statism watch

Archive for April 22nd, 2010

Are our customs officers traumatizing visitors?

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Welcome to Kanada, where thugs at border cross you!

Related: Canadian sci-fi author, assaulted at border, convicted of ‘non-compliance’ | Dr Peter Watts, Canadian science fiction writer, beaten and arrested at US border | Border guards are now Olympic thought police — Amy Goodman detained | Laptops fair game for border searches | Border guards resorting to force more often | Border agents handcuff, interrogate Winnipeg couple | Mohawk protesters block Ontario bridge over arming of border guards | Akwesasne natives protest armed border guards, border crossing closed in retaliation | New border rules create ‘invisible Berlin Wall’: mayor | ‘Say please’ at U. S. border nets pepper spray | U.S. border agents given power to seize travellers’ laptops, cellphones | American Border Officers Want to Fingerprint Canadians at SPP Bridge | U.S. to collect DNA at border

Richard J Brennan, Toronto Star
April 22, 2010

OTTAWA–Munching on a pretzel usually doesn’t lead to an inquisition and accusations of drug use.

But it can if you’re dealing with a Canadian border officer, according to documents obtained by the Star.

The episode is just one of the complaints filed with the Canada Border Services Agency by travellers visiting and returning to the country who say they are left with a negative impression and, in some cases, traumatized by their experience with the officers.

While countless visitors and returning Canadians are met with courteous, professional service at land crossings and airports, others complain of autocratic behaviour and humiliating treatment by CBSA officers.

The complaints, obtained by the Star through an Access to Information request, include accounts of officers cursing and yelling at Canadians and visitors, and threatening them with sniffer dogs or arrest for seemingly minor infractions – or for even having the temerity to ask a question.

There were 1,421 complaints filed with the CBSA in 2008-09, down slightly from 1,607 the previous year.

“We felt harassed and belittled by what happened,” wrote one American woman, who said her initial crime was to eat pretzels while a border official was talking to her husband on a Toronto-bound Amtrak train in Niagara Falls on June 7, 2007.

(more…)

Unconstitutional? Ontario government slips another new energy tax in under the radar

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Related: Electricity rates surge in Ontario | Ontario unveils $8B in renewable energy projects | UK: Carbon capture storage lauded, will ‘generate 100,000 jobs and £6.5bn a year’ | Subsidized solar power projects approved in Ontario | Green energy bubbles threaten to pop at both Federal and Municipal levels | Terence Corcoran: Ontario puts $10B in the wind | Ontario Premiere McGuinty heralds Samsung ‘green energy’ deal | ‘Green jobs’ are key to U.S., Canadian recovery: US Ambassador | Jim Prentice: Implement A ‘North American Climate Change Regime’ | Big Oil makes case for carbon-capture subsidies | Ont. gives green energy price guarantee | Climate Cops To Fine “Wasteful” Homeowners & Businesses | Obama targets US public with call for climate action | Obama to stake reputation on fast-tracked climate bill | Ontario unveils cap-and-trade legislation | Google PowerMeter to track home energy usage in Toronto test drive | ‘Smart meters’ set to boost prices, track your power consumption by time of day in Toronto | NRTEE Carbon Market Panel is ‘Round Table on Socialist Planning’ | Climate panel presses for federal cap-and-trade system | U.N. ‘Climate Change’ Plan Would Likely Shift Trillions to Form New World Economy | U.N. Environment Head Wants Global Warming Tax | US Congress passes mandatory national service bill | Time to emulate Roosevelt’s New Deal and create green jobs | Terence Corcoran: Ontario’s green energy plan sneaks in feed-in taxes | New World Order Crony Gary Hart Calls for “Civic Duty” | US Democrats Introduce Public National Service Bills | Justin Trudeau introduces National Voluntary Service motion | Google to enter market for energy use tracking | Ontario joins continental WCI cap-and-trade scheme | B.C. carbon tax kicks in on Canada Day | They call it cap and trade, but it’s just another fuel tax | Quebec, Ontario sign historic climate pact | Every adult in Britain should be forced to carry ‘carbon ration cards’, say MPs | CEOs call for ‘aggressive’ action on climate change

Benjamin Alarie and Finn Poschmann, Financial Post
April 22, 2010

Canada’s Constitution and the case law that surrounds it define the relative jurisdiction and powers of the federal government and the provinces. In matters of taxation, government authority is extensive, and legislatures may enact laws imposing a wide range of taxes.

