UPDATES from Greece: Vote Day, Tahrir Moment in Syntagma Square and the IMF Pledge that Isn’t

by Scott Creighton

itemprop

A man racked by shame begs for money as Greeks line up to make their small daily withdrawals from a bank

Alexis Tsipras took his case to the press last night in an hour-long interview on state TV. During that time he defended his 180 degree turn and urged the country to get behind the “irrational” Troika coup because, as he put it, “it’s the best deal Greece can get” Gone was all the pretense he displayed back when he and the rock-star pretended to want Greeks to vote “NO” on the austerity referendum. Now he demands a “YES” from Parliament on the neoliberal economic brick being dropped on the heads of the people he represents. He promised to keep the banks closed until the deal is ratified. More economic terrorism from the “hero” of Greece and the left. Like Obama siding with the republicans to get several of his previous “successes” done in congress, Tsipras looks to the neoliberal opposition parties for support getting the deal finalized.

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Wall Street Pays Bankers to Work in Government and It Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know

by David Dayden, New Republic

Citigroup is one of three Wall Street banks attempting to keep hidden their practice of paying executives multimillion-dollar awards for entering government service. In letters delivered to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the last month, Citi, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley seek exemption from a shareholder proposal, filed by the AFL-CIO labor coalition, which would force them to identify all executives eligible for these financial rewards, and the specific dollar amounts at stake. Critics argue these “golden parachutes” ensure more financial insiders in policy positions and favorable treatment toward Wall Street.

“As shareholders of these banks, we want to know how much money we have promised to give away to senior executives if they take government jobs,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a statement. “It’s a simple question, but the banks don’t want to answer it. What are they trying to hide?”

These payments are routine at major banks, several of which have explicit policies, found in filings with the SEC, outlining automatic awards for executives who rotate into government. Goldman Sachs offers “a lump sum cash payment” for government service, for example.

[read more here]

How Do Barney Fife and Fidel Castro Factor Into the Biggest News Story of the Year?

by Scott Creighton

I wish to see if I can connect a few dots here, so bear with me.

Putting aside “ISIS™” for a moment and the “Big Story” about some talking head on MSNBC lying to folks (yeah, there’s some news for you) what are the biggest geopolitical trends in the news today? Is it the fact that Syriza, the new “Radical Left™” brand of 3rd Way centrist ideology (think “CHANGE™” circa 2008) seems to have forgotten what the term “odious debt” means?

In international law, odious debt, also known as illegitimate debt, is a legal theory that holds that the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Such debts are, thus, considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. In some respects, the concept is analogous to the invalidity of contracts signed under coercion. Wiki

Is that the biggest story in the world today? Well, if you consider the fact that international debt has risen by 57 trillion dollars since the global economic terrorism of 2008, coupled with the fact that much if not ALL of that new additional debt may be declared odious were Greece to set the precedent, well, that could very well be the story of the year. The story of the decade or the millennium in fact.

But it isn’t, because they wont (“use us to implement the European programme” Varoufakis).

And the usually antagonistic ones, the Webster Tarpley’s of the “interwebs”, aren’t really calling for Syriza to live up to their campaign pledge and do that.

How about “ISIS™”? Now that the MTV music video director and their team made that “burning man” video, seems like all the world wants a piece of “ISIS™” butt.

We have senators and congressman lining up to get in front of anyone with a camera so they can pledge their undying devotion to autocratic, despotic regimes like those in Jordan, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar for the sole purpose of providing them weapons and training, all paid for with your tax dollars while they say they can’t afford to pay teachers here in the states.

No money for teachers or disabled folks but we got butt-loads of cash to heap on dictators from the Middle East to help bomb Syria into regime change. Funny how that works, ain’t it?

We have “progressive” TV personalities spending enormous amounts of their airtime proving what warmongering hawks they can be just like the neocons of yesteryear they pilloried for a decade.

We have the Obama administration, the President Peace Prize farce, presenting their own version, a hand-crafted document they expect to be passed without debate, authorizing war anywhere, anytime against anyone they say is supporting “ISIS™”. That new AUMF document, one usually crafted by congress, will be slapped on the desks of leading congressmen sometime today or tomorrow. It’s something this president has wanted since they created “ISIS™” now that the old one from 2001 is a bit sketchy considering the fact that it names al Qaeda as the enemy and we now call them “moderates” and are funding them in Syria.

And all of this is based on what? A ridiculous MTV-styled video custom made for the purpose of providing the pretext for what is happening right now and released on the very same day the King of Jordan was visiting Obama and congress looking for money to fight “ISIS™”. (I will write more about that video later this morning)

Are those the biggest stories in the world today?

