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Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Kruisverwysing: BEVESTIGING VAN G.K.I.A.H.

The New Authoritarianism: From Decaying Democracies to Technocratic Dictatorships and Beyond

by Prof. James Petras
Global Research, November 28, 2011
We live in a time of dynamic, regressive, regime changes.  A period in which major political transformations and the dramatic roll back of a half century of socio-economic legislation are accelerated by  prolonged and deepening economic crises and a world-wide financier led offensive.

This essay explores major ongoing regime changes that have a profound impact on governance, the class structures, economic institutions, political freedom and national sovereignty.  We delineate a two-stage process of political regression.

The first stage involves the transition from a decaying democracy to an oligarchical democracy; the second stage currently unfolding in Europe involves the transition from oligarchical democracy to colonial-technocratic dictatorship.

We will identify the specific features of each regime focusing on the specific conditions and socio-economic forces behind each “transition”.  We will proceed to clarify the key concepts, their operative meaning:  specifically the nature and dynamics of “decaying democracies” (DD), oligarchical democracies (OD) and “colonial technocratic dictatorship” (CTD).           
The second half of the essay will detail the politics of CTD, the regime which has moved furthest from the notion of a sovereign representative democracy.  We will clarify the differences and similarities between traditional military-civilian and fascist dictatorships and the modern up-to-date CTD, focusing on the ideology of apolitical expertise and technocratic rule as a preliminary to an exploration of the profoundly colonial hierarchical chain of decision making.         
The penultimate section will highlight the reason why the imperial ruling classes and their national collaborators have overturned the pre-existing ‘democratic’ oligarchical ruling formulas of “indirect rule” in favor of a naked power grab.  The turn to direct colonial rule (a coup by any other name) was consumated by the major financial ruling classes of Europe and the US.           
We will evaluate the socio-economic impact of rule by imperial appointed colonial technocrats, the reason for rule by fiat and force over the previous process of persuasion, manipulation and co-optation.            
In the concluding section we will evaluate the polarization of the class struggle in a time of colonial dictatorship, in the context of hollowed out electoral institutions and radical regressive social policies.  The essay will address the twin issues of struggle for political freedom and social justice in the face of fiat rule by emerging technocratic colonial rulers.           
What is at stake goes beyond the current regime changes to identifying the most basic institutional configurations which will define the life chances, personal and political freedoms of future generations, for decades to come.
Decaying Democracies and the Transition to Oligarchical Democracies      
The decay of democracy is evident in every sphere of politics.  Corruption is all pervasive, as parties and leaders vie for financial contributions from the wealthy and powerful; congressional and executive positions have a price tag; each piece of legislation is influenced by powerful corporate “lobbies” which spend millions writing the laws and engineering their approval. Prominent influence peddlers like the US felon Jack Abramoff boast that “every congressperson has their price”.  The vote of citizens counts for nothing:  the politician’s campaign promises have not relation to their behavior in office.  Lies and deceptions are considered “normal” in the political process. The exercise of political rights are increasingly under police surveillance and active citizens are subject to arbitrary arrest.  The political elite depletes the public treasury subsidizing colonial wars and pays for their military adventures by eliminating basic social programs, public agencies and  services.           
Legislators engage in vitriolic demagogy in virtual Punch and Judy puppet conflicts as public displays of partisanship while in private they feast together at the public trough.  In the face of the discredited legislative institutions and the overt, gross buying and selling of public office, executive officials, elected and appointed, seize legislative and judicial powers.           
Decaying democracy evolves into an ‘oligarchical democracy’ as executive officials rule by fiat; overriding democratic rules and ignoring the interests of the majority.  An executive junta, of elected and non-elected officials, resolves questions of war and peace, allocate billions of dollars or euros to a financial oligarchy, and reduce living standards of millions of citizens via class biased “austerity packages”. 
The legislature abdicates its legislative and oversight function and submits to the executive junta’s “accomplished facts”.  The citizenry is assigned the role of passive spectators – even as anger, disgust and hostility spreads and deepens.  Isolated voices of dissenting representatives are drowned out by the cacophony of mass media contracted prestigious “experts” and academics shilling for the financial oligarchy and advising the executive junta.  No longer do citizens look to the legislatures for relief or redress from the executive siezure and abuse of power.  To fortify their absolute power the oligarchies emasculate the constitutions, citing economic catastrophes and all pervasive ‘terrorist’ threats.  A vast and growing police state apparatus, with unlimited powers, enforces constraints on civic and political opposition.  As legislative powers are sapped and executive authorities enlarge their sphere of action, the remaining democratic freedoms are curtailed via ‘bureaucratic restrictions’ on time, place and forms of political action.  The purpose is to minimize the critical minority from mobilizing a sympathetic majority.  As the economic crises worsen and the bondholders and investors demand higher interest rates, the oligarchy extends and deepens their austerity measures.  Inequalities widen, exposing the oligarchical nature of the executive junta.  The social bases of the regime narrows.  The well paid skilled workers and middle class employees and professionals begin to feel the acute erosion of wages, salaries, pensions, working conditions and future career prospects. 
The narrowing of social support undermines the junta’s claim to democratic legitimacy.  Faced with mass discontent and discredit and with strategic sections of the civil bureaucracy in revolt, factional strife  breaks out among rival cliques within the ‘official parties’ of government.  The ‘democratic oligarchy’ is pushed and pulled in several directions:  it decrees social cuts but can only find limited support in implementing them.  It decrees regressive taxes but cannot collect them.  It launches colonial wars but cannot win them.  The executive junta alternates between force and compromise; robust promises to the international bankers and then, under mass pressure, backsliding.
Over time oligarchical democracy is no longer useful as to the financial elite.  Its democratic pretensions no longer can deceive the masses.  Prolonged elite factional warfare erodes its willingness to impose the financial oligarchy’s full agenda.  At this point oligarchical democracy as a political formula has run its course.           
The financial elite are ready and willing to discard all pretenses of ruling via democratic oligarchs.  They are seen as willing but too weak; too subject to domestic pressure from factional rivals and not willing to proceed to savage cuts in social budgets, even greater reductions in living standards and working conditions.
The real power behind the executive juntas comes to the fore.  The international bankers discard the ‘native junta’ and impose non-elected bankers to rule – dubbing their private bankers as technocrats.

