A sharing economy

July 3, 2015

A sharing economy as discussed in Sacred Economics does not contribute to GDP, as money does not change hands, thus it is not measured, invisible, unseen.

On the rare occasion discussed in the mainstream media it is not understood. Uber is not an example of the sharing economy, Uber is an example of exploitation by an app.

It was therefore with great pleasure and surprise to turn on the radio and find myself part way through a discussion of the sharing economy.

What was being discussed was the Library of Things in Frome and a similar share shop in London.

We buy things that we rarely use.  Is it not better we share with others, and share shops is one way of achieving this.

What can we do to help the Greeks?

July 3, 2015
OXI

OXI

Greece No More Looting

Greece No More Looting

greek-butterfly

A woman stands inside a shop behind stickers depicting butterflies with the colors of the Greek flag in Athens, on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Greece’s new left wing-led government has been locked in strained negotiations with creditors since winning elections in January on pledges to abolish the deeply resented budget austerity measures required by the rescue program. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

In 2010, it was obvious the Greek debt was unsustainable, that it could not be repaid, feckless creditors in cahoots with a  corrupt Greek government, nevertheless lent Greece more money, money that went to pay off the German banks, hedge funds etc. Greece was addled with more debt, society bailed out the feckless lenders. The conditions imposed on Greece were onerous.

  • 25% unemployment (youth unemployment over 50%)
  • 25% loss of GDP

Lose your job, you lose your unemployment pay after a year. You then have nothing. You also lose your national health insurance.

Infant mortality has risen, suicide rate has risen.

The loss in GDP is unprecedented in peacetime.

Today the unelected President of the corrupt EU told the Greek people to vote YES as it would strengthen their negotiating position.

He must double as a stand up comedian.

Since when has capitulation agreeing to onerous conditions been called strengthening a negotiating position?

If Greeks vote YES to humiliating terms forced on them by the EU they will never be able to hold their heads high in the word again. Can this be the same people who fought a heroic resistance against the Germans?

Leading economists are of the view that the debt is unsustainable, and must be written off. Even the IMF is now of this opinion.

Last weekend, the ECB turned off the money. This was, as Irish politicians have stated, a deliberate move to bring Greece to its knees.

Germany and France have higher deficit than Greece. Greece is bringing down its debt faster than either Greece or Germany. Were the debt to be set aside, Greece would be in budget surplus.

Why then is Greece being brought to its knees? It is as as Caroline Lucas has said a coup against a legitimate government, it is designed to bring down the Syriza government

EU is trying to bring Greece to its knees, then force a coup, to replace a popular government that is acting in the best interest of the Greek government, with an EU puppet government, a government of Quislings.

Syriza was elected with a mandate to end the imposed austerity that has provoked a humanitarian crisis – over a quarter unemployed (including over 50% of young people), austerity has wiped 25% from economic output, and thousands are struggling to be fed or pay for electricity.

What therefore can we do to help the Greeks?

First we must urge all Greeks to not let fear force their hands, vote NO, stand shoulder to shoulder with heads held high and give their government the backing they have asked for to strengthen their hand in negotiation with the EU .

We will get nowhere without  the debt being written off. Please therefore sign and  share the two petitions calling for debt write off.

A crowd sourcing attempt to write off the Greek debt. Mixed feelings, we should not be bailing out the creditors and the money could be betters spent. The debt runs into billions of euros and the most likely to be raised will be a few millions, which of course is no mean feat.

What is interesting is significant contributions from UK and England. German politicians out of touch with ordinary Germans?

The funds raised, probably cannot be used for other purposes, unless well worded, but better uses would be to set up open commons, open coops, local currencies, anything that isolates local communities from the dire economic crisis and turns them into autonomous, self-organising communities.

One project suggested by Greek Finance Minister  no less, is support for a media project. 


Greeks have been fed fear and misinformation, the media owned by corrupt oligarchs, friends of the deposed government

The Greek media is corrupt. This might not come as a big shock, maybe there are corrupt media in your country too, but the truth of the situation here goes far beyond what you’d imagine. According to the NGO Reporters Without Borders, Greece ranks 93rd in the global index of press freedom (placing it last in Europe). Private TV channels, newspapers and radio stations are majority owned by 5 key families, who use them to ensure their family of companies obtain government contracts. These private media outlets are members of large groups of companies who undertake construction projects, and shipowners who control the oil trade and imports.

