Posts tagged Spain

Three Who Made A War

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Source: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Three Who Made A War

 

Paul Craig RobertsThe Spanish-American War was caused by three people: Teddy Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and William Randolph Hearst. The war, which killed a number of Spaniards and Americans, including some prominent Harvard “Swells,” was based entirely on lies and machinations of these three men and served no purpose other than their personal needs. Princeton University historian Evan Thomas calls these three monsters The War Lovers.

Hearst needed a war to build his newspaper circulation. Roosevelt needed a war to
sate his blood-lust and desire for military glory. Lodge needed a war to reinvigorate American manhood and to enlist American manhood in his “Large Policy” of American Empire. Between them, thanks to the ignorance and stupidity of the American people, they pulled it off.

Their adversary was Speaker of the House, Thomas Brackett Reed, “the Czar,” the most powerful politician in Washington. Reed, an honest and incorruptible politician, saw Lodge’s policy of “American exceptionalism” as naked imperialism that stood in total opposition and in great danger to American purposes. Reed saw Roosevelt’s war lust as a diversion of national purpose from the reconstruction of an economy that increasingly served a shrinking minority at the expense of the American people. But Hearst, Roosevelt, and Lodge made “peace” an epithet. The American people, whose gullibility is never-ending, were captivated by war-lust. Reed lost confidence in the American people whom he so well served. Reed could find no moral purpose in pushing the country toward war over nothing but fake news reports by “yellow journalism.”

Only a few years previously, Reed had had to halt the Cleveland administration from going to war with Great Britain over a British boundary dispute with Venezuela concerning mineral-rich land claimed by British Guyana. Somehow this boundary dispute, which had no more to do with US security than Honduras, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Georgia, Ukraine, and the South China Sea have today, was seen as a “threat to US national security.”

Roosevelt and Lodge were ecstatic over the possibility of War with Great Britain. War was its own goal. Roosevelt wrote to Lodge: “I don’t care whether our sea coast cities are bombarded or not; we would take Canada.” Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, hard facts prevailed over American war lust. The American navy had 3 battleships. The British had 50. If only Washington had gone to war with Great Britain over a British boundary dispute with Venezuela. The total destruction of the American navy and coastal cities might have taught Americans a lesson and made the population less lustful for war and more suspicious of Washington’s war lies: the Gulf of Tonkin, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Iranian nukes, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Russian invasion of Crimea, etc.

Roosevelt and Lodge searched for a weaker adversary than the British navy and settled on Spain.

But how to bring about a war with a declining and tired 400-year old empire far removed from American interests?

Hearst, desperate to sell newspapers, knew what to do. He hired the artist, Frederic Remington, a painter and sculptor much worshipped by American conservatives today. Remington provided a drawing, filling half of the front page of Hearst’s New York Journal, of a comely nude young woman surrounded by sinister Spaniards. Hearst alleged that three lady passengers on the US mail steamer Olivette were strip-searched in the Harbor of Havana, Cuba, by leering Spanish males.

America had a rare moment of rational thought and philosophical reflection during the brief period of its Founding Fathers. Ever since America has been a country of pulp romances and court histories written as “chivalric derring-do.” Hearst asked where were the knightly American males who would rescue womankind from these indignities at the hands of cruel, wanton, Spaniards.

Hearst repeated the story with Evangelina Cisneros, “a beautiful young woman from the gentlest of families.” In Hearst’s story Evangelina went to the Island of Pines to beg for her elderly father’s release from the cruel Spaniards. As she resisted the sexual advances of the leering Spanish prison commander, she was thrown into a squalid prison for prostitutes.

Having created his heroine, Hearst rushed to rescue her. Hearst hired the son of a Confederate cavalry colonel, Karl Decker, to rescue the fair lady. Thousands of words were printed to describe Decker’s daring rescue, but what really happened is that Hearst bribed the Spanish guards to let her go from her comfortable hotel room. Having freed “one Cuban girl,” Hearst wanted to know “when shall we free Cuba.”

Teddy Roosevelt wanted to be the star of the event. Senator Lodge and the American newsman Richard Harding Davis made it so. Teddy charging up the hill, leading the Rough Riders, not urging from behind, defeated the Spanish all by himself and won the war.

