Friday, July 24, 2015
Note that the masthead of this news medium is "Free Ukraine Now" …which most Americans who listen to the despicable “mainstream media” regurgitating government lies (as well as America's vassals in NATO) assume that it means “drive out the Russian invaders.” But you, dear reader, should carry away from this re-post that (1) the Russians have NOT attacked Ukraine, (2) there is now a civil war in Ukraine forced by Washington (which has been lying about its role from day one), (3) the illegitimate government in Kiev (created by Washington) has been carrying out Washington's orders resulting in the forced conscription of troops to sacrifice their lives fighting their Russian speaking brothers in the Donbass, (4) high ranking members of the Ukraine army have defected to the Donbass, (5) the families of the Ukrainian troops are demanding that "Yankees go home" and (6) all NATO countries should take notice before they too are dragged into a terrible war that will benefit no one but the “Dr. Strangeloves” in Washington.
by Emilie Defresne Original Here
24 June 2015
This information will probably not be relayed by the official media because “they demonstrate that Ukraine of Poroshenko is torn from within."
Former Assistant Minister of Defence of Ukraine, “Major-General” (equivalent to a general of army corps in France) Aleksandr Kolomiyets, passed with arms and baggage to the side of the Novorussian resistance. Arms and baggage, or more accurately with other officers of the Ukrainian National Army.
“I am Alexander Kolomiyets, a major-general of the Ukrainian armed forces … My last position was adviser to the Ukrainian defense minister and senior defense analyst,” he said at the opening of the conference that he gave to Donetsk. He added: “I will work for the good of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. “. “Observe who is currently fighting; only voluntary National Guard." “Soon, there will be unrest in the army. They do not understand the orders given to them, to kill civilians. We will see that by fall, everything will change. ”
Together General of the Army corps and officers around him came provide assistance to the armed forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The general is a leading rookie for the rebellion of Donbass, not only because he is a very senior officer knows the Kievan enemy within, but he also knows very well the military of the Donetsk region for having spent 19 years at the helm. This is also a very damaging loss for the Kiev junta.
Constant purges within the ranks of Ukrainian armies and security services, popular demonstrations against the US omnipresence, all this is beginning to weigh heavily on real Ukrainians who care about their country and their families.
The general and his friends do not go to the Novorusse side on a whim. Beforehand, they took care to put their families safe from Kievan reprisals. According to him, many of his fellow commanders seek to go over to the separatists, they would be about a hundred:
“The morale of the Ukrainian army is at its lowest, officers and generals are aware of the criminal nature of political power in place in Kiev and do not want to fight.”
Before him, the former head of customs at Lugansk, Oleg Tchermoussov, had also left his post to join the separatists. Lately Alexei and Yuri Miroshnichenko brothers attached to the Ukrainian Embassy in Paris (attached to the Foreign Intelligence of Ukraine), had joined the separatists because of their disagreement with the Kiev policy. And these are two more recruits of choice, from the heart of the enemy system, to strengthen the cause of the New Russia.
The two brothers decided to leave work in Paris and return home in Lugansk. They claim to be in total disagreement with the policies of the regime in Kiev. They joined with their own means Lugansk where they gave a press conference to explain the reasons for their actions:
“My brother and I have seen what was going on in Ukraine, the coming to power of some people. We decided to leave and who have nowhere to go we decided to come back home in Lugansk […] We have not been forced by anyone, we have made this decision voluntarily. We could reasonably continue to work for the regime that is in place in Ukraine. These are just traitors, fascists and agents in the pay of other nations, they lead the country to ruin. “.
We must be courageous in this climate of purges and reprisals in Kiev to protest against the Americans who invested the government with three key ministers:
This was done a few days ago the Ukrainians in Kiev. We hear very clearly protesters shout: “US go home! ”
Video above: Military Square of Cemetery of Lviv
This does not prevent the US-oligarch Kiev regime massaging equipment and men on the front line of contact as shown by the map below, which takes stock of the positioning of troops this morning June 24, 2015. The troops of Kiev are in blue:
However soldiers are certainly not thrilled to have to face their former compatriots. They have in mind the aisles of graves of fighters that extend and multiply in cemeteries.
In recent hours, the front line has remained stable but the shelling continued on Donetsk, Gorlovka, Marinka and Shirokino particular. The intensity of the fighting northwest of Lugansk also increases.
The war in Ukraine is not yet complete, the system set up by the Americans is likely to collapse. That’s probably what they see coming as they do get wet too. The promised military equipment is still waiting, and Canadian trainers. But no doubt that the US authorities do not care about destroying a country, as long as they have wreaked havoc by dividing a little more of Europe, an amount of Europeans of Russia against Europeans of the Union. And we have not seen everything yet, they will not stop in such a bad way, because they are destabilizing the Balkans.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Well my previous post was too hot to handle and got pulled. Too bad. So to tide you over I put up this hilarious but disgusting parody cum true story of the U.S. Government.
The Night Watchman
July 18, 2015 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Whether True Or A Parody The Night Watchman Has A Valid Story
And An Entertaining One
THE NIGHT WATCHMAN
Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert.
Congress said, “Someone may steal from it at night.”
So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.
Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?”
So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person
to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.
Then Congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?”
So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One was to do the studies and one was to write the reports.
Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?”
So they created two positions: a time keeper and a payroll officer then hired two people.
Then Congress said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?”
So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an
Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal
Then Congress said, “We have had this command in operation for one year and we are $918,000 over budget, we must cut back.”
So they laid-off the night watchman.
NOW slowly, let it sink in.
Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter. Does anybody remember the
reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY during
the Carter administration?
Didn’t think so!
Bottom line is, we’ve spent several hundred billion dollars in support
of an agency, the reason for which very few people who read this can
It was very simple… and at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate.
The Department of Energy was instituted on 8/04/1977, TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.
AND NOW IT’S 2015 — 38 YEARS LATER — AND THE BUDGET FOR THIS “NECESSARY” DEPARTMENT IS AT $24.2 BILLION A YEAR. IT HAS 16,000 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND APPROXIMATELY 100,000 CONTRACT EMPLOYEES; AND LOOK AT THE JOB IT HAS DONE!
38 years ago 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports. Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports.
NOW, WE HAVE TURNED OVER THE BANKING SYSTEM, HEALTH CARE, AND THE AUTO INDUSTRY TO THE SAME GOVERNMENT?
Hello!! Anybody Home?
Signed….The Night Watchman
Friday, July 17, 2015
This is what the Greeks ought to do, if they possibly can. If they can't, they will be faced with an incurable depression and the sale of their countrie's industries, utilities, and natural attractions. Ripoff!
