Archive for the ‘Ireland’ tag
Thursday, November 01, 2012 by Staff Report
Arranging a US Famine … At a time when the US government talks of food shortages yet is doing nothing to ensure food for its people but is doing numbers of things that seriously increase the threat and leave people more helpless, it is relevant to look at again at the famine in Ireland in the 19th century, considered “one of the darkest chapters in world history.” This matters because the famine appears now to have been caused intentionally … “In this grand, sweeping narrative, Ireland’s best-known historian, Tim Pat Coogan, gives a fresh and comprehensive account of one of the darkest chapters in world history, arguing that Britain was in large part responsible for the extent of the national tragedy, and in fact engineered the food shortage in one of the earliest cases of ethnic cleansing. So strong was anti-Irish sentiment in the mainland that the English parliament referred to the famine as “God’s lesson.”
– Food Freedom News
Dominant Social Theme:
Food scarcity is a growing problem that the UN must tackle.
There are plenty of sub-dominant themes growing out of this main one of food scarcity. In fact, it is such a deep meme that one could compare it to a bush with many branches.
A lot of these sub-dominant social themes could be classified as dominant themes themselves. In fact, the scarcity themes that the elites use to frighten people into giving up power and wealth to globalist solutions are the building blocks of human life: food, water, air and energy.
It is no coincidence perhaps that the water scarcity meme is in full cry. Global warming fosters energy scarcity but has the added advantage of making people afraid of the air itself. Chemtrails provide us with another theme, or perhaps a sub-theme.
What is most dangerous to the larger body politic of millions and billions is that scarcity memes are more than a method of control. They are a method of culling, as well.
by Karl Denninger
Look folks, it’s simple — what the IMF wants, what the banksters want, here, there, everywhere, is the same thing: Your money, as much as they can get, and they don’t care what happens to you.
Austerity policies are now widely regarded as having failed, and this failure is increasingly obvious in the country elected to act as Austerity’s Child. The banking collapse, and the legacy bequeathed by the Irish state’s extraordinary September 2008 bank guarantee, has seen society in Ireland reshaped as a petri dish for IMF, European commission and ECB experimentation. Successive waves of cuts have been stipulated by the Troika in return for its loans, but implemented without resistance, and arguably, a degree of enthusiasm, by the two governments of the “post-sovereign” era.
Yep. I said originally that Ireland should give the finger to the banksters, and if the government refused then the people should give the finger to the government, ejecting and replacing it.
What is “give the finger”?
Simple; you tell them this: You made a bad loan, you’re going to eat it. Period.
Yes, I know, pension funds and others bought the paper. Guess what — they did no diligence (or insufficient diligence) and they’re going to lose money as a result. That’s what’s supposed to happen when you do something stupid!
In point of fact it is the only way by which the market works. When you do smart things you make money. When you do dumb things you lose money. When you do really stupid things you go bankrupt.
There’s still time Ireland. Tell the banksters to get stuffed. Right here, right now.
As for Europe, same deal among their governments — including Greece. Tell the banksters to go to Hell.
As for here? Same deal. Got a loan out and are you tired of the “ethics” of these firms? Consult a tax and legal advisor, find out what can be done to you (if anything) if you tell them to go to Hell, and if that’s the correct business decision then tell them to blow their alleged debt out their ass.
Note carefully folks: American Airlines — a big corporation — just did exactly that.
They filed a preemptive bankruptcy to avoid paying for things they had agreed to pay for because they determined it was no longer to their advantage to do so.
WAKE UP IRELAND. WAKE UP GREECE.
And wake up AMERICA and AMERICANS.
There is NO moral obligation to pay. There is only the ability (or not) to enforce a contract.
by James Howard Kunstler
There’s a lot to be nervous about, even if you don’t subscribe to the undercooked Mayan apocalypse lore moving through the gut of the Internet like a Staphylococcus-infected tamale. The casual observer might say that nothing seemed to give on the world scene in 2011 despite the Fukushima meltdown, the Arab Spring uproars, the train wreck of European finance, the disappearing act at MF Global, and the assorted injuries done to the Kardashian brand by the giant walking dildo Kris Humphries.
I demur. On close examination, the industrial world underwent complete zombification in 2011. Its member states and their institutions are now lurching across the stage of history like so many walking dead. Whole European nations are dead, their citizens squirming around the ruined bones of failed speculative condo projects, housing estates, and luxury hotels like botfly larvae. The USA lies in complete moral ruin despite the exertions of ten thousand evangelical preachers in dusty back-road tilt-up chapels from Texas to Carolina, several new museums of Creation Science, and the shining example of former Senator Rick Santorum. Just look at how we behave, from the cloakrooms of Congress to the piercing parlors of West Hollywood to the 7-Elevens of suburban Maryland: a nation of thieves, racketeers, reality TV sluts, wannabe road warriors, light-fingered gangsta-boyz, and crybabies living in an anomie-drenched decrepitating demolition derby landscape of failure. When everybody is a zombie, whose brains are left to eat? Echo answers…. On to the predictions for 2012 then.
The biggest political shock awaiting us is the massive disruption of the major party nominating conventions next summer, when thousands of angry citizens descend on Tampa and Charlotte demanding a reality test. The parties will attempt to go about their ritual business, ignoring the mischief outside the convention centers, and both parties will make the mistake of siccing the cops on the protestors. The result will be a much bigger mess than the one I personally witnessed on the streets of Chicago, 1968, when the party hacks anointed the grinning sell-out Hubert Humphrey to run against Ole Debbil Nixie. Just before getting tear-gassed on Michigan Avenue that night, I saw some kid hoisting a sign that depicted the nominee with a Hitler mustache over the epithet: Mein Humph! It made my night, despite the subsequent retching in the gutter.
The two major parties are completely bankrupt zombie organizations and this election may be their last stand – if they even survive the conventions. Neither of them can come to grips with the reality-based issues of the day: epochal financial and economic contraction, peak energy (and many other resources), climate change, the absence of the rule of law in banking, and generational grievance – or, perhaps more to the point, the manifestations of these giant trends as presented in unemployment, debt slavery, foreclosure, bankruptcy, homelessness, hunger, and X-million family tragedies. Both parties can only promise the return to a bygone status quo that is largely mythical.
President Obama, the putative “progressive” – spokesman of the Ivy League, Silicon Valley, Lower Manhattan, and all the other precincts where “folks” imagine themselves to be advanced thinkers – can’t even wrap his mind around the simple fact that we will never be “energy independent” if we think that means running 260 million cars and trucks, no matter how many algae farms we pretend to invest in. Here is man who ought to know better and either doesn’t, or is lying about it. He has other failures to answer for, too. Why, following the Citizens United decision in the Supreme Court, did Mr. Obama not prompt his party to sponsor federal legislation (or a constitutional amendment) that would redefine a corporation as not identical in “personhood” to a human being? Why does he still employ an Attorney General who has not started one prosecution for financial misconduct amid a panorama of arrant swindling and fraud? (Ditto: heads of the SEC, CFTC, etc.) And why did he not object loudly to the provision in the latest defense appropriations bill that allows for the capricious arrests and indefinite detention of anyone in the USA on suspicion of “terrorism?” Does this graduate of Harvard Law remember what habeas corpus means?
