Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The end of the world

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Βρέχει στη φτωχογειτονιά - Rain is falling on the slum

My small and sunless alleys
and my low-ceilinged homes
Rain is falling on the slum
Rain is falling on the heart

Liar world, unfair,
you set alight my grief,
you are too small, you have no room
for my tormented sigh

My woes are countless
there are no more in the whole world
My days are passing by heavily
like the drops of rain

Μικρά κι ανήλιαγα στενά
και σπίτια χαμηλά μου
βρέχει στη φτωχογειτονιά
βρέχει και στην καρδιά μου

Αχ ψεύτη κι άδικε ντουνιά
άναψες τον καημό μου
είσαι μικρός και δε χωράς
τον αναστεναγμό μου

Οι συμφορές αμέτρητες
δεν έχει ο κόσμος άλλες
φεύγουν οι μέρες μου βαριά
σαν της βροχής τις στάλες

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Corfe Castle Puzzle

Online jigsaw puzzles from JigsawSite.com

Conviction of 'Auschwitz bookkeeper': An important, if belated, message for German people

94-year-old Oskar Groening was handed a four-year sentence in what is probably the last major war crimes trial in Germany. 'You can tell yourself you only dealt with suitcases,' the judge said, 'but you saw what happened there.'

The conviction of 94-year-old Oskar Groening, the so-called “Auscwitz bookkeper,” by a German court this week and his sentencing to four years in prison sent an important, if belated, message to the German public and the entire world.

“You can certainly tell yourself that you only dealt with suitcases," presiding judge Franz Kompisch of the state court in Lueneburg, northern Germany, told the defendant. "But you saw what happened there and your actions assisted."

Kompisch mentioned in his ruling that Groening was convicted on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, even though he never actually participated in the murders themselves. As a bookkeeper, he “only” collected and recorded the property and money stolen from the Jews, sending the valuables to Berlin. That was enough for the court to convict Groening as an accessory to the murder of those who were killed in the concentration camp during the period he served there as an officer in the SS.

The judge relied on a precedent set in the case of John Demjanjuk, who in 2011 was convicted in Germany for his part in mass murder at the Sobibor death camp during the time he served there as a guard, even though he did not participate in the killings himself.

Demjanjuk died before his appeal was heard and before he served his sentence, but his trial allowed German prosecutors to reopen the cases of dozens of guards and others with junior roles at the extermination camps, who after the war lived ordinary and quiet lives.

In his ruling this week, the judge dwelled at length on Groening’s life and service in Auschwitz, in order to provide a factual basis for his ruling that Groening had acted of his own free will and was not “lured” into joining the Nazi party, as the defense claimed, because of his conservative family background.

“It was his decision. We saw your responses here, you are an educated person,” the judge said, as he described how Groening volunteered for the SS and was assigned to Auschwitz, where he decided to remain, despite the horrible crimes he witnessed there.

The judge also said that Groening could have asked to serve at the front, far from the concentration camps, had he wanted to. But he preferred to remain at Aschwitz, due to the potential danger of going to the front. It was his own choice. “I do not want to call you a coward, Mr. Groening, but you chose the easy way, and remained in your ‘office work,’” the judge said.

The trial, which is likely to be the last of its kind to be held in Germany, also raised difficult moral questions. About 70 Holocaust survivors joined the prosecution, attended the trial – and confronted Groening. For some, the four-year sentence for being an accessory to the murder of 300,000 people was not enough. Others disagreed, attributing little importance to the sentence itself, which in any case will be conditional on medical examinations to determine whether Groening is fit to serve out his sentence at his advanced age. The fact that Holocaust survivors were given an opportunity to tell their stories was more important for them than the question of whether another elderly Nazi goes to jail.

The verdict also reminded the German public and the entire world of the weakness of the German legal system, which for decades avoided investigating, putting on trial or punishing people such as Groening. There were a lot of reasons for that, including the fact that many prosecutors and judges in West Germany after World War II were themselves former Nazis. Others supported the Nazi regime even without joining the party.

Groening and other SS members continued to live ordinary lives after the war and most died of old age, without ever being punished. Figures released in Germany last week show that out of some 7,000 SS members who served at Auschwitz, only 100 were put on trial and, of those, only 50 were convicted. Groening, it seems, will be the last of them.

Leon Schwarzbaum, who at 94 is the same age as Groening, came to court to hear the verdict last week. Schwarzbaum, a survivor of Auschwitz, now lives in Berlin. “I was in Auschwitz for two years. It was important for me. My whole family was killed. It was 30 people, and this is the last trial of an SS man who was in Auschwitz,” he told Deutsche Welle.