Lapavitsas Calls for Exit as the Only Strategy for Greek People
In an intense speech in Athens, Costas Lapavitsas says the Syriza plan was to achieve radical change within the Eurozone - and that's impossible.
July 17, 15
Uploaded on Jul 17, 2015 Original Here
In an intense speech in Athens, Costas Lapavitsas says the Syriza plan was to achieve radical change within the Eurozone - and that's impossible.
Category News & Politics
License Standard YouTube License
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
"The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has agreed to the One Percent’s looting of the Greek people of the advances in social welfare that the Greeks achieved in the post-World War II 20th century. Pensions and health care for the elderly are on the way out. The One Percent needs the money." -- Paul Craig Roberts ........ . “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both” -- Frederick Douglass
Greece: Sound and Fury Signifying Much — Paul Craig Roberts
July 15, 2015 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Greece: Sound and Fury Signifying Much
Paul Craig Roberts
All of Europe, and insouciant Americans and Canadians as well, are put on notice by Syriza’s surrender to the agents of the One Percent. The message from the collapse of Syriza is that the social welfare system throughout the West will be dismantled.
The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has agreed to the One Percent’s looting of the Greek people of the advances in social welfare that the Greeks achieved in the post-World War II 20th century. Pensions and health care for the elderly are on the way out. The One Percent needs the money.
The protected Greek islands, ports, water companies, airports, the entire panoply of national patrimony, is to be sold to the One Percent. At bargain prices, of course, but the subsequent water bills will not be bargains.
This is the third round of austerity imposed on Greece, austerity that has required the complicity of the Greeks’ own governments. The austerity agreements serve as a cover for the looting of the Greek people literally of everything. is one member of the Troika that is imposing the austerity, despite the fact that the IMF’s economists have said that the austerity measures have proven to be a mistake. The Greek economy has been driven down by the austerity. Therefore, Greece’s indebtedness has increased as a burden. Each round of austerity makes the debt less payable.
But when the One Percent is looting, facts are of no interest. The austerity, that is the looting, has gone forward despite the fact that the IMF’s economists cannot justify it.
Greek democracy has proven itself to be impotent. The looting is going forward despite the vote one week ago by the Greek people rejecting it. So what we observe in Alexis Tsipras is an elected prime minister representing not the Greek people but the One Percent.
The One Percent’s sigh of relief has been heard around the world. The last European leftist party, or what passes as leftist, has been brought to heel, just like Britain’s Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, and all the rest.
Without an ideology to sustain it, the European left is dead, just as is the Democratic Party in the US. With the death of these political parties, the people no longer have any voice. A government in which the people have no voice is not a democracy. We can see this clearly in Greece. One week after the Greek people express themselves decisively in a referendum, their government ignores them and accommodates the One Percent.
The American Democratic Party died with jobs offshoring, which destroyed the party’s financial base in the manufacturing unions. The European left died with the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union was a symbol that there existed a socialist alternative to capitalism. The Soviet collapse and “the end of history” deprived the left of an economic program and left the left-wing, at least in America, with “social issues” such as abortion, homosexual marriage, gender equality, and racism, which undermined the left-wing’s traditional support with the working class. Class warfare disappeared in the warfare between heterosexuals and homosexuals, blacks and whites, men and women.
Today with the Western peoples facing re-enserfment and with the world facing nuclear war as a result of the American neoconservatives’ claim to be History’s chosen people entitled to world hegemony, the American left is busy hating the Confederate battle flag.
The collapse of Europe’s last left-wing party, Syrzia, means that unless more determined parties arise in Portugal, Spain, and Italy, the baton passes to the right-wing parties—-to Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party, to Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, and to other right-wing parties who stand for nationalism against national extermination in EU membership.
Syriza could not succeed once it failed to nationalize the Greek banks in response to the EU’s determination to make them fail. The Greek One Percent have the banks and the media, and the Greek military shows no sign of standing with the people. What we see here is the impossibility of peaceful change, as Karl Marx and Lenin explained.
Revolutions and fundamental reforms are frustrated or overturned by the One Percent who are left alive. Marx, frustrated by the defeat of the Revolutions of 1848 and instructed by his materialist conception of history, concluded, as did Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot, that leaving the members of the old order alive meant counter-revolution and the return of the people to serfdom. In Latin America every reformist government is vulnerable to overthrow by US economic interests acting in conjunction with the Spanish elites. We see this process underway today in Venezuela and Ecuador.
Duly instructed, Lenin and Mao eliminated the old order. The class holocaust was many times greater than anything the Jews experienced in the Nazi racial holocaust. But there is no memorial to it.
To this day Westerners do not understand why Pol Pot emptied Cambodia’s urban areas. The West dismisses Pol Pot as a psychopath and mass murderer, a psychiatric case, but Pol Pot was simply acting on the supposition that if he permitted representatives of the old order to remain his revolution would be overthrown. To use a legal concept enshrined by the George W. Bush regime, Pol Pot pre-empted counter-revolution by striking in advance of the act and eliminating the class inclined to counter-revolution.
The English conservative Edmund Burke said that the path of progress was reform, not revolution. The English elite, although they dragged their heels, accepted reform in place of revolution, thus vindicating Burke. But today with the left so totally defeated, the One Percent does not have to agree to reforms. Compliance with their power is the only alternative.
Greece is only the beginning. Greeks driven out of their country by the collapsed economy, demise of the social welfare system, and extraordinary rate of unemployment will take their poverty to other EU countries. Members of the EU are not bound by national boundaries and can freely emigrate. Closing down the support system in Greece will drive Greeks into the support systems of other EU countries, which will be closed down in turn by the One Percent’s privatizations.
The 21st century Enclosures have begun.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Pentagon mission: Conquer the whole world or, if not possible, destroy the entire earth with a nuclear war that they themselves bring about and start all over ...that is if any of them survive.
Pentagon Concludes America Not Safe Unless It Conquers The World — Paul Craig Roberts
July 10, 2015 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Pentagon Concludes America Not Safe Unless It Conquers The World
Paul Craig Roberts
The Pentagon has released its “National Military Strategy of the United States of America 2015,” June 2015. http://news.usni.org/2015/07/02/document-2015-u-s-national-military-strategy
The document announces a shift in focus from terrorists to “state
actors” that “are challenging international norms.” It is important to
understand what these words mean. Governments that challenge
international norms are sovereign countries that pursue policies
independently of Washington’s policies. These “revisionist states” are
threats, not because they plan to attack the US, which the Pentagon
admits neither Russia nor China intend, but because they are
independent. In other words, the norm is dependence on Washington.