A lot of voters projected on Mr. Obama some notion of supernatural brilliance – our Hollywood fantasies are rife with wishes to be saved, and therefore redeemed, by our former victims – but he turned out to have a pedestrian mind. Could he possibly believe we have “a hundred years of natural gas” in the ground? Or that we’re in a position to ramp up another cycle of industrial economic “growth?” Or that we can continue the web of cruel rackets that passes for medical care in this country? When the Democratic Party re-nominates Obama, it will be sealing its death warrant, and it will be on its way to the same cosmic vacuum where the memory of the Whigs lingers on.
Meanwhile, the Republicans labor to convert themselves into the party of corn-pone Nazism with all their unconcealed lust to push everybody around under the plastic eagle rubrics of “Freedom” and “Liberty.” Look at the dismal lineup of morons, hypocrites, and religious fanatics arrayed for the Iowa caucus: a doctor who is also a creationist!? A leveraged buyout artist! A grifter fresh from K Street! A lady Christian theocrat wholly owned by the “dominionist” New Apostolic Reformation cult! A George W. Bush imitator showing symptoms of early onset senility! The whole posse is preoccupied with things supernatural. And being so dedicated to things unreal, they’re the prime representatives of the suburban clusterfuck, who will do anything to keep that obsolete machine running, even if it means national suicide, because they lack the brains to understand where history is taking us and what the mandates of reality are shouting at us about the urgent need to reorganize American life. They are also the vassals of corporate despotism – where the Democrats are mere footservants. They masquerade as “job creators,” but they promote the off-shoring of every activity that corporate America can shed in its quest for ever-greater executive compensation. The lip-service they pay to “freedom” is belied by their intent to control everybody’s personal life, commoditize the public interest, and sell out their grandchildren’s future for a few extra rounds of golf.
I think this gang, too, will be sent packing by the mobs of 2012. I have a nagging intimation that some third party candidate will emerge. The two personalities I keep seeing in that role are Howard Dean and Michael Bloomberg. Both of them are imperfect, but both of them are clear-headed and action-oriented, and I have a feeling that both of them are stewing in the background over the spectacle of idiocy, inertia, and dithering they see at every political compass point. Maybe somebody else will crawl out of the woodwork. I’ve said before in the weekly blog that conditions could deteriorate so badly that a Pentagon general might have to step into national leadership just to keep the grocery stores supplied with basic rations – but that is an outcome in my personal asteroid belt of probabilities.
Whatever party ends up running things, and whomever fronts it, is going to be in for a helluva wild ride. The USA is diving into an economic depression that will make the 1930s look like a Busby Berkeley production number. Compressive contraction will have its way with us, whatever Ben Bernanke thinks. There will simply be less activity of the kinds we’re used to – Big Box shopping sprees, hamburger sales, theme park visits, house closings, you name it – than our hypertrophic system requires to keep its own destructive momentum going. Instead, the whole thing will just topple over, inert, like a 99-cent gyroscope giving into the forces of entropy. There will be a lot of bewildered, angry, dispossessed people from sea to shining sea. Not a few of them will “act out,” that is, start breaking things, stealing things, targeting easy prey, hurting bystanders, and even tangling with police. Personally, I don’t believe in the internment camp meme so popular among the doomer paranoiacs, but surely a lot of people will be cooling their heels in some slammer – while many other miscreants will just get away with crimes against persons and property.
The global banking system was on death-watch all through 2011. Somehow the various doctors in the central banks and finance ministries were able to muster enough accounting legerdemain to give the appearance of a system still showing a pulse. But in a compressive debt deflation, there are only so many accounting tricks you can pull off as money (and wealth) literally disappears down a cosmic worm-hole. In Europe, the process has moved from the margins toward the center. The people of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Belgium will have less income, fewer government services, lost wages and pensions, less comfort than they have had for a couple of generations. Meanwhile, France is drowning in bad paper and the German banks are choking on it. There is really only one plausible outcome and that is default. The reckoning of the bondholders is at hand. Everybody will get poorer simultaneously – and if not, there will be not just regime change but civil war and revolution. The fantasy of a fiscal union in Europe is impossible because it means two things: that Germany will have to issue orders to everybody else; and that Germany would have to pick up the tab for everybody else while telling them what to do. Both are intolerable and implausible. Let’s just think of the Euro experiment as an interesting side effect of the peak energy era… now drawing to a close.
These professional economists with their jabber about QEs and “financial repression” and bond-term “twists” and debt-to-GDP ratios are missing the point. The advanced industrial nations will not be re-jiggered onto any “growth” runway. Rather, we’re entering the rutted wagon-road of de-industrializing and un-advancing. What awaits us in a “time-out” from hyperbolic technological progress. Forget about Ray Kurzweil’s nanobot nirvana. That is not in the cards. Instead, wrap your mind around life in an economy organized around farming, with a much sparser distribution of big urban centers, and far fewer people overall. Don’t imagine for a moment that your grandchildren will be zinging across the landscape in electric cars sampling one theme park after another while “networking” with “friends” on cyborg social networks implanted in their brain jellies. Think of them grooming their mules in the summer twilight. Anyway, you get the picture: everything that the finance ministries and treasuries and central banks are affecting to do is mere shadow theater performed in support of wishful thinking.
The question, then, is what kind of hardship and disorder will attend our journey out of the industrial era into post-technological age we are entering. Will we just turn the world into a Michael Bay movie and blow everything up? Or will we make some graceful descent and retain what is really best about the human spirit?
2012 will be the year of internal strife in these “advanced” nations, of people fighting over the table scraps of modernity among their own, in their own backyards, a desperate sorting out of the remnants. I don’t think we’ll see fighting between the European nations until the internal conflicts are resolved and that will take a few years.
The hot-spots for 2012 are very likely to be in the Middle East. You already know that. What could be more obvious than the tinderbox character of that region? Islamic extremism is poised to take over governments (and armies) in Egypt, Syria, Libya, possibly Algeria, and probably Pakistan. Iran lost its mind decades ago and seems determined to dominate the region by means of a strategy that can only get it into trouble (and perhaps the whole world if it goes really badly). Saber-rattling is one thing; making an actual move something else. Block the Straits of Hormuz? Not if you don’t want Teheran to turn into an ashtray. That may happen anyway if Iran rattles a nuclear saber. Germany, France, Britain, and Italy, all struggling with terrible problems at home, would breathe a sigh of relief if the mullahs were chastened. The chatter around the Web about an Israeli preemptive attack never ceases. But it is a possibility.
