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The Disaffected Lib: Why Syrzia Matters. It’s About a Good Deal More than Austerity. It’s About Salvaging Democracy.

Le Monde reminds all of us why Syrzia matters not just in Greece, but across Europe and even on our side of the North Atlantic.

The Greeks don’t need to have the meaning of the word “democracy” explained to them. Even so, they have been given countless lectures since voting in a leftwing government determined to end the austerity policies that have made their lives a misery for six years. The schoolmasterly reprimands have come from people who know what they are talking about: they are people who imposed treaties their electorates had voted against and reneged on campaign promises (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Is a socialist EU possible via left-wing populist parties such as Syriza, Podemos and the HDP? | openDemocracy

Is a socialist EU possible via left-wing populist parties such as Syriza, Podemos and the HDP? | openDemocracy.

Filed under: Europe, Socialism Tagged: EU, Europe, Podemos, Socialism, Syriza

The Disaffected Lib: Will the E.U. Again Pull the Rug Out From Under Harper’s Feet?

The European Union’s FQD, fuel quality directive, was once seen as a bitumen killer.  It’s intended to encourage the use of lower-carbon oil and to kill off the European market for tar sand oil.

It had been reported that the Canadian government persuaded the Euros to drop the regulation, opening Europe to Athabasca exports.  Now it seems the FQD isn’t dead after all.

The EU’s most senior energy official confirmed that the fuel quality directive (FQD) to encourage greener road fuels will not be scrapped at the end of the decade, as had been thought. Asked by the Guardian (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Tariq Ali on the Upcoming Greek Election

*Update – The election results are in.

There might be hope for the people of Greece in their upcoming elections. Excerpts of an interview of Tariq Ali hosted by Kostas Vlahopoulos and Thomas Giourgas.

“3. What is your view of the current sociopolitical situation in Greece?

Tariq Ali: The situation is polarised. The fascists of Golden Dawn and the Conservative descendants of the wrong side in the Greek Civil war have the support of a sizeable section of the Greek population. This cannot be ignored and we do so at our peril. The emergence and growing support for (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: The Greek canary in the European coalmine: An interview with Yanis Varoufakis

Over at Ricochet, I’ve transcribed my podcast interview with Yanis Varoufakis, economist and Syriza candidate in tomorrow’s Greek elections. With Syriza looking to get the most votes and possibly an outright parliamentary majority, I asked Yanis about the Greek economy, Syriza’s economic plans, his views on what these mean for Europe and how we can expect Greece to take its place in Europe come Monday. Here is the interview in full.

Michal Rozworski: I know this is an enormous topic but what is the current economic situation on the eve of the elections in Greece? Can you give a kind of snapshot?

Yanis (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: the left in Greece and Poland


I’ve been visiting family in Poland for the past few weeks so, fittingly, this week’s podcast deals with the situation of the left at two opposite ends of the European periphery: Greece and Poland. My first guest is Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at the University of Athens and candidate for SYRIZA in this Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Syriza is the main Greek left party and is poised to take the most votes, potentially even form a parliamentary majority, on Sunday. Yanis spoke with me about Greece’s economy on the eve of the elections and Syriza’s economic (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Sophisticated malware ‘Regin’: Western intelligence suspected source of spy tool

Symantec just recently reported on an advanced malware tool known as Regin or Backdoor.Regin that has  been showing up around the globe. A post that appeared on the company’s blog on Sunday described Regin as  “An advanced spying tool [that] displays a degree of technical competence rarely seen and has been used in spying operations against governments, infrastructure operators, businesses, researchers, and private individuals.”

According to Symantec, capabilities include capturing screenshots, stealing passwords, taking control of the mouse’s point-and-click function, monitoring network traffic and gathering information on processes and memory use. It can also search for and retrieve (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Climate Change Deal We Cannot Live Without

Just what does all this squabbling about greenhouse gas emissions really mean? What has to go into an effective climate change agreement?  What factors are in play?

Here, courtesy of, are a few charts that reveal a climate deal is both urgently needed and extremely difficult to craft.

First up, where we stand today.  Annex B countries are the wealthy nations that participated in the Kyoto Accords.  Non-Annex B countries, the poor nations and the emerging economic superpowers, now account for the lion’s share of global emissions.

