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Mon Apr 06, 2015 at 03:42 PM PDT

Is There Hope for Greece?

by allenjo

Living in Greece in such uncertain times, just not knowing what will happen next - will the country have to leave the EZ, leave the EU? Are drachmas being printed up, just in case? Journalists are writing that capital controls may be implemented just before the upcoming Greek Easter holiday or even of the Greek banks possibly being nationalized. There is also talk of another snap election being called.

Luckily I do not live there any longer. However, my family does. They faced losing their business but were able to arrange a loan in the hope of keeping it going long enough to sell it.

Greece is no longer at the edge of the abyss, they have fallen in. They may be able to make the IMF payment of 450 million Euros due on April 9, but will they also be able to pay salaries and pensions if they do?  There have been conflicting reports and who knows at this point what may happen next?
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A top US State Department official had met recently in Athens with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis met yesterday with IMF's Christine Lagarde in Washington DC and today Varoufakis was to meet with US Treasury officials.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prepares to leave for Russia to meet with Russian President  Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, April 8.

Perhaps the meetings in DC yesterday between Lagarde and Varoufakis (as if they could not more easily have met in Europe) has something to do with Varoufakis's meeting with US officials today. If the West were to lose Greece that would be fraught with peril on so many levels, not to mention the loss of the US military base on the Greek island of Crete which has been used by the US for its wars in the Middle East and is extremely important location to US interests.

Will there be a "Turn to Moscow"?

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After Greece joined the EU, that was a line from a book I read, one Greek said, "We're no longer peasants, we're Europeans now.

When I first visited there, back in the sixties, it was such a poor country. In later years as I visited, and my son and his wife moved there (as did I during some of the Bush/Cheney years) life had changed so much for the better. I visited what had been the peasant village of my ex-husband (back in the 1960s) in 2003 or 2004, and voila, it was like a suburban town. It just happened that the day we were there, so was a film crew, along with their many Mercedes. A far cry from my memories of livestock living on the first floor of the houses there, one telephone in the entire village, running water for 2 hours a day, a community bakery for all as no one had ovens to bake at home.

I had been following closely the election news from Greece (all day and evening in fact, on Sunday). And then talked with my family and friends there. While some are hopeful, others are too mired down with financial problems to feel much hope. I have been feeling much angst for my family there. Life on their island is at its worst in all these years now. The young Greeks have left, business closings abound, police force cut 2/3, only one ambulance now to service the entire island, teachers laid off and wages cut. Many cannot afford to have fuel delivered in what has been predicted to be one of their coldest winters. I have one friend there that has such a little pension that she not only lives without heat, she cannot afford to buy groceries so the Church feeds her. Life should not be so hard.

I just read this morning that renowned Greek singer Demis Roussos died several days ago in Athens. I spent some time this morning listening to his songs and feeling the soul of Greece.

I did not want to write this diary to dwell on the hardships the Greeks are suffering. That is just too overwhelming for me right now. I do want to share some feelings about Greece and I want to feel hopeful for my family and friends there, for the entire country.

So to honor the soul of Greece with the music of now departed Demis Roussos and looking for hope that the path forward for the Greeks will allow them "to get the chance to dance again," I'll start off with Demis Roussos - "We Shall Dance".........
.....

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The Senate has until midnight Saturday to vote on the Cromnibus bill.

Senators Warren and Vitter to introduce amendment stripping the Wall Street giveaway.....

ht to kat68 for the below who also says we need to burn up the phone lines on this.

With the spending bill now moving to the Senate for passage, Warren and Vitter have created an unusual alliance of liberal and conservative lawmakers to try to get the provision removed.

"Congress should not put taxpayers on the hook for another bailout, and this giveaway that was drafted by Citigroup lobbyists has no place in a critical government funding bill," Warren said in a statement that she was filing an amendment with Vitter to remove the language.

Contact your Senators to get behind this amendment. There are Republicans who don't like it any better than non Wall St. Dems.

http://www.senate.gov/...

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POTUS says glad it passed the House and looking forward to it passing the Senate.

Then Maxine Waters speaking on MSNBC.......her thoughts on Cromnibus bill, important to remember Dodd-Frank reforms because of Wall St reckless behaviour. She was surprised Obama was pushing for votes for this bill, (as was I when I heard that yesterday). Says arguments Obama to House Dems made were to ignore reforms, not wanting a government shutdown, some good stuff in bill, yada, yada, yada. She was lobbying Dems against the bill and POTUS was lobbying Dems to pass it.

So in the dark of night "someone" slipped into this bill.......putting taxpayers on the hook once again for their gambling protection for the 4 biggest TBTF banks holding 90% of the derivatives market.....How does that make you feel?

So who did slip that into the bill in the middle of the night? Is there no one who will speak out?

One would think if Republicans they would proudly do so. Or was it Democrats too ashamed to admit it? Or are Republicans and Wall St Democrats joined at the hip and accomplished this middle of the night feat together?

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May we never forget, our young become vets.

Take two minutes of time for those who died.....

Terry Kelly – A Pittance Of Time

Take two minutes, would you mind?
 It's a pittance of time,
 For the boys and the girls who went over.
 In peace may they rest, may we never
 Forget why they died.
 It's a pittance of time.
Take two minutes, would you mind?
 It's a pittance of time,
 For the boys and the girls all over.
 May we never forget, our young become vets.
At the end of the line,
 It's a pittance of time.
Discuss

So the war will end on schedule as President Obama said. An agreement was signed today for 12,000 US troops to stay after December 31, 2014 for training, non-combat roles. So no more body bags coming home after January 1, 2015.

