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Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz says ‘NO’ to EU plan. It’s not about economics, it’s about EU power and punishment

Economists around the world are sounding off and the verdict is that they are condemning the EU and Troika for its punitive stance and ridiculous proposal that would inevitably result in a deeper downturn. The EU is showing its true colors as a ego driven, power hungry, elite group of rulers.

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Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is University Professor at Columbia University. His most recent book, co-authored with Bruce Greenwald, is Creating a Learning Society: A New Approach to Growth, Development, and Social Progress. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2015.

Post originally appeared on The Guardian.

The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.

Of course, the economics behind the programme that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%.

It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018.

Economists around the world have condemned that target as punitive, because aiming for it will inevitably result in a deeper downturn. Indeed, even if Greece’s debt is restructured beyond anything imaginable, the country will remain in depression if voters there commit to the troika’s target in the snap referendum to be held this weekend.

In terms of transforming a large primary deficit into a surplus, few countries have accomplished anything like what the Greeks have achieved in the last five years. And, though the cost in terms of human suffering has been extremely high, the Greek government’s recent proposals went a long way toward meeting its creditors’ demands.

We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. The IMF and the other “official” creditors do not need the money that is being demanded. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the money received would most likely just be lent out again to Greece.

But, again, it’s not about the money. It’s about using “deadlines” to force Greece to knuckle under, and to accept the unacceptable – not only austerity measures, but other regressive and punitive policies.

But why would Europe do this? Why are European Union leaders resisting the referendum and refusing even to extend by a few days the June 30 deadline for Greece’s next payment to the IMF? Isn’t Europe all about democracy?

In January, Greece’s citizens voted for a government committed to ending austerity. If the government were simply fulfilling its campaign promises, it would already have rejected the proposal. But it wanted to give Greeks a chance to weigh in on this issue, so critical for their country’s future wellbeing.

That concern for popular legitimacy is incompatible with the politics of the eurozone, which was never a very democratic project. Most of its members’ governments did not seek their people’s approval to turn over their monetary sovereignty to the ECB. When Sweden’s did, Swedes said no. They understood that unemployment would rise if the country’s monetary policy were set by a central bank that focused single-mindedly on inflation (and also that there would be insufficient attention to financial stability). The economy would suffer, because the economic model underlying the eurozone was predicated on power relationships that disadvantaged workers.

And, sure enough, what we are seeing now, 16 years after the eurozone institutionalised those relationships, is the antithesis of democracy: many European leaders want to see the end of prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist government. After all, it is extremely inconvenient to have in Greece a government that is so opposed to the types of policies that have done so much to increase inequality in so many advanced countries, and that is so committed to curbing the unbridled power of wealth. They seem to believe that they can eventually bring down the Greek government by bullying it into accepting an agreement that contravenes its mandate.

It is hard to advise Greeks how to vote on 5 July. Neither alternative – approval or rejection of the troika’s terms – will be easy, and both carry huge risks. A yes vote would mean depression almost without end. Perhaps a depleted country – one that has sold off all of its assets, and whose bright young people have emigrated – might finally get debt forgiveness; perhaps, having shrivelled into a middle-income economy, Greece might finally be able to get assistance from the World Bank. All of this might happen in the next decade, or perhaps in the decade after that.

By contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present.

I know how I would vote.

References:

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/29/joseph-stiglitz-how-i-would-vote-in-the-greek-referendum

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10 signs that America is in MUCH worse trouble than we all thought

You may find it difficult to believe some of the things that I am about to share with you. Instinctively, most of us know that America is in trouble, but recently it has been impressed upon me that things are much worse than I originally believed.

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A homeless man sleeps under an American Flag blanket on a park bench in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. As of June 2013, there were an all-time record of 50,900 homeless people, including 12,100 homeless families with 21,300 homeless children homeless in New York City.

Our cities are becoming cesspools, our nation is falling apart all around us, and it seems like the number of sick, twisted and depraved people is multiplying.

We still have a relatively high standard of living for the moment, but the only reason we can maintain that standard of living is because we are on the greatest debt binge in human history. And once that bubble bursts, I fear for what this nation is going to become, because things are getting really bad out there.

