What Greece Needs: Default, Democracy and an Exit from the Euro. [World | AlterNet] – The only solution for Greece remains a debtor-led default and exit from the euro-zone under the leadership of a radical democrat political movement.
Want to Increase Profits & Productivity? Bring Back the 40-Hour Week. [Visions | AlterNet] – One hundred fifty years of research proves that shorter work hours actually raise productivity and profits, and overtime destroys them. So why do we still do this?
The Crisis of Civilization is a documentary about the end of the Industrial Age based on the book by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed. Director Dean Puckett and Animator Lucca Benney remix, interweave and otherwise mashup clips and images from far and wide to illustrate Ahmed’s narration.
The film provides compelling evidence that the many crises facing us in our day are all interrelated manifestations of a single failing global system. The question is not whether there should be dramatic changes to our way of life. For better or worse, change is already upon us. The question is whether we can find a way to sustain human life and liberty in the coming age.
Our days of denial are coming to a close.
Keystone Oil Pipeline May Raise U.S. Gas Prices. [Bloomberg] – TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project backers including Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum say will create cheaper U.S. gasoline, instead risks raising prices as much as 20 cents a gallon in the Midwest, Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.
Greek hospital now under workers’ control. [libcom.org] – Health workers in Kilkis, Greece, have occupied their local hospital and have issued a statement saying it is now fully under workers control.
Student loans could be next ‘debt bomb’. [UPI.com] – More than four of five U.S. bankruptcy attorneys say the number of potential clients with student loan debt has increased in the past three to four years, with some saying student loan client cases have increased 25 to 50 percent during the period. “Take it from those of us on the front line of economic distress in America: This could very well be the next debt bomb for the U.S. economy,” William E. Brewer Jr., the president of The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, said in a news release.
January deficit fell sharply to $27 billion: CBO. [Reuters] – The budget deficit shrank by nearly half in January compared to a year earlier as tax collections from individuals rose and outlays fell, the Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday. The CBO said it expects the Treasury Department to report a $27 billion deficit for January, versus a $50 billion deficit in January 2011. The January budget gap will bring the total deficit for the first four months of fiscal 2012 to $349 billion, a decrease of about $70 billion from the same period of fiscal 2011.
Here’s your movie (and book) of the week.
The World According To Monsanto is a 2008 documentary film made by investigative journalist Marie-Monique Robin. She spent three years looking into the history and the current activities of this multi-national agricultural giant.
She has also written an accompanying book of the same title, which won the Rachel Carson Prize. The story she tells is not pretty.
Robin reports that, following its long history of manufacturing hazardous chemicals and lethal herbicides, Monsanto is now marketing itself as a “life sciences” company, seemingly convinced about the virtues of sustainable development. However, Monsanto now controls the majority of the yield of the world’s genetically modified corn and soy–ingredients found in more than 95 percent of American households–and its alarming legal and political tactics to maintain this monopoly are the subject of worldwide concern.
I tend toward equanimity, but this shocking exposé has caused me great alarm. Monsanto has a well-documented past of rigging safety studies to cover up harm (both real and potential). They hold great sway over our government. They are systematically and intentionally destroying bio-diversity on our planet, along with the way of life and livelihood of millions.
I urge you to read this book, or to watch the film, or both – and please help spread the word. It may already be too late to mitigate some of the effects of this treachery, but we must do what we can. Look for more information here in the coming days on how to fight back.
Links and Video Embed
“We have to have a president who understands how to get an economy going again. He [Obama] does not. He plays 90 rounds of golf when you have 25 million people out of work. He says gasoline prices doubled during his presidency. He says don’t build a Keystone pipeline.”
– Mitt Romney, Florida Debate, 23 January 2012
I am utterly amazed that this sort of argument in favor of Keystone XL goes unchallenged. The fact is that the project would likely increase our gasoline prices. The oil that would be produced from the project would be exported, because that’s where the money is to be made. Take a look at this from a December 31st USA Today report, noting that fuel is now the largest U.S. export, and that we are now a net fuel exporter.
There’s at least one domestic downside to America’s growing role as a fuel exporter. Experts say the trend helps explain why U.S. motorists are paying more for gasoline. The more fuel that’s sent overseas, the less of a supply cushion there is at home.
Keystone XL is not expected to lower gasoline prices in the United States, nor would it help us move toward “energy independence.” It would, however, help to increase the profits of Big Oil while despoiling environmentally fragile areas and contributing to global warming.
The question remains whether Rmoney is ignorant, cynical or just a big fat liar.
IMF’s Christine Lagarde warns of ‘1930s moment’. [BBC News] – IMF chief Christine Lagarde has warned the world faces an economic spiral reminiscent of the 1930s unless action is taken on the eurozone crisis. Ms Lagarde, speaking in Berlin, warned of a danger of rising unemployment if governments did not act together.