During the last few days, the mainstream media have declared war on citizens, taking a position on the referendum and violating any notion of journalistic ethics. Their reporting is designed to terrorize and create a culture of fear, without any trace of truth or balance, whilst presenting themselves as objective and responsible.

On Monday, the largest TV station was broadcasting misinformation all day about cash withdrawals being reduced from 60 to 20 euros -reports which had been denied three times officially by the government- trying to provoke a bank run.

ThePressProject was established to provide an alternative source of information, independent of the corrupt elites, but it is now in cash crisis, appealing for funds.

Join the Thunerclap, make our voices heard loud and clear.

What is at stake here, is not only Greece, but democracy itself. Do we want a world run by corrupt elites or do we want a word run by the people? Syriza offers the latter, which is why there is a determined attempt to destroy Syriza,  to stop the idea from spreading, to put the people back in their chains.

Θα, θα, θα, θα (μέρος 2ο)

July 3, 2015

Originally posted on Another Alice:

Βαρέθηκα τα θα, θα, θα, θα…. Θα ανοίξουν οι τράπεζες, θα διαπραγματευτούμε πιο ισχυρά, θα απελευθερωθούμε, θα τα χάσουμε όλα, θα πάνε στράφη τόσες θυσίες, θα απομονωθούμε, θα τους δείξουμε, θα θα θα θα θα..

Θαύματα πιστεύω ότι γίνονται..

Θα έλεγα όμως ότι αυτό που λείπει στη κοινωνία είναι αίσθηση/λογική της ζωής… όχι η κοινή λογική, ή η λογική των μαθηματικών. Η λογική/αίσθηση της ζωής.

Λογική έχουμε όλοι, και φυσικά όλοι κρίνουμε με το νου μας.. Άλλοι θα κρίνουν από αντίδραση, άλλοι – λίγο πιο σοφοί και ήρεμοι – θα κρίνουν από δράση, και όχι από αντίδραση.

Ας κρίνουμε και ψηφίσουμε όλοι με το χέρι στη καρδιά, που είναι το χέρι στη ζωή.

Ώστε να μη σταματήσει την επόμενη μέρα να χτυπάει..

Και όποιο και αν είναι το αποτέλεσμα, ας σταθούμε ενωμένοι, γιατί όλοι μας και ο καθένας μας υποφέρει με το δικό του προσωπικό τρόπο..

Αυτοί που θα πούν ΟΧΙ…

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Stand with the Greek people

July 2, 2015
Greek referendum

Greek referendum

Greek bailout

Greek bailout

Global Justice together with Jubilee Debt Campaign have joined forces to stand with the Greek people against the brutal austerity policies that are being inflicted on them. In particular, to support initiatives like the Greek Debt Audit, which provides hope for people across Europe and the world. By examining and making democratic decisions on debt, we can stop international economic policies being driven by the interests of financial elites, and help create a more humane and rational economic policy.

The Greek people have suffered from some of the most brutal austerity policies carried out in modern Europe. This has not been ‘necessary pain’ designed to return the economy to balance. Today Greece’s debt is far higher than it was at the start of the economic crisis. How can this be? Because Greece was lent money simply to repay the reckless and corrupt loans of European banks.

It is not for society to pay for the risks of private banks

Just like the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America before them, the Greek people have been sacrificed so the banks can continue to profit.

It does not have to be this way. Alternative policies are possible. That’s why the current Greek government frightens European elites and they are Hell bent on crushing Greece. If we want the world to change, we have to support people who are proposing and trying to implement real alternatives.

Please sign and share petition.

Austerity has not worked for Greece, it has destroyed the Greek economy, GDP has fallen by 25% (this is more than countries suffered durung the Great Depression), the amount Greece is expected to pay back as a percentage of GDP is unprecedented in peacetime.

It was the previous corrupt Greek government that took on unpayable loans, it was bankers who lent at high risk and expect society to bail them out it is the Greek people who are being forced to pay the price, 4 in 10 kids live in poverty, infant mortality rate has increased by 43%, unemployment running at 25% (youth unemployment over 50%).

Austerity is not working. Debt has risen from 125% of GDP to 175% of GDP.