Be sure to grasp the point: The threat is the existence of sovereign states, whose independence of action makes them “revisionist states.” In other words, their independence is out of step with the neoconservative Uni-power doctrine that declares independence to be the right of Washington alone. Washington’s History-given hegemony precludes any other country being independent in its actions.
The Pentagon’s report defines the foremost “revisionist states” as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. The focus is primarily on Russia. Washington hopes to co-op China, despite the “tension to the Asia-Pacific region” that China’s defense of its sphere of influence, a defense “inconsistent with international law” (this from Washington, the great violator of international law), by turning over what remains of the American consumer market to China. It is not yet certain that Iran has escaped the fate that Washington imposed on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Ukraine, and by complicity Palestine.
The Pentagon report is sufficiently audacious in its hypocrisy, as all statements from Washington are, to declare that Washington and its vassals “support the established institutions and processes dedicated to preventing conflict, respecting sovereignty, and furthering human rights.” This from the military of a government that has invaded, bombed, and overthrown 11 governments since the Clinton regime and is currently working to overthrow governments in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina.
In the Pentagon document, Russia is under fire for not acting “in accordance with international norms,” which means Russia is not following Washington’s leadership.
In other words, this is a bullshit report written by neocons in order to foment war with Russia.
Nothing else can be said about the Pentagon report, which justifies war and more war. Without war and conquests, Americans are not safe.
Washington’s view toward Russia is the same as Cato the Elder’s view toward Carthage. Cato the Elder finished his every speech on any subject in the Roman Senate with the statement “Carthage must be destroyed.”
This report tells us that war with Russia is our future unless Russia agrees to become a vassal state like every country in Europe, and Canada, Australia, Ukraine, and Japan. Otherwise, the neoconservatives have decided that it is impossible for Americans to tolerate living with a country that makes decisions independently of Washington. If American cannot be The Uni-Power dictating to the world, better that we are all dead. At least that will show the Russians.
Friday, July 10, 2015
The prognosis here for the Greeks is not so nice as PCR supposed. If they are to escape the worst (which is now looking unlikely), then they must adopt some of Ellen Brown's options. Though Americans don't know it, the same must be done in the US, because when the big-name banks collapse, as they must, they will "bail in", i.e., dip into your savings accounts.
Posted on July 9, 2015 by Ellen Brown Original here
Banks create money when they make loans. Greece could restore the liquidity desperately needed by its banks and its economy by nationalizing the banks and issuing digital loans backed by government guarantees to its ailing businesses. Greece could provide an inspiring model of sustainable prosperity for the world. But it is being strangled by a hegemonic power in a financial war that is being waged against us all.
On July 4, 2015, one day before the national vote on the austerity demands of Greece’s creditors, it was rumored in the Financial Times that Greek banks were preparing to “bail in” (or confiscate) depositor funds to replace the liquidity choked off by the European Central Bank.
The response of the Syriza government, to its credit, was “no way.” As reported in Zerohedge, the government was prepared to pursue three “nuclear options” to protect the deposits of the Greek people:
- nationalize the banks,
- launch a parallel currency in the form of electronic California-style IOUs, and
- use the Greek central bank’s printing press to issue euros.
Syriza sources say the Greek ministry of finance is examining options to take direct control of the banking system if need be rather than accept a draconian seizure of depositor savings – reportedly a ‘bail-in’ above a threshhold of €8,000 – and to prevent any banks being shut down on the orders of the ECB.
Government officials recognize that this would lead to an unprecedented rift with the EU authorities. But Syriza’s attitude at this stage is that their only defense against a hegemonic power is to fight guerrilla warfare.
The Hegemonic Power of the ECB
The Greek crisis is a banking crisis, and it was precipitated largely by the Mafia-like tactics of the European Central Bank and the international banks it serves (notably Goldman Sachs). As Jeffrey Sachs observed in the Financial Times in 2012:
The Greek economy is collapsing not mainly from fiscal austerity or the lack of external competitiveness but from the chronic lack of working capital. Greece’s small and medium-sized enterprises can no longer obtain funding. . . . The shutdown of Greece’s banking sector brings to mind the dramatic shrinkage of bank lending during 1929-33 in the Great Depression.Economist James Galbraith explains the critical role of the ECB in this shutdown:
A central bank is supposed to protect the financial stability of solvent banks. But from early February, the ECB cut off direct financing of Greek banks, instead drip-feeding them expensive liquidity on special “emergency” terms. This promoted a slow run on the banks and paralyzed economic activity. When the negotiations broke down, the ECB capped the assistance, prompting a fast bank run and giving them an excuse to impose capital controls and effectively shut them down.In December 2014, when the Greek Parliament was threatening to reject the pro-austerity presidential candidate, Goldman Sachs warned in a memo:
In the event of a severe Greek government clash with international lenders, interruption of liquidity provision to Greek banks by the ECB could potentially even lead to a Cyprus-style prolonged “bank holiday”.And that is exactly what happened after the anti-austerity Syriza Party was elected in January. Why would the ECB have to “interrupt liquidity provision” just because of a “clash with international lenders”? As noted by Mark Weisbrot, the move was completely unnecessary.
The crisis to which it has led was described by Evans-Pritchard on July 7th:
Events are now spinning out of control. The banks remain shut. The ECB has maintained its liquidity freeze, and through its inaction is asphyxiating the banking system.
Factories are shutting down across the country as stocks of raw materials run out and containers full of vitally-needed imports clog up Greek ports. Companies cannot pay their suppliers because external transfers are blocked. Private scrip currencies are starting to appear as firms retreat to semi-barter outside the banking system.
The Tourniquet of the Central Bank
It is not just Greek banks but all banks that are dependent on central bank liquidity, because they are all technically insolvent. They all lend money they don’t have. As the Bank of England recently acknowledged, banks do not actually lend their deposits. Rather, they create deposits when they make loans. They do this simply with accounting entries. There is no real limit to how much money they can create, so long as they can find creditworthy customers willing to borrow it.
The catch is that the bank still has to balance its books at the end of the day. If it comes up short, it can borrow from the banks into which its deposits (whether “real” or newly created) have migrated. Banks can borrow from each other at very low rates (in the US, the Fed funds rate is 0.25%). They keep the difference in rates as their profit.
The central bank, which has the power to print money, is the ultimate backstop in this money-creating scheme. If there is leakage in the system from cash withdrawals or transfers to foreign banks, the central bank supplies the liquidity, again at very low bankers’ rates.
