Sunday, March 31, 2013

Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for April 5, 6, and 7, 2013

Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for April 5, 6, and 7, 2013

Friday, April 5 at 10AM US Central time: Rick Rozoff

Rozoff's an activist, anti-war supporter, and editor of the web site Stop NATO.

It "document(s) and oppose(s) global militarist trends and an expanding theater of war that began" by balkanizing Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

It then expanded to South Asia, and now ravages the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

Major world and national issues will be discussed.

Saturday, April 6 at noon US Central time: Rodney Shakespeare

Shakespeare is a Professor of Binary Economics at Trisakti University, Britain where he teaches postgraduate Islamic Economics and Finance.

He's also a qualified UK Barrister, co-founder of the Global Justice Movement, and distinguished writer, scholar and lecturer, particularly at Islamic conferences on money, the real economy, and social and economic justice.

Major world and national issues will be discussed.

Sunday, April 7 at noon US Central time: John McMurtry

McMurtry is an internationally recognized moral and political philosopher who is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and University Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph, Ontario.

His volumes on Philosophy and World Problems for UNESCO are globally published, and his widely translated works include the influential books, "Unequal Freedoms," "The Cancer Stage of Capitalism," and "Value Wars."

McMurtry is also an active public advocate for global justice, world peace, and international law.

Major world and national issues will be discussed.

Depositor Haircuts Spreading

Depositor Haircuts Spreading

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article called them the new normal. Bad ideas spread fast. Canada endorses Cypriot harshness. Its "Jobs Growth and Long-Term Prosperity: Economic Action Plan 2013" says so.

On March 21, it was submitted. It endorsed depositor haircuts. It did so before Cypriot trouble erupted. Its "Establishing a Risk Management Framework for Domestic Systemically Important Banks section (pages 144-145) states:

"Canada's large banks are a source of strength for the Canadian economy."

"The Government….recognizes the need to manage the risks associated with systemically important banks - those banks whose distress or failure could cause a disruption to the financial system, and, in turn, (have) negative impacts on the economy."

"The Government proposes to implement a 'bail-in' regime for systemically important banks." 

"This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital."

"The Government will consult stakeholders on how best to implement a bail-in regime in Canada."

"Implementation timelines will allow for a smooth transition for affected institutions, investors and other market participants."

Official policy endorses haircuts. Depositor funds will be used for recapitalizations. Implementation details weren't explained. Expect confiscation. Doing so reflects grand theft.

A previous article said banks legally own depositor funds. Our money is theirs. They can seize it in return for IOUs (promises to repay). Smart money says don't bet on it. It's gone. Once taken, expect little or nothing back.

It's the new normal. Cyprus isn't a one-off. Canada's preparing to march in lockstep. So is Europe. Russia Today (RT) headlined "European Parliament (EP) might shift bailout burden from taxpayers to depositors."

A new template was established. Cypriot confiscation's spreading. In may show up in a neighborhood near you. Bad ideas proliferate fast. Expect ordinary people to be hurt most.

RT said Cypriot policy looks "likely to (become) full-scale EU law, letting taxpayers off the hook in case a bail-out is needed, but imposing major losses on bigger savers on a permanent basis."

EP member Gunnar Hokmark heads Euroland negotiations. Legislation was drafted for problem banks. "You need to be able to do the bail-in with deposits," he said.

Amounts "below 100,000 euros are protected. Deposits above 100,000 euros are not protected, and shall be treated as part of the capital that can be bailed in."

Don't bet against all deposits being tapped. If enough funds are needed, they're fair game. The sky's the limit. Entire accounts may be taken. Saving banks matters most. All options are on the table.

Legislation awaits Euroland member states' approval. Early 2015 implementation is planned. If trouble erupts sooner, it could happen any time. 

Depositor confiscation is policy. It's spreading like wildfire. It may, show up anywhere. Your money is theirs. It's there for the taking. As much as needed can be seized. Life savings can be wiped out. There's no place to hide. Forewarned is forearmed.

Financial analyst Martin Weiss suggests troubled Cypriot banks are canaries in the coal mine. TV talking heads say "no one could have possibly known" what was coming.

"Don't believe them!" Last April, Weiss Ratings gave Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank D- grades. In December they were downgraded to E-. Doing so put them on death watch. They stood on the "very brink of failure."

Don't believe claims about "stabilized" or "contained" crisis conditions. 

"Nothing could be further from the truth," said Weiss. The worst is yet to come. Expect "massive losses from 40 to 80 percent on uninsured deposits."

Draconian restrictions were imposed. Contagion's spreading. It's planned for other European countries.

According to Weiss, restricting free capital movement directly violates EU treaties. No matter. Eurocrats have final say. Depositor haircuts and capital controls were imposed. 

"What message does THAT send to global investors who have trillions of euros and pounds on deposit in Europe?"

"The answer is simple. The message is better get the hell out of Europe while you still can, before the Troika helps other countries slap on more capital controls, trapping your money there, too."

If only Cypriot banks were troubled, "damage to depositor confidence might be minimized."

That's "absolutely not the case. Some of the most endangered banks are among the largest (ones) in the world." European banks are especially troubled.

Contagion's heading their way. European Parliament legislation explained. Depositor haircuts are planned. Major French, British, Spanish, German, Italian and other European banks are "knee deep in bad loans."

They're all in or "near the same condition as Cyprus banks were a year or two ago." Three major banks have E- ratings. Others approach them.

European banks reflect a "forest of dry timber that could burst into flames with the slightest spark."

Expect tremendous downward euro pressure. Expect big trouble any time. Expect depositors to bear the greatest burden. Recapitalizing troubled banks falls on their backs. 

