Category: corporate crime
Trump recognized millions of Americans live in despair, Democrats did not – Sanders

https://www.rt.com/usa/367320-sanders-trump-democratic-reforms/

Former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a Capitol Hill rally in Washington, DC, U.S. November 17, 2016 © Carlos Barria
Senator Bernie Sanders says he’s ready to work with President-elect Donald Trump to crack down on corporate greed, but won’t give an inch on bigotry. Democrats lost because they ignored the plight of workers and must address that to recover, Sanders said.

Sanders, who mounted a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination but lost out to Hillary Clinton, is on a whirlwind tour of Washington, DC this week, promoting his new book, Our Revolution. On Wednesday, the Senate Democrats appointed him Chair of Outreach, seeking to repair the party still reeling from last week’s defeat in the general election.

“Donald Trump won the election for a number of reasons. But one of the reasons that he won is, in my view, the failure of the Democratic Party that must be rectified,” Sanders told a rally outside the US Capitol on Thursday.

While Trump recognized that “there are millions of people today – working-class people, middle-class people, low-income people – who are living in despair” and turning to alcohol, drugs and suicide, the Democrats did not, Sanders argued.

“Facts are facts. When you lose the White House to the least popular candidate in history of America, when you lose the Senate, when you lose the House, and when two-thirds of governors in this country are Republicans, it is time for a new direction for the Democratic Party,” said the independent senator from Vermont.

The “People’s Rally,” organized by a number of groups that backed Sanders in the Democratic primaries, called for economic, environmental and social justice in the face of a Republican president-elect and a GOP-dominated Congress.

Earlier in the day, at a press breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Sanders said he would be willing to work with Trump if he cracked down on corporations that have exploited and abandoned American workers.

“If Mr. Trump has the guts to stand up to those corporations, he will have an ally with me,” Sanders said, adding he doubted the president-elect would actually do so. Democrats need to “tell corporate America you cannot keep running all over the world… searching for cheap labor while you destroy the working class of this country,” he added.

Trump won because he “talked about a collapsing middle class in America,” said Sanders. “He is right.”

During the rally outside the Capitol, however, Sanders blasted Trump for being “dangerously wrong” on climate change, and warned the president-elect that Democrats would not give up their social justice causes.

“There is an area where we will not compromise of one iota. We will not compromise on the issues of racism, on sexism, or xenophobia and Islamophobia,” he declared. “We have struggled to move forward and have made real success in making this country a less discriminatory society. We should be proud of the progress we have made. Donald Trump, we are not going back!”

Trump’s election – a scream from the swamp of alienation created by liberal America

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/366883-trump-liberal-us-split/

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump © Mike Segar
The protests that have erupted across the US in response to Donald Trump becoming the country’s 45th president are unprecedented and could well be a harbinger of a society irretrievably split and polarized as a result of his election.

The label ‘fascist’ was firmly attached to Donald Trump by his detractors throughout a campaign for the White House during which nativism, bigotry and xenophobia was unleashed. His pledge to place a moratorium on Muslims coming into the United States, to deport millions of illegal Mexican immigrants, and to build a giant wall on the US border with its southern neighbor in order to control immigration was the equivalent of a political hand grenade being let off in a society proud of its respect for freedom of religion, tolerance, and its racial and ethnic diversity.

READ MORE: Nationwide anti-Trump protests rock the US

In less than a year of his participating in the country’s political process, Trump has, his critics believe, succeeded in rolling back the progress made by previous generations in a hard-fought struggle against racial, gender, and religious discrimination. He has legitimized white supremacy and succeeded in sowing the kind of social divisions that are consonant with a society teetering on the edge of implosion.

But surely then the question needs to be asked: if one candidate in one election year is capable of ripping up cultural values considered so entrenched and universal, that Washington decided the rest of the world should also live by those values, up to the point of forcing the issue with cruise missiles, F-15s, and Apache helicopter gunships, how strongly entrenched were they in America in the first place?

Trump represents a backlash against a liberal establishment that had become so fixated with identity politics it refused to tackle a growing ocean of alienation and poverty across large swathes of the country. The likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton presented themselves as leaders in touch with the needs and struggles of the common man, while in truth worshiping at the altar of the free market, cozying up to Wall Street and corporate America in service to the hegemony of neoliberal economics – that extreme variant of capitalism under which the market is accorded a mystical, almost divine-like status.

It is an economic system that acts as a tyrant over the lives of the mass of people rather than one that serves their needs, producing a race to the bottom involving workers around the world competing for the crumbs from the table of an multinational corporate dictatorship that in its ability to destroy or raise living standards arrogated to itself more power than most governments.

The result in the US was manufacturing jobs that once provided a decent income and a sense of dignity and worth in working class communities being exported abroad to China, Mexico, Vietnam, and elsewhere in the Global South. They were replaced by low paid jobs in the new service economy, forcing people to take two even three jobs just in order to survive. And they were the fortunate ones. For far too many Americans joblessness and under-employment became the new normal, leading to the creation of a vast underclass of people across the country’s rust belt seething with hatred for a liberal elite in Washington and on either coast.

With such obscene levels of inequality, alienation, and poverty being the fate of a growing section of the population, exacerbated by the worst economic recession since the 1930s, caused by the ineffable greed of those at the top of this grotesque income scale, something had to give. That something was the election of Donald J. Trump as president, a billionaire with no prior political experience but a disdain for the political correctness and identity politics associated with Washington.

However here a note of caution needs to be struck, one that comes to us from history. For just as the collapse of the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1930s under similar conditions of economic depression and dislocation gave way to fascism, so the collapse of the liberal order in our time has given way not to international brotherhood and solidarity as the dominant narrative of a denuded and disaffected working class across national, religious, ethnic, or cultural differences, but to nationalism, white supremacy, xenophobia, and the rise and spread of racism.

All across Europe we are witnessing the rise of the far right – in Ukraine, Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, and elsewhere the ideology of ‘we ourselves’ has filled the space opened up by the collapse of the liberal center ground. Brexit in the UK is merely its British manifestation, while in the US Donald Trump’s election leaves no doubt that not since the 1930s has right wing populism managed to gain such traction and support in the West.