The Transition to a Colonial ‘Technocratic’ Dictatorship
The naked rule by foreign bankers is disguised by an ideology which describes it as rule by technocrats who are experts, apolitical and above private interests.  The reality behind the technocratic rhetoric is that the officials appointed have a career of working with and for big financial private and international interests.  Lucas Papademos, the appointed Greek Prime Minister, worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and, as head of the Greek Central Bank, was responsible for cooking the books covering up the fraudulent budgetary accounts leading Greece to financial disaster.  Mario Monti, the appointed Prime Minister of Italy was employed by the European Union and Goldman Sachs. 
These appointments by the banks are based on their total loyalty and unstinting commitments to impose the harshest regressive policies on the working populations of Greece and Italy .  The so-called technocrats are not subject to party factions, nor remotely responsive to any social protests. 
They are free of all political commitments … except one, to secure the payment of the debt to foreign bondholders – especially the loans owed to major European and North American financial institutions.  The technocrats are totally dependent on the foreign banks for their appointments and tenure in office.  They have not a smattering of a political organizational base in the countries they govern.  They rule because, foreign bankers threatened to bankrupt the countries if they were not appointed.  They have zero independence, in the sense that the ‘technocrats’ are merely instruments and direct representatives of the Euro-American bankers.
 The “technocrats” by the nature of their appointments are colonial officials explicitly appointed at the behest of imperial bankers and sustained by them.  Secondly, neither they nor their colonial mentors were elected by the people over whom they govern.  They are imposed by economic coercion and political blackmail.  Thirdly, the measures they adopt are designed to inflict the maximum pain by totally altering the basic relation between labor and capital, by maximizing the power of the latter to hire, fire, fix salaries and working conditions.  In other words, the technocratic agenda imposes a political and economic dictatorship.
The social institutions and political processes associated with a democratic-capitalist welfare state, corrupted by decadent democracies, eroded by oligarchical democracies are threatened with total demolition by the emerging colonial technocratic dictatorships (CTD).  The language of social/regression is full of euphemisms but the substance is clear.  Social programs regarding public health, education, pensions, and disabilities are slashed or eliminated and the “savings” transferred into tributary payments to foreign bondholders (banks).
Public employees are fired, their retirement age extended and their salaries reduced and their tenure eliminated.  Public enterprises are sold to foreign and domestic capitalist oligarchs with services curtailed and employees shed.  Employers shred collective bargaining agreements.  Workers are fired and hired at the whim of the owners. Vacations, severance pay, starting salaries and overtime pay are drastically reduced.  These pro-capitalist regressive policies are dubbed “structural reforms”. Consultative processes are replaced by the dictatorial powers of capital – “legislated” and implemented by the appointed technocrats.  Not since the time of Mussolini and fascist rule and the Greek military junta (1967 – 1973) has such a regressive assault on popular organizations and democratic rights taken place.

Comparing Fascist and Technocratic Dictatorships
 The earlier fascist and military dictatorships have much in common with the current technocratic despots regarding the capitalist interests they defend and the social classes they oppress.  But there are important differences which disguise the continuities.           
The military junta in Greece and Mussolini in Italy seized power by force and violence, outlawed all opposition parties, press, trade unions and closed the elected parliament.  The current “technocratic” dictatorship is handed power by the political elites of the oligarchical democracy – a ‘peaceful’ transition at least in its initial phase.  In contrast to the earlier dictatorships the current despotic regimes retain the hollowed out and emasculated electoral facades, as rubber stamp entities to provide a kind of “pseudo-legitimacy”, which beguiles the financial press but fools few public citizens.           
From the very first day of technocratic rule the key slogans of the organized movements in Italy was, “No to a government of  bankers”; while in Greece the slogan that greeted the puppet pragmatist Papademos was “European Union, IMF, Get Out”.           
The earlier dictatorships began as full blown police states, arresting pro-democracy movement activists and trade unionists before pursuing their pro-capitalist policies.  The current technocrats first launch their vicious all-out assault on living and working conditions, with parliamentary assent and then in the face of sustained and determined resistance by  the “parliaments of the street”, proceed to escalate police state repression by degree … practicing incremental police state rule.
Policies of the Technocratic Dictatorships:  Scope, Depth and Method        
 The dictatorial organization of a technocratic regime is derived from its policies and political mission.  In order to impose policies that result in massive transfers of wealth, power and legal rights from labor and households to capital, especially foreign capital, an authoritarian regime is essential, especially in anticipation of sustained resistance.  The international financial oligarchy cannot secure ‘stable and sustainable’ long term extraction of wealth with any semblance of democratic governance, even a decaying oligarchic democracy.  Hence the last resort for the bankers in the EU and USA is to directly appoint one of their own to push, shove and impose a sequence of comprehensive large scale, long-term regressive changes.  The mission of the technocrats is to impose an enduring institutional framework which will guarantee long-term, high interest payments based on decades of impoverishment and popular exclusion.         
The mission of the “technocratic dictatorship” is not to put in place a single regressive policy of short duration, such as a salary freeze or dismissal of a few thousand school teachers.  Their intent is to convert the entire state apparatus into an efficient  press to continuously extract and transfer tax revenues and income from workers and employees to bond holders.  To maximize the power and profits of capital over labor, the technocrats grant the capitalists absolute power to fix the terms of labor contracts, as far as hiring, firing, longevity, hours and working conditions.           
The technocrats “method of rule” is to have an ear only for the foreign bankers, bondholders and private investors.   The decision process is closed and limited to the coterie of bankers and technocrats without the least transparency.  Above all,  under  colonial rules the technocrats must ignore the protestors if possible or, if necessary break heads. Under pressure from the banks, there is no time for mediation, compromise or delays as was the case under decaying and oligarchical democracies.
 Ten historic transformations dominate the agenda of the technocratic dictatorships and their colonial mentors.