Oh, and don’t forget Turkey. Formerly the “sick man” of Europe, Turkey has become strangely resurgent, prompting some recollections that the Ottoman Empire actually administered over much of the Middle East until 1914, and not with complete incompetence, either. They just sort of imploded from empire fatigue, which is not the worst way to go down, if history is taking you there anyway. But empires come back, too, and what passes for Turkey today is a polity that in one incarnation or another has been around since the ancient Greek days, and was, for quite a long while, Rome Release 2.0.
Don’t be surprised if some hostilities break out between Turkey and Iran, since a battleground named Iraq lies between them. Iraq is a basket-case despite an immense reserve of oil under its sands, and having had the US military babysit it for eight years. The last American combat units left Iraq this fall, but there are still plenty of US soldiers there, maintaining our garrisons and keeping an eye on things. The question is: can they control what the Kurds do in the north, and whatever meddling Iran engages in around the Basra oil region in the South? These American support troops remaining in Iraq could find themselves looking like a ham-and-cheese sandwich between a lot of crusty mischief north-and-south. The Turks have already had a dustup or two with Syria lately – Syria occupies a big wedge between Turkey, Iraq and the Mediterranean Sea – and Turkey will take a dim view of that nation falling into the hands of Islamic extremists if Assad gets booted.
All bets are off in Egypt. Anything can happen there.
The dangerous position of Israel vis-à-vis all these quarreling players is probably as bad as it has been in two generations. An attack by a neighbor or getting caught in a crossfire between neighbors would stimulate a lusty response, and perhaps World War Three. As if the world needed this added aggravation. It makes my kishkas ache just to think about it. Sometimes I wonder why the whole Israeli nation doesn’t just pack up and move to Nebraska.
2012 is the year that China proves to be a mortal nation and rolls over with a very bad case of the vapors. Their banking system is a sham. Their property bubble is a fiasco. Their government has no formal legitimacy and will install a new leadership group this year, while exports crash and mass factory layoffs happen. There will be a lot of pissed off people in China, and they may express themselves politically in ways that have seemed unthinkable for decades. The aura of social control looms large in China, but an aura is a light garment not recommended for stormy political weather. 2012 could be the year that China begins its journey into a “Balkanized” collection of smaller autonomous parts, which is the big fat trendline for all the nations of the world, including the USA.
It is hard to think about the bizarre case of India, a nation with one foot in the modern age and the other in a colorful hallucinatory dreamtime. Their climate-change related problems are doing heavy damage to the food supply. Their groundwater is almost gone. The troubles of the wobbling global economy will take a lot pep out of their burgeoning tech and manufacturing sectors. It wouldn’t be surprising if these travails prompted distracting hostilities with its failed-state neighbor, Pakistan. Pakistan, with its inexhaustible supply of Islamic maniacs could easily start a rumble with some crazy caper like the Mumbai hotel assault of two years ago, but this time India would answer with a heavy cudgel, perhaps even a nuclear sortie designed to neutralize Pakistan’s dangerous toys at a stroke. And that would be that. Like cleaning out an annoying neighborhood crack house. It’s not a very appetizing scenario, but what else can you do about failed states with nuclear bombs?
Turning to Japan….That sore beset kingdom is suffering all the blowback of modern times at once: the Godzilla syndrome up in Fukushima; a demographic collapse; an imminent bond crisis; the collapse of export market partners; and a long, agonizing death spiral of its banks. I stick by a prediction I tendered back in March, after the deadly tsunami: Japan will decisively opt for a return to pre-industrial civilization. Why not? The rest of the world will be dragged kicking and screaming to the same place. Let Japan get there first and enjoy the advantage of the early adapter – back to an economy of local, hand-made stuff, rigid social hierarchy, folkloric hijinks in whispering bamboo groves, silk robes, and frequent time outs for the tea ceremony.
Russia? The big bear might have just sat out another decade and enjoyed its remaining fossil fuel supply, but the temptation to project power is a demanding habit, so they make all sorts of noises about watching Iran’s back – though mutual hatred abounds – and generally rushing into the power vacuum occupied by a US with dwindling mojo. There were stirrings of political discontent just few weeks ago, after the rigged early rounds of national elections, and who knows where that will lead. Vlad Putin has held things together there impressively after the meltdown of the 1990s, but apparently the tranquil veneer is thin. Except for two big cities, the sprawling nation is broke and decrepitating, with little to offer the world but oil and gas – not an inconsiderable offering, but one with certain limits especially as they drain their oil fields for export cash. The rule of law is also pretty sketchy there. The government, as ever, is a kind of gangster affair, only this time one that allows some people to get really rich, not just connected. Their 70-year experiment with Marxian dogma has probably put them off ideology for a few centuries to come, which means less money spent on prisons for people with independent thoughts and more for call girls and home furnishings. I imagine that Putin will maintain his grip through the year. The Russians will appreciate relative order more when they see a few other countries devolve into internal conflict.
I don’t see much action around South America this year. Some Americans are already fleeing to Argentina. Perhaps they’ll enjoy it, but there is always the menace of property confiscation, and worse. Brazil will continue to appear vibrant while it grows more population, shoving it toward eventual ruin. They will see setbacks in the development of their deep-sea oil due to an international shortage of investment capital.
Mexico’s fortunes depend on its oil industry, Pemex, which faces remorseless depletion. Revenue from oil production and (dwindling) exports can’t hope to keep up with continuing population growth (and ever more poverty). These trends suggest a continued loss of control for the central government and more territorial fighting among the drug gangs and other criminal mafias. As long as all those loose heads roll on the south side of the Rio Grande the US will just tut-tut off to the side. But if the gangs get bold and start venturing cross border to make mischief we will make like Woodrow Wilson did and send the regular army down to spank them. It would be a satisfying diversion for that portion of the US demographic that enjoys Ultimate Fighting on TV, though it won’t get them their job back at the Pontiac plant.
The global oil picture is not so reassuring. The fragility of our supply is simply unnoticed by commuters enjoying Lady Gaga on their iPods. Meanwhile, our politicians retail fantasies of endless domestic reserves, which is total horse shit. Global exports are in remorseless decline, apart from geopolitical fissures and strains that could just paralyze allocation cold. If a hot war breaks out in the Middle East, you’ll see the American supermarket shelves empty in three days. Won’t that be fun. Note, too: the manias over shale oil and shale gas will reveal themselves as just more bubbles in a long cavalcade of bubbles, and both will begin to founder on a shortage of investment capital. The shale plays will prove to have been a national self-esteem-building program, not any part of an energy policy.
