http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/01/whos-the-low-life-scum-kissinger-or-codepink/View full post
Yet, while McCain’s support of the Vietnam war, Iraq War, Syrian War, Libyan war, and virtually every war that was ever waged and those that ever will be waged upon the face of the earth, has resulted in the death of millions of people, McCain found himself in the presence of one of the true …View full post
Syriza has allowed Greeks to dream again. But the real struggle is just beginning | Apostolis Fotiadis | Comment is free | The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/26/syriza-greeks-dream-again-struggle-beginningView full post
Greece is bountifully blessed with water, arable land and a history of cultured civilisation. There is a booming back to the land movement amongst Greece’s youth. Everyone knows someone with an old farmhouse it seems, so if people are willing to turn their back on 32 hour govt jobs in Athens, sitting around sipping latte …View full post
Yet, while McCain’s support of the Vietnam war, Iraq War, Syrian War, Libyan war, and virtually every war that was ever waged and those that ever will be waged upon the face of the earth, has resulted in the death of millions of people, McCain found himself in the presence of one of the true kings of killing in Henry Kissinger.
Indeed, Kissinger is one of the true living figures whose feet most psychopathic killers the world over still long to kneel at.
Kissinger’s direction of the Chilean coup, Vietnam war, Cambodian and Laotian tragedies, and his famous National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200) has earned him a special place amongst the world’s most effective mass murders, although admittedly not the most widely known.
It is thus not surprising that McCain would come to the aid of Kissinger so readily. In fact, it is not surprising that, after all these years and all these crimes against humanity, that Kissinger would be addressing such an important Congressional committee. Nor is it surprising that this committee boasts yet another criminal, terrorist supporter, insidious color revolution operative, and traitor like John McCain.
The only surprising aspect of the whole affair was that the protesters were allowed to stay for as long as they did.
Or was the most surprising aspect that there were protesters to begin with?
Greece is bountifully blessed with water, arable land and a history of cultured civilisation. There is a booming back to the land movement amongst Greece’s youth. Everyone knows someone with an old farmhouse it seems, so if people are willing to turn their back on 32 hour govt jobs in Athens, sitting around sipping latte and scooting off to pensions at 55 years old, the hinterland can support good life. It has done for all of known history and that won’t change. The fundamentals of Greece are strong, when viewed through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Greece isn’t suited to industrial consumerism, and it’s been a painful lesson for many. The quicker that Greece turns its back on industrial consumerism the better.
It is my opinion that Siryza shouldn’t even seek concessions from the EU, but just leave, reject the Euro, default on all Euro denominated national debt, and focus on educating the domestic population on the sort of life that Greece can abundantly provide, and what that will immediately mean for all citizens. Essentially, Siryza has the opportunity to usher in the biggest and most ambition Transition Town program yet seen, at a State level. I believe Japan would quickly follow suit. They would do well as an island nation once more, if a 50% population die off over a single generation can be considered “well”. But once they are back under 60 million souls, things would become sustainable there too. Better to embrace the inevitable and try to arrange some semblance of decent planned energy descent than to live in denial and face a crash unprepared.
The tyranny of neoliberal capitalism and austerity ravaged the tiny Mediterranean country of Greece against the democratic will of the people. Social and human rights costs have been high, the country’s healthcare system gutted, public lands stripped, and utilities and services privatized. In recent years, youth unemployment soared to 50% and poverty has hit a critical threshold, devastating the lives of much of the populace.
As social safety nets fell, Greeks relied on community and family to keep them from absolute destitution. Many were unfortunate, and suicide rates skyrocketed. None was more traumatic to the national psyche than that of Dimitris Christoulas, a 77-year-old retired pharmacist and fixture at the rallies, who took to Syntagma Square and shot himself in the head. His suicide note lamented, “I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945.″
Syriza now has to govern, they are the party of government — not of revolution. The euphoria of the election was quickly tempered by the pragmatism of governance and the task at hand. They have yet to propose anything radical, instead they talk of minimum wage, eased debt payments, and social programs. These are important programs that may improve social conditions for many in Greece. There is no program of mass nationalizations or land appropriations. If one is looking for a party that will sweep away the state into a classless society, he is looking in the wrong place.
In forming a coalition with ANEL, Tsipras is perhaps hearkening the advice of J.K. Galbraith when he told President Kennedy, “(p)olitics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.” Tsipras must determine if governance is more palatable that principle.
To forego the unpalatable, to take any kind of leap to the possible, Syriza needs to display a stronger mandate than it earned in the elections.
Here it’s instructive that the Greeks remember their history. They last faced tyranny during the period of the military junta of 1967-1974. It was the student-led uprising at Athens Polytechnic that notably defied the dictatorship. The uprising was not itself successful at restoring democracy, but many believe it precipitated the falling of the dictatorship nine months later.
