Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 29, 2018

Italy - The Beginning of the End of the European Union - by Debs is Dead

by Debs is Dead
lifted from a comment

The news out of Italy over the last two days has the potential to completely change the game as it could end in the destruction of the EU.

The original Euro Community was an admirable ideal as it emphasised the rights of all citizens of member states, guaranteeing them a range of protections from unjust and stupid demagogues. Unfortunately the neolib corporatist globalists took over the machinery and turned it over to a gang of cold-hearted technocrats who used the once estimable governance structure to enforce a draconian monetarist policy. - see Greece.

Now Italy has finally jacked up and the EU, mimicking Amerikan methods that have wreaked so much havoc upon the world (see the 1975 dismissal of the elected Australian Labour Government by the englander queen), the EU has bribed, blackmailed or extorted the Italian president Mattarella, into destroying Italy's newly elected government just because he suspects this government sees Italy's future outside the Franco-German dominated Eurozone (Germany bludgeons with money, France has the military power). Italy's prez just like Australia's Governor-General is alleged by the PTB to be apolitical then when the ordure hits the ventilator citizens discover that the loudmouths weren't nutter conspiracy theorists, they had been speaking the truth.

The new government is a strange marriage of left and right which perplexes neolibs but makes sense to voters who aren't over the moon about the innate racism of the rightists or the old school leftists regard for centralisation, but who consider that the extreme tendencies will be cancelled out with the new government unifying around their shared belief in the primacy of the Italian people. Mattarella has completely ignored the election result and is trying to install an IMF technocrat as the leader of an unelected government. Even that worthless neolib whore england's grauniad sees Matarella's move as problematic:

Privately, some analysts who were supportive of Mattarella said it was far from clear whether he had made the right moves and whether his actions would inflame populist sentiment at a fragile moment in Italian history.

It pays to remember that unlike Greece who had suffered the effect of being oppressed and robbed by the Amerikan installed fascist military junta for 40 years, a junta which simply took control of the pre-1945 German Nazi machinery, Italy has been somewhat luckier. Although Amerika used the likes of heroin pushers/pimps Meyer Lansky and Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano to install a mafia government, Italians successfully used their system, which was freer than Greece's to push back The Italian economy is number 3 after Germany and France in the EU. The EU needs Italy.

Remember when the same stunt was attempted in Greece, the people chucked out the cold hearted arsehole at first opportunity (even though they reckoned without the spineless puppet Tsipras (of course the Italians have checked out their nominees thoroughly to ensure there should be no repetition), but the Italian constitution which Mattarella has so shamelessly used and perverted to pull his stroke, will bring his strategy undone.

That same constitution gives parliament the power to veto the President's pick, which it almost certainly will do, meaning there will be an immediate new election, one where a majority of Italians appalled by their Presidents tyranny will swing behind M5S and the Northern League with a vengeance and the odds of Italy staying in an unreformed EU must be considered to be extremely slim.

The real question is will Merkel and Macron have the good sense, will and political control to recognise that the jig is up and it is long past time to make the remote Brussels EU mechanism far more responsive to the wants and needs of its members' citizens?

Such a move would almost certainly take the momentum out of the little englander's Brexit as while it wouldn't do a thing for that dying out breed of "Let's put the 'Great' back into Great Britain" mob, it would slice off the somewhat conflicted humanist base who are torn between a desire to be a part of Europe and the need to GTFO of such a crudely undemocratic mess that is the EU in 2018.

I reckon that although Merkel has the balls to force a change she now lacks the political power and though Macron may be able to convince his neolib cronies, every one of whom owes his/her gig to Macron's corrupt deceit skills, Macron lacks the strength of purpose to make changes and save the EU.

Unfortunately that means that Europe is likely to fall into the millennia old warring factions that finally kippered it from 1914 onwards. Amerika will be happy in the short term, but without a unified Europe to back it up, the Amerikan empire will be buggered pretty quick.

Posted by b on May 29, 2018 at 10:42 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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somebody @ 74
“Any central bank has to be politically independent or the finances of a country are doomed.”

That is precisely what the supra-national banksters tell us. Of course, by “politically independent” they mean “not answerable to the people.” As Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve though multiple Administrations of both political flavors said on PBS:

“the Federal Reserve is an independent agency. And that means basically that there is no agen… uh, other agency of government which can overrule the actions that we take.

"So long as that is in place, and there is no evidence that the Administration or the Congress, or anybody else is requesting that we do things other than what we think is the appropriate thing, then what the relationships are don't frankly matter."

The thieves of Jekyll Island who created the Federal Reserve were very “clever.” They put “Federal” into the name to give the impression it is part of the government. It is not. They arranged that the US President gets to nominate it’s Chair, but they all know that's just window dressing. The Board votes on who will be the Chair. They claim “nobody owns the Federal Reserve,” which on one level is true. But all 12 Federal Reserve Banks that are the real structure of the Fed are owned, and they are owned by supra-national banksters.

And those largely invisible owners are the ONLY entities to whom the Central Bank is answerable.


“A central bank has one goal only - to prevent a currency from in- or deflating.”

Again, that is precisely what the owners of the Central Banks tell us. The privately-owned Central Banks do have only one goal. To make profits for their owners.

And if you look, you'll see they've been quite unsuccessful at the goal they claim is their raison d'etre, but quite successful at "making bank" for their owners regardless of the state of any nation's economy.

Posted by: Daniel | May 30 2018 20:33 utc | 101

psychohistorian@64
“Americans will adjust but it may take a bit of instability while all the fringe elements are brought back under a new social contract around government.”

Indeed. A documentary film was made sometime prior to 1990, titled “Controlling Interest.” I cannot find it online anymore. It was mostly interviews with CEOs of transnational corporations, and it was shocking how honest they were.