Instead of nationalizing them, breaking them up, or closing them down, they'll be given new operating life. They'll be free to steal again. Doing so perpetuates injustice. Expect it. It's official policy.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Commemorating Land Day

Commemorating Land Day

by Stephen Lendman

On March 30, Palestinians worldwide observe Land Day. They've done so since 1976.

Nationwide protests and general strike action erupted. At issue was Israel's land confiscation policy and brutal occupation harshness. 

In early 1975, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced plans to Judaize the Galilee. "Developing the Galilee," he called it. 

He wanted to transform it into a majority Jewish region, construct eight industrial estates, and develop its economy exclusively for Jews. Doing so required dispossessing Arab citizens.

In 1976, General Yisrael Koenig headed Israel's northern region. In March, he prepared a secret report. It recommended encouraging Jewish immigrants. He wanted them populating the Galilee and Negev regions. He wanted Israeli Arabs removed to accommodate them.

Confiscating 60,000 dunums of Arab-owned Galilee land was planned. Rabin claimed doing so was for "security and settlement purposes."

Demonstrations were declared illegal. Israeli Arabs ignored threats. They rallied. Thousands of security forces confronted them. They did so violently. Six Palestinians died. Dozens more were injured. Hundreds were arrested. 

Police states operate that way. Israel's one of the worst.

Land Day 1976 was special. Israeli Arabs resisted. They did so en masse for the first time. They protested internal colonization. They showed political awareness. They defied Israeli ruthlessness. They did so courageously. They showed they'd no longer be ignored.

In 1948, Israel stole 78% of Palestine. In 1967, they took the rest. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict remains the longest unresolved one of our time.

Israeli Arabs comprise 20% of Israel's population. They're treated like fifth column threats. From 1948 - 1966, they lived under military rule. It applied only to them. They're Israeli citizens. It didn't matter.

Their fundamental freedoms were restricted. Many were denied. Israel prevented attempts to organize internal pan-Arab cohesion. Divide and rule reflects policy.

So is land confiscation. By 1993, over 80% of Arab-owned land was stolen. Today it approaches 90%. Palestinians were displaced. Jews replaced them. 

Land Day reflects Palestine's struggle. Militarized occupation is rejected. So are illegal settlements.

Land Day matters. Israel Arab rights are spurned. Longterm occupation is illegal. Palestine's an isolated prison. State terror is official Israeli policy. The price of freedom involves resistance.

Over a million Palestinians are Israeli citizens. They live mainly in the Little Triangle along the Green Line, the Galilee and Negev desert. They suffer hugely. Unemployment is high. Little government support compensates. Their needs are largely ignored.

Dozens of discriminatory laws harm them. Restrictive planning policies limit residential building and commercial development. Most Arab citizens have no viable options.

Bedouin Israelis live in dozens of Negev villages. They're unrecognized. They're denied essential services. They're targeted for dispossession. Israel plans stealing their land for Jews.

On March 30, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian protesters. They did so violently. In Jayyus east of Qalqiliya, hundreds of Palestinians gathered to plant trees. They did so to commemorate Land Day.

Israeli forces confronted them. They fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Dozens were hurt. Similar incidents occurred across the West Bank. Israeli soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian near Rafah.

Palestinian National Initiative Secretary-General Mustafa Barghouti said Land Day shouldn't be restricted to March 30. "Every day is Land Day for our people."

It reflects "our battle with the occupation that steals our land and our future. The only way to respond is by escalating popular resistance."

Islamic Jihad leader Khader Habib said "armed struggle is the means to liberate the Palestinian land."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Palestinians should resist until "all Palestine is liberated."

On March 14, the BDS Movement for Freedom, Justice and Equality headlined "Land Day: Celebrate Resistance and Intensify BDS."

"Land Day presents opportunity to develop campaigns for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, particularly campaigns targeting the Jewish National Fund, Israeli agribusinesses and companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements, all of which play a vital role in the continued theft of Palestinian land."

"The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) invites people of conscience across the world to join us in marking land day by highlighting BDS as an effective form of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle."

"At a time when Israel is facing unprecedented levels of pressure over its continued colonization of Palestinian land and quickly losing the international support upon which it depends, let us work together to intensify our collective efforts to hold Israel and its supporters accountable."

On March 30, Haaretz headlined "Palestinians get ready to mark Land Day," saying:

Ahead of Saturday demonstrations, hundreds of Israeli Arabs rallied in Taibeh on Friday. They did so with Knesset members.

They protested discriminatory Israeli land policies. MK Ahmed Tibi said they're an "obstacle in the state's treatment of the Arabs, which is characterized by exclusion, expropriation and a lack of appropriate and modern forward planning."

Main commemoration events include rallies in Sakhhin, the Negev, and protests against plans to resettle Israeli Bedouins.

The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee coordinates Israeli Arab political actions. It issued a statement saying "Israel continues with its policies to take more and more land from the Arab public."

On March 30, Palestine's legitimate prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, said:

"We reject resettlement in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, or the Sinai. "There is no alternative to the land of Palestine."

Palestinians face ongoing political, economic, military and scoundrel media strangulation. It's done force them to sacrifice what's rightfully theirs.

Obama's visit to Israel confirmed his one-sided anti-Palestinian bias. They're on their own. Their liberating struggle continues.

On March 29, the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights said "Palestinians are unified by their cultural and physical rootedness to their land." 

"In jarring contradiction, Palestinians are categorically denied their individual and collective rights within that homeland." 

"The State of Israel has maintained a policy of forcible transferring Palestinians from their homeland, a continuous process of creating refugees and internally displaced people: what BADIL refers to as the Ongoing Nakba."