What did it mean for the Cubans, a mixed and varied peoples, who had been fighting the Spanish for independence for years before self-righteous, self-serving Americans saw the opportunity to advance their interests and careers?

For Cubans, it meant swapping one master for another.

General William Shafter, the American in charge of the invasion force, declared: “Why these people [Cubans] are no more fit for self-government than gunpowder is for hell!” Calixto Garcia, who had been fighting for thirty years for Cuba’s liberation from Spain, was not allowed to be present when Spain surrendered Cuba. It was purely an American show devoid of the revolutionaries in whose name the war had been fought.

Roosevelt wrote home that the Cubans had fought badly and were not responsible for their liberation from Spain. It was Teddy and his Rough Riders who brought freedom to Cuba. The Teller Amendment passed by Congress in 1898 guaranteeing independence to Cuba was superseded by the Platt Amendment of 1901. The Platt Amendment gave Washington the right to intervene in Cuba whenever Washington pleased.

It finally dawned on Cubans that “civilization,” a word used by Americans, meant “denying the darker races the power to govern.” In 1908 Cubans who had fought against Spain formed an independent political party. They were massacred by the thousands by the Cuban government now more sensitive to pleasing Washington than to the voice of its own people.

The story of American intervention is the same everywhere. American intervention has never benefited any peoples except those allied with Washington and American corporations.

Hearst’s rival in yellow journalism was Joseph Pulitzer, whose name ended up on a prestigious journalism award. Today the entire US print and TV media engage in the yellow journalism of the Hearst/Pulitzer era. Yellow journalism has helped to keep America in wars as nonsensical as the Spanish-American war ever since the 21st century began. The neoconservatives have resurrected Lodge’s “Large Policy” of American imperialism justified by the doctrine of American exceptionalism.

If Americans were to read three history books, they could free themselves from their self-righteous delusions that endanger all life on earth. Those books are: A People’s History of The United States by Howard Zinn, The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, and The War Lovers by Evan Thomas.

No one who reads one of these books will ever again believe that the US government in Washington is the “light unto the world,” the “exceptional and indispensable” government that brings “freedom and democracy” to the conquered provinces of the American Empire.

Washington is the home of warmongering self-interested parties that have no concept of compassion or justice and serve only their own power and enrichment. Americans are as indifferent to the populations that their government bombs as Teddy Roosevelt was to the prospect of his own country’s coastal cities being bombarded. As Russia’s President Putin reminded the world on March 18, 2014, the US prefers the rule of the gun to international law.

Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org


 

About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available. [/wpex]
 
 

      

 

20 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Starting To Catch Fire

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

20 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Starting To Catch Fire

 

Lighting-A-Match-Photo-by-Sebastian-Ritter-300x300If you have been waiting for the “global economic crisis” to begin, just open up your eyes and look around.  I know that most Americans tend to ignore what happens in the rest of the world because they consider it to be “irrelevant” to their daily lives, but the truth is that the massive economic problems that are currently sweeping across Europe, Asia and South America are going to be affecting all of us here in the U.S. very soon.  Sadly, most of the big news organizations in this country seem to be more concerned about the fate of Justin Bieber’s wax statue in Times Square than about the horrible financial nightmare that is gripping emerging markets all over the planet.  After a brief period of relative calm, we are beginning to see signs of global financial instability that are unlike anything that we have witnessed since the financial crisis of 2008.  As you will see below, the problems are not just isolated to a few countries.  This is truly a global phenomenon.

Over the past few years, the Federal Reserve and other global central banks have inflated an unprecedented financial bubble with their reckless money printing.  Much of this “hot money” poured into emerging markets all over the world.  But now that the Federal Reserve has begun “tapering” quantitative easing, investors are taking this as a sign that the party is ending.  Money is being pulled out of emerging markets all over the globe at a staggering pace and this is creating a tremendous amount of financial instability.  In addition, the economic problems that have been steadily growing over the past few years in established economies throughout Europe and Asia just continue to escalate.  The following are 20 signs that the global economic crisis is starting to catch fire…

#1 The unemployment rate in Greece has hit a brand new record high of 28 percent.

#2 The youth unemployment rate in Greece has hit a brand new record high of 64.1 percent.

#3 The percentage of bad loans in Italy is at an all-time record high.

#4 Italian industrial output declined again in December, and the Italian government is on the verge of collapse.

