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The “Other Colombia,” And The Blindness Of The Urban Elite


When the well-meaning environmental concerns of city folk clash with the lives of the poor and indigenous who inhabit South America’s rain forests and mining territory.

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(Moto-gundy)

BOGOTA – Uprisings have grown more frequent in the large swaths of Colombian territory inhabited by indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant communities. Discontent is spreading among this nation’s various hunters, gatherers, herders, loggers, fishermen and seasonal farmers.

Some analysts have predicted that our own “Arab Spring” could rise up from these places, which have the highest values of water and biodiversity in the world. It would be an unprecedented environmental boiling point.

These are the areas that make up that “Other Colombia” that people in the urban centers do not understand. And now it has become a security concern. We do not have sound integration policies or a development plan adapted for a diversity of backgrounds. For the most part, these are communities that lose their adaptive viability in the face of cultural and economic changes that come with modernity.

The secular “buenos vivideros,” or good living, areas become pockets of poverty, conflict and displacement. Almost all lifestyles in transition in these distant and secluded regions constitute some sort of illegality. The use of forestry, which continues to take place, is less acceptable to the increasingly educated urban centers. The exploitation of wildlife is stigmatized, but without any alternatives. For example, continental fishing is a sector the state has abandoned.

GDP is not everything

When the government starts to heed the cry against criminal mining, which occurs without economic alternatives in some places, it begins to feed discontent. While this practice is destroying jungles and rivers, we would be entering a new conflict without having emerged from others. This issue has to do with the fact that Colombia does not have a proposal for sustainable development in the occupied border territories.

In fact, Colombia does not understand its own territory. With the rainy season of 2011, an official said with satisfaction that the “damn Niña” — as Colombia President Juan Santos called it — “had not altered the GDP.” But the “Other Colombia” does not benefit from this GDP in the same way. Our officials, with some exceptions, simply cannot conceive that these parts of the country have their own identity, and often very different benchmarks.

It will not be a peaceful Colombia if we city folk value only conservation and fail to recognize that people have lived in this vast space for a long time. The protection of natural resources coupled with local benefits could be part of the solution. And yet, the current development plan prescribes agriculture for the barren lands without offering an alternative for their inhabitants. As Professor Julio Carrizosa has said, “Our institutions are excessively simple-minded in the face of the territories’ complexity.”

We declare millions of hectares as communal lands, but we leave them in a profound, institutional abandon. The Humboldt Institute, which counts on a program for the use of biodiversity, can barely become a scientific witness to the decline of those lifestyles. A “Marshall Plan” is needed to revitalize the Colombia of the forests, floodplain rivers, swamps, rain forests, natural grasslands and extensive mountain areas. It would represent a national commitment to culture, environment and security.

The national government could create a commission of academics and locals to propose a vision. We need a recipe for integration that is sustainable and worthy of Colombia’s minorities, who hold the vast majority of the territory.

via The “Other Colombia,” And The Blindness Of The Urban Elite – All News Is Global |.

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Kyiv’s Ukraina mall seeks $15 million from former managers linked to Irish ex-billionaire Sean Quinn Sr.


The Ukraina shopping mall‘s management alleged that some $15 million was illegally transferred from accounts in an asset stripping scheme implemented by Laryssa Yanez Puga, the former manager, and “her close allies.”

Management at Kyiv’s lucrative Ukraina shopping mall announced it will demand $15 million in compensation that it says was illegally transferred in 2010-2012 by Laryssa Yanez Puga, Ukraina’s former manager, and up to ten of her “close allies,” a press release said.

via Kyiv’s Ukraina mall seeks $15 million from former managers linked to Irish ex-billionaire Sean Quinn Sr..

What Goldman Sachs Stands For.


Goldman Sachs Has Already Cannibalized the Economy

Two very different views of what Goldman Sachs stands for. 

How Goldman Sachs sees itself as

–an “enduring brand;”

–the best investment company;

–highly rated;

–“our clients’ interests always come first;”

–“a set of core values;”

–a match between cultures and behaviors;

–self-renewing;

–“greedy, but long-term greedy;”

–now “greedy, but short-term greedy”  (i.e., greedy all the time!)

