Protests sparked by the current economic downturn are popping up all over Europe. Not all of them are peaceful either.
Rioting in Iceland forced the resignation of the country’s Prime Minister last Tuesday. Police arrested 20 of the 2,000 protesters after the crowd began throwing smoke bombs, attempted to break windows at parliament, and hurled snow and ice at the PM’s car. Police used mace to break up the crowd.
Greek farmers lifted roadblocks Friday that had been in place for over ten days. The farmers set the blocks up to call the Greek government’s attention to the lack of action on falling agricultural prices. “The farmers returned to their farms and houses and the biggest protest in the agricultural sector so far ended in the best possible way,” said the Greek Agricultural Minister.
Lithuania, Latvia, and Bulgaria erupted in protest last week. 14 were injured in the Lithuanian capital as actions turned violent. Looting and destruction resulted from demonstrations in Riga, Latvia’s capital. Store windows and police vehicles were smashed by rioters. Over 100 were arrested.
Union strikes have spilled over into France and Britain. Despite the disruption of services in France, things have staid peaceful in both France and Britain.
Should we be worried in the US? If things get worse before they get better, which isn’t unlikely, would citizens take to the streets. Some are already saying Europe is facing a “Revolution Winter”. A few say we might not be far behind. “It’s amazing that people aren’t more angry here,” Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “Our government is still looking out more for the banks and the people who caused the mess than the people who are being victimized.”
Americans tend to protest in a more constructive way. Americans are calling their representatives, emailing, and using netroots programs to get their views straight to those with the power to make the changes. Most of us recognize that this whole thing is in the government’s hands at this point. Preventing them from working on this thing wont help anyone right now. Alarmists out there would like you to think riots will flame up across the country tomorrow. They wont and saying they will wont help. Band together and help your neighbors. We’ve gone through hardships before and we’ll make it through this one.
I think it goes without saying, but the opinions found at these blogs do not necessarily reflect those of The Maine View.
With all the talk focused on Hamas, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia lately poor North Korea seems to be feeling left out. Like a child acting out to get attention, N. Korea revoked it’s non-aggression pact with South Korea along with all other peace agreements. Tensions could flare up of a disputed sea border in the Yellow Sea. Clashes occurred in this region in 1999 and 2002.
“We hope that North Korea fully understands that raising tension between the South and the North is not desirable for settling peace on the Korean peninsula,” Kim Ho-nyoun, South Korean spokesman for the Unification Ministry said in a statement. “The North needs to recognize that rising inter-Korean tension is not desirable not only for the peace of the Korean Peninsula but also for the peace of Northeast Asia and the world,” said Kim. “We urge the North to back dialogue and cooperation with us.”
Trying to soften South Korea’s stance with the North and gaining the attention of President Obama is said to be the goal of any hostilities.
Rush Limbaugh has made it to the big time. Yesterday Limbaugh wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal detailing his version of the stimulus plan, which I covered last week. The column was a rehash of the proposal he released on his show as the Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan of 2009. The column itself made for an enjoyable read. I could see all of Rush’s points, and agree with a few, without all that jargonizing getting it the way. I guess sensible talk is not what brings in Rush the big bucks.
Take the opening paragraph: There’s a serious debate in this country as to how best to end the recession. The average recession will last five to 11 months; the average recovery will last six years. Recessions will end on their own if they’re left alone. What can make the recession worse is the wrong kind of government intervention.
There are a some misleading facts. Only recessions counted from 1945 to 2007 average out to 5 to 11 months. Roughly ten recessions occurred prior, including the Great Depression. Most administrations did attempt to intervene in the crises with varying degrees of success. Rush and many others, myself included, question whether or not the current stimulus is the best approach.
The solution proposed by Limbaugh is a compromise between spending (Keynesian) and tax cuts (Supply-Side). Maybe a compromise isn’t the best solution either.
Compromises have brought us some great things in history. Our Bill of Rights is the product of a compromise between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Compromises don’t always produce the best results. The Reconstruction Era led to decades of discrimination, violence, and terrorism against religious, ethnic, and racial minorities.
A compromise just to prove Obama is bipartisan or to save hurt feelings of those who oppose the stimulus is wrong. This isn’t the schoolyard. No one should be forced to make compromises with our money and economy in the name of togetherness. I want the best plan there is. If that comes through a compromise then OK. If it comes from the Dems or if it comes from the GOP I don’t care. As long as this thing is not a waste of money and helps get us back on the right track quicker than doing nothing at all I’m behind whoever proposes the stimulus.
Now is the time for decisive action. Stop the in fighting, keep the debate going. Work the best solution to the problem. Quit the handholding kumbya and quit power games. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but there is a middle ground on how to approach the stimulus here.
Nightly News Roundup – Blagojevich, Wall Street, California State Workers, Loan Help, Maine Low On Cash, Snow
I’ve decided to ad some local news to the mix for my Mainers. Here’s the headlines.
You need proof that no one is immune from the recession? Well here it is. Even the Postal Service is feeling the effects of the economic downturn. Last year they operated $2.8 billion in the red. Estimates for this year are approaching $6 billion in losses. Dropping a day of service, possibly Tuesday or Saturday, has been suggested as a solution. Time to privatize?
Check out more at MSNBC.
Starbucks released a statement yesterday that it will cut 6,700 jobs and close 300 stores. This comes on the heels of the 600 store closings announced last July. Starbucks may not stop at 900 stores either.
“I’m hoping 300 stores is enough, and that they’ve done what they need to do,” said Patty Edwards, a retail analyst with Storehouse Partners in Seattle. “Slow drip, even in coffee, isn’t necessarily the best thing. Sometimes you just need to get the pain over with.”
I guess $5 bucks for an ok latte is too much.