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The following are 10 signs that America is in much worse trouble than we all thought…

#1 America is “the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth in”

We all know that our healthcare system is rapidly deteriorating, but I figured that the U.S. would be at least in the middle of the pack when it comes to women dying during childbirth. Sadly, I was completely wrong

The U.S. is the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth in according to a report.

About 50,000 women are “severely injured” during childbirth, and about 700 women die every year. Half of these deaths could have been prevented, as could the injuries, if correct safety procedures had been followed, according to an investigation by USA Today.

#2 America is absolutely teeming with sexual predators

When I read stories like the one I am about to share with you, it makes me want to vomit. According to a report that was just released, more than 300 “predator priests” were identified in just 6 Pennsylvania dioceses

A landmark grand jury report identifies more than 300 “predator priests” in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses, the state Supreme Court said Friday in ordering the findings released. (Tap here to read the court ruling.)

The justices said the report on clergy child sexual abuse going back decades and allegations of cover-up efforts will be made public but without the names or “individual specific information” of priests and others who have challenged the findings, at least in the initial version to be released.

#3 America has a massive problem with pedophilia

This is particularly true in Hollywood, and actor Elijah Wood has decided to go public about it

The actor, in a new interview with the Sunday Times, is accusing Tinseltown of having a pedophilia problem, saying “a lot of vipers” are preying on children in the business.

“Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized. There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind,” he said. “There is darkness in the underbelly. What bums me about these situations is that the victims can’t speak as loudly as the people in power. That’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people: they can be squashed, but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”

#4 America is full of people that are looking to take advantage of others

During the recent horrific wildfires in northern California, authorities say that there was “a lot of looting”

With so many people locked out of huge areas of the city, looters had moved in to take advantage, officials said, adding that police patrols are being increased and hat National Guard troops are being brought in to help.

“We’re experiencing a lot of looting and are beefing up our security,” Redding Police Chief Roger Moore told a crowd of about 250 residents Saturday afternoon. And Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko received a round of applause when he announced the first arrest of a suspected looter.

#5 America has way too many politically-correct control freaks that want to ruin all of our lives

I never dreamed that the day would come when plastic straws would be banned in the United States, but now it is actually happening

Only in California can you go to jail for offering restaurant patrons a straw. According to the ordinance, first-time offenders will be given a written warning. Second-time offenders will face steeper consequences. Based on the city’s municipal code, penalties for straw-peddling will include a “fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months.”

The West Coast is home to many a plastic straw ban; the city of Seattle, WA, was the first city in the U.S. to ban plastic straws in early July. But in the Emerald City, a violation only warrants a $250 fine. California is not to be outdone in their regressive-progressive politics.

#6 America is a nation of addicts

Today, I came across a survey that found that nearly half of all Americans admit to shopping online (one addiction) while drunk (another addiction)…

If you’ve poured yourself a glass of wine or two and then started browsing Amazon, you’re not alone — and you may well have spent more than you meant to. A new survey finds that Americans who shop online under the influence spend over $40 each time.

Gin drinkers actually spend the most, about $82 on average, while whiskey drinkers are the cheapest buzzed buyers, according to addiction treatment facility the Archstone Recovery Center. They polled over 1,000 people who reported purchasing an item off of Amazon while under the influence of alcohol.

#7 America is on a path to financial suicide

The federal government is already 21 trillion dollars in debt, and it is being officially estimated that we will hit the 30 trillion dollar mark by 2028.

#8 America seems to have an endless supply of cruel people

Down in Louisiana, authorities have arrested 5 people that locked an autistic woman that they were related to in a cage and forced her to eat her mother’s ashes

A Louisiana woman living with autism was locked up in a cage, threatened and abused and forced to eat her mother’s ashes by five people, who were indicted this week by a federal grand jury in New Orleans, officials said.

The indictments accuse five family members of abusing their 22-year-old relative until June 2016, according to court documents released by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

#9 America’s major cities are rapidly being transformed into cesspools

The following is an excerpt from a letter that was recently penned by Portland’s police chief

Our City has become a cesspool. Livability that once made Portland a unique and vibrant city is now replaced with human feces in businesses doorways, in our parks, and on our streets. Aggressive panhandlers block the sidewalks, storefronts, and landmarks like Pioneer Square, discouraging people from enjoying our City. Garbage-filled RVs and vehicles are strewn throughout our neighborhoods. Used needles, drug paraphernalia, and trash are common sights lining the streets and sidewalks of the downtown core area, under our bridges, and freeway overpasses. That’s not what our families, business owners, and tourists deserve.