It was Bertolt Brecht who in the 1940s warned of the danger of complacency with regard to the prospect of fascism ever rising again after the Second World War. In words that resonate today, he said, “The womb from which this monster emerged remains fertile.” This is not to suggest that Donald Trump is a fascist, however, or that everyone who voted for him did so motivated by racism or xenophobia. Not at all. It is on the contrary to understand that Trump’s campaign opened up space for the elevation of both to the mainstream, motivated by inchoate anger and rage at the aforementioned liberal establishment.

This is why no one should mourn the demise of the Western liberal order either in the US or across Europe. It has failed, and failed utterly, destroying communities and decimating the lives of millions at home, while creating chaos and instability across the world.

While Donald Trump’s election may not be the solution to all the damage and chaos wrought, it resounds as a rejection of cultural values that amount to lecturing a man on his lack of political correctness and manners while he is drowning in a swamp with no way out.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

How PE Firms Are Flipping Drugs in Price-Gouging Scheme that Cannibalizes the Entire US Economy

 

How PE Firms Are Flipping Drugs in Price-Gouging Scheme that Cannibalizes the Entire US Economy

They don’t care. And they’re not required to care.

The ravenous price increases that pharmaceutical companies slap on their medicines are part of the reason the US health care system is eating an ever larger slice of consumer, corporate, and government spending, and why the rest of the economy has trouble moving forward. Some of the price increases have turned into scandals with plenty of mouth-wagging by politicians.

Mylan got raked over the coals in Congress for raising the price of its autoinjector EpiPen seven-fold since buying it in 2007. Last year, Turing Pharmaceuticals, under Martin Shkreli, got into hot water over raising the price of just-acquired Daraprim 50-fold.

Private equity firms have figured this out. You can make a ton of money with a basic formula: Fund a newly created outfit that buys the rights to a prescription drug with little or no competition and with stagnant or declining sales, jack up the price of the drug, then flip the company at an enormous profit.

This has become the latest way of wringing out the American economy without contributing anything to it, and at the expense of everyone else. So Bloomberg dug into the role private equity firms play in these schemes.

For example, Genentech developed immune-disorder drug Actimmune decades ago. Eventually, sales began sagging. In 2012, it sold the rights to Vidara Therapeutics for $55 million. Vidara had been formed for this purpose and was funded by private equity firm DFW Capital Partners.

Over the next two years, they jacked up the price of Actimmune by 434%, thus making it a very profitable drug despite declining sales. In September 2014, they flipped Vidara to Horizon Pharma for $660 million, pocketing a huge low-risk gain in just 27 months.

Then Horizon jacked up the list price another 81% to $538,000 for a year’s worth of treatment. Since 2012, the list price has soared 866%!

At that time, Vidara’s co-founder and majority shareholder, Balaji Venkataraman, was involved in another highly profitable pharma flip, according to Bloomberg. He helped start up and fund Sebela Pharmaceuticals in 2013. In August 2014, Sebela bought Miacalcin, which treats high calcium levels, from Novartis. Over the next eight months, the price was jacked up from $68 a vial to $1,987 a vial.

Then the highly profitable exit. Bloomberg: “About a year later, Sebela sold Miacalcin ‘for a substantial gain,’ resulting in a special distribution to shareholders, according to an annual report from one of DFW’s investors.”

The buyer? Mylan of EpiPen fame. Which has since jacked up the price to $2,283 a vial. This brings the total price increase since August 2014 to 3,257%!

But it’s not just old drugs that get flipped. New drugs can get the same treatment, so to speak. Savient Pharmaceuticals developed Krystexxa for chronic gout. It started marketing the drug in 2011. But things didn’t work out. In October 2013, Savient filed for bankruptcy. In January 2014, Crealta Pharmaceuticals, which had no drugs but was backed by PE firm GTCR, acquired the assets of Savient for $120 million. It then jacked up the price of Krystexxa by $8,610 per vial, pushing it from $5,390 per vial to $14,000.

In January 2016, Crealta, with Krystexxa as the main asset, was sold to Horizon – the same company that had bought Vidara – for $510 million. Horizon continued the scheme, raising the price of Krystexxa to $16,909 per vial. Since January 2014, the price has soared by $11,519 per vial.

Covis, based in Switzerland and majority owned by PE firm Cerberus Capital, acquired 14 licensing rights for $345 million over three years, from Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, and others. According to Bloomberg, Covis jacked up prices on six of them by over 200%. In April last year, it sold 12 of the brands and some generics to Concordia for $1.2 billion. And… “Price rises continued.”

Two of these drugs, Nilandron and Dutoprol, are up 989% and 1,057%, respectively, since 2013.

They’re among dozens of drugs bought with private financing in the past six years, according to an analysis of products in a database kept by the software company Connecture Inc. The price often rises, and the drug’s often resold.

There are other examples: The price of the old Novartis cold-sore cream Denavir was jacked up 372% “as it changed hands twice with private equity help,” according to Bloomberg. The price of Dutoprol soared 1,057% after a flip.

Between 2011 and 2015, about 650 branded prescription drugs have doubled in price, according to data from Connecture, cited by Bloomberg. And for about 100 of these drugs, prices were jacked up by over 500%.

Insurance companies and pharmacy-benefit managers, which have been focusing on top sellers to contain costs, are now starting to home in on flipped drugs that had been flying under the radar. For example, benefits manager CVS Health said in August that due to these “hyperinflationary” price increases, it would stop covering Nilandron and Dutoprol.

Senator Bernie Sanders has lambasted the greed of this industry repeatedly. Over the past couple of days, he added some stinging tweets:

9 of 10 Americans blame the pharmaceutical industry for the high cost of health care. It’s time to end their greed and lower drug prices.

The business model of the drug industry is fraud. Glaxo put patients at risk to increase their profits

It makes no sense that the same drug that costs $70 in France costs $450 in the US. We should reduce barriers to importation of drugs.

Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk clearly care more about their profits than their patients. It’s time to end their greed.

What you have is an incredibly powerful and greedy industry charging whatever price they want.