That is the way the system should work. But in the Eurozone, the national central banks of member countries have relinquished their critical credit power to the European Central Bank. And the ECB, like the US Federal Reserve, marches to the drums of large international banks. The central bank can flick the credit switch on or off at its whim. Any country that resists going along with the creditors’ austerity program may find that its banks have been cut off from this critical liquidity, being branded no longer “good credit risks.” That damning judgment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as is now happening in Greece.
Turning the Credit Spigots Back On
The problem now for Greece is how to restore bank liquidity without the help of the ECB. One way would be to leave the Eurozone and return to its own national currency, as many pundits have urged. Its central bank could then issue all the drachmas needed to fund the government and provide cash for the banks.
But that alternative comes with other major downsides, including that the drachma would probably plummet against the euro. Greek leaders have therefore sought to stay in the Eurozone, but that means dealing with the bank runs that are bleeding the banks of euros. It also means bowing to ECB regulation, something the ECB is attempting to impose on all Eurozone banks.
Assuming, however, that Greece stays in the EU, might there be a way that the government could restore the liquidity necessary to keep its banks and the economy afloat, without the help of the ECB and while continuing to use the euro?
Consider again the Bank of England’s bombshell 2014 report called “Money Creation in the Modern Economy.” According to the BOE, 97% of the money supply is now created by banks when they make loans. British banks create digital pounds. US banks create digital dollars. And Greek banks create digital euros.
How it all works is explained by Kumhof and Jakab in an IMF paper called “Banks Are Not Intermediaries of Loanable Funds — And Why This Matters.” They note that the chief practical limit to the digital creation of money is simply the willingness of banks to make loans. The central bank can create massive “excess reserves” (as the Fed did with “quantitative easing”), but bank lending to local businesses will not increase if the banks do not see a profit in it. The problem is called “pushing on a string”: there is no mechanism for forcing banks to make loans.
That is true in a private commercial system, but in a nationalized system, the government can “pull” on the string. It can manage the lending of its state-owned banks, as China and Japan have done for decades. Loans to local businesses can be guaranteed with government letters of credit in lieu of capital; and if some loans turn out to be “non-performing,” they can be written off or just carried on the books, as China has also done for decades. The money was created as accounting entries and can be carried on the books as accounting entries.
The Greek government could follow China’s lead and nationalize its private banks, all of which are insolvent. It could then use their digital money machines to pump liquidity back into the economy, by making loans to all those once-viable businesses now starved of funds. Restoring their credit lines would allow them to pay for workers and materials, generating purchasing power and sales, increasing employment and the tax base, and generally reversing the economic death spiral induced by insufficient money in the system to keep the wheels of production turning.
In an All-digital System, the Books Are Always Balanced.
Balancing the books can easily be achieved in a closed, nationalized, digital banking system, so long as liquidity can be kept from leaking out in the form of physical cash withdrawals or transfers to foreign banks. Money transferred digitally within the system can always be found somewhere and borrowed back by the bank from which it was transferred, balancing its books.
The remaining question is, how to deal with leakage in the form of cash withdrawals or transfers to foreign banks? One radical possibility would be to go all digital: cash would no longer be official legal tender after some designated date. President Roosevelt did something similar when he took the dollar off the gold standard and ordered people to cash in their gold for paper dollars in 1933.
That approach, however, is highly controversial. Ideally, it could be avoided by simply paying an attractive digital bonus for depositing physical cash in the banks, and paying an attractive interest rate to keep it there. A sizable fee could also be charged for cash withdrawals or transfers outside Greek banks. This would not actually be a “haircut,” since the digital euros would be available for use at full value so long as they were transferred by bankcard or check within the digital banking system. The transfer penalty could be phased out over time as cash deposits were built up. In effect, the money would just be on loan at interest to the banks for several years.
Another alternative would be to run the euro printing press at the Bank of Greece, something that is apparently being done quietly already. As precedent, Ireland’s central bank quietly printed €51 billion in 2011.
Another much-discussed alternative would be for Greece to leave the EU and simply issue drachmas. But as of this writing, it looks as if the creditors have strong-armed Greek leaders into accepting their harsh austerity measures in order to stay in the EU.
Greece blazed the trail globally for political democracy, but modeling a sustainable economic democracy may have to wait for another day.
Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Paul Craig Roberts predicts the final outcome of the Greek referendum and refusal to be looted by the troika, i.e., the EU Commission, European Central Bank, and the IMF. It is not what you think. It's Washington screwing of the EU pillagers by requiring that Greece be given relief from the troika's plan to loot their remaining national assets. But there is no kindness in Washington. Rather their motive is to avert Greece's leaving the EU (likely to have been followed by Italy and Spain) in order that Washington and its European NATO vassals can continue fomenting a war with Russia that may kill us all. A must read!
Greece And The EU Situation — Paul Craig Roberts
July 7, 2015 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Greece And The EU Situation
Paul Craig Roberts
I doubt that there will be a Greek exit.
The Greek referendum, in which the Greek government’s position easily prevailed, tells the troika (EU Commission, European Central Bank, IMF, with of course Washington as the puppet master) that the Greek people support their government’s position that the years of austerity to which Greece has been subjected have seriously worsened the debt problem. The Greek government has been trying to turn the austerity approach into reforms that would lessen the debt burden via a rise in employment, GDP, and tax revenues.
The first response of most EU politicians to the Greek referendum outcome was to bluster about Greece exiting Europe. Washington is not prepared for this to happen and has told its vassals to give the Greeks a deal that they can accept that will keep them within the EU.
Washington has a higher interest than the interests of the US financial interests who purchased discounted sovereign debt with a view toward profiting from a deal that pays 100 cents on the dollar. Washington also has higher interest than the interests of the European One Percent intent on using Greece’s indebtedness to loot the country of its national assets. Washington’s higher interest is the protection of the unity of the EU and, thereby, NATO, Washington’s mechanism for bringing conflict to Russia.
If the inflexible Germans were to have Greece booted from the EU, Greece’s turn to Russia and financial rescue would put the same idea in the heads of Italy and Spain and perhaps ultimately France. NATO would unravel as Southern Europe became members of Russia’s Eurasian trade bloc, and American power would unravel with NATO.
This is simply unacceptable to Washington.
If reports are correct, Victoria Nuland has already paid a visit to the Greek prime minister and explained to him that he is neither to leave the EU or cozy up to the Russians or there will be consequences, polite language for overthrow or assassination. Indeed, the Greek prime minister probably knows this without need of a visit.
