domenica 29 aprile 2012

Recovery faked by phony government

John Williams: Recovery faked by phony government numbers

5:15p ET Friday, April 27, 2012
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
Writing at King World News, ShadowStats editor John Williams argues that evidence of economic recovery in the United States turns bogus when government-doctored inflation data is discarded and real inflation data is used. Williams predicts that more debt monetization will be employed to prop up banks while being portrayed as economic stimulus. Williams' comments are headlined "The Recovery Faked by Phony Government Numbers" and it's posted at the King World News blog here:
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

sabato 28 aprile 2012



By Professor Steven Yates
April 28, 2012

[Note: I had a version of this article ready to go online when the latest death by government, that of the late Andrew Wordes of Roswell, Ga., came to my attention.
For around 13 years Andrew Steven Wordes, 53, had lived alone in the Roswell area north of Atlanta, raising chickens in his backyard and minding his own business. He was not an isolated eccentric; he had organized a Meetup group on chicken farming and had taught seminars on the subject. A nosy neighbor, however, complained about his activities (this was in 2008). The town issued Wordes a citation for having too many chickens on his property, which he challenged in court and was able to have dismissed as frivolous. Town officials do not like having their decrees thwarted, of course, even when misapplied: the ordinance used against Wordes had specificallyexcluded poultry from its provisions.
The officials retaliated by initiating a campaign of terror against Wordes, who stood his ground valiantly. They literally rewrote the ordinance. A judge ruled that Wordes would be "grandfathered" under the previous version. The battle escalated. Town officials again retaliated by invoking the city’s “2030 Comprehensive Plan” which enabled them to reclassify Wordes's property as "green space" (an Agenda 21 derived concept). Wordes, incidentally, described himself on his Facebook page as a “Constitutional Conservative; I believe in G*d, Guns and The U.S. Constitution. My G*d and my guns will make sure the Constitution is obeyed.” Such statements plus a lifestyle bespeaking of independence and self-sufficiency invariably set authoritarians’ teeth on edge. Local media, meanwhile, had begun making light of the situation by referring to Wordes as the “Roswell Chicken Man.”
The town had neglected to maintain storm water infrastructure in the vicinity, resulting in a damaging flood. Wordes took matters into his own hands by grading his own land with a Bobcat. The city issued him a citation for grading his land without a permit, for having too many cars on his property, and again for having too many chickens. Wordes' attempted to file a FEMA request for assistance; the town refused to cooperate. The Roswell Police Department began watching him, parking at the end of his street, looking for anything they could cite him for, actually taking pulling him over several times for such minor offenses as having a broken taillight in one case. His mortgage holder (an 80-year-old woman) was bullied into selling the mortgage on his property for pennies on the dollar. The new mortgage holder immediately began foreclosure proceedings, and the town then filed a 55-page civil lawsuit against him attempting to have the property declared a “nuisance.” His property was then vandalized while he was at a political meeting; his chickens and other birds were poisoned, costing him his primary source of income. Wordes believed the poisoning was the work of the neighbor who had filed the initial complaint. He filed a police report, which was never seriously pursued.
Finally Wordes was jailed for 99 days for refusing to comply with the city’s order to reduce the number of chickens on his own property. While Wordes was in jail, the city vindictively pronounced his property “vacant.” This was an open invitation to further vandalism. Firearms, ammunition, and other valuables were stolen by parties unknown (this, too, was never pursued).
In jail he was refused his right to review personal records and have legal counsel pursuant to a bankruptcy hearing that would have halted the effort to foreclose illegally on his property. He was released only to discover that it was too late. He had no more money, no legal representation, no means of earning a living, no means of fighting the illegal foreclosure proceedings taking place, and was in an unlivable house.
In February he was able to obtain interview time about his situation on a local radio show where he appealed for help. He needed a property attorney who wouldn’t want upfront fees worth an arm and a leg, as he was facing eviction from the property but was too broke to continue fighting malicious city officials. He held on nonetheless. Finally, on the morning of March 26, Fulton County marshals assembled to force him out of his house, in typical police-state fashion. A standoff ensued. Wordes phoned a local reporter who showed up at the scene. Speaking through him, Wordes urged the marshals to leave his property. Needless to say, they refused. Moments later, there was an explosion inside the house, which burst into flames. Wordes's body was found later amidst the smoldering ruins.
While Wordes’ death was officially ruled a suicide, the final act of a man driven over the edge by ruthless city and county officials. Another death by government on U.S. soil, in any event. How many more Andrew Wordeses are out there, being harassed to the point of taking lives, either their own or that of others, by sociopathic government officials? Also: here is hard proof that local officials are not necessarily to be trusted any more than federal ones; they are potentially worse because of the invisibility, on a large scale, of their acts of sadism and destruction. Moreover, mainstream media is not going to report these events. This battle began in ‘08-‘09. I only heard of it two weeks ago!
