Spain’s ‘Robin Hood’ takes from the banks and gives to the disenfranchised

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They call him the Robin Hood of the banks, a man who took out dozens of loans worth almost half a million euros with no intention of ever paying them back. Instead, Enric Duran farmed the money out to projects that created and promoted alternatives to capitalism.

After 14 months in hiding, Duran is unapologetic even though his activities could land him in jail. “I’m proud of this action,” he said in an interview by Skype from an undisclosed location. The money, he said, had created opportunities. “It generated a movement that allowed us to push forward with the construction of alternatives. And it allowed us to build a powerful network that groups together these initiatives.”

From 2006 to 2008, Duran took out 68 commercial and personal loans from 39 banks in Spain. He farmed the money out to social activists, funding speaking tours against capitalism and TV cameras for a media network. “I saw that on one side, these social movements were building alternatives but that they lacked resources and communication capacities,” he said. “Meanwhile, our reliance on perpetual growth was creating a system that created money out of nothing.”

The loans he swindled from banks were his way of regulating and denouncing this situation, he said. He started slowly. “I filled out a few credit applications with my real details. They denied me, but I just wanted to get a feel for what they were asking for.”

From there, the former table tennis coach began to weave an intricate web of accounts, payments and transfers. “I was learning constantly.” By the summer of 2007, he had discovered how to make the system work, applying for loans under the name of a false television production company. “Then I managed to get a lot.” €492,000 (£407,000), to be exact.

Duran was arrested in Spain in 2009, on charges brought against him by six of the 39 banks that had lent him money. He spent two months in prison before being bailed for €50,000bail. In February last year, facing up to eight years in prison, he decided to flee rather than stand trial. “I don’t see legitimacy in a judicial system based on authority, because I don’t recognise its authority,” he said.

His actions, he said, were at the vanguard of a worldwide debate on the economic crisis. The timing pushed the anti-capitalist movement into the light, just as many Spaniards were seeking alternatives to a system that had wreaked havoc on their lives.

While the same actions would probably be better understood in today’s Spain, he said that they would not be needed. The anti-capitalist movement has grown from a fringe movement to one supported by thousands of Spaniards, he said, evidenced by the 70 or so social currencies in use across the country and widely supported movements such as the indignados.

Success has helped the movement become self-sufficient. “We now have the capacity to generate resources,” said Duran, adding somewhat ironically that this was exactly what banks issue credit for – “to advance and generate a situation that allows you to be independent”.Duran is widening his focus to include Spain’s justice system, by promoting restorative justice. “The people in Spain who believe that banks don’t work, they think that I don’t owe anything. I’ve already done my work,” he said. “But there is a part of a population that is not in agreement with us and I think I should respond to that.”

In his case, he said, the element of reciprocity he could offer to banks might lie in the insight he gleaned from years of obtaining bank loans fraudulently. He could share his thoughts on “which best practices work and the bad ones that don’t,” he suggested, “for the general population and for bank workers”.

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BOOM: Mom Strikes Back At Troll Who Called Her Kid with Downs ‘UGLY’

quinn

When this momma bear’s child with Down Syndrome was called ‘ugly’ on her Instagram picture by a ‘troll’, she decided to respond to them through her blog:

Dear Troll,

Since I started blogging about my son Quinn and his disability, I knew this day would come. There’s no shortage of trolls on the internet who hide behind the anonymity of a screen name with the intent to be cruel, and I’ve seen their hostility many times before. In fact, just last week, in the wake of a robbery at the Down Syndrome Association of Houston’s headquarters, in which $ 10,000 worth of technology was stolen, there was no shortage of ignorant comments on the news story reporting the incident.

One user asked, “how will they learn to count to potato?” Another claimed that wasting computers on “retards” was stupid anyway and that the organization deserved to be robbed. These comments, while offensive, simply serve to showcase people’s hate-fueled ignorance and aren’t worth my time. I grimace when I read them, but realize there’s little to be done about such stupidity.

A screenshot of the troll's comment can be seen here.

A screenshot of the troll’s comment can be seen here.

I don’t want to make assumptions about you, but I can guess from your immaturity and ignorance that you know little about the helplessness that parents feel when caring for a sick infant with respiratory issues. Quinn was sick last week, but was feeling much better by Friday. We decided to sit in the backyard and soak up the sun after school. There aren’t many things in this world more beautiful than seeing your recently-ill child light up in a smile, and I snapped a few photos to celebrate his recovery, then posted them on Instagram with the hashtag “#downsyndrome.” I love to look through those photos myself in my spare time because damn if those kiddos aren’t adorable. Of course, you feel differently because you found this photo and left a comment with one simple word: Ugly.

