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

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Comment transferred from the older thread
@63 A good comment from one of Guardian articles regarding Italy. It is worth the read:

"Italy’s written Constitution (1947) bans referenda on any international treaty, so no Italian voter has ever been directly consulted on any of the treaties of the EU since it started in Rome in 1957, not even the Euro. Italy’s Constitution also creates a bicameral structure of equal powers between the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, which has frequently stalemated the Italian Parliament. They also have some ‘Peers’ in Italy, whereby the President can appoint ‘Senators for Life’.
Following a decade of economic stagnation after joining the Euro at the Millennium, Berlusconi threatened to take Italy out of the Single Currency at an EU Conference in 2011 when Merkel and Sarkozy ganged up on him over the Fiscal Compact and publicly mocked him. Within days of his threat, telephone intercepts were released to the media in which Berlusconi had privately described Angela Merkel as ‘an unfuckable lard-arse’, and he was quickly deposed from power and pursued for corruption to prevent him standing for re-election. (By apparent coincidence, the Head of the IMF, Dominic Strauss-Khan, was also removed at this time when his mobile phone was compromised, and he was pursued for sexual assault allegations, preventing him from standing as the anti-Euro Socialist candidate in the upcoming 2012 French Elections). The Italian President then appointed the former Italian PM and EU Commissioner for Financial Services (ex Goldman Sachs) Mario Monti as a technocratic PM, the very same Mario Monti in Brussels today proposing a raft of taxes for the next EU Budget to help bail out the Euro.
When Elections in Italy were allowed in 2013, the result was a hung Parliament under Prime Minister Letta, who was soon replaced by the Italian President in favour of Matteo Renzi, nicknamed ‘Merkenzi’, because of his closeness to Angela Merkel. He in turn proposed a new successor for President, Sergio Mattarella, an ally of former Italian Prime Minister and EU President, Romano Prodi, (ex-Goldman Sachs), responsible for introducing the Euro, despite members like Italy and Greece not meeting the convergence criteria (except by creative accounting and a river of Goldman Sachs credit default swaps).
Matteo Renzi sought constitutional reforms to speed up austerity measures and to abolish Italy’s CNEL (National Council for Economics and Labour) which was opposed to the kind of labour reforms that Hollande and Macron were undertaking in France using presidential decrees to bypass the French Parliament. The Italian Parliament was unable to muster enough votes to pass these reforms, so Renzi put them to a Constitutional Referendum in December 2016, and Italian voters rejected them on a 60/40 vote.
In new Elections in March this year, voters abandoned the Party of Matteo Renzi, breaking unevenly to Five Star and Lega, which both reject Euro austerity, but from different right and left perspectives. Their subsequent attempt to form a coalition led President Mattarella to nominate a mutually-agreeable candidate, Giuseppe Conte, last week. Article 92 of the Italian Constitution sets out his power:
“The President of the Republic nominates the Prime Minister and, on his proposal, the Ministers.”

But having nominated Giuseppe Conte as PM, he did not reciprocate in Mr Conte’s discretion to propose Paolo Savona as Minister of Finance, because Savona had described the Euro as ‘an historic mistake’. Mr Conte has understandably declined to become PM, and the President has turned to Carlo Cottarelli, a former Executive Director of the IMF (previously appointed by Matteo Renzi), and known as ‘Mr Scissors’ for cutting public spending. Mr Cottarelli said ten days ago there was ‘no possibility’ he would become PM.
The Italian President evidently doesn’t want another Election before 2019, to avoid clashing with the end of Brexit negotiations, supposed to be finished by October, and the last thing Brussels wants is a controversial Election in Italy on the Euro, which could seriously compromise their negotiating position on Brexit."

Posted by: Peter Schmidt | May 29, 2018 1:31:04 AM |

Posted by: b | May 29 2018 10:44 utc | 1

Comment transferred from the older thread
At this point, had the 5S and Lega any political and historical senses, they would plan to send tens of thousands of their militants and voters to march on Rome and get forcefully rid of the current political system and Constitution, to start anew. Playing by the rules won't work, since they've been set up by the house, and the only rule is that the house always wins. The only winning move is not to play that game and just discard the board entirely.
Of course, such considerations don't apply to Italy only; they're just as valid for every single other Western face democracy.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 29, 2018 4:28:26 AM |

Posted by: b | May 29 2018 10:45 utc | 2

Comment transferred from the older thread
Posted by: Peter Schmidt | May 29, 2018 1:31:04 AM | 64

I've had a bit of a hunt but have been unable to find that graun article you quote from which is hardly surprising given the uselessness of the paper's search function, but I would be interested to see the article and find out who wrote it, given the piece I linked to states that the lower house of the legislature has the power to veto any president's government.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 29, 2018 4:28:26 AM | 65

Of course but few Italians are starving yet, so the chances of rousing Italians sufficiently to confront the well armed & trained forces that the ptb can call upon are currently just about non-existent, even if the M5S leaders really wanted to do that.