Is sociopathic too strong a word to use for town and county officials who would set about to utterly destroy a man’s life, knowing full well what they are doing and continuing anyway? Here is the most complete account I have found of the Andrew Wordes case. But read on!]
Two recent articles by Doug Casey, the investing and financial planning strategist who founded Casey Research, probably qualify as Keepers (they are here and here) Every American ought to read these articles and print copies for future reference.
Begin with Pareto’s Law, the infamous 80-20 principle which says that 80 percent of the work in any organization is done by 20 percent of its people. Twenty percent of a sales force achieves 80 percent of its sales. Likewise, 20 percent of any population is responsible for around 80 percent of its crime rate. In my experience in the classroom, I would estimate that approximately 20 percent of students accomplish 80 percent of whatever is accomplished in one of my philosophy classes. I wouldn’t be surprised if 80 percent of all advances of Western civilization can be attributed to 20 percent of the population. The rest are just along for the ride.
Pareto’s Law, according to Casey, has applications in social ethics, and personal motivation. Eighty percent of us humans are basically decent and mean well. Even if we sin, we are not overtly malicious and will not purposefully harm others except to defend ourselves and our own. We have an inner moral compass that checks our behavior, at least most of the time.
The other 20 percent lacks this moral compass. Most of this other 20 percent act benign most of the time. They don’t torture animals, for example. They don’t go out of their way to look for trouble, and if no opportunities arise, they won’t act differently from the 80 percent. But in the last analysis they are opportunists. They identify with authority. They are attracted to occupations and positions that allow them to wield unchecked power over others. They may work to gain your trust, and then stab you in the back when you become an inconvenience; they will enjoy having done it.
Have you ever wondered where the TSA finds the thousands whose job description involves treating their fellow citizens like potential terrorists? Or where the Fullerton, Calif. police department found the men who beat, kicked and Tasered a mentally retarded homeless man to death last summer? Or, for that matter, why our nation, with the largest percentage of its population incarcerated of any advanced nation in the world, seems to have little trouble staffing its facilities? I sometimes read about shortages of nurses. I never hear about shortages of prison guards.
Of the opportunistic 20 percent, 80 percent of its number is checked by social norms and others’ expectations most of the time. Not every TSA agent is looking to humiliate someone, for example. I’d wager, around 80 percent are not. Not every cop or prison guard is a sadist. But 20 percent of the opportunistic 20 percent are the truly bad apples, Casey writes. These are the people truly drawn to power, and will use opportunities to abuse others to advance their interests. They are capable of killing without remorse. Some, indeed, are evil through and through. Twenty percent of 20 percent being four percent of the whole, this means four percent of any population qualifies as sociopathic.
Casey lists seven key characteristics of sociopaths. He didn’t invest this list. I’ve seen variations on it elsewhere. Based on my own experiences and observations I’ve reworded it for this article:
(1) Sociopaths have no conscience or sincere empathy with others. They are fundamentally conniving, and will lie without hesitation to achieve their goals. They have no qualms or regrets about having hurt others. They can, of course, pretend they do. Some are very good at this. They may, however, exhibit Jekyll and Hyde personalities, being charming in public but flying into rages behind closed doors. The shallowness of their emotional lives makes love impossible. They are capable of marriage as they can pretend; but then ruin their spouse’s life, and that of any children involved. 
(2) Sociopaths believe their wants are a completely different level from those of others, and will use or step on others to get what they want. They believe the ends justify the means. As we just said, they will kill to advance their goals or to protect their interests if they believe they can get away with it. 
(3) Sociopaths see themselves—implicitly if not explicitly—as superior, because they don’t have “emotional” or “juvenile” ethics problems. They’re above all that, beyond good and evil. Again, though, they can pretend, and sound very convincing. 
(4) Sociopaths are unable to accept responsibility if things go wrong. They never apologize for anything. 
(5) The sociopathic notion of property rights runs something like this: what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine, too, if I want it. They will defend government (or anyone else’s) measures that seize other people’s property if they believe they will reap benefits. 
(6) When disaster strikes, sociopaths in power become unhinged and lash out with an attack against the wrong target. Example: Bill Clinton would order an overseas bombing to detract attention from whatever trouble he was in over here (lying under oath to a grand jury, in one instance). Example: 19 Saudis are blamed for flying planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11. The Bush II regime attacks Iraq. 
(7) Sociopaths enjoy bullying and inflicting pain on others. They will spread libelous rumors, and for sport will pass off unfounded allegations as true in order to hurt someone they regard as a foe. This is particularly true in ideological quarrels, although sociopathy itself knows no ideology.

