Category Archives: International

Conservation and Renewable Energy – A European Perspective

dead birds by turbineFrom The Ecologist.org, a very good article by ecologist writer Luke Dale-Harris on the EU’s Natura 2000 goals and the brewing conflict between conservation ideology and renewable energy development – once thought to be allies in the struggle to save the planet.  A very prescient analysis that applies to the US and its struggles with the same conflicts.  Can we make the claim that renewable energy encompasses modern values of conservation? Wind developers have used the claim of meeting the balance of providing for modern energy needs while also meeting the need to conserve the environment.  As time goes on and growing experience begins to tell us wind and hydro developers have under scrutiny shown their own conflicts with preserving biodiversity in our environment.

Also most troubling as this article points out through experience provided in Eastern European countries (many of which have only recently been freed from the yoke of dictatorial control), that these new “renewable” energy industries use the same imperialist, non-democratic and hierarchical strategies of their more destructive predecessors.  The exercise of sustainable practice must include involvement of all parties that make the earth their habitat, from humans to the natural environment that humans depend on.

The Hidden Conservation Costs of Renewable Energy

The birds that migrate freely across Europe are unaware of the invisible borders that lie below them. They follow the same routes that have carried them to warmth every year for an eternity, marked out by the indomitable features of the landscape – the coast of the Atlantic on one side and the curve of the Carpathian Mountains on the other. But it is what they miss that matters most; their future, along with that of the rest of us, is dictated by the political and economic tides that shift shape across the continent.

In this day, with growth and progress honoured above all else, the natural world is at the mercy of human endeavour. Allowed to run its course, the open market will drain the land of all life over and above what is fundamental for its own survival. The more fragile and economically superfluous species of the world – the lynxes and lesser spotted eagles, right down to the field cricket or river jelly lichen – remain only for as long as we consider their existence a moral imperative, and their extinction as a cause for shame. It is this that drives conservation.

To continue reading: The Hidden Conservation Costs of Renewable Energy

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Burn for a Buck

A wildfire in Australia crosses the Princes Highway on Tuesday. No deaths related to the fires have been reported in the country.
HELL ON EARTH: AUSTRALIA FACES UNPRECEDENTED WILDFIRE “CATASTROPHE”

Proving that the in-your-face reality of unfettered climate change is not about to recede in the new year, a national disaster is unfolding only days into 2013 in Australia, where rampaging wildfires are burning huge swaths of the country. Australians are used to the annual “bushfire season,” but the recent string of massive fires that have charred millions of acres and killed dozens of people are unprecedented and only getting worse thanks to climate change. Now the nation faces a fire “catastrophe”; not just a lurid term of description, it is an official designation of the most destructive and serious level of wildfire. This year’s violent eruption of blazes are fueled by temperatures quite literally never seen before in Australia, with all-time record heat baking the country.

(Mother Jones)

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SCIENTIFIC PREDICTIONS OF SEA LEVEL RISE MAY HAVE BEEN “SERIOUSLY UNDERESTIMATED”

Holding nearly 100 percent of the world’s glacier ice, Greenland and Antarctica are the “air conditioners” of Earth and also a ticking time bomb of potential devastation. This is because of climate change and the rapid polar warming now being recorded that has surpassed many previous estimates of what was possible. With temperatures rising faster and instances of massive ice melt already experiences this past year, scientists now say that global sea level rise from ice loss in these two regions has been “seriously underestimated.” The total melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice would boost global sea levels by over 200 feet. While no one expects that apocalyptic catastrophe, experts now confirm a sea level rise of several more feet than previously anticipated is likely by 2100, causing immeasurable damage and disruption across the world.

(UK Independent)

(All via Principled Progressive)

Of course where the picture comes from (CBS News online), the Australian weather change is referred to “milder”.  Obviously that’s an understatement as we can see here.

Of course here in New England, in the middle of January, the one layer of snow fall we’ve had is already melting down to reveal soft, unfrozen earth underneath and we’re expecting higher spring-like temperatures this weekend:  5-day

Yes, there are idiots who will chime in, “Well I’m just enjoying the good weather!”  apparently completely oblivious to the natural life cycle up here that depends on freezing ground, snow cover and long term cold in order to prepare for a good spring and summer season following.  It seems that the average American has begun to think that the earth and seas are as solid and dead as a slab of concrete or asphalt, but they aren’t.

