Monday, July 6, 2015

"NO! NO! NO!" Grexit Upcoming (Venal German Strategy or Just Business As Usual)  Ending Horrorification of Life Under NeoLib Domination In Sight?  (Or Just One More Domino Dropping Into Bankster Muck?  Whoops! Yanis Resigns Abruptly)  Flushing the TPP!  (Jerry Lives - GRATEFUL DEAD!)

First off, the Grateful Dead "Fare Thee Well" tour went so well that they're considering doing another one next year (and they'll never fade away).


But you should have heard me scream with glee when they began with "China Cat/Sunflower/I Know You Rider," and then "Estimated Prophet" and "Built to Last!" Tears streamed down my face all evening remembering the good times and friends met at festivals. You know the CD/DVD's from this performance will be flying off the shelves. I consider just being able to hear the entire show on Sirius/XM a huge mitzvah - that will never fade away. (Never fear - I'm a long-time member of the church of Jerry and Bob. So relax!)

"Oh, the kids they laugh and shake their bones; politicians throwing stones, and it's all too clear we're on our own, saying:

Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down.

Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Down."

Go to for details of how wonderful it all was.

And all the charities/foundations you can become a part of.

And remember the Dead motto:   Be Kind.

I want to add that I got to hear M.G and Trixie (Jerry's family) reminisce! Trixie's sales pitch for the show appears at the bottom of this page.

("Althea!" Who'da guessed? Kudos, Trey! You were rocking the Casbah. Jerry would have been proud.)

But everyone was.

Looks like the Greeks are saying "NO!"


61% - 39%.

Not even close, but really worrisome due to the fact that almost 40% of the country voted for more austerity cuts for the poor and working classes (and more profits for the .001%). The Stockholm Syndrome is alive and well.

From a great source with fantastic pictures of the joy and disgust from both sides, Chris Morris has commentary and this telling video.

Read our woman, Sardonicky:

Oxi to Austerity

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts called the trick two weeks ago when he advocated that they vote "No" (and thereby call Syriza's hand at the bargaining table).

The choice for the last few years has clearly been austerity or bankruptcy.

And although both are terrible ideas since John Maynard Keynes explained how to avoid them, at least you can recover from bankruptcy (and we've seen that austerity only enriches those at the top and impoverishes everyone else). Drs. Alan Gilbert and Paul Krugman are too kind (almost) in the second essay as they identify the culprits by level of intelligence.

Starvation Is The Price Greeks Will Pay For Remaining In The EU

Paul Craig Roberts

Syriza, the new Greek government that intended to rescue Greece from austerity, has come a cropper. The government relied on the good will of its EU “partners,” only to find that its “partners” had no good will. The Greek government did not understand that the only concern was the bottom line, or profits, of those who held the Greek debt.

The Greek people are as out to lunch as their government. The majority of Greeks want to remain in the EU even though it means that their pensions, their wages, their social services, and their employment opportunities will be reduced. Apparently for Greeks, being a part of Europe is worth being driven into the ground.

The alleged “Greek crisis” makes no sense whatsoever. It is obvious that Greece cannot with its devastated economy repay the debts that Goldman Sachs hid and then capitalized on the inside information, helping to cause the crisis. If the solvency of the holders of the Greek debt, apparently the NY hedge funds and German and Dutch banks, depends on being repaid, the European Central Bank could just follow the example of the Federal Reserve and print the money to secure the Greek debt. The ECB is already printing 60 billion euros a month to save the European financial system, so why not include Greece?

A conservative might say that such a course of action would cause inflation, but it hasn’t. The Fed has been creating money hands over fists for seven years, and according to the government there is no inflation. We even have negative interest rates attesting to the absence of inflation. Why will creating money for Greece create inflation but not for Goldman Sachs, Citibank, and JPMorganChase?

Obviously, the Western world doesn’t want to help Greece. The West wants to loot Greece. The deal is that Greece gets new loans with which to repay existing loans in exchange for selling municipal water companies to private investors (water rates will go up on the Greek people), for selling the state lottery to private investors (Greek government revenues drop, thus making debt repayment more difficult), and for other such “privatizations” such as selling the protected Greek islands to real estate developers.

This is a good deal for everyone but Greece.

If the Greek government had any sense, it would simply default. That would make Greece debt free. With just a few words, Greece can go from a heavily indebted country to a debt-free country.

Greece could then finance its own bond issues, and if it needed external credit, Greece could accept the Russian offer.

Indeed, if the Russian and Chinese governments had any sense, they would pay Greece to default and to leave the EU and NATO. The unraveling of Washington’s empire would begin, and the threat of war that Russia and China face would go away. The Russians and Chinese would save far more on unnecessary war preparation that saving Greece would cost them.

(Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the "Wall Street Journal." He was columnist for "Business Week," "Scripps Howard News Service," and "Creators Syndicate." He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest book is The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost

Greek Resistance

July 5, 2015

Alan Gilbert


The election of Syriza was a great sign of hope for the Greek people and ordinary people everywhere. The European/American bankers are enforcing an austerity program in Greece, producing shocking youth unemployment – 65% – and driving many to suicide. Gnawing at Syriza, they seek at this moment to steal pensions.