#10 America is inhabited by way too many idiots

These days just about anyone will do just about anything for 15 minutes of fame, and one of the worst examples of this was when Florida resident Robby Stratton walked into a convenience store with a live alligator

The man, identified by WJAX as Robby Stratton, is seen on video posted to Facebook walking into the store in Jacksonville with the gator’s mouth taped shut.

Stratton approaches the counter and asks the man behind it: ‘Y’all got beer still? Y’all ain’t out, are y’all?’

He then sees someone in the back of the store and says: ‘Is he taking the last bit of beer? You aren’t taking the last bit of beer are you?’

Stratton planned this stunt well in advance, and he made sure to have it recorded so that he could post it on Facebook.

This is what America has become. We need to take a long look in the mirror, because we are in an advanced state of decline.

Hopefully the American people will start to wake up, because the time to turn things around is quickly running out.

Via The American Dream

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Democrat Party Exodus: Millennial white men not welcome (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 44.

Alex Christoforou

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Public demonization, identity politics, and forcing equality of outcome throughout society, is driving white male millennials away from the Democrat Party.

Young white men are increasingly turned off by the Democrats’ embrace of identity politics. An entire generation of voters has become disillusioned with what was once considered an inclusive, working class left, and has now morphed into a social media lynch mob obsessed with the destruction of “The Patriarchy” and “toxic masculinity”.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou unpack the reasons behind a millennial white male exodus away from the establishment left, and towards Trumpism on the right or progressive ideology thought on the left. Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Spiked

A hock poll by Reuters/Ipsos reveals that the Democrats are shedding millennial votes, with support dropping by nine percentage points since 2016. This shift is most pronounced among white millennial men, who now favour Republicans over Democrats by 11 percentage points. In 2016, Democrats led Republicans in this group by 12 percentage points. There has been a staggering swing of 23 percentage points in just two years.

The poll shatters a number of widely held assumptions. Firstly, that young people are naturally drawn to the Democrats. Secondly, that the chaos and incompetence of Donald Trump’s rule are enough to turn voters blue. While two thirds of those polled dislike Trump, that distaste does not translate into either a rejection of the GOP as a whole or into support for the Democrats.

Democrats are clearly yet to come to terms with their defeat in the 2016 presidential election. Since then, the party has devoted a great deal of energy to pushing allegations of Russian meddling – a story of little interest to ordinary voters, who have long since accepted the outcome of a fair and free election. Similarly, baseless and shrill accusations that Trump is a fascist have clearly been ineffective in drumming up support for an alternative. Opposition to Trump is one thing, but most voters are none the wiser as to what the Democrats actually stand for.

But while the Democrats may be uninspiring to millennials as a whole, the party is actively alienating young, white men. Today’s identity politics is impossible for millennials to avoid, whether they are confronted with it on campus or through clickbait comment pieces. In the identitarian worldview, ‘white men’ are responsible for all the world’s woes – the phrases ‘white people’ and ‘white men’ are practically shorthand for evil. Listicles reveal the ‘37 things white people need to stop ruining in 2018’, magazines declare that ‘white men must be stopped’, while even respectable outlets like the Washington Post ask ‘why can’t we hate white men?’.

But rather than reject the divisive politics of identity, the Democratic establishment and its cheerleaders have embraced it. During the election, Hillary Clinton namechecked and explicitly targeted a number of demographic groups. At the same time, her team told the media they were confident they could win without the support of white men. Many commentators agreed. ‘Hillary Clinton doesn’t need white men’, insisted the Washington Post – supposedly because they make up a declining share of the electorate and can therefore be ignored. Of course, we all know what the result was – white voters were crucial to Trump’s election upset. Nevertheless, liberal commentators are still urging the Democrats to ‘get over’ white working-class voters in the upcoming midterms. They are surplus to electoral requirements, outsiders to the ‘progressive coalition… in all its multicultural, multiracial splendour’, according to one writer.