How we see Goldman Sachs

–predatory;

–parasitical;

–casino capitalists;

–crooked;

–too big to jail; too big to fail;

–fraudulent;

–criminal;

–high rollers;

–screwer of public sector;

–financial oligarchs;

–funder of corporate raiders;

— supporter of takeover artists;

–gamblers;

–a rip-off of the system

via Goldman Sachs: Information, Comments, Opinions and Facts: Goldman Sachs Has Already Cannibalized the Economy.

via Goldman Sachs: Information, Comments, Opinions and Facts: Goldman Sachs Has Already Cannibalized the Economy.

Mobile phones cause rise in disruptive behaviour in UK schools!


The days of dscipline in UK classrooms has gone and been replaced by groups of disruptive zombies pressing buttons on mobile phones and other gadgets.

Clickety click can be very disruptive!

Teachers in the UK are complaining about the uprise in such behaviour because they cannot concentrate on pressing their own buttons whilst attempting to give lessons in clicking buttons.

One secondary school headmistress, Penelope-Primrose Hyacinth, told a certain tabloid newspaper that comes up in the morning (if you’re lucky) and sinks very deep in the evening, how it is in modern classrooms these days:

“The silence in only interrupted by the irritating sound of communial clicking including the teachers. The only thing that disturbs the clicking sound is the bell ringing for a break, which everybody strangely hears. Then there is a sudden rush outside for a puff on a fag, joint or swallowing pills, but annoyingly the clicking even continues during such activites.”

“Thank the Lord we have Wikipedia otherwise the little urchins wouldn’t learn a thing!”

Also on the uprise, are parents who are concerned about the disruptive behaviour of their little darlings. Instead of booking themselves in for rehab to kick the habit, they are booking places for their offspring so at least they can spend some quality time together doing something they both enjoy!

More as we click it…

via The Spoof : Mobile phones cause rise in disruptive behaviour in UK schools! funny satire story.

via The Spoof : Mobile phones cause rise in disruptive behaviour in UK schools! funny satire story.

Goldman Sachs and the Financial “Factory Bank”


As banking continues to financialize the economies of the world, we will see more and more evidence of how the power that financializtion brings will be revealed; for example, when finance becomes the major player in the economy, then everything has a “bottom line” and profits will be the key motivation and all other economic activity, especially public activity,  will take second place.

When we know the rules of finance (Profit at all Cost), then we can better understand why other things, like public art become less important.  Agriculture and manufacturing become secondary also.  All Value is reduced “either into a financial instrument or a derivative of a financial instrument.”

“Workers, through a financial instrument such as a mortgage, could trade their promise of future work/wages for a home. Financialization of risk-sharing makes all insurance possible, the financialization of the U.S. Government‘s promises (bonds) makes all deficit spending possible. Financialization also makes economic rents possible.”  (Wikipedia). . . .

Michael Hudson described financialization as “a lapse back into the pre-industrial usury and rent economy of European feudalism” in a 2003 interview:[3]

“only debts grew exponentially, year after year, and they do so inexorably, even when–indeed, especially when–the economy slows down and its companies and people fall below break-even levels. As their debts grow, they siphon off the economic surplus for debt service (…) The problem is that the financial sector’s receipts are not turned into fixed capital formation to increase output. They build up increasingly on the opposite side of the balance sheet, as new loans, that is, debts and new claims on society’s output and income.

[Companies] are not able to invest in new physical capital equipment or buildings because they are obliged to use their operating revenue to pay their bankers and bondholders, as well as junk-bond holders. This is what I mean when I say that the economy is becoming financialized. Its aim is not to provide tangible capital formation or rising living standards, but to generate interest, financial fees for underwriting mergers and acquisitions, and capital gains that accrue mainly to insiders, headed by upper management and large financial institutions. The upshot is that the traditional business cycle has been overshadowed by a secular increase in debt. Instead of labor earning more, hourly earnings have declined in real terms. There has been a drop in net disposable income after paying taxes and withholding “forced saving” for social Security and medical insurance, pension-fund contributions and–most serious of all–debt service on credit cards, bank loans, mortgage loans, student loans, auto loans, home insurance premiums, life insurance, private medical insurance and other FIRE-sector charges. … This diverts spending away from goods and services. (Wikipedia)

We can see the effects that financialiation has on citizens as unemployent increases, wages and salaries decrease or stagnate and, finally, the rise of things like “factory banking” which is described below.  There will be more financial crises and disasters to come.

via Goldman Sachs: Information, Comments, Opinions and Facts.

via Goldman Sachs: Information, Comments, Opinions and Facts.

