Much to cover, and there would’ve been more but for a computer crash. The machine moves forward, scooping up wealth and sluicing it off into the hands of the few, all while the rest of us are kept busy worrying about jobs, bills, family, health. . .you get the idea.
But beneath all the Sturminn’ und Drangin’, what’s happening is that the notion of a democratic republic has been subverted into a mechanism for indebting the citizen for the purpose of enriching those who had profited from their creativity and labor.
Sometimes the process is all too transparent, as in thise instance covered by the Washington Post:
Senior officer, NCIS agent are among those arrested in Navy bribery scandal
The U.S. Navy is being rocked by a bribery scandal that federal investigators say has reached high into the officer corps and exposed a massive overbilling scheme run by an Asian defense contractor that provided prostitutes and other kickbacks.
The European Union Times covers another instance:
US debt surges $328 billion in single day, surpassing $17 trillion for first time
Just one day after President Barack Obama signed into law a bipartisan deal to end the government shutdown and avoid default, the US debt surged a record $328 billion, the first day the government was able to borrow money.
From the Los Angeles Times, them that’s got are wantin’ to keep it under wraps:
CEO-to-worker pay gap is obscene; want to know how obscene?
Corporate America is fighting a proposed SEC rule requiring companies to calculate the ratio of their CEO’s pay to the median pay of all their employees.
Another shifting of assets, reported by Want China Times:
Small, mid business boosts China’s annual US investment to 70%
China’s direct investment stock in the United States during the 2008-2012 period had a yearly average growth of 70.8%, making China the fastest growing foreign direct investor in the US, Shanghai-based First Financial Daily reports, citing an unnamed official with the US Department of Commerce.
From USA TODAY, a reminder of the cost under the current regimen:
Western fires sap forestry budgets
An era of catastrophic wildfires in the West is taking a giant bite out of the U.S. Forest Service’s budget, shortchanging its programs for recreation and land management.
Another cost, via Bloomberg:
Push Against Obamacare Leaves 5 Million Without Coverage
About 5.2 million Americans will be left without health coverage because of the decision by 26 U.S. states to reject expanded Medicaid insurance programs for the poor with money provided under Obamacare.
Canada next, with an interesting headline from the CBC:
Quebec leaders slam federal court challenge to province’s secession bill
Quebec’s intergovernmental affairs minister is calling the federal government’s foray into a constitutional court challenge of Bill 99, which outlines Quebecers’ right to decide the rules of secession from Canada, a direct attack on the legal rights of Quebecers
England next, with The Independent reporting woes for the country’s Business Secretary, a Liberal Democrat:
Vince Cable’s answers on Royal Mail privatisation branded ‘superficial’
Select committee to recall Business Secretary to discuss his handling of the sell-off
London gets seductive, reports New Europe:
Britain relaxes tourist visa rules to boost Chinese arrivals
Hoping to entice more high-spending tourists from China, Britain announced simplified visa application rules this week. The news comes as the two sides eased a spat over the Dalai Lama that had disrupted economic exchanges.
The church is heard from, via the London Telegraph:
Economic growth is not enough to make Britain healthy, says Archbishop of Canterbury
Most Rev Justin Welby says Britain needs to be a more caring society on top of economic success and energy firms need to ‘fully justify’ price rises.
We wonder if this is the sort of deal the archbishop imagines, a French company building two bundles of joy on Old Blighty. From the London Telegraph:
New nuclear plant deal to be announced
The Government is due to announce a landmark deal to build Britain’s first nuclear plant in a generation on Monday
On to France, first with a gentrification tale from Bloomberg:
Paris Luxury Property Lures Overseas Rich as French Flee Taxes
The re-emergence of buyers from the Middle East, the U.S. and Russia together with a more than 10 percent drop in prices in a year is rekindling sales of multi-million-euro properties in the French capital.
And that deportation of a Roma family, including the apprehension of a girl from her school bus, continues to resonate, as RFI reports:
Nobody’s happy – Hollande fails to defuse Roma schoolgirl deportation row
If French President François Hollande hoped his proposal that Roma schoolgirl Leonarda Dibrani could return to France without her family would be hailed as a judgement of Solomon, he must have been disillusioned within minutes of making it. Like so many of his government’s actions, it has infuriated both his supporters and his opponents.
The over racism of a member of the French far right Front National continues to inflame as well, reports RFI:
Politician who compared French minister to ape may be prosecuted
The far-right politician who compared France’s justice minister to an ape is likely to face prosecution for incitement to racial hatred. The French human rights ombudsman has asked Paris public prosecutors to consider action against Front National (FN) member Anne-Sophie Leclere for insulting Guyanese-born Christiane Taubira on Facebook.
From RFI yet again, snarling back:
Front National threatens to sue French justice minister in racist slur row
France’s Front National (FN) says it will sue Justice Minister Christiane Taubira for her reaction to one of its members comparing her to an ape. On Saturday Taubira called the far-right party’s politics “deadly and murderous”, claiming that FN local council candidate Anne-Sophie Leclere had merely said in public what the FN thinks in private.
While some are deported, others are imported. From Al Jazeera America:
France to accept Syrian refugees amid surge in anti-immigration politics
500 asylum-seekers from the war-torn nation will arrive in France as the far-right National Front gains prominence
Iceland next, where things are getting tighter. From the Reykjavík Grapevine:
Steep Rise In Rent Prices
Rental rates across the country have risen by 10% in the past year and by 30% since 2011.
Former center-right [neoliberal] Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s got some ‘splainin’ to do about some of his actions whilst involved with the corporate-friendly NGO Global Green Initiative, reports the Copenhagen Post:
‘Luxury Lars’ down, but not out after travel expense apology
Opposition leader answers questions for first time after criticism of his travel expenses, but analysts say his reputation is far from repaired
And, high in the Alps, a landmark is reaching, ending a practice that had long enriched the Swiss — at least some of them. From New Europe:
Swiss banking secrecy cracked by OECD deal
Switzerland’s banking secrecy, which began more than 300 years ago with the kings of France who had demanded a code of silence as regards their bank accounts, has finally ended with the signing of an international agreement to fight tax evasion.
On to Spain, with a startling confirmation of just how serious the economic crisis really is from thinkSPAIN:
Rise in online adverts offering organs for sale
SPAIN’S national transplant association has reported a series of adverts online where people are offering their organs for sale.
thinkSPAIN again, with another indication with some promise:
Online petition calls for end to political party donations
A PETITION has been delivered to Parliament with 57,000 signatures calling for all donations to political parties to be made illegal and for those who do to face criminal charges.
Another consequence, from The Guardian:
Partido X enters Spanish political ring to break up fight between left and right
Born of the ‘indignados’ movement and Spain’s financial crisis, members plan to end two-party hegemony of PP and PSOE
Next, Italy, with a video report from RT:
Roman Dismay: Thousands protest Italy’s worst recession since WWII
Italy’s economy ministry has been attacked by furious protesters, angered by the government’s cost-cutting drive. Thousands took to the streets, denouncing the ongoing austerity measures for failing to dig the country out of recession. RT’s Egor Piskunov reports. James Walston, Italian politics expert from the American University of Rome, also joins RT studio to discuss this.
After the jump, the latest from Greece, mixed numbers for Latin American, troubling news from China, Japanese sex, and the latest chapter of Fukushimapocalypse Now!. . . Continue reading