Click here for part -----> 2,

In a healthy society, the sociopathic four percent finds itself marginalized—these are the people seen by the rest of society as “no good.” They’ve lied, stolen, double-crossed, or in some other way proved to those around them they can’t be trusted. Their fellows eventually refuse to have anything to do with them. They often end up in the slammer. In the America of decades past, of course, all towns had such people. Everyone steered clear of them. Parents instructed their children to stay away from the sociopath’s kids, if he had any. For part two click below.

Class Action Vs All Bank Servicers and Their Offshore Havens

April 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m. EDT

Home Owners Across the Nation Sue All Bank Servicers and Their Offshore Havens; Spire Law Officially Announces Filing of Landmark Lawsuit

Largest International Money Laundering Network in History Formed During Obama Administration; U.S. Banks' Theft of Home Owners' Money Laundered Through Cayman Islands, Isle of Man and Numerous Offshore-Based Affiliates

NEW YORK, NY, Apr 23, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- In a lawsuit alleged to involve the largest money laundering network in United States history, Spire Law Group, LLP -- on behalf of home owners across the Country -- has filed a mass tort action in the Supreme Court of New York, County of Kings. Home owners across the country have sued every major bank servicer and their subsidiaries -- formed in countries known as havens for money laundering such as the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, Luxembourg and Malaysia -- alleging that while the Obama Administration was publicly encouraging loan modifications for home owners, it was privately ratifying the formation of these shell companies in violation of the United States Patriot Act, and State and Federal law. The case further alleges that through these obscure foreign companies, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo Bank, Citibank, Citigroup, One West Bank, and numerous other federally chartered banks stole hundreds of millions of dollars of home owners' money during the last decade and then laundered it through offshore companies. The complaint, Index No. 500827, was filed by Spire Law Group, LLP, and several of the Firm's affiliates and partners across the United States.
Far from being ambiguous, this is a complaint that "names names." Indeed, the lawsuit identifies specific companies and the offshore countries used in this enormous money laundering scheme. Federally Chartered Banks' theft of money and their utilization of offshore tax haven subsidiaries represent potential FDIC violations, violations of New York law, and countless other legal wrongdoings under state and federal law.
"The laundering of trillions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money -- and the wrongful taking of the homes of those taxpayers -- was known by the Administration and expressly supported by it. Evidence uncovered by the plaintiffs revealed that the Administration ignored its own agencies' reports -- and reports from the Department of Homeland Security -- about this situation, dating as far back as 2010. Worse, the Administration purported to endorse a 'national bank settlement' without disclosing or having any public discourse whatsoever about the thousands of foreign tax havens now wholly owned by our nation's banks. Fortunately, no home owner is bound to enter into this fraudulent bank settlement," stated Eric J. Wittenberg of Columbus, Ohio -- a noted trial lawyer, author and student of US history -- on behalf of plaintiffs in the case.
The suing home owners reveal how deeply they were defrauded by bank and governmental corruption -- and are suing for conversion, larceny, fraud, and for violations of other provisions of New York state law committed by these financial institutions and their offshore counterparts.
