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Economists Thomas Piketty and others urge Germany’s Angela Merkel to cut Greek debt

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Renowned economists Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs and three others urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday to agree to cut Greece’s debt to “avoid further disaster”.

In an open letter to the German leader published online by the US magazine The Nation, they said that Greece had already complied with its creditors’ push for austerity, with the result only a deep economic depression.

“The medicine prescribed by the German Finance Ministry and Brussels has bled the patient, not cured the disease,” they said.

With Merkel seen now as the key to whether official creditors will bend to Athens’s call for easier bailout terms, the writers called on them “to consider a course correction, to avoid further disaster and enable Greece to remain in the eurozone.”

Specifically they said the country needs “a major reduction” of its debt, to accompany reforms being asked of Athens.

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With only reform demands and no debt relief being offered Greece, they said: “Right now, the Greek government is being asked to put a gun to its head and pull the trigger.”

“Sadly, the bullet will not only kill off Greece’s future in Europe. The collateral damage will kill the eurozone as a beacon of hope, democracy and prosperity.”

“To Chancellor Merkel our message is clear; we urge you to take this vital action of leadership for Greece and Germany, and also for the world. History will remember you for your actions this week.”

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The letter was signed by Piketty, the French economist known for his work on income disparity; Columbia University development economist Sachs; Harvard political economist Dani Rodrik; Simon Wren-Lewis, an Oxford University economist; and Heiner Flassbeck, former state secretary in the German finance ministry.


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White nationalism is ‘the greatest threat to American democracy’: Fascism expert

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," The Atlantic staff writer and fascism expert Adam Serwer laid out in grim terms the stakes of President Donald Trump's incitement of racist anger against Democratic congresswomen of color.

"From the beginning, we have been haunted by this question: Is America a white man’s republic or a nation for all of its citizens?" said Serwer. "Throughout the last 200-some odd years, the greatest threat to American democracy has always been white nationalism, the defining of American citizenship in racial terms. It almost destroyed the country on multiple occasions. Now President Trump has drawn a line. He has now made it clear that the citizenship of American citizens who are not white is conditional and can be revoked. Quite frankly, there is lots of disagreement between the two political parties. There are lots of issues on which we differ, but this is not a question on which there can actually be disagreement. The choice is now quite clear."

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‘A failure in judgment by every single Republican leader’: Ex-GOP congressman scorches Trump’s racism

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) laid into his erstwhile party for its embrace of President Donald Trump's racial hatred and intolerance, as exemplified by the crowd of Trump rallygoers in Greenville, North Carolina chanting "Send Her Back!" of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

"It was heartbreaking," said Jolly, who renounced the Republican Party and became an independent last year. "In terms of what I felt, it was heartbreak, both last night and then to see the likes of Lindsey Graham [(R-SC)] today suggest that the only problem is Omar doesn’t wear a MAGA hat. If refugees would just wear MAGA hats, they could stay. The others deserve to go."

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2020 Election

Bernie Sanders’ staff demand to be paid the $15-an-hour minimum wage he advocates: report

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Campaign workers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are demanding an increase in pay consistent with the senator's campaign rhetoric, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

"Unionized campaign organizers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential effort are battling with its management, arguing that the compensation and treatment they are receiving does not meet the standards Sanders espouses in his rhetoric, according to internal communications," the newspaper reported.

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