François Hollande asks French people to embrace his plan for perpetual slavery

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | NOVEMBER 14, 2012

Convinced that his economic policy is “fair, consistent and effective,” and noting that his top priorities are growth and employment, François Hollande, called on Tuesday for social partners and the French people to seal a “historic commitment” to “reconquer the future.” It is not uncommon to hear failed politicians promising fake hope and change. U.S. president Barack Obama did it in 2008. What is rare is to see a failed politician doing it again, even after his plans showed how untrue they were.

In his first press conference this semester, Hollande spent two hours answering all kinds of questions. The French president told Europe that France will meet its deficit target of 3% next year, and sent a message to economists, analysts, mutual funds and countries warning that France will be the next country to get sick of the European Union: “Some would like it a lot if the markets attacked us, but we will do our utmost to avoid it,” he joked.

Addressing more than 250 journalists and the entire Government, Hollande was loose and confident on economic issues, and tried to reassure the French, who have rejected his policies in polls, that his supposed “strategy” will bear fruit at the end of his mandate. That is a typical talking point used by unaccountable politicians who always plan to get the “results” of all of their magic policies once they are out of office. As history shows, those results never arrive. What president wouldn’t like to be in office when his magic plans turn into real benefits? Only a liar would say he wouldn’t. Or perhaps Mr. Hollande will try to stay in office for another term, in case his “results” don’t arrive as soon as he expects.

During the event Hollande said that the country is a process of social dialogue to change the rules under which the French labor market works. He also ridiculed other ideologies and political groups, while saying that his solution may be the only one that would work given the intricacies of the French situation. As many politicians do it today, Hollande spoke about making France a more competitive nation, which means, he said, that there will be consensus and progress.

“We need more security, more protection, less redundancies, fewer relocations, more industry.” He then tried to swindle the French people by implying that for his plan to work as he crafted it, the people of the country need to accept a compromise to follow his commandments. He said that a social consensus would be historical and would allow the economy to find a new spirit, a new collaboration between all the productive forces. Then he played the leader card by saying that “I am responsible for the future of France, and I am not acting to prepare the next election but the next generation. That is my duty, the French nation should do, do block to reconquer the future. ”

As many other European politicians have done, Hollande spoke against austerity, saying that this policy needs to be accompanied by growth. He said that France will be able to meet the deficit and debt targets, and explained that “if France does not grow is because there is a recession in Italy and Spain”, and that this situation is due, he said, “to the policies of a single direction.”

Perhaps one of the points that Hollande emphasize the most is the idea that Europe needs a strong France in order to move ahead. This message attempts to divert attention from the country’s growing distrust, high unemployment and trade deficit, which the French president intends to pin on those who do not follow his recommendations. “We live, rather than a crisis, in a changing world. The recovery will take time, but we’ll get there.”

In a time when Berlin doubts Hollande capacity to carry out the reforms requested by the European bankers, France’s Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is set to visit Angela Merkel tomorrow in an attempt to explain in detail what has the French government accomplish and what it intends to accomplish in the near future. “The reality is that the Chancellor and I have a responsibility to move Europe forward. And, therefore, not to do anything will weaken this relationship. What matters is not what is said, but what we say. ” That is also a typical strategy to make people believe that only the politicians who occupy high office are capable of solving a problem they themselves let happen.

On the future of Europe, Hollande was not shy about his support for the News World Order scheme that seeks to unite both financially and politically all the nations in the old continent. He said that after the banking union is in place, the continent will have to prepare for what comes ahead. “After the banking union there will be another big step: to give life to the political Europe “. The French president took the opportunity to make it clear that he will provide complete support to the newly formed Syrian opposition movement that was formed during a meeting in Qatar and which is now recognize by most Western oppressors as the only legitimate transition government in that country.

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Portugal on the verge of a general Strike

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | OCTOBER 1, 2012

The people of Portugal and Greece have added their anger to that of the Spanish neighbors, putting more pressure on politicians and bureaucrats who are slowly but surely signing their countries away to the European bankers.

The mos recent call for a general strike was made by CGTP, one of the most important Portuguese unions. The reason was the same as the historic and massive rally two weeks ago: protest against cuts and extreme austerity the Portuguese government adopted and will continue to impose as it approves the budget for the rest of the year and also for 2013.