Not only could (or does) climate change radically change environments by killing off species of animal or insect life, it also dramatically changes agricultural production and existing plant-life because of the lack of the old “killing frost”, as biologists said in an abstract for an article available here, “The main effect of temperature in temperate regions is to influence winter survival; at more northerly latitudes, higher temperatures extend the summer season, increasing the available thermal budget for growth and reproduction.”

The intro to a World Bank sponsored report on climate change and its effects on world agricultural production are telling and this was written in 2003:

“Climate change is widely agreed to be already a reality, and its adverse impacts on the vulnerability of poor communities are superimposed on existing vulnerabilities.  Climate change will further reduce access to drinking water, negatively affect the health of poor people, and will pose a real threat to food security in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  consequently, the World Bank is moving towards mainstreaming climate risk in all its work, and integrating climate-change adaptation, where appropriate, in projects, strategies and policies. We believe this is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of our investments in poverty eradication and sustainable development.”

This report ironically was written in America by mostly Yale academics; America, where we still consume nearly the majority of the world’s resources and participate in the global financial machinery that runs the consumptive engine that drives global warming.

Here in New Hampshire, as reported often, but not often enough for people to listen, such projects as the Northern Pass electrical line project and the proposal to sit windmills on the western mountains do not feed existing need.  They exist to provide the forecast infrastructure that will arise out of increased global warming.  Yes, that’s right.  The power lines and the windmills all will exist to provide for anticipated increased demand in electrical service.  (Read here for extensive information and research documentation or our past article on Northern Pass) Increased demand specifically anticipated for the “cooling season” when people will be baking under the increasingly heated earth.

What happened to the idea that capital will make us all safe and sound? Where’s the invisible hand to sweep in and save us from burning up slowly, starving to death, watching our towns drown in the sea or scrambling with thousands of fleeing refugees?  At what point will capital come in and bring some sense to the shareholders who sit at the boards of these corporations who decide that their dividend share means more to them than the public welfare?

While the majority of the world lives on a small fraction of what the developed world lives on and while we know that most of what we use and consume we really don’t need, we continue on our path.  We have been sold a bill of goods; that mindless consumption feeds our economy and that our economy feeds the economy of other countries because we put people to work.  But the facts tell a different story; that our needless consumption in piles of plastic throw-away goods, needless travel in individual gas-powered vehicles and the northeast’s stubborn refusal to give up fossil fuel based heating are killing billions of people and the planet.

But of course the money pumped by capitalists to provide disinformation campaigns serves to obscufate and confuse the issue and the people who will suffer the effects of global warming if nothing is done to change the current trajectory.  The bleating of the combined efforts of the oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy consortiums usually go something like this headline and tagline from a article out of the Spectator on 1/04/12:

“Wind farms vs wildlife: The shocking environmental cost of renewable energy

Why is the public not more aware of this carnage? First, because the wind industry (with the shameful complicity of some ornithological organisations) has gone to great trouble to cover it up – to the extent of burying the corpses of victims. Second, because the ongoing obsession with climate change means that many environmentalists are turning a blind eye to the ecological costs of renewable energy.”

Because of course, renewable energy hurts more than the fossil fuel consumption now currently in use.  Again, where is the invisible hand?  Locked behind someone’s back and wrapped around a bundle of currency we’d hazard to guess.

Capitalism represents an outdated, outmoded and now nearly out-run system that threatens to slowly strangle us in our own capital based consumption, unless of course we as a people begin to take the steps to change their habits and their priorities.  Capital will not save us; we will.

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Argentine Ship Taken by Billionaire Hedgefunder for Debts Unpaid

ap la libertad jef 121026 wblog Billionaire Holds Navy Ship Hostage

So for those who laugh and scoff at the idea that the plutocrat class could/would actually hold a country hostage for repayment of debt, look at the case involving Argentina and a hedge-fund billionaire who lent them a bit.