1)       Massive shifts in budgetary allocations from welfare to bond and bank payments.
2)      Large scale changes in income policies from wages to profits, interest payments and rents.
3)      Highly regressive tax policies, increasing consumer (VAT) and wage taxes and lowering taxes on bondholders and investors.
4)      Eliminating employment security (“labor flexibility”), increasing the reserve army of unemployed to lower wages, intensifying the exploitation of employed labor (“higher productivity”).
5)      Rewriting labor codes, undermining the balance of power between organized labor and capital .Wages, working conditions and health issues are taken out of the hands of rank and file unionists and put in the hands of technocratic “corporate commissions”.
6)      The dismantling of a half century of public enterprises and institutions and privatizing telecommunications, energy, health, education and pension funds.  Trillion dollar privatizations are windfall profits on a world historic scale.  Private monopolies replace public and provide fewer jobs and services without adding any new productive capacity.
7)      The economic axis shifts from production and services for mass consumption in the domestic market, to exports of specialized goods and services to overseas markets.  This new dynamic requires lower wages to “compete” internationally but shrinks the domestic market.  The new strategy translates into an increase in hard currency earnings from exports to pay the debt to the bondholders but results in greater misery and unemployment for domestic labor.  Under the technocratic “model”, prosperity accrues to vulture investors buying lucrative but financially strapped local producers and real estate on the cheap.
8)      The technocratic dictatorship by design and policy aims at a ‘bipolar class structure’ in which the bulk of the skilled workers and the middle class is impoverished and suffers downward mobility while enriching a strata of local bondholders and business owners who cash in on interest payments and the low cost of labor.
9)      Deregulation of capital, privatization and the centrality of financial capital leads to greater colonial (foreign) ownership of land, banks, strategic economic sectors and ‘social’ services.  National sovereignty is replaced by imperial sovereignty in the economy as well as politics.
10)  The unified power of colonial technocrats and imperial bondholders dictating policy concentrates power in a non-elected power elite.  They rule with a narrow social base and no popular legitimacy.  They are politically vulnerable, therefore, constantly dependent on economic threats or physical force.
Three Stages of Technocratic Dictatorial Rule           
The historic task of the technocratic dictatorship is to roll-back the political, social and economic advances gained by the working class, public employees and pensioners since the defeat of fascist capitalism in 1945.  The unmaking of over sixty years of history is no easy task, least of all in the midst of a deep ongoing socio-economic crises, in which the working class has already experienced severe cuts in wages and benefits and the number of young unemployed (18 – 30 years) throughout the EU and North America ranges between 25 to 50 percent.        
 The proposed agenda of the “technocrats” – parroting their colonial mentors in the banks – is ever more severe reductions in living and working conditions.The proposed “austerity” occurs in the face of growing economic inequalities between the wealthy 5% and the bottom 60% between Southern Europe and Northern Europe .  Faced with downward mobility and heavy indebtedness, the middle class and especially their ‘educated children’, are outraged by the technocrats call for even greater social cuts.  Outrage spreads from the lower middle class to business and professionals on the verge of bankruptcy and loss of status.          
 The technocratic rulers, constantly play on mass insecurity and fear of a “catastrophic collapse” if their ‘bitter medicine’ is not swallowed by the anguished middle classes who fear the prospect of sinking into the working class or worse.          
 The technocrats call on the present generation to sacrifice, to commit virtual suicide, to save future generations.  With gravity and humble posturing they speak of “equal sacrifices”, a message belied by the firing of tens of thousands of employees and the selling of billions of euros/dollars of the national patrimony to foreign bankers and investors.  Lowering public expenditures to pay bondholders and entice private investors erodes any appeal for “national unity” and “equal sacrifice” ..The technocratic regime strives to act decisively and quickly to impose its brutal regressive agenda, the rollback of sixty years of history before the masses have time to rise up and bring them down.           
To preclude political opposition the technocrats demand “national unity”, (the unity of bankers and oligarchs), the backing of the decadent electoral parties and their leaders and their total submission to the colonial bankers’ demands.           
The technocrats’ political trajectory will be short lived given the draconian systemic changes and repressive structures they propose, the best they can accomplish is to dictate and implement policies and then return to their lucrative sanctuaries in the overseas banks.
Technocratic Rule:  Stage One          
 With the unanimous backing of the mass media and the full backing of the powerful bankers, the technocrats take advantage of the downfall of the despised and discredited politicians of the past electoral regimes.  They project a clean government image which speaks to a regime which is efficient and competent, capable of decisive action.  They promise to put an end to deteriorating living conditions and partisan political paralyses.  At the onset of their rule the technocratic dictators exploit the justified popular disgust with privileged “do-nothing” politicians to secure a measure of popular consent or at least passive acquiescence from the majority of the citizens drowning in debt and in search of a “savior”.