Despite these broad powers, governments are limited in what they may do without legislative approval. They may use regulation, which is not approved by a legislature, to set fees to recover the costs of goods or services they provide to the people being charged the fee. They may not, however, use regulation to impose taxes that fund the general activities of government.

Provincial governments have often sought to raise revenue quietly through regulation. The reasons include convenience and a desire to avoid political embarrassment in the legislature. In Ontario, the Taxpayer Protection Act, 1999 requires an approving referendum to be held before tax increases. While this kind of legislation can be overridden by subsequent statutory amendments (which Ontario has done twice before), the process makes raising taxes politically costly.

By a recent Order-in-Council, the Ontario government passed Regulation 66/10 to the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998. This new regulation directs the Ontario Energy Board to assess a special levy on the Independent Electricity System Operator (“IESO”) and distributors, assessed in proportion to the amount of electricity they distribute. The levy is designed to deliver to the province $53.7-million in additional revenue to fund activities of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure. Is this levy a tax?

(more…)

Bankers Prepare To Assault Americans With VAT, Transaction Taxes

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Oh, just like the HST in Canada. What do you know. It’s almost as though this was planned out in advance, hmmmn? Hold on to your wallet as we take a lightning-fast recap of all the various taxes that have been proposed in the last year or so: Carbon taxes, GPS tracked mileage taxes, additional airport improvement levies to pay for the naked body scanners, the HST, an IMF global warming ‘slush fund’, ‘smart’ energy metering, a financial transaction tax, the plastic bag levy, an EU income tax, home purchase tax, new garbage and entertainment taxes in Toronto, and of course the banker bailouts and ‘stimulus’ spending that you’re also on the hook for. Inevitably we’ve missed some, you can look them all up in the links at the end of this article. Feel a bit woozy, want to lie down? You can bet the cost of even getting a room – doing anything, really – is going up as business passes their share of these new costs on to you as well.

Flashback: The Obama Banking Regulation: Big Banks Are Too Politically Connected to Fail | Obama scolds Wall Street for fighting reform, pushes new regulation package | Global bank tax urged by IMF | Paul Volcker: VAT, Carbon taxes may be necessary

Paul Joseph Watson, PrisonPlanet.com
April 22, 2010

Obama: Value-added tax still on the table despite White House assurances otherwise, campaign promise not to raise taxes for families earning under $250,000 a year

The global banking elite are preparing to assault Americans with two huge new tax increases as President Obama contradicts the assurances of White House aides and his own campaign trail promise by asserting that a VAT tax is still on the table, as the IMF outlines a new tax on financial transactions that is being hailed as a blow to the banks yet represents another stealth tax on the people.

“President Barack Obama suggested Wednesday that a new value-added tax on Americans is still on the table, seeming to show more openness to the idea than his aides have expressed in recent days,” reports the Associated Press.

Obama’s signal that he may embrace a European-style VAT tax follows former Fed chairman Paul Volcker’s call for a value-added tax. In response, the U.S. Senate passed a nonbinding “sense of the Senate” resolution labeling any such move, “a massive tax increase that will cripple families on fixed income and only further push back America’s economic recovery.”

Not happy with hitting Americans with a roughly 20% increase in living costs that a VAT tax would impose, Volcker also called for a carbon tax in the name of solving the widely discredited scam of man-made global warming, a new levy that is already being introduced at the state level.

Despite the fact that White House aides dismissed the prospect of a national sales tax only on Monday, Obama’s u-turn once again contradicts his pre-election promise that he would not raise taxes for American families earning under a quarter of a million dollars a year.

(more…)

Waterloo firm creates ‘flying robot spies from the skies’ for global law enforcement market

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

So you can expect to see little hoverdroids buzzing around filming everyone and a company in Waterloo is responsible for this? What the hell were they thinking? It does only have a flight time of twenty minutes – so far – but regardless, this device will inevitably be used to tip the balance of power between the citizen and the state. See video of your new robotic overlord in action here. Read about its little PR coup in making an actual arrest in the UK which was itself illegal, as it turned out – here.