Companies will do whatever they can to build, use, and abuse monopolies, dysfunctional markets, patent laws, and other government protections in order to maximize profits while cannibalizing the entire economy.

They don’t care. And they’re not required to care.

The fault lies with Congress and regulators that have been “captured” by the industry. They’ve allowed and encouraged this form of price gouging. They’ve recklessly and willfully shuffled off the responsibility of keeping prices under control to market forces and competition, knowing perfectly well that there are no market forces and competition for many drugs, and nothing else to keep prices in check.

The dog-and-pony shows during the periodic congressional hearings with all their professionally faked outrage are simply brushed aside by these one-drug outfits, the PE firms behind them, and Big Pharma, all of them in search of maximum profit in the shortest amount of time, at the lowest risk, and at the expense of everyone else.

Health insurers just can’t stand competition. Read…  Are Big Health Insurers Screwing with Consumers and Businesses?

Greece’s SYRIZA-ANEL “left” government undertakes a more active role in NATO’s imperialist plans

Monday, October 31, 2016

Greece’s SYRIZA-ANEL “left” government undertakes a more active role in NATO’s imperialist plans

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2016/10/greeces-syriza-anel-left-government.html
The SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government of Greece is moving towards a more active participation in NATO’s imperialist plans. It is characteristic that last Wednesday, the Greek parliament ratified a memorandum of understanding on the Joint Electronic Warfare Core Staff (JEWCS), aimed at supporting the planning and execution of NATO’s operations. 

The bourgeois parties (SYRIZA, New Democracy, Independent Greeks-ANEL, PASOK, Potami, Center Union) voted in favor of the memorandum, while the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was the only party which voted against it, rejecting and denouncing the involvement of the country in the imperialist plans of NATO. 
The Nazi, fascist Golden Dawn voted against the memorandum – not because of any antiimperialist stance or sentiment- but, as the fascist explained, because it supports a… different foreign policy approach, towards a closer relationship with capitalist Russia. 
 
The memorandum came to the Parliament as a result of Greek government’s offer to host NATO’s Joint Electronic Warfare Core Staff (JEWCS) equipment near the 113th combat wing in the city of Thessaloniki. It should be noted that JEWCS consists NATO’s capability center for Electronic Warfare (EW), providing the imperialist alliance and its member states with EW expertise and training on EW.
 
The memorandum about JEWCS was denounced by the Thessaloniki’s branch of Greek Committee for International Peace and Detente (EDYETH) which, in a statement, pointed out that “the ever deepening engagement of our country in the imperialist plans and the dangerous developments in the broader area becomes very clear”. According to EDYETH “the ratification of the memorandum and the installation of the Staff consists a new link in the chain, which the previous governments as well as the current one, enchain our people, having as an aim the better service of the monopolies’ plans in the broader region. Especially for our city, in which the NRDC-GR (NATO Rapid Deployable Corps – Greece) has been transfered”.
 
* * * 
 
Read more about the policy of the SYRIZA-ANEL “left” government in favor of NATO and the Imperialists:
 
 
Interview of Dimitris Koutsoumbas: Popular discontent can find a way out through the political proposal of KKE

Monday, October 31, 2016

Interview of Dimitris Koutsoumbas: Popular discontent can find a way out through the political proposal of KKE