#5 The number of jobseekers in France has risen for 30 of the last 32 months, and at this point it has climbed to a new all-time record high.

#6 The total number of business failures in France in 2013 was even higher than in any year during the last financial crisis.

#7 It is being projected that housing prices in Spain will fall another 10 to 15 percent as their economic depression deepens.

#8 The economic and political turmoil in Turkey is spinning out of control.  The government has resorted to blasting protesters with pepper spray and water cannons in a desperate attempt to restore order.

#9 It is being estimated that the inflation rate in Argentina is now over 40 percent, and the peso is absolutely collapsing.

#10 Gangs of armed bandits are roaming the streets in Venezuela as the economic chaos in that troubled nation continues to escalate.

#11 China appears to be very serious about deleveraging.  The deflationary effects of this are going to be felt all over the planet. The following is an excerpt from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s recent article entitled “World asleep as China tightens deflationary vice“…

China’s Xi Jinping has cast the die. After weighing up the unappetising choice before him for a year, he has picked the lesser of two poisons.
 
The balance of evidence is that most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong aims to prick China’s $24 trillion credit bubble early in his 10-year term, rather than putting off the day of reckoning for yet another cycle.
 
This may be well-advised for China, but the rest of the world seems remarkably nonchalant over the implications.

#12 There was a significant debt default by a coal company in China last Friday

A high-yield investment product backed by a loan to a debt-ridden coal company failed to repay investors when it matured last Friday, state media reported on Wednesday, in the latest sign of financial stress in China’s shadow bank sector.

#13 Japan’s Nikkei stock index has already fallen by 14 percent so far in 2014.  That is a massive decline in just a month and a half.

#14 Ukraine continues to fall apart financially

The worsening political and economic circumstances in Ukraine has prompted the Fitch Ratings agency to downgrade Ukrainian debt from B to a pre–default level CCC. This is lower than Greece, and Fitch warns of future financial instability.

#15 The unemployment rate in Australia has risen to the highest level in more than 10 years.

#16 The central bank of India is in a panic over the way that Federal Reserve tapering is effecting their financial system.

#17 The effects of Federal Reserve tapering are also being felt in Thailand

In the wake of the US Federal Reserve tapering, emerging economies with deteriorating macroeconomic figures or visible political instability are being punished by skittish markets. Thailand is drifting towards both these tendencies.

#18 One of Ghana’s most prominent economists says that the economy of Ghana will crash by June if something dramatic is not done.

#19 Yet another banker has mysteriously died during the prime years of his life.  That makes five “suspicious banker deaths” in just the past two weeks alone.

#20 The behavior of the U.S. stock market continues to parallel the behavior of the U.S. stock market in 1929.

Yes, things don’t look good right now, but it is important to keep in mind that this is just the beginning.

This is just the leading edge of the next great financial storm.

The next two years (2014 and 2015) are going to represent a major “turning point” for the global economy.  By the end of 2015, things are going to look far different than they do today.

None of the problems that caused the last financial crisis have been fixed.  Global debt levels have grown by 30 percent since the last financial crisis, and the too big to fail banks in the United States are 37 percent larger than they were back then and their behavior has become even more reckless than before.

As a result, we are going to get to go through another “2008-style crisis”, but I believe that this next wave is going to be even worse than the previous one.

So hold on tight and get ready.  We are going to be in for quite a bumpy ride.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

 

 

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Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

 

If You Are Waiting For An “Economic Collapse”, Just Look At What Is Happening To Europe

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

If You Are Waiting For An “Economic Collapse”, Just Look At What Is Happening To Europe

 

European-Union-2014-300x300If you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the “economic collapse”, just open up your eyes and look at what is happening in Europe.  The entire continent is a giant economic mess right now.  Unemployment and poverty levels are setting record highs, car sales are setting record lows, and there is an ocean of bad loans and red ink everywhere you look.  Over the past several years, most of the attention has been on the economic struggles of Greece, Spain and Portugal and without a doubt things continue to get even worse in those nations.  But in 2014 and 2015, Italy and France will start to take center stage.  France has the 5th largest economy on the planet, and Italy has the 9th largest economy on the planet, and at this point both of those economies are rapidly falling to pieces.  Expect both France and Italy to make major headlines throughout the rest of 2014.  I have always maintained that the next major wave of the economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening.  The following are just a few of the statistics that show that an “economic collapse” is happening in Europe right now…

-The unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole is still sitting at an all-time record high of 12.1 percent.