 It should be noted that among the most politically aware and social conscious minority, the bankers resort to a colonized “technocratic regime” cuts no ice:  they immediately identify the technocratic regime as illegitimate deriving powers from foreign bankers.  They affirm the rights of citizens and national sovereignty.  From the beginning, even under the cloak of emergency powers, the technocrats face a core of mass opposition.          
 The bankers realistically recognize the technocrats must move quickly and decisively.
Stage Two:  Technocrats’ Shock Policies:           
The technocrats launch a 100 days of the most egregious class warfare against the working class since the military/fascist regimes.  In the name of the Free Markets, the Bondholder and the Unholy Alliance of political oligarchs and bankers dictate  edicts  and laws are passed, immediately firing tens of thousands of public employees.  Scores of public enterprises are rushed to the auction block.  Job security is abolished and firing without cause becomes the law of the land.  Regressive taxes are decreed and households are impoverished.  The entire income pyramid is turned on its head.  The technocrats widen inequalities and deepen immiseration.           
The initial euphoria greeting  technocratic rule is replaced by bitter reproaches.  The lower middle class looking for a paternal dictatorial resolution of their condition, recognize “another political swindle”.   As the technocratic regime races to fulfill its mission to the foreign bankers, the popular mood sours, bitterness spreads even among its ‘passive collaborators’.  There are no crumbs from the table of a colonial regime empowered to maximize the outflow of state revenues to bondholders.           
The compromised political oligarchy tries to revive their fortunes and “questions” the particularities of the technocratic ‘tsunami’ smashing the social fabric of society.  The scale and scope of the dictatorships’ extremist agenda and the ongoing build-up of mass frustrations frightens the political party collaborators, while the bankers urge them on to bigger and deeper social cuts.  The technocrats in the face of the burgeoning popular storm begin to cower.           
The bankers call for greater backbone and offer new loans for “keeping the course”.  The technocrats bunker down – alternating between pleas for time and sacrifice with promises of prosperity ‘around the corner’.  Mostly they rely on constant police mobilization and de facto militarization of civil society.
Mission Accomplished:  Civil War or the Return of Oligarchical Democracy?           
The outcome of the “experiment” with a colonial dictatorial technocratic regime is difficult to predict.  One reason is because the measures adopted are so extreme and extensive, that they unify almost all important social classes (except the top 5%) against them at the same time.  The concentration of power in an “appointed” elite further isolates them and unifies most citizens in favor of democracy against colonial submission and unelected rulers.  The measures approved by the technocrats face the unlikely prospect of full implementation, especially by civil servants and public employees facing firings, pay cuts and reduced pensions.  The across the board cuts undermine ‘divide and conquer’ tactics.  Given the scope and depth of the downgrading of the public sector and the indignity of serving a regime clearly under colonial tutelage,it is possible that breaks and fissures will take place in the military and police apparatus especially if they provoke popular uprisings which turn violent.  The technocratic juntas cannot ensure that their policies will be implemented.  If not, revenues will falter; strikes and protests will scare off predator buyers of public firms.      The big squeeze will undermine local business, production will decline the recession will deepen.            
Technocratic rule is by its nature transitory.  Under threat of a mass revolt the new rulers will flee to their overseas financial sanctuaries.  Local oligarchical collaboraters will hasten to augment their billion dollar euro overseas bank accounts in London , New York and Zurich .          
 The technocratic dictatorship will make every effort to hand power back to the oligarchical democratic politicians with the proviso that they retain the regressive changes in place.  Technocratic rule will end up with “paper victories” unless the overseas bankers insist the “return to democracy” operates within the ‘new order’.           
The application of force could boomerang.  The technocrats and democratic oligarchs renewed threats of an economic catastrophe for non-compliance will be counter-manded by the reality of real existing misery and mass unemployment.  For millions the living catastrophe resulting from technocratic policies will outweigh any future threats.  The rebellious majority may choose to rise up and overthrow the old order and take its chances in an independent democratic socialist republic.  One of the unforeseen consequences of imposing radical colonial appointed technocratic dictatorship is that it clears the political landscape of parasitic political oligarchies and lays the groundwork for a clean break.  It facilitates renouncing the debt and reconstituting the social fabric of an independent democratic republic.
The serious danger is that the discredited politicians of the old order will demagogically attempt to seize the democratic banners of the “anti-dictatorial anti-technocrat” struggle to bring back what Marx called “the old crap of the previous order”.  The recycled  political oligarchs will adapt to the “restructured” new order of eternal debt payments as part of a deal to maintain  the ongoing process of unending social regression.  The revolutionary struggle against the colonial technocratic rulers must continue and deepen, to block the restoration of the democratic  oligarchs.