Why we recommend a NO in the referendum

July 1, 2015
NO

NO

  1. Negotiations have stalled because Greece’s creditors (a) refused to reduce our un-payable public debt and (b) insisted that it should be repaid ‘parametrically’ by the weakest members of our society, their children and their grandchildren
  2. The IMF, the United States’ government, many other governments around the globe, and most independent economists believe — along with us — that the debt must be restructured.
  3. The Eurogroup had previously (November 2012) conceded that the debt ought to be restructured but is refusing to commit to a debt restructure
  4. Since the announcement of the referendum, official Europe has sent signals that they are ready to discuss debt restructuring. These signals show that official Europe too would vote NO on its own ‘final’ offer.
  5. Greece will stay in the euro.  Deposits in Greece’s banks are safe.  Creditors have chosen the strategy of blackmail based on bank closures. The current impasse is due to this choice by the creditors and not by the Greek government discontinuing the negotiations or any Greek thoughts of Grexit and devaluation. Greece’s place in the Eurozone and in the European Union is non-negotiable.
  6. The future demands a proud Greece within the Eurozone and at the heart of Europe. This future demands that Greeks say a big NO on Sunday, that we stay in the Euro Area, and that, with the power vested upon us by that NO, we renegotiate Greece’s public debt as well as the distribution of burdens between the haves and the have nots.

—  Yanis Varoufakis

Reposted from Greek Finance Minster Yanis Varoufakis

όχι

June 30, 2015
Greece a vassal state of EU

Greece a vassal state of EU

NO

NO

What have the Greeks ever done for us?

Philosophy, geometry, democracy, literature, theatre …

Greece is being treated as a vassal state by the EU, plundering and raping the country.

Greece has suffered five years of brutal austerity. The conditions are those that a country would only suffer during war and occupation.

And yet, not content with bleeding the country dry, EU is demanding more, and accusing Greece of negotiating in bad faith.

Rather than believing EU propaganda, which too many are only too happy to regurgitate, look at what Greece put on the table.

When Greece got nowhere, they called a referendum. This was condemned.

A vassal state is not allowed to consult its own people.

The erozone minsters met in secret, without Greece, they even took legal advice on whether it was lawful to exclude Greece, a eurozone member.

What we are seeing is the Fourth Reich in action. If the EU had an army which it has pushed for, there would now be EU jackboots on Greek soil.

During German occupation of Greece they looted the country.

After the Second World War Germany was propped up by credit from the Allies (which included Spain and Greece). Germany benefited from The London Agreement based on German External Debts. Repayments were only due while Germany ran a trade surplus. Greece gave Germany a 0% interest loan of 476 million Reichmarks. In today’s money that corresponds to $14 billion (in 2012).

It is Germany that owes Greece, not the other way around.

The money that was lent to Greece, did not find its way into the pockets of Greeks, apart from a corrupt elite, it flowed straight back out to German banks.

When banks lend money, they take a risk. It is not for society to bail out the banks.

The argument is not even about debt relief. The banks were bailed out. The argument is about who gets debt relief, for the banks yes, for Greece no.

In the banking crash, $30 trillion went to bailout Wall Street.

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York, the effort went into getting Wall Street up and running, not helping people. It was Occupy Wall Street under the banner Occupy Sandy that was helping ordinary people in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

In one year, US banks under Quantitative Easing had a trillion dollars pumped into them. It helped to inflate record baker bonuses.

In the US, since the Recession began, 95% of the gains has gone to 0.015% of the population. Not 1%, not 0.1%, 0.01%.

In the US, the 400 richest people have as much wealth as 185% of the population, over 60%.

Globally, 85 people have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world population, 3.5 billion people.

Last night, the unelected EU President told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tell your fellow Greeks to vote YES for the destruction of your country and we will give you a little money.

The amount of money being demanded from Greece as a percentage of GDP, is unprecedented.

What we are seeing is a determined effort by the EU to destroy a democratically elected government that had the audacity to say there was an alternative to austerity.

Austerity is a failed policy, it is an excuse for shock doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts to welfare, sell-off on the cheap of state assets.

Five years of EU-IMF-German imposed austerity

  • GDP shrunk by 25%
  • debt increased from 125% to 175% of GDP
  • 25% unemployment (youth unemployment 50%)
  • rise in food banks
  • increase in people living below the poverty line
  • increase in suicides
  • mass exodus of young people from Greece

BBC Radio 4 lunchtime news Wato had further biassed coverage. So-called experts, all bankers or finance related, saying Greece must vote YES to EU crippling terms, basically regurgitating EU propaganda.

Greeks have been accused of being feckless. It was the previous corrupt government that was feckless.