Next is an illustration of per capita emissions.  While we’re (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Fidel Castro compares NATO with Hitler’s SS: says US/Israel responsible for the creation of ISIS

 Below: Demo in Poland protesting this weeks NATO summit in Wales

In an article published in Cuban state media iconic revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, calls out NATO and imperialist war mongering. He compares statements by NATO representatives with Nazi SS talk.

Castro: “Many people are astonished when they hear the statements made by some European spokesmen for NATO when they speak with the style and face of the Nazi SS.”

Castro’s NATO remarks are timely given the summit currently underway in Wales that aims to increase troops and armaments in Eastern Europe in response to what NATO views as (Read more…)

drive-by planet: NATO summit targets Russia: nuclear threat increases with risk of war

Protest in Newport, Wales, against NATO aggression

Government leaders of NATO countries meet in Wales this week to make plans for the escalation of military preparedness, with Russia squarely in the cross hairs. This includes the likely endorsement of a rapid response force made up of as many as 4,000 soldiers capable of being deployed to any member state at short notice. It is also likely that the build-up of troops and armaments in Eastern Europe will be given the green light.

An article in World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) reports:

The NATO summit, to which Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Could America Break Its Own Bank on a Russian Anvil?

The sanctions being plastered on Russia by the US and her allies are already having a rebound effect, especially in Europe.  Russia is not only the major supplier of the natural gas the Europeans will need to get through this winter, it’s also a key market for their exports.  In these matters the EU and US are in different boats.  Another key difference is that American sanctions are more heavily weighted on depriving Russia of access to credit – loans.

Here’s the rub.  International finance is generally conducted in US dollars, the global reserve currency.  Throughout the post-WWII era that’s (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Hard question about MH-17 disaster: BUK missile video blaming Russia is debunked

Below right: Black boxes being handed over to Malaysian delegation

Since the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH-17 in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, questions have been raised about why the plane was flying over a war zone. MH-17′s flight path on July 17 diverged from the path taken during its earlier flights over Ukraine. On previous occasions the plane flew a route further to the south, over the Sea of Azov – a route declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

According to on the day of the crash, MH-17′s flight path diverted northward taking the Boeing directly over (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Oligarch Pyotr "Chocolate King" Poroshenko wins big in Ukraine’s low turn-out election: change to disbelieve in

The presidential election in Ukraine was held on the same date as elections to the European parliament that resulted in an unprecedented showing by anti-immigration Euro-skeptic parties. The Ukraine election held in the midst of conflict and poll boycotts saw EU-friendly billionaire Pyotr Poroshenko – aka the “Chocolate King” – emerge the big winner, with rival Yulia Tymoshenko a distant second.

According to reports from Kiev, Poroshenko’s big win was a disappointment for many of the protesters who risked life and limb on Maidan holding out for the prospect of real change.

The victory by Ukraine’s “Willy Wonka” will be (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Canada-EU trade deal will hurt Canada’s auto industry: study

by: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives | Press Release | May 28, 2014

OTTAWA – The proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will only exacerbate the Canadian auto industry’s recent decline, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study, by Unifor economist and CCPA vice-president Jim Stanford, analyses CETA’s likely effects on Canadian automotive trade, investment, and employment and claims the trade deal will make Canada’s current trade imbalance with the EU incrementally worse. The study estimates that the existing $5.3 billion trade deficit with Europe will widen significantly as (Read more…)

drive-by planet: US corporate media propaganda: NYT’s misleading photo ‘evidence’ of Russian soldiers in east Ukraine

Back in 2003, when Colin Powell presented “evidence” at the UN to back up the White House claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, major US news outlets ran the story believing the Bush administration had the goods. During the UN presentation Russia’s ambassador at the time, Sergei Lavrov,  greeted Powell’s “evidence” with a look of incredulous disbelief or perhaps disdain might be the better term.  As we now know, the Russians were entirely right to cast scorn on Washington’s pack of lies about Saddam’s non-existent WMD.

In the current war of words-and-images on Ukraine, Russian media (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Massive turnout in Crimea: 96.77 vote for integration with Russia: jubilant crowds capture the mood

There was a massive turnout in the Crimea referendum, with 81.3 percent of eligible voters participating. When the final tally was in 96.77 percent voted “yes” to integration with the Russian Federation. The way it breaks down in terms of numbers is 1,233,002 votes for integration out of a total of 1,274,096 ballots cast.