Land Day 2013 "is an occasion for renewing the call to confront violent policies of racial-based exclusion."

"Challenging the concerted effort to segregate and isolate Palestinians requires non-compliance with the permit system and other illegitimate administrative regulations imposed on Palestinians."

It "requires developing Palestinian life in threatened areas." It demands resistance.

Rashid Hussein (1936 - 1977) was a noted Palestinian poet. In 1959, he participated in founding the Land Movement. His poems reflected his passion.

"With the Land" says:

The land comes near me
drinks from me
leaves its orchards with me
to become a beautiful weapon
defending me

Even when I sleep
the land comes near me
in my dream.
I smuggle its wild thyme
between exiles
I sing its stones
I will even sweat blood
from my veins
to drink its news
so the land comes near me
leaves a stone of love with me
to defend it
and defend me

When I repay it
I will embrace it a thousand times
I will worship it a thousand times
I will celebrate its wedding on my forehead
on the rubble of exiles
and the ruins of prisons

I will drink from it
It will drink from me
So that the Galilee would remain
beauty, struggle, and love
defending it
defending me

I see the land;
a morning that will come
and the land will come near me

"Without a Passport" says:

I was born without a passport
I grew up
and saw my country
become prisons
without a passport

So I raised a country
a sun
and wheat
in every house
I tended to the trees therein
I learned how to write poetry
to make the people of my village happy
without a passport

I learned that he whose land is stolen
does not like the rain
If he were ever to return to it, he will
without a passport

But I am tired of minds
that have become hotels
for wishes that never give birth
except with a passport

Without a passport
I came to you
and revolted against you
so slaughter me
perhaps I will then feel that I am dying
without a passport

Remember Palestine. Its people yearn to be free. Their liberating struggle matters. Their struggle is ours.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Regime Change Begins at Home

Regime Change Begins at Home

by Stephen Lendman

Charles Derber's book by that title says it's the only way to free America from corporate rule. It transformed America from "we the people" to what CEOs say goes.

It put monied interests in charge. Presidents, legislators, and high level bureaucrats serve them. Whatever they want they get. Institutionalized injustice follows. It's longstanding. Vital change more than ever is needed.

America had previous corporate regimes. None match today's extremism. Bold, creative strategies are needed to change things. Commitment creates possibilities. Nothing worth struggling for is easy. Failure to try assures disaster.

America's on a fast track to full-blown tyranny. It's a hair's breath away. Preventing it is top priority. It begins with knowledge. It involves knowing what's at stake. 

Money power runs America. Fundamental freedoms are on the chopping block for elimination. Preventing it takes commitment. 

Challenging authority is essential. Social movements are pivotal forces. They work. Abolitionists, labor movements, and civil rights activists proved it.

Collective activism has power. What better time to use it than now. America's waging political, social, financial, and hot wars. It's doing it globally. It's happening at home and abroad. Constitutional protections are disappearing. America's social contract is being destroyed.

Militarization, permanent wars, and unchallenged global dominance reflect policy. So does police state harshness. Dissent is endangered. Privilege is entrenched. Fundamental freedoms are eroding. Beneficial social change isn't tolerated.

Electoral politics doesn't work. Duopoly power runs America. Republicans and Democrats reflect two sides of the same coin. Not a dime's worth of difference separates them. Throwing out bums assures new ones. It happens every time.

Names and faces change. Policies remain unchanged. They're longstanding. They're cruel, malicious and unjust. Washington is too pernicious, corrupt and dysfunctional to fix. 

Vital change is needed. Revolution is the only solution. Authority must be challenged disruptively. Doing so requires mobilizing it. Egalitarian reform is essential. Grass roots activism is key. Popular struggles depend on it.

Ordinary people have enormous power. Key is using it. It takes more than marches, rallies, slogans or violence. It takes sustained commitment, withdrawing cooperation, breaking entrenched rules, challenging reprisals, and staying the course.

Change occurs bottom up. It never comes top down. Dark forces relinquish nothing willingly. Concessions come when forced. Struggling for rights achieves them. There's no other way.

Powerful interests run today's America. They take full advantage. Absolute power corrupts them absolutely. They're free to steal, plunder, exploit, accumulate wealth, and dominate. They do it at our expense.

Inequality is unprecedented. America the beautiful never existed and doesn't now. Calling it a land of opportunity defies reality. Democratic freedoms are incompatible with predatory capitalism. Everyone's on their own sink or swim. 

Privileged few alone benefit. Others are used and abused. Adam Smith said nominal democracy should be "instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor." It's more than ever true today.

Corporatism is empowered. It rules the world. Military might supports it. Fundamental rights don't matter. The world's richest most developed country spurns them. It thumbs its nose at what matters most.

Growing poverty, unemployment, hunger, homelessness, and human misery follow. Plutocratic sharks don't care. Bottom line priorities alone matter. Money is used to make more of it. Enough is never enough.

Human needs and welfare are sacrificed. Exploitation is institutionalized. American style democracy assures it. Michael Parenti calls it democracy for the few. It's the best money can buy.

America's wealthy class dominates. Ordinary people have no say. What democratic mandate directed government to transfer wealth to the privileged few? Why are ordinary people left out?

Why do corporate giants get huge handouts? Why are they licensed to steal? Why are wars fought to enrich them? Why are democratic freedoms compromised to serve them?

Achieving equitable change isn't rocket science. Putting money power in public hands is a good way to start. 

So is prioritizing justice, fairness, full employment, a minimum living wage, universal healthcare, free education to the highest levels, other vital social services, peace, and government by and for everyone equitably.