One CEO said that wages in the US would continue to drop until we were “competitive with Asian workers. Another CEO said southeast Asians were best suited for some manual labor because of their tiny hands (suggesting new employ for President Trump?).

And this sort of thinking is precisely why I insist that any upheaval, “new social contract” must be universal. We must stop seeing “others” as our competition, but as our de facto partners.

This is a wonderful 17-minute talk by Mallence Bart Williams.

Posted by: Daniel | May 30 2018 20:45 utc | 102

@Den Lille Abe #67

"But greece brought it on herself, her inhabitants all in on the swindle."

for those who want to know what really happened to Greece, I suggest this link (sorry, it's in Italian, I have no idea how it would look with google translator, it's surely worth a try):
Cosa sapete della Grecia? (fact checking)

it's by the Italian economist Alberto Bagnai

Posted by: claudio | May 30 2018 21:27 utc | 103

@et Al #70

"As for Greece, I've repeated asked some of my very smart Greek friends why they still wanted to keep the Euro if that meant doing Berlin's bidding and voluntary abrogation of their democracy. They still refuse to see it as a contradiction in any way. The choice was clear, leave the euro and take control of their own destiny, or stay in the euro and do what Berlin says. They may not have actually had a real choice (decisions made by others) but they want to keep the Euro but not pay the price.

Actually the Greeks voted, in a referendum held under dramatic circumstance, in favor of exiting the eurozone rather than submit to the EU's sadistic measures. Tsipras capitulated anyways

Posted by: claudio | May 30 2018 21:30 utc | 104

bevin @ 83
“March 1918, that the Central Powers and the new Bolshevik regime signed the Treaty of Brest Litovsk- the wish list of the German ruling class.”

I got jumped on by some Bolshevik-nik when I commented here about that stuff a while back.

First, can anyone think of any other time that a nation surrendered to the loser of a war? Lenin later said he accepted what he knew were onerous conditions for Russian surrender to Germany because he believed the “revolution” would soon come to Germany, too and the Treaty would be nullified. Oops!

The socialists had already seen to the abdication of Czar Nicolas, and they had essentially stopped war production and were establishing a republican form of socialist governance before Lenin returned from his hidey-hole in Switzerland. Perhaps if they’d been allowed to complete the revolution, the worldwide socialist revolution would have arisen. The tyranny of the Bolsheviks helped to foreclose such movement.

General Erich Ludendorff, who, by the start of the Russian Revolution was in charge of the German military was rabidly anti-socialist. He saw that the German homefront and the German army were becoming just as fed up with the war and the war-makers/profiteers as the Russians, and he did what was necessary to squash it. He wrote that he was concerned that the socialist “virus” would spread just as anti-monarchism had spread during the Napoleonic war.

After the war, he made his living writing and speaking about the evils of socialism, and blaming the socialists (and strangely, blaming the Bolsheviks who had surrendered to him) for Germany’s loss. He was inspirational for a failed painter who’d served in the German ranks, suffered poison gas, but insisted on returning to the front lines, and then was imprisoned where he had the time to write an autobiographical manifesto.

Posted by: Daniel | May 30 2018 21:43 utc | 105

The sooner the the Amerikan empire is buggered the better for the world.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | May 30 2018 21:48 utc | 106

Posted by: Daniel | May 30, 2018 4:33:42 PM | 103

You are mixing some Keynesian stuff. The idea is not to print money, the idea is for the state to invest - go into debt - in a slow economy and to pay back in better circumstances. That way money does not get devalued. If a central bank just prints stuff, the currency will be devalued - automatically - see Venezuela.
This WOULD NOT serve the people.

EU countries like Germany try to restrict the debt to GDP ratio an EU government can use for investment that is not financed by taxes as government debt is like printing money, ie. rich people owning lots of Euros will get less value for it. Also, the value of debt would shrink with devaluation.
This DOES NOT serve the have nots.

ECB is actually fighting against rises in the value of the EURO thereby preventing the worst. They can do that BECAUSE they are independent from Germany.

A German economist, Sinn, seems to think Italy will use a "parallel currency" ie IOUs accepted and written by everyone. This will work for internal products and services but not for imports and will need a lot of trust (or a dictatorship). It reminds of Hjalmar Schachts financing of Germany's rearmament and infrastructure in the 1930's.
This scheme will fail if people loose trust and want to cash in on the currency. A currency is based on nothing but trust. So if Italy's politicians can get it together to inspire trust it might just work. Somehow I don't see this coalition of industrialists and anti-establishment figures getting there.

Sinn seems to think this will explode the Eurozone though I don't see how. Noone outside Italy will accept Italian IOUs. If Italy wants to transfer them to Euro they will have to get the Euros from somewhere. Halmar Schacht's MEFO bills lost their value in the Second World War. I hope Italy is not going to start the Third just to get rid of their IOUs.


Posted by: somebody | May 30 2018 21:49 utc | 107

@somebody 74

"Any central bank has to be politically independent or the finances of a country are doomed.

A central bank has one goal only - to prevent a currency from in- or deflating."

You surprise me. Central banks, in all modern history until the neoliberal ideologues took over in the '80s, have been lenders of last resort for the government. And they balanced growth and inflation. Private central banks today are simply an instrument of the global plutocracy.

Posted by: claudio | May 30 2018 22:26 utc | 108

110 "private" central banks - are we talking about the same thing ? - there is no ownership of ECB - it is an independent institution. Its representatives are chosen by EU finance ministers but those ministers cannot prescribe the ECB how to act. They can set the goal - which is to limit inflation.
The only control mechanism is the European Court - which usually keeps out of political discussion.