Unlike when governments lend to other governments and have their citizenry to hold them accountable, plutocrats have no responsibility to any citizenry, no promise of the public or national welfare to uphold, no balance of global power to consider.  Nope, its all about the dollar.

We can have no doubt that chief and probably only motivator behind the billionaire’s personal loan was the prospect of making a buck.  Problems coming rushing into the minds of those concerned with democratic representation.  First off, the question rises, who let the dogs out? What country has allowed the privileged to amass so much money, at such little cost to hold that they now have enough to hold countries and their assets ransom for the sake of profit.

This is the ultimate nightmare unfolding; plutocrats running local, national and international policy and framing the paradigms that we all exist within, to their liking.  This is the monster that unfettered capitalism has unleashed and this is the proof to the argument that arises time and time again that money knows no ethics, no love, no boundaries, no humanity.  It is up to governments, run by the people to act as the counter balance to human greed and avarice, something is obviously seriously broken in this country.

More at ABC News

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British Unions Shut Down London With Strikes – Over 700,000 March

Image from Washington Post online slideshow

Nearly 800,000 union workers in Britain converged in London on yesterday to demand that the government end its austerity measures.  Similar to other unrest in Spain, Portugal and Greece and across the Atlantic in the US last year, Britian’s workers demand an end to the distribution re arrangement policies dubbed “austerity measures” by the press and politicians.

In favor of the conglomeration of capital among elite global finance and banking interests worldwide, government worldwide have proposed cutting public social safety nets.  The obvious effort to turn the world’s workers into pools of low-wage labor has met with resistance across America and Europe and now Brit workers take their turn to be heard.  In the rally labor leaders call for a general strike.  In addition, as Real News reports, London and other EU countries have November 14th in their sights for a continent wide day of action against austerity.

The Real News has posted a video and report:

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China Caught Using Child Labor in FoxConn Ipod Factory

From the Guardian: Foxconn workers at a rally in the southern Chinese township of Longhau following a series of suicides among employees in 2010. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters

In yet another exposure of the abuses of labor by Chinese plants owned by Taiwanese FoxConn company, this time in the use of students as young as fourteen duped into an ‘intern’ program.  Apparently the company had partnered with schools to provide child labor to the plants disguised as ‘interns’ but who were in fact laboring to produce widely popular Ipod products.

This proves once again that with the uncontrolled capitalist the past has no lessons to teach it, that the ethical barriers of humanity come crashing down in the face of profit.

From the Guardian:

Taiwan‘s Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has admitted using student interns as young as 14 in a Chinese factory.

The case is in breach of national law and raises further questions about its intern programme.

Employment rights activists in China have accused Foxconn and other big employers in the country of using young student interns as a cheap source of labour for production lines, where it is difficult to attract adult workers to lower-paid jobs.

Foxconn, the trading name of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry, said it had found that some interns at a factory in Yantai, in the north-eastern Shandong province, were under the legal working age of 16. It did not say how many were underage.

“Our investigation has shown that the interns in question, who ranged in age from 14 to 16, had worked in that campus for approximately three weeks,” the company said.

Read the rest of the story in The Guardian.

Damn Well About Time: UN Groups to Monitor Elections

Its damn well about time.  The ACLU and the NAACP have requested that election monitoring groups from the UN come in and monitor areas where minority vote suppression has been witnessed.  Of course the wingnuttia is having the predictable hissy fit about it, stamping their feet claiming that the UN can’t watch them because well, because they aren’t American.

Which is the point.  We want objective, fair and reasonable observation which can only come from a group completely removed from the rampant corruption coming out of the conservative even some of the moderate sides of the political landscape here.

You’d think that after all their crying and whining about ‘rampant’ election fraud, they’d welcome an outside source to monitor for such activities.  But no, apparently the wingnuts don’t like others looking over their shoulders.  I’d suggest they calm down because the best way oftentimes to find guilt is to find the one that resists the light of day the most.

 

 International monitors at US polling spots draw criticism from voter fraud groups

Liberal-leaning civil rights groups met with representatives from the OSCE this week to raise their fears about what they say are systematic efforts to suppress minority voters likely to vote for President Obama.