America's current system failed. When disrobed and exposed to the light of day, America's rulers have feet of clay. Their time has past. Social restructuring for everyone is needed. Mobilizing effectively can get it.

Regime change begins at home. A fundamental makeover is key. It requires ripping up political Washington from the roots and starting over. Nothing less assures change.

Democracy's not a divine right. Getting and preserving it demands commitment. Out with the old. In with the new.

Hardship propels people to collective action. Mobilized disruptive power drives them. What better idea to build on. What better time than now.

A Final Comment

Charles Derber's teaching and books focus on corporate power, capitalist injustice, globalization, American militarism, its quest for dominance, as well as peace and global justice movements seeking change.

The Independent Publishers of America chose his 2005 book "Hidden Power: What You Need to Know to Save Our Democracy" as one of three most important at the time.

He discusses how US regimes gain, hold and lose power. Current ones include corrupt politicians, Wall Street, war profiteers, and other corporate favorites.

Derber calls America's government the "corporate regime." He does so for good reason. Big business runs things. Money power is at the top of the pecking order. 

Giant banks and financial institutions are more powerful than standing armies. They undermine freedom and social justice. They turn democracies into tyrannies. They wage wars for profit. They menace humanity in the process.

Clinton institutionalized "democratic integration into the corporate regime," said Derber. He embraced traditional Republican objectives. 

He prioritized "globalization and free trade, zero deficits, small government, the end of welfare, and American Empire and continued militarization after the end of the Cold War."

"Despite the challenge from grassroots and progressive Democrats, these are still core aims of the Democratic Party today." 

It's more fascist than democratic, in fact. It’s getting progressively worse. It’s anti-labor, pro-business, and pro-war. It mocks democratic government.

Influential insiders corrupted earlier principles. They "created a movement within the party. They severed Democrats from their New Deal past."

"New Democrats" replaced old ones. Big money supports them. Party principles were redefined. Neoliberal harshness replaced New Deal liberalism. 

Corporatism more than ever was embraced. What CEOs want they get. The worst of all possible worlds followed.

Gerber expresses hope. Corporate regimes eventually implode, he says. Usually it happens in a few decades. They do so by overreaching. They're fundamentally anti-democratic, exploitive and repressive. 

What can't do on forever won't. Corporate power isn't omnipotent. For sure it's not when committed people demand change. They get fed up and revolt. They do it one way or another.

Today's corporate regime followed the Gilded Age (1865 - 1901), the Progressive era (1901 - 1921), the roaring twenties (1921 - 1933), and New Deal/Fair Deal/Great Society (1933 - mid/late 1970s).

When earlier corporate regimes collapsed, things improved. If history repeats, better times are possible but not sure. Derber expects either a more egalitarian society or deeper US-style fascism. 

It'll be wrapped in an American flag. It already is. It's embedded in police state laws, scoundrel media managed news, academia, and hardline political opportunism. Stopping it is top priority before it's too late to matter.

Americans "have the ability to (do so) if they understand the change and how to respond," says Derber. They have more power than they realize. 

Key is using it responsibly. It's high time people understood and acted accordingly. Ugliness won't end on its own. It needs committed shoving.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Depositor Haircuts: The New Normal

Depositor Haircuts: The New Normal

by Stephen Lendman

On March 29, Cyprus Mail said banks opened Thursday. They did so amid calm. 

Long lines queued. People waited patiently. A feared stampede didn't materialize. Whether it's the calm before the storm remains to be seen.

Looting Cypriot bank accounts reflects the new normal. It set a precedent. It did so for Europe.  More on that below.

Wall Street banks operate the same way. So did MF Global. 

Grand theft reflects official policy. Money is made the old-fashioned way. It's stolen. Nothing's done to stop it. Corrupt politicians and regulators permit it. They do so for benefits they derive.

Scamming investors is commonplace. Goldman Sachs derisively calls them "muppets."

MF Global's CEO Jon Corzine formerly headed Goldman Sachs. He looted customer accounts. He did so brazenly. 

He used client money to speculate. More went for internal purposes. Much went to cover debt obligations and losses. Top firm executives made millions. They did so at customers' expense. 

Financial reform accomplished nothing. Grand theft is institutionalized. Europe's no different from America. Anything goes is policy.

Banks deposits were considered safe. No longer. Eurocrats changed things. Euro Group head Jeroen Dijsselbloem explained. 

Expect more wealth extracted from depositors. Cyprus established a template. Bank accounts in other troubled economies aren't safe.

"If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be 'Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that," he asked? "What can you do to recapitalize yourself?' "

"If the bank can’t do it, then we'll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders. We'll ask them to contribute in recapitalizing the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders."

"The consequences may be that it’s the end of story, and that is an approach that I think, now that we are out of the heat of the crisis, we should take."

In late February, ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure suggested raiding depositor accounts for bail-ins, saying:

"There needs to be an appropriate burden-sharing….because we need to achieve debt sustainability." 

At the time, he suggested not doing it across the board. Whether he meant it isn't clear.

He added that he doesn't "pre-judge any instruments because the vocabulary matters, and there are many ways to achieve burden-sharing."

It bears repeating. Grand theft is official policy. Even bank accounts aren't safe. 

Market analyst Marc Faber believes "governments one day (will) take away 20 - 30% of (his) wealth." There's no place to hide.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble proposed a 40% haircut on all deposits. So does IMF head Christine Lagarde. 

Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said large uninsured Laiki Bank depositors could lose up to 80% of their money. Other European depositors race similar risks. So do people elsewhere.

Some may lose everything. It's the new normal. Personal savings are up for grabs. Bank bailouts will be borne on the backs of ordinary people.

Think it can't happen here? Think again. There's no place to hide. Ellen Brown explained. Banks legally own depositor funds, she said.