Political independence of the central bank in Germany is dogma not since neoliberalism, but since the 1950's - im memory of the hyperinflation in German history.

It is not the central bank that is responsible for austerity policy, it is the politicians deciding on a country's debt and the amount of taxes. The central bank can encourage (as ECB is doing with no luck by zero interest rates) but they cannot force countries to invest or not.

The "troika" enforcing austerity policy in Greece was led by IMF and European Commission. The ECB had a "consultant" role.

Of course Eurozone is deeply unbalanced in a Keynesian sense, with the south needing to inflate and the north needing to deflate. ECB - much to German ire - tries to inflate. As finance ministers have restricted the debt to gdp ratio there is no success.

Posted by: somebody | May 30 2018 23:42 utc | 109

I must say it's very rewarding as a historian to see so many using history to back their arguments--particularly "hidden history" unknown to most--as it helps to educate those willing to take the time to closely read the comments, follow the arguments, and read the info provided at links. This is the sort of discussion thread that ought to make b feel proud of his extensive efforts over the years. I certainly salute him!

The Italian lesson is plain for all with eyes to see--the EU is fundamentally anti-democratic, which is a well known--hidden history--fact. A few comments have brought China and Russia into the discussion tangentially since their ideologies clash with EU/USA's as I've mentioned many times before. What's touted by the USA/EU is self-determination when in reality it doesn't exist regarding the most important of issues/interests. And while Russian and Chinese citizens do vote, what seems to matter most for them is having a government that tries to provide the best outcome for the greatest number through enlightened leaders--a debate discussed by Aristotle's Politics and further explored in Plato's Republic. And the argument as to what's the ideal form of government continues. But the insurmountable problem seems to be eradicating hierarchies that eventually form within any known polity, past or present that eventually leads to corruption, inequality, political unrest, then revolution--also noted by Aristotle. IMO, if the underlying culture can be designed to dissuade the formation of hierarchies, then the problem can be surmounted. Unfortunately, the world consists of mostly dysfunctional cultures which are that way due to their hierarchies. Wouldn't it be marvelous to solve that conundrum!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 30 2018 23:48 utc | 110

somebody @109. I didn’t write a word about printing money. I actually had written about how the Fed’s “quantitative easing” was one of the reasons for the rise of both the actual grass-roots portion of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement. But I figured my post was too long already.

It was the “politically independent” Central Bank which decided to do that, not that dangerous “mob” that the Federalists so feared (ie. democracy). But you’ve begged the question of why you believe the "independent" Central Bank knows best, when it was clearly the Fed who decided to print all that money (actually, mostly just created digits, not paper or coin), and the public (both “conservative” and “liberal”) who thought that a terrible idea?

I absolutely agree that, especially at economic downturns, governments need to create buying power. I didn’t write about nuances of EU monetary policy because I do not know enough about the details to speak with any authority.

What I did write is that the privately-owned Central Banks have been wholly unsuccessful at the stated goal you quoted of preventing inflation/deflation. Or do you believe today's Federal Reserve Note has the same purchasing power of the US Dollar of 1913? And of course, the Fed did not prevent the Great Depression, though the banking/investment industry caused it.

But, the banksters and inside investors “made bank” on that Depression, as they have with every other up and down of the “business cycle” (which they treat like some sort of law of nature, and not the result of specific decisions made by monied interests.

As for what monetary policy helps which group:

Venezuela has been the target of economic warfare for more than a decade, so they aren’t a useful model for monetary policy.

Inflation can help debtors since the money they pay back is worth less than the money they borrowed.

Debt is great for creditors if interest rates are high enough. Since compound interest on long-term debts results in the total interest collected being many times as large as the original debt, big creditors (and Central Banks are the biggest) mostly want to see a debt “serviced,” but never repaid.

Posted by: Daniel | May 31 2018 0:33 utc | 111

113
So many strange "facts".

I actually had written about how the Fed’s “quantitative easing” was one of the reasons for the rise of both the actual grass-roots portion of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Quantitative easing

Quantitative easing is an unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply. Quantitative easing increases the money supply by flooding financial institutions with capital in an effort to promote increased lending and liquidity. Quantitative easing is considered when short-term interest rates are at or approaching zero, and does not involve the printing of new banknotes.

It is inflationary, not about austerity, right?

Tea Party movement

There’s just one element missing from these snapshots of America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the sugar daddies who are bankrolling it, and have been doing so since well before the “death panel” warm-up acts of last summer. Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans. But even those carrying the Kochs’ banner may not know who these brothers are.

Rich people hate Keynes. Inflation shrinks their stack of money.

Occupy wallstreet

A group of business leaders—including Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg—are planning to pour substantial funds into the Occupy Wall Street movement in hopes of sustaining the protests and fostering political change. ... "I don't think the Occupy movement has put forward a specific agenda. What it hasn't been is a force that can unite," said Josh Barro, 27 years old and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a New York government policy think tank that promotes free markets. ... "Essentially this is a group of very wealthy people who have picked a handler to deal with Occupy Wall Street," said Ravi Ahmed, 34 years old, a protester who works as an academic administrator. "They've re-created what's wrong with nonprofits and philanthropy structures."
Wall Street is about investment, right? Quantitative easing means interfering in free markets, where is the problem? No interest rates? That only affects rich people.

Posted by: somebody | May 31 2018 1:17 utc | 112

113
So many strange "facts".

I actually had written about how the Fed’s “quantitative easing” was one of the reasons for the rise of both the actual grass-roots portion of the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Quantitative easing

Quantitative easing is an unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply. Quantitative easing increases the money supply by flooding financial institutions with capital in an effort to promote increased lending and liquidity. Quantitative easing is considered when short-term interest rates are at or approaching zero, and does not involve the printing of new banknotes.