Neo-libs have spent at least 30 years hunting the line beyond which no government can go. They know when to push and when to pull back and thus far their greed hasn't neccessitated getting so close to the line people will rise up.

That will happen some time in the future, because capitalism being what it is, greed will eventually induce a sort of collective amnesia among the elites but IMO we're a generation short of that at present.
From that perspective the league/M5S is doing exactly the right thing. They may be successful yet, but if they aren't, they are creating an historic knothole; the sort of event in Italy's seemingly smooth and just 'democracy' that will linger in peoples' minds for generations, including the minds of those as yet unborn.

These knot holes are vital and not just because they provide insight into the enemies' amoral opportunism. The knot-holes provide sufficient effect to cause citizens to think again and then reject their indoctrination.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 29, 2018 5:20:21 AM | 66

Posted by: b | May 29 2018 10:46 utc | 3

Debsisdead says:

Of course but few Italians are starving yet, so the chances of rousing Italians sufficiently to confront the well armed & trained forces that the ptb can call upon are currently just about non-existent, even if the M5S leaders really wanted to do that

Pier Paolo Pasolini, communist homosexual, atheist, peerless intellectual, fell out with the students after the riots of the late 60s early 70s 'cause he sided with the carabinieri whom he saw as the true working poor.

here in the magnetic boot, populism has rejected the left/right paradigm….the lega in the north, representing among others the most productive workers on the planet, and the M5S in the south, representing among others the 40 to 50% unemployed youth. this coalition with a solid majority of votes has been dealt a swift kick in the teeth by who else but the money changers. yes, once again. outrageous yes, surprising Italy struggles to define a future in a country where last year for i think the first time ever more people died than were born. where were you tomorrow?

i guess elections will be called, and i suspect the PD, the so-called center left, will unite with the PdL, the so-called center right, making official the little devide and conquer circlejerk they've been playing for decades, in the hopes that they'll become relevant again. they won't.

I don't believe we shall ever again have any form of society in which men will be free. One should not hope for it. One should not hope for anything. Hope is invented by politicians to keep the electorate happy(Pier Paolo Pasolini)

Posted by: john | May 29 2018 10:57 utc | 4

Merkel's reaction is about the worst she could have.

Merkel tells Italy: euro zone rules must frame economic discussions

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she would work with any coalition government formed in Italy, but she also warned that any discussions on economic policy would have to be within the rules governing the euro zone.

This pushes the Italian voters (and not only them) further into the anti-EU camp.

The monster Soros is also out fear mongering about a new financial crisis.

If the two Italian anti-establishment parties Lega Nord and 5 Star Movement unite for a new election, (or make a common list?), they could win up to 92% of all parliament seats.

What would Brussels or Berlin do then?

Posted by: b | May 29 2018 10:57 utc | 5

B @ 5: My guess is that if Lega Nord and 5 Stelle formed a coalition and won parliamentary elections, Brussels and Berlin would declare the Italian elections illegitimate and order Italy to hold new elections until the voters vote the right way.

Just as the US condemns Venezuela's recent elections "illegitimate" because Nicolas Maduro was returned as President.

Of course, if a second round of elections were held and Lega Nord / 5 Stelle still won, then Brussels and Berlin could impose a "caretaker government" of pro-EU neoliberal technocrats to carry out EU policies.

Nothing I've said so far would be out of the ordinary for the EU to do as some variation of what I suggested has already been applied in Greece.

Posted by: Jen | May 29 2018 11:48 utc | 6

The beginning of the end of the EU was when it coerced Greece into accepting its austerity package. The EU acted then to serve only the interests of Greece's bondholders - many of whom were banks in the larger EU states. The deal, however, was presented as a bailout for Greece.

The option of defaulting on the loans was not allowed, as that would mean too much loss for the big banks who lent money recklessly and without due diligence. Most of the 'bailout' was just a loan extension that went straight to those bondholders as a repayment of Greece's debts.

The EU proved then that it was just another anti-democratic empire that only existed in order to benefit the elite.

Posted by: Brendan | May 29 2018 11:55 utc | 7

Posted by: nhs | May 29, 2018 7:49:27 AM | 7

If you wanT anyone to use your link put the actual link up - lose the spy & spam garbage that is

If it could be done, I for one would like these 'shortners' with all their dodgy carry-on automatically blocked from this site.
You have been told time and time again yet still you shit on us all nhs - why? troll much?