The banks have long made “Social Democrats” their tools, as for example Hollande in France… Driving people to despair, they have created preconditions for the triumph of the extreme right. Paul Krugman, an economist who writes intelligently (almost alone) in the commercial press, puts it forcefully in the "New York Times:"

“It has been obvious for some time that the creation of the euro was a terrible mistake. Europe never had the preconditions for a successful single currency — above all, the kind of fiscal and banking union that, for example, ensures that when a housing bubble in Florida bursts, Washington automatically protects seniors against any threat to their medical care or their bank deposits.”
The bureaucrats of the EU, pressed on by Germany and the IMF, are not technocrats, but cruel, anti-democratic fools … The Syriza government, having buckled to EU pressure, has nonetheless refused to accept even more austerity and preconditions which try to force it from power. So there is, among poor people in Greece, a run on the banks, and a forced limit of a 60 euros ($67) per person withdrawal. And Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a referendum, an appeal to democracy against the banks/EU (the corruption of the European “Community” and its leaders in opposing democracy, toward Syriza originally and towards this referendum, is unspeakable…)

There is a lot of media talk about the absence of “trust” between the EU and Syriza. What the EU has imposed on ordinary Greeks, as Joseph Stiglitz, another fine economist, also points out below, is a horror. For the Syriza leadership had worked with the EU, even accepting existing austerity, but trying to limit further abridgment of a common good at home.

The grotesque cynicism/racism of Wolfgang Schauble, the German finance minister as well as the German commercial press toward Greece, reported in a "Times" column by Alexander Sorkin yesterday, is startling:

“To Mr. Geithner’s dismay, however, Mr. Schäuble took the conversation in a different direction. ‘He told me there were many in Europe who still thought kicking the Greeks out of the Eurozone was a plausible — even desirable — strategy,’ Mr. Geithner later recounted in his memoir, Stress Test:  Reflections on Financial Crises. ‘The idea was that with Greece out, Germany would be more likely to provide the financial support the Eurozone needed because the German people would no longer perceive aid to Europe as a bailout for the Greeks,’ he says in the memoir.

'At the same time, a Grexit would be traumatic enough that it would help scare the rest of Europe into giving up more sovereignty to a stronger banking and fiscal union,’ Mr. Geithner wrote. ‘The argument was that letting Greece burn would make it easier to build a stronger Europe [sic…] with a more credible firewall.'”
See Andrew Ross Sorkin “The Hard Line on Greece” here.

The EU/bankers are happy to drive Greece from the euro rather than do something a) intelligent, b) non-predatory, c) humane. If this policy is Europe, Europe will die (the Right will come to power pretty shortly…) Given the power of banks over democracy and to harm ordinary people, GREXIT – Greece leaving the European Union – looks better for the Greek people by the hour.

The Greeks could heal their economy as Iceland did … But the irrational general economic terms of the European Union – no tolerance for any country to pursue an independent fiscal or monetary policy to get out of economic crisis – is destroying the benefits of cooperation (mainly:  heading off predatory nationalisms, ability to seek education throughout the Union, easy travel, acceptance of migration internally to a considerable extent, European funding of preservation of art, for example the New Acropolis Museum and the like).

The European Union has, from the first, harmed workers and does not tolerate democracy about entrance or to oppose strangling austerity. As Stiglitz puts it,

“…concern for popular legitimacy is incompatible with the politics of the Eurozone, which was never a very democratic project. Most of its members’ governments did not seek their people’s approval to turn over their monetary sovereignty to the ECB. When Sweden’s did, Swedes said no. They understood that unemployment would rise if the country’s monetary policy were set by a central bank that focused single-mindedly on inflation (and also that there would be insufficient attention to financial stability). The economy would suffer, because the economic model underlying the Eurozone was predicated on power relationships that disadvantaged workers.”
After the Euro was adopted, I was visiting in Toledo, Spain on a Sunday with my family. There was a march of 4,000 workers, in solidarity with 75,000 in Madrid. Prices had tripled; wages had not gone up… Before the current crisis, as Krugman rightly says below, the financial situation of Greece in terms of debt was no worse than the UK, for long periods. What the bankers have imposed is an unnecessary crisis stealing from the livelihood – subsistence – of ordinary people.

Austerity is, in Europe and the United States, a way to cut or privatize common good-serving public programs, while shifting money to the now transnational/offshore/”citizens” only of their bank accounts, the .0001%. Since Keynes, economists have known that a stimulus like Obama’s (only bigger; his was 2/3 the needed size) can get money to employ poor people on publicly useful jobs (green jobs; teaching and the like). They spend the money domestically, with a multiplier effect – other locals are employed in sales of food, laundry, gas stations and the like – that begins to get an economy out of depression.