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2016/10/interview-of-dimitris-koutsoumbas.html
Interview of the GS of the CC of KKE Dimitris Koutsoumbas on the ERT1 public television channel, on 24/10. Below are extended excerpts from the interview. Source: inter.kke.gr.
–        I read the following in “Rizospastis”: The day when the government begins the discussion with the “institutions” (Troika) about the new attack against working and trade union rights, SYRIZA and ND choose to squabble about their favourites and also about the misleading issue of corruption in order to hide their convergence on the antiworker measures. Is corruption a misleading issue? Can you explain this? Doesn’t this issue objectively exist in our lives?
–        The issue of corruption always exists in our lives, exists in this system, exists in the state. Our evaluation is that it is the state which has decayed, that the political system has been corrupted more generally. Therefore, it is a real issue, but it is utilized every time when the parties which are in power, the government and the respective official opposition, and want to confront each other around such issues in order to hide the big problem, the “forest”- the peoples’ problems, the antiworker and antipeople measures that they are discussing in this period with their partners (Troika)- because they aren’t the partners of the Greek people- the creditors in order to bring new measures, possibly a new memorandum as well.
This is the essence of the whole confrontation. Because, from now on, in this system, with these measures, with these governments, with those who have the power, neither corruption will be confronted, nor the problems solved. We saw it also regarding  the TV license issue, we saw it with the successive laws they have passed which, regarding the supposed offensive against corruption, or, for example, the issue of transparency, ended in total failure, both those of the previous (governments) and the present one.
Let me tell you this simply: The representatives of ND and PASOK are servants of some interests, owners of TV channels I mean, and the current governmental majority of SYRIZA-ANEL is servant of some other owners and interests.
–        Let us say something on that point which is interesting regarding the critique that is directed towards the KKE about its tactics. In completely good faith, some people ask and say, at this conjuncture that Tsipras has chosen to collide with specific interests, with major interests, as you say the swords and knives that have come out from the sheaths are big…
–        I didn’t say that he has decided to collide. I said that he has decided to serve some other interests.
–        Yes, but the knives have come out. Therefore, at this conjuncture some evaluate that the stance that the KKE follows, to lump them all in together, is a tactic that helps ND. That, your ideological position “the liars who applied these,  he told us one thing and  did another etc.” becomes dominant, as if, they say, you are interested in the application of SYRIZA’s promises…. and within this context they say that the KKE is trapped and follows the same rhetoric, i.e. that the opposition approach of ND becomes the hegemonic direction.
–        This supposed argument is well-known, it comes from the very past and we believe that our people have gained significant enough experience. It is the same line that PASOK used in the past, when it was in the opposition, when it was the “light and darkness” division, when it wasn’t in governmental coalition with ND, where PASOK then, with G.Papandreou and others before him, was saying that the KKE plays the role of ND. It is the same old story. When a party becomes a government, it later argues that KKE or the opposition agrees with some other party, simple as that. It is the other side of the same coin. The argument that you say, that “by criticizing SYRIZA, the KKE supports ND”, exists, which is ridiculous, because the KKE fought against ND steadfastly, as it does now. As you have seen, we talk about bipolarity, criticizing both respectively, because they follow the same direction.
–        Naturally, KKE will criticize, this is obvious, it has a different ideological starting point and defends specific interests. What I ask is different. They argue that through this way, the right-wing view becomes a hegemonic ideology which talks about the rationalization of the state, that it can become better, that the bad people should leave and the better ones should come. Thus, they change the political agenda at the core of politics.
–        This doesn’t have anything to do with KKE, but with criticism we also  direct towards ND. Rationalization of the state and productive reconstruction, with the same owners and the same people who have the power, cannot be done. A substantial change in the political system and a reform of the state, through partial measures, like the current government does or as ND says that will do, cannot be done. The notion that must prevail in the Greek people, in the movement, but also in the very consciousness of the workers is that all these things require a fundamental overthrow, they need radical changes, actual revolutionary changes, but not in words. Such revolutions and overthrows in words, we had before the elections like those of Mr.Tsipras and SYRIZA and Mr.Kammenos and ANEL, even before them we had G.Papandreou of PASOK, others in ND etc. Everyone talks about revolution in society, for fundamental radical changes of the state. What needs here is another programme, another perspective, there is a need for another course to be charted, not in an improvised way, but with a plan.
The KKE has such a plan and proposes it to the Greek people. They say “it seems difficult”. But why, is it easy to live as we do now? So many measures have come, memorandums, a 4th memorandum is being prepared now, new measures are coming, the people are bleeding daily from these, from the taxation, the incomes of every Greek worker have been decreased, the farmers also suffer and are being driven off their land. We cannot always invoke some difficulties, or that the political proposal of a party is difficult and another one is easy. Such easiness is known to us too. You don’t have to be particularly intelligent in order to practice the easiness of mockery and lies. As, for example, the governmental parties did, which rule today and which in past received 4% of the vote-they fooled the Greek people with revolutionary slogans and we have seen what they have done. We warned the people then. Therefore, this isn’t enough, the peoples’ consciousness must work towards this direction and the workers must struggle around these issues.
Recently, I am hearing various things, from circles of the Church as well as from political persons, leaders, etc, that “we must find consensus, we must reach out with our hands”. But, of course, the KKE extends its hand to the worker, the farmer, the self-employed, the popular family, to the people who suffer and all together must be united, but this needs a raised fist, because the fist symbolizes the struggle,  the demands. Without struggles and demands, nothing can be achieved. You can’t say “let us all agree and we will all be fine”. This is preaching from the pulpit and when this is said by political persons or people who have prestige within Greek society, it becomes dangerous. They actually act, without perhaps realizing it themselves, against what we call resistance, struggle, fight for radical changes.
–        Mr.Koutsoumbas, the trailer of our interview was playing for a whole week. Yesterday, at the cafe, someone told me, in good faith, to ask you a question: “I believe in the overthrow that the KKE talks about, but until it comes, in the Armageddon that we live now- while others come and talk about the ‘under-minimum salary’- why doesn’t the KKE lend a hand until the revolution comes?
–        Not only do we lend a hand, but also legs and arms. You know, a few days ago, to answer your friend, a major mobilization-demonstration took place, which came about from work in the workplaces, in the unions. Over 500 trade union organizations, primary and secondary level unions, federations and labour centers created a draft law, which they discussed with the workers themselves, and which refers to the needs of today, to the Collective Labour Agreements, not to the total overthrow of the system and Socialism. Of course, , the trade unions and everyone, must work in this direction, but this specific draft law referred  to the Collective Labour Agreements, to the minimum wage, to a number of labour rights that have been taken away (…). This draft law was submitted to all the political parties in Parliament, as well as to our party. However, the KKE was the only party which submitted this draft law in order to become a decision of Parliament. The other parties and the government turned their backs on it.
Therefore, why are you saying that we don’t fight concerning the everyday issues or today’s problems. The current problems and the struggle in relation to them paves the way for the struggle about tomorrow, when you combine them and when you don’t lie to  the Greek people that you supposedly can manage, from a governmental or oppositional position, an unacceptable, rotten situation which makes our people suffer…
–        There is much talk about social democracy, about the need for social democracy, perhaps a turn of a Left to approach social democracy, whether or not and to what extent SYRIZA moves in  this direction or not…
–        In any case, the so-called “left” of SYRIZA, here in Greece, not only moves in this direction but, in our opinion, it has already crystallized as a social democratic party, a clearly bourgeois party. It takes more and more, if not completely, the position of PASOK and moves, driven by the decisions of its recent congress, to occupy the whole space of the center-left; this creates difficulties for other parties of the opposition, such as PASOK, Potami, Centre Union which are moving in this center-left space. Because SYRIZA occupies this space and this is what it intends to do. I don’t know if it will succeed (to occupy the whole center-left space). In the end, that will depend on many other factors and parameters, but it moves in this direction and this has crystallized (as is perfectly clear).
Besides, it is no coincidence that (SYRIZA) more and more often participates in meetings and caucuses of Socialists in Europe, of European social democracy, has close ties with Hollande and others who also apply respective antipeople-antiworker policies in their countries, even without memorandums. It is the same direction of the EU and the Quartet. And from this point of view, SYRZA and Mr. Tsipras personally are moving rapidly towards this direction.
However, the people have experienced these policies, they are the same policies which in the past led PASOK to form a coalition with ND, to a continuous change of positions and to a collapse, which SYRIZA will obviously follow in the next period.
–        Do you think that such a possibility exists? I mean, in order to overcome the national problems, as they call them, that the two big parties can form a coalition? Do you see this as a possibility?
–        At some point in the future, of course. Currently, it doesn’t seem realistic. But, a part of ND can very well, we believe- I imagine there are discussions, both covert and more open, I don’t know, but this seems to be the case if you examine the political scene and the actions of the Prime Minister and the government – approach not only sections of the old PASOK (although most of it has joined SYRIZA) but also other forces which are in the center-Right political space. […]
Look, the loss of SYRIZA’s forces can been seen inside the trade unions, associations, in the workplaces, in the elections in trade unions, in the struggles, the neighborhoods, where a large amount of resentment has developed over the last year, as a result of SYRIZA’s governmental policies; this discontent isn’t being reaped by ND. That can be seen also in opinion polls.
–        Does this resentment go somewhere?
–        There is a large mass of people who are currently worried, thinking, discontent with the policies of SYRIZA and, at the same time, they are unhappy because they have experienced the policies of ND and they don’t want to go back neither to ND or to PASOK which they have also experienced for many years; these people are worried, indignant, participate in the struggles.
That is expressed in the elections in the trade unions of the private and public sectors. The forces which KKE supports are the second largest with votes of over 20% within the broader trade union movement, in the associations of women, the youth, in the students unions and school-student councils- for younger ages, as the school-students of the two last high school classes will now vote under the new law- and of course (KKE has) a large influence amongst farmers. To these people, who are more than 20%, the ones we meet in the struggles, the ones who in the past voted SYRIZA, PASOK and others possibly ND or other smaller parties as a gesture of dissatisfaction, we say to them to join with the KKE, despite their reservations. Because, it is the only proposal which can provide a way out for today but also to pave the way for a better future. And this proposal must be strengthened everywhere and within the movement, but also whenever elections take place, either national elections, local ones or Europarliamentary elections.
ДИМИТРИС КУЦУМБАС