This lawsuit explains why loans were, in general, rarely modified after 2009. It explains why the entire bank crisis worsened, crippling the economy of the United States and stripping countless home owners of their piece of the American dream. It is indeed a fact that the Administration has spent far more money stopping bank investigations, than they have investigating them. When the Administration's agencies (like the FDIC) blew the whistle, their reports were ignored.
The case is styled Abeel v. Bank of America, etc., et al. -- and includes such entities as ML Banderia Cayman BRL Inc., ML Whitby Luxembourg S.A.R.L. and J.P Morgan Asset Management Luxembourg S.A. -- as well as hundreds of other obscure offshore entities somehow "owned" by federally chartered banks and formed "under the nose" of the Administration and the FDIC.
Commenting further on the case, Mr. Wittenberg stated: "As if it is not bad enough that banks collect money and do not credit it to homeowners' accounts, and as if it is not bad enough that those banks then foreclose when they know they do not have a legally enforceable interest in the realty, we now learn that they have been operating under unbridled free reign given by the Administration and some states' Attorneys General in formulating this international money laundering network. Now that the light of day has been shined on it, I believe we can all rest assured that the beginning of the end of the bank crisis has arrived."
All United States home owners may have the right to bring a lawsuit of this kind if they paid money to a national bank servicer during the years 2003 through 2009.
One lawyer impacted by the corruption -- Mitchell J. Stein, who formerly represented the FDIC, the RTC and the FSLIC during the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1990s, and who predicted all of the foregoing in open court two years ago -- commented: "Two years ago, I remarked in open court to a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, as well as to legislators including Senator Dianne Feinstein's office during a multitude of in-person meetings, that the ongoing violations of the Patriot Act by these financial institutions was outrageous and a breach of the public trust of unprecedented proportions," said Stein.
"The size and scope of this misconduct -- stretching to far-away islands never before having standing as approved United States Bank affiliates -- is remarkable and emblematic of what we have seen," he continued. "The bank crisis represents the height of corruption and brazen behavior where our historically trusted financial institutions have no qualms about breaking the law, because they have the Administration behind them. Banks do well enough when they operate lawfully without needing to be permitted to operate as criminal enterprises that steal money from United States citizens."
Additional plaintiffs' counsel Nicholas M. Moccia commented: "Having been in the trenches of the bank crisis for years, I always knew that the misconduct was being conducted by a network. When I started litigating against banks, however, I could have never imagined that it would be this extensive. I look forward to taking discovery of these thousands of obscure foreign entities and to obtaining for homeowners their constitutionally entitled injuries for this international ring of theft and deception."
Comments were requested from the Attorney Generals' offices in NY, CA, NV, and MA and the White House, but no comment was provided.
About Spire Law Group
Spire Law Group, LLP is a national law firm whose motto is "the public should be protected -- at all costs -- from corruption in whatever form it presents itself." The Firm is comprised of lawyers nationally with more than 250-years of experience in a span of matters ranging from representing large corporations and wealthy individuals, to also representing the masses. The Firm is at the front lines litigating against government officials, banks, defunct loan pools, and now the very offshore entities where the corruption was enabled and perpetrated.
        James N. Fiedler, Esq.
        Managing Partner
        Spire Law Group, LLP
        Email Contact