*Groot Kak Is Al Hier


Monday, November 28, 2011


by craig on Nov 26th in Uncategorized

This is the link for the video recording of the Public Administration Committee meeting at which Paul Flynn MP was prevented from asking questions about the role of the third man, Matthew Gould, in the Fox-Werritty plot to promote a war with Iran.
The key action starts 1 hour and thirty minutes in (use the slider). The actions of long term paid zionist shill Robert Halfon – whose whole career has been bought and paid for by Werritty’s main sponsor Poju Zabludowicz – and the neo-con committee chairman, Bernard Jenkin, in suppressing free speech by an MP are despicable. Anyone who does not believe there is a fierce Tory cover-up of Gould’s role must watch this. Anyone who believes parliamentary democracy is still more than a sham should watch it too.
Which brings me to the extraordinary refusal of my freedom of information request for the Gould/Werritty correspondence. The refusal of my request came back in just one hour and fifteen minutes – about three weeks shorter than usual – and astonishingly at 11.31pm. The FCO refuses to meet its Freedom of Information Act obligation to provide the Gould/Werritty correspondence because it would be “too costly” to do so.
But did not Sir Gus O’Donnell just conduct a full and thorough investigation into the role of Adam Werritty in association with Liam Fox? And would not such a full and thorough investigation have gathered together all the relevant documentation, and particularly correspondence between Werritty and senior British diplomats?
There are two alternatives. Either the material is already collected, in which case there is no cost to collecting it, and the response to my Freedom of Information request is both illegal and a deliberate lie. Or the documentation was never collected and the Gus O’Donnell investigation was a complete sham.
Either is not good. Yet there is no other possible explanation.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Bankers have seized Europe: Goldman Sachs Has Taken Over

by Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research, November 26, 2011

On November 25, two days after a failed German government bond auction in which Germany was unable to sell 35% of its offerings of 10-year bonds, the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Germany might retreat from its demands that the private banks that hold the troubled sovereign debt from Greece, Italy, and Spain must accept part of the cost of their bailout by writing off some of the debt. The private banks want to avoid any losses either by forcing the Greek, Italian, and Spanish governments to make good on the bonds by imposing extreme austerity on their citizens, or by having the European Central Bank print euros with which to buy the sovereign debt from the private banks. Printing money to make good on debt is contrary to the ECB’s charter and especially frightens Germans, because of the Weimar experience with hyperinflation. 

Obviously, the German government got the message from the orchestrated failed bond auction. As I wrote at the time, there is no reason for Germany, with its relatively low debt to GDP ratio compared to the troubled countries, not to be able to sell its bonds. 
If Germany’s creditworthiness is in doubt, how can Germany be expected to bail out other countries?  Evidence that Germany’s failed bond auction was orchestrated is provided by troubled Italy’s successful bond auction two days later.

Strange, isn’t it. Italy, the largest EU country that requires a bailout of its debt, can still sell its bonds, but Germany, which requires no bailout and which is expected to bear a disproportionate cost of Italy’s, Greece’s and Spain’s bailout, could not sell its bonds.

In my opinion, the failed German bond auction was orchestrated by the US Treasury, by the European Central Bank and EU authorities, and by the private banks that own the troubled sovereign debt. 

My opinion is based on the following facts. Goldman Sachs and US banks have guaranteed perhaps one trillion dollars or more of European sovereign debt by selling swaps or insurance against which they have not reserved. The fees the US banks received for guaranteeing the values of European sovereign debt instruments simply went into profits and executive bonuses. This, of course, is what ruined the American insurance giant, AIG, leading to the TARP bailout at US taxpayer expense and Goldman Sachs’ enormous profits.

If any of the European sovereign debt fails, US financial institutions that issued swaps or unfunded guarantees against the debt are on the hook for large sums that they do not have. The reputation of the US financial system probably could not survive its default on the swaps it has issued. Therefore, the failure of European sovereign debt would renew the financial crisis in the US, requiring a new round of bailouts and/or a new round of Federal Reserve “quantitative easing,” that is, the printing of money in order to make good on irresponsible financial instruments, the issue of which enriched a tiny number of executives.

Certainly, President Obama does not want to go into an election year facing this prospect of high profile US financial failure.  So, without any doubt, the US Treasury wants Germany out of the way of a European bailout.

The private French, German, and Dutch banks, which appear to hold most of the troubled sovereign debt, don’t want any losses. Either their balance sheets, already ruined by Wall Street’s fraudulent derivatives, cannot stand further losses or they fear the drop in their share prices from lowered earnings due to write-downs of bad sovereign debts.  In other words, for these banks big money is involved, which provides an enormous incentive to get the German government out of the way of their profit statements.

The European Central Bank does not like being a lesser entity than the US Federal Reserve and the UK’s Bank of England. The ECB wants the power to be able to undertake “quantitative easing” on its own. The ECB is frustrated by the restrictions put on its powers by the conditions that Germany required in order to give up its own currency and the German central bank’s control over the country’s money supply. The EU authorities want more “unity,” by which is meant less sovereignty of the member countries of the EU. Germany, being the most powerful member of the EU, is in the way of the power that the EU authorities desire to wield. 

Thus, the Germans bond auction failure, an orchestrated event to punish Germany and to warn the German government not to obstruct “unity” or loss of individual country sovereignty.

Germany, which has been browbeat since its defeat in World War II, has been made constitutionally incapable of strong leadership. Any sign of German leadership is quickly quelled by dredging up remembrances of the Third Reich. As a consequence, Germany has been pushed into an European Union that intends to destroy the political sovereignty of the member governments, just as Abe Lincoln destroyed the sovereignty of the American states.