It is inflationary, not about austerity, right?

Tea Party movement

There’s just one element missing from these snapshots of America’s ostensibly spontaneous and leaderless populist uprising: the sugar daddies who are bankrolling it, and have been doing so since well before the “death panel” warm-up acts of last summer. Three heavy hitters rule. You’ve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans. But even those carrying the Kochs’ banner may not know who these brothers are.

Rich people hate Keynes. Inflation shrinks their stack of money.

Occupy wallstreet

A group of business leaders—including Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg—are planning to pour substantial funds into the Occupy Wall Street movement in hopes of sustaining the protests and fostering political change. ... "I don't think the Occupy movement has put forward a specific agenda. What it hasn't been is a force that can unite," said Josh Barro, 27 years old and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a New York government policy think tank that promotes free markets. ... "Essentially this is a group of very wealthy people who have picked a handler to deal with Occupy Wall Street," said Ravi Ahmed, 34 years old, a protester who works as an academic administrator. "They've re-created what's wrong with nonprofits and philanthropy structures."
Wall Street is about investment, right? Quantitative easing means interfering in free markets, where is the problem? No interest rates? That only affects rich people.

Posted by: somebody | May 31 2018 1:17 utc | 113

somebody.

1. Again, I did not write about printing money. Your reply “corrected” me about printing money, so I responded.

2. I specifically wrote “the actual grass-roots portion of the Tea Party” because I was aware of big money (mostly Koch Brothers”) funding and manipulation from the start. How did I know? Because I “Googled” it the first time I heard about it, and found a website created by the Kochs (principally to fight tobacco legislation at first).

They employed actors (the guy in the Revolutionary War costume with the tri-point hat was famously at every TP event). Later, during the “debates” about “ObamaCare,” they bussed in mobs of hysterical “citizens” to shout down “Town Hall Meetings” across the country about “socialized medicine.” But they also carried hand-made signs reading “Keep your Government Hands Off My Medicare,” showing they did not know what they were talking about.

But, most of the regular people were not in on that big money, and would get outraged when I pointed it out. You see, I also knew quite a few self-identified Tea Party types, and I listened to and read what the actual “grass roots” portion said. They were furious about the Bank Bailouts, Quantitative Easing and taxation on the working classes that should be born by the wealthy and corporations.

Yes, they came from the “conservative” ideological base, while OWS came from the “liberal/progressive” base.

Are you seriously going to rely on the frigging Wall Street Journal to get a fair understanding of what the Occupy Wall Street Movement was all about? Really? If you must go to the house organ of the very organization OWS was protesting against, why not at least quote this WSJ article?

“Occupy Wall Street Has History on Its Side”

“Previous Protests Haven't Lasted as Long—or Accomplished as Much”

“There's a long thread of Wall Street demonstration that dates back to after the Revolutionary War and establishment of a national bank”.

In reality, OWS began as a fluke by a Canadian capitalist-skeptic group, Adbusters. They did not expect so many people to show, and certainly didn’t expect it to last, let alone spread to dozens of cities across the US. Occupy Oakland was where I went (and it’ll likely be my last such protest). Sure, it had no formal organization, and many OWSers wanted to keep it that way, seeing hierarchy as part of the problem (as others have noted here at MoA).

But there was a focus, and that focus has become mainstream as “the 99%.” If you listened to or read what actual protesters said, they were angry at the Bank Bailouts while millions of families were losing their jobs and homes. In fact, OWS has paid off the mortgages, medical bills and student loans for quite a few people.

And yes, some “celebrities” and other “successful” people jumped on the bandwagon. Some had good intentions.

Have you ever heard of COINTELPRO? If not, look into it. If so, ask yourself if you really believe it was shut down after the Church Hearings. Or are the Intelligence Agencies still infiltrating, disrupting and manipulating popular movements?

You know about propaganda, yes? Then ask yourself why the “liberal” MSM universally portrayed Tea Party types as racist idiots and OWS protesters as addle-minded, lazy and ignorant kids.

To me, it’s obvious that TPTSB knew as well as we did that both groups shared much the same concerns (as any class-conscious dialectic will tell you). And it was crucial to marginalize us and keep us separated and bickering with one another.

Chances are, you and I share much the same concerns. Chances are we even share some of the same objectives. But here we are, bickering….. just as TPTSB want us to.

My post was regarding Central Banks, their motivations and their owners. I’ll put up a separate post about that issue.

Posted by: Daniel | May 31 2018 3:02 utc | 114

More on Central Banks

As I’ve noted, I don’t know much about the nuances of EU countries’ banking, so I just did some researching. I’ll cite only primary or pro-Central Bank sources. The core issue of Central Banks is the root of this whole thing, so that’s where I looked. Interestingly, at my favorite reference site for true and valid information (NOT), Wikipedia, their list of Central Banks does not list any of them in the EU countries. For each EU Central Bank, they simply say, “See European Union.”

But, at the website for the ECB, it says, “They perform a range of tasks in close cooperation with the national central banks within the Eurosystem…”

And, sure enough, every EU member state I looked at has its own Central Bank:

I’d never noticed before, but I see Switzerland is not a member of the EU, and so is not part of the ECB. Well, it’s not like Switzerland has anything to do with banking, so we can just move on. ;-)

ECB also says they are “the heart of the Eurosystem and the Single Supervisory Mechanism.”

So, who makes the decisions at the ECB? They say:
“The Governing Council is the main decision-making body of the ECB. It consists of
• the six members of the Executive Board, plus
• the governors of the national central banks of the 19 euro area countries.”

But ECB has a whole section on their Accountability. That’s good news. What do they say about that?

“The ECB is an independent institution which has discretion to use its instruments as necessary to carry out its tasks and fulfil its mandate. Accountability is the necessary counterpart to that independence.”