The abiding question as we turn the corner into the New Year is: how come Jon Corzine is still at large? (Not to mention Angelo Mozilo, plus the entire executive floor of Goldman Sachs, and about 5000 other assorted Wall Street grifters still on the loose.) There is plenty of dire talk that the collapse of MF Global, and the shenanigans around its demise involving the evaporation of segregated accounts, has gravely and permanently damaged the entire investment industry, but especially the commodities funds, who can no longer depend on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to honestly clear trades and regulate behavior. The whole affair, and the thundering silence from the oval office, makes Barack Obama seem not just inept but somehow complicit in the looting of America. As if he needs another mark of discredit in his record of consistent fumbling. There are signs that a lot of people who still have something resembling money invested in various funds will go to cash in the weeks ahead, including under-the-mattress style. The distrust and paranoia is palpable now, with the frenzies of Yuletide bygone for another year. After all, why trust banks, especially the TBTF monsters. Such a mass move could take the starch even out of highly manipulated equity markets.
Nemesis may have her day, though. Jamie Dimon might have just gone a swindle too far for the fates to ignore him another year. JP Morgan looks to be in a peck of trouble for its role in the confiscation of MF Global accounts, not to mention its hijinks in the precious metals markets. The impudence of these rascals! In a nation when all sorts of people are murdered every day for little more reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, is it not a wonder that some poor swindled Grampa with nothing left to live for has not tossed a Molotov cocktail through the window of a Wall Street watering hole known to be frequented by banking poobahs? Perhaps this sort of action awaits us in 2012.
Longtime readers of this blog know how much I love predicting the Dow Jones Industrial Average to crash down to 4000 every year. I never disappoint – though I am often disappointed. In 2011, the SP index managed the delightful trick of finishing a fraction below its previous January kickoff. The stock markets have churned in range-bound purgatory for a decade while the price of a jar of pickles has multiplied four-fold. Applying the calculus, and given the pickle-DOW differential, I’d say my call was actually pretty good. In any case, this year I change the tune slightly: I predict the DJIA will go to 4000, with the catch that the number is only a way-station to 1000, which it will hit in 2014. We may be short of snow here in the Northeastern US – thanks to La Nina – yet not short of confidence that the mills of the Gods grind slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
Finally, look for the publication of my next book round July 2012, a non-fiction work titled Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation… from The Atlantic Monthly Press. In a week, I begin work on World Made By Hand 3.
Good luck to you in 2012, and report any suspicious characters adorned with ear-plugs, quetzel feathers, and carrying obsidian knives to your nearest office of Homeland Security.
Is Ireland Just the First Vatican Embassy to Go?
John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter, 11-20-2011
Last year, veteran Italian journalist Massimo Franco published a book about what he sees as the Vatican’s declining international relevance. Its opening chapter was titled “The Last Ambassador,” and featured a diplomat from a major Western nation who compared his situation, representing his government to the Vatican today, to that of the final ambassadors to the soon-to-disappear Republic of Venice in 1797.
Franco quoted another diplomat at a Vatican reception looking around at his colleagues and openly wondering, “How many of us will still be here in 10 years?”
Whatever the answer, it will be at least one less. In early November, Ireland announced it was closing its embassy to the Vatican, while still maintaining diplomatic relations with the Holy See. (The announcement was made in tandem with closures of two other Irish embassies, in East Timor and Iran.)
Immediately, the move was seen against the backdrop of the massive sexual abuse crisis in Ireland. Some observers, however, wonder if it may turn out to be just the first closure in a broader cycle — one that leaves formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican intact on paper, but the number of full-time representatives working on the relationship on a daily basis in steady decline.
The physical presence of an ambassador and an embassy, according to most observers, is a measure of how seriously one nation takes its relationship with another. At the moment, the Vatican has full diplomatic relations with 179 countries, of which 80, including the United States, maintain an embassy and ambassador in Rome dedicated to the Vatican.
The possibility of more countries choosing to reduce their representation, observers say, is fueled by three forces: the global economic meltdown, which has left many governments scrambling to cut expenditures; a perception that the Vatican is less internationally engaged and less effective under Pope Benedict XVI than Pope John Paul II; and the impact of the sexual abuse crisis, which has marred the Vatican’s reputation as a moral authority and reduced potential political backlash in many nations for closing embassies and withdrawing ambassadors.
To be sure, it’s not as if the Vatican’s diplomatic standing is in free fall. In December 2009, for instance, Russia upgraded its relationship to full diplomatic recognition — in part, a tribute to the effectiveness of Benedict’s ecumenical outreach to the Russian Orthodox church, which had heretofore resisted such a move.
Today there are only a handful of nations that don’t have relations with the Vatican, including China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. The Vatican continues to function as a unique bully pulpit in global affairs, as witnessed both by an Oct. 27 interreligious assembly in Assisi hosted by Benedict, and a headline-making recent document on reform of the international economy released by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (NCR, Nov. 11-24).
In regions of the world where Catholicism is growing, including sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, the momentum appears to be in favor of strengthening Vatican ties, not weakening them. For instance, the latest nation to establish relations with the Vatican was majority-Muslim Malaysia last July.
Among the traditional Western powers, however, the mood is somewhat different.
In recent years, Western ambassadors have quietly complained that it has become more difficult to engage the Vatican on international issues, and that Vatican diplomacy appears to be passing through a period of retrenchment.
Vatican diplomats today, they say, are highly focused on issues of religious freedom and anti-Christian persecution, but sometimes less interested in other matters. Some diplomats point to perceptions that the Vatican was not keenly engaged on Libya in the same way it had been on earlier conflicts in the Balkans or Iraq under John Paul, as an example.
Moreover, these diplomats say, the sexual abuse crisis has created a political environment in which critics of funding missions to the Vatican can wield powerful new ammunition.
“Because of the crisis, people in my government who have always questioned why we have an embassy here are much bolder,” a senior Western diplomat told NCR in mid-November. “To be honest, I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out.”
Most observers say that if there are to be additional closures or downsizings, it’s more likely, at least in the short term, to come from Europe rather than the United States. It’s a long shot, they say, that a Democratic president who already faces a rocky relationship with the Catholic church would take such a step — especially heading into 2012 elections in which the “Catholic vote” will once again be in play.
In the meantime, Catholic officials in Ireland have expressed hope the government there may reconsider. Cardinal Seán Brady of Armagh said the closure “seems to show little regard for the important role played by the Holy See in international relations and of the historic ties between the Irish people and the Holy See over many centuries.”