Thousands of Portuguese met yesterday in the central and emblematic Terreiro do Paco, in the heart of Lisbon, to try to pressure the government led by conservative leader Passos Coelho. After a massive demonstration on September 15, the Portuguese prime minister backed down and withdrew a controversial measure to lower wages to all Portuguese. But now, the new budget proposed by the government contain cuts and tax increases that will make life even more difficult for the Portuguese people.

Arménio Carlos, secretary general of the CGTP, told the crowd that he expected all of the attendants to help him make the government change its plan, because this time “the people will be heard” and the government will have to listen “either the good way or the hard way.” He announced that he will discuss with his union ca all for a general strike, which is more than likely to happen.

However, according to local press, the influx of people was less than two weeks ago, when they were summoned by group of civil society organizations with no political affiliation. Then, a huge crowd packed not only Lisbon but a dozen Portuguese cities in a protest that had not been seen in Lisbon since the Claveles Revolution.

But, according to Carlos — who incidentally wore a symbolic red carnation ( clavel) in his shirt — things are not going to end well. “We are ready to channel the flow of the protest. We must end this government before this government ends the country. ”

Attendees included officials who recounted how their life has changed since they stopped receiving payment for overtime (now the Government will provide that starting January), due in part to the rise in VAT taxes. From the hundreds of thousands of protesters, many are unemployed in Portugal, a country that had never unemployment levels get to as high as 15%.

During the last protest, people held signs with the same messages that have been seen in every single march in Portugal for the last few weeks; with messages such as “thieves”, referring to Portuguese politicians and more directly to government officials who continue to lose popularity as fast as the days go by.

Several leaders of Portuguese left-wing groups asked the Prime Minister, Passos Coelho, to listen to the people, to change his policies. The expectation as to what will Coelho do is growing on the streets of Portugal; mainly in the capital city of Lisbon. Coelho will present next week some relevant details of the Portuguese budget for 2013, which is expected to be very tight with the intention to reduce the difference between government income and its spending. As it happened in Spain, Greece and Italy, the cuts announced by the Prime Minister will mean less investment in welfare programs.

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The ‘Spanish Autumn’ Begins now

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

The ‘Spanish autumn’ is here. The same pictures we saw months ago in Greece and Portugal, are now popping up in Madrid. The Spanish people went out by the thousands on Tuesday to tell their government they are angry and that the people cannot take it anymore. Spain is being pushed to the limit and unfortunately it is just the beginning.

The discontent of the Spanish citizens due to the cuts and their distance from the political class flooded the streets of Madrid on Tuesday. Thousands of people, many of which arrived from other regions, came to support activists who gathered outside Congress to show their dissatisfaction about the way the Spanish government is handling the crisis.

Although the organizers insisted until the last moment that the protest was a peaceful one, Spanish police launched themselves against them, which increased the tension between the two groups. According to police records, 26 protesters were detained while 64 others were wounded. A total of 16 people were taken to the hospital due to their serious lesions. Among the injured are 27 police agents.

Riot police tried to disperse the protestors once again at 9:00 pm after they entered the square near Congress.

Many congregants tried to flee by running through streets surrounding the Congress. Police said some violent demonstrators started throwing bottles, batteries and other items. Some participants in the protests in Madrid beat police agents after they found themselves trapped between two police security rings. The police then charged against protesters, which rendered many of them with bloodied heads.

Throughout the evening, attendees attempted demonstration as close as possible to Congress, which is surrounded by 13 small streets. The Delegate, Cristina Cifuentes, insisted that demonstrations were prohibited during Congress sessions.

The main goal of the protest, carried out under the name ‘Surround Congress’ was to express people’s concern about the current economic conditions in Spain and to start a constitutional process, said organizers of the protest. The frustration of many of the protesters was visible.

“I came to show my suffering face to the politicians,” said Mamen GuBas, an unemployed 41-year-old man from Bilbao. Among those attending were outraged but also unemployed students, housewives and elderly people from Andalusia, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and Galicia.

Protesters were harassed by police even before they arrived to their last stop in Madrid. The bus they were traveling in was approached by police to identify the occupants. “I ask our representatives to look after the people and protect financial markets,” said Joaquin Sanchez, a priest from Murcia.

More than 1,300 policemen from 30 regions of the country were sent to Madrid to watch over the protesters. Most of them belong to Police Intervention Unit (PIU) an organ of the National Police.

In total there were three security rings around Congress, two of which were closed and bolted before six o’clock. A group of dog handlers plus some cavalry units completed the operation.