Well, there’s your “independence” again. But they say accountability is crucial, so how and to whom are they accountable?

“Under the Treaty, the ECB is primarily accountable to the European Parliament… but also has to report regularly to the Council of the EU…”

As others have noted, none of these positions are elected by popular vote, so the ECB is “accountable” to the unelected technocrats of the EU, and the owners of the member Central Banks. So the ECB doesn’t even have that facade of public accountability that the Fed pretends to have.

And who owns those Central Banks?

The Fed is a little defensive about the question of ownership. In its Frequently Asked Questions section, the Federal Reserve Board says: “The Federal Reserve System is not ‘owned’ by anyone and is not a private, profit-making institution. Instead, it is an independent entity within the government, having both public purposes and private aspects.”


"As to the notion of the Rothschilds owning the central banks, the">https://www.connectsavannah.com/savannah/does-the-rothschild-family-control-every-central-bank-in-the-world/Content?oid=3505592">the Anti-Defamation League points out that this Jewish-control-of-the-Fed stuff is pretty much the oldest anti-Semitic story in the book, but one that our modern age of economic anxiety has brought back to the surface—the fact that the international banking system actually is a byzantine mystery that seems to function mostly to make rich jerks richer makes it easy for some to see the nefarious hand of conspiracy behind it."

Well, if the ADL says everything is kosher, even though ownership is a “byzantine mystery” that FactCheck, Wikipedia and whoever informed the above could never answer it, I’m sure there’s no reason to pay any attention to “the man behind the curtain.”

Or, start to lift that curtain.

For those who prefer videos, James Corbett has the best one on the Fed I've ever seen.

Posted by: Daniel | May 31 2018 3:22 utc | 115

@116 Daniel

Well done. Thank you.

Of course the truth is hidden in mystery, and the telling of the truth is characterized as hysteria. That's the world they've pulled over our eyes.

It seems to be that when you have enough money you disappear from the public view. And even to say your name elicits a wealth (literally) of prose that denounces the speaker as an extremist of some kind.

Let me add to your thinking a couple of points that I hope I understand. And I'll let you be the mixmaster for whatever it all means.

~~

One - is that this notion of prosperity "trickling down" from the rich to the poor is completely the opposite of how things actually work in an economy. Prosperity rises up from the ground, because this is the direction that exploitative capitalism is designed to flow in: it exists to extract (steal) the product of the workers - who manipulate the raw bounty of this Earth into consumable form - and to hold it in "ownership" at the level of the rich.

This is the rentier class that makes its economic rent simply from holding ownership, not from working. Karl Marx as explained by Michael Hudson deals extensively with economic rent and how it destroys the productive economy.

Thanks for that wonderful TED talk by Mallence that you linked at #104. What a win-win revolutionary she is. She would understand clearly how the game works. Africa, as she illustrates, is delivering aid to the west, not the other way around. The propaganda of the rentier class is very affordable and works to fool us all, but it exists simply to hide the same trickle-up of colonial resource extraction at pennies on the dollar.

~~

Two - quantitative easing is a cause of low interest rates. It's risk-free money, and where there's no risk to money, it won't command a high price (i.e. interest). The interest rate is not low because the Fed keeps it low, it's low because the money isn't worth paying for.

All the 4 trillion in QE that we've seen has gone to the FIRE sector, the rentier class, principally the stock market. CEOs use it to buy their own stocks, raise their valuations artificially, and skim the increase in personal bonuses. Economic rents, no productivity at all.

If some of that money went to the productive economy, we would see the US bloom again. Four trillion to the street in helicopter drops would start new businesses, create real jobs...all the usual things. Instead, it's an asset bubble at the stock market and in the luxury markets. When it bursts, they'll blame the poor.

In fact, theory is working, that inflating the money supply is resulting in higher prices - but only where that money is going, which is into stocks and other such nominal assets.

~~

Also - one factor almost never discussed is the velocity of money. Real transactions are few and far between. The economy is as sluggish as drying paint. Money velocity is close to stalled. So macroeconomic changes never get enough momentum to manifest themselves and become apparent. We are actually in a long deflationary period, where the prices of resources are going down or stagnating, because demand is slow. What looms is stagflation, where money devalues and thus consumer prices go up, but not because of increased economic activity. So there are no jobs, no income, no productivity, and yet prices go up.

It's all been seen before. I'm not an expert on any of it but the people who profit from it are expert in all of it. They make sure that people at lower levels than themselves pay for the propaganda that fools the rest of us at even lower levels into believing this is the tragic business cycle that we must put u with, when in fact it's simply the rhythm of thieves returning daily to the easy scores for more of the same rip off.

And by the way, ownership classically is less important than control - you can have each one without the other, and if that's the case, you want control. Just as Rothschild said, he only needed to control the money creation, implying that he didn't care who owned the process. So the question of who owns the Fed is a good one, because the answer is as you state, that it's a private bank. But the real question is, who controls the Fed? Who tells it what to do?

~~

So, just a few snippets I thought I'd share, because you've shared so much. Sorry about Italy. As the propaganda curtain gets threadbare and the natives get restless, the violence underlying the rentier system becomes naked.

The sad part is that none of this finance stuff is very difficult, but our minds are filled with a lifetime of cloudiness that is hard to shake.

Posted by: Grieved | May 31 2018 5:03 utc | 116

Thanks, Grieved for the appreciative words.

1. Yes, I like to say that “trickle down economics” is why they call us “pions.” From Adam Smith through Marx to Hudson, Richard Wolff and Mark Blyth (who coined one of my favorite sentences, “The Hamptons is not a defensible position”), any honest economist will tell you that all wealth comes from natural resources worked by labor. That rentier/investor class merely sucks the juice out of the fruits of our labor.