-It Italy, the unemployment rate has soared to a brand new all-time record high of 12.7 percent.

-The youth unemployment rate in Italy has jumped up to 41.6 percent.

-The level of poverty in Italy is now the highest that has ever been recorded.

-Many analysts expect major economic trouble in Italy over the next couple of years.  The President of Italy is openly warning of “widespread social tension and unrest” in his nation in 2014.

-Citigroup is projecting that Italy’s debt to GDP ratio will surpass 140 percent by the year 2016.

-Citigroup is projecting that Greece’s debt to GDP ratio will surpass 200 percent by the year 2016.

-Citigroup is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will reach 32 percent in 2015.

-The unemployment rate in Spain is still sitting at an all-time record high of 26.7 percent.

-The youth unemployment rate in Spain is now up to 57.7 percent – even higher than in Greece.

-The percentage of bad loans in Spain has risen for eight straight months and recently hit a brand new all-time record high of 13 percent.

-The number of mortgage applications in Spain has fallen by 90 percent since the peak of the housing boom.

-The unemployment rate in France has risen for 9 quarters in a row and recently soared to a new 16 year high.

-For 2013, car sales in Europe were on pace to hit the lowest yearly level ever recorded.

-Deutsche Bank, probably the most important bank in Germany, is the most highly leveraged bank in Europe (60 to 1) and it has approximately 70 trillion dollars worth of exposure to derivatives.

Europe truly is experiencing an economic nightmare, and it is only going to get worse.

It would be hard to put into words the extreme desperation that unemployed workers throughout Europe are feeling right now.  When you can’t feed your family and you can’t find work no matter how hard you try, it can be absolutely soul crushing.

To get an idea of the level of desperation in Spain, check out the following anecdote from a recent NPR article

Having trouble wrapping your head around southern Europe’s staggering unemployment problem?
 
Look no further than a single Ikea furniture store on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.
 
The plans to open a new megastore next summer near Valencia. On Monday, Ikea’s started taking applications for 400 jobs at the new store.
 
The company wasn’t prepared for what came next.
 
Within 48 hours, more than 20,000 people had applied online for those 400 jobs. The volume crashed Ikea’s computer servers in Spain.

Of course that should kind of remind you of what I wrote about yesterday.  We are starting to see this kind of intense competition for low paying jobs in the United States as well.

As global economic conditions continue to deteriorate, things are going to get even tougher for those on the low end of the economic food chain.  Poverty rates are going to soar, even in areas where you might not expect it to happen.  In fact, one new report discovered that poverty has already been rising steadily in Germany, which is supposed to be the strongest economy in the entire eurozone…

A few days before the Christmas holidays, the Joint Welfare Association published a report on the regional development of poverty in Germany in 2013 titled “Between prosperity and poverty—a test to breaking point”. The report refutes the official propaganda that Germany has remained largely unaffected by the crisis and is a haven of prosperity in Europe.
 
According to the report, poverty in Germany has “reached a sad record high”. Entire cities and regions have been plunged into ever deeper economic and social crisis. “The social and regional centrifugal forces, as measured by the spread of incomes, have increased dramatically in Germany since 2006,” it says. Germany faces “a test to breaking point.”

Of course poverty continues to explode on this side of the Atlantic Ocean as well.  In the United States, the poverty rate has been at 15 percent or above for three years in a row.  That is the first time that this has happened since the 1960s.

And this is just the beginning.  The extreme recklessness of European banks such as Deutsche Bank and U.S. banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and Goldman Sachs is eventually going to cause a financial catastrophe far worse than what we experienced back in 2008.

When that crisis arrives, the flow of credit is going to freeze up dramatically and economic activity will grind to a standstill.  Unemployment, poverty and all of our current economic problems will become much, much worse.

So as bad as things are right now, the truth is that this is nothing compared to what is coming.