I conclude that the “Greek debt crisis” is now contained. The IMF has already adopted the Greek government’s position with the release of the IMF report that it was a mistake from the beginning to impose austerity on Greece. Pressured by this report and by Washington, the EU Commission and European Central Bank will now work with the Greek government to come up with a plan acceptable to Greece.
This means that Italy, Spain, and Portugal can also expect more lenient treatment.
The losers are the looters who intended to use austerity measures to force these countries to transfer national assets into private hands. I am not implying that they are completely deterred, only that the extent of the plunder has been reduced.
As I have previously written, the Greek “debt crisis” was an orchestration from the beginning. The European Central Bank is printing 60 billion euros per month, and at any time during the “crisis” the ECB could have guaranteed the solvency of any remaining creditor banks by purchasing their holdings of Greek debt, just as the Federal Reserve purchased the troubled mortgage backed “securities” held by the “banks too big to fail.” This easy solution was not taken.
The orchestration was a benefit to Western financial interests in general by enabling enormous speculations on the euro and gambling with derivative bets on sovereign debt and everything connected to it. Each successive “crisis,” such as Sunday’s No vote, became cover for an attack on oil or other commodities. The rigging and manipulation of markets can be hidden by pointing fingers at the latest “crisis.”
John Perkins in his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, describes the process by which Western financial interests intentionally over-lend to weaker countries and then use the pressure of the debt to force the transfer of the countries’ wealth, and often sovereignty, to the West. The IMF and its austerity programs have long played a role in the looting.
In exchange for reducing euro debt on Greece’s books, Greece was to turn over to private interests its water companies, ports, and protected islands. Unless the One Percent can purchase the current Greek government as it purchased previous governments (for example, with payoffs to borrow money with which to purchase submarines), the referendum has frustrated the looters.
In my book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, I explained that the Greek “debt crisis” had two other purposes. One was to get rid of the practice of restructuring a country’s debt by writing it down to a level the country could afford and to establish in its place the new principle that people of a country are responsible for the mistakes of creditors who over-lend. The write-down is no longer to occur on the balance sheet of the creditors’ but instead becomes a write-down of pensions, social services, and employment. This, too, is a process of looting.
The other purpose, as Jean-Claude Trichet, the previous head of the European Central Bank, made explicitly clear, was to further reduce the sovereignty of member states of the EU by transferring authority over fiscal policy (tax and spend decisions) from national governments to the EU in Brussels.
Washington favors this centralization of political power in Europe, and Washington favors the One Percent over the people. However, above all Washington favors its own power and has acted to prevent a Greek exit, which could begin the unraveling of NATO.
Russia and China have missed an opportunity to begin the unraveling of NATO by assisting Greece’s departure from the EU. Whatever the cost, it would be tiny in comparison to the military buildup that Washington is forcing on both countries. Russia and China might have decided that Washington could no more accept Greece’s alignment with Russia than Russia can accept Ukraine becoming a member of NATO.
If the Greek situation and the waiting Italian and Spanish situations are now resolved along the lines that this article suggests, it means that the NATO mechanism for Washington’s pressure on Russia remains intact and that the conflict that Washington has created will continue. This is the bad news and the downside of Greece’s victory over the looters.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
What is going on now in Greece and what the people should do next to restart their country. Costas Lapavistsas lays it out.
Syriza MP: It's Time to Take Over the Banks (2/2)Original Here
Paul Jay discusses the results of the Greek referendum with Costas Lapavitsas and asks whether Syriza was prepared for this moment - July 6, 2015
Paul Jay discusses the results of the Greek referendum with Costas Lapavitsas and asks whether Syriza was prepared for this moment - July 6, 2015
Costas Lapavitsas is a professor in economics at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. He teaches the political economy of finance, and he's a regular columnist for The Guardian.
Monday, July 06, 2015
Five or six years ago, Paul Krugman was my idle, but gradually his being an op ed reporter on the New York Times forced him away from things he likely would have posted but for restrictions on what the "mainstream media" can say about the government's activites. But I find his column today an appropriate one vis-a-vis the new situation in Greece.
July 5, 2015 Original Here
Europe dodged a bullet on Sunday. Confounding many predictions, Greek voters strongly supported their government’s rejection of creditor demands. And even the most ardent supporters of European union should be breathing a sigh of relief.
Europe dodged a bullet on Sunday. Confounding many predictions, Greek voters strongly supported their government’s rejection of creditor demands. And even the most ardent supporters of European union should be breathing a sigh of relief.
Of course, that’s not the way the creditors would have you see it. Their story, echoed by many in the business press, is that the failure of their attempt to bully Greece into acquiescence was a triumph of irrationality and irresponsibility over sound technocratic advice.
But the campaign of bullying — the attempt to terrify Greeks by cutting off bank financing and threatening general chaos, all with the almost open goal of pushing the current leftist government out of office — was a shameful moment in a Europe that claims to believe in democratic principles. It would have set a terrible precedent if that campaign had succeeded, even if the creditors were making sense.
What’s more, they weren’t. The truth is that Europe’s self-styled technocrats are like medieval doctors who insisted on bleeding their patients — and when their treatment made the patients sicker, demanded even more bleeding. A “yes” vote in Greece would have condemned the country to years more of suffering under policies that haven’t worked and in fact, given the arithmetic, can’t work: austerity probably shrinks the economy faster than it reduces debt, so that all the suffering serves no purpose. The landslide victory of the “no” side offers at least a chance for an escape from this trap.
But how can such an escape be managed? Is there any way for Greece to remain in the euro? And is this desirable in any case?
The most immediate question involves Greek banks. In advance of the referendum, the European Central Bank cut off their access to additional funds, helping to precipitate panic and force the government to impose a bank holiday and capital controls. The central bank now faces an awkward choice: if it resumes normal financing it will as much as admit that the previous freeze was political, but if it doesn’t it will effectively force Greece into introducing a new currency.
Specifically, if the money doesn’t start flowing from Frankfurt (the headquarters of the central bank), Greece will have no choice but to start paying wages and pensions with i.o.u.s, which will de facto be a parallel currency — and which might soon turn into the new drachma.
Suppose, on the other hand, that the central bank does resume normal lending, and the banking crisis eases. That still leaves the question of how to restore economic growth.
In the failed negotiations that led up to Sunday’s referendum, the central sticking point was Greece’s demand for permanent debt relief, to remove the cloud hanging over its economy. The troika — the institutions representing creditor interests — refused, even though we now know that one member of the troika, the International Monetary Fund, had concluded independently that Greece’s debt cannot be paid. But will they reconsider now that the attempt to drive the governing leftist coalition from office has failed?
I have no idea — and in any case there is now a strong argument that Greek exit from the euro is the best of bad options.