Spanish Government still not listening

The government led by Mariano Rajoy not only ignores the calls of the people to stop the handover of Spain to the European bankers, but it seems it actively continues to negotiate the so-called ‘financial rescue’. A report by the Financial Times of London reveals that both the European Central Bank and the European Commission are advising the Spanish government on how to request the rescue.

The ‘Times’ says in an editorial that these negotiations are “politically understandable” and notes that “Madrid is keen to avoid the humiliation involved in having the European bailout conditions being dictated by the bankers.” It seem then that the Rajoy administration has been lying throughout the whole process.

At first, Rajoy had said that the rescue would not be necessary, but his comments have been changing ever since Spanish ‘communities’ began requesting financial aid. Spain will then introduce more painful fiscal and structural reforms as a package developed ‘in house’, when in reality those will be conditions imposed by Brussels in a complete loss of sovereignty.

If those Spanish protesters think they are living in difficult times now, they have seen nothing. The pain to come will be greater once Spain requests and approves the financial rescue package now being discussed between their leaders and the European bankers.

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Hungary Kicks out Monsanto and IMF

THE AUTOMATIC EARTH | SEPTEMBER 8, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I would label my personal knowledge of Hungary as wanting, if not painfully incomplete. It’s not an easy country to come to grips with, not least of all of course because Hungarian doesn’t look like any western language we know with the possible exception of Finnish. I did visit just after the Wall came down, and remember huge contrasts, almost paradoxes, between rural poverty and a capital, Budapest, that was much richer than other capitals such as Prague, a leftover of Budapest’s status as meeting place between western and eastern diplomats and businessmen.

The riches were not for all, though, the city center was full of beggars and panhandlers, mostly Roma. To keep up the paradox, Mercedes sold more luxury models in Hungary than just about anywhere else back then, reportedly mostly also to Roma; just not the same.

In the years since, precious little attention has been and is being devoted to the former eastern bloc countries in the Anglo press. We know most of the countries are now members of the European Union, but only a few have been allowed to enter the hallowed grounds of the eurozone.

One thing I did pick up on last year was the news that Hungary’s PM Victor Orbán had thrown chemical, food and seed giant Monsanto out of the country, going as far as to plow under 1000 acres of land. Now, I have little patience for Monsanto, infamous for many products ranging from Agent Orange to Round-Up, nor for its ilk, from DuPont to Sygenta, all former chemical companies that have at some point decided they could sell more chemicals than ever before by applying them on and inside everyone’s daily food. Patenting nature itself seems either unworthy of mankind or its grandest achievement. I don’t care much for either one. So Orbán (who has a two-thirds majority in parliament, by the way) has my tentative support on this one.

This is from July 22, 2011, International Business Times:

Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Maize Fields

In an effort to rid the country of Monsanto’s GMO products, Hungary has stepped up the pace. This looks like its going to be another slap in the face for Monsanto. A new regulation was introduced this March which stipulates that seeds are supposed to be checked for GMO before they are introduced to the market. Unfortunately, some GMO seeds made it to the farmers without them knowing it.

Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.

Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seed traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said. During their investigation, controllers have found Pioneer and Monsanto products among the seeds planted.

It’s remarkably hard to find sources on this, ironically. It’s even harder, even more ironically, to find anything that mentions the Wikileaks report on the connections between the US government and the chemical/seed industry. Which is curious, in my opinion; it’s not as if there’s nothing newsworthy in the topic. Just about the only thing I could find was this from Anthony Gucciardi at NaturalSociety.com.

US to Start ‘Trade Wars’ with Nations Opposed to Monsanto, GMO Crops

The United States is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crops with military-style trade wars, according to information obtained and released by the organization WikiLeaks. Nations like France, which have moved to ban one of Monsanto’s GM corn varieties, were requested to be ‘penalized’ by the United States for opposing Monsanto and genetically modified foods. The information reveals just how deep Monsanto’s roots have penetrated key positions within the United States government, with the cables reporting that many U.S. diplomats work directly for Monsanto. [..]

Perhaps the most shocking piece of information exposed by the cables is the fact that these U.S. diplomats are actually working directly for biotech corporations like Monsanto. The cables also highlight the relationship between the U.S. and Spain in their conquest to persuade other nations to allow for the expansion of GMO crops. Not only did the Spanish government secretly correspond with the U.S. government on the subject, but the U.S. government actually knew beforehand how Spain would vote before the Spanish biotech commission reported their decision regarding GMO crops.