"Our money becomes the bank’s, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs or promises to pay."

Banks once repaid depositors on demand. A joint December 10, 2012 FDIC-Bank of England (BOE) paper changed things. Plans to loot customer accounts were made earlier. 

The Bank for International Settlements originated them. It's the privately owned central bank for central bankers. Major ones have final say. 

Looting depositor accounts is policy. Cyprus isn't a one-off. Guaranteed insured deposits don't matter. They're up for grabs like all others. It'll be done clever ways or outright.

Brown said the FCIC-BOE plan involves converting deposits (IOU promises to pay) into bank equity. They get our money. We get bank stock. 

Ready cash on demand is gone. Whether it's ever returned, who knows. Take the money and run looks more than ever like policy. Depositors anywhere may be hung out to dry.

Even gold and silver in safety deposit boxes aren't safe. Not in America. Homeland Security told banks in writing. It may inspect their contents on demand. 

Under Patriot Act provisions, it may seize them with no warrant. It can do so anywhere. Banco de Mattress isn't safe.

Investor Jim Rogers said "run for the hills now. I'm doing it." Cyprus is no one-off.

"I want to make sure that I don't get trapped," he said. "Think of all the poor souls that just thought they had a simple bank account." 

"Now they find out that they are making a 'contribution' to the stability of Cyprus. The gall of these politicians."

"If you're going to listen to government, you're going to go bankrupt very quickly." 

"I, for one, am making sure I don't have too much money in any one specific bank account anywhere in the world, because now there is a precedent," 

"The IMF has said 'sure, loot the bank accounts. The EU has said 'loot the bank accounts, so you can be sure that other countries when problems come, are going to say, 'Well, it's condoned by the EU. It's condoned by the IMF. So let's do it too.' "

The Daily Bell asked "What Is The REAL Euro End Game? It is time to apply the free-market to bank depositors."

Strategy involves shifting responsibility from taxpayers to depositors. Things ahead won't be the same. Eurocrats' policy is wrongheaded. They're deepening crisis conditions, not alleviating them.

They believe achieving "full-on political union" depends on it. Their well-documented comments reflect it.

"….Cyprus shock and subsequent statements are not only deliberate, but have contributed to spreading uncertainty throughout Europe." 

"Now people no longer trust their banks, contributing to their destabilization."

"If you have a bank crisis, the last thing you want to do is further destabilize trust and confidence in the system. But Brussels Eurocrats have done just that."

"Don't think it was a mistake. If one accepts that line of thinking, the ramifications are serious and deep from a sociopolitical, political and investment standpoint."

The Economic Collapse blog said global elites plan to loot bank accounts. Don't be surprised when they steal yours.

"They are already very clearly telling you that they are going to do it." Your money is theirs. It's up for grabs on demand.

People put money in banks for safety. Removing it "jeopardize(s) the entire system." Cyprus is a tip of a giant iceberg. Major global banks are highly leveraged. Many are insolvent.

When their bets pay off, they win. When they don't, we pay. Wealth confiscation is now policy. Commerzbank chief economist Joerg Kraemer urges a "tax rate of 15 percent on (Italian) financial assets."

It's "probably enough to push (government) debt below the critical level of 100 percent of gross domestic product," he said.

New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English proposed across the board depositor "haircut(s)" in case of major bank failures.

Britain's Daily Mail headlined "One of the nastiest and most immoral political acts in modern times," saying:

"People who rob old ladies in the street, or hold up security vans, are branded as thieves." 

"Yet when Germany presides over a heist of billions of pounds from private savers' Cyprus bank accounts, to 'save the euro' for the hundredth time, this is claimed as high statesmanship."

"It is nothing of the sort….It has struck fear into the hearts of hundreds of millions of European citizens, because it establishes a dire precedent.

If Eurocrats can loot Cyprus, why not anywhere. 

"This is the most brutal display since 2008 of how far the euro-committed nations are willing to go to save the tottering single currency." 

"It shows that the zone's crisis will run and run to the grievous disadvantage" of most everyone.

"Surely the euro cannot long survive by such anti-democratic means. It certainly does not deserve to."

Graham Summers says "Europe is out of options and out of money." It's "totally and completely bust."

It's banks are highly leveraged. They can't raise capital "because no one in their right mind wants to invest in them…."

"European nations are bankrupt because AGAIN no one in their right mind wants to buy their bonds UNLESS they believe they can dump their investments on the ECB at a later date. Who is the greater fool there?”

Europe isn't fixed because enough capital isn't there to do it. "Europe and its alleged backstops are out of money. This includes Germany, the ECB, and the mega-bailout funds such as the ESM (European Stability Mechanism)."

The ECB is "chock full of garbage debts." It's insolvent. It can print money, "but once the BIG collateral call hits, (it's) useless because (what's needed) would implode the system."

"What could go wrong?" Virtually anything. "It's only a matter of time before (crisis conditions reach) hyperdrive, and we have an event even worse than 2008."

Zero Hedge says Russia's "next in line to restrict cash transactions. (They're) taking a page from the Europeans' book."

Russia Beyond the Headlines said "Russia to ban cash transactions over $10,000." It plans to "slash the amount of cash in domestic trade."

It may do so by 2015. It's "expected to boost" bank reserves "and put a damper on (its) shadow economy. However, the middle class will most likely end up having to pay the price for the scheme."

According to Zero Hedge, leaders realize that "limits of fiscal and monetary policy have been reached."

They're "now changing rules, limiting freedom, and (instituting) outright confiscation (as) the only way to maintain a status quo."

