Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The 1%, hard at work

"Big Finance Moves In" by Mike Whitney:
"Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have both been forced from office and replaced by representatives of big finance. Mario Monti, who will replace Berlusconi, was formerly the European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission and a member of the Bilderberg Group. He is also listed on Goldman Sachs board of international advisers.
Lucas Papademos, who will replace Papandreou, was formerly the Vice President of the European Central Bank (ECB), and served as Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 1980. He’s also been a member of the Trilateral Commission since 1998.
It’s also worth noting that the ECB’s new president, Mario Draghi, is a trustee at the Brookings Institution, a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a former member of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements, and a former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs."
I guess it is no time for subtlety.

"'Vulture Capitalism': Iceland’s New Bank Disaster" by Olafur Arnarson and Michael Hudson and Gunnar Tomasson:
"After the September 2008 crash, Iceland’s government took over the old, collapsed, banks and created new ones in their place. Original bondholders of the old banks off-loaded the Icelandic bank bonds in the market for pennies on the dollar. The buyers were vulture funds. These bondholders became the owners of the old banks, as all shareholders were wiped out. In October, the government’s monetary authority appointed new boards to control the banks. Three new banks were set up, and all the deposits, mortgages and other bank loans were transferred to these new, healthier banks – at a steep discount. These new banks received 80 percent of the assets, the old banks 20 percent.
Then, owners of the old banks were given control over two of the new banks (87% and 95% respectively). The owners of these new banks were called vultures not only because of the steep discount at which the financial assets and claims of the old banks were transferred, but mainly because they already had bought control of the old banks at pennies on the dollar.
The result is that instead of the government keeping the banks and simply wiping them out in bankruptcy, the government kept aside and let vulture investors reap a giant windfall – that now threatens to plunge Iceland’s economy into chronic financial austerity. In retrospect, none of this was necessary. The question is, what can the government do to clean up the mess that it has created by so gullibly taking bad IMF advice?"
Funny that we're in the middle of a big propaganda blitz that Iceland did the right thing and is a model for us all, while it looks like a slightly more sophisticated defalcation.

"You Are The 98%" (found via here, with much better comments).  He sounds like an old man waving his cane at the kids and yelling for them to get off his lawn.  What all these guys don't understand is that their clueless reaction is one of the important results of the actions of the protesters.  In fact, it is the reaction of the establishment - which is already involving violence - which is the key to the protest.  I did however like his comment on Naomi Klein, a problem, not a solution, just like Žižek, Krugman, Chomsky, and all the other elites who want to take charge/credit for what the people are starting to do:
"Grant me that when Naomi Klein is invited to speak for the 99%, at least 45% are looking at each other like, wtf, who let Linda Tripp in here? "
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