SOURCE: Spire Law Group, LLP

venerdì 27 aprile 2012

5 New Lies From The Federal Reserve

5 New Lies That The Federal Reserve Is Telling The American People

The Federal Reserve says that everything is going to be okay.  The Fed says that unemployment is going to go down, inflation is going to remain low and economic growth is going to steadily increase.  Do you believe them this time?  As you will see later in this article, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been dead wrong about the economy over and over again.  But the mainstream media and many Americans still seem to have a lot of faith in the Federal Reserve.  It doesn't seem to matter that Bernanke and other Fed officials have been telling the American people lies for years.  As I always say, most people believe what they want to believe, and many people seem to want to have blind faith in the Federal Reserve even when logic and reason would dictate otherwise.  The truth is that things are not going to be getting much better than they are right now.  When the next wave of the financial crisis hits, the U.S. economy is going to fall back into recession, financial markets are going to crash and unemployment is going to absolutely skyrocket.  But you will never hear any of that from the Federal Reserve.
The following are 5 new lies that the Federal Reserve is telling the American people.  After each lie I have posted what The Economic Collapse Blog thinks is actually going to happen....
#1 The Federal Reserve says that the labor market has improved and that unemployment is going to decline significantly over the next few years.
The following is a quote from the FOMC press release that was released on Wednesday....
Labor market conditions have improved in recent months; the unemployment rate has declined but remains elevated.
The Federal Reserve is projecting that the unemployment rate will fall within the range of 7.8 percent and 8.0 percent by the end of 2012.
The Federal Reserve is also projecting that the unemployment rate will fall within the range of 6.7 percent and 7.4 percent by the end of 2014.
The Economic Collapse Blog says that the labor market has not improved.  In March 2010, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  Exactly two years later in March 2012, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  If the labor market was improving, the percentage of working age Americans with a job should have gone up.
The Economic Collapse Blog also says that while there is a chance the official unemployment rate may go down slightly in the short-term, the truth is that it is going to go up into double digits once the next wave of the financial crisis hits us.
#2 The Federal Reserve says that that U.S. economy is going to experience solid GDP growth over the next couple of years.
In fact, the Federal Reserve is projecting that U.S. GDP will be rising at an annual rate that falls between 3.1 percent and 3.6 percent by the end of 2014.
The Economic Collapse Blog says that a great economic cataclysm is coming....
"When the European banking system crashes (and it will) it is going to reverberate around the globe.  The epicenter of the next great financial crisis is going to be in Europe, and it is getting closer with each passing day."
#3 The Federal Reserve says that we can expect low inflation for an extended period of time.
The Federal Reserve is officially projecting that the annual rate of inflation will not be higher than 2.0 percent by the end of 2012.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reinforced this projection during his press conference on Wednesday....
“But we expect that to pass through the system, and assuming no new shocks in the oil sector, inflation ought to moderate to about 2 percent later this year.”
The Economic Collapse Blog says that the Fed is being tremendously dishonest and that if inflation was measured the exact same way that it was measured back in 1980, the annual rate of inflation would be more than 10 percent right now.
The truth is that most middle class families know that we do not have low inflation right now.  This is hammered home millions of times a day when average Americans visit the gas station or the grocery store.
At the beginning of the next recession inflation will likely subside, but that will only be because economic activity will be slowing down dramatically.
#4 The Federal Reserve says that it has built up a 30 year reputation for keeping inflation low.
Ben Bernanke actually had the gall to make the following claim during his press conference on Wednesday....