Doing so reflects predatory capitalism's failure. It's a house of cards. It's heading perhaps for eventual collapse. At risk is whether it takes humanity with it when it does.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cyprus Postmortems: Part II

Cyprus Postmortems: Part II

by Stephen Lendman

On March 28, Cyrus Mail said banks opened for the first time in almost two weeks. They did so at midday local time. Cypriots face draconian restrictions. How they'll react remains to be seen.

Capital controls limit withdrawals, restrict non-cash transactions, freeze check cashing, and convert checking accounts into fixed-term deposits.

Finance Minister Michalis Sarris "signed into law a temporary decree." It caps cash withdrawals "per person per bank at 300 euros."

It "effectively ban(s) cheques and control(s) cash outflows from the country."

It permits only 1,000 euros per person to travel abroad per trip. Higher amounts require special approval. 

Business payments are capped at 5,000 euros per day. Others up to 200,000 euros require approval of a "special four-member committee." Amounts above 200,000 require similar approval.

Distributing company payrolls require supporting documents. They're needed for student tuition and living expenses. They're required to send funds to first degree relatives studying abroad.

Overseas payments or transfers by debit, credit or prepaid cards are allowed up to 5,000 euros per month per person per bank.

The same goes for comparable amounts overseas by debit, credit or prepaid cards.

"Other payments or transfer of funds require the prior approval of the committee, taking into account the liquidity buffer situation of each credit institution in question."   

It won't "be possible to prematurely break fixed-term deposits unless the funds are used to repay a loan within the same bank."

As long as capital controls remain, when fixed deposits mature, depositors "will only have access to either 5,000 euros or 10 per cent of the total, depending which is higher."

They're required to "put that amount either in a current account or a new fixed-term deposit in the same bank, depending on his (or her) choice." Residual amounts will be kept in the original deposit an extra month.

Financial transactions, payments or transfers not finalized before controls were instituted are subject to the same restrictions. 

Banks are warned not to "execute cashless transfers that facilitate the circumvention of the restrictive measures." They apply to all accounts, payments and transfers regardless of currency.

Exemptions include:

  • new funds transferred from abroad;

  • cash withdrawals or checks cashed from foreign institutions abroad;

  • committee-authorized payments; and

  • cash withdrawals from accounts banks held with Cyprus' Central Bank, the Cyprus Republic, and Central Bank operations.

Central Bank internal audit head, Yiangos Demetriou, said measures in place will be reviewed after four days. 

Expect no loosening any time soon. Whether clever lawyers and accountants find innovative exits remains to be seen.

Ahead of reopening, "truck loads of euro notes arrived at the Central Bank in Nicosia." They came "under heavy police escort." Helicopters hovered overhead. 

Cash will be distributed among Cypriot commercial banks and cooperatives.

Depositors be warned. Eurozone banking is irrevocably broken. Bank-held deposits no longer are safe. Eurocrat diktats can be imposed anywhere.

Economics Nobel Prize recipient Christopher Pissarides said "Cyprus finds not all nations are equal."

He came home end of January. He helped President Nicos Anastasiades' campaign. He didn't expect what happened.

The way Eurocrats treated Cyprus "shows that far from the currency bloc acting as a partnership of equals, it is a disjointed group of countries where the national interests of the big nations stand higher than the interests of the whole." 

"Meanwhile, the haphazard decision-making in the eurogroup continues." It reached "a new low."

It "casts serious doubts on the ability of this group to make the decisions to push Europe forward to financial stability and economic growth."

Nicosia looks "eerie." Streets are deserted. People are glued to television for late news. "There is total desperation. The smiles have gone. Nothing like this ever happened before."

Stories circulate about wealthy Russians and others getting overseas calls to move assets and businesses there.

"The future is indeed bleak. It is not clear what is coming next and from where."

The Daily Telegraph's international business editor, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, headlined "Cyprus has finally killed myth that EMU (EU Economic and Monetary Union) is benign."

"The punishment regime imposed on Cyprus is a trick against everybody involved in this squalid saga, against the Cypriot people and the German people, against savers and creditors. All are being deceived."

It's not a bailout. Cyprus gets no debt relief. A potential "economic death spiral" looms. 

Capital controls "shattered" EMU monetary unity. "A Cypriot euro is no longer a core euro. We wait to hear the first stories of shops across Europe refusing to accept euro notes issued by Cyprus, with a G in the serial number."

Violating insured bank deposit security means anyone's money can be stolen. It'll happen if creditor state leaders think doing so's in their best interests.

"Monetary union has become a danger to property." Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem calls it a template for future EMU rescues. "(U)ninsured deposit holders" can expect eventual haircuts.

The "Dijssel Bomb" confirms creditor powers. They'll impose them "if push ever comes to shove."

At the same time, "the German bloc (lies) about the real cost of holding the euro together. The accord pretends to shield" EMU creditor states' taxpayers from future losses.

The cost of Cyprus' new credit line shifts to the ECB. It "will have to offset the slow-motion (Cypriot) bank run with its Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA)."

It's likely to be a large amount. Much will show up on the Bundesbank's balance sheet and its peers. It'll do so "through the ECB's Target2 payment nexus."

Money "will leak out of Cyprus unless (Eurocrats) encircle the island with razor wire."

According to Jeffries' Marchel Alexandrovich:

"In saving 5.8 billion euros, "the other euro area countries will likely be on the hook for four to five times more in contingent liabilities." 

"But, of course, the former represents real money that gives politicians a headache; the latter is monopoly central bank money."

Ahead of Germany's September elections, Angela Merkel "will do anything (to) disguise the true cost of the EMU project."

Paul Krugman says "Cyprus should leave the euro. Staying in means an incredibly severe depression."