It doesn’t look like Orbán and Hungary have a lot of support in their fight against Monsanto and GMO in general on the political front. But that still does little to explain the radio silence.

There was more international reporting earlier this year, when Orbán again faced up to two other major forces, in this instance the IMF and the EU. On January 1, the Hungarian parliament and president signed a new constitution into law. And it contains a number of things that the Troika members don’t like. In particular, they are probably at odds with taxes levied on bank transactions, and especially central bank transactions. Not the kind of thing the IMF is likely to ever agree with. It all gets clad in protesting (the EU even threatens with courts) the independence under fire of the central bank, the media and other parts of Hungarian society.

The IMF and EU, like the tandem team of Monsanto and Washington before them, act like schoolyard bullies. It’s become their standard MO, and it usually works. Portraits of Orbán as a fool, a reckless idiot and a dangerous populist, on par with that of Hugo Chavez or newly found international enemy Rafael Correa, are much easier to find than those links to Wikileaks Monsanto cables. It would be good to see Orbán continue to stand up to the IMF bullies, but he may not have that choice. They can simply financially bleed him dry, like they have so many other countries and their leaders. It’s a time tested model.

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European Central Bank will decide to become — or not — The Bank of the Euro

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | SEPTEMBER 3, 2012

September promises to be a decisive month for the Euro zone. It is expected that the European Central Bank will decide to become the Euro’s grand daddy and it also may be the time when Spain will be handed over to the bankers. At this point, the second outcome seems a sure thing, while the first has found significant opposition. Until now, the German Central Bank — The Bundesbank — rejects that monetary policy be put at the service of fiscal policy to reduce their financing costs. Germany doesn’t want to deal with everyone else’s debt.

This week alone will be decisive in trying to solve the disaster created with the poor management of the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone. As most people know, the banks have made it clear that the way they’ll solve the problem will be by creating more debt in order to buy up the independent nations in perpetuity.

The ECB has reacted rather strongly, at least in public, regarding its intention to go all the way to save the Euro zone. The bank’s president, Mario Draghi, said back in July he would do “everything necessary to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.” By saving he meant saving it for the bankers who intend to become sole owners of the region.

Germany, it seems, still remembers the trauma the country experienced due to hyperinflation last century, so the president of the  Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, has not hesitated to manipulate the main German taboo: buying government debt amounts to starting up the machine to print money and set a ceiling to the types of Spain and Italy in the secondary market. This would cause anyone’s stomach to ache.

This confrontation between Draghi and Weidmann sums up the complexity in the form and substance of what is at stake. The situation is much more complicated than, for example, the American crisis of 1987, where the U.S. Federal Reserve open the lending window and encouraged anyone in need to borrow.

The same scenario was seen after 2008 when the crisis got worse in the United States. In reality, the policy of lending cash fresh from the printing press has not stopped since the FED’s creation in 1913. The discount window for the big banks and large corporations remains open until today and as a consequence, the American currency has lost over 90% of its real value.

In the case of the Euro, the situation is completely different but also similar to the United States. How’s that? Well, the Federal Reserve Bank is a private institution, that does not belong to the US government, but that does determine what monetary policies are adopted and implemented. The FED, just as the ECB work for the international banking cartel now in power anywhere there is a Central Bank scheme, which utilizes the directives from the IMF and World Bank. The difference between the ECB and the FED, is that its members represent countries — 17 in total — while the FED is governed by Governors who are spread around the US territory.

Now who is staking its credibility is Mario Draghi. As part of the public was on vacation in August, three committees with senior officials from each of the seventeen members of the ECB central banks worked like ants preparing a document with all the options (and objections).

The French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, said yesterday in support of Draghi “It is not fair that Spain or Italy, which make considerable efforts are paying such high interest rates on its debt” and therefore deemed it necessary to address deep reforms in the lending and payment system. How about the bankers renounced to all the payments that the countries have to make on a debt that is not theirs, but that was created illegally by the politicians in those countries and the bankers that dictate the policies they follow?

The question now is whether the ECB will use its first to last shot by reducing its rate from 0.75% to 0.50%, as it is expected to do in  October, according to European analysts. It is expected the more actions are taken by the ECB once the bailout account is approved by the German Constitutional Court on 12 September.