I hope that you are getting prepared for the coming storm while you still can.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here


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All-Time High Unemployment: The Economic Depression In Europe Just Keeps Getting Deeper

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

 

All-Time High Unemployment: The Economic Depression In Europe Just Keeps Getting Deeper

 

Greece-Riots-Photo-by-Master-of-Puppets-300x300The unemployment rate in the eurozone is higher than it has ever been before.  This week we learned that eurozone unemployment came in at an all-time high of 12.2 percent for September.  Back in January 2012, it was sitting at just 10.4 percent.  So anyone that believes that “things are getting better” in Europe is just being delusional.  In fact, the economic depression in Europe just keeps getting deeper.  The funny thing is that the mainstream media will barely call what is going on in Europe a “recession” even though the unemployment rates in both Spain and Greece are now much higher than anything that the United States ever experienced during the “Great Depression” of the 1930s.  There haven’t been as many headlines about the financial crisis in Europe lately because the ECB has been papering over the debt problems of the periphery (at least for the moment), but the economic conditions on the ground for average Europeans just continue to get even worse.  Later on in this article, you will read about a 25-year-old Spanish man with three college degrees that moved to London in a desperate search for a job who is now cleaning up poop for a living.  The economic collapse of Europe continues to march on, and there is no end in sight.

All you have to do is look at the latest unemployment numbers to realize that things are getting worse in Europe.

In Italy, the unemployment rate is up to 12.5 percent.

In January 2012, less than two years ago, it was sitting at just 8.9 percent.

In Greece, the unemployment rate is up to an astounding 27.6 percent.

In January 2012, it was sitting at just 21.4 percent.

In Spain, the unemployment rate is up to 26.6 percent.

In January 2012, it was sitting at just 22.8 percent, and all the way back in January 2008 it was just 8.6 percent.

The youth unemployment statistics in the eurozone are even more horrifying

Unemployment among the under-25s rose by 22,000 in September to 3,548,000 – nudging up youth jobless rate to 24.1%. In France, the youth jobless rate jumped from 25.6% to 26.1%, while in Italy it increased from 40.2% to 40.4%.

But as bad as those numbers are, they are nothing compared to what is going on in Spain and Greece.  In Spain, the youth unemployment rate is up to 56.5 percent, and in Greece the youth unemployment rate is up to 57.3 percent.

And of course unemployment is not the only problem that the European economy is dealing with right now.  The following are some more facts about the European economy that show that the economic depression in Europe just keeps getting deeper…

-European car sales are on pace to hit a 23 year low in 2013.

-The percentage of “bad loans” in Spain has soared to a new all-time record high.

-The number of mortgage applications in Spain has fallen 90 percent since the peak of the market.

-Citigroup is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will reach 32 percent in 2015.

-Over the last several years, Italy has experienced the biggest collapse in GDP growth that it has ever seen.  Overall, the GDP of Italy has contracted by about 8 percent since 2008.

-The number of unemployed workers in Cyprus is now five times higher than it was before the financial crisis of 2008.

-It is being projected that Spain’s debt to GDP ratio will rise to nearly 100 percent by the end of next year.

-The debt to GDP ratio of Portugal is already up to 123 percent.

-The debt to GDP ratio of Italy is already up to 127 percent.

-Even though Greece has implemented a whole host of “austerity measures”, the debt to GDP ratio of Greece is now up to 156 percent.

But what these numbers cannot really communicate is the tremendous amount of pain and despair that millions upon millions of Europeans are experiencing right now.

For example, consider the story of Benjamin Serra Bosch, a 25-year-old Spanish man that moved to London in a desperate search for a job.  He has three college degrees, including a Master’s Degree from the IEBS Business School in Barcelona.  The following is a rough translation of a message that he recently posted on Facebook

My name is Benjamín Serra, I have two bachelor degrees and a master’s degree, and I clean toilets.
 
No, it is not a joke. I do it to pay the rent for my room in London.
 
I’ve been working in a famous chain of cafes in the United Kingdom since May, and for the first time today, after 5 months working there, I see it clearly. I have been cleaning toilets. My thought was: “I received distinction in my two degrees and I clean other peoples’ poop in a country that isn’t my own.” Well, I also make coffee, clean the tables and wash cups.
 
And I am not ashamed to do so. Cleaning is a very decent job. What embarrasses me is having to do so because no one has given me an opportunity in Spain. Like me, there are many Spaniards, especially in London. “You are a plague,” I was told once here. And let’s not kid ourselves. We are not young people on an adventure to learn the language and have new experiences. We are immigrants.
 