Народное недовольство может найти выход в поддержке политического предложения КПГ.

24 октября Генеральный Секретарь ЦК КПГ Димитрис Куцумбас дал интервью государственному каналу ERT1. Ниже следуют обширные отрывки из интервью
— Читаю в “Ризоспастисе” следующее: «В те дни, когда правительство начинает переговоры с кредиторами, предусматривающие нанесение нового удара по трудовым и профсоюзным правам, СИРИЗА и НД вступают в конфронтацию вокруг своего излюбленного и в то же время дезориентирующего вопроса, для того чтобы скрыть свое идентичное отношение к реализации антирабочих мер. Так, значит, вопрос о коррупции является дезориентирующим вопросом? Могли бы Вы нам это объяснить? Разве этот вопрос объективно не существует в нашей жизни?
— Коррупция всегда имеет место в нашей жизни, в этой капиталистической системе, в государстве. По нашей оценке, это государство прогнило насквозь, политическая система полностью коррумпирована. Значит, коррупция – это реальная проблема. Однако каждый раз она используется тогда, когда этого хотят партии власти, правительство и любая оппозиция, чтобы за противостоянием вокруг такого рода вопросов скрыть большую проблему: проблемы, с которыми сталкивается народ, антирабочие и антинародные меры, которые обсуждает правительство в эти дни со своими партнерами, но не партнерами греческого народа, кредиторами, чтобы принять новые меры и, возможно, новый меморандум.
В этом суть всего противостояния. И поэтому в рамках этой системы, в рамках мер жесткой экономии, эти правительства, те, кто стоит у власти, практически не могут ударить по коррупции, не могут справиться с этой проблемой. Мы видели это на примере проведения торгов на вещательные лицензии, на примере принятия ряда законов о противодействии якобы коррупции или о прозрачности политической системы, которые в конечном итоге остались пустым звуком, как прошлые, так и сегодняшние законы. (…)
На простом языке это звучит так: представители НД и ПАСОК обслуживают интересы одних владельцев телеканалов, а сегодняшнее правительственное большинство СИРИЗА-AНЭЛ обслуживает интересы других владельцев.
— Здесь следует отметить, что интерес вызывает критика в адрес КПГ, а также критика ее тактики. Люди спрашивают, и абсолютно из добрых побуждений говорят, что в данный момент Ципрас предпочел столкнуться с определенными интересами, с большими интересами, как вы говорите, обнажаются клинки…
— Я не говорил, что он решил идти на столкновение. Я сказал, что он решил обслуживать интересы других предпринимательских групп.
— Да, но клинки обнажаются. Но в данный момент, по их мнению, такая позиция недооценки усилий, прилагающих правительством, которой следует КПГ, является тактикой, которая помогает НД. То есть тезис вашей господствующей идеологической концепции заключается в том, что «нами правят лгуны», что «они нам говорили одно, а делают другое» и т.д. В этом контексте они говорят, что КПГ, как и правая партия НД, зацикливается на одном и том же и продолжает  ту же риторику.
— Нам известен этот якобы аргумент, он очень старый, и мы считаем, что наш народ накопил достаточно большой опыт и разбирается в этом. То же самое раньше говорила партия ПАСОК, когда была в оппозиции, когда было разделение на “свет и тьму”, когда она не была еще в правящей коалиции с НД. Тогда ПАСОК с Г. Папандреу и другими говорили, что КПГ играет роль НД. Это та же самая история. Когда партия становится правительственной, она начинает говорить о КПГ или об оппозиции, что та примыкает к другой партии. Именно так и происходит. Это другая сторона одной медали. Да, приводится аргумент о том, что “КПГ, критикуя СИРИЗА, поддерживает НД”, который является смешным, так как КПГ твердо выступала и выступает сегодня против НД. Как вы видите, мы говорим о биполярности, критикуя аналогичным образом и тех и других, потому что они проводят одну и ту же политику.
— Безусловно, КПГ будет продолжать критиковать, это очевидно, так как у нее иная отправная точка идеологии, и она защищает определенные интересы. Но я спрашиваю о другом. Утверждают, что таким образом в качестве идеологии, в качестве идеологемы преобладает правый подход в отношении рационализации государства, что оно может стать лучше, уйдут плохие и придут хорошие. Т.е. по существу, правые  меняют политическую повестку дня.
— Это не касается КПГ. Мы также подвергаем критике НД. Рационализация государства, производственная реорганизация с теми же собственниками и с теми, кто стоит у власти, не может произойти. Политическая система не может существенно измениться, а государство реформироваться с помощью частичных мер, которые внедряет нынешнее правительство или будет внедрять НД, согласно ее заявлениям. В сознании греческого народа, трудящихся, в народном движении должно преобладать понимание того, что все это необходимо принципиально изменить, нужны радикальные изменения, существенные революционные изменения, но не на словах. Так как с такими революциями и переворотами на словах мы познакомились во время предвыборной кампании г-на Ципраса и СИРИЗА, а также г-на Камменоса и АНЭЛ, раньше о них говорил Г. Папандреу из ПАСОК и  другие до прихода НД и т.д. Все говорят о революции в обществе, о принципиальных радикальных изменениях в политике государства. Здесь необходима иная программа, иная перспектива, необходимо наметить другой путь, а не так, шаляй-валяй, нужен план.
Такой план есть у КПГ, и она его предлагает  греческому народу. Говорят: «он кажется трудным». А что разве сегодня наша жизнь легкая? Столько мер, меморандумов приняли, сейчас готовится 4-й меморандум, готовятся принять новые меры, народ ежедневно страдает из-за них, из-за налогообложения, доходы греческих трудящихся снизились, крестьяне тоже бедствуют и разоряются. Невозможно всегда говорить о каких-то трудностях или о том, что политическое предложение одной партии трудное, а другой – легкое. Мы знаем такую легкость. Легкость лжи. Не надо быть особенно умным, чтобы с легкостью применить ложь. Так, например, поступили правящие партии, находящиеся сегодня у власти, а до этого на выборах получавшие 4% голосов, которые одурачили греческий народ лозунгами за коренные перемены, за революционные изменения. Мы видим, до чего они докатились. Тогда мы предупреждали. Значит, недостаточно только общих слов о революции, нужно, чтобы сознание народа работало в этом направлении и трудящиеся боролись за решение этих проблем.