For more reading look here.  Thanks Daily Kos for sending out the clarion call about this.

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Feminist Porn: PM Gillard Rips Good Old Boys a New One

If you haven’t seen or heard of the Australian Prime Minister’s smack-down of her opposition in Parliament, then sit back and watch and listen (video is below).  Its good.  Its good because women in leadership positions in patriarchy most often turn a blind eye to the garbage that’s thrown at them. Women in leadership positions are forced to play along with the patriarchy and pretend that either they deserved the attacks, commentary or unfounded critiques, or that they just don’t exist.

Remember the unfounded and often cloaked attacks on then Senator Hillary Clinton when she ran for President? She didn’t dress right, she was too emotional, she was a cold ball buster, she wore pants suits (OMG), she wore too long skirts, too short skirts, too low-collar shirts, too high collar shirts, it just never stopped and it all served to trivialize her and dismiss her as incapable of competing with the boyz.

But Hillary had to hold her head up and charge on, ignoring the charges lest she be punished as being too ‘radical’ a ‘feminazi’ or just plain unhinged if she called the shit for what it was; shit.  Oh and to instruct the young ones here, us older folks will never forget the Vice President Bush Senior’s remarks following his debate with Senator Geraldine Ferraro.

There’s a note-worthy write-up of the Geraldine Ferraro/Bush debate by told from the vioew of someone who worked closely with her, Ben Heineman, from his story from which we excerpt here:

The most famous line of the debate, of course, was Geraldine Ferraro’s. The vice president began an answer by saying: “Let me help you with the difference, Ms. Ferraro, between Iran and the embassy in Lebanon.” To which the first woman national candidate in American history replied: “Let me first of all say that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy.” This was the debate clip shown the day after — and to this day. In the years after, I would see Gerry Ferraro at this occasion or that. [snip]

After  the debate was over, Vice President Bush remarked into a still open mic that he had “kicked a little ass.” Given the expectations before the debate, I felt, along with so many others, that it was actually the other way round.

Despite Mr. Heineman’s honest account of the debates, he fails to mention that the press ran with the “kicked a little ass” story over and over again until one began to believe that indeed Bush did kick some ass.  As Heineman tells us, Bush didn’t and at first polls showed no one a direct winner.  But our public was not ready to see a woman get out in charge and assert herself in front of male power.

Denying that misogyny exists, just like denying that rape doesn’t exist or racism doesn’t exist empowers the power structure and allows the press to not bother to vet knee-jerk sexism or other forms of conformity with social injustice in their reporting or writing.  Denial allows the system to perpetuate the injustice and those who benefit from it to go freely along without responsibility.

So, its good when the rare instance comes along for a woman leader to call shit for what it is; mysogynist shit meant to keep women down and punish those who dare to raise their heads up and demand to be counted.  Here Julia Gillard let’s it rip right into her opposition who had staged numerous mysognist attacks on her that you will see her refer to.

But, after you watch the video, you must come back down to earth and realize that women still have a long ways to go.  We still aren’t on an equal footing, even if we can have the freedom to speak out more and call a spade a spade.  We still have to bargain with the devil all too often in order to get that power that still lies in the iron grip of our oppressors. Many of us feminists  expect not only entertaining verbiage, but some back-up in the form of follow-through by supporting policies that lift women out of their subservient economic and social status.

On the other hand, we’ll take juicy bits like this when we can as it feeds us.  You know sugar can be intoxicating in large doses, but it does provide energy when you need it.

Tracy Egan Morrisey on Jezebel:

 Australia’s prime minister Julia Gillard is one badass motherfucker. In an impassioned 15-minute smackdown in front of the house of Representatives, the country’s first female leader gave a scathing speech calling out opposition leader Tony Abbott’s extremely misogynistic comments, actions, views on abortion and single women, all while pointing in his face. She basically ripped him a new asshole.