We return now to the beginning. What Syriza, and more importantly Greece, needs is the continuation of social movements. What Greece and maybe Europe needs is Syntagma.
The rise of Syriza in Greece is a welcomed development if Mr. Tsipras and his colleagues understand what they are up against and act accordingly. Whether the commitment to stay with the E.U. project is sincere or tactical, the currency union precludes much constructive action other than internal reorganization of the Greek economy. Internal reorganization, reigning in the kleptocracy and making it pay its way and using the gains in public resources to fund social spending, runs head on into the policies of extraction being inflicted on Greece by the Troika. What is framed by Western liberals as bad economics, ‘austerity,’ can otherwise be seen through the experience of the last half-century of austerity policies enacted by the I.M.F. (International Monetary Fund) to assure that banks are paid no matter the social catastrophe that results.
This longer history gives context to the policies inflicted on Greece. The American ‘model’ in South and Central America was / is to install ‘pro-business’ despots, internal kleptocrats, supported by the C.I.A., to loot ‘their’ countries while keeping order for U.S. business interests. Nominally leftist neo-liberal tool Carlos Menem led Argentina in the run-up to the Argentine crisis of the early 2000s. At the IMF’s behest, Mr. Menem implemented austerity policies that led to the collapse of the Argentine economy and ultimately to the collapse of the (subsequent) Argentinian government. It wasn’t until the Argentinian people rebelled and refused I.M.F. imposed austerity that economic resolution was possible.
The thinly veiled racist drivel coming from the European North claiming that Greece’s problem are the product of a ‘national character’ finds its twin in American elite views of the economic problems besetting the growing poor underclass in the U.S. Mitt Romney’s ‘makers versus takers’ frame is the received wisdom in banker and corporate executive ghettoes across the U.S. An effort is being pushed to audit Greek debt to understand how, and for what purposes, it was undertaken. As social services in Greece were being cut arms from German and French arms manufacturers continued to be purchased on the Greek people’s dime. When an audit of Argentina’s debt was conducted some 70% of it was found to be fraudulent, private debt undertaken by private interests for their own benefit that was turned into public debt to rob the Argentinian people.
The economic policies forced on Greece are being imposed by degree across the West. School systems in major U.S. cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit are being systematically looted by neo-liberal ideologues and self-serving ‘managers’ for their own benefit. The idea of economic ‘efficiency’ being pushed is operational efficiency— efficiency in terms of providing the least service at the highest level of revenues. Public and private pensions are being cut under claims of material scarcity when the taxes and pay that were intended to fund them have been cut to benefit the wealthy. And the Obama administration left millions of families who were defrauded by predatory mortgage loans with debts greater than the value of their houses while the banks that made the loans were restored on the public dime.
In Greece Mr. Tsipras is so far saying the right things (top link). And what he is saying is only ‘radical’ within the frame of the hard-right turn of neo-liberalism of the last forty years. The economic policies forced on Greece are more draconian than in the U.S. and European core, but be degree, not by type. Wall Street, which includes major German and French banks, has used manufactured crises to affect ‘soft’ coups around the globe for decades. Debt is used as a weapon. The Greek people have a very difficult battle to fight. But the neo-liberal coup is international. Americans and Northern Europeans who think they are on the ‘winning’ side just haven’t had their jobs and life savings stolen yet. To one degree or another, we are all Greeks now.
For starters, there is evidence suggesting that paying attention to your happiness, a crucial part of well-being, can actually make you less happy. In one study, two groups watched a video that usually makes people happy – a figure skater winning a prize. Afterwards, participants filled in a questionnaire to assess happiness. The only difference was that before viewing the video, one group read a statement emphasising the importance of happiness and the other group did not. Those who did not read the statement were more happy after the video. Consciously focusing on our happiness can backfire.
An obsessive focus on wellness can also make us more judgmental, potentially worsening societal divisions. Those who highly value well-being tend to view those who don’t come up to their high standards as “disgusting”, even if the truth is they can’t afford a personal yoga instructor or the latest lifelogging technology.
A fascinating stream of research in moral psychology has found that when feelings of disgust are triggered, we tend to rapidly make highly punitive moral judgements. For example, we are more likely to harshly judge people who “turn our stomach” and we ascribe morally unattractive traits to them, such as being lazy and untrustworthy.
While workplace programmes promise great things, they sometimes deliver disappointing results. For instance, some studies have found wellness initiatives only helped a small number of employees lose on average half a kilogram over a year. While any weight loss is not to be sniffed at, it is uncertain whether such modest results are worth the billions spent achieving them.
It is hard to argue against a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking and drinking in moderation. However, we say wellness can become a problem and deserves greater scrutiny when it is an unceasing command people feel they must live up to and it becomes a moral demand. When this happens, it can actually undermine the very thing it tries to promote.