Signs suggest, however, that for now, reconsideration is unlikely. Just days after the embassy closure was announced, Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil, Ireland’s parliament, that the government has not invited Benedict to the country to take part in a Eucharistic Congress in 2012, nor was such an invitation under consideration. Observers say that makes it all but impossible for Benedict to visit Ireland next year, which some observers had pointed to as a possible turning point in recent tensions.
[John L. Allen Jr. is NCR senior correspondent. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.]
This timely information from Ben tells us that the cabal is finished, and any dark news we may see out there is like “reading Axis news reports of imminent victory late during World War 2″. It’s an attempt to hide the truth of what’s really happening.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this is the last sentence, where he says, “The official go-ahead has now been given for a new International Economic Planning Agency. It’s motto will be “we turn dreams into reality.”” Sounds like a good deal to me.
Of course, apply Higher Discernment to Ben’s articles. Also, David Wilcock just commented that he will be coming out shortly with a transcript of Ben’s New Zealand interview. It’s enlightening to read David’s comments about what Ben has stated in his interviews.
- The criminal cabal is caput. Events this week and next will provide ample proof of this.
- Both behind the scenes and in public, the world’s law enforcement agencies continue to close in on the criminal cabal from all directions.
- The big lawsuit expected next week against the cabal has now obtained as evidence something known as the Book of Maklumat.
- This evidence is icing on the cake in a lawsuit that will prove the private owners of the Federal Reserve Board stole this money and have been using it illegally for over 50 years.
- That is why the illegal “trading platforms” that were being used to steal this money have been shut down.
- …the European fascists do not have the money to help Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the five Baltic states… the government of Ireland has already asked the European bankers to prove Ireland is in debt to them…
- Although the G5 and Israel threaten to ignite World War 3 by attacking Iran, that is a suicidal bluff. The commanders of the US, Chinese and Russian militaries will not let this happen.
- Kissinger last week… tried to orchestrate a series of assassinations in the hope of somehow turning the situation around. This writer was once again last week targeted by people hired by Kissinger… Kissinger has been told to back off and his orders are not being obeyed.
- Obama is no longer expected to be able to complete his term as President because of the various legal actions against his regime.
- The official go-ahead has now been given for a new International Economic Planning Agency. It’s motto will be “we turn dreams into reality.”
Paradigm lost as the Western Oligarch’s lies unravel
by Benjamin Fulford, November 8, 2011
These days, reading some of the Western corporate propaganda media, you get the feeling you are reading Axis news reports of imminent victory late during World War 2. The reality people can see with their own eyes contradicts their reports so much that only a diehard rump of the most thoroughly brainwashed now really believes the propaganda. No matter what wishful thinking headlines they conjure up about the IMF coming to the rescue, or the Feds printing more dollars or FRN’s coming to the rescue, the fact of the matter is that the cabal that hijacked the world’s financial system has lost. The criminal cabal is caput. Events this week and next will provide ample proof of this.
Both behind the scenes and in public, the world’s law enforcement agencies continue to close in on the criminal cabal from all directions. The big lawsuit expected next week against the cabal has now obtained as evidence something known as the Book of Maklumat. This is a book that details the historical ownership of much of the world’s gold by a group of Asian royal families. They also have copies of the original cash certificates and evidence of how this money was transferred to the custodianship of the Government of United States for the use on behalf of the international community. This evidence is icing on the cake in a lawsuit that will prove the private owners of the Federal Reserve Board stole this money and have been using it illegally for over 50 years.
That is why the illegal “trading platforms” that were being used to steal this money have been shut down. That, in turn, is why the International Monetary Fund, the European governments and the Federal Reserve Board have been powerless to stop the ongoing crisis affecting the G5 group of terrorist states (France, England, Italy, Germany and the United States), as well as their armed camp known as Israel.
Although these governments have threatened Greece’s government into stopping a referendum on the Euro, they cannot take their threats to the bank. The fact is that the European fascists do not have the money to help Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the five Baltic states. Furthermore, the government of Ireland has already asked the European bankers to prove Ireland is in debt to them, show where the money came from, prove that it is real and prove they have the legal rights to it. This is something they cannot do which is why Ireland is not in the headlines. It is also one of the reasons they have shut down Ireland’s Vatican embassy.
Although the G5 and Israel threaten to ignite World War 3 by attacking Iran, that is a suicidal bluff. The commanders of the US, Chinese and Russian militaries will not let this happen. These rogue G5 leaders are, of course, terrified because they know they have committed countless crimes against humanity (e.g. hundreds of millions of murders since World War 2 ended). It may still be possible for most of them to obtain forgiveness via a truth and reconciliation committee but the window of opportunity is shutting fast.
One man who has now put himself beyond the pale is Henry Kissinger.
Kissinger last week desperately tried to orchestrate a series of assassinations in the hope of somehow turning the situation around. This writer was once again last week targeted by people hired by Kissinger.
However, Kissinger has been told to back off and his orders are not being obeyed.
“President” Obama, for his part, was the subject of severe verbal attacks at last week’s G20 meeting in France. He was told the United States was in far worse shape than Europe and that he had a lot of the blame for that, according to sources at the meeting. Obama is no longer expected to be able to complete his term as President because of the various legal actions against his regime.
In Japan, meanwhile, there has been a lot of rumbling under the surface.
Senior Japanese right wing sources say that a group of Colonels in the Japanese Self-Defense forces are plotting a military coup d’etat. Their plan is to put in former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as their leader. Abe, of course, is linked to the Moonies, who in turn have a ranch next to the Bush ranch in Paraguay. They are also linked to the international drug business.
Needless to say, these misguided Colonels have been educated and are now realizing that no matter how honorable their wish to help Japan might be, they were about to be manipulated by the very people who helped ruin Japan’s economy.
Another move in Japan came as US CIA and Pentagon types told power broker Ichiro Ozawa to permanently cease his plans to try to take over the government if he wished to stay alive. Ozawa is not trusted because of both his Rockefeller and cabal connections.
It is also worth noting that Emperor Akihito is suffering from “Bronchitis,” and has thus “temporarily” handed over control to crown prince Naruhito, according to the Royal Household Agency.
The official go-ahead has now been given for a new International Economic Planning Agency. It’s motto will be “we turn dreams into reality.”
Thomas Sheridan is an artist, writer and musician from Ireland. His first major book Puzzling People: The Labyrinth of the Psychopath, is a first-person account of the cheats, the charlatans, the liars, the neglectful parents, abusive teachers, two-faced politicians and their Psychopathic Control Grid, tyrannical bosses and colleagues from hell we have all encountered, including the lying lovers who use us then lose us in an instant. Puzzling People takes a look at how the minds of psychopaths work and why, and focuses on what you can do to survive and thrive and ultimately escape forever. In the first hour of this interview, Thomas will talk about the individual psychopath. He’ll talk about their consciousness, drive and tactics and will share a personal story of his experience with a psychopath. Thomas will tell us how psychopaths serve as evolutionary triggers and what we need to do to break free of them. He says we are at the cusp where the psycho control grid either tightens or loses control because of awareness. Topics discussed: moral insanity, internal chaos, pathology, invented personas, playing on pitty, intraspecies predator, spiritual parasite, the R-complex, managers, promoters, the enlightenment, shadow projection, Joseph Campbell, neurosis, Darwinism and more.
by James Howard Kunstler
History, that coy dominatrix, loves to trick the credulous human race. In a moment when something we call “democracy” seems to be spreading through the dodgy precincts of the world like a contagion of virtue, the trend is actually going the other way in countries that have practiced it for a while.
