The peasants are getting restless

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

   Strikes and protests from Greece to Spain to Slovenia to Ireland to Romania have followed riots and bloodshed.

  The corporate media has reported this unrest with the following narrative:

 The Greek people are angry because their government pledged to make cuts in social spending…

 Fox News correctly observed that “Greece lived for years beyond its means, borrowing money and spilling red ink to finance excessive government spending, offer socialized health care and provide lavish wages for federal workers.”

 It’s a rather convenient spin: greedy, lazy, leftists workers that are getting their comeuppance. It’s the same narrative that the corporate media rolls out whenever social services are being cut anywhere in the world.

  It’s a convenient story because it is a complete story. Nothing more needs to be done. Good guys win. Bad guys lose. Roll the credits.

 Except that this isn’t the whole story by a long shot.

  The Greek protesters outside of parliament were chanting “Thieves, thieves!” That doesn’t sound like people angry at budget cuts. It sounds like people angry about their tax money being stolen.

  It turns out that they have every right to be angry.

 This week’s deal is announced as a three year loan program for €110 billion, or $174 billion, with the IMF joining in the loan to Greece…

  Greece’s economy is going to suffer calamitously no matter what Papandreou does, and as for the country’s debt, he’s just increased it from $300 billion to $474 billion. No wonder the unions continue to protest in Athens; the average person can see right through this ridiculousness.

 The bailout is going to saddle Greece with debt that it can never hope to pay. All sorts of regressive excise taxes are being raised. Public wages will be drastically slashed. Pension benefits will be reduced. All these moves are sure to increase deflationary forces, which will deepen and prolong the recession there.

  So we know the losers, the workers of Greece. Supposedly all this suffering will help the Greek people in the long run. But will it?

 So who is this bailout benefiting, and who would be hurt by bankruptcy? The answer is the big banks, and secondarily investors holding Greek bonds. Much of the debt is sitting with Europe’s largest banks, which underwrote the debt when it was first issued and which keep an inventory of it in support of the market. These banks all benefited handsomely over the years earning fees on this debt program (as did Goldman and JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup), so why isn’t anybody asking them to join in the pain?

 It turns out that if you follow the money, the narrative of this story is really very simple and indisputable: the Greek people are being impoverished in order to bail out multi-national banks.

  Funny how something so simple and logical could be missed by the corporate news media.

 The people of Europe are waking up to the fact that their governments are more interested in protecting the interests of these large financial institutions than they are their own people. When the Irish protesters tried to storm parliament, their complaints sounded something similar to what the Greek protesters were chanting.

 “They (the Government) are bailing out the banks and the institutions and the elite that caused the crisis and they are asking ordinary people, senior citizens, young people to pay the price with brutal cutbacks and it’s just not acceptable and people are here to say we’re going to stop this and we want an alternative,” he said.

 When the people of Iceland started bringing torches to their protests in front of parliament, it was because of the proposed bank bailout. Despite their obvious signs of displeasure, the government of Iceland still voted to bail out the banks. It took an overwhelming vote of the people to halt the process.

  We should all stop to learn our lessons from the people of Greece and Iceland.

Very soon, and I mean in the next few months, we are going to see the politicians of America sell out the people to the large bankers.

   It’ll start with the states. They will be looking at cutting more than $100 billion in badly needed social services.

  Meanwhile, the banks will have gotten away with outright theft from those very same states.

 West Virginia was just one stop in a nationwide conspiracy in which financial advisers to municipalities colluded with Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Wachovia Corp. and 11 other banks.

   They rigged bids on auctions for so-called guaranteed investment contracts, known as GICs, according to a Justice Department list that was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on March 24 and then put under seal. Those contracts hold tens of billions of taxpayer dollars…

  “The whole investment process was rigged across the board,” said Charlie Anderson, who retired in 2007 as head of field operations for the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt bond division. “It was so commonplace that people talked about it on the phones of their employers and ignored the fact that they were being recorded.”