The fact that you find my child ugly is one thing. You are entitled to your opinion. But the fact that you intentionally search #downsyndrome to find pictures to insult (sadly, Quinn is not the only victim of your behavior; I came across many other inflammatory responses) is both childish and sad. Your profile is also full of offensive posts and crude statements, all of which point to your own illiteracy.

Read more: Megan Mennes

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The Reporter Who Showed Us the Face of the Beast in Eastern Ukraine Has Been Abducted

Please join me in praying for the safety and release of a fearless and real journalist, Simon Ostrovsky, who was reportedly taken hostage by pro-Russian forces in Eastern Kiev.

If you’ve seen his reports… the guy is amazing, and pretty much goes where exceedingly few would ever dare to go.

Here is his most recent report:

Note that Vice News is an international news entity, with a focus on New Media (Internet/non-traditional), and with a non-Western feel to a lot of what they do. As with any news, it’s strongly colored by the views and worldview of the reporter.

My own reflection is also that it tends to be very “personality-centric” with the reporter–though that’s not always a bad thing… I think Simon, for one, helps you step into the story he’s covering through the way he reports.

As with all news, you have to read between the lines, and to realize the reporter is showing you the story he or she wants you to see, and has likely omitted parts of the scene that don’t fit with their individual storyline.

Nevertheless, I think every Federal officer should watch this video. This is where it leads, when you use your weapons and badges to intimidate, and oppress the people who pay your wages.

There are no “clean” hands here, but when “the People” have finally had enough, it is like the breaking loose of a dam—the water flows wherever it will, and often great damage ensues.

Watch this. Feel it. Pray that the tyrants in DC (both R’s and D’s) get the message before it comes to this in America. No more Bundy Ranches. No more Wacos. No more Miami (Elian Gonzalez raid).

The government is here to serve us, not order us around like slaves or serfs.

The post The Reporter Who Showed Us the Face of the Beast in Eastern Ukraine Has Been Abducted appeared first on Political Outcast.

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Canada’s Middle Class Is Now Doing Better than the Middle Class in America

For most of Canada’s existence, it has been regarded as the weak neighbor to the north by most Americans. Well, that has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. Back in the year 2000, middle class Canadians were earning much less than middle class Americans, but since then there has been a dramatic shift. At this point, middle class Canadians are actually earning more than middle class Americans are. The Canadian economy has been booming thanks to a rapidly growing oil industry, and meanwhile the U.S. middle class has been steadily shrinking. If current trends continue, a whole bunch of other countries are going to start passing us too. The era of the “great U.S. middle class” is rapidly coming to a bitter end.

In recent years, I have been up to Canada frequently, and I am always amazed at how much nicer things are up there. The stores and streets are cleaner, the people are more polite and it seems like almost everyone that wants to work has a job.

But despite knowing all this, I was still surprised when the New York Times reported this week that middle class incomes in Canada have now surpassed middle class incomes in the United States…

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

And things are particularly dire for those in the U.S. on the low end of the scale…

The struggles of the poor in the United States are even starker than those of the middle class. A family at the 20th percentile of the income distribution in this country makes significantly less money than a similar family in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland or the Netherlands. Thirty-five years ago, the reverse was true.

Even while our politicians and the media continue to proclaim that everything is “just fine”, the U.S. middle class continues to slide toward oblivion.

The biggest reason for this is the lack of middle class jobs. Millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas, and millions of other good jobs have been replaced by technology.

The value of our labor is declining with each passing day, and this has forced millions upon millions of very qualified Americans to take whatever they can get. As NBC News recently noted, this is a big reason why the temp industry has been booming…

For Americans who can’t find jobs, the booming demand for temp workers has been a path out of unemployment, but now many fear it’s a dead-end route.

With full-time work hard to find, these workers have built temping into a de facto career, minus vacation, sick days or insurance. The assignments might be temporary — a few months here, a year there — but labor economists warn that companies’ growing hunger for a workforce they can switch on and off could do permanent damage to these workers’ career trajectories and retirement plans.

“It seems to be the new norm in the working world,” said Kelly Sibla, 54. The computer systems engineer has been looking for a full-time job for four years now, but the Amherst, Ohio, resident said she has to take whatever she can find.

It has been estimated that one out of every ten jobs is now filled by a temp agency. I have worked for temp agencies myself in the past. Big companies like the idea of having “disposable workers”, and this is a trend that is likely to only grow in the years ahead.

But temp jobs and part-time jobs don’t pay as well as normal jobs. And those kinds of jobs generally cannot support middle class families.

At this point, nine out of the top ten occupations in the United States pay an average wage of less than $ 35,000 a year.