 В последнее время слышатся разные призывы церкви и политиков, лидеров партий и др. к согласию и оказанию друг другу помощи. Безусловно, КПГ протягивает руку помощи рабочему, крестьянину, самозанятым работникам, народной семье, людям, которые бедствуют, и призывает всем вместе объединиться, поднять руку, сжатую в кулак, так как кулак, символизирует борьбу, отстаивание своих прав. Ничего нельзя добиться без борьбы.  Мы не можем говорить: “Давайте придем к согласию, и все у нас будет в порядке”. Это проповедь с амвона, и когда ее произносят политические деятели  или лица, пользующиеся авторитетом в греческом обществе, то это представляет опасность. По существу, возможно, сами этого не осознавая, они выступают против того, что мы называем сопротивлением, борьбой, борьбой за радикальные изменения.
— Г-н Куцумбас, все выходные крутился рекламный видеоролик о том, что вы дадите интервью нашему каналу. Вчера в кафе некто из добрых побуждений спросил меня: “Я верю в то, о чем говорит КПГ, но мы живем во времена Армагеддона, когда приходят кредиторы и говорят о снижении минимальной зарплаты, почему КПГ не подставляет плечо, пока не наступит эта революция?”
— Мы не только подставляем плечо, но и протягиваем руку помощи. Вам известно, что несколько дней назад (скажите об этом своему другу) прошел массовый митинг, который явился результатом работы на производстве, в профсоюзах. Более 500 профсоюзных организаций, первичных, вторичных профсоюзов, федераций, рабочих центров подготовили законопроект, который обсуждался с трудящимися. Этот законопроект касался сегодняшнего дня, коллективных трудовых договоров, он не касался радикальных изменений и социализма. Безусловно, всем нам, профсоюзам надо работать в этом направлении, но законопроект касался коллективных трудовых договоров, минимального размера зарплаты, ряда трудовых прав, которые были нарушены и которые необходимо восстановить. Этот законопроект был роздан представителям всех политических партий в парламенте и нашей партии. Но только КПГ внесла его на утверждение в парламент. Остальные партии и правительство отмахнулись от него.
Так, получается, вы мне говорите, что мы не боремся за решение повседневных проблем или сегодняшних проблем. Сегодняшние проблемы и борьба за их решение открывает путь для решения завтрашних проблем, и когда все это сочетаешь, а не дурачишь греческий народ, утверждая, что можешь с правительственных постов или с позиции оппозиции разрешить неприемлемую ситуацию, которая постоянно заставляет наш народ страдать, так как капиталистическая система прогнила и кровоточит.
— Говорят о социал-демократии, о необходимости социал-демократии, о возможном повороте левых в сторону социал-демократии, движется ли СИРИЗА в этом направлении…
— Во всяком случае, так называемая левая СИРИЗА, здесь, в Греции, не только движется в этом направлении, но, по нашему мнению, выкристаллизовалась в чисто буржуазную социал-демократическую партию. Она все больше, можно сказать, полностью, занимает место ПАСОК и, согласно решениям недавнего съезда, стремится завоевать все левоцентристское пространство,  что создает трудности для других оппозиционных партий, таких как ПАСОК, Потами, Союз центристов, которые двигаются в этом левоцентристском пространстве. Поэтому СИРИЗА стремится занять это пространство. Я не знаю, удастся ли ей в итоге это сделать. Это будет зависеть от многих других факторов и параметров, но она движется в этом направлении и уже выкристаллизовалась в социал-демократическую партию.
Впрочем, не случайно она все чаще принимает участие в конференциях и совещаниях социалистов в Европе, европейской социал-демократии, имеет тесные отношения с Олландом и другими, с теми, кто реализует аналогичную антинародную, антирабочую политику в своих странах, которым не навязан меморандум. Это одно и то же направление ЕС и квартета кредиторов. И с этой точки зрения, СИРИЗА и лично г-н Ципрас быстрыми темпами движется в этом направлении.
Но такая политика знакома народу, это та же политика, которая ранее привела ПАСОК к  коалиционному сотрудничеству с НД, к последующему изменению позиций и краху, который, очевидно, потерпит СИРИЗА в последующий период.
— По вашему мнению, возможен ли такой вариант? Т.е две большие партии для того, чтобы преодолеть национальные проблемы, как они их называют, могут стать компаньонами? Вы видите такую возможность?
— Безусловно, в перспективе. Пока этого не видно, и это нереалистично. Однако, мы полагаем, что часть НД может очень хорошо это сделать, думаю, что идут обсуждения, закрытые или открытые, и это просматривается в политической сцене и в действиях премьер-министра и правительства в этом направлении по привлечению не только частей старого ПАСОК (большая часть уже присоединилась к СИРИЗА), но и по расширению ее рядов за счет других сил, занимающих место в правоцентристском пространстве. (…)
СИРИЗА теряет силу, в частности, в профсоюзах, на рабочих местах, в выборах профсоюзных органов, в борьбе, в районах, в последнее время народ выражает огромное недовольство правительственной политикой СИРИЗА, да и политика НД не пользуется успехом. Это видно из опросов общественного мнения…
— Куда приведет это недовольство?
 Есть большая масса людей, которая в настоящее время обеспокоена, задумывается, недовольна политикой СИРИЗА, но в то же время она недовольна политикой, которую проводила НД, не хочет отдавать свой голос ни за НД, ни за ПАСОК, политику которого она также видела на протяжении многих лет, а значит, беспокоится, негодует, участвует в борьбе.
Это находит выражение в выборах руководящих органов профсоюзов трудящихся частного и государственного секторов. Силы, поддерживаемые КПГ, являются второй силой в широком профсоюзном движении, получившие более 20% голосов,  влияние партии сильно среди молодежи, в студенческих профсоюзах, в школьных советах, так как ученики 11-х и 12-х классов греческих школ сегодня могут голосовать на основании нового закона, и, конечно, ее влияние сильно среди крестьян. Мы призываем эти народные слои (это более 20%), с которыми встречаемся в процессе борьбы, голосовавшие раньше за СИРИЗА, ПАСОК, возможно, и за НД или за другие маленькие партии в знак недовольства, примкнуть к КПГ, даже если у них есть чувство настороженности. Так как предложение КПГ является единственным предложением, которое может дать выход из сегодняшней ситуации и  открыть путь к лучшему будущему. И это предложение должно быть поддержано везде: в народном движении, в борьбе, а также тогда, когда проходят выборы – будь то парламентские, муниципальные, региональные или в Европейский парламент.
Leaked Memo: Is Soros Planning ‘Series of Color Revolutions’ in Southeast Asia?
| October 30, 2016 | 7:41 pm | Analysis, China, corporate crime, political struggle | No comments
17:31 28.10.2016(updated 20:52 28.10.2016)
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Ekaterina Blinova278671322