Here’s some history: Abbott demanded that Peter Slipper, the Speaker of the House, step down for allegedly sexually harassing an openly gay male staff member in a series of text messages, one of which apparently compared female genitalia to mussels. I know. Juicy already. Abbott then implied that if Gillard defended Slipper, she would be just as sexist as a gay man who talks shit on vaginas. Abbott said, “And every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.”

(Inside baseball: The line about “dying of shame” was a dig at Gillard’s recently deceased father, whom a shock jock said “died of shame” over his daughter’s policies.)

So Gillard let him have it. Here are some choice quotes:

I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. Not now, not ever. What i won’t stand for, what I will never stand for is the leader of the opposition peddling a double standard, a standard he has not set for members of his own front bench.

If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he doesn’t need a motion in the house of Representatives, he needs a mirror.

I was very offended personally the Leader of the Opposition said abortion is the easy way out.

I was offended by the sexism, by the misogyny of the Leader of the Opposition cat calling across this table at me as I sit here as prime minister [saying], ‘If the prime minister wants to make an honest woman of herself…’ something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair.

I was offended when he stood next to a sign that described me as a ‘man’s bitch.’

He has said, ‘If it’s true that men have more power, generally speaking, than women, is that a bad thing?’ [and] ‘What if men, by physiology or temperament, are more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?’

He can apologise for standing next to signs [about me] saying, ‘Ditch the Witch.’

Now he is looking at his watch [which Abbott was] because apparently a woman’s spoken too long.

But, bear in mind as well, that some victories only come in pieces and that the back-story or deeper picture may not follow the trajectory that you or I as supporters of the oppressed might wish.  When we look closer, as another blogger did, what we’ll find all too often is a compromise on the deeper issues of social justice hidden underneath the heated rhetoric and the amazing speeches.

An excellent analysis by Stephanie Convery for Overland

La fille mal gardée

On that parliamentary smackdown

By now, you’ve probably seen the video of Prime Minister Julia Gillard spending the better part of 15 minutes calling the Leader of the Opposition a misogynist in parliament yesterday. But as satisfying as it was to see Tony Abbott get the verbal smackdown long due him (and I don’t deny there’s a lot of satisfaction to be had) it should be put in context.

Abbott’s ‘problem with women’ has been in the headlines for a while now, and it’s hardly out of character for him to attempt to turn a personal attack onto the PM herself. His fall guy was Peter Slipper, whose vile sexist text messages have been put on the public record, and whose career as Speaker was quite obviously on a time limit. Gillard’s speech was a response to that challenge. It is in no way irrelevant that despite it being a smart – and unprecedented – move to speak to the currently running narrative about sexism so bluntly, and to attack Abbott so openly on his quite obvious misogyny, she was doing so in defence of Slipper.

If winning or losing in politics was merely a matter of who had the best one-liners to throw along with their stones, then Gillard won yesterday hands down. But politics is notsimply about whip-smart wisecracks and cutting speeches. It’s about policies and practices, legislation and social organisation.

Yesterday, the Gillard government also passed welfare reforms through the Senate that will cut single parent payments between $56 and $140 a week. This is a measure that will disproportionately affect women, and particularly those in the sectors of society that the Labor Party is traditionally supposed to represent. And yet, when the heavily debated reforms finally came to a vote in the Senate, only the Greens and Independents Madigan and Xenophon voted against it.

It’s been said before but it bears repeating: standing up for women’s rights is not just about calling sexism for what it is. It’s about agitating for specific change. It’s about making concrete demands of society and of the government. So if this is feminism that Gillard is representing in parliament, then I want to know, whose feminism is it? I don’t care how many sharp speeches she makes: her government is making life for some of the most vulnerable women in Australia even harder than it already is, and I want no part in it.

So here’s a call to arms. If we want to stand up for women, let’s start by standing up for these women. Let’s stand in the street and tell the federal government that this is not okay. That we want them to reverse the welfare cuts. That we want them to raise single parent pensions by $140 a week. That single parents undertaking study should be given more support, not less. Because this would make a qualitative difference to the lives of many women in Australia. This would be a win.

