By Seumas Milne for the Guardian. The worst outcome of this crisis would be for Syriza to implement the austerity it was elected to end. A yes vote in next weekend’s referendum, if it goes ahead, would probably lead to the government’s fall, and almost certainly new elections. But even a no vote, which would offer the best chance for Greece, would need to be followed by more radical measures if the government was going to strengthen its negotiating hand or prepare the ground for euro exit. The real risk across Europe is that if Syriza caves in or collapses, that failure will be used to turn back the rising tide of support for anti-austerity movements such as Podemos in Spain, or Sinn Féin in Ireland, leaving the field to populists of the right. Either way, any Greek euro deal that fails to write off unrepayable debt or end the austerity squeeze will only postpone the crisis.
By C J Polychroniou in TruthOut. Negotiations between Greece and its official creditors – the European Commission, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank – are currently in renewed deadlock. Yet, only a few days ago, in the Euro summit on Monday, June 22, all indications were that Europe’s political beasts and the “criminal IMF” were ready to accept thelatest capitulation on the part of the Greek leftist government, which, since coming to power in late January, has spent a lot of time doing nothing more than “yelling, kicking and screaming” against austerity and the bailout program (and treating senior-level EU officials with disdain in public as part of its well-orchestrated populist theatrics) while at the same time seeking to assure Greece’s euro partners that it is committed to keeping the country in the euro area and that it would fulfill all its obligations to the creditors.
By Anastasios Papapostolou for Greek Reporter. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that Greece will hold a referendum on July 5 to ask the Greek people if they approve of a bailout deal with the country’s creditors. In a nationally televised address after midnight Friday in Athens, Tsipras announced the July 5 vote and excoriated a take it-or-leave it offer as a violation of European Union rules and “common decency”. “After five months of tough negotiations, our partners unfortunately resorted to a proposal-ultimatum to the Greek people,” Tsipras said. “I call on the Greek people to rule on the blackmailing ultimatum asking us to accept a strict and humiliating austerity without end and without prospect.” He said German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi have been informed of the plan, and he’ll request an extension of Greece’s existing bailout, due to end June 30, by a few days to permit the vote without having to introduce capital controls in the Greek banks.
By Lauren McCauley in Common Dreams – As an emergency summit concluded in Brussels on Monday with no clear resolution for the spiraling Greek debt crisis, a call throughout the streets of Europe for lenders to ease their punishing “reforms” in Greece is reverberating. On Sunday, more than 5,000 protested in Brussels, Belgium—the site of the ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and officials with the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission—while hundreds more marched in Amsterdam. According to reports, protesters carried banners that read slogans such as, “Our lives do not belong to creditors,” and “If Greece were a bank it would have been saved.”
By Mehreen Khan in Telegraph – The Greek government has admitted it will become the first developed country in history to default on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if its creditor powers fail to strike a deal with the Leftist government over its eurozone future in the coming days. With just 13 days before the country’s bail-out programme officially expires, finance ministers will gather in Luxembourg on Thursday to discuss whether to finally give their assent to release bail-out cash and stave off an unprecedented default. Before the 11th hour attempt to secure a deal, Athens’ chief negotiator said his government had run out of cash to make a €1.6bn payment to the IMF, also on June 30. “At the moment we haven’t got the money,” said Oxford-educated minister Euclid Tsakalotos.
By Gaius Publius in Down With Tyranny – None of these [previously discussed court] decisions resolves the constitutionality of the TPP ISDS arbitration procedures, but their collective reasoning falls heavily on the side of unconstitutionality, based on four factors that apply to the TPP tribunals: (1) they deal with questions of law, that judges normally decide, not questions of fact, that could go to juries or arbitrators; (2) the arbitrators are not federal officers, construing and applying federal law, but are private parties, none of whom has to be an American citizen; (3) the consent of the United States is general and not case specific and, where the challenge is to a state or local law, the state or locality never consents at all…
By Charlie Skelton in Occupy – “It’s the largest police operation in the history of Bavaria,” said Martin Jäschke, a journalist from Der Spiegel. “Such a huge display of power like this, I’m afraid people feel it’s a provocation.” At the very least, it feels a bit weird. There could not actually be any more police in Garmisch than there are right now. There wouldn’t be room. There are traffic jams of police vehicles. Every spare inch of tarmac has been commandeered for police coaches, riot vans and operations trucks. The only cars on the road that aren’t police cars are being driven by plainclothes policemen. This is the kind of response you might expect.
By Deirdre Fulton in Common Dreams – Bolstering long-held criticisms from public interest groups, newly leaked sections of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) show how Big Pharma is employing “an aggressive new form of transnational corporatism” to increase profits at the expense of global health. The TPP’s “Healthcare Annex”—which seeks to regulate government policies around medicines and medical devices—would give big pharmaceutical companies more power over public access to medicine while crippling public healthcare programs around the world and “tying the hands” of the U.S. Congress in its ability to pursue Medicare reform and lower drug costs. President Barack Obama is trying to gain Fast Track approval from the U.S. House of Representatives as early as tomorrow, having already obtained it from the Senate, which would grant him increased power to push the TPP and other mammoth trade pacts through Congress.
By Joel Yudken in The Economic Policy Institute – The Obama administration is considering whether to divest all or part of the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a means to pay down the U.S. debt. The selling off of all or part of the TVA to private ownership would have far-reaching consequences, especially for the 9 million people in the 80,000-square-mile region—encompassing parts of Tennessee, northern Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia—to whom the TVA provides electricity and other services. The proposal has sparked a debate about the benefits and problems that divestiture might bring. Conservatives have long opposed the TVA on the grounds that it is an illegitimate government intrusion into the marketplace.
By Dylan Matthews in Vox – “Basic income” is shorthand for a range of proposals that share the idea of giving everyone in a given polity a certain amount of money on a regular basis. A basic income comes with no categorical eligibility requirements; you don’t have to be blind or disabled or unemployed to get it. Everyone gets the same amount by virtue of being a human with material needs that money can help address. There are a number of different names this idea has gone by over the years. “Universal basic income” and “basic income guarantee” are used frequently. “Guaranteed minimum income” and “negative income tax” are generally used to refer to versions of the plan that also impose a tax that gradually eats up the cash transfer, as a means of reducing the cost of the policy.
Greece cannot accept the “irrational” proposal made this week by its bailout creditors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told an emergency Parliament session Friday, adding that any deal must also include some lightening of the country’s crushing debt load. “There is no question of our accepting an agreement that does not contain the prospect of debt restructuring” that would help Greece regain the market access lost five years ago, Tsipras said. Despite a significant writedown in 2012, Greece’s debt remains huge, at nearly 180 percent of annual output. Bailout creditors had initially promised further respite, but details on their latest proposal leaked by Athens made no mention of debt lightening. Tsipras’ speech came the morning after a surprise announcement that Greece would defer an IMF payment due Friday, and would instead bundle all four installments due in June — a total of 1.6 billion euros — into one payment at the end of the month.
By UN Commission on Human Rights – While trade and investment agreements can create new economic opportunities, we draw attention to the potential detrimental impact these treaties and agreements may have on the enjoyment of human rights as enshrined in legally binding instruments, whether civil, cultural, economic, political or social. Our concerns relate to the rights to life, food, water and sanitation, health, housing, education, science and culture, improved labour standards, an independent judiciary, a clean environment and the right not to be subjected to forced resettlement. We believe the problem has been aggravated by the “chilling effect” that intrusive ISDS awards have had, when States have been penalized for adopting regulations, for example to protect the environment, food security, access to generic and essential medicines, and reduction of smoking, as required under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, or raising the minimum wage.