Wikileaks’ Podesta Files shed light on US billionaire George Soros’ deep concerns about the lack of “freedom” and “constitutional democracy” in Malaysia under Najib Razak. Soros’ concerns may serve as a prelude for a series of “color revolutions” in Southeast Asia, Mathew Maavak of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia assumed in an interview with Sputnik. The latest set of documents released by Wikileaks indicates that George Soros and his Open Society Foundation are very concerned about the situation in Malaysia, one of the US’ longstanding allies in Southeast Asia. A memo, sent by Michael Vachon, US billionaire George Soros’ “right hand,” on March 6, 2016, to Chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign John Podesta shed light on the Malaysian “corruption crisis” and blamed the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak for “damaging the US’ credibility in the region.” “Malaysia could one day be a good ally of the United States in countering Islamic State [Daesh in Arabic] extremism, but not before it has achieved the freedom and constitutional democracy that its people have been denied,” the memo read. However, it seems that the US financial and political elite have yet another reason to be dissatisfied with the Malaysian prime minister, besides his alleged involvement in corruption scandal. “Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak heads to China next week to build closer ties and seek investment, which may further dent US aims in Southeast Asia after a push by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to bolster China ties,” Reuters reported Thursday. Both Malaysia and the Philippines have long been in dispute with China over the South China Sea. However, Kuala Lumpur may follow in the footsteps of Manila, seeking to ease tensions with Beijing in exchange for economic benefits, the media outlet assumed. So, what did Soros mean by highlighting the need for democratic change in Malaysia? ‘There is no Business like the Revolutions Business’ “First and foremost, one needs to understand Soros and his business model,” Mathew Maavak, a doctoral researcher in Risk Foresight at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and regular contributor to CCTV told Sputnik. “There is no business like the ‘revolutions business.’ It is more lucrative than the show business which can flop due to an unforeseen shortcoming. Revolutions, on the other hand, only need to tap into the evergreen market of public discontent. NGOs and the West-friendly media constitute a major subsidiary of the global social revolutions enterprise. Together, they seek out, identify and amplify public discontent in nations not aligned to the United States. Such US-engineered activisms have never led to more equitable societies; rather they have engendered endless bloodshed and global terrorism,” the researcher emphasized. Maavak dubbed these human rights entities and philanthropists “agitprop entrepreneurs.” “To the agitprop entrepreneur, the returns on revolutionary investments are immense,” he underscored. “A wealthy hedge fund manager can short a targeted market before executing a pre-planned ‘revolution.’ The resultant stock market and currency meltdown would provide self-evidentiary ‘proof’ to an anxious public, exerting more pressure on the government of the day to either capitulate or concede to ‘popular demands’ that are actually drafted abroad, likely by the IMF!” “Therefore, even if a revolution fails, the subsequent economic fallout would render local assets cheap for foreign acquisition,” the researcher remarked. Maavak referred the Asian financial crisis in 1997, which started in Thailand with the financial collapse of the Thai baht, the country’s national currency. “That seemed like Soros business plan for Malaysia and the ASEAN region during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis,” he noted. Indeed, some observers blame George Soros for the slump. South China Morning Post’s columnist Zhou Xin went even further, stressing that Soros, “whose aggressive currency trades were blamed for destroying the Thai and Malaysian economies” in 1997 made yet another attempt to destabilize Asia’s economies by targeting Hong Kong markets in 1998. “The entire region was in turmoil, and the name of George Soros featured prominently in this sordid saga. The ‘Reformasi’ [protest] movement led by sacked [Malaysian] Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim — who had close to ties to Washington hawks — failed to topple the government of the day,” Maavak recalled. The Reformasi, kicked off in September 1998, consisted of civil disobedience, demonstrations, sit-ins, rioting, occupations and online activism, involving thousands across Malaysia protesting against the government. However, despite execrating Soros for his role in shorting the Malaysian currency, the ringgit, and for supporting the Reformasi movement, former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad did little to stem the vast NGO and alternative media networks that were being built by the Open Society Foundation and its affiliates, backed by the US State Department, Maavak pointed out. “There was a good reason for Mahathir’s lack of decisiveness, apart from the occasional arrests and police raids,” Maavak suggested, “Upon stepping down from power, he used these same networks to oust his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and is now using the same Fifth Column to attempt the ouster of current Prime Minister Najib Razak.” A Series of Domino ‘Color Revolutions’ in Southeast Asia “Without chaos in ASEAN, Soros and the transnational capitalist class may stand to lose a lot of money,” the researcher suggested. “They need Najib ousted as a prelude to a series of domino ‘color revolutions’ in the region. In Malaysia, the color chosen was yellow and it is used by the Bersih (Clean) coalition that probably sees [Democratic presidential nominee] Hillary Clinton as the paragon of virtue and transparent governance,” he assumed. PacificMaavak’s prognosis is by no means groundless, given the fact that ASEAN countries have signaled their willingness to strengthen their ties with China, drifting away from Washington. “Washington has suffered geopolitical setbacks in virtually every nation in Asia Pacific,” Tony Cartalucci, a Bangkok-based geopolitical analyst, noted in his recent article for New Eastern Outlook, stressing that the US’ influence is rapidly waning across the Asia Pacific region. Bidding for hegemony in Asia Pacific US financial and political elite will do whatever it takes to curtail China’s influence and pressure ASEAN economies into obeying Washington, according to Maavak. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