I’m so glad you watched and “got” that talk by Mallence . Everyone I’ve shown it to is moved and agrees with her. All this talk about the “wealth” of European countries (and the US/Canada), even by most “enlightened” people overlooks what the source of those natural resources (and the labor to extract it) really is. The West could not be so wealthy were it not for both earlier colonialism and current, neo-liberal plunder. That’s a big part of why we have a Global War OF Terror. Or, it’s just a coincidence that these religious extremist terrorists only show up where there is great natural resource wealth.

Which is part of why I always note that any real “people’s movement” must be global.

2. I’d never really put together interest rates with QE. Of course! Why borrow money at any rate if the Fed will just hand you all you want? Du-oh. And what loans the banks did make were to secure borrowers (who bought up all the properties the banks had just foreclosed). Now I’m angry all over again! ;-)

I love your $4 trillion helicopter drop! I remember Keynes saying buckets of money could be buried to boost the economy, but your idea is much better. And we do have a LOT of helicopters going to ill use that could be repurposed. And yes to all your points on interest rates and inflation. Though I do believe well more than $4 trillion was created and real inflation is higher than the government admits. I see it at the grocery store, medical care and utilities.

Back in the later 1970s, “the smart people” referred to what you’re describing as “stagflation.” Wages are flat, but there’s still inflation. They stopped talking about that after Saint Ronnie’s Administration changed how official figures are computed and wrote enough rubber checks to triple the US’s national debt to make it seem like things were getting better. But really, that was just the start of the trajectory we’ve been on ever since. Some fields boom here and there, but mostly, the only income/wealth increases are enjoyed by the rentier/investor class.

Other investments I’ve noticed skyrocket are classic autos and art. Some of that is no doubt money laundering, but I bet a good portion is just casino gambling (like almost all of the stocks and commodities trading).

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I learned and thought right back!

Posted by: Daniel | May 31 2018 6:32 utc | 117

Posted by: bevin | May 30, 2018 8:47:34 AM | 84
"Those who see Brexit as ‘racist’ and reactionary are a familiar enough bunch, they are the same people who see jihadi militias in Syria and American puppets in Libya as friends of democracy and progress fighting authoritarian thugs."

Well now I know. I really thought bevin had some sort of ethical humanism about him but now I see that when push comes to shove, and bevin cannot find any factual support for his contentions he simply smears by ad hominem.

bevin you live in england and KNOW that the vast majority of the pre brexit marketing from the likes of UKIP and Aaron whatshisface was racist and crudely nationalist in its intent and that the majority of people who voted for brexit were old crocks who were trying to keep the UK 'english' or in their limited newsspeak 'British'.

Brexit with the tories in charge will be no great revolution, we already know that the first target of Gove, May, Johnson & the Rees-Mogg caricature will be the human rights protections for people that have been enforced by the european courts. They will do nothing to stop bankers and corporates - the opposite, everything possible to aid the oppressors will be enacted - much worse than the EU, where for example the largest railway enterprise SCNF is still (just) publicly owned.
The tories come over all vague when confronted about the proposed fall off of human rights protections post brexit by talking about transition periods and this was why they are so opposed to parliamentary oversight. Not because that will stop them because it won't but it will hinder them and cause a substantial increase in the cost of bribes.

There are sufficient new labour MPs who stand at the fascist end of the neolib spectrum to push through all manner of travesties when the tories pilot brexit - which they will since the one thing that the tories, DUP and New Labour members are determined won't happen; that is Mr Corbyn will not be PM when Brexit occurs.

After that it will scarcely matter, since without any external oversight those same forces will ensure Mr Corbyn will never lead a Labour Government that has sufficient committed MPs to turn back any of this.

Yet you all still stand on bullshit 'principle' ignoring the horror of what is pretty much inevitable because y'know EU bad. It is bad nowadays but what comes afterwards will be infinitely worse.
Windrush horror stories will have nothing on what happens to unwhite englanders once the ECJ is kicked to the kerb. I dunno if you are a naive unwhite - unlikely since few unwhites have that luxury, or an uncaring whitefella but whatever it is, if you actually believe the nonsense dreamworld shite you've been peddling about brexit, you will be directly accountable for the misery that is certain to happen. No hiding out in abstract land then.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 31 2018 7:14 utc | 118

@106 claudio

Thanks for reminding me about the Tsipras betrayal, though my comment wasn't about really Greeks in general, rather than those I know (privileged and very smart ones!). It comes up almost every time we meet and I can't but shake my head that they see absolutely no contradiction in the face of logic. I feel for them of course and we also rarely hear anything about Greece in the news for a long time.

One of the things that bugs me about the Pork Pie News Networks is lack of follow up. They're more than happy to document the travails in countries like Venezuela as it is ennemi du jour, but I want to see how Greeks (for example) are coping, a cross-spread of professions and ages over time in dealing with the challenges back home. Instead all we get is the odd paragraph about 'high unemployment' and 'implementation of economic measures'.

There are some reporters who do go back every six months or so and document changes from the people they know, but this is too far and few between. As we've seen since the liberation of Aleppo, they simply aren't interested at all. Best not ask questions if you know you won't like the answers, no?

Posted by: et Al | May 31 2018 7:34 utc | 119

Most of the posts / discussion here are about economics (see somebody at 50 for some of the probs, +) or Jen on the history of Greece -> in the opinion of many Greece should never have joined the EU (see the goldman sachs manipulations..)

Bongocero (49) brings up the origins of the EU as NOT an ‘organic’ creation, and that is true enough (the comparison with the Soviet Supreme is fun too…but ??), and several allude to EU =vassals= etc.