That is absolutely stunning.

These days most families are barely scraping by, and they don’t have much extra money to go shopping with.

This is a big reason for the “retail apocalypse” that we are now witnessing. This week we learned that retail stores in the United States are closing at the fastest pace that we have seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. But you won’t hear much about that on the mainstream news.

You can find lots of “space available” signs and empty buildings in formerly middle class neighborhoods all over the country. For example, one of my readers recently shot the following YouTube video in Scottsdale, Arizona. As you can see, empty commercial buildings are all over the place…

As the middle class shrinks, more families are being forced to take in family members that can’t find decent work. I have written previously about the huge rise in the number of young adults that are moving back in with their parents. But this is not just happening to young people. As the Los Angeles Times recently detailed, the number of Americans 50 and older that are moving in with their parents has absolutely soared in recent years…

For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.

“The numbers are pretty amazing,” Wallace said. “It’s an age group that you normally think of as pretty financially stable. They’re mid-career. They may be thinking ahead toward retirement. They’ve got a nest egg going. And then all of a sudden you see this huge push back into their parents’ homes.”

The U.S. economy is slowly but steadily falling apart, and more people fall out of the middle class every single day.

A recent Gallup survey found that 14 percent of all Americans would experience “significant financial hardship” within one week of a job loss.

An additional 29 percent of all Americans would experience “significant financial hardship” within one month of a job loss.

That means that 43 percent of the entire country is living right on the edge.

It is no wonder why only about 30 percent of all Americans believe that we are moving in the right direction as a nation.

Most people know deep down that something is seriously wrong. But most people can’t explain exactly what that is or how to fix it.

Meanwhile, the politicians and the media keep telling us that if we just keep doing the same old things that everything will work out okay somehow. The blind are leading the blind, and we are rapidly marching toward disaster.

Source

Take a look at the future of America: The Beginning of the End.

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The post Canada’s Middle Class Is Now Doing Better than the Middle Class in America appeared first on Freedom Outpost.

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CNN Panel Bursts Out Laughing At State Dept’s Answer About Hillary’s Accomplishments

Tuesday morning, a reporter asked a State Department official to identify “one tangible achievement” of the Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary. Tuesday evening, CNN’s John King and his panel laughed out loud at the answer. As we reported yesterday, the flustered spokesperson was not alone in her inability to come up with an example; neither members of the Democratic National Committee nor Hillary herself were able to do so either. via ijreview
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Russia threatens military invasion of Ukraine

WASHINGTON – Russia appears to be underwhelmed by the deployment of American troops to Poland, on Ukraine’s border, as Russia’s foreign minister has threatened to respond as Moscow did in 2008 when it invaded the Republic of Georgia, claiming ethnic Russians were in danger.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov issued the warning despite the U.S. announcement that it was deploying an initial 600 troops for military exercises in Poland and in the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, where there are large concentrations of ethnic Russians. The four nations all belong to NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

If attacked, Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty would be implemented, requiring all NATO members to come to their assistance.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said that as many as 10,000 U.S. troops could be deployed in Poland.

Signaling a change in overall strategic defense policy, Hagel said the U.S. needs to “re-pivot back to Europe from Asia to confront “Russian aggression” in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Lavrov insists Russia is merely protecting its interests.

“If we are attacked, we would certainly respond,” he said.

“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia, for example, I do not see nay other way but to respond in full accordance with international law,” he said.

South Ossetia is a breakaway province of Georgia in the South Caucasus. In 2008, Russian troops moved also into the other Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia. Tanks and troops reached the edge of Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, before Putin, who then was Russia’s prime minister, halted the advance after five days, due to pressure from President George W. Bush.

Russia then declared South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries, which the international community largely does not recognize.

Georgian sources tell WND that Russia intends to take action similar to what it did in Crimea by annexing South Ossetia to the Russian Federation. It’s part of an overall Russian strategy to set up buffer zones against NATO encroachment to the Russian border.

Residents of South Ossetia are said to be in favor of annexation, since there is a large concentration of ethnic Russians there.

“Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation,” Lavrov told Russia Today in an interview that is to be broadcast later Wednesday.

Lavrov denied that Russian troops are in Ukraine, although regional sources tell WND that the pro-Russian troops in uniforms without any markings are Russian Spetznaz, or special forces. The forces now have entered into eastern Ukraine, where ethnic Russians have been demonstrating to be annexed to Russia.

“The only thing I would like to highlight at this stage is that the Russian troops are on the Russian territory,” Lavrov said, without elaboration.

Lavrov also accused the United States of controlling the actions of the pro-West Ukrainian government, saying that Washington was not “running the show” in Kiev.