I’ve always been very proud, I am not going to deny. Those who know me, you know. And I have to bust out a smile at customers who look over my shoulder as I am simply a “barista” (as they call it here). Some are so outrageous that it makes me want to pull out my University and master degrees and put them in their face. But it would not really do anything.  It appears that those titles now only serve to clean the poop that I clean from the toilets in the cafe. A pity.
 
I thought that it deserved something better after putting so much effort in my academic life. It seems that I was wrong.

As economic conditions continue to decline all over Europe, anger and frustration with the “European experiment” continue to grow.  UKIP’s Nigel Farage expressed these sentiments very eloquently during a speech on the 23rd of October when he stated that “what we are saying, large numbers of us from every single EU member state is: we don’t want that flag, we don’t want the anthem that you all stood so ram-rod straight for yesterday, we don’t want EU passports, we don’t want political union.”

Unfortunately, the elite of Europe are so obsessed with their little experiment that the only “solutions” to these economic problems that they are even willing to consider involve even more European integration.

And Americans certainly should not be looking down their noses at what is happening in Europe.

What is going on in Italy, France, Spain and Greece will be coming here soon enough.  In fact, even during the midst of this so-called “economic recovery”, poverty continues to absolutely explode in the United States.

Economic conditions in both the United States and Europe have never even gotten close to where they were prior to 2008, and now the next major wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching.

This is just the beginning.  Things are going to get much worse in the years ahead.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here


Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

 

Spain today, The USA tomorrow? A country in depression.

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

By

Spain today, The USA tomorrow? A country in depression.

 

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We often write about the economic tide rolling out. This is what it looks like in Europe.

 
Spain is the country of Picasso, Miro, Gaudi, Salvador Dali,  Don Quixote, and a former superpower (centuries ago.) Now it is a shadow of even what it was a decade ago. This report comes to us from a friend of ACC.

 

“…The grandparents are the safety net for the extended family.  They provide lodging for the children and grandchildren.  The grandparents have avoided debt and own more than one home mortgage free.  They pay for groceries, school, and clothing for the children and grandchildren.
 
There is no hiring beyond what is absolutely necessary. The same people stock shelves, make deliveries and act as cashiers in grocery stores.  Self checkout kiosks are ubiquitous.
 
Small business staff with family and friends who are paid under the table.  Businesses open sporadically and share what business there is by deciding among themselves which days they will be open.
 
People who are working full time are almost all older than you would expect.  They are tenured employees who do not quit until they qualify for a pension.
 
The wonderful network of toll roads is deserted. One can drive 50 kilometers and encounter maybe 10 speeding Mercedes and BMWs and no trucks.
 
The new high speed rail (AVE) is little used because it is so expensive.  Intercity and long haul bus routes thrive.
 
NOBODY drinks wine – only beer….wine is too expensive.  Café owners complain that young people don’t go out but instead buy their booze at supermarkets and drink in the parks.
 
There are many street side vendors who are in the country illegally.
 
It is considered bad form not to give to beggars (as long as they are not gypsies.)
 
Tax avoidance is common.  You know when you get no receipt that the sale is not reported.
 
Abandoned cars are common (too expensive to put on the road.)
 
The 1% goes on – No one knows where all their money comes from.”

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

Driver was on phone at time of Spain train crash which killed 79 – investigators

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Source: http://rt.com

 

Driver was on phone at time of Spain train crash which killed 79 – investigators

 

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An injured man, identified by Spanish newspapers El Pais and El Mundo as the train driver Francisco Jose Garzon, is helped by a policeman after a train crashed near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24, 2013. (Reuters / Oscar Corral)

 

The driver of a high-speed Spanish train, which crashed killing 79 people last week, was talking on the phone when the accident occurred, the investigators said after opening the “black box” recorders.

The Investigators say the train was going as fast as 119 mph (192 kph), which is almost twice the speed limit, before the crash and the conductor activated the breaks just “seconds before the crash,” AP reports.

The court statement also revealed that the driver was talking on the phone to an official at the national rail company, Renfe, when the crash happened.

He was apparently consulting a paper document at the time of the accident.

Conductor driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo has been provisionally charged with multiple counts of negligent homicide.

Previously, the investigation revealed that he violated the speed limit regularly and even boasted about it on social networks.

The fatal crash took place on June 24 near the city of Santiago de Compostela when the train derailed after entering a high-risk curve at high speed.