That is certainly the case in Europe, especially Greece right now, where the mobs in Syntagma Square denounce their waffling parliament for agreeing to a bailout deal that will make Greece a step-child of Germany. The German voters are none too pleased with this, either, since their country is now on the hook to pay Greece’s bills. Ireland, Portugal, and Belgium are standing by for adoption next in Europe’s Home for Wayward Children. Spain and Italy may need to become wards of the Euro-state, too, but they are more like adults with drinking problems who are liable to wreck the whole household if invited in.
Anyway, the Greeks rallying in Athens’ central square lately are sick of politicians and parliaments, and there is a no small danger that they will soon rise up and dispense with theirs in the dumpster behind the Parthenon. A man in a uniform has a certain appeal in a situation like this. He is comfortable issuing orders in unfavorable situations, in fact, rather thrives on it. The Germans know all about this. Their “savior” back in the 20th century was a fellow in an ersatz military getup who virtually ran for office by denouncing “parliamentarism” and by the time his party occupied a fair portion of the seats in theirs, he burned the darn thing to the ground.
The Irish gaze longingly at little Iceland, out there in the North Atlantic now free of debt obligations from the simple act of raising the middle finger in the direction of the London banks. Ireland is sore tempted to do likewise, and the act would have an appealing historical symmetry to it. They may toss out their parliament to get to it. Staying sober is another matter. In Portugal, they are too busy having lunch, which is a very serious affair, they will assure you, and undertaken in spirit of absolute Iberian fatalism (that beefsteak died for you!). Oh, for the days of Salazar when lunch was decreed eighteen hours a day! Belgium, of course, will always be hopeless – Europe’s doormat. And what can you say about a people who slather mayonnaise on their French fries – apart from their amazing failure to discover the miracle of ketchup, despite being overrun by American GIs sixty-odd years ago – and speaking a language that nobody has ever written rock and roll song in.
Europe is held together with baling twine, masking tape, and spit. It’s been a fun half-century catering to harmless clownish tourists from Houston, with their “big boss” belt buckles and decoupaged wives. But lately the Chinese visitors look more like bargain-hunters at the preview of an estate auction, sizing up the merchandise, and even the waiters in the cafes know the score. The Grand Palace of Euroland is closing for business. Anybody who thinks that Germany is going to run some kind of halfway house for crackhead countries “in recovery” will be disappointed. The compressive contraction that grips the OECD like economic Lou Gehrig disease will be with us as far ahead as anyone can see.
For sure, there are features of European life that dispose many of its countries to face the long emergency on much better terms than the train wreck across the Atlantic. They know how to get by on much less oil – though the coming energy crisis will still be hard on them. They have excellent public transit already in place (yes, it depends on the energy situation). Their agriculture is scaled much more intelligently. Their cities, too, with some exceptions. But they have a long history of brawling amongst themselves and the recent half-century of peace and prosperity is already taking on the shimmer of a fading mirage. Europe is burning down financially from the outside in while the monster that was known as the global economy lies gasping on the rocky shore of Fukushima. The Euro and the weak political union that went with it, is toast. You can include the outsider England in all that, since their practical circumstances are no better than Spain’s or Italy’s – perhaps a little worse, even… poor tattered Old Blighty!
By the way, I hope you don’t think the homefolks here in the USA are all that deliriously happy with representative government either. These days, despite all Sarah Palin’s bluster about “freedom” and “our heritage,” elected officials are held in about equal esteem to herpes viruses. Congress and the senate are paralyzed by triviality and the President is too busy golfing to disturb the status quo – which is the status quo of a house on fire. We won’t have to wait much longer to find out how unexceptional America actually is.
It’s a darn shame, and I mean that literally, because this is exactly what the American public is so ashamed of, and why appeals to the repressed sense of shame based on hyper-patriotic bluster, are so successful. It allows folks to feel great about themselves while they sink into the ooze. It’s okay, we’re special. I stopped at a convenience store at the edge of the Adirondack Mountains on Saturday afternoon and a more frightening gaggle of disfigured mutts I have never seen before. Has everybody in upstate New York only just been released from prison? The tattoo craze is especially telling. It’s one thing to get some tattoos with the idea that you are artfully expressing something. It’s another thing to deploy them around your body parts as though you were slapping decals on a 1989 beater car. These mutts had tattoos on their necks, their boobs, the sides of their heads, their knuckles, their ankles. The idea, apparently, is to make yourself appear as frightening as possible – and I can tell you it is a very successful initiative. Can lady Gaga please write us a new national anthem: America the horror movie.
Read FULL report from Piers Corbyn
Michael Hudson: Breakup Of The Euro? Is Iceland’s Rejection of Financial Bullying A Model For Greece And Ireland?
Yves here. This piece describes how voter opposition may derail rule by bankers via IMF, European Commission, and ECB austerity programs in Europe.
By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. Cross posted from CounterPunch.
Last month Iceland voted against submitting to British and Dutch demands that it compensate their national bank insurance agencies for bailing out their own domestic Icesave depositors. This was the second vote against settlement (by a ratio of 3:2), and Icelandic support for membership in the Eurozone has fallen to just 30 percent. The feeling is that European politics are being run for the benefit of bankers, not the social democracy that Iceland imagined was the guiding philosophy – as indeed it was when the European Economic Community (Common Market) was formed in 1957.
By permitting Britain and the Netherlands to blackball Iceland to pay for the mistakes of Gordon Brown and his Dutch counterparts, Europe has made Icelandic membership conditional upon imposing financial austerity and poverty on the population – all to pay money that legally it does not owe. The problem is to find an honest court willing to enforce Europe’s own banking laws placing responsibility where it legally lies.
The reason why the EU has fought so hard to make Iceland’s government take responsibility for Icesave debts is what creditors call “contagion.” Ireland and Greece are faced with much larger debts. Europe’s creditor “troika” – the European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission and the IMF – view debt write-downs and progressive taxation to protect their domestic economies as a communicable disease.