Imagine, for a moment, that Greece had never adopted the euro, that it had merely fixed the value of the drachma in terms of euros. What would basic economic analysis say it should do now? The answer, overwhelmingly, would be that it should devalue — let the drachma’s value drop, both to encourage exports and to break out of the cycle of deflation.
Of course, Greece no longer has its own currency, and many analysts used to claim that adopting the euro was an irreversible move — after all, any hint of euro exit would set off devastating bank runs and a financial crisis. But at this point that financial crisis has already happened, so that the biggest costs of euro exit have been paid. Why, then, not go for the benefits?
Would Greek exit from the euro work as well as Iceland’s highly successful devaluation in 2008-09, or Argentina’s abandonment of its one-peso-one-dollar policy in 2001-02? Maybe not — but consider the alternatives. Unless Greece receives really major debt relief, and possibly even then, leaving the euro offers the only plausible escape route from its endless economic nightmare.
And let’s be clear: if Greece ends up leaving the euro, it won’t mean that the Greeks are bad Europeans. Greece’s debt problem reflected irresponsible lending as well as irresponsible borrowing, and in any case the Greeks have paid for their government’s sins many times over. If they can’t make a go of Europe’s common currency, it’s because that common currency offers no respite for countries in trouble. The important thing now is to do whatever it takes to end the bleeding.
Sunday, July 05, 2015
For once I beat Paul Craig Roberts to a post. Never mind only by 10 minutes or that I just pasted up a page from the Guardian, whereas he sat down and wrote a thoughtful article. As I started to read his post I began to wonder if I got the story right. But near the end we began to converge ...and we both mentioned the "Evil Empire" (you can guess which one we were speaking of).
Greeks Vote NO To EU-Imposed Austerity Paul Craig Roberts
July 5, 2015 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Greeks Vote NO To EU-Imposed Austerity
Paul Craig Roberts
With 90% of the votes counted, the Greek people have voted 61% to 39% against accepting the latest round of austerity that the EU is trying to impose on the Greek people for the benefit of the One Percent. What is amazing is that 39% voted for the One Percent against their own interests. This 39% vote shows that propaganda works to convince people to vote against their own interest.
The vote was not a vote to leave the EU. With the backing of the Greek nation, the Greek government hopes to reopen negotiations with the EU and to find a solution to the debt problem that will actually work. The EU objects to the Greek people having a voice in their fate, and unless common sense prevails is inclined to disregard the vote and to maintain the EU’s inflexible position that the debt issue can be resolved only on the EU’s terms. As has been made perfectly clear, these terms are more looting of the Greek economy by the One Percent.
As the Greek banks are closed and evidently cannot reopen without a resolution of the issue, EU inflexibility would force Greece to leave the euro and return to its own currency in order to reopen the banks. This would not require Greece’s departure from the EU as the UK and one or two other EU member states have their own currencies. However, most likely the EU and Washington and Washington’s Japanese, Canadian, and Australian vassals would attack the new Greek currency and drive its value in exchange markets to such a low value that Greece could not import and wealth held in Greek currency would be worthless abroad.
An inflexible EU creates conditions for Russia and China to act. These two powerful nations have the means to finance Greece and to bring Greece into the economic relationships established by these two countries and by the BRICS.
Alexander Dugin, a Russian strategic thinker who has the ear of the Russian government, has said:
“The Russians are on the side of the Greeks, we will not leave them alone in their suffering. We will help them and give them every possible support. Brussels and the liberal hegemony seek to dismantle Greece. We want to rescue it. We took our religions faith from Greece, as well as our alphabet and our civilization.”
Dugin said that the Greek referendum is the start of “the fundamental European liberalization process from the dictatorship of the New World Order.” He says this also is “our own endeavor.”
The Greek drama is far from over. Pray that the Russian and Chinese governments understand that rescuing Greece is the start of the process of unravelling NATO, Washington’s mechanism for bringing conflict to Russia and China. The One Percent have Italy and Spain targeted for looting, and eventually France and Germany herself. If the Greek people rescue themselves from the clutches of the EU, Italy and Spain could follow.
As Southern Europe departs NATO, Washington’s ability to create violence in Ukraine is diminished as the world realigns against the Evil Empire.
Washington’s power could suddenly diminish, thus saving the world from the nuclear war toward which Washington’s neoconservatives are pushing.
Finally some good news! I bet that within a few days the Russians will keep their promise and loan what money will be needed to restart the Greek economy. Then Greece will default on their Troika debts. Soon Italy and Spain will join them. And NATO will begin to disintigrate along with the Evil Empire.
Saturday, July 04, 2015
Capitalism Has Become Socially Dysfunctional. Paul Craig Roberts' prologue: "If you have not read John Perkins’ book, Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man, you should. The book is easy to read and explains clearly from the inside how US corporations deceive foreign governments into debts that they cannot service or repay and then use the IMF and World Bank as looting mechanisms and reduce the indebted countries to penury. Capitalism has become a socially dysfunctional system focused on pillage and not on the growth of consumer income that sustains and grows markets for goods and services. Once the last prospect is looted, there is nothing left to sustain capitalism. In this interview John Perkins describes the looting process in Greece. Tomorrow the Greek people face the same decision that the people in Iceland and Ireland faced. In Iceland the people rejected the debts and refused to pay them. Now Iceland is recovering. Somehow the feisty Irish were brainwashed into accepting austerity programs so that the looting of Ireland could continue, and Ireland continues to suffer. Sunday will tell us if Greeks have learned from the examples."
July 4, 2015
“Greece is being ‘hit’, there’s no doubt about it,” exclaims John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, noting that “[Indebted countries] become servants to what I call the corporatocracy … today we have a global empire, and it’s not an American empire. It’s not a national empire… It’s a corporate empire, and the big corporations rule.”
John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, discusses how Greece and other eurozone countries have become the new victims of “economic hit men.”
John Perkins is no stranger to making confessions. His well-known book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, revealed how international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, while publicly professing to “save” suffering countries and economies, instead pull a bait-and-switch on their governments: promising startling growth, gleaming new infrastructure projects and a future of economic prosperity – all of which would occur if those countries borrow huge loans from those organizations. Far from achieving runaway economic growth and success, however, these countries instead fall victim to a crippling and unsustainable debt burden.
That’s where the “economic hit men” come in: seemingly ordinary men, with ordinary backgrounds, who travel to these countries and impose the harsh austerity policies prescribed by the IMF and World Bank as “solutions” to the economic hardship they are now experiencing. Men like Perkins were trained to squeeze every last drop of wealth and resources from these sputtering economies, and continue to do so to this day. In this interview, which aired on Dialogos Radio, Perkins talks about how Greece and the eurozone have become the new victims of such “economic hit men.”