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Spain Levies Consumption Tax on Sunlight

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Source: http://libertycalling.net

Posted by Judy Morris

Spain Levies Consumption Tax on Sunlight

 

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Proving that idiocy truly has no bounds, Spain issued a “royal decree” taxing sunlight gatherers. The state threatens fines as much as 30 million euros for those who illegally gather sunlight without paying a tax.

The tax is just enough to make sure that homeowners cannot gather and store solar energy cheaper than state-sponsored providers.

Via Mish-modified Google Translate from Energias Renovables, please consider Photovoltaic Sector, Stunned The Secretary of State for Energy, Alberto Nadal, signed a draft royal decree in which consumption taxes are levied on those who want to start solar power systems on their rooftops. The tax, labeled a “backup toll” is high enough to ensure that it will be cheaper to keep buying energy from current providers…..

FULL STORY

Spain’s Black Market Economy Is Worth 20% of Its GDP

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Source: http://libertycalling.net

Posted by 

Spain’s Black Market Economy Is Worth 20% of Its GDP

 

 

The Atlantic is a statist propaganda rag that endorses statist tyranny and oppression.  While it did disclose some stats on Spain’s underground economy, it also concluded “one thing is certain: an illicit economy worth 20% of the country’s GDP isn’t just unhealthy–it’s unsustainable.”  In truth, underground economies that The Atlantic refers to as Black Markets, are the only hope of economic survival. Statists are in an absolute panic because they understand full well that folks may wake up and conclude “Hey, I don’t need the thieving government”.

The Atlantic reports:

Spain’s illicit economy–all that is unaccounted for because it’s illegal or unreported–is worth an unseemly 20% of the country’s GDP, according to a new report by Spain’s Foundation for Financial Studies (FEF). That’s higher than every other country in the European Union except Italy, with 21%.

 

Illicit activity, while technically illegal, doesn’t necessarily mean drug-related or violent. Much of Spain’s unreported business is due to labor law and tax circumvention, which varies widely from industry to industry. Some sectors are relatively clean, like Spain’s financial industry, where the rate of illegal activity is believed to hover below 10%; others are ridden with messy, unreported business, like the country’s construction industry–Spain’s most flagrant offender–whose rate clocks in at 35%.

 

The effects of such a massive, underground economy are substantial–for example, more than a million Spaniards are believed to be employed by the country’s unreported economy, and thus, unemployed by the country’s official economy.

Read the rest at The Atlantic, here.

41 IMF Bailouts And Counting – How Long Before The Entire System Collapses?

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Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

By Michael Snyder

41 IMF Bailouts And Counting – How Long Before The Entire System Collapses?

 

Broke nations are bailing out other broke nations with borrowed money.  Round and round we go – where we stop nobody knows.  As of April, 41 different countries had active financial “arrangements” with the IMF.  Sometimes they are called “bailouts” and sometimes they are called other things, but in every single case they involve loans.  And most of the time, these loans come with very stringent conditions.  It is a form of “global governance” that most people don’t even know about.

For decades, the IMF has been able to use money as a way to force developing nations to do what it wants them to do.  But up until fairly recently, this had mostly only been done with poor nations.  But now an increasing number of wealthy nations are turning to the IMF for help.  We have already seen Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus receive bailouts which were partly funded by the IMF, Spain has received a bailout for its banking sector, and as I noted yesterday, it is being projected that Italy will need a major bailout within six months.  How long can this go on before the entire system collapses?

Well, that would depend on how much money the lender has.

And so where does the IMF get their money?

The IMF gets their money from a bunch of nations that are absolutely drowning in debt themselves.

The IMF is funded by “wealthy” nations that dominate the global economy.  The following is how Wikipedia describes the IMF’s quota system…

The IMF’s quota system was created to raise funds for loans. Each IMF member country is assigned a quota, or contribution, that reflects the country’s relative size in the global economy. Each member’s quota also determines its relative voting power. Thus, financial contributions from member governments are linked to voting power in the organization.

These are the five largest contributors to IMF funding…

United States – 16.75%

Japan – 6.23%

Germany – 5.81%

France – 4.29%

UK – 4.29%

But those countries are in trouble themselves.  The U.S. has a debt to GDP ratio of over 100%.  Japan has a debt to GDP ratio of over 200%.