Like Greece, Ireland asked for debt relief so that its government would not be forced to slash spending in the face of deepening recession. “The Irish press reported that EU officials ‘hit the roof’ when Irish negotiators talked of broader burden-sharing. The European Central Bank is afraid that any such move would cause instant contagion through the debt markets of southern Europe,” wrote one journalist, warning that the cost of taking reckless public debt onto the national balance sheet threatened to bankrupt the economy. Europe – in effect, German and Dutch banks – refused to let the government scale back the debts it had taken on (except to smaller and less politically influential depositors). “The comments came just as the EU authorities were ruling out investor ‘haircuts’ in Ireland, making this a condition for the country’s €85bn (£72bn) loan package. Dublin has imposed 80 percent haircuts on the junior debt of Anglo Irish Bank but has not extended this to senior debt, viewed as sacrosanct.”
At issue from Europe’s vantage point – at least that of its bankers – is a broad principle: Governments should run their economies on behalf of banks and bondholders. They should bail out at least the senior creditors of banks that fail (that is, the big institutional investors and gamblers) and pay these debts and public debts by selling off enterprises and shifting the tax burden onto labor. To balance their budgets they are to cut back spending programs, lower public employment and wages, and charge more for public services from medical care to education.
This austerity program (“financial rescue”) has come to a head just one year after Greece was advanced $155 billion bailout package in May 2010. Displeased at how slowly the nation has moved to carve up its economy, the ECB has told Greece to start privatizing up to $70 billion by 2015. The sell-offs are to be headed by prime tourist real estate and the remaining government stakes in the national gambling monopoly OPAP, the Postbank, the Athens and Thessaloniki ports, the Thessaloniki Water and Sewer Company and the telephone monopoly. Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister and chairman of the Eurozone’s group of finance ministers, warned that only if Greece agreed to start selling off assets (“consolidating its budget”) would the EU agree to stretch out loan maturities for Greek debt and “save” it from default.
The problem is that privatization and regressive tax shifts raise the cost of living and doing business. This makes economies less competitive, and hence even less able to pay debts that are accruing interest, leading toward a larger ultimate default. But turning debtor economies into a set of tollbooths to sell off remains the predatory textbook financial response.
Financial power is achieving what military conquest did in times past. Pretending to make indebted economies more competitive, the actual aim is to squeeze out enough payments so that bondholders (and indeed, voters) will not be obliged to confront the reality that many debts are unpayable except at the price of making the economy too debt-ridden, too regressively tax-ridden and too burdened with rising privatized infrastructure charges to be competitive.
Cutting back public spending and regressive tax shifts dry up capital investment and productivity. Such economies are run like companies taken over by debt-leveraged raiders on credit, who downsize and outsource their labor force so as to squeeze out enough revenue to pay their own creditors – who take what they can and run. The tactic of this financial attack is no longer overt military force as in days of yore, but something less costly because its victims submit more voluntarily. Third World countries demonstrated the destructive consequences from the 1970s onward under IMF austerity planning. Europe is now repeating the same shrinkage.
But the intended financial victims are fighting back. The attackers are not losing their armies and manpower, but their balance sheets are threatened – and hence their own webs of solvency with which they sought to entrap their prey. Greek labor unions (especially in the public enterprises being privatized), the ruling Socialist Party and leading minority parties rejected the radical sacrifices being demanded by Eurozone officials.
The bankers’ response was to insist that Greece respond to its wave of strikes and popular protest by suspending party politics and economic democracy. Financial planning be placed above party politics, and demanded “cross-party agreement on any overhaul of the bail-out.” “The government and the opposition should declare jointly that they commit to the reform agreements with the EU,” Mr. Juncker explained to Der Spiegel.
Criticizing Prime Minister George Papandreou’s delay at starting the sale of state assets, Europe’s financial planners proposed a national privatization agency to act as a face-saving “temporary” intermediary. The idea is to transfer revenue from these assets to foreign creditors – and to pledge its public assets as collateral to be forfeited in case of default in payments to government bondholders. Suggesting that the government “set up an agency to privatize state assets” along the lines of the German Treuhandanstalt that sold off East German enterprises in the 1990s,” Mr. Juncker thought that “Greece could gain more from privatizations than the €50 billion ($71 billion) it has estimated.”
European bankers have their eye on the sale as much as $400 billion of Greek assets – enough to pay off all the government debt. Failing payment, the ECB threatened not to accept Greek government bonds as collateral. This would prevent Greek banks from doing business, wrecking its financial system and paralyzing the economy. This threat was supposed to make privatization “democratically” approved – followed by breaking union power and lowering wages (“internal devaluation”). “Jan Kees de Jager, Dutch finance minister, has proposed that any more loans to Greece should come with collateral arrangements, in which European state lenders would take over Greek assets in the event of a sovereign default.”
And default will become pressing whenever the ECB may choose to pull the plug. It is inevitable, given the debt corner into which governments have recklessly deregulated the banks and cut property taxes and progressive income taxes.
The ECB makes governments unable to finance their spending by central banks of their own
Introduction of the euro in 1999 explicitly prevented the ECB or any national central bank from financing government deficits. This means that no nation has a central bank able to do what those of Britain and the United States were created to do: monetize credit to domestic banks and for public spending generally. The public sector has been made dependent on commercial banks and bondholders. This is a bonanza for them, rolling back three centuries of attempts to create a mixed economy financially and industrially, by privatizing the credit creation monopoly as well as capital investment in the infrastructure monopolies now being pushed onto the sales block for bidders – on credit, with the winner being the one who promises to pay out the most interest to bankers to absorb the access fees (“economic rent”) that can be extracted.
Politics is being financialized while economies are being privatized. The financial strategy is to remove economic planning from democratically elected representatives, centralizing it in the hands of financial managers. What Benito Mussolini called “corporatism” in the 1920s (to give it its polite name) is now being achieved by Europe’s large banks and financial institutions – ironically (but I suppose inevitably) under the euphemism of “free market economics.” It is the financial counterpart to Hayek’s Road to Serfdom – central planning by Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt, not Washington.
Language is adopting itself to reflect the economic and political transformation (surrender?) now underway. Central bank “independence” is euphemized as the “hallmark of democracy,” not the victory of oligarchy. The task of such rhetoric is to divert attention from the fact that the financial sector aims not to “free” markets, but to centralize control in the hands of financial managers. Their logic is to subject economies to austerity and even depression, sell off public land and enterprises, and reduce living standards in the face of a sharply increasing concentration of wealth at the top of the economic pyramid. The idea is to slash government employment, lowering public-sector salaries to lead private sector wages downward, while cutting back social services.
Latvia is cited as the model success story. Its government slashed employment and public sector wages fell by 30 percent in 2009-10. Private-sector wages followed the decline. This was applauded as a “success story” and “accepting reality” – despite accelerating emigration. So now, the government has put forth a “balanced budget amendment,” to go with its flat tax on labor (some 59 percent, with only a 1 percent tax on real estate). Former U.S. neoliberal presidential candidate Steve Forbes would find it an economic paradise.