The head of the monitors’ commission, Polish MP Mateusz Piskorski, told RT: “The referendum has been organized professionally, considering there was very little time for all the institutions to prepare, all the staff for polling stations, for electoral commission… So when it comes (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Crimea votes: ‘CrossTalk’ discussion with George Galloway, Michael Hughes and Dmitry Babich

drive-by planet: Leaked phone-call links US-backed coalition in Kiev with deadly sniper attacks

A leaked phone call between Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Paet, and EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, surfaced last week. It includes the suggestion that some party connected with the opposition – the current coalition in power in Kiev – was behind the lethal sniper attacks in Independence Square that killed scores of people.

Paet refers to a doctor who worked with those who had been shot by snipers in Independence Square… “Olga” by name. Russian media has identified her as Olga Bogomolets, chief coordinator of medical aid at the earlier main protest camp in Independence Square.

Paet to Ashton: (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Nukes, world war, Dr. Strangelove and global showdown – Where’s Slim Pickins when you need him?

So the end-game plan for the US/NATO/EU alliance and the Western oligarchs and plutocratic elite who control it, in their bid to consolidate their present and highly precarious global dominance, seems to be, after encircling Russia and China with military bases and nuclear missiles, to eliminate Russia’s first strike response capability – which means, in […]

drive-by planet: U.S. hypocrisy on Russian involvement in Crimea

This week US president Obama raised concerns about Russian involvement in Crimea.  He said he is “deeply disturbed” by the Russian move and that “Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing.” He made reference to “costs” facing Russia for its “military intervention” – adding to warnings coming from other quarters.

It’s unsettling to listen as Obama piously evokes “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity” given the American hand in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

The US is in a class of its own when it comes riding roughshod over other nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity… US (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Ukraine’s fascist ‘heroes’ and a bleak new dawn

 Beneath: Banner of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera hangs in Kiev City Hall /  Yulia Tymoshenko

The forcible removal of Victor Yanukovych’s regime in what has been likened to a “fascist putsch” has led to an unstable and potentially dangerous situation in the Ukraine. Terms such as “democratic revolution” used by MSM to describe what has gone down in Kiev is both naive and misleading. It isn’t unlike the rose-tinted heralding of a democratic revolution in Egypt… even as general SiSi was waiting in the wings to bring down the hammer and female journalists were being subjected to sexual assault by (Read more…)

drive-by planet: ‘Into the Fire’ video: targeting of immigrants in Greece by the authorities and Golden Dawn fascists

Into the Fire sends a powerful message about the xenophobia and violence faced by immigrants in Greece struggling to survive against steep odds. A large percentage were driven to seek asylum not as a matter of choice but because of war and other problems in their countries of origin. Many have been forced to live on the street with no legal papers. Too often they are targets of harassment and physical assault, not only by fascist thugs linked to the anti-immigrant Golden Dawn but even in some cases by police who have been filmed either actively participating in attacks on (Read more…)

Things Are Good: EU Bans Cosmetics Tested on Animals

The European Union has banned the selling of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. This will make the lives of many animals better and may encourage innovations in cosmetic testing .

The ban applies to all new cosmetics and their ingredients sold in the EU, regardless of where in the world testing on animals was carried out.

The 27 EU countries have had a ban on such tests in place since 2009. But the EU Commission is now asking the EU’s trading partners to do the same.

Read more at the BBC.

CuriosityCat: Chancellor Merkel plumps for the domino theory over the ballast theory

Merkel and dominoes …

One of the fascinating things about high level crises like the eurozone one, is the role played by the men and women who have the power or lack the power to influence events. And the key person in the past five years or so is a woman some nicknamed The Iron Lady – Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Der Spiegel has a fascinating article describing her practical approach to the eurozine crisis, which includes this:

For months, Merkel wavered over whether or not Greece should remain in the euro zone. As recently as summer, she couldn’t decide

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Chancellor Merkel plumps for the domino theory over the ballast theory

CuriosityCat: Europe takes another big step towards the United States of Europe

United States of Europe?

Financial integration is one major step along the road towards eventual political integration into one massive new federal state, the USE (United States of Europe), and yesterday a significant move was made in this direction: Europe’s finance ministers have taken another major step towards closer integration, with a significant transfer of authority from national governments to the ECB, he says.

The EU had already agreed that the ECB would act as chief supervisor of eurozone banks. But the deal gives the ECB powers to close down eurozone banks that do not follow the rules. It also . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Europe takes another big step towards the United States of Europe