NATO and the EU are kind of imperfect sides of a coin. So what has to be stated strongly is: Economic relations in terms of Trade and banking arrangements (not currency, though pegs can be accepted as impermanent) should be divorced from national sovereignity and foreign policy. Of course this is an ideal, but it is imho OK as a principle. (If not, other scenario.)

What the ‘EU’ did (post the coal-steel Union) was to meld and amalgamate together Trade, socio-cultural matters, and the adherence to a geo-political, atlantacist Block, with the occupied land of Germany taking the lead ( > size, industry, output, banking clout, etc.)

Anyone can sign an FTA. For X sake, Switzerland has an FTA with China, and both parties are happy with it. Of course it was hard to work out. All you need is a meeting room, plenty pencil and paper, and a computer to grind some numbers, and loads of white wine. Get ready for friendly puzzlement morphed to acerbic shouting argument about — crocodile eggs. Not a joke, was a serious prob. (This does not mean that I am for FTA’s.)

CH will not ever fight on China’s side, nor would China ever support CH if it decided to once again crusade against France (which is discussed here all the time, much bitterness remains..)

As all these different dimensions have been mixed up, the issues become wild flags, irrational and partisan, not tied to any previous ‘political party grouping’ or any ‘new coalitions’ (e.g. split in Brit. Labour, no renewal of pol. parties in GB), nor to any ‘rational’ balancing of interests from the ‘functional’ end, taking for granted that probity and moral values are out the door. Imho the confusion is sorta on purpose.

What ppl forget also (but maybe not so much the Italians who remember Mussolini) is that Fascim is an extremism of the Center, not of the ‘left’ (vicious manipulative down-beating communism enforcing etc.) or the right (jackboot authoritarianism, sending to prison..) So Italy is an interesting ‘fire region’ (contrary to Greece, small, tolerated, doomed from the start) but Italy will capitulate, wait and see. I’ll be there in 10 days, heh.

Posted by: Noirette | May 31 2018 14:25 utc | 120

Posted by: Noirette | May 31, 2018 10:25:24 AM | 122

Fascism as "extremism of the center" is an interesting concept. I don't quite understand the context that might explain anything, though. Or do you mean the sociological strata that could support fascism - civil servants, industrialists, small shop owners as in "the center of society"?

Italian fascism was a different beast from German national socialism which allows for different national narratives (and coalitions).

What is happening today seems to be a breakdown of society. I don't think Mussolini has a role in this. Any attempt to convert Italy into a dictatorship is bound to fail.

Posted by: somebody | May 31 2018 15:02 utc | 121

I may have been a bit out of sorts last night, so please allow me to explain.

It turns out that yesterday I was brutally murdered by Vladimir Putin, who shot me in the back with Novichok- laced Pulonium bullets. But after being treated by the medical staff at Salisbury District Hospital, who didn’t have a clue why I wasn’t feeling well, and describe my recovery as “miraculous,” I am feeling much better today.

I hope this clears things up for you. Because it sure does for me.

Posted by: Daniel | May 31 2018 22:44 utc | 122

@124 Good to hear that you are OK. It's outrageous. I suggest you notify the BBC and Reporters Without Borders. They will initiate a full and thorough enquiry and the guilty parties will soon be brought to justice.

Posted by: dh | May 31 2018 22:58 utc | 123

Hmm Mattarella has rescinded his ultimatum. IMO the pressure for that has come from neolibs concerned that M5S & the Northerm League will garner an increased majority in both houses (they don't hold much sway in the senate but that would change if Mattarella's insistence on my way or the highway was enforced). From that one concludes that the initial rejection was the prez's knee jerk reaction with input from few neolib 'power players') and that once the serious neolib gang got hold of the prez a few 'home truths' were read out. Maybe one day we will find out exactly what was said one day, but for me I don't consider the issue of whether he was bribed ("Here is a large brown paper bag"), blackmailed ("here is a vid of your mistress/rent boy giving you head") or extorted (Here is a list of all new entrants at the most exclusive primary/elementary/prep school you will see it no longer includes your grandson") as that is the prurient nonsense which is used to distract from the main issues.

When one considers the new Conte government's cabinet it is worth noting that Paolo Savona, the original pick as economic minister has been included in the cabinet, but this time in a different gig as Minister for Europe. I think it was RT News this am which named the new 'Economy and Finance Minister' as Giovanni Tria According to RT the new minster is no fan of the eu/eurozone, but has not publicly stated he wants to get out of either altho he has advocated the need for substantial changes to both.

I do not trust neolib machinations as I am currently observing the effects of a small, but egregious neolib stroke on my own whanau, nevertheless my heart goes out to the humans fleeing war in the ME, Africa and South Asia now that Northern League boss Matteo Salvini is Minister of the Interior.

Both Greece and Italy have been badly scammed by the current refugee agreements which demand the two nations which are easiest for those fleeing the wars created by FukUSi to get to - Italy and Greece must take them all, instead of spreading them equitably around the EU.

Hungary & Czech Republic need to be told to shape up or ship out, that if they don't want to assist fine, stand alone separate from the EU. I know that many here (IMO wrongly), consider the families which have fled to be 'headchoppers' or (Insert denigration du jour) parasites, yet when the shit hit the fan in europe during the three decade long 20th century euro war, tens of millions of humans hit the road and many have never returned - many of them left because sustainable incomes were no longer available at 'home' but no one stopped them on the grounds that they were 'economic refugees' or whatever.

Of course a more permanent solution must be found - europe quitting support of the amerkan empire's adventures is the obvious kick-off. Incarcerating migrants will only make everything much worse.

Dissolving the EU will be chaotic and probably violent. Fixing the issues instead could work.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 1 2018 5:22 utc | 124

Daniel wrote from Bevin
"“March 1918, that the Central Powers and the new Bolshevik regime signed the Treaty of Brest Litovsk- the wish list of the German ruling class.”