Michael Nevradakis: In your book, you write about how you were, for many years, a so-called “economic hit man.” Who are these economic hit men, and what do they do?
John Perkins: Essentially, my job was to identify countries that had resources that our corporations want, and that could be things like oil – or it could be markets – it could be transportation systems. There’re so many different things. Once we identified these countries, we arranged huge loans to them, but the money would never actually go to the countries; instead it would go to our own corporations to build infrastructure projects in those countries, things like power plants and highways that benefitted a few wealthy people as well as our own corporations, but not the majority of people who couldn’t afford to buy into these things, and yet they were left holding a huge debt, very much like what Greece has today, a phenomenal debt.
And once [they were] bound by that debt, we would go back, usually in the form of the IMF – and in the case of Greece today, it’s the IMF and the EU [European Union] – and make tremendous demands on the country: increase taxes, cut back on spending, sell public sector utilities to private companies, things like power companies and water systems, transportation systems, privatize those, and basically become a slave to us, to the corporations, to the IMF, in your case to the EU, and basically, organizations like the World Bank, the IMF, the EU, are tools of the big corporations, what I call the “corporatocracy.”
And before turning specifically to the case of Greece, let’s talk a little bit more about the manner in which these economic hit men and these organizations like the IMF operate. You mentioned, of course, how they go in and they work to get these countries into massive debt, that money goes in and then goes straight back out. You also mentioned in your book these overly optimistic growth forecasts that are sold to the politicians of these countries but which really have no resemblance to reality.
Exactly, we’d show that if these investments were made in things like electric energy systems that the economy would grow at phenomenally high rates. The fact of the matter is, when you invest in these big infrastructure projects, you do see economic growth, however, most of that growth reflects the wealthy getting wealthier and wealthier; it doesn’t reflect the majority of the people, and we’re seeing that in the United States today.
For example, where we can show economic growth, growth in the GDP, but at the same time unemployment may be going up or staying level, and foreclosures on houses may be going up or staying stable. These numbers tend to reflect the very wealthy, since they have a huge percentage of the economy, statistically speaking. Nevertheless, we would show that when you invest in these infrastructure projects, your economy does grow, and yet, we would even show it growing much faster than it ever conceivably would, and that was only used to justify these horrendous, incredibly debilitating loans.
Is there a common theme with respect to the countries typically targeted? Are they, for instance, rich in resources or do they typically possess some other strategic importance to the powers that be?
Yes, all of those. Resources can take many different forms: One is the material resources like minerals or oil; another resource is strategic location; another resource is a big marketplace or cheap labor. So, different countries make different requirements. I think what we’re seeing in Europe today isn’t any different, and that includes Greece.
What happens once these countries that are targeted are indebted? How do these major powers, these economic hit men, these international organizations come back and get their “pound of flesh,” if you will, from the countries that are heavily in debt?
By insisting that the countries adopt policies that will sell their publicly owned utility companies, water and sewage systems, maybe schools, transportation systems, even jails, to the big corporations. Privatize, privatize. Allow us to build military bases on their soil. Many things can be done, but basically, they become servants to what I call the corporatocracy. You have to remember that today we have a global empire, and it’s not an American empire. It’s not a national empire. It doesn’t help the American people very much. It’s a corporate empire, and the big corporations rule. They control the politics of the United States, and to a large degree they control a great deal of the policies of countries like China, around the world.
John, looking specifically now at the case of Greece, of course you mentioned your belief that the country has become the victim of economic hit men and these international organizations . . . what was your reaction when you first heard about the crisis in Greece and the measures that were to be implemented in the country?
I’ve been following Greece for a long time. I was on Greek television. A Greek film company did a documentary called “Apology of an Economic Hit Man,” and I also spent a lot of time in Iceland and in Ireland. I was invited to Iceland to help encourage the people there to vote on a referendum not to repay their debts, and I did that and encouraged them not to, and they did vote no, and as a result, Iceland is doing quite well now economically compared to the rest of Europe. Ireland, on the other hand: I tried to do the same thing there, but the Irish people apparently voted against the referendum, though there’s been many reports that there was a lot of corruption.
In the case of Greece, my reaction was that “Greece is being hit.” There’s no question about it. Sure, Greece made mistakes, your leaders made some mistakes, but the people didn’t really make the mistakes, and now the people are being asked to pay for the mistakes made by their leaders, often in cahoots with the big banks. So, people make tremendous amounts of money off of these so-called “mistakes,” and now, the people who didn’t make the mistakes are being asked to pay the price. That’s consistent around the world: We’ve seen it in Latin America. We’ve seen it in Asia. We’ve seen it in so many places around the world.
This leads directly to the next question I had: From my observation, at least in Greece, the crisis has been accompanied by an increase in self-blame or self-loathing; there’s this sentiment in Greece that many people have that the country failed, that the people failed . . . there’s hardly even protest in Greece anymore, and of course there’s a huge “brain drain” – there’s a lot of people that are leaving the country. Does this all seem familiar to you when comparing to other countries in which you’ve had personal experience?
Sure, that’s part of the game: convince people that they’re wrong, that they’re inferior. The corporatocracy is incredibly good at that, whether it is back during the Vietnam War, convincing the world that the North Vietnamese were evil; today it’s the Muslims. It’s a policy of them versus us: We are good. We are right. We do everything right. You’re wrong. And in this case, all of this energy has been directed at the Greek people to say “you’re lazy; you didn’t do the right thing; you didn’t follow the right policies,” when in actuality, an awful lot of the blame needs to be laid on the financial community that encouraged Greece to go down this route. And I would say that we have something very similar going on in the United States, where people here are being led to believe that because their house is being foreclosed that they were stupid, that they bought the wrong houses; they overspent themselves.
The fact of the matter is their bankers told them to do this, and around the world, we’ve come to trust bankers – or we used to. In the United States, we never believed that a banker would tell us to buy a $500,000 house if in fact we could really only afford a $300,000 house. We thought it was in the bank’s interest not to foreclose. But that changed a few years ago, and bankers told people who they knew could only afford a $300,000 house to buy a $500,000 house.
“Tighten your belt, in a few years that house will be worth a million dollars; you’ll make a lot of money” . . . in fact, the value of the house went down; the market dropped out; the banks foreclosed on these houses, repackaged them, and sold them again. Double whammy. The people were told, “you were stupid; you were greedy; why did you buy such an expensive house?” But in actuality, the bankers told them to do this, and we’ve grown up to believe that we can trust our bankers. Something very similar on a larger scale happened in so many countries around the world, including Greece.