The truth is that these countries are funding the IMF with borrowed money.

So what happens when the contributors run out of money and can’t contribute anymore?

All over the globe, an increasing number of countries are reaching out to the IMF for help.  For example, on Thursday we learned that Pakistan is getting a new bailout from the IMF…

Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have reached an initial agreement on a bailout of at least $5.3 billion.

 

Pakistani Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar and IMF mission chief Jeffrey Franks announced the agreement at a press conference Thursday.

And the new government in Egypt is hoping that the revolution that just occurred will not stop the flow of IMF funds…

FULL STORY

Lawlessness Is The New Normal

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Source: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Lawlessness Is The New Normal

 

In various articles and in my latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism And Economic Dissolution Of The West, I have pointed out that the European sovereign debt crisis is being used to terminate the sovereignty of the countries that are members of the EU. There is no doubt that this is true, but the sovereignty of the EU member states is only nominal. Although the individual countries still retain some sovereignty from the EU government, they are all under Washington’s thumb, as demonstrated by the recent illegal and hostile action taken on Washington’s orders by France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Austria against the airliner carrying Bolivia’s President Evo Morales.

Flying back to Bolivia from Moscow, Morales’ plane was denied overflight and refueling permission by Washington’s French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese puppets and had to land in Austria, where the presidential plane was searched for Edward Snowden. It was a power play by Washington to kidnap Snowden from Bolivia’s presidential airliner in defiance of international law and to teach upstart reformers like Morales that independence from Washington’s orders is not permitted.

The European puppet states went along with this extraordinary breach of diplomacy and international law despite the fact that each of the countries is incensed that Washington is spying on their governments, diplomats, and citizens. Their thanks to Snowden, whose revelations made them aware that Washington was recording their every communication, was to help Washington capture Snowden.

This tells us how much morality, honor, integrity there is left in Western civilization: Zero.

Snowden informed the countries of the world that their communications have no independence or privacy from Washington’s eyes and ears. Washington’s hubris and arrogance are shocking. Yet, no country has been willing to stand up to Washington and to give Snowden asylum. Ecuador’s Correa was intimidated and slapped down by Washington and withdrew his offer to Snowden. For China and Russia, Washington’s favorite targets for human rights demonization, giving Snowden asylum would have been a propaganda triumph, but neither country wanted the confrontations that Washington’s reprisals would have caused.

In short, the governments of the countries on earth want Washington’s money and good graces more than they want truth and integrity or even their independence.

Washington’s sordid interventions against Snowden and Morales give the world another chance to hold Washington accountable before Washington’s hubris and arrogance force the world into a choice between accepting Washington’s hegemony and World War III. The countries, split among themselves and grasping for money and favor, are, instead, permitting Washington to establish that whatever it does is legitimate. Washington’s lawlessness is being established as the new normal.

The South American governments are unlikely to stand together against Washington’s affront. A few of the countries are led by reformers who represent the people instead of the rich elites allied with Washington, but most prefer calm relations with Washington and domestic elites. South Americans assume that Washington will succeed in overthrowing the reformers as it has in the past.

In Europe headlines are that “NSA surveillance threatens the EU free trade deal” and “Merkel demands explanations.” The protests are the necessary public posturing of puppets and will be regarded as such by Washington. The French government says the trade talks should be temporarily suspended “for a couple of weeks to avoid any controversy.” However, the German government says, “We want this free trade agreement and we want to start the talks now.” In other words, what Merkel describes as “unacceptable Cold War-style behavior” is acceptable as long as Germany gets the free trade agreement.

The lust for Washington’s money blinds Europe to the real consequences of the free trade deal. What the deal will do is to fold Europe’s economies into Washington’s economic hegemony. The deal is designed to draw Europe away from trade with Russia, just as the Trans-Pacific Partnership is designed to draw Asian countries away from China and fold them into US-structured relationships. These deals have little to do with free trade and everything to do with US hegemony.

These “free trade” deals will commit the European and Asian “partners” to support the dollar. Indeed, it is possible that the dollar will supplant the euro and Asian currencies and become the monetary unit of the “partners.” In this way Washington can institutionalize the dollar and protect it from the consequences of the printing press that is being used to boost the solvency of banks too big to fail and to finance never-ending federal budget deficits.

Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org


 

About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.

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