Normura's Dimitris Drakopoulos believes no one knows what's coming. "The economy could go into a free fall."

Cyprus lost its core industry. Its assets equal eight times GDP. Nothing's there to replace it. Tourism won't work. 

EMU membership made it "shockingly expensive." Prospective tourists won't know what to expect on arrival.

Seizing money irresponsibly "was an act of state madness." What happened shows EMU went "off the rails." Stability's endangered. It "should be dismantled before it destroys Europe's post-war order."

Southern European countries have their own crises. Their "denouement will arrive when (they) conclude that recovery is a false promise (and) break free of EMU's contradictory regime."

Economist Yanis Varoufakis addressed "The Good, the Bad and the Extremely Ugly (Aspects of the Cyprus Deal)."

The latter two way outweigh the former. "The Memorandum of Understanding" hasn't been presented. The "deal is utterly incomplete."

It's unknown "what degree and type of austerity will be imposed upon a collapsing social economy." It's almost certain to be "an austerian package bound to crush weaker Cypriots…."

Wiping out foreign depositors will devastate Cypriot banking and tourism.

Transferring 9 billion of ELA money from Laiki Bank to the Bank of Cyprus "flies in the face of basic banking resolution principles." Doing so reflects Eurocrat tyranny.

It's unclear how capital controls will be implemented. It's uncertain they'll work. Cypriot euros are no longer exportable. Restricting them to Cyprus flies in the face of monetary union.

Eurocrat demands are "exceptionally ugly." They jeopardized sacrosanct deposit insurance guarantees. They compromised Eurozone integrity.

They "sacrifice(d) the (EU's) single market principle according to which capital controls are" verboten.

The ugliest part of the deal exposes the illusion of "genuine Eurozone-wide banking union." Dijsselbloem said so in no uncertain terms.

"The combination of (a) the denial of the need to effect public debt consolidation, (b) the derailing of a meaningful banking union and (c) the heavy-handedness with which Cyprus was treated over the past week, spell a new, uglier, state of affairs in Europe."

Eurocrats spurned unifying moves. They chose authoritarian/divisive ones instead. Doing so pushes Eurozone countries "in precisely the opposite direction to that dictated by political and economic sustainability."

"I would not be surprised" if what happened doesn't reflect "a major turning point." It may become "the moment in history when Europe moved beyond the pale."

It might have been worse. Cyprus state broadcaster CyBC said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble proposed a 40% haircut on all deposits.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde concurred. On March 26, Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said large uninsured Laiki Bank depositors could lose up to 80% of their money.

"Realistically," he added, "very little will be returned."

Euro expert Bernard Connolly looks prescient. Before its introduction, he predicted the euro's failure. He called it a hairbrained idea doomed to fail.

He said one or more of Europe's weakest countries would face rising deficits, troubled economies, and a "downward spiral from which there is no escape unaided. When that happens, the country concerned will be faced with a risk of sovereign default."

It only remains for it to happen. Expect perhaps eventual EMU collapse.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

NYT Editors Ignore GMO Health Dangers

NYT Editors Ignore GMO Health Dangers

by Stephen Lendman

It doesn't surprise. Times policy is irresponsible. It's unprincipled. It's reprehensible. It's longstanding. It supports wealth, power and privilege. 

It endorses what demands condemnation. It ignores GMO dangers. Doing so betrays its readers. More on that below.

GMO foods and ingredients are toxic. They're unsafe to eat. They harm human health. Independent scientific research proves it. Coverup and denial suppress what's vital to know.

Agribusiness giants want all animal and vegetable life forms patented. They want worldwide food control. They want it genetically engineered. They prioritize profits over human health.

GMOs saturate today's foods. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) "challeng(es) harmful food production technologies and promot(es) sustainable alternatives."

It calls genetically engineered plants and animals "one of the greatest and most intractable environmental challenges of the 21 century."

In America, up to 85% of corn, 94% of soybeans, 93% of canola, and 88% of cotton are genetically engineered. Over 80% of processed foods contain GMO ingredients. 

They include dairy and animal products, vegetable oils, soft drinks, ice cream, margarine, peanut butter, tomato sauce, salad dressings, soups, crackers, and much more.

Studies prove these foods pose grave human health dangers. They include high toxicity risks, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression, cancer, and numerous other diseases.

They're less nutritious. They're harmful ecologically. They cause uncontrolled biological pollution. They threaten microbial, plant and animal species with extinction.

They potentially contaminate all non-GMO life forms. Despite risks too great to ignore, Congress and regulatory agencies ignore them. They abdicate their authority doing so. They give agribusiness free reign. They let food giants poison us.

Consumers are part of an uncontrolled, unregulated mass human experiment. Doing so risks human health. Once GMO seeds infest an area, nothing known to science can reverse contamination.

Reliable scientific evidence is suppressed. People are uninformed in the dark. Rats fed GM potatoes have smaller livers, hearts, testicles and brains. Liver atrophy appears.

Their immune systems show damage. Their white blood cells are structurally changed. They're more vulnerable to infection and disease.

Their thymus and spleens are damaged. Enlarged tissues appear. Their pancreases and intestines show disturbing changes. Potential risk for cancer and other diseases increase.

GHW Bush's 1992 Executive Order called GMOs "substantially equivalent" to ordinary seeds and crops. It said no government regulation is necessary.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an industry front group. Food and drug officials cycle in and out. 

They notoriously approve unsafe products. They suppress scientific evidence proving it. Doing so harms human health.

FDA officials lied. They claim they're "not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way."

Safety studies aren't needed, they say. "Ultimately, it is the food producer" that bears responsibility "for assuring safety."