“There is no reason not to believe that the Americans are running the show in the most direct way,” Lavrov said.

Relations between the U.S. and Russia seriously deteriorated following the February ouster of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which Moscow has declared to be an illegal takeover.

WND

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Concerned Chicagoans not convinced by mayor that #CrimeIsDown

Last December, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy held a press conference to share the good news: the city was on its way to having “its lowest homicide rate since 1967 and its lowest violent crime rate for nearly as long.”

The books seem to have been cooked, as Western Journalism reports:

This year, the IG’s office finalized an audit of assault related crimes in the city during 2012. The audit found that “…the department under-counted aggravated assaults and batteries by more than 24 percent, based on the sample cases reviewed.” Chicago Magazine discovered examples of 10 murders, people “…who were beaten, burned, suffocated, or shot to death in 2013 and whose cases were reclassified as death investigations, downgraded to more minor crimes, or even closed as noncriminal incidents…”

In short, crime isn’t down in Chicago. But that hasn’t stopped frustrated Chicagoans from starting the sardonic #CrimeIsDown hashtag to punctuate each new report of violence.

This can’t be; Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.

 


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We Are Change: #MyNYPD Documented Failure

We Are Change

#MyNYPD was created by the NYPDnews on Twitter to create a good dialogue between the police department and the people, the results differ from the intention however. The smokescreen of PR has quickly been washed away by “tweets” posted displaying police brutality with the #MyNYPD hashtag. Luke Rudkowski at We Are Change has also taken part in the campaign, with examples of police brutality taken first hand.

This however did not come as a surprise:

The post We Are Change: #MyNYPD Documented Failure appeared first on We Are Change.


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MEGA-SLAMMED: Watch ‘Megadeth’ Mock Obama’s ‘F$#@ing Mom Jeans’ Onstage

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 11.25.08 AM

Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine was caught on video by a fan at their April 19 concert in Tucson, Arizona, mocking President Obama’s penchant for wearing “mom jeans.” And he used some rather colorful language in doing so…

“Imagine if I was your president… Oh boy! I’ll tell you what – there would be no f**king mom jeans on this guy!”

Read more: IJ Review

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Economic Plunge: Are You Psychologically Prepared?

Much talk of being prepared for economic hard times is aimed at people who have enough income to put aside some resources into stored food and other forms of preparation. Not everyone can do that (and it is hard to know how much is really enough).

There is another kind of preparation that is almost as important and may be within reach of more people. It is especially important for men, I think. I am referring to psychological preparation.

To see what I mean, here is a story from RT.com about Greece:

Spending cuts in Greece have caused some 500 male suicides since their implementation, according to a new study. The research found a positive correlation between austerity and suicide rates after other possible links proved to be unrelated.

The 30-page study, titled ‘The Impact of Fiscal Austerity on Suicide: On the Empirics of a Modern Greek Tragedy’ and published in the Social Science and Medicine journal was authored by Nikolaos Antonakakis and Alan Collins from Portsmouth University.

“Suicide rates in Greece (and other European countries) have been on a remarkable upward trend following the global recession of 2008 and the European sovereign debt crisis of 2009,” states the study’s abstract.

Each 1 percent decrease in government spending resulted in a 0.43 percent rise in suicides among men, according to the study. Between 2009 and 2010, there were 551 deaths which occurred “solely because of fiscal austerity,” it stated.

To look at austerity as only about “spending cuts” is propaganda, in my opinion. The bottom line is that the Greek government tried to borrow money to spend more than it took in as revenue.  That had to end sooner or later, as it will also end everywhere else a government insists on outspending revenue. We will learn that lesson in the U.S when our god is finally revealed as the idol that it is.

But, separating out RT’s spin, it remains clear that going through economic hard times is psychologically devastating, especially to males. Men feel like they have failed when they can’t support themselves or their families. Of course, those feelings are excellent when they make us get out of bed in the morning and go to work. But when they turn on us due to a worldwide economic implosion, they can lead to self-destruction.

The point to remember is: it is not your fault that the economic destruction was wreaked on us by our government. Even if you realize you supported policies at one time that led to this disaster, the fact remains that your contribution to the catastrophe was miniscule. Blaming yourself is irrational.

Blaming yourself for the past is also a tactic to evade your real responsibilities to face the present and future—to struggle as best you can and set a good example for those on whom you have influence. The only way economic depressions end is by people working hard. And even if you can’t see a way out for yourself, you have to think about the next generation and how you can and should contribute to better times for them.

Ultimately, of course, this is a Spiritual battle we will face. God gives us good times and bad. Are we only going to serve Him when he does things for us that we like? We should trust him in the midst of austerity.

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