Conference: Ireland’s Natural Resources – NOT FOR SALE


Irelandʼs Natural Resources

NOT FOR SALE Conference Sun 10 March, 11.30 – 6pm, Gresham Hotel, Dublin

Hosted By Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit

Leinster House, Kildare St, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 6183366

Speakers Include: Dr Helge Ryggvik (Norwegian Economic Historian), Catherine Murphy TD, Jessica Ernst (Canadian Scientist Living Fracked), Frank Connolly (Author of SIPTU produced Optimising Ireland’s Natural Resources), Stein Bredal (Norwegian former Oil Worker), Andrew St Leger (Woodlands League), Cllr Brid Smith (People Before Profit),Padraing Campbell (Former Oil Rig Worker), Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party), Maura Harrington (Shell to Sea), Pat “The Chief” O Donnell (Fisherman Porturlin Co Mayo)

View Conference Timetable here: PBP Nat Recources Timetable

Full Leaflet here: PBP Nat Resources Conference

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/452984951434692/

The Irish government is giving away our natural resources. Oil and Gas exploration licences have been handed out to big multi nationals under terms that mean the Irish people do not gain jobs, a revenue stream or security of supply. Practices with serious environmental consequences, such as fracking, are not ruled out under law. The harvesting rights to our forests are about to be sold to the highest bidder. This threatens access rights of the Irish people to walk in our forests and endangers the sustainability of our woodlands as they will be exploited for quick sale of timber. Our water is about to be privatised. The rst move has been to transfer the administration of the water services to a new semi state Irish Water and next year water charges will be introduced. When water was privatised in the north of England, the area experienced its first ever water shortages!

Fishing in Ireland has been destroyed by huge multi-national trawlers, aided and abetted by EU quota regulations, plundering our waters. What we need is a sustainable sheries policy that protects the livelihoods of small shermen and allows local shing industry to ourish creating jobs and protecting a valuable natural resource.

The mismanagement and privatisation of our natural resources has a detrimental impact on the environment, jobs and our economy. Decisions are regularly made with regards to our natural resources without any public consultations, which are required under EU law. There is no serious plan for a programme of major public investment to develop renewable energies.

Ireland is in an unprecedented economic crisis. Our natural resources have enormous potential for jobs and economic growth as would a national project to develop renewable energies.

We must act now to change the policy of facilitating multi nationals in their pursuit of prots which is undermining our economy and the environment.

Come along to our conference on Sun 10 March 11.30 – 18.00 in The Gresham Hotel, O Connell Street, Dublin 1

Booking Tel: 01 618 3366 Email: NaturalResourcesConference@gmail.com

via Conference: Ireland’s Natural Resources – NOT FOR SALE | Shell to Sea.

via Conference: Ireland’s Natural Resources – NOT FOR SALE | Shell to Sea.

Welcome to the downward spiral!


Despite the continued ‘green shoots’ talk, recovery seems increasingly far away.

It does not take a genius or even an economist to realise that we are in fact in the depths of a major depression, which is continuing to worsen. The mainstream media, especially the USA media 90% of which is owned by just 6 corporations, continues to talk up a recovery but this is pure hyperbole that an intelligent person should be able to see through.

Peak oil pundits have suggested that the effects of hitting the plateaux would be like a car that keeps stalling each time it gets into second gear. This crude analogy seems to be entirely appropriate – attempts to kick start the western economies have short-lived and limited effects because the underlying problem of relatively high production and employment costs will not go away. This is exacerbated by the high price of oil, which itself feeds into the increasingly high prices of basic commodities such as food and minerals.