Democrats insist that white voters are electorally irrelevant. But when they disappoint the party and decide not to vote for it, they are painted as backward and irrational. Clinton’s defeat was rationalised by her allies as a ‘whitelash’ – not a rejection of a wildly unpopular candidate, but an outburst of racist rage. Clearly, white male millennials are picking up on this kind of language and are beginning to think that they are not wanted by the party.

A truly progressive party ought to be able to give voice to concerns that bridge racial and gender divides. It ought to have a more honest understanding of its past failures and a clear programme for the future. But if the Democrats continue to shirk responsibility for their electoral defeats, and continue to embrace identity politics, it won’t just be young, white men who abandon them.

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For gender neutrality, English schools forbid girls from wearing skirts

Teachers hope it will make things “fairer for transgender pupils and eliminate complaints over the decency of short skirts”.

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For the sake of making transgender students feel at home, a school in East Sussex, UK, is introducing gender neutral school uniforms, making trousers with a white shirt and tie the norm for all students, regardless of gender. Now, that miniscule number of transgenders doesn’t have to feel like they’re outside of what’s normal. Everyone can be just as genderless as the next.

Sky News

Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex, has introduced the policy to make the uniform the same for all students, regardless of gender.

Teachers hope it will make things “fairer for transgender pupils and eliminate complaints over the decency of short skirts”.

The updated uniform, which the school website says “has been designed specifically in response to the many issues and suggestions raised by parents, students and school staff”, also rectifies the issue of boys having to wear ties while girls do not.

It comprises grey trousers, white shirt, navy jumper and a blue and silver tie.

Headteacher Tony Smith told the Brighton Argus newspaper: “Specifically, it addresses the current issues of inequality and decency.

“Another issue was that we have a small but increasing number of transgender students and therefore having the same uniform is important for them.”

However, one local mother who was not in favour, told the local newspaper: “My daughter said she has got a gender and it’s female, so being gender neutral when she has got a gender is a big deal for her, as she is proud to be a girl.”

The pro-sodomite news site Pink news goes further

He added that this simple but symbolic change would make a huge difference to trans pupils who go to the school in Lewes, Sussex.

Smith said that Priory has “a small but increasing number of transgender students, and therefore having the same uniform is important for them.”

Speaking to PinkNews, he added: “We wanted a uniform for everyone.

“It could have been skirts for everyone, but we wanted to go with a uniform that was easy to source and supply, and that’s not easy for boys’ cuts.”

He pointed out that in the summer, it is now possible for students of all genders to wear shorts or skorts (a combination of shorts and a skirt).

“We wanted a uniform which promotes greater equality,” Smith explained, adding “a number” of trans students welcomed the move when it was announced.

“We’ve done this for positive reasons. For us, it is a greater equality having the same for everybody.”

Some parents expressed disgust with the decision, which stops girls from wearing skirts. One mother of a student said: “If girls dressing differently than boys is now to be considered sexist, then it is equally sexist to have female teachers wearing skirts and not wearing ties.

“If they want this, they must live the values they force on others and go fully gender free. My daughter and her friends are appalled by this.”

As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, one school in Oxfordshire has forbidden boys to wear shorts and told them that they must wear skirts as reported by Independent:

A secondary school in Oxfordshire has reportedly banned boys from wearing shorts in the hot summer months – but said they are free to wear skirts instead if they wish.

Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common recently introduced a new, stricter uniform policy that states pupils can only wear trousers or skirts.

When one parent asked if their son could wear tailored shorts for summer, he said he was told “no” by staff as shorts were not allowed – but as they had a gender-neutral policy, boys could opt
Father Alastair Vince-Porteous told the Daily Mail: “I was told shorts are not part of the uniform. It’s a shame we can’t be more grown up about it, we aren’t asking for ra-ra skirts or skinny jeans, just grey tailored shorts for two months a year, it’s not a big deal.”

Instead of the miniscule minority of the trans accommodating to the larger body of society, the rest of society must change in order to accommodate them. Meanwhile, one can hear complaints about immigrants not accommodating the culture in which they enter into by learning the language of their new country. But how long until the bureaucratic demands come out that, for fairness’ sake, host countries demand that their citizens learn Arabic or Spanish in order to accommodate immigrants?

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