"We, the Federal Reserve, have spent 30 years building up credibility for low and stable inflation, which has proved extremely valuable in that we’ve been able to take strong accommodative actions in the last four, five years to support the economy."
Oh really?
The Economic Collapse Blog says that the Federal Reserve has nearly a 100 year reputation for destroying the value of the U.S. dollar.  Even using the Fed's doctored numbers, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 95 percent since 1913.
To get a really good idea of just how much the dollar has been destroyed by the Fed over the years, just check out this chart.
#5 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that we should trust him because the Federal Reserve stands ready to do whatever is necessary to support the U.S. economy.
"If appropriate... we remain entirely prepared to take additional action"
The Economic Collapse Blog says that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is doing a great disservice by not warning the American people about the tremendous crisis that is coming.  In a recent article I stated that this next crisis will blindside most Americans just like the last one did....
"Sadly, just like back in 2008, most people will never even see this next crisis coming."
So who should you trust - the Federal Reserve or all of the half-crazed bloggers out there that are warning about the "serious doom" that is coming.
Well, come back to this article in a year or two and compare how accurate the predictions were.
In the end, time will tell who is telling lies and who is not.
If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.
For example, let's take a quick look at Ben Bernanke's track record over the past several years.
The following are statements that Bernanke actually made to the public....
#1 (July, 2005) "We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though."
#2 (October 20, 2005) "House prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals."
#3 (November 15, 2005) "With respect to their safety, derivatives, for the most part, are traded among very sophisticated financial institutions and individuals who have considerable incentive to understand them and to use them properly."
#4 (February 15, 2006) "Housing markets are cooling a bit. Our expectation is that the decline in activity or the slowing in activity will be moderate, that house prices will probably continue to rise."
#5 (February 15, 2007) "Despite the ongoing adjustments in the housing sector, overall economic prospects for households remain good. Household finances appear generally solid, and delinquency rates on most types of consumer loans and residential mortgages remain low."
#6 (March 28, 2007) "At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency."
#7 (May 17, 2007) "All that said, given the fundamental factors in place that should support the demand for housing, we believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited, and we do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.  The vast majority of mortgages, including even subprime mortgages, continue to perform well.  Past gains in house prices have left most homeowners with significant amounts of home equity, and growth in jobs and incomes should help keep the financial obligations of most households manageable."
#8 (January 10, 2008) "The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession."
#9 (June 10, 2008) "The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so."
But don't worry, Ben Bernanke insists that he knows exactly what is going on this time.
So do you believe him?
A lot of Americans don't.  In fact, an "economic collapse" is the number one catastrophic event that Americans worry about according to one recent survey.
Perhaps that is one reason why so many Americans are preparing for doomsday these days.
The central planners over at the Federal Reserve are not going to solve our economic problems.
The truth is that the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.
We have been living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world and that debt bubble has been facilitated by the Fed.
Over the past three decades, the total amount of debt in America has increasedby about 50 trillion dollars.  By stealing from future generations, we have been able to live like kings and queens, but there is going to be a great price to pay for our foolishness.
Ben Bernanke and the other folks running the Federal Reserve are just going to keep insisting that everything is going to be okay for as long as they possibly can.  They are going to tell you that they know exactly how to fix things and that the economy will be back on track very soon.
Don't be stupid and believe them this time.