No. Not in my opinion.

So what is? What is the one big story everyone knows about and no one is talking about and how does Barney Fife and Fidel Castro of all people fit into this? Have I gone crazy? Inquiring minds want to know.

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Fed Delays Volcker Rule, Giving Wall Street Another Holiday Gift

by Zach Carter, Huffington Post

Christmas came early for Wall Street this year. The Federal Reserve on Thursday granted banks an extra year to comply with a key provision of the Volcker Rule, a move that gives financial lobbyists more time to kill the new regulation before it goes into effect.

The Volcker Rule is a key element of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law that bans banks from engaging in proprietary trading — speculative deals that are designed only to benefit the bank itself, rather than its clients. Thursday’s move by the Fed gives banks an additional year to unwind investments in private equity firms, hedge funds and specialty securities projects. The central bank also said it plans to extend the deadline by another 12 months next year, which would give Wall Street a two-year reprieve through the 2016 presidential election.

The Fed’s delay comes less than a week after Congress granted Wall Street a reprieve from another reform that had been mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The measure, known as the swaps push-out rule had eliminated federal subsidies for trading in risky derivatives — the complex contracts at the heart of the 2008 banking meltdown. Bank watchdogs say the Volcker Rule delay adds insult to injury.

[read more here]

Fiscal Cliff = Economic Terrorism says U.S. Senator

by Scott Creighton

We’ve seen this before: the economic powers that be went to congress and the MSM back in late 2008 and threatened Armageddon if we didn’t give them what they wanted: our money. They effectively held the economy of the United States hostage and threatened to pull the trigger if they weren’t paid $780 billion in cash. Turns out, the fed gave them far more than that in secret backdoor loans, but the story is still the same; we were subjected to economic terrorism in which our leaders, the same leaders who boasted they will never give into terrorist threats, caved in immediately and went on a PR campaign pushing the TARP bailout package like their lives depended on it.

Now we have the same thing happening. The “fiscal cliff” boogeyman is the same as the “Ruskies” of old or the “turrurrrurrists’ of today. It’s terrorism pure and simple.

When you threaten people with the fear of death, starvation and chaos in order to advance a change in either the political  (like we did to Libya and currently are doing to Syria and Iran) or economic structure of a nation, that is defined as “Terrorism” and that is exactly what is being done to us right now.

Who says so? Some conspiracy theorist whack-job wing-nutter?

No. A seated U.S. senator from Iowa said that.

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Greek journalist arrested over exposing politicians’ alleged tax evasion

from RT

Greek police have arrested one of the country’s top journalists, after his publication Hot Doc released the so-called ‘Lagarde list,’ containing the names of some 2,000 Greeks with funds hidden in Swiss bank accounts.

The police arrested Kostas Vaxevanis, the owner and editor of Hot Doc, during a live radio interview on Sunday. “They’re entering my house with the prosecutor right now. They are arresting me. Spread the word,” Vaxevanis tweeted.

He is due to appear in court on Monday to answer charges of privacy violations from publishing the list of names, which dates to 2007. “Instead of arresting the tax evaders and the ministers who had the list in their hands, they are trying to arrest the truth and free journalism,” Vaxevanis said in an interview.

[read the rest, here]

Spanish Townsfolk, Our Monster: Now What Are We Going to Do About It?

by Scott Creighton

UPDATE 3:The French, Spanish and Greek governments all announced multibillion-euro austerity plans yesterday in the face of massive popular opposition.”

UPDATE 2: Slavery in the UK. The unemployed are being forced to work for major British corporations, for free, just so they can continue to receive their unemployment benefits. This plan is the same as one attempted here in the states, one that still has a great deal of support in congress. Imagine the profits retailers could pocket if they got free seasonal workers during the holiday buying season.

UPDATE: In Dubai, one of our close economic allies, they call slave owners “sponsors” and fine their slaves if they attempt to take their own lives when the desperation of their true situation becomes too unbearable to live with.

I found myself thrown away and I thought of my poor family back home. I felt desperate and decided I should die,” she said. The National

———

While Americans cheer for the return of  zebra striped officials to the NFL games today, the Spanish, the Greeks and many others across Europe are fighting for their very lives and the freedom to determine the quality of them on their own. Our apparent lack of concern is understandable when you consider that what they are desperately struggling against is in a large part, our creation. Not only is Dr. Frankenstein disinterested in the harm his creation inflicts on the people around him by choice, but the townsfolk themselves willingly turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the cries of their neighbors in nearby villages just so long as the monster feeds elsewhere.

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