The internal contradiction (as Marxists would say) is that the existing mass of interest-bearing debt must grow as it receives interest that is re-invested to earn yet more interest. This is the “magic” of compound interest. The problem is that its payment diverts revenue away from the circular flow between production and consumption. Say’s Law says that payments by producers (to employees and producers of capital goods) must be spent, in the aggregate, on buying the products that labor and tangible capital produce. Otherwise there is a market glut and business shrinks – with the financial sector’s network of debt claims bearing the brunt.
The financial overhead intrudes into this circular flow. Income spent to pay creditors is not spent on goods and services. It is re-invested in new loans, or on stocks and bonds (assets in the form of financial and property claims on the economy), or on “gambling” (“casino capitalism,” derivatives, the international carry trade – that is, exchange-rate and interest-rate arbitrage) and other financial claims that are independent of the production-and-consumption economy. So as financial assets accrue interest – bolstered by new credit creation on computer keyboards by commercial banks and central banks – the financial rake-off from the “real” economy increases.
The idea of paying debts regardless of social cost is backed by mathematical models as complex as those used by physicists designing atomic reactors. But they have a basic flaw simple enough for a grade-school math student to understand: They assume that economies can pay debts growing exponentially at a higher rate than production or exports are growing. Only by ignoring the ability to pay – by creating an economic surplus over break-even levels – can one believe that debt leveraging can produce enough financial “balance sheet” gains to pay banks, pension funds and other financial institutions that recycle their interest into new loans. Financial engineering is expected to usher in a postindustrial society that make money from money (or rather, from credit) via rising asset prices for real estate, stocks and bonds.
It all seems much easier than earning profit from tangible investment to produce and market goods and services, because banks can fuel asset-price inflation simply by creating credit electronically on their computer keyboards. Until 2008 many families throughout the world saw the price of their home rise by more than they earned in an entire year. This cut out the troublesome M-C-M’ cycle (using capital to produce commodities to sell at a profit), by M-M’ (buying real estate or assets already in place, or stocks and bonds already issued, and waiting for the central bank to inflate their prices by lowering interest rates and untaxing wealth so that high income investors can increase their demand for property and financial securities).
The problem is that credit is debt, and debt must be paid – with interest. And when an economy pays interest, less revenue is left over to spend on goods and services. So markets shrink, sales decline, profits fall, and there is less cash flow to pay interest and dividends. Unemployment spreads, rents fall, mortgage-holders default, and real estate is thrown onto the market at falling prices.
When asset prices crash, these debts remain in place. As the Bubble Economy turns into a nightmare, politicians are taking private (and often fraudulent) bank losses onto the public balance sheet. This is dividing European politics and even threatening to break up the Eurozone.
Breakup of the Eurozone?
Third World countries from the 1960s through 1990s were told to devalue in order to reduce labor’s purchasing power and hence imports of food, fuel and other consumer goods. But Eurozone members are locked into the euro. This leaves only the option of “internal devaluation” – lowering wage rates as an alternative to scaling back payments to creditors atop Europe’s economic pyramid.
So “saving the euro” is a euphemism for governments saving the financial class – and with it a debt dynamic that is nearing its end regardless of what they do. The aim is for euro-debts to Germany, the Netherlands, France and financial institutions (now joined by vulture funds) to preserve their value. (No haircuts for them). The price is to be paid by labor and industry.
Government authority is to lose most of all. Just as the public domain is to be carved up and sold to pay creditors, economic policy is being taken out of the hands of democratically elected representatives and placed in the hands of the ECB, European Commission and IMF. The latter is playing “good cop” for the time being, to the ECB’s “bad cop.” But all financial institutions are willing to see Spain’s unemployment rate rise to 20%, much as in the Baltics, with nearly twice as high an unemployment rate among recent school graduates. As William Nassau Senior is reported to have said when told that a million Irishmen had died in the potato famine: “It is not enough!”
How much austerity is “enough” – for more than the short run? “Helping Greece remain solvent” means, in practice, helping it avoid taxing wealth (“too rich to pay” is the new corollary to “too big to fail”) and roll back wages while obliging labor to pay more in taxes while the government (“taxpayers,” a.k.a. workers) sells off public land and enterprises to bail out foreign banks and bondholders while slashing its social spending, industrial subsidies and infrastructure investment.
One Greek friend in my age bracket has said that his private pension (from a computing company) was slashed by the government. And when his son went to collect his own unemployment check, it was cut in half on the ground that his parents allegedly had the money to support them. The price of the house they bought a few years ago has plunged. They tell me that they are no more eager to remain part of the Eurozone than the Icelandic voters showed themselves last month.
The strikes continue. Anger is rising. When incoming IMF head Christine Lagarde was French trade minister, she suggested that: “France had to revamp its labor code. Labor unions and fellow ministers balked, and Ms. Lagarde backtracked, saying she had expressed a personal opinion.” This opinion is about to become official policy – from the IMF that was acting as “good cop” to the ECB’s “bad cop.”
I suppose that all that really is needed is for people to understand just what dynamics are at work that make these attempts to pay in vain. Creditors know that the game is up. All they can do is take as much as they can, as long as they can, pay themselves bonuses that are “free” from recapture by public prosecutors, and run to their offshore banking centers.
*This article is an excerpt from Prof. Hudson’s upcoming book, “Debts that Can’t be Paid, Won’t Be,” to be published later this year.
Barack Obama proved once again that he is an agent of the British Empire. During his press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama insisted that Queen Elizabeth II was well-received in Ireland and that in effect the continued British occupation of six counties of Ireland and the British rape of the Irish economy was a thing of the past. Obama told the world: “It was inspiring to see, after hundreds of years of conflict, people so rapidly reorienting how they thought about themselves, how they thought about those who they thought once were enemies. Her Majesty’s visit had a profound effect on the entire country. And so it was an enormous source of hope.”
In his address to the UK Parliament, which he referred to as “the Mother of Parliaments,” Obama showed his true British colors, saying: “I come here today to reaffirm one of the oldest and strongest alliances the world has ever known. It has long been said that the United States and the United Kingdom share a special relationship…. Of course, all relationships have their ups and downs. Admittedly, ours got off on the wrong foot with a small scrape about tea and taxes. There may have also been some hurt feelings when the White House was set on fire during the War of 1812. But fortunately, it’s been smooth sailing ever since!”
Among the other highlights of the President’s speech were his claim that “remaking ourselves to meet the demands of a new era” “begins with our economic leadership. Adam Smith’s central insight remains true today.” And, of course, there was his endorsement of two other British frauds, Newton and Darwin.