Mélenchon: For a European revolution

Jean-Luc Mélenchon: For a European revolution
Published 19 April 201

As part of an ongoing series, EurActiv France is profiling major candidates in the 2012 French presidential elections. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, candidate of the Left Front, has emerged as a potential 'third man' in the election, attracting voters' attention in opinion polls by calling for a “citizens’ insurrection” and a complete undoing of “ultra-liberal Europe”.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon is a former member of the Socialist Party who radicalised following his break with the rest of French political class over the stillborn European Constitutional Treaty.
He has attracted attention by reaching fourth place in the polls with 12-14% of voting intentions for the first round, leading against the centrist François Bayrou and almost equalling far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
His electoral support rests largely on disappointed socialists and the political apparatus of the French Communist Party, the second-largest political party in France in terms of members (it claims to have 138,000).
Today Mélenchon condemns the European Union as an “ultra-liberal construction”. But this has not always been the case. In 1992, then a member of the Socialist Party, he defended the “yes” vote for the Treaty of Maastricht and relaunched the process of monetary integration culminating in the euro.
He officially left the Socialist Party in 2008, but the break started as early as 2005, when he fought the campaign for the “no” vote to the European Constitutional Treaty, going against the party line.
Mélenchon called the triumph of the “no” a “joyous, people’s and pro-European ‘no’. The peoples of Europe must know that the French have said no to one Europe, liberal Europe, they have not said no to all Europe”.
Aggressive rhetoric
Mélenchon is known in France for his often aggressive rhetoric. His violent exchanges with journalists and politicians have been frequently aired on satirical news shows. His blog is one of the most read in France, typically having over 100,000 visitors and hundreds of comments for each post.
On 18 March, he was able to assemble over 100,000 activists and sympathisers in Paris, a demonstration of force comparable to those of the leading candidates, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande.
The candidate of the Left Front had called this rally the “storming of the Bastille” (it took place at the former location of the infamous Ancien régime prison) and called on his supporters to a “citizens’ insurrection”. This symbolic and spectacular rhetoric have allowed him to reconcile the French Left with its revolutionary tradition and mythology.
Contempt for the European Parliament
With all this, it would be easy to forget that Mélenchon has also been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009, a job he finds little satisfaction in.
He told Euronews in March 2012: “To be here is hopeless. It’s a Parliament which cannot propose any laws, it’s the only Parliament in the world which is like that, which has no legislative initiative. … It’s not allowed by the Lisbon Treaty. And naturally it cannot change the Treaty.”
The MEP is very little involved in his parliamentary duties. According to VoteWatch, his rate of presence at the Strasbourg plenary sessions is of 64.43%, making him 735th out of 751 representatives. He has not served as draftsman for a single EU law. By way of comparison, Green MEP and fellow presidential candidate Eva Joly has drafted four over three years.
To help in his work, Mélenchon has, according to the European Parliament website, five parliamentary assistants (for €20,000 per month), working as a “locals” and not in Brussels.
Total revision of European Treaties
The bulk of Mélenchon’s programme is a small red book, of about 90 pages, sold in bookstores for €2, or available online. On Europe, as with French society, the objective is the same: to clearly break with the existing system.
In its current setup, he rejects any transfer of additional power towards Brussels.
“We must not transfer any new competencies to the EU, not so long as the power does not reside in the hands of the European Parliament. The institutions are imposing the brutal federalism of the Commission and of Franco-German governance in case of crisis. The victim in all this is democracy,” he told EurActiv France in February.
The Left Front candidate lambasts the Lisbon Treaty, just as he opposed the proposed European Constitutional Treaty. According to him, the new European basic law which entered into force in November 2009 is a copy of that rejected by the French and the Dutch in 2005, and is therefore illegitimate.
Mélenchon wants to “free ourselves of Lisbon” and lead “a political and diplomatic battle for a new European treaty … which respects the sovereignty of the peoples”.
In a Europe largely dominated by Conservative governments (20 member states out of 27), it is almost impossible to find a majority for modifying the treaties in the way Mélenchon would like.
His Alter-European friends
In the European Parliament, Mélenchon sits with a small political group, the United European Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL). The group has 35 MEPs from 12 countries and counts 17 political parties among its national members, including the German party Die Linke and various communist parties.
The ideas of Die Linke are very close to those of the Left Front. “Both are creations of dissidents of a traditional socialist party,” said Olivier Ferrand, president of the centre-left think-tank Terra Nova.