Flashback: UK Police use spy drone for first domestic arrest — without airspace clearance | Future police: Meet the UK’s armed robot drones | UK police plan to use military-style spy drones | US Domestic Espionage Alert: Spy Drone Discovered | US Air Force confirms new ‘Beast of Kandahar’ drone | Clinton confronted by Pakistanis over attacks by aerial drones | UN: Drone attacks may violate international law | Kandahar spy blimp raises privacy concerns | US drone ’shot down over Somalia’ | Canada’s military peers into future, sees drone patrols, draft, insurgency | 250-Foot Long Hybrid Airship Will Spy Over Afghanistan Battlefields in 2011 | Military spycraft patrols Ontario border from Fort Drum | Homing chips are CIA’s latest weapon against ‘al-Qaida’ targets hiding in Pakistan’s tribal belt | CIA: Our Drones are Killing Terrorists. Promise | Pentagon plans blimp to spy from new heights | Remote-controlled planes could spy on British homes | Predator drones patrolling border irk Manitoba MLA | Report: CIA runs secret bases in Pakistan | U.S. set to launch Predator drones to monitor Manitoba border | Military Tech on the Home Front: Predator drones to begin surveillance of Canada-US border | Hoverdrone to be deployed to Iraq | Kids to Help Create Drones, ‘Fuzzy’ Line to Be Drawn between Military and Civil Spheres | Canadian military acquiring new helicopters, drones | Unmanned spy planes to police Britain | Austin police testing unmanned spy drones | Nunavut taken aback by military plan for drone patrols | U.S. to patrol Manitoba border with drone aircraft

The Globe and Mail
April 22, 2010

Aeryon Labs of Waterloo, Ont., sells its small, nearly silent remote-controlled device to law enforcement worldwide

A flying robot manufactured by Aeryon Labs, based in Waterloo, Ont., was recently used by a Central American police force to bust a drug trafficker in a well-protected compound.

It’s just one application for the Aeryon Scout, described by the company as “an easy-to-use, battery powered, unmanned aerial intelligence gathering system.”

The robot measures a mere 80 cm by 80 cm, and it carries on-board camera equipment, controlled remotely using a simple touch-screen interface on a computer tablet.

Watch the Scout in action.

(more…)

International World Bank ‘Farm-aid’ plan gets a modest start

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Uh-oh. If Geithner and Zoellick are involved, this can’t be good. And there’s about as much chance of it being a ‘green’ revolution as there is of much of this money not being funnelled through the World Bank and the FAO and straight to American agri-tech concerns. This cynicism is practically mandatory: there’s no win-win to be found there, particularly if the fund is used to force GMO seed and monoculture farming practices on traditional African farmers in the same way these practices have been used by the banks to seize the land of Indian farmers. And they’re calling it ‘Farm Aid’. Maybe we should be asking ourselves: what would Willie do? Cause if this journal’s suspicions are correct, you can be shore this ain’t it.

Flashback: Food summit offers thin pledges to hungry | Food prices set to rise? | Will recession spark global food crisis? | American thinktanks sowed seeds of food crisis | Agribusiness positions GM crops as panacea to predicted global food shortage | Billions needed annually to raise food production: UN chief | Monsanto Plans to Save World with its Biotech Crops | High-level UN task force to tackle global food crisis | Head of IMF says if food prices remain high, consequences are dire

Paul Koring, The Globe and Mail
April 22, 2010

‘Canada, Spain, South Korea and the U.S. are stepping up,’ says Bill Gates, a fifth supporter

For the world’s poorest farmers, those scratching out survival on less than a dollar a day, it was hardly the $22-billion (U.S.) in aid promised by rich world’s leaders last year, but a rather more modest start of $880-million from four countries — including Canada — and Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist.

“Even if this is all that happens, this is a super-good thing,” said Mr. Gates, who has added germinating a new green revolution to his foundation’s far-reaching efforts on malaria and AIDS in the developing world.

“Canada, Spain, South Korea and the U.S. are stepping up,” said Mr. Gates, the founder of Microsoft, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will pay $30-million into the new Global Food Security Trust Fund.

Mr. Gates said it was time for other countries to make good on the vague pledges of $22-billion for global food security made by the rich world’s leaders at last year’s G8 and G20 summits.

“Canada is pleased to be among the first to help fund such a valuable program,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in a statement. “Our $230-million contribution builds on Canada’s ongoing efforts to improve sustainable agriculture for the world’s poorest.

(more…)

First Nations protest against HST

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Everyone else in Ontario should be joining the native people in protest as well – and thanking them for their efforts in raising awareness on the Hated Sales Tax. Natives, too may be interested to know that the HST also threatens what economic sovereignty Canada has left as it will harmonize Canadian tax regimes with those of the EU’s VAT system – and soon, the USA as well if this hydra isn’t stopped. And Mulroney will have a gravelly laugh at our expense as his evil plan finally comes to fruition.