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Workers Continue to Defy the EU’s Oppressive ‘Austerity’ Demands

More news that gets little to no air play in the American corporate media: Greece continues, along with other southern countries of the EU, to resist the “austerity” methods of the finance/capitalist sectors in the EU.  Flexing their muscle through the leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leaders of the major finance and banking interests attempt to keep the lid on the boiling pot.  No doubt, to much consternation of the powerful elites, workers in the southern tiers demonstrate that they will not be cowed, demonstrating that an educated workforce will not accept reduction to the role of capital commodities for the benefit of plutocrats.

From Socialist World:

German chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in Greece on Tuesday, 9 October. She will be greeted by an increasing bitterness and anger against the ongoing destruction of the Greek economy and living conditions of working people. An escalation of the struggle against the latest Troika-imposed austerity is developing from below. It has the potential to bring down the Samaras government and challenge capitalist austerity. We publish here an article by Xekinima (CWI in Greece) on the latest developments and the steps which need to be taken by the workers’ movement.

Greek society is in uproar. Everybody knows that the situation cannot continue. The so-called Troika (European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) have led the Greek economy into a collapse, and are now demanding another round of savage austerity cuts.

The Samaras government of New Democracy with the participation of its fake “left” allies (DIMAR and PASOK) are preparing cuts that will lead to untold misery for millions of workers, pensioners, the poor and the unemployed.

Here are the key statistics that themselves explain the type of war that has been launched against working people:

Official unemployment stands at 23.6% (real unemployment is more like 30%) and among young people is 55%. According to the European statistical agency Eurostat (July 2012), 68% live at or under the official poverty line. Gross Domestic Product has fallen by 22% since the beginning of the crisis. The “national” debt is estimated to be 179% of GDP in 2013, according to the government’s new projected budget, while it was 109% of GDP in 2008 (’Imerisia’ newspaper, 2 October 2012).

In reality, the Greek people have no choice but to try to stop the criminal plans of the Troika leraders and that can only mean trying to bring down the government that collaborates with these criminals. The government (which at the moment faces a serious crisis as scandals are exploding) can be brought down with mass strike action, mass occupations across the country and an indefinite general strike.

Read more: Trade Unions Pushed to Escalate the Struggle

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In France Hollande tells Plutocrats to Pay Up

So France now offers the world a vision of the hope of the fall of global corporatocracy.  The people have spoken and overwhelmingly and enthusiastically embraced socialist Hollande for President, having had enough of the capitalist boot licking of Sarkozy and his participation in the increasingly crushing pressure of global capitalists on the last vestiges of government for the common good.

Unfortunately most Americans know very little about this revolutionary act on the part of France’s people as the corporate press is quick to pass over such news.  With little critical mass over the masses, so to speak, the real story gets buried between the Kardashians and fluffy puppies.

But, a bright light shall shine out of the darkness and on September 27th, news ran over the internet such as this post from Addicting Info that summarized the news of Hollande rolling out a reversal on capitalist created impoverishment:

France Tells Austerity ‘Go To Hell’

September 28, 2012

By


Across Europe, the failure of austerity is clear. However with the weakness of the Eurozone’s de-centralized government apparent, France took upon itself a very different path to rectifying its financial woes. Instead of cutting services, punishing its population for the excesses of the élite, France has taken a page out of history, and taking the old tactic of raising its taxes.

The new tax rates top off at 75% of income earned over $1 million euro (approximately $1.3 million USD) for individuals. Some economists are quick to proclaim that such a tax rate would cause the economic conditions to become worse and that it sends a message that France does not like the rich and is not open for business.

This of course is nonsense. France, like many nations, has a tax penalty for taking money out of the country. France also utilizes a value added tax on goods going into the country. This means if a business decides on moving, to say Africa, to avoid the higher taxes, it would find any of its goods at a severe penalty when they returned to sell their goods and services to one of the largest economies in the world. Any business which decides on not selling to the market, of course, is being stupid. They are doing the metaphorical cutting off of their nose to spite their face. Every business can be replaced, so if a market is there, a company will come to fill it.

Instead of being anti-business or anti-rich, it is instead very pro-business. Now a business cannot waste its resources in supporting overpriced leisure-rich. Instead, the businesses which for invest in expansion, in its customers, and in its employees will find themselves rewarded. This becomes a very business friendly environment, companies which work in France will be very pro-growth. This will in turn expand their owners fortunes and overall wealth.