Who will rule the New Europe?  Obviously, the private European banks and Goldman Sachs. 

The new president of the European Central Bank is Mario Draghi. This person was Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs International and a member of Goldman Sachs’ Management Committee. Draghi was also Italian Executive Director of the World Bank, Governor of the Bank of Italy, a member of the governing council of the European Central Bank, a member of the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements, and a member of the boards of governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank, and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board.

Obviously, Draghi is going to protect the power of bankers.

Italy’s new prime minister, who was appointed not elected, was a member of Goldman Sachs Board of International Advisers. Mario Monti was appointed to the European Commission, one of the governing organizations of the EU. Monti is European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, a US organization that advances American hegemony over the world. Monti is a member of the Bilderberg group and a founding member of the Spinelli group, an organization created in September 2010 to facilitate integration within the EU.

Just as an unelected banker was installed as prime minister of Italy, an unelected banker was installed as prime minister of Greece. Obviously, they are intended to produce the bankers’ solution to the sovereign debt crisis.

Greece’s new appointed prime minister, Lucas Papademos, was Governor of the Bank of Greece. From 2002-2010. He was Vice President of the European Central Bank. He, also, is a member of America’s Trilateral Commission.   

Jacques Delors, a founder of the European Union, promised the British Trade Union Congress in 1988 that the European Commission would require governments to introduce pro-labor legislation. Instead, we find the banker-controlled European Commission demanding that European labor bail out the private banks by accepting lower pay, fewer social services, and a later retirement. 

The European Union, just like everything else, is merely another scheme to concentrate wealth in a few hands at the expense of European citizens, who are destined, like Americans, to be the serfs of the 21st century. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


...ek is bly ek is nie nou in die Karoo nie, op 'n laat agtermiddag, onder 'n peperboom se koel arms met 'n stowwerige broek nie.
Want ek sal opstaan en begin loop, en nooit weer ophou loop nie.
Ek sal nooit weer iets eet met my mond nie, nee ek sal net met my oë eet, en altyd boorgatwater drink.

Ek sal verby verlate stasies drentel en nooit weer iets sê nie, ek sal die lief en leed probeer inneem, by die rooibaksteen huisies, wat al lank leegstaan. En die kinderdae onthou van stasiewerkerkinders wat onder die appelkoosboom gespeel het en groen appelkose geëet het. Ek sal my verkyk aan die son wat blink op die spore weerglans, die spore van treine wat vir altyd verbyry. Asook na 'n gifgroen stinksprinkaan wat half mank oor 'n ou bierblik klim. Ek sal sonlig drink soos water, ek sal my bed met slangbos maak. Ek sal van menswees af weggaan. Ek is bly ek is nie vandag laatmiddag in die Karoo gewees nie, ...ek sal nooit weer terug gekom het nie.

Anthon van der Hoven

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Greenback Jesus in the Reptile Cage.

Dog Poet Transmitting.......

May your noses always be cold and wet.

[...]Oklahoma is bedrock for fundamentalist Christianity. I'm not saying there aren't good Christians there. I'm saying it is also Fundie-Ville and they are the bedrock supporters of pernicious Israel and all of the lies that maintain it. They are the canon fodder and the money tree. They are the ones who support the wars, all of them; the wars of genocide and the wars for profit, the drug wars, the economic wars, the wars of attrition and the wars of religion that are the result of false interpretation of scripture which has bedeviled humanity in all the places where people believe something other than the essential truth of that which religion perverts for the glory of the marketplace. They've got a greenback Jesus in the reptile cage. They are the devotees of the one they purport to resist and the tormentors of the one they purport to serve. They are the final result of the wrong way running backs, scoring touchdowns against their own team. They are the mystery masturbators, inflamed by desire for what they are forbidden to touch. They are the ones who condemn sex, which is the primary drive of existence. They are the ones who legalize alcohol because it imprisons the soul, fuels guilt and drives the engines of perverted industries. They are the ones who support laws against getting high because it makes you aware of what is happening to you, at the hands of the people these people support. Yes, many Christians of all stripes do not drink. Then again, they already have all the guilt they need.

If you want to understand the real source of so much that is unfortunate in our world, don't look to greed or the usual suspects, look at religion. You may have heard that religion is for those who are afraid of Hell and spirituality is for those who have been there. Isn't it interesting that those who are afraid of it create it and those who have been there, devote themselves to freeing you from the mindset that causes you to go there and to be there and those are the people that are most abused by the ones suffering from their own ignorance and blindness? So it is in the Kali Yuga, when all that is most deceptive, injurious and superficial, is celebrated and all that is serving, nourishing and protective is held in contempt? Is it any wonder that the worst of us are the most successful in their endeavors?

My friends I know how so many of you labor and struggle in the poisoned vineyards of the world. I know how difficult it is to make the wine and how the wine tastes, given the condition of the ground it came out of but we are in this situation for a very good reason. It's like that quote, “these are the times that try men's souls”. We are definitely the people that might have been and I am getting in touch with you then; since then happens to be now. There is a point to my saying that. It is like that other quote, “where there's life there's hope”. Do not despair in this dark hour. Do not give in to the downward pull. This is the worst you can do; endure. When there is nothing else you can do, endure. You will find that the very act of doing this accomplishes so much and you will find that this is the thing that seems the hardest to accomplish but is actually the easiest thing in the world, once you employ it. All of the other things are much harder and without endurance, impossible. I'm telling you these things because I came here for that purpose and that is all about endurance too. Had I not endured what I came up against I would not be speaking to you now.