Flashback: Canadian taxes fastest-growing expense: Report | BC Govt, Anti-HST Campaigners Dispute Legality of Pro-HST Leaflet | Electricity rates surge in Ontario | Up to 50,000 protest Charest’s tax hikes | Paul Volcker: VAT, Carbon taxes may be necessary | Nova Scotia budget hikes HST rate | Thousands protest Quebec budget | HST legislation introduced in B.C. | Facing years of deficits, Ontario freezes wages | Former premier Bill Vander Zalm rallies against the HST in BC | Ontario tax collectors get $45K severance, keep jobs in HST federalization deal | Athens erupts as Greek austerity plan passes | HST ad campaign debuts in Ontario | Ont. deficit could linger for years: McGuinty | HST bill passes, 13% tax starts July 1 | Poll: HST equals Hated Sales Tax | Anti-HST protest at Ontario legislature spills onto Toronto streets | Tories, Liberals, Bloc approve HST for Ontario and B.C.

CBC News
April 22, 2010

Ontario aboriginal leaders say tax will cost them millions

More than 200 frustrated First Nations demonstrators converged on downtown Toronto Thursday to protest controversial plans by the federal and provincial governments to harmonize the goods and services tax with the Ontario sales tax.

They carried banners and posters saying, “Honour our treaties” and “Stop treaty violations.”

The protest began at Queen’s Park in the morning then moved to Yonge-Dundas Square in the afternoon.

Some managed to get passes and enter the visitors’ gallery at the provincial legislature. Others cranked up their drum beat a notch so members of the legislature inside would get the message.

Ontario aboriginal leaders say the harmonized sales tax (HST) will rob them of a point-of-sale exemption on the provincial portion of the merged tax.

“I came to support all my people and to stop the wrongful things going on,” Nikeeta Tabobondung said at the legislature Thursday. From the Wasauksing First Nation near Georgian Bay, Tabobondung arrived wearing a T-shirt that read: “HST equals violation of mine and my baby’s treaty rights.”

A report commissioned by the Chiefs of Ontario suggests that it would cost First Nations between $85 million and $120 million in the first year of the HST and that the cost would increase each year.

(more…)

The Obama Banking Regulation: Big Banks Are Too Politically Connected to Fail

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

An interesting op-ed from a coalition of little banks.

Flashback: Obama scolds Wall Street for fighting reform, pushes new regulation package | Obama urges Senate to hand total oversight of financial sector to Federal Reserve, eliminate ‘Reserve’ part | Bernanke Pushes to Keep Regulation Power as Some Senators Waver | The Federal Reserve as Giant Counterfeiter | Bankers unite against Barack Obama and Gordon Brown in call for world regulation | Banks find gaping loophole in Obama financial reforms | Obama talking tough with banks | Wall Street’s leading bankers admit: we made mistakes | Obama ponders bank transaction levy to recoup bailout shortfalls | Explosive Leaked Emails Expose Treasury Secretary Geithner’s Deception in ‘Backdoor Bailout’ | US Bankers Get $4 Trillion Gift From Barney Frank | Financial reform bill passes U.S. House | Taibbi: Obama’s sellout to Wall Street creates ‘permanent bailout’ | Americans Deserve a Transparent Federal Reserve | Bernanke continues pressing for sweeping new powers for Fed | Federal Reserve Appeals Order to Disclose Emergency Bank Loans | Judge Orders Federal Reserve To Disclose Who Received Bailout Trillions | Geithner lambastes US economic watchdogs resistant to planned transfer of powers to Federal Reserve | Obama Regulatory Reform Plan Officially Establishes Banking Dictatorship In United States | Obama unveils overhaul of financial system oversight | Federal Reserve To Be Given Sweeping New Powers | Top Senate Democrat: bankers “own” the U.S. Congress | Wall Street’s Big Takeover | Geithner Said to Have Prevailed on the Bailout | Banks won’t say where U.S. bailout money going | Paulson, Bernanke defend change of plan: $700-billion now to be given directly to banks | Congress Accuses Federal Reserve Bagman Of Bailout “Bait and Switch” During Angry Hearing | U.S. government won’t use bailout fund to buy troubled assets | Behind the panic: Financial warfare over the future of global bank power | Goldman-Sachs Alumni Hold Reins of Financial System | Treasury’s Plan Would Give Fed Wide New Power | Financial ’super cop’ role for Fed

Eric Sandberg, Mason County News
April 22, 2010

The Obama Administration and Democratic Congressional leaders are misleading the American public. Their financial regulatory reform bill, which could soon reach the Senate floor, is promoted as protecting consumers from fat cat bankers. Unfortunately, the bill takes aim at the wrong parties and comes down against the state’s traditional community banks–the ones that did not cause the economic mess in the first place–and exempts most of the investment bank and broker dealer activities that were responsible for the financial collapse.