This is not a record for taxes, the United States once sported a 94% income tax rate. What this is, however, is a rejection of the Chicago and Austrian school of economics which have dominated the world for the past 40 years, and an embrace of the American school of economics, a school which has been sorely missing from the austerity debate.

But it all seemed too good as they say and as typical, all one need to do is wait for the wakes to break the shore line from the rock falling into the muddy, still waters of capitalist propaganda.  Today, October 7th, the Huffington Post runs (a willing servant of the corporate class, despite its ruse of being left leaning) an article on Hollande and his socialist agenda run with the usual requisite capitalist outlook.

Quick to assert that Hollande’s policies of taxing the rich and daring the corporatists to play chicken with him has failed after only a few whole days of real time, the Huffie-Post writers beat the drum.  In this paragraph they claim that France has had it with Hollande and his economic plan, after not making change in three days:

But the freefall in his popularity ratings shows that many erstwhile supporters are already asking whether he has a plan at all, as his inexperienced ruling coalition is buffeted by events rather than shaping them.

Then in the next few paragraphs we hear from “Stephane Rozes, head of political consultancy Cap” who then goes onto characterize France’s social safety net as “generous welfare state and high level of labour protection.”

Of course, those silly silly French with their lattes, red wine and protectionist trade policies.  You know the country is just on the brink of disaster, the streets teeming with welfare queens and labor thugs running around in berets, eating government issued Crème brûlée and quoting Proudhon or hiding in dark alleys with guillotines and singing the Internationale, waiting to beat up poor capitalists trying so hard to suck the labor out of everyone and give back nothing make the economic system work for just plutocrats everyone.

But we digress..what deserves attention the most is the paucity of critical information regarding France and Hollande. Reuters refers to Stephanie Rozes of the consultancy Cap or CAP.  Since many news organizations use Reuters as their resource, the story with his quote has been repeatedly dozens, if not hundreds of times in the US press without further analysis.  This scrap about Rozes was dug up after extensive plowing through French language news publications.  Apparently he’s quoted quite a bit, but one might make the assessment that “advises companies” places him firmly in the pro-capitalist camp.  Which one could logically infer would not jump to approve Hollande’s refusal to coddle plutocrats and capitalist speculators.

The former director general of the CSA polling institute, now head of the Cap (analysis and perspectives), which primarily advises companies, communities or states such as Monaco or African countries, confirms: “I work with Francis on the fundamental issue of the country.

In May before Hollande’s President’s chair had a chance to be warmed, Timothy Geithner, commenting on the apparent but rarely spoken fact that impatience with economic policy can be self defeating.  But then Geithner’s comments are followed quickly by

New York TImes, May: Change in Paris may Better Suit the US

“If every time economic growth disappoints, governments are forced to cut spending or raise taxes immediately to make up for the impact of weaker growth on deficits, this would risk a self-reinforcing negative spiral of growth-killing austerity,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told a Congressional committee in March, comments echoed since then in his statements at many international forums.

But the article was quick to add correction to Geithner’s statements by adding commentary from an a senior fellow of a think-tank that carries a heavy industry representation on its board.

“The administration hopes, in broad terms, that this election will change the conversation,” said Edwin M. Truman, a senior fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics. “In principle, you’d be saying, ‘Don’t tighten your belt!’ to the countries with the scope to do so,” Mr. Truman said.

Indeed, possibly the US and France has more belt tightening room than many other countries, the question of course is what group within these countries should do the belt tightening.  Their silence on that speaks volumes.

Opinion article in Financial Times of May 14, 2012 : What to Expect from Francois Hollande

First, France’s future depends on delivering all three of growth, social inclusiveness and budgetary discipline. No one element can be achieved without the other two. Without a belief among the French that burdens are shared, it is hard to elicit the necessary sacrifices to achieve budgetary discipline. In turn, fiscal discipline should allow the government to conduct more expansive fiscal policies to boost growth if demand is depressed. Fiscal reform and spending cuts will also allow France to fund investments that support growth.