 The bankers ignored the fact they were being recorded because they had no fear of actually being punished for their crimes.

  We are now entering June of 2010, nearly three years after the financial markets seized up, nearly two years since the entire global economy almost collapsed. And yet there hasn’t been one, single, solitary banker who has gone to jail for it. The only two criminal cases against Wall Street executives linked to the crisis ended with an acquittal.

  It’s bewildering don’t you think? Hundreds of millions of hard working people around the world are impoverished. Billions of people sink further into debt. While the same people who caused the mess get off scott free.

  Strike that. The bankers didn’t just get off without even a slap on the wrist. No, it’s not that simple.

  What happened was that the working people of this country went deeply into debt in order to save the huge executive bonuses of Wall Street.

 Citigroup, which gave 738 of its employees bonuses of at least $1 million, is now one-third owned by government as a result of its bailout. It paid bonuses of at least $3 million to 124 of those employees, even after it lost $18.7 billion during the year, Cuomo’s office said.

  The New York-based bank received $45 billion in government money and guarantees to protect it against hundreds of billions of dollars on potential losses from risky investments.

  Bank of America Corp., which also received $45 billion in TARP money, paid $3.3 billion in bonuses, with 172 employees receiving at least $1 million. Of those, 28 received bonuses of more than $3 million. Merrill Lynch, which Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America acquired during the credit crisis, paid out $3.6 billion.

  Bank of America earned $2.56 billion in 2008, while Merrill lost $27.61 billion.

Cuomo’s office said Merrill Lynch doled out 696 bonuses of at least $1 million for 2008, with 149 of those workers getting bonuses of at least $3 million.

  It’s amazing once you think about it. The banksters ruin the world economy, while stealing from the people and governments of the world, and then get the same taxpayers that they’ve been stealing from to bail them out in order to save their exorbitant bonuses.

 Oh, sure. President Obama, Congress, and foreign leaders have all made some noise about how outrageous this is, but if they were truly serious they would try to claw back some of that money.

  Instead, the Wall Street bonus tax had so little support that it failed to even make it out of committee.

  It’s really very simple: if we want to reclaim our government from the banksters we need to take to the streets. Nothing else will do. No amount of voting out incumbents will change anything. Both parties are owned by the same banks.

 The Democrats play “good cop” to the Republicans “bad cop”.

The “bad cop” is supposed to oppose regulating the banksters. Yet for the last 30 years it was the Democratic Party that spearheaded the deregulation of the financial industry. Some of them are still top advisers in the Obama Administration. These are the guys who are supposed to re-regulate it?

  It’s all a show. The Democrats and Republicans rant and threaten one another just like professional wrestlers. It’s almost believable. They pretend to hate one another. They pretend to fight. Sometimes someone accidentally draws blood.

  But they decided who was going to play the bad cop before the match ever started. Once the match is over they slap backs and laugh about it while collecting paychecks from the same promoter. It’s all a cheap illusion.

  The good news is that if the working people of the world decided tomorrow that the elite must go and the system must change, it would happen. Simple as that. We could shake off the aristocracy as easily as a bad dream.

  The problem is that so many people have been fooled into believing that we actually have a free market economy. That the game isn’t rigged. That the elite actually earned their status. The working people are being turned into debt slaves, not by the point of a bayonet, but by nothing more than a sophisticated and well-oiled propaganda machine.

 Matt Taibbi in his article The Big Takeover put it more bluntly.

 The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron – a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.

 This is what our future holds if we don’t do something about it, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The people of Iceland have set the example. We need to follow their example. We need to discard the false idea that we are powerless and rise up to take back this country from the scoundrels and thieves.

  It can be done. I have no doubt in my mind that eventually it will be done. It’s only a matter of time. The sooner we take to the streets the less violent and more democratic the uprising will be.

22 comments

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    • gjohnsit on May 26, 2010 at 7:46 am
      Author
  1. Thank you.