In touting their bill, proponents have made several statements that, upon further analysis, are misrepresenting the legislation. For example:

  • Proponents say the bill will prevent future bailouts. As passed by the Senate Banking Committee, the bill allows for endless taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street banks. Currently, there is a provision in the bill that would create a $50 billion resolution fund to pay for the liquidation of at-risk organizations.
  • Proponents say the bill will put an end to “Too Big to Fail.” While it addresses “Too Big to Fail,” the bill still leaves loopholes for the government to prop up faltering institutions it deems to be systemically important. Any big banks in the future with connections, like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Goldman Sachs, could lobby Washington to bail them out.

(more…)

Obama scolds Wall Street for fighting reform, pushes new regulation package

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Hands up, anyone who believes Obama is seriously going after one of his main campaign contributor. (There was an article in McClatchy just yesterday about how the Goldman CEO was at the white house twice last year, and how Obama’s administration is full of former Goldman execs.) Anyways – see here and in the links below for some of the details Reuters and the CBC aren’t telling you about this bill. Banks have already found a massive loophole in the ‘Volcker Rule’. Three of the main talking points are that the Dodd bill will 1) regulate the derivatives market, 2) establish a ‘consumer protection agency’ for buyers of mortgages and investment products, and 3) create a council to detect threats to the financial system. So the impact on the business of the largest banks will be minimal, and control of banks will be further centralized in the hands of top central bankers. We might expect that this regulation, then, is a shadow play for the electorate, “a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Flashback: Obama urges Senate to hand total oversight of financial sector to Federal Reserve, eliminate ‘Reserve’ part | Bernanke Pushes to Keep Regulation Power as Some Senators Waver | The Federal Reserve as Giant Counterfeiter | Bankers unite against Barack Obama and Gordon Brown in call for world regulation | Banks find gaping loophole in Obama financial reforms | Obama talking tough with banks | Wall Street’s leading bankers admit: we made mistakes | Obama ponders bank transaction levy to recoup bailout shortfalls | Explosive Leaked Emails Expose Treasury Secretary Geithner’s Deception in ‘Backdoor Bailout’ | US Bankers Get $4 Trillion Gift From Barney Frank | Financial reform bill passes U.S. House | Taibbi: Obama’s sellout to Wall Street creates ‘permanent bailout’ | Americans Deserve a Transparent Federal Reserve | Bernanke continues pressing for sweeping new powers for Fed | Federal Reserve Appeals Order to Disclose Emergency Bank Loans | Judge Orders Federal Reserve To Disclose Who Received Bailout Trillions | Geithner lambastes US economic watchdogs resistant to planned transfer of powers to Federal Reserve | Obama Regulatory Reform Plan Officially Establishes Banking Dictatorship In United States | Obama unveils overhaul of financial system oversight | Federal Reserve To Be Given Sweeping New Powers | Top Senate Democrat: bankers “own” the U.S. Congress | Wall Street’s Big Takeover | Geithner Said to Have Prevailed on the Bailout | Banks won’t say where U.S. bailout money going | Paulson, Bernanke defend change of plan: $700-billion now to be given directly to banks | Congress Accuses Federal Reserve Bagman Of Bailout “Bait and Switch” During Angry Hearing | U.S. government won’t use bailout fund to buy troubled assets | Behind the panic: Financial warfare over the future of global bank power | Goldman-Sachs Alumni Hold Reins of Financial System | Treasury’s Plan Would Give Fed Wide New Power | Financial ’super cop’ role for Fed

Caren Bohan, Reuters
April 22, 2010

NEW YORK – President Barack Obama scolded Wall Street Thursday for its “furious efforts” to fight tighter regulation, saying the United States was doomed to another financial crisis if reforms were not implemented

With confidence growing at the White House that Congress will approve restrictions on how big banks operate, Democratic Leader Harry Reid set a vote for Monday evening that could clear the way for a U.S. Senate debate on the overhaul.

In a speech in New York attended by several Wall Street executives, Obama blamed the financial meltdown and the recession that followed on a “failure of responsibility” by both Washington and Wall Street.