Originally Posted at Haaretz

Monday, July 13, 2015

Επι Ασπαλάθων - Over Aspalathus Bushes

Sounion looked beautiful
that day of Annunciation,
in spring once again.
A few green leaves
around the rusty stones
colour red and the aspalathus bushes
ready,showing their long needles
and their yellow flowers.
Not far away the ancient columns,
threads of an harp
echoing still.

-What may reminded me
of that man Ardieus?
A word of Plato I suppose
lost in my brain's ditches.
The name of the yellow bush
did not change all this time.
In the night I found the excerpt:
"They tied him in hands and feet", he says,
threw him down and skinned him,
drew him farther and tore him apart,
over the aspalathus thorns,
grabbed him and left him as a rag
down in Tartarus."

And so, in the nether world, paid his sins
Ardieus from Pamfylia, the sordid tyrant.

Επί Ασπαλάθων

Ήταν ωραίο το Σούνιο
τη μέρα εκείνη του Ευαγγελισμού,
πάλι με την άνοιξη.
Λιγοστά πράσινα φύλλα
γύρω στις σκουριασμένες πέτρες
το κόκκινο χώμα και οι ασπάλαθοι
δείχνοντας έτοιμα
τα μεγάλα τους βελόνια
και τους κίτρινους ανθούς.
Απόμερα οι αρχαίες κολόνες,
χορδές μιας άρπας
που αντηχούν ακόμη…

-Τι μπορεί να μου θύμισε
τον Αρδιαίο εκείνον;
Μια λέξη στον Πλάτωνα θαρρώ,
χαμένη στου μυαλού τ’ αυλάκια.
Τ’ όνομα του κίτρινου θάμνου
δεν άλλαξε από κείνους τους καιρούς.
Το βράδυ βρήκα την περικοπή:
“τον έδεσαν χειροπόδαρα” μας λέει
“τον έριξαν χάμω και τον έγδαραν
τον έσυραν παράμερα τον καταξέσκισαν
απάνω στους αγκαθερούς ασπάλαθους
και πήγαν και τον πέταξαν στον Τάρταρο κουρέλι”.

Έτσι στον κάτω κόσμο πλέρωνε τα κρίματά του
Ο Παμφύλιος ο Αρδιαίος, ο πανάθλιος Τύραννος.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Greece – What You are not Being Told by the Media #NoJusticeGR

According to mainstream media, the current economic crisis in Greece is due to the government spending too much money on its people that it went broke. This claim however, is a lie. It was the banks that wrecked the country so oligarchs and international corporations could benefit.

Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can’t pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?

Except that it is a big fat lie … not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.

Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.

Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can’t pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?

Except that it is a big fat lie … not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.

Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.

In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government and deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt so that oligarchs and international corporations can profit from the ensuing chaos and misery.

If you are a fan of mafia movies, you know how the mafia would take over a popular restaurant. First, they would do something to disrupt the business – stage a murder at the restaurant or start a fire. When the business starts to suffer, the Godfather would generously offer some money as a token of friendship. In return, Greasy Thumb takes over the restaurant’s accounting, Big Joey is put in charge of procurement, and so on. Needless to say, it’s a journey down a spiral of misery for the owner who will soon be broke and, if lucky, alive.

Now, let’s map the mafia story to international finance in four stages.

Stage 1: The first and foremost reason that Greece got into trouble was the “Great Financial Crisis” of 2008 that was the brainchild of Wall Street and international bankers. If you remember, banks came up with an awesome idea of giving subprime mortgages to anyone who can fog a mirror. They then packaged up all these ticking financial bombs and sold them as “mortgage-backed securities” at a huge profit to various financial entities in countries around the world.

A big enabler of this criminal activity was another branch of the banking system, the group of rating agencies – S&P, Fitch and Moody’s – who gave stellar ratings to these destined-to-fail financial products. Unscrupulous politicians such as Tony Blair got paid by Big Banks to peddle these dangerous securities to pension funds and municipalities and countries around Europe. Banks and Wall Street gurus made hundreds of billions of dollars in this scheme.

But this was just Stage 1 of their enormous scam. There was much more profit to be made in the next three stages!

Stage 2 is when the financial time bombs exploded. Commercial and investment banks around the world started collapsing in a matter of weeks. Governments at local and regional level saw their investments and assets evaporate. Chaos everywhere!

Vultures like Goldman Sachs and other big banks profited enormously in three ways: one, they could buy other banks such as Lehman brothers and Washington Mutual for pennies on the dollar. Second, more heinously, Goldman Sachs and insiders such as John Paulson (who recently donated $400 million to Harvard) had made bets that these securities would blow up. Paulson made billions, and the media celebrated his acumen. (For an analogy, imagine the terrorists betting on 9/11 and profiting from it.) Third, to scrub salt in the wound, the big banks demanded a bailout from the very citizens whose lives the bankers had ruined! Bankers have chutzpah. In the U.S., they got hundreds of billions of dollars from the taxpayers and trillions from the Federal Reserve Bank which is nothing but a front group for the bankers.