    You, know it’s really interesting how much of the early media (just about all in the US) is driven by Fox news.

  2. …. these are so well written, if it’s a long day it takes me a while to go thru the entire thing.

    Like buying arson insurance, and then they set fire to your house.  Isn’t that what one of the Greek leaders said about the banking system ?

  3. We need to end this illusion that we all live in….From Free Derry to Montclair New Jersey…

    It is time for it to begin….

    Connolly once said that the British could be driven out of Ireland with one Irish infantry charge….

    The elite can be crushed with “one gallant rush” as Frederick Douglass once said….

    • banger on May 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    …and the subject (occupied) populations is the essential thing we have to transmit to others. As gjohnsit says it is very simple:

    It turns out that if you follow the money, the narrative of this story is really very simple and indisputable: the Greek people are being impoverished in order to bail out multi-national banks.

    Not just Greeks, of course. All of us. It is so obvious and will be increasingly obvious. The whole focus of government policies around the world is to allow the thieves to loot everything and rape and despoil the planet in the process.  

  4. peasants were getting restless all over the planet.

    not to mention in the usa.

    but i am afraid that as long as the beer flows and the ball games appear on tv, americans will now tolerate anything short of obvious famine.

    we have raised many generations of go alongs.

    • Xanthe on May 26, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    teacher – I’d show this video –

    though no doubt there’d be hell to pay – esp. in high school  

  5. someone I know.  :o)

    • Arctor on May 27, 2010 at 1:15 am

    over whether Obama deserves support or not, fine calculations are made over the Democrats election outlook, yada, yada, yada. Barack Obama is the hand-picked figurehead for the oligarchy, as are 98 % of the Democrats and 99.9 % of the Republicans. The entire game from Obama and Geithner through the Congress and right to Wall Street is nothing but a massive, criminal conspiracy meant to rob the rest of the people of this country, blind!

    As for we “progressives”? What more do we need since 2006? the betrayals of Reid, and Pelosi, and now Obama are right in our faces and we’re still debating with our “cousins” at DKOS. As the bard said: “What fools these mortals be!” The only possible, immediate form of citizen rebellion is to vote out every incumbent Congressman and Senator en masse, send a message, show real reformers that they can enter and win, encourage an independent candidate to primary Obama, run as an independent if need be! But not spend another day debating which gang of bank-robbers do we prefer hold us up!

  6. by that I mean the scumbag CEOs are on the permanent regulars list of the Bilderberg Group.  You just don’t get any more well connected on a global basis than that.  Their US layoff plan just happened to coincide perfectly with this “sudden” financial crash of 2008.

    Surely Greece was not the first.  Iceland?  And before that it was Argentina.  But hey, what about California, same situation as Greece yet far more zombified by the lamestream electonic Lindsay Lohan media.

  7. American Survivors and you’ll be fine.

    Also – try singing “My favorite things”.

    rmm.  

  8. I don’t think you need to say anything else. That is what we have…a fake wrestling show for the masses and they believe it.

    Until the show starts to crumble…i think that is very very near and then the masses take to the streets.

  9. May 27, 2010.  Not just the peasants in the good ole usa are restless, chinese underpaid workers are committing suicide too, “killing themselves for our pleasure?”  Google and find.  I’m losing everything when I  change pages right now.

    Thom’s blog

    Killing themselves for our pleasure?

    The Financial Times is reporting on their front page today that nine people at a giant manufacturing facility in southern China where Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard manufacture their products for the US market have committed suicide.

    The factory is in Shenzen and both employs and houses 300,000 people. Our cheap labor – our slave labor overseas – are starting to protest.

    These companies that go overseas looking for cheap labor not only have the blood on their hands of the people so tormented by working conditions in Asia that they are committing suicide, but also that of the devastated working class families in America who must buy goods made in China yet are no longer manufacturing anything.

    It’s time for America to return to rational tariff based trade policies that bring our jobs home.

    -Thom

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