So now rather than peak oil, we might be finding ourselves in a situation of peak everything! As prices rise and debt levels too the printing of more money (quantative easing) makes the situation worse by devaluing currency, making everything even more expensive, fuelling even higher inflation and continuing to reduce the buying power of every individual’s pay packet.

Economies with cheap labour and an abundance of resources (e.g. China) have done very well due to the imbalance between their production costs and those of western economies. However, as the western powers lose their buying power and people increasingly focus on necessities instead of luxuries, they too may well be affected. With a collapse in its export market China may not have a sufficiently strong local or domestic market to continue its expansion and any fiat currency based system of commerce that is not expanding is in crisis.

So what does the future hold? Simple household economics will tell you that if you don’t have enough money to cover your costs then you have to cut your spending until it is equal to or less than your household income. Using myself as a perfect example – I have relatively well paid professional employment but I have remained on the same salary to 5 years.

In truth my static salary has led to a reduction in income, in part due to inflation but also due to rises in taxes. So in order to compensate for this reduction I have had to reduce my household spending by finding better deals (e.g. cheaper insurance), providing essentials myself (food and fuel) or by simply cutting certain items from my monthly budget.

I’d consider myself fortunate that I am able to continue with my life pretty much as normal after accepting some cutbacks and adjustments. Many millions of people are not half so fortunate. In the western economies millions of people are defaulting on their debts, losing their homes and falling into poverty. Elsewhere the situation is far worse – in Egypt for instance most families spend 80% of their income just on food!

All indications are that this depression is far from over, in fact it looks set to become increasing severe in the years ahead. This situation may be exacerbated further by the currency wars that have begun and indeed by the real proxy wars between the main rival blocks (NATO and SCO) taking place in Africa and Arabia as I write.

Given this grim outlook I would consider it wise to be prepared for the worst, although I am ever hopeful that we might escape the worst case scenarios predicted by some commentators. If you can – pay off your debts; save some money as physical cash or metals; reduce your outgoings on unnecessary expenditure; become more self-sufficient. Even if things do not turn out as bad as predicted – cutting away self-indulgence and becoming more self-reliant are positive steps towards gaining more control over your own life – something worth doing even if a financial collapse is not coming.

Luke Eastwood is a writer and horticulturist living in Ireland,

Related Link: http://www.lukeeastwood.com

via Welcome to the downward spiral! – Indymedia Ireland.

via Welcome to the downward spiral! – Indymedia Ireland.

Pictorial Religious themes 11– I Created the Earth


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

they-get-their-own-special-place

 

 

CREATION

Where was the use, originally, in rushing this whole globe through in six days? It is likely that if more time had been taken in the first place, the world would have been made right, and this ceaseless improving and repairing would not be necessary now. But if you hurry a world or a house, you are nearly sure to find out by and by that you have left out a towhead, or a broom-closet, or some other little convenience, here and there, which has got to be supplied, no matter how much expense or vexation it may cost.
Life on the Mississippi – Mark Twain

 

A ‘Newly-Created’ Position FOR Gilmore’s Wife


The newly created position was filled last week without any public any public advertisement or recruitment process. Miss [Carol] Hanney (top) will continue to enjoy her current salary scale, which starts at €91,765.’

Previously: Gilmore Wife Got €525,000 For School Site Now Worth Just €100,000

 

via A ‘Newly-Created’ Position | Broadsheet.ie.

via A ‘Newly-Created’ Position | Broadsheet.ie.