There is a Tarot card called strength. There is an interesting feature that connects to that. Other than The Fool, this is the only card about which placement is in question. Certain decks put Justice where Strength goes and Strength where Justice goes. Ponder this my friends and endure, because the one archetype that works to the greatest advantage in this process is Strength. Observe The Rider Deck or the BOTA version. You will note that the angel with the infinity sign above her head, or as Sovereignty mentions, the halo, has her hands placed on the lions mouth. Some might suggest that she is closing the mouth of injury. I suggest she is opening the mouth for speech. She has another infinity sign made by the roses around her waist that girdles the lions neck and that helix of roses signifies Love. Every single color and position of anything and everything in every card is meaningful and it all has to do with accomplishing The Great Work. This is probably why I was a tad dismissive about making the Philosopher's Stone out of your own urine. It is true in certain ways but since I have accomplished The Great Work, yes, my friends, I have. Since this is so, I would recommend Love in all things and endurance; suffer these things for a little while until I come; paraphrasing a familiar source. There are volumes to be gained here. Like I've said before, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here between God and the Devil to make sure it is all on the level and what is Justice? It is balance ...and what is Strength? It is what makes balance possible. How do you get to that point? You endure."

Times like these come around so rarely that not even the memory of them is anything more than the grains of sand on the beach that were once mountains. Vanity, all of it is vanity, as Ecclesiastes notes from the unknown author. Not only is everything possible for you at this moment but things you can't even imagine are a fait accompli for those of you who endure and you wouldn't be reading these words if it were not possible for you. Conversely, The Stone is not what you think it is. I recommend reading Bulwer Lytton's, Zanoni. Also very interesting is that they have a yearly awards ceremony for the worst writers on the planet and it is called The Bulwer Lytton Award. I am making things more plain here than has been done in I don't know when. Profit from your cognitive capacity and your intuitive connection and endure.

Well, the hits just keep on coming and I'm not Dick Clark but then again I don't think that applied to him, which also creates a mystery by analogy. There's a reason that things cannot be made as plain as the nose on your face and for all I know it has something to do with the nose on your face and that reason is deeply connected to the need for you to discover some part of the equation on your own and also because some things cannot be put into words and that is why music is so important and why there are so many languages and also why symbols have an effect. Is it getting warm in here or is it just me? Is it getting colder while feeling warmer or is it just me? Some part of me didn't want to come here and some part of me believes it is worse than I expected but there is a portion of life and its conditions that cannot be predicted in advance. Don't make that part of me feel worse than it already does; apply yourself and endure. We hold these truths to be 'self' evident. We hold these truths to be SELF evident.
We hold these truths to be... self... evident and you can take that back to the part where there was speculation about the temperature and the room search games you played as a child.

My dear, dear friends, my brothers and sisters from another mother, do not miss after almost winning when you should have known the end from the beginning. Is it real or is it Memorex? That is the critical part of it all and the initiative to endure, should you manage to convince yourself that it is real.
This is not a catch and release program and no matter how compassionate those fisher persons (fisher person?) might think they are, it still injures the fish. Is the fish glad to be alive, given that it is still a fish? Has the fish learned anything? Will hunger and fascination still be predominant in the conditions that caused that to happen in the first place? For myself, I still eat fish because I will catch them. I would not kill a cow and I don't mind if the fish eat me but they won't in this particular movie. I have already been swimming with pretty humungous sharks right there and also between me and the shore in clear Caribbean waters. Now are you more confused and should I have stopped when we were both ahead? Who knows? I don't. My love to you, endure.

End Transmission.......

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Italy and Greece: rule by the bankers

November 10, 2011 by michael roberts

It looks as though, by Monday, both Greece and Italy will be ruled by so-called ‘technocratic’ governments.  Even though both Greek prime minister George Papandreou and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi were elected comfortably in parliamentary polls and were never defeated in any vote of confidence in parliament, they have been ousted – to be replaced by unelected ex-central bankers and former executives of hedge funds and investment banks.  From now on, financial markets will rule directly over the lives of the Italian and Greek people.

Democracy should be put above markets, said Papandreou.  Berlusconi said that the appointment of a government of technocrats would be “an undemocratic coup” that ignored the 2008 election result.  But it is still happening.  In Greece, Lucas Papademos will become prime minister.  He was head of the Greek central bank when Greece joined the euro and boasts of his leading role in achieving that.  Now he takes over in order to keep Greece in the euro, a decision that now President Sarkozi says was “a mistake” Papademos was in charge when Greek officials lied about their fiscal position to the EU authorities and he presided over the failure of the Greek government to collect taxes from rich Greeks (like himself).  But he is now the financial markets’ own man.  Greece is to be run by the very man most responsible for getting them into this mess.  It’s like Alan Greenspan taking over as President after Wall Street demanded President Obama step down for failing to cut entitlement spending enough to balance the budget!

In Italy, Mario Monti and  Giuliano Amato are to take over.  Monti is a mainstream economics professor who briefly worked for (guess who?) Goldman Sachs and then became EU competition commissioner for many years, where he insisted on  ‘liberalising and deregulating’ markets.  He is a close friend of the new ECB chief, ‘Super Mario’ Draghi, another Italian banker.  In the 1990s, when a number of countries, including Italy and Greece, engaged deliberately in credit swap transactions to take part of government debt and deficits off the official accounts with the connivance and help of Goldman Sachs in particular, Draghi was director general of the Italian Treasury and then joined Goldman Sachs (2002-2005).  Draghi and Papademos both got their doctorates in economics at MIT in 1978.  Amato is a ‘centre left’ ex prime minister who was close to the corrupt social democrat premier Craxi of the 1990s.  He was head of the Italian anti-trust commission which tried to deregulate the economy especially in financial services.