After 13 long long years of bloody war, America has brought stability, peace and freedom to Afghanistan!

IIRC we'll be paying around 8 billion per year for a few decades to rebuild, and of course, will continue with training Afghans ($60 billion having been spent in training them thus far). The country of course has no way to pay their salaries, but we'll continue to help them along.

And private contractors (no word on how many of those will stay) will be paid by US taxpayers to supplement the 12,000 troops there. (currently last I checked 67,000 of those).

Do we know how to win wars or what?

America, fuck yeah!

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Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 01:14 PM PDT

"Fiddle dee dee. War, war, war.

by allenjo

"Here We Come to Save the Day!" The awesome power of the world's mightiest military is on the way, the most expensive military in the history of the world! The self-appointed global police force, brought to you courtesy of US taxpayers, charged on the USG's credit card with unlimited balances for war, grand, glorious war.

Ashley Wilkes.......
"Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars. And when the wars were over no one ever knew what they were about."

Gerald O'Hara......
"Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that Tara, that land doesn't mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts."

Scarlett O'Hara...........
"Fiddle dee dee. War, war, war. This war talk is spoiling the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream."

Scarlett O'Hara.......
"As God as my witness. As God as my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over I'll never be hungry again nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill as God as my witness I'll never be hungry again."

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Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 02:38 PM PDT

Pentagon denies US bombing in Iraq

by allenjo

UPDATE 6:30 PM ABC NEWS

US ready to strike, unfolding right now.

I haven't heard President Obama's speech, but New York Times is reporting.....

DOHUK, Iraq — American military forces bombed at least two targets in northern Iraq on Thursday night to rout Islamist insurgents who have trapped tens of thousands of religious minorities in Kurdish areas, Kurdish officials said.

Word of the bombings, reported on Kurdish television from the city of Erbil, came as President Obama was preparing to make a statement in Washington.

http://www.nytimes.com/...
As the internal debate dragged on Thursday, Pentagon officials repeatedly and categorically denied numerous reports claiming US airstrikes or aid drops had already begun.

The US military is already helping the Iraqi government coordinate air drops of vital supplies to at least 40,000 Iraqis, mostly from the Yazidi minority, trapped on top of Mount Sinjar in the north after death threats from the Islamists who have overrun much of Sunni and northern Iraq.

http://www.theguardian.com/...
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Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:55 AM PDT

The Debate on State Surveillance

by allenjo

Last night's Debate on State Surveillance: with Glenn Greenwald, Alexis Ohanian, Alan Dershowitz, Michael Hayden

Munk Debate

In a risk-filled world, are democracies justified in turning to large-scale state surveillance, at home and abroad, to fight complex and unconventional threats?

Or is the emergence of the surveillance state and the awesome powers it derives from information technology a new and pervasive threat to our basic freedoms?

Edward Snowden speaks.....
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America’s longest war and now America’s most unpopular war. This war we’ve been fighting now in its 13th year that has become more unpopular than the Iraq War and the Vietnam War.

I listened to Cokie Roberts last Sunday saying we have a moral obligation to stay in Afghanistan, we owe the women and children educations, we must stay to allow them to go to school, to vote. Perhaps if you are born to wealth and privilege like her, that is an easy view to take. Or if your heart hurts that life is harsh not only for the women and children, but for all the poor in Afghanistan and that despite the billions of aid sent to that country, the lives of those stuck in poverty have not improved and America must do more.

However, in the US, not that terribly long ago, children were not in school, they were working the mines, working the farms, school was not a guaranteed right back then. It took years and much violence for unions to have power, for labor laws, for the right to an education to become law. Women could not vote, it took many years of activism before we gained that right, the right to be equal citizens, just like men, with the 19th amendment to our constitution.

Do we owe them, at the cost of our troop’s lives or maiming and billions upon billions of dollars more, that which we fought so hard for in our own country?

There is little support to continuing this war. Far too many in this economy are still suffering, jobs are hard to come by, social safety programs are on the chopping block, life is pretty harsh here for far too many. The MIC seems so out of control, as troops are sent here and there, as America interferes around the globe. We have 28,000 troops still in South Korea and more troops, along with tanks, were sent there just last week, (a war that ended well over 50 years ago). An example of once the US goes in, we do not easily ever leave. Missiles and drones just sent to Iraq. Aid to Israel, Syria, Egypt, etc., the list goes on and on.

How much more of this can the US, a country that cannot even take care of its poor, disabled and elderly adequately, afford to spend to continue to police the globe with our troops and military bases around the world?

Poll

Is the MIC out of control and do we have too many warhawks in congress?

91%41 votes
8%4 votes

| 45 votes | Vote | Results

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The ACLU, an organization I proudly joined when I was very young, has a petition to go to the President that I just signed along with 29,758 others that have signed so far.

I hope if you feel that "Edward Snowden is an American patriot" that you will sign it also.

President Obama: Grant Snowden Immunity Now - ACLU Petition

Edward Snowden is a great American who deserves full immunity for his patriotic acts. And we’re proud to serve as his legal advisors. When Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA, he single-handedly reignited a global debate about government surveillance and our most fundamental rights as individuals.
For more than 12 years, the ACLU has been fighting to end government surveillance that invades the rights and lives of millions of Americans with virtually no oversight. But when our years-long case against mass surveillance finally reached the Supreme Court, it was dismissed for lack of evidence of the secret programs. Snowden provided that evidence, at great personal risk.
Now if tens of thousands of us stand together and tell President Obama to grant Snowden immunity, we have a real chance of bringing him home.
Sign here.........29,758 people support this campaign. Help us get to 35,000!
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