Here’s what Americans don’t understand about Nordic countries
by Anu Partanen
Posted March 22, 2016
A Nordic person myself, I left my native Finland seven years ago and moved to the U.S. Although I’m now a U.S. citizen, I hear these kinds of comments from Americans all the time—at cocktail parties and at panel discussions, in town hall meetings and on the opinion pages. Nordic countries are the way they are, I’m told, because they are small, homogeneous “nanny states” where everyone looks alike, thinks alike, and belongs to a big extended family.
This, in turn, makes Nordic citizens willing to sacrifice their own interests to help their neighbors. Americans don’t feel a similar kinship with other Americans, I’m told, and thus will never sacrifice their own interests for the common good. What this is mostly taken to mean is that Americans will never, ever agree to pay higher taxes to provide universal social services, as the Nordics do. Thus Bernie Sanders, and anyone else in the U.S. who brings up Nordic countries as an example for America, is living in la-la land. More…
Exposing the Libyan Agenda: A Closer Look at Hillary’s Emails
by Ellen Brown
Posted March 16, 2016
After 1944, the US dollar traded interchangeably with gold as global reserve currency. When the US was no longer able to maintain the dollar’s gold backing, in the 1970s it made a deal with OPEC to “back” the dollar with oil, creating the “petro-dollar.” Oil would be sold only in US dollars, which would be deposited in Wall Street and other international banks.
In 2001, dissatisfied with the shrinking value of the dollars that OPEC was getting for its oil, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein broke the pact and sold oil in euros. Regime change swiftly followed, accompanied by widespread destruction of the country. In Libya, Qaddafi also broke the pact; but he did more than just sell his oil in another currency.
For decades, Libya and other African countries had been attempting to create a pan-African gold standard. Libya’s al-Qadhafi and other heads of African States had wanted an independent, pan-African, “hard currency.” More…
Down the Trump Rabbit Hole: Manufacturing Consent
by Cognitive Dissonance
March 15, 2016
The myth of the presidential ‘elected’ office is far too important to the Empire to allow just anybody to serve in that position. All candidates for the office are carefully screened by the Empire’s court before being allowed a ‘serious’ run for office. This doesn’t mean mainstream outsiders are prevented from pursuing the office, since allowing the oddballs to run helps support the presidential and democratic myth.
Any ‘rouge’ candidate who doesn’t fit the desired parameters is eventually marginalized and pushed aside by the inability to raise significant campaign funds from court members, by the use of the state’s controlled mass media to discredit the individual (and groups supporting the candidate) and, if need be, by more direct persuasion such as blackmail, threats and financial sabotage. More…
Only One Presidential Candidate Supports Edward Snowden, and It’s Not Bernie Sanders
by Kit O’Connell
Posted February 13, 2016
No matter who wins the 2016 election, the United States will likely continue its efforts to capture and prosecute National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Despite the important revelations that Snowden shared with the world about the NSA’s illegal surveillance of every U.S. citizen as well as world leaders and foreign nationals, not one major presidential candidate has been willing to voice his or her support for Snowden’s actions or express any willingness to allow him to return to the U.S. as a free man.
Despite his campaign positioning the senator from Vermont as an “outsider,” Sanders’ views on the whistleblower are decidedly mainstream. At the Oct. 14 Democratic debate, Sanders praised Snowden for his “important role in educating the American public,” but added: “He did break the law, and I think there should be a penalty to that.”
Why the Next President Must Reform Wall Street
By Deena Zaidi
Posted March 4, 2016
Many economists believed that the integration of commercial banking with investment banking, which was allowed under the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, deepened the 2008 crisis. The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was called the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The Glass-Steagall Act was passed in 1933 in response to a number of bank failures that happened after the Great Depression. It separated commercial banking activities from risky investment banking activities.
But the act was repealed in 1999 under President Bill Clinton after $300 million worth of lobbying efforts. He believed that the act was “no longer appropriate to the economy in which we live. It worked pretty well for the industrial economy … But the world is very different.” Some of the biggest banks, like JPMorgan Chase, are already 80 percent bigger than they were since they were last bailed out. After the repeal, the investment banks resorted to risky trading, since such activities remained largely unregulated. More…
US Mayors Fed Up With Paying Wall Street Interest and Fees
By John Lawrence
Posted March 2, 2016
At their meeting on June 19-22, the US Conference of Mayors considered the possibility of establishing public banks as an alternative to Wall Street. Instead of spending a fortune in Wall Street fees and interest, a public bank would keep the money right in each Mayor’s jurisdiction. Finally, Mayors are wising up. The Mayors Resolution on Strengthening Municipal Finances addresses the millions of dollars in fees that Wall Street banks charge cities and challenges mayors to negotiate with bankers to reduce these fees or to consider the possibility of a public bank.
Public banking is distinguished from private banking in that its mandate begins with the public’s interest. Privately-owned banks, by contrast, have shareholders who generally seek short-term profits as their highest priority. Public banks are able to reduce taxes within their jurisdictions, because their profits are returned to the general fund of the public entity. The costs of public projects undertaken by governmental bodies are also greatly reduced, because public banks do not need to charge interest to themselves. Eliminating interest has been shown to reduce the cost of such projects, on average, by 50%. More…
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