Read more: https://sputniknews.com/politics/201610281046843489-soros-wikileaks-malaysia-leak/

‘Dakota pipeline is about big money, not indigenous people rights’

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/364576-protests-north-dakota-natives-pipeline/

Protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline stand-off with police in this aerial photo of Highway 1806 and County Road 134 near the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., October 27, 2016. © Morton County Sheriff's Office
When it comes to the rights of people of color in the US, government officials often side with corporations and Wall Street, said Solomon Comissiong, founder of the Your World News’ Media Collective. The same is happening with North Dakota protests, he added.

At least 141 Native Americans and other protesters were arrested in North Dakota in a clash with heavily armed US police officers. Demonstrators were camping on private grounds in an effort to halt the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said pepper spray and armored vehicles were used to scatter the protesters.

The demonstrations against the construction of the pipeline have been going on for months, and at times have been dealt with violently by police. However, the issue has received little media attention. RT asked analysts why that could be.

“When it comes to people’s rights, especially indigenous rights, and rights of people of color in this country, the rights of poor people, that the government – whether it’s local governments, state governments, or the national government – often times they side with corporations, with finance capital, Wall Street. So I think that is what’s going on right now. They are siding with this large company, this corporation,” said Solomon Comissiong, founder of Your World News’ Media Collective.

Authorities are “marginalizing” rights of indigenous people “whose land it is” and it was theirs in the first place before it “was ripped away from them, when this country was stolen from them.”

“It comes down to big money – it doesn’t come down to their rights. It’s par for the course when it comes to the government, government officials, and the non-action that they are taking in terms of not protecting the rights of these indigenous people in the first place,” Comissiong told RT.

Native American resistance growing stronger

The Dakota Access pipeline protest was largely ignored by the mainstream media because “it conflicts with the dominant narrative of the media, which likes to present this false allegation that Native Americans have been extinguished in this country,” said historian Gerald Horne.

However, he said, Native American resistance is growing stronger by the day.

“One of the striking characteristics of what’s happening in North Dakota is that not only has the Standing Rock Sioux nation rallied to this cause, but Native Americans from the Atlantic to the Pacific have all descended upon North Dakota in order to express solidarity. This is a very important political development that the mainstream media would prefer to ignore,” Horne added.

Police used equipment same to that in Iraq, Afghanistan

William Griffin, of the Veterans for Peace organization, visited Standing Rocks a week before the protests broke out.

“The protests have been going on more than a week, for months now. They all have been nonviolent; peaceful prayer ceremonies showing nonviolent direct action against this pipeline. I was there for 11 days; I just got back a week ago. Never did I see any weapons, never did I see any drugs; everyone called each other ‘brother’ or ‘sister’,” he told RT.

Police in riot gear used pepper spray and armored vehicles while dispersing protesters at Standing Rock.

“This is a part of the national problem we have in the US – the militarization of police forces. Me being an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, I recognize a lot of the same equipment that I used in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is built and made for combat zones – when you’re fighting an armed enemy. Now, again these people were peaceful, nonviolent, they have no guns on them – I see MRAPs – Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles out there; I see officers with military grade body armor, rifles,” Griffin said.

The campaign headquarters of Hillary Clinton in Brooklyn, New York, was taken over Thursday by protesters against the Dakota Access pipeline who demanded the Democratic presidential candidate openly takes a position on the matter.

“There’ve been very few leaders in this country to abide and respect the wishes and lawful treaties of the Native Americans. And I would love to see Hillary Clinton and I call her out to speak about this issue; even visit and speak with the Natives. But I think we all know that it is highly doubtful that she will even mention this and anything anytime soon,” Griffin told RT.

Chance for Obama to leave a better legacy

What is needed to address the situation “is real leadership,” said Elizabeth Murray, veteran intelligence professional, writer and activist. Now that Obama is leaving office soon and is concerned about his legacy, this would be an opportunity for his administration to step up and cancel the pipeline project, she added.

“The chief of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe issued a very comprehensive media statement just today. The press release said that they continue to pray for peace; that they want the state officials to ensure that peace and justice prevail,” said Murray.

Murray said that the statement repeated its call on President Barack Obama to send observers from the Department of Justice to the Dakota Access pipeline friction areas “to make sure that people’s First Amendment rights are being respected, and to make sure that no harm is done to the people who are protecting the water for their future generations.”

“If harm comes to any of the people who have traveled from all around the world to join them in solidarity there against the Dakota Access pipeline that it would be on Obama’s watch that this happens. And that is absolutely right,” she said.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.