Greeks are told to raise more tax. When the economy has been destroyed, when many are unemployed, when many are living below the poverty line, when pensioners are eking out their reduced pensions to support not only themselves but their children and grandchildren, from where are the taxes to be raised? Though no doubt David Cameron would try with a Bedroom Tax on the poor.

Having threatened the Greek government and got nowhere, the EU is now using fear. Greeks are being told to vote YES, as no matter how bad austerity, far worse than has been experienced to date, is what the Greeks are being asked to agree to, vote NO, and even worse will be brought down on Greece.

EU is trying to bring Greece to its knees, then force a coup, to replace a popular government that is acting in the best interest of the Greek government, with an EU puppet government, a government of Quislings.

Syriza was elected with a mandate to end the imposed austerity that has provoked a humanitarian crisis – over a quarter unemployed (including over 50% of young people), austerity has wiped 25% from economic output, and thousands are struggling to be fed or pay for electricity.

And that is the problem, Syriza is showing there is an alternative that they will overthrow the corrupt oligarchies, work with the people on the street. It is a contagion that may spread (look what is happening in Spain), and must be destroyed at all costs.

Lancashire says NO to fracking

June 30, 2015

In what could well be the death blow to fracking, Lancashire has voted NO to fracking.

The fracking industry had hoped to get approval in Lancashire, then use that to gain leverage across the country.

Councillors ignored how their officials told them to vote, and for once voted how the people told them to vote.

Questions need to be asked, why officials were in bed with Cuadrilla.

Cuadrilla claim will impact upon energy security. Like everything else from Cuadrilla complete and utter nonsense. The amount of shale gas small, its impact negligible, it would also be sold on the open market, thus just as likey to be shipped to Europe.

Energy security will be achieved when we have locally owned and controlled power grids, fed by renewables.

FoE claim the success was theirs. It was not, any more than it was down to 38 Degrees (who also claimed the credit). The decision was won by the hard work of the people of Lancashire, supported by people across the country.

The vote was 10-4 to REJECT. Who were the four councillors who voted for fracking? Name and shame in order that they may be kicked out at the next elections.

Greek Solidarity demo in Trafalgar Square

June 29, 2015
Greece Trafalgar Square protest

Greece Trafalgar Square protest

Troika is afraid of alternatives to austerity. — Caroline Lucas

Austerity is not only destructive it is economically deluded. — Caroline Lucas

This evening saw a big demonsration in Trafalgar Square in London in soladarity with Greece.

Greece is urged to stand firm against EU-IMF-Gernam bullying and vote NO to EU propsoals

Greece has said no to asterity. Fiver years of suffering is enough.

EU wishes to destroy Greece.

Earlier today the EU President launched an unprecedented attack on Greece, calling their government egoists. Who is the EU President? A has-been politician who represent no one, who was not democratically elected.

EU, having bullied Cyprus two years ago, thought they could do the same to Greece. They have bee proven wrong.

Tonight saw big demonstrations in Athens in support of the government standing firm against EU bullying.

What we are seeing is a democracy Greece, standing up to the corrupt EU.

It has sent a very clear message to all the countries in the EU. It is time to break up the EU. Two years ago it was Cyprus, today it is Greece. Which country next will be subject to the EU jackboot?

The behaviour of EU to Greece, will not be forgotten when UK votes to leave the EU.

Lunch at Caffe Macchiato

June 29, 2015
Peroni

Peroni

Pollo buscaiola

pollo buscaiola

side salad

side salad

Caffe Macchiato

Caffe Macchiato

Excellent lunch at Caffe Macchiato.

Pollo buscaiola, breast of chicken cooked with wine, peppers, served with porcini mushrooms in a garlic and tomato sauce, chips and a side salad.

Portion size always generous,and I struggled to finish.

I washed my lunch down with a bottle of Peroni.

Caffe Macchiato is usually quiet, this afternoon very busy, poor waitress literally run off her feet. I think the reason why, hot sunny afternoon, it had its windows wide open, and thus was tempting to go in.

Everything freshly cooked with fresh ingredients.

Caffe Macchiato is an Italian restaurant at the top end of Union Street. The only attractive building in the street.

Union Street was an attractive tree-lined street, pleasant to sit outside Caffe Macchiato on a warm afternoon. All the trees have been cut down and uprooted, leaving an unpleasant stark urban street.

For the last six months, traffic has been blocked from the pedestrianised street whilst work takes place. This needs to be made permanent, as the absence of traffic has much improved the street.

