendant — and even some Democrats are buying into it. What am I talking about? Consider first the arguments Republicans are using to defend outrageous tax loopholes. How can people simultaneously demand savage cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and defend special tax breaks favoring hedge fund managers and owners of corporate jets?

Well, here’s what a spokesman for Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, told Greg Sargent of The Washington Post: “You can’t help the wage earner by taxing the wage payer offering a job.” He went on to imply, disingenuously, that the tax breaks at issue mainly help small businesses (they’re actually mainly for big corporations). But the basic argument was that anything that leaves more money in the hands of corporations will mean more jobs. That is, it’s pure trickle-down.

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Thom Hartmann: Secrets the Rich don’t Want You to Know

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$4 Trillion for War—and Counting

We can afford Trillions for War but can’t afford health care for our citizens.

End the wars and balance the budget.  The War machine didn’t even blink when the Soviet Empire collapsed it just kept on consuming and destroying.  We just had to find new enemies.

“We have always been at war with Eastasia”, George Orwell “1984”.

From Truth Dig:–_and_rising_20110701/

By Joe Conason
Posted on Jul 1, 2011

Anyone paying attention to the costs of U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan must have known that the president badly underestimated those numbers on June 22, when he told the nation that we have spent “a trillion dollars” waging war over the past decade. For well over two years, we have known that the total monetary cost of those wars will eventually amount to well over $2 trillion, and might well rise higher, according to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz and his associate Linda Bilmes.

What we didn’t know until this week is that the expense in constant dollars—leaving aside the horrific price paid by the dead, wounded, displaced and ruined in every country—will likely reach well over $4.4 trillion.

That is the conclusion of a study released by the Eisenhower Research Project, a group of scholars, diplomats and other experts based at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. The Eisenhower study doesn’t scant the human damage, which its authors say has been underestimated as badly as the fiscal costs. According to them, “an extremely conservative estimate of the toll in direct war dead and wounded is about 225,000 dead and about 365,000 physically wounded in these wars so far”—including those in Pakistan, which is embroiled in war just as lethally as Afghanistan.

The American military dead in all three countries now totals more than 6,000, a figure that does not include another 2,300 in U.S. military contractors; the American wounded, military and civilian, are well over 100,000, which doesn’t include the psychological destruction wreaked on those who served and their families. The most obvious indicator is the exceptionally high suicide rate among the million or more returned veterans.

The Eisenhower study’s authors concede that they cannot readily estimate the full value of the economic and social damage we have sustained as a nation—in lost years of work and wrecked families, as well as huge interest costs on the money borrowed to finance these interventions. Nor can they fully account for the growth and investment forfeited because such a great proportion of the nation’s resources was squandered on war rather than pressing needs in infrastructure, energy, education and health.

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Accomplished Women: Feminist Movement 1970s Documentary – Part 2

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Danny Glover Reads Frederick Douglass

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Seven billion souls and counting: the perils of an overpopulated planet

From The Seattle Times:

There’s remarkably little U.S. or global discussion of the perils in today’s rising world population, writes Neal Peirce. The dangers are many — from food shortages to climate change and fears of resulting social tensions and economic crises.

Neal Peirce / Syndicated columnist
July 2, 2011

WASHINGTON — The population of Planet Earth is now projected to pass the 7 billion mark this October — up from just 2.5 billion in 1950. One study shows that if today’s explosive birthrates in developing nations continue, the African continent alone, by the end of this century, could have 15 billion people — more than twice the population of the world today.

This won’t happen. As populations age and urbanize, today’s fertility rates — in many poor nations an average of five, even six children for every woman — are bound to recede.

But the speed of the decline depends significantly on whether women have access to family planning and contraception services. Plus legalized abortion. Unwanted pregnancies and abortions are actually declining in countries that have made abortion legal, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Yet it notes that 70,000 women around the world die each year from illegal, often seriously botched abortions.

A closely related issue: food for our expanding billions of people. Popular “Malthusian” concerns — how many people the globe can sustain — were put to rest by the fabled Green Revolution that flowered from the 1960s onward, bringing dramatic gains in new corn, wheat and rice varieties, huge new irrigation systems, synthetic fertilizers and pesticide use.

But more crop gains — especially gains to match the world’s population growth — may be seriously limited. “The great agricultural system that feeds the human race is in trouble,” Justin Gillis reports in a New York Times roundup of global food issues. A special point of concern: Demand for production of four crucial staples — wheat, rice, corn and soybeans — has begun to outstrip production. Some grains more than doubled in cost in 2007 and again in the most recent price spikes.

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Sandra Oh reads Emma Goldman

Accomplished Women: Feminist Movement 1970s Documentary – Part 1

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