Now Silvio Berlusconi is like the Rupert Murdoch of Italy, only worse.  He is Italy’s media mogul who dominated politics there for 15 years through a range of trickery, bribery and corruption (he is facing up to 15 charges in the courts once he resigns), alongside his penchant for parties and young women.  His denial of any euro crisis was staggering.  He told the press only last week : “The life in Italy is the life of a wealthy country: consumptions haven’t diminished, it’s hard to find seats on planes, our restaurants are full of people.”  Speaking earlier at the NYSE, he said  “Italy is now a great country to invest in… today we have fewer communists and those who are still there deny having been one.   Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries… superb girls.”   In the earthquake that hit central Italy in 2009, he told homeless survivors that they should see their plight “like a weekend of camping.”  And so it went on.

But at least Berlusconi was elected.  Now he is to replaced not by new elected leader but by central bankers and investment bankers.  They will take orders from the EU, the ECB, and the IMF, the dread Troika.  The IMF is led by ex-French finance minister Christine Lagarde.  Lagarde used to head up a global law firm that advised on ‘creative accounting’ schemes for government debt and her deputy David Lipton used to work at Moore Capital, a global hedge fund.  The EU  body that will oversee the Greek bailout package and may buy Italian debt is the EFSF.  Its headed by Klaus Regling, who worked at hedge fund Moore Capital!   In 2009 he lectured: ” The monetary union will work better in the next ten years than in the last ten years, considering the overall scheme of things”.  Fees from EFSF bond issuance will be worth 1% of a likely $100bn of issuance to the big European banks and the likes of Goldman Sachs.   So they will be making good money out of the ‘bailout’ funding.

These bankers are now in charge because the elected leaders of the Greek and Italian people were unable to satisfy the demands of investors in their government bonds.  Europe’s banks, pension and insurance companies and hedge funds stopped buying government debt in Greece and Italy.  It’s not that the elected leaders did not try to meet the demands of the financial sector.  The social democrat leaders in Greece were prepared to face riots, strikes and opposition in their party to do the bidding of finance capital.  Italy’s centre left opposition is now allowing yet another draconian budget in to go through parliament on the nod this week.  But all their efforts were not enough to assuage the needs of their creditors.  Now the bankers prefer to have their own people directly in charge.

And what is the plan?  The bankers will insist on introducing more public sector spending cuts, higher taxes. massive privatisation of state assets and other measures to ensure that all the bonds held by the European financial sector are paid back in full and there is no default.  The Greeks have been allowed to default partially on 50% of the debts held by the private sector, but so that the average Greek still suffers a 30% reduction in living standards over the next decade.  Even that will not relieve Greece of its burden.  Government debt will still be at 120% of GDP by the end of the decade at best (probably more like 140%), keeping the burden of repayment on the backs of a whole generation of Greeks.  The Italians are facing the same treatment.  As one Italian citizen, Pietro Pappagallo, a 58 year-old from Bari, put it: “Im worried about my savings that could become waste paper.  All the efforts to put something aside and I won’t get anything for it.   I’ve already faced four changes of my pension.  I had planned my life out and now they say I have to work more.  As a father, I worry for my children, who will probably never have a pension.”

Finance capital wants to be paid in full (with the least amount of default on their investment).  But the Euro leaders also want what they see as profligate states like Greece and Italy to toe the line on fiscal prudence and run balanced budgets and get their debt down so that the burden of taxation on the profits of the capitalist sector can be reduced.  And they want the Eurozone to survive as the core of Europe’s prominence in world affairs.  The breakup of the euro would be disastrous for that.  But after the traumatic events of the last few months, they are now prepared to countenance the ousting of Greece from the euro unless they meet their fiscal targets and slash living standards for the Greek people.   But if Italy fails, then the euro would break up.  That is why the bankers have taken over.

The reality is that, despite all the efforts of the social democrat leaders in adopting ‘neo-liberal’ policies of fiscal austerity, privatisation, reduction in pension benefits and the destruction of the labour protection laws, Greece will still not meet the targets set by the Troika.  They are set to default outright in 2012.  Italy is different.  Although its government debt ratio is high by European levels, most of that debt is owed to Italian banks and not to foreigners; the government is already ‘balancing its books’ (if you exclude interest payments on the debt) and Italian capitalist industry can still sell things overseas.  So Italy can avoid default – at the expense of living standards, jobs and public services.

There is an alternative to this misery.  I have outlined it in previous posts (see An alternative programme for Europe, 11 September 2011).  Democratically elected governments in both countries should announce together that they are defaulting on all public sector debt held by the private sector.  If that busts their banks (as it would), they should be taken over with customer deposits protected and then run as public enterprises directed to lend to industry and households to boost investment and consumption.  Instead of slipping into a debt spiral that leads to economic recession (or continued depression as much of Europe is already in), recovery could be kickstarted by state-led investment.  Of course, this is anathema to Europe’s capitalist leaders and capitalist sectors because it would threaten the profit-based economy they preside over.  So instead, we shall have the bankers rule.