Aldershot is infamous for its disgusting fast food outlets that dominate the town centre, that and pound shops, gambling joints and boarded-up empty shops. Caffe Macchiato is a rarity being the only decent place to eat in Aldershot. Indeed it is even worth making a trip to Aldershot.

End of last year an idiot left a very nasty review on TripAdvisor claiming poor service, unpleasant staff, not freshly cooked or fresh ingredients. Nothing could be further from than the truth.  TripAdvisor needs to do more to eliminate fake reviews.

Free newspapers, wifi.

The walls are used as an art gallery. Worth a visit for the art.

Occasional live music in the evening.

This Blackmail-ultimatum

June 29, 2015

Alexis Tsipras Address to the People of Greece

Democracy is not negotiable

Democracy is not negotiable

My fellow Greeks,

For the past six months the Greek government has been giving battle in conditions of unprecedented economic asphyxiation, to implement your mandate, of Jan. 25. It was a mandate to negotiate with our partners to end austerity and to restore prosperity and social justice to our country.

(It was) for a viable agreement which would respect both democracy, common European rules and would lead to a definitive exit from the crisis.

Throughout this negotiation period, we were asked to adopt bailout agreements which were agreed with previous governments, even though these were categorically condemned by the Greek people in the recent elections.

But we did not, even for a moment, contemplate yielding. That is, to effectively betray your own trust.

After five months of tough negotiations our partners, unfortunately, concluded at the Eurogroup the day before last with a proposal, an ultimatum, to the Hellenic Republic and the Greek people.

An ultimatum which contravenes the founding principles and values of Europe. The value of our common European structure.

The Greek government was asked to accept a proposal which accumulates unbearable new burdens on the Greek people and undermines the recovery of Greek society and its economy, not only maintaining uncertainty, but by amplifying social imbalances even further.

The proposals of the institutions include measures which lead to a further detribalization of the labor market, pension cutbacks, new reductions in public sector salaries and an increase in VAT on food, eateries and tourism, with an elimination of tax breaks on the islands.

These proposals clearly violate European social rules and fundamental rights to work, equality and to dignity, proving that the aim of some partners and institutions was not a viable and beneficial agreement for all sides, but the humiliation of the entire Greek people.

These proposals prove the fixation, primarily of the International Monetary Fund, to tough and punitive austerity.

It makes it more imperative than ever that leading European forces rise to the occasion and take initiatives which will draw a line under Greek debt, a crisis which also affects other European countries, threatening the future of European unification.

My fellow Greeks, we are now burdened with the historic responsibility, (in homage to) to the struggles of the Hellenic people, to enshrine democracy and our national sovereignty.

It is a responsibility to the future of our country. And that responsibility compels us to answer to this ultimatum based on the will of the Greek people.

A while ago I convened the cabinet, where I suggested a referendum for the Greek people to decide in sovereignty.

The suggestion was unanimously accepted.

Tomorrow the plenary of the Greek parliament will convene to ratify the proposal of the cabinet for a referendum next Sunday, July 5, posing the question of the acceptance or rejection of the proposal by the institutions.

I have already communicated my decision to the President of France and the German Chancellor, the President of the ECB, while tomorrow in correspondence to the EU leaders and institutions I will formally request a few days extension of the (bailout) program so the Greek people can decide, free of pressure or coercion, as is dictated by the Constitution of our country and the democratic tradition of Europe.

My fellow Greeks,

To this blackmail-ultimatum, for the acceptance on our part of a strict and humiliating austerity (proposal), and with no end to it in sight nor with the prospect of allowing us to ever stand on our feet economically or socially, I call upon you to decide sovereignly and proudly, as the history of Greeks dictates.

To this autocratic and harsh austerity, we should respond with democracy, with composure and decisiveness.

Greece, the cradle of democracy, should send a strong democratic answer to Europe and the world community.

I am personally committed to respect the result of your democratic choices, whatever those may be.

I am absolutely certain your choice will honor the history of our country, and send a message of dignity to the whole world.

In these crucial hours, we must all remember Europe is the common home of its people. There are no owners or guests in Europe.

Greece is, and will remain an indispensable part of Europe and Europe an indispensable part of Greece. But Greece without democracy is a Europe without identity or a compass.

I call upon you all to take the decisions worthy of us.

For us, future generations, for the history of Greeks.

For the sovereignty and dignity of our people.

Alexis Tsipras


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