Miss Ireland Knows


I heard it on the radio

That we’re improvised once again

I heard it on the radio

That

Miss Ireland knows

The country is short on dough

Cause she can’t buy

Any clothes

Oh

Miss Ireland Knows

The boys from sprout are here to foreclose

And move us to a land undisclosed

And those that stay will have to pay

A penal penalty dear

For Miss Ireland knows

The country is short on dough

Cause she can’t buy any clothes

Oh Miss Island knows

The Govermnent calls on the Telephone

Ireland calling sprout Zone

Ireland calling

The meltdown has come

Fill the bowl

Fill the bowl

For the money is gone

And the Tombstones of the poor

Have disappeared

To be sold in Kenmare

For miss Ireland knows

The country is short on dough

Cause she can’t buy any clothes

Oh

Miss Ireland knows

The men are drinking pints of bitter tears

And tasting the ashes of decay and arrears

Verbalizing into unhearing ears

Coursing through their veins are cries of desperation

Witnessing the closing doors of desolation

Oh how the river cascades full of trials and tribulations

Oh how the river flows

Deep down in their souls

They know fear is on the march

For they are afflicted by a fiscal tightrope

From whose scorn their is no hope

Can they escape to grow old?

Without the serfdom of being controlled

Let’s have revolution

Let’s have a new constitution

Let’s flee through the trap door

To find the allure

Of The elusive Cote D’Or

All that my friends

Is true

For

Miss Ireland knows

The country is short on dough

Cause she can’t buy

Any clothss

Oh

Miss Ireland  Knows

‘There are weeks I can’t put food on the table’ –


 

THE FINANCIAL difficulties of middle-income families who bought their home during the property boom have been highlighted by the wife of a Garda sergeant in a letter to a number of Government ministers.

The woman describes how a €1,400 monthly mortgage payment on a four-bedroom semi-detached family home bought seven years ago along with the repeated cuts to her husband’s wages have left them “living a nightmare”.

“. . . There are weeks when I can’t put food on the table. I call them ‘cornflakes days’ when all we eat all day is cornflakes . . .”

The woman wrote that even though her eldest child got enough points to go to a prestigious college they couldn’t afford the fees: “Imagine how upsetting that is?”

The letter – unsigned to protect her husband’s identity – was written after a Mabs (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) adviser had offered to refer the couple to the St Vincent de Paul Society for assistance.

Her husband has gross earnings of more than €65,000 – including allowances and unsocial hours coverage. After tax, Universal Social Charge, pension, health insurance, mortgage and utility deductions, a typical weekly payslip shows a net payment of €109.

By the Mabs analysis, however, the weekly household budget was running a deficit of nearly €300 and there appeared to be no means of reducing it.

The woman wrote that she and her husband “have no savings, no holiday homes, no fancy cars. We have never done anything to put ourselves at risk, only move house to have an extra bedroom . . . We live in constant terror of the washing machine breaking down or the car . . . If it wasn’t for my mother bailing us out all the time, we would be right under.”

A spokesman for the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar said the woman had been in regular correspondence with the minister. “He understands that her husband is in secure public sector employment but they bought their home at the height of the boom and are struggling to pay a large mortgage on reduced pay.” He hoped she would be “able to resolve her financial problems with [the] assistance of Mabs and others.”

via ‘There are weeks I can’t put food on the table’ – The Irish Times – Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

via ‘There are weeks I can’t put food on the table’ – The Irish Times – Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

Bankrupt builder who owed €1bn back living in his former home


A TOP Irish developer who went bankrupt two years ago is living back in his former home in west Cork at weekends after his son-in-law bought back the property.

John Fleming looks set to become the first major Irish developer to make a dramatic recovery after writing off massive personal debts. His property empire collapsed in 2010 owing €1bn.

Mr Fleming, once one of Ireland’s top builders and a prominent supporter of Fianna Fail, led the way two years ago when he went bankrupt in Britain.

The one-time property baron was discharged from this bankruptcy last November after just a year. Under Irish law he would have had to wait up to 12 years.

An investigation by the Irish Independent has revealed that Mr Fleming now lives back in his former home in West Cork, when he is in Ireland after his son-in-law bought the house.

Mr Fleming has been seen regularly at his former home near Butlerstown in recent months. A son-in-law, John O’Brien, is thought to have bought the home back into the family by paying €250,000 for the house and six acres of land near Bandon.

Mr O’Brien is married to John Fleming’s daughter Linda.

According to a local property valuer, at the peak of the boom the property would have been worth over €600,000.

via Bankrupt builder who owed €1bn back living in his former home – National News – Independent.ie.

via Bankrupt builder who owed €1bn back living in his former home – National News – Independent.ie.

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