Jeffrey Smith heads the Institute for Responsible Technology. He's a leading consumer advocate. He promotes healthy non-GMO foods and ingredients. He does so for good reason.

Genetically modified life forms harm human health. FDA approval opened the floodgates. Doing so "set the stage for the rapid deployment of the new technology," said Smith.

Agribusiness took full advantage. Millions of acres were planted. Hundreds of millions eat toxic foods and ingredients.

Consumer objections are ignored. Responsible legislation and regulations are avoided. Agribusiness giants do what they please. 

Industry studies are substandard. They're bad science. Researchers cook the books. They publish false findings.

US regulatory agencies don't "investigate the impacts of GM food on gut function, liver function, kidney function, the immune system, endocrine system, blood composition, allergic response, effects on the unborn, the potential to cause cancer, or impacts on gut bacteria," says Smith.

Independent studies are different. They show GMOs produce disturbing DNA changes. Their natural functioning is impaired.

"Native genes can be mutated, deleted, permanently turned off or on," says Smith.

Inserted genes "can become truncated, fragmented, mixed with other genes, inverted or multiplied, and the GM protein it produces may have unintended (harmful) characteristics."

When transgenes function in cells, they produce unnatural proteins. Independent scientific testing proves it.

GMO corn produces Bt-toxin. Companies claim it's safe. Ingesting it risks allergic-type symptoms. Mice showed disturbing immune responses. Abnormal, excessive cell growth appeared.

Increasing numbers of human and livestock illnesses are linked to Bt crops. They harm gut bacteria. Intestinal flora become pesticide factories.

Independent studies are damning. They show:

  • stunted growth; 

  • impaired immune systems; 

  • bleeding stomachs; 

  • abnormal/potentially precancerous intestinal cell growth; 

  • impaired blood cell development; 

  • misshaped liver cell structures, pancreas and testicles; 

  • altered gene expression and cell metabolism;

  • liver and kidney lesions; 

  • partially atrophied livers;

  • inflamed kidneys;

  • less developed organs; 

  • reduced digestive enzymes;

  • higher blood sugar; 

  • inflamed lung tissue;

  • increased death rates; and 

  • higher offspring mortality.

Farmers report pigs and cows fed GM corn become sterile. Shepherds say one-fourth or more of sheep fed Bt cotton plants died.

Other evidence showed similar effects on cows, chickens, water buffaloes, and horses.

After GM soy was introduced in Britain, allergies skyrocketed 50%. Earlier in America, a GM food supplement killed dozens. It left thousands more sick or disabled.

Monsanto's the world's largest seed producer. It controls much of the world's food supply. Its history reflects irresponsible behavior.

It includes pressuring and bribing federal officials, highjacking regulatory agencies, suppressing negative product information, threatening scientists and journalists daring to report them, and requiring buyers not to use its seeds for independent research.

Other seed producers operate the same way. They do so recklessly and lawlessly. They want total control. They get away with it because no one stops them.

Genetic manipulation is fraught with dangers. It's done by inserting a single gene from a species' DNA to another unnaturally. According to Smith:

"A pig can mate with a pig, and a tomato can mate with a tomato. But there is no way that a pig can mate with a tomato and vice versa."

Doing so transfers genes across natural barriers. They separated species over millions of evolutionary years. They did so successfully.

Agribusiness officials want people to believe they can do nature one better. They claim genetic engineering replicates or involves a superior alternative to natural breeding.

Saying so is unproved, indefensible, and irresponsible. It's pseudoscience. It's smokescreen deception.

Genetic engineering involves combining genes that never before existed together. Doing so defies natural breeding. It proved safe for millennia.

Challenging nature irresponsibly risks enormous human health consequences.

Problems like harmful L-Tryptophan occur. It's a natural amino acid. Many companies produce it. It's used to induce sleep. 

Japan's Showa Denko genetically engineered it. It did so in the late 1980s. Many dozens died. Over 1,500 were crippled. Up to 10,000 got Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome (EMS). It's an incurable blood disorder.

It causes permanent nerve and muscle tissue scarring, as well as  fibrosis, inflammation, and permanent immune system change.

Agribusiness officials ignore public safety. They want GMO foods and ingredients unlabeled. They want consumers unaware of what they're ingesting. 

They oppose laws regulating or banning GMO products. They call doing so "unfair trade practices." They've got governments on their side. They let these products be grown internally or imported.

World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) patent rules back Agribusiness. What food and seed giants want they get. 

Profits matter more than human health. It's threatened because federal officials and regulatory agencies do nothing to protect it.

New York Times editors are dismissive. On March 14, they headlined "Why Label Genetically Engineered Food?"

Whole Foods Market "caused a stir," they said. On March 8, company officials said all GMO products in its North American stores must be labeled. Producers have until 2018 to comply. Why that long wasn't explained.

Times editors expressed concern, saying:

"Any private company has the right to require its suppliers to meet labeling standards it chooses to set, and consumers have a right to know what’s in the food they are buying." 

"But there is no reliable evidence that genetically modified foods now on the market pose any risk to consumers."

"The Food and Drug Administration says it has no basis for concluding that foods developed by bioengineering techniques present different or greater safety concerns than foods developed by traditional plant breeding."

Independent scientific research proves otherwise. Times editors ignored it. It's standard NYT policy. It marches in lockstep with business. Doing so betrays its readers.

It claims no compelling reason to mandate compulsory labeling. It wants consumers unaware of what they're eating. 

They can choose organic alternatives if they wish. Saying so ignores common practice. Most people believe food products are safe. 

They think markets selling them wouldn't do so otherwise. They're uninformed and mistaken. Ignorance leaves them vulnerable. 

It gravely compromises their health and welfare. Don't expect Times editors to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.