In Greece, the domestic banks got more than $30 billion of bailout from the Greek people. Let that sink in for a moment – the supposedly irresponsible Greek government had to bail out the hardcore capitalist bankers.

Stage 3 is when the banks force the government to accept massive debts. For a biology metaphor, consider a virus or a bacteria. All of them have unique strategies to weaken the immune system of the host. One of the proven techniques used by the parasitic international bankers is to downgrade the bonds of a country. And that’s exactly what the bankers did, starting at the end of 2009. This immediately makes the interest rates (“yields”) on the bonds go up, making it more and more expensive for the country to borrow money or even just roll over the existing bonds.

From 2009 to mid-2010, the yields on 10-year Greek bonds almost tripled! This cruel financial assault brought the Greek government to its knees, and the banksters won their first debt deal of a whopping 110 billion Euros.

The banks also control the politics of nations. In 2011, when the Greek prime minister refused to accept a second massive bailout, the banks forced him out of the office and immediately replaced him with the Vice President of ECB (European Central Bank)! No elections needed. Screw democracy. And what would this new guy do? Sign on the dotted line of every paperwork that the bankers bring in.

(By the way, the very next day, the exact same thing happened in Italy where the Prime Minister resigned, only to be replaced by a banker/economist puppet. Ten days later, Spain had a premature election where a banker puppet won the election).

The puppet masters had the best month ever in November 2011.

Few months later, in 2012, the exact bond market manipulation was used when the banksters turned up the Greek bonds’ yields to 50%!!! This financial terrorism immediately had the desired effect: The Greek parliament agreed to a second massive bailout, even larger than the first one.

Now, here is another fact that most people don’t understand. The loans are not just simple loans like you would get from a credit card or a bank. These are loans come with very special strings attached that demand privatization of a country’s assets. If you have seen Godfather III, you would remember Hyman Roth, the investor who was carving up Cuba among his friends. Replace Hyman Roth with Goldman Sachs or IMF (International Monetary Fund) or ECB, and you get the picture.

Stage 4: Now, the rape and humiliation of a nation begin under the name of “austerity” or “structural reforms.” For the debt that was forced upon it, Greece had to sell many of its profitable assets to oligarchs and international corporations. And privatizations are ruthless, involving everything and anything that is profitable. In Greece, privatization included water, electricity, post offices, airport services, national banks, telecommunication, port authorities (which is huge in a country that is a world leader in shipping) etc. Of course, the ever-manipulative bankers always demand immediate privatization of all media which means that the country gets photogenic TV anchors who spew establishment propaganda every day and tell the people that crooked and greedy banksters are saviors; and slavery under austerity is so much better than the alternative.

In addition to that, the banker tyrants also get to dictate every single line item in the government’s budget. Want to cut military spending? NO! Want to raise tax on the oligarchs or big corporations? NO! Such micro-management is non-existent in any other creditor-debtor relationship.

So what happens after privatization and despotism under bankers? Of course, the government’s revenue goes down and the debt increases further. How do you “fix” that? Of course, cut spending! Lay off public workers, cut minimum wage, cut pensions (same as our social security), cut public services, and raise taxes on things that would affect the 99% but not the 1%. For example, pension has been cut in half and sales tax increase to more than 20%. All these measures have resulted in Greece going through a financial calamity that is worse than the Great Depression of the U.S. in the 1930s.

After all this, what is the solution proposed by the heartless bankers? Higher taxes! More cuts to the pension! It takes a special kind of a psychopath to put a country through austerity, an economic holocaust.

If every Greek person had known the truth about austerity, they wouldn’t have fallen for this. Same goes for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other countries going through austerity. The sad aspect of all this is that these are not unique strategies. Since World War II, these predatory practices have been used countless times by the IMF and the World Bank in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

This is the essence of the New World Order — a world owned by a handful of corporations and banks; a world that is full of obedient, powerless debt serfs.

So, it’s time for the proud people of Greece to rise up like Zeus and say NO (“OXI” in Greece) to the greedy puppet masters, unpatriotic oligarchs, parasitic bankers and corrupt politicians.

Dear Greece, know that the world is praying for you and rooting for you. This weekend, vote NO to austerity. Say YES to freedom, independence, self-government, sovereignty, and democracy. Go to the polls this weekend and give a resounding, clear victory for the 99% in Greece, Europe, and the entire western world.

Original Article and More: Nation of Change
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