In Greece, the traditional major political parties are, of course, overwhelmingly in favor of the harsh austerity measures that have been imposed, but also we see that the major business and media interests are also overwhelmingly in support. Does this surprise you in the slightest?
No, it doesn’t surprise me and yet it’s ridiculous because austerity does not work. We’ve proven that time and time again, and perhaps the greatest proof was the opposite, in the United States during the Great Depression, when President Roosevelt initiated all these policies to put people back to work, to pump money into the economy. That’s what works. We know that austerity does not work in these situations.
We also have to understand that, in the United States for example, over the past 40 years, the middle class has been on the decline on a real dollar basis, while the economy has been increasing. In fact, that’s pretty much happened around the world. Globally, the middle class has been in decline. Big business needs to recognize – it hasn’t yet, but it needs to recognize – that that serves nobody’s long-term interest, that the middle class is the market. And if the middle class continues to be in decline, whether it’s in Greece or the United States or globally, ultimately businesses will pay the price; they won’t have customers. Henry Ford once said: “I want to pay all my workers enough money so they can go out and buy Ford cars.” That’s a very good policy. That’s wise. This austerity program moves in the opposite direction and it’s a foolish policy.
In your book, which was written in 2004, you expressed hope that the euro would serve as a counterweight to American global hegemony, to the hegemony of the US dollar. Did you ever expect that we would see in the European Union what we are seeing today, with austerity that is not just in Greece but also in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and also several other countries as well?
What I didn’t realize during any of this period was how much corporatocracy does not want a united Europe. We need to understand this. They may be happy enough with the euro, with one currency – they are happy to a certain degree by having it united enough that markets are open – but they do not want standardized rules and regulations. Let’s face it, big corporations, the corporatocracy, take advantage of the fact that some countries in Europe have much more lenient tax laws, some have much more lenient environmental and social laws, and they can pit them against each other.
What would it be like for big corporations if they didn’t have their tax havens in places like Malta or other places? I think we need to recognize that what the corporatocracy saw at first, the solid euro, a European union seemed like a very good thing, but as it moved forward, they could see that what was going to happen was that social and environmental laws and regulations were going to be standardized. They didn’t want that, so to a certain degree what’s been going on in Europe has been because the corporatocracy wants Europe to fail, at least on a certain level.
You wrote about the examples of Ecuador and other countries, which after the collapse of oil prices in the late ’80s found themselves with huge debts and this, of course, led to massive austerity measures . . . sounds all very similar to what we are now seeing in Greece. How did the people of Ecuador and other countries that found themselves in similar situations eventually resist?
Ecuador elected a pretty remarkable president, Rafael Correa, who has a PhD in economics from a United States university. He understands the system, and he understood that Ecuador took on these debts back when I was an economic hit man and the country was ruled by a military junta that was under the control of the CIA and the US. That junta took on these huge debts, put Ecuador in deep debt; the people didn’t agree to that. When Rafael Correa was democratically elected, he immediately said, “We’re not paying these debts; the people did not take on these debts; maybe the IMF should pay the debts and maybe the junta, which of course was long gone – moved to Miami or someplace – should pay the debts, maybe John Perkins and the other economic hit men should pay the debts, but the people shouldn’t.”
And since then, he’s been renegotiating and bringing the debts way down and saying, “We might be willing to pay some of them.” That was a very smart move; it reflected similar things that had been done at different times in places like Brazil and Argentina, and more recently, following that model, Iceland, with great success. I have to say that Correa has had some real setbacks since then . . . he, like so many presidents, has to be aware that if you stand up too strongly against the system, if the economic hit men are not happy, if they don’t get their way, then the jackals will come in and assassinate you or overthrow you in a coup. There was an attempted coup against him; there was a successful coup in a country not too far away from him, Honduras, because these presidents stood up.
We have to realize that these presidents are in very, very vulnerable positions, and ultimately we the people have to stand up, because leaders can only do a certain amount. Today, in many places, leaders are not just vulnerable; it doesn’t take a bullet to bring down a leader anymore. A scandal – a sex scandal, a drug scandal – can bring down a leader. We saw that happen to Bill Clinton, to Strauss-Kahn of the IMF; we’ve seen it happen a number of times. These leaders are very aware that they are in very vulnerable positions: If they stand up or go against the status quo too strongly, they’re going to be taken out, one way or another. They’re aware of that, and it behooves we the people to really stand up for our own rights.
You mentioned the recent example of Iceland . . . other than the referendum that was held, what other measures did the country adopt to get out of this spiral of austerity and to return to growth and to a much more positive outlook for the country?
It’s been investing money in programs that put people back to work and it’s also been putting on trial some of the bankers that caused the problems, which has been a big uplift in terms of morale for the people. So Iceland has launched some programs that say “No, we’re not going to go into austerity; we’re not going to pay back these loans; we’re going to put the money into putting people back to work,” and ultimately that’s what drives an economy, people working. If you’ve got high unemployment, like you do in Greece today, extremely high unemployment, the country’s always going to be in trouble. You’ve got to bring down that unemployment, you’ve got to hire people. It’s so important to put people back to work. Your unemployment is about 28 percent; it’s staggering, and disposable income has dropped 40 percent and it’s going to continue to drop if you have high unemployment. So, the important thing for an economy is to get the employment up and get disposable income back up, so that people will invest in their country and in goods and services.
In closing, what message would you like to share with the people of Greece, as they continue to experience and to live through the very harsh results of the austerity policies that have been implemented in the country for the past three years?
I want to draw upon Greece’s history. You’re a proud, strong country, a country of warriors. The mythology of the warrior to some degree comes out of Greece, and so does democracy! And to realize that the marketplace is a democracy today, and how we spend our money is casting our ballot. Most political democracies are corrupt, including that of the United States. Democracy is not really working on a governmental basis because the corporations are in charge. But it is working on a market basis. I would encourage the people of Greece to stand up: Don’t pay off those debts; have your own referendums; refuse to pay them off; go to the streets and strike.
And so, I would encourage the Greek people to continue to do this. Don’t accept this criticism that it’s your fault, you’re to blame, you’ve got to suffer austerity, austerity, austerity. That only works for the rich people; it does not work for the average person or the middle class. Build up that middle class; bring employment back; bring disposable income back to the average citizen of Greece. Fight for that; make it happen; stand up for your rights; respect your history as fighters and leaders in democracy, and show the world!
Reprinted from Zero Hedge.