18 June 2013

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THE PENALTY FOR IGNORANCE IS SLAVERY

The purpose of austerity is to widen the gap between rich and poor, and to increase the power of the financial economy over the real economy. This is a manifestation of a global trend in which the middle class is vanishing, and the rich continue to get richer, worldwide.

In this New World Order, the lower you are on the social ladder, the more you are screwed.

Example: over the last ten years, U.S. employers have increasingly been paying their workers via debit cards, rather than by check or direct deposit. Reason: employers must pay a bank in order to issue company checks, or to pay workers via direct deposit, but employers pay nothing for debit cards. The banks dump all the costs onto workers; especially minimum-wage workers.

The debit cards (VISA or MasterCard) are administered by all the too-big-to-jail banks (such as JP Morgan Chase, which also handles many EBT cards, also known as “food stamps”).

With the JPMorgan Chase Payroll Card, workers must pay a 75-cent fee to make on online payment, $1.00 for a balance inquiry, $1.50 for a withdrawal from an ATM, $5 for an over-the-counter cash withdrawal, $10 for cards that are not used for 90 days, $15 to replace a lost or stolen card, and so on.

Citibank fees are slightly lower (so far). Home Depot uses Citibank debit cards to pay their workers.

In short, as poverty continues to spread, more and more U.S. workers must pay bankers in order to receive their paychecks.

This violates state laws which say that workers shall be paid by cash or check (or by direct deposit, which is considered the same as a check).

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On 24 April 2013, Natalie Gushannon, 27, a single mother, was hired at the McDonald’s in Shavertown Pennsylvania, and worked for a month before quitting. She was paid $7.44 per hour.

On 13 June 2013 she filed a lawsuit against McDonalds franchise owners Albert and Carol Mueller for illegally paying her with the Chase debit cards. (The Muellers own 15 other McDonald’s locations throughout northeastern Pennsylvania.) The lawsuit says that managers and assistant managers are allowed to receive their paychecks through direct deposit if they choose, but hourly workers are not allowed.

Ms. Gushannon is seeking to have her case classified as a class action lawsuit, so that it will cover other workers who are illegally paid via the debit card.

The lawsuit is filed under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act, and charges the Muellers with unjust enrichment. Section 3 of the Act says that employees shall be paid their wages on a regular basis, and that, “The wages shall be paid in lawful money of the United States, or check.”

Therefore the too-big-to-jail banks will have to bribe state legislatures to change the laws so the banks can continue to screw workers. (The American Payroll Association claims that Pennsylvania state officials already endorse payroll cards.)

TO BE FAIR, these payroll debit cards can be convenient for people who, for reason or another, are unwilling or unable to get a regular bank account. Some check-cashing stores charge up to 15 percent of face value to cash paychecks.

Therefore, educate yourself. Don’t let the banksters gouge you if you can avoid it.

In the words of Rodger Mitchell: “The penalty for ignorance is slavery.”
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MORE CUTS FOR PORTUGAL

Yesterday (17 June) thousands of teachers across Portugal walked away from final exams held at secondary schools (high schools) to protest against planned spending cuts in education, leaving many pupils unable to take the tests.

Portugal is in its worst economic recession ever. Its government has also imposed the largest tax increases ever.

Anti-austerity protests have been largely peaceful and more subdued than those in Greece and neighboring Spain, but Portugal has seen a rise in rallies and strikes in recent months.

After talks with the teachers’ unions collapsed over the weekend, the education ministry deployed replacement teachers. Some schools bundled classes together in gyms or canteens so that the exams could go ahead.

Many pupils were unable to take the tests, but in some schools they chanted and waved placards with slogans of solidarity for their striking teachers.

Mario Nogueira, the head of 52,000-strong Fenprof teachers’ union, said 90 percent of teachers took part in the strike, and that some schools had canceled Monday’s exam. There are around 100,000 teachers in Portugal’s state education system.

The education ministry and rescheduled their exams for July 2.

Teachers are also protesting against a forced “mobility regime” whereby teachers may be forced to accept postings far from home when their schools are merged with others as part of the spending cuts.

Teachers are also protesting against a government decision to increase working hours for all public sector workers by one hour to an eight-hour day.

http://news.yahoo.com/portuguese-teachers-boycott-exams-anti-austerity-strike-153600240.html

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DEUTSCHLAND ÜBER ALLES

Germany has been spared much of the ravages of austerity so far, since Germany’s trade surplus sucks euros out of the other euro-zone nations, and brings the euros to Germany, leaving debt behind them.  Indeed, the worse things get in the euro-zone, the better things get for Germany, whose unemployment has now fallen to a 20-year low.  This — plus the fact that the ECB is in Frankfurt — makes Germany the biggest creditor nation in the euro-zone.  Germany has Europe’s largest and strongest economy. Its soccer teams are now Europe’s best. When we ask, “Where is Europe going?” we mean, “What does Germany want?” Whatever the Germans decide, the other countries must line up behind them. Berlin is the capital of Western Europe.

Yes, Germany rules.  And it’s all because politicians in the slave countries collaborate in the euro currency scam. Naturally, average Germans love the euro. (The May 31st “blockupy” demonstration by young people in Frankfurt was negligible, but it showed that German riot police are as violent as the riot police in any other nation. The police arrested many mainstream journalists and left-leaning members of parliament.)

Since Germany prospers at the expense of the other euro-zone nations, Angela Merkel poses as a “defender” of Germany against the mess outside Germany, which Germany contributes to. Thus, Merkel is very popular in Germany, and she will almost surely win a third term as chancellor in the elections of 22 Sep 2013. She and her cronies want to increase the use of the German language across Europe, and in Brussels institutions (European Parliament, European Commission and European Council).

However, bankers and politicians are loyal to nothing except money and power. When the other euro-zone nations have been sucked completely dry, the bankers and politicians will impose severe austerity on average Germans.

So far, average Germans have not had much fiscal austerity, but they are already suffering from legal (or structural) austerity in the form of an erosion of workers’ rights, a downward pressure on wages, an increase in temporary work, plus an increase in subcontracting companies, and in so-called “mini-jobs” (in which people work on a contract for as little as 10 hours a week). In urban centers, housing is in short supply, which causes very high rents.

The point is that the ruling class in Germany is as brutal and selfish as is the ruling class anywhere else, as average Germans will eventually discover.

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The euro is killing the slave states, but they cling to the euro anyway, becaue of their own corruption. Greece, for example, continues to operate under a political system that nurtures a nepotistic and bloated bureaucracy.

Everyone in the bureaucracy wants to keep his job, and the higher a person is, the more directly he is on the Troika payroll.

However the bureaucracy as a whole is like a sinking ship. The Troika wants the higher-ups in Greece to throw at least 180,000 public sector employees overboard by the end of 2015. And the public workers get no sympathy from regular citizens, who are already crushed by austerity.

Meanwhile, the corporate media condemns any social movement that tries to promote solidarity for everyone as “fascist” and “Nazi.” The masses agree with these labels, since the masses think what the media outlets tell them to think.

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The Troika has demanded that Greek politicians give them more than 2.5 billion euros  through privatizations this year, plus 25 billion euros by 2020. However no one wants to buy Greek public assets, since the assets can’t be profitable, as average Greeks have no money.

So, outside Germany, the euro-zone nations are trapped in a straitjacket of poverty, corruption, and the euro.

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