I got jumped on by some Bolshevik-nik when I commented here about that stuff a while back.

First, can anyone think of any other time that a nation surrendered to the loser of a war? "

Sorry to put the facts in the way of fantasy but in March 1918 it was by no means obvious Germany were losing, the reverse in fact as amerika had barely released one division for the struggle and Ludendorf's massive spring offensive was just beginning.
The deal between Germany and Lenin was made earlier as a way to prevent the by now continual Russian famine (no peasants to plant of harvest they were away at the front) and someone had to stop the deaths of tens of thousands of Russians every week.

Of course it was a bad deal but Lenin had no choice. If Russia had simply stopped fighting the ending would have been a far worse deal with many more Russians dead or he could try to do as Kerensky had and keep the war going almost certainly causing another revolution.
Germany put Lenin and Zinoviev on a train and sent em from Switzerland to Russia - there was simply no other option.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 1 2018 5:43 utc | 125

126 According to Der Spiegel - in German - Giovanni Tria advocates for Germany to leave the Euro Zone, same idea Varoufakis proposed to Schäuble.

It would be a solution most Germans would like as this country is close to full employment and people could do with more value for their currency especially in the summer holidays.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 1 2018 14:00 utc | 126

> somebody at 123.

Fascism is an extremism of the center, because State Power, the institutionalised rules etc., meld with the major, dominating, economic actors, aka big corps / monopolies / biz conglomerates, etc., tyically 'private' - Mussolini made it clear.

The State, as a ‘democratic’ or ‘enlightened monarch’ or ‘republic’ or other pol arrangement or ideal - is supposed to regulate from up top, in favor of probity, fairness, protection of the poor, feeding starving children, a fair life for all, etc.

When the State melds with Corporations who control a large part of ‘the economy’ with supreme exploitation of natural ressources and labor, the deal is done, the matter sealed. Exploitation becomes a be-all and end-all.

So, somebody, yes, nothing much is explained. Still, it is important to grasp that fascim is not communistic control etc. or right wing jack boots.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 1 2018 15:36 utc | 127

Conte seems to be elected but EU changed the economic minister it seems, theres no democracy in the EU headquarter, thats for sure.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 1 2018 16:33 utc | 128

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 1, 2018 11:36:34 AM | 129

Let's agree that fascism occurs when state and economic power turn to dictatorship by the use of right wing jack boots.

The alternative would be a military dictatorship.

There is no power without guns.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 1 2018 16:37 utc | 129

Debsisdead @127. I didn’t write nor mean to imply that Germany was losing the war in March, 1917 (not 1918), when the Russian Revolution forced the abdication of the Czar.

A war which had swung back and forth numerous times was actually looking good for Germany in early Spring, 1917. Ludendorf was doing everything he could to either win, or at least put Germany in a better bargaining position before masses of USAmerican troops landed.

Are you denying that Germany (and everyone including alleged political genius Vladimir Lenin) knew that just five days before the US officially declared war that was about to change everything?

It’s a fact that some German soldiers were refusing to fight, just as many Russian soldiers had. It is a fact that Germany’s socialist movement was gaining popularity.

Yes, the Bolshevik-niks insist Lenin had no choice but to sign a surrender treaty which even he knew was horribly onerous. I don’t buy it.

Russian war production had already been slashed. Russian soldiers were already refusing to fight and even marching home. The Russian government could have simply ordered the guarded retreat of all forces and waited out the end of the war. They may have even been able to hold onto parts of Poland and the Baltic States. General Ludendorff would likely have been relieved to no longer have an Eastern Front, and left those areas to focus on the Western Front.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 2 2018 4:04 utc | 130

we can agree on that somebody.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 2 2018 14:47 utc | 131

When third-world savages slice open the last Italians with their machetes, the Italians will happily say to themselves, "We are so excellent because we avoided the sin of racism. See how virtuous we are. Nothing is worse than racism."

Posted by: Col. B. Bunny | Jun 5 2018 3:35 utc | 132

Much inaccuracy in this analysis.

It is not anymore Lega Nord, it is just Lega. Big difference.
The previous name was associated with another phase of the party, more regionalistic, anti-south of Italy, and its leadership was different.
The previous leadership was wiped out by a corruption scandal.

The new government is not unexperienced.
Matteo Salvini is in politics since the early 90s, and all the leadership of that party is the second line of the previous one. He completely changed and rebranded the party, aggressively gaining all the arguments that the traditional Left gave up, such as labor rights and industrial policy.

Five Star Movement is not unexperienced anymore after many years at the opposition. They never governed at a State level, and their municipal management is not always working.


Everyone sees the sharp and smart moves of the new government: stopping the bossy attitude of France and Germany, establishing a dialogue between peers, and if this message is not received implement strong measures to make sure the message reaches the right people.
Stopping the uncontrolled and foreign-directed flow of irregular immigrants on Italian coast, by forcing NGO to give up their unclear traffics and publish the list of their opaque financers (such as George Soros).
Force Malta to cooperate and EU to contribute to a situation that everyone in the EU have willingly ignored.

On economic level: be ready for the next €urocrisis by printing "backup money" in form of debt monetized titles, to withstand an eventual financial attack such as the one that ECB perpetrated to Greece, by choking their money supply in order to force them to implement the "reforms" that Germany wanted.

The meaning of all this is to revert the condition of submission and neglect that the previous center-"left" majority (now sharp minority) willingly created for the Country, under the mad idea that national interests are the prequel of Fascism, because "no Nation, no nationalism, no Fascism".

Posted by: Italian | Jun 14 2018 9:31 utc | 133

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