His speech offered no new policy but tapped into public fury at big banks and pushed a Democratic regulatory reform bill that is gaining traction in the Senate after months of voluble opposition by the Republican minority.

“A free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it,” Obama said. “One of the most significant contributors to this recession was a financial crisis as dire as any we’ve known in generations.”

He said the legislation would significantly improve the current flawed regulatory structure, “despite the furious efforts of industry lobbyists” to try to weaken it.

(more…)

Israel to go with East Jerusalem construction

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Flashback: Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu climbs down on expansion over US demands for peace | US-Israel relations: White House ‘will not shy away’ from pushing for talks | Canada ‘regrets’ Israeli settlements

The Associated Press
April 22, 2010

Aides to Israel’s prime minister said Thursday that he has officially rejected U.S. President Barack Obama’s demand to suspend all construction in East Jerusalem, a move that threatens to entrench a year-old deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

The aides said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his government’s position to Obama over the weekend, ahead of the scheduled arrival later Thursday of the U.S. president’s special Mideast envoy, George Mitchell. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the contact between the two leaders was private.

Washington had put Mitchell’s shuttle diplomacy on hold for more than a month as it awaited a reply from Israel. Aides to Netanyahu provided no information on whether the Israeli leader had offered any other concessions to the Palestinians in an effort to restart the long-stalled talks.

But with Israel eager to ease tensions with its closest and most important ally, it appeared likely the Jewish state tempered its rejection with other confidence building gestures toward the Palestinians.

The status of East Jerusalem, home to shrines sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, is the most emotionally fraught issue dividing Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinians claim the city’s eastern sector as the capital of a future state, but Netanyahu has insisted repeatedly that Israel will retain control of the entire city as its capital.

Israel and the Palestinians had been set to launch U.S.-mediated negotiations last month when Israel announced plans during a visit by Vice-President Joe Biden to build 1,600 homes in a Jewish housing project in East Jerusalem.

(more…)

Greek civil servants strike, challenge EU/IMF talks

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Rebelling against your new masters so soon?

Flashback: Soros warns Europe of disintegration | Investors rush to sell Greek bonds | IMF struggles to conceal glee at Greek deal | Greece secures joint IMF/Eurozone bailout program | Greek PM threatens to go to IMF if no EU bailout | General strike cripples Greece as protesters clash with police | Athens erupts as Greek austerity plan passes | Greece unveils radical austerity package | Athen’s coffers to run dry in two weeks, more cracks appear in Eurozone | Man who broke the Bank of England, George Soros, ‘at centre of hedge funds plot to cash in on fall of the euro’ | Goldman role in Greek crisis probed | Greek workers stage general strike | How EU Countries Cooked Books Using Derivatives | Goldman Sachs Helped Greece Obscure Debt Through Currency Swaps | Collapse of the euro is ‘inevitable’: Bailing out the Greek economy futile, says French banking chief | Euro currency union shows strains | Stimulating our way into debt crises | EU leaders reach secret Greek bailout deal | Will Greece set off ‘global debt bomb’? | EU cautions Greece about its deficit | Could Greece drag down Europe? | ‘Significant chance’ of second financial crisis, warns World Economic Forum | A world awash in debt

Renee Maltezou, Ingrid Melander, Reuters
April 22, 2010

ATHENS – Tens of thousands of Greek civil servants will strike on Thursday to protest against austerity measures and press the government not to agree to further cuts as it discusses an aid package with the EU and IMF.

Doctors, nurses, teachers, tax officials and others will stop work, paralyzing public services, while thousands are expected to march to parliament at midday as European and IMF officials meet for talks that could lead to a financial bailout.

They will protest against European Union-backed measures including public wage cuts, a pensions freeze and tax hikes taken by the government to try to pull Greece out of a severe fiscal crisis that has shaken markets worldwide.

“These blood-thirsty measures won’t help Greece exit the crisis. A tragic period begins,” said Ilias Iliopoulos, secretary general of public sector union ADEDY, which represents half a million workers.

Many in Greece fear strings attached to the 40-45 billion euro aid package, if the cash-strapped nation decides to tap it, will hit living standards in a country where one in five lives below the poverty threshold, according to EU data.

“With the IMF’s involvement the situation will become a lot worse,” Iliopoulos told Reuters. “They will ask for more measures, more cuts, they will raise retirement age limits, they will cut pensions and fire people.”

The socialist government, which has been pressured by markets and EU policymakers for months to tidy up its finances, has vowed to go ahead with the reforms it has announced over the past months but also said there would be no additional austerity measures this year.

(more…)