Make no mistake “fiscal reform and spending cuts” meaning deep cuts in social programs that benefit the public.  The capitalist speculator cannot suffer a little without making sure the rest of the world does too, even though the rest of the world has already suffered much more and far longer.  A call for the plutocrats and corporatist to pay their fair share gets reduced to ‘sharing the burden’ so to speak.  Exactly its time for the ones who created the current condition to step up and pay for it.  The proletariat has paid enough.

The Economist in September : France’s Economy: The Performance Gap

The end of the early shift, and workers at the Peugeot car factory at Aulnay-sous-Bois, near Paris, are streaming out through the turnstiles. The anger is raw; the disappointment crushing. In July, when the company announced that the plant, which employs 3,000 workers, was to close, President François Hollande loudly branded the decision “unacceptable”. Two months and an official report later, his government has now accepted its fate. “Hollande said that he would look after us,” says Samir Lasri, who has worked on the production line for 12 years: “Now we regret voting for him.”

The decision by Peugeot-PSA, a loss-making carmaker, to shut its factory at Aulnay, the first closure of a French car plant for 20 years, and to shed 8,000 jobs across the country has rocked France. It has become an emblem both of the country’s competitiveness problem and of the new Socialist government’s relative powerlessness, despite its promises, to stop private-sector restructuring. Tough as it is for the workers concerned, the planned closure may have had at least one beneficial effect: to jolt the country into recognising that France is losing competitiveness and that the government needs to do something about it.

Of course the key problem is that the glue that kept all developed countries together; trade that supported higher labor rates has collapsed.  Pressure from global companies that can force “competitiveness” by cheap labor extraction coupled with lower regulation in new hosting countries, has caused the current crisis.  Lower labor rates and lax regulation have become the new markers for competitiveness.  Which begs the question, can any socialist system exist when surrounded by unregulated capitalism?

Bloomberg in May: Merkel Rejects Stimulus in Challenge to Hollande’s Growth Plans

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected government stimulus as the way to spur economic growth in Europe, setting up a clash with French President-elect Francois Hollande before he’s even taken office.

In her first response to Hollande’s victory in yesterday’s French election, Merkel rejected a return to the “huge” stimulus programs following the financial crisis in favor of business-friendly economic changes. She and Hollande will talk “very openly” about the form of growth to pursue, a discussion now taking place across Europe and “to which the new French president will bring his own accents.”

Germany, the center of the banking community in the EU fell in line, demonstrating its preference for recovery from the capitalist/banker point of view; let the market regulate itself.  Promoting “business friendly” recovery certainly comes from the pro-capitalist library of euphemisms   Bankers and capitalist will not let go of the trajectory that business looks out for the national and global interests, even when clear evidence exists to the contrary.

Then finally we get to the meat of the issue: but we have to get to the French press to get it:
From France 24, from October 9th: Hollande Unveils Two Year Plan, Billions in New Taxes

French President François Hollande pledged on Sunday to honour his campaign promise of a 75 percent income tax on wealthy individuals as he unveiled a two-year economic recovery plan featuring strict budget targets and 20 billion euros in new taxes.

Well there you have it, what the mainstream global press will not say, Hollande shall follow through on his promise to put the squeeze equally on the plutocrat class as well as the working, who have already suffered job losses and other devastation of what has become essentially, Prime Minister Merkel’s efforts at constructing the EU into the miniature domain of bankers and casino capitalists.

With Greece, Portugal and Spain beaten nearly to its knees, global capitalists have turned their attention to reigning into and destroying socialists all over the EU.  The upstart France as usual must turn her head otherwise and lead the charge against the take-over.

While certainly this constitutes a simpler analysis, the distillation remains the same; the global capitalists have made their intent clear.  They wish to crush the power of labor in some portions of the EU to turn them into their own speculator’s dream market to exploit to produce goods to sell to the wealthier, plutocrats, protected by government support of speculative monetary and economic policy which feeds the global uppers.  In addition, as long as the middle classes in countries remain intoxicated with cheap goods, gross consumption that exceeds need and short-term gratification, the money will roll in.

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