This radical left is attempting to organise itself. On 30 and 31 March, it met in Brussels for an “Alternative European Summit against austerity and for a social, democratic and ecologic Europe”.
None of these parties are however in a position to govern alone in any of the EU's 27 member countries.
Refusal to apply EU laws
However, this seems of little importance to Mélenchon because his programme clearly states that, if elected, France would refuse “to apply directives clashing with our [electoral] commitments”. The leader of the Left Front hopes that this “disobedience will spread like an oil slick” and “break the liberal bloc within the EU”.
A strategy which is similar to the General Charles de Gaulle’s 'empty chair' policy in the 1960s, but also of Nicolas Sarkozy’s positions on Schengen.
If the Left Front does not propose to leave the EU as do other candidates (such the far-right Marine Le Pen and the neo-Gaullist Nicolas Dupont Aignan), the effects would be similar.
In February, Mélenchon argued that “one cannot make Europe without France,” evoking indirectly the need for a power struggle.
“We must not see the others as enemies. But France has a voice to express, which it does not do when it appears as the follower" of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he added.
The candidate criticises European civil servants and the “technocracy” at the orders “of the ultra-liberalism and monetarism long-promoted by the British and German governments”.
In an interview with EurActiv France last February, Mélenchon expressed his conviction that France can be at the “vanguard” of a new Europe and that his score could inspire others. There are elections planned across several European countries including in Greece on 6 May, in Italy in spring 2013, and in Germany in September 2013.
Reform of the European Central Bank
Like many candidates – including Sarkozy and Hollande – Mélenchon backs a reform of the European Central Bank (ECB). There is no question of him accepting the vision of Angela Merkel, whom he called “parochial madame” and a “peasant”in April 2012.
He proposes a revision of the mandate and statutes of the ECB, which must be placed “under democratic control to allow it to lend at low – or even nil – rates, directly to the states, and to buy public debt”.
This is the opposite of the ECB’s current mandate. The Frankfurt-based institute is independent, cannot lend to EU countries and buys debt only on the secondary markets. This reform is critical to the financing of the Left Front’s programme.
But there too, any change would require the unanimity of member states. And both German conservatives and social democrats oppose the idea.
The Left Front leader considers “amazing” that Mario Draghi was appointed as president of the ECB last September. “He is the former representative for Europe of the bank Goldman Sachs … which is accused of having helped the right-wing Greek government cook the books. This man is now the director of the European Central Bank!”
Rejection of 'Merkozy' crisis management
It is no surprise that Mélenchon is highly critical of the way that the debt crisis has been managed by eurozone governments. He is opposed to the measures taken by the Troika and he protested in February in front of the Greek embassy in Paris to assert his solidarity with the Greek people and denounce the new austerity measures that were being adopted then in the Greek Parliament.
He condemned the European Stability Mechanism (the eurozone bailout fund) and pressured the Socialist Party to reject it in the National Assembly during a vote on 21 February. With some success it would appear as socialist MPs finally decided to abstain.
While Socialist candidate François Hollande wants to renegotiate the fiscal discipline Treaty, Mélenchon proposes to submit it to a referendum, all the while condemning it.
Social Europe
After having brought down high finance and liberal Europe, the objective of the Left Front is to create a “social Europe”.
The programme states: “Public services, with the new creations at the continental level, will become a pillar of European construction”. If he was elected, new privatisations of public services such as rail would be out of the question.
On the contrary, some industries would have to be re-nationalised. The Left Front also wants to create “a European social, ecological and solidarity Fund” which would replace the European Stability Mechanism.
One of the rare subjects on which the Left Front and the European Commission find common ground is the establishment of a tax on financial transactions. Mélenchon also proposes putting in place of a European minimum wage calculated based on the average income of each country. The Commission has incidentally recently proposed a project for introducing EU-wide minimum salaries.
Fiscal harmonisation are also among the objectives “to prevent social dumping between EU member countries”. The latter measure has long been backed by Brussels but governments have always opposed it. But any agreement in this area is compromised by the need for unanimity.
If Sarkozy wants to renegotiate the Schengen agreement, denouncing “leaky Europe”, Mélenchon in contrast argues in favour of ending “fortress Europe” by opening up borders.
On agriculture, the EU's biggest budget post, the Left Front wants a “GMO-free” Common Agricultural Policy allowing for “food sovereignty” with production “centred on the needs of the internal market rather than trade”.
To guarantee “fair remuneration of agricultural work” the programme proposes that “minimum prices for producers” be reinstated, which would amount to undoing the most recent reforms of the CAP., based on reporting by