As Thomas Herndon, a graduate student at U Mass Amherst (previously at Evergreen State) showed, the famous Rogoff-Reinhart claim that every government with a debt ratio of 90% to Gross Domestic Product needs austerity is not only false, but fraudulent (these are “illustrious” Harvard professors, Rogoff a former Vice-President of the International Monetary Fund). This is also Congressman Paul Ryan’s theme song (Ryan – the “brains” of the Republican and much of the “Democratic” outfit, speaks, only “for the money’s sake”).

Krugman had pointed out the obvious flaw in the Rogoff-Reinhart thesis:  if a nation goes into a depression, its output will sink relative to its debt (“correlation is not causation,” to put in cliche terms). But the only way to get it out of a depression is Keynesian programs of stimulus or tax cuts to ordinary people (along perhaps with monetary easing or devaluation of currency – a stimulus to exports and, hence, employment as in Iceland).

Instead, Romney or Jaime Dimon or Robert Rubin or the many other hedge fund, Wall Street clowns of both parties often spend their “tax-relief” abroad (Romney would not even release his taxes as Presidential candidate, even though his father – George Romney – had made this a cardinal point of this in his campaign; that is because Mitt often pays no taxes at all, and at most, much less, on his $250 million “income” from stock – a tax rate for one year’s returns of 13.9% – than his gardener or cook…. When the rich buy an elevator for a fancy car at their fifth house in Aruba, no multiplier effect will occur in the United States. Similarly, when Goldman-Sachs which took its “bailout money,” spent it in China, reaped a profit, and paid it back, there was no stimulus to the American economy at all…

Herndon, a beginning graduate student in economics demanded to look at the Rogoff-Reinhart tables – they had not shared them in their famous conference paper for the IMF, being widely publicized for saying what the bankers/big money/kept politicians wanted to hear… They had made a statistical error and had incomplete data. The fraud Herndon revealed just underlines Krugman’s argument (after the repeated failures of austerity, that argument ought to have been enough, but there is gale-force money behind impoverishment of ordinary people in the U.S. and more strikingly in Europe, especially Greece.

What is happening in Greece is already happening in Spain and Italy and France – and signs point the same way in the United States, particularly for young blacks, chicanos and poor whites. Despite a wave of well-funded, belligerent rightwing economics typified by Rogoff-Reinhard – in this central and influential policy claim, these claims are as toxic as the “research” that nicotine really doesn’t harm you or that burning coal is unconnected to global warming – this fact is well known to most (honorable, literate) economists.

It is the decisive scientific point of Keynesianism (after working for Roosevelt, Richard V. Gilbert, my father, wrote about this after World War II, in Seymour Harris, ed., Saving American Capitalism).

But Krugman has now recognized, even in the "Times," that Michael Kalecki, the Polish Marxist/Keynesian theorist of economic cycles, was right in a lecture in 1942. He said there – and Krugman did not believe him until the bizarre elite response to the 2008 collapse – that the rich will oppose any programs that benefit the working classes, and will starve them to death for fear of their seeking higher wages and better conditions.

Social Democracy is thus not possible under capitalism, even though it would save it economically (did save it for a period after World War II; today, this is the history of Papandreou and the austerity “socialists” in Greece, Hollande in France – cutting government programs that help the poor, becoming isolated from and even detested among their own original supporters, and as an accompaniment/result, furthering racism and Golden Dawn, Marine Le Pen and other – literally – fascists).

Krugman has long remarked that the costs of this policy are to throw away millions of people – the long term unemployed in the US who are eligible for no further insurance – and far greater numbers in Europe. Greek youth unemployment is 60% (austerity has forced a 25% decline in GDP).

A foolish "New York Times" editorial yesterday here does not describe the impoverishment already forced on the people of Greece by “troika” austerity. One cannot look at the harms has been imposed on the Greek people – and the failure time after time of false EU/banker “predictions” that extreme cuts for the poor will lead to economic boom – and not be horrified.

So the "Times" turns its eyes away. Krugman says, below, startled I think as for a long time so mainstream and serious an economist, that he would vote no on Greece accepting the bankers’ terms. So would Stiglitz hoping for the revival of democracy. Krugman rightly (and rather kindly) refers to the phony “technocrats” of Europe as “fantasists.” Real democracy, consulting the people from below, is the nightmare of the EU/bankers

May the Greek people again stand up! We all have a common interest in standing up to the Banks and the Koch brothers/Adelsons, et al. (and the mainstream parties, including, sadly, Obama in so far as they represent them). To survive, let alone flourish, we need to be democratic internationalists

For the Greek people carry our fate, too. We should stand with them.

Alan Gilbert is John Evans professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and author of Marx’s Politics:  Communists and Citizens (Rutgers, 1980), Democratic Individuality (Cambridge, 1990), Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy (1999) and Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence (Chicago March, 2012).

Gilbert's blog Democratic Individuality is a rich mine.


Yanis Varoufakis Abruptly Resigns

Tough times ahead for the leadership of Greece.

They'll need better leadership than they've had so far.

Cindy and Kevin teach us how to "flush the TPP."

Kevin Zeese

"Ray of Light" article on TPP.

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