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 29 2018 12:05 utc | 8

Altho it should make no difference Greece's population is 11 million humans and Italy's is 60 million. That matters a great deal to the EU, especially when considering that Italy's previous corrupt governance (thanks amerika) has allowed Italy to be used for polluting industries that would be rejected in Germany.
Factor in old school German elites' view of Greeks as a unwhite untermensch and I reckon it is possible that the vicious indifference that was used on Greece won't get a heap of support from the arseholes to be used against Italy.

I'm sure the bankers and euro corps will want to try something nasty, but whatever it is, it could be less committed than the sodomising of Greece was and that could make the neolib fightback less successful.

None of us can really be sure of what happens next, but humanity is due a break from the pricks - maybe we shall see a shift to better.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 29 2018 12:23 utc | 9

What they have made of Italy is a disaster ...just few days ago I have seen documentary ( do not remember where on TV)about Italian unemployment situation. People in the South are so desperate for employment so they have organized bus tours to go and apply for a job up in North Italy. They sleep at the bus because they can not afford hotel. They stay up North just to pass two tests and they go back home. This group were group of nurses ( occupation very much in shortage everywhere else). There was 5 vacancies up North and there was 5000 applicants so probably no chance for them to get a job. They still try it in masses.
I visited Italy 4 years ago. I was saddened to see Roma at it's lowest point...poverty is visible even in this city that attracts so many tourists. Naples reminded me of some Romanian city during Ceaușescu. Catastrophic... And I remember shiny Italy from my youth when we went there in shopping tours from Serbia because we did not have much in our shops during years of socialism...Today I haven't seen anything to buy in Italy...Even in Serbia that has been devastated with years of sanctions and Balkan wars nowadays things are visibly much better and plenty of great stuff to buy.
I simply do not understand what a hell happened with western and why they allowed to be robbed of their future and their children's future.
Neoliberalism is a criminal act (and in the open)...and worldwide. People were hypnotized with cheap credit and credit cards given left and right...but this Ponzi scheme is nearing it's end and masses are starting to understand how they were robbed. What now?

Posted by: vbo | May 29 2018 12:26 utc | 10

Posted by: john | May 29, 2018 6:57:14 AM | 4

No. Lega Nord represent northern Italian industrialists - see Silvio Berlusconi. "Five stars" represent the movement of 1968 which was definitively not working class. Both need/use populism as the only way they can get votes. Leaving the Euro is not in Italians (as in people) interest, Tsipras knows that. Noone wants to work for a currency that has no value outside of the country and the value within the country is limited as most depend on imported goods. Or selling goods for cheap to foreigners.

Italy's political landscape reflects the defeat of the Italian working class. Fiat has been taken over by Chrysler and maybe soon sold to Volkswagen, Italy's automotive industry is in the supply chain to German car manufacturers.

Lega representing only part of the country means a deep split within Italy.
Similar to Spain and Catalonia.

Germany is very much the culprit of all this by refusing to invest into the EU. Merkel gave Macron nice words but nothing else.

You see what is going on when you google the government debt of countries. Germany has some 70 percent of GDP similar to 1995 with a high of 81 percent in 2010, France some 100 percent which has risen from 60 percent from 1995 and Italy some 130 percent which has not changed since 1995.

Germany's export driven economy depends on other people indebting themselves. Their account surplus is immense.

Something has got to give. German politicians don't tell Germans the truth - that they are refusing to make life better for them for an economic policy that is not sustainable.

Trump trade balance "negotiations" hit a nerve. What he is hiding is that he is cutting taxes for the rich whilst expanding/publicly investing into the economy via public debt.

The Lega Nord/5 stars coalition represent both sides of this policy Trump manages by himself. The US will be able to get away with it via power of the Dollar. Italy's government default will not be funny.

Posted by: somebody | May 29 2018 12:27 utc | 11

By denouncing British Leave voters (who defied the orders of their pro-EU rulers) as "Little Englanders", the author is standing alongside both the European and British ruling classes, even though the rest of the piece is critical of the technocratic, democracy-hating EU elites.

As Italian voters are finding out, the EU machine has complete contempt for democracy and sovereignty, which is one of the reasons this voter voted Leave in the UK referendum. (The other was to try and reduce Washington's control of European foreign policy by detaching its Chief Poodle from the EU.)

Just to be clear, the pro-EU voices ordering voters to choose Remain before the referendum included the leaderships of all three main political parties, 75-80% of MPs, the House of Lords, the CBI, the Bank of England, the City, the BBC, all four 'serious' newspapers, academia, entertainment luvvies and bascially the entire establishment. Added to this were the external ruling elite actors trying to influence the outcome from the IMF, World Bank, EU Comission itself obviously, and President Obama threatening Britain with trade penalties if it didn't vote Remain.

I'd like to think that commenters on this site are able to distinguish between the ruling class of a country and the citizens as a whole. I have noticed a few people though under the impression that Brexit is a decision of the rulers of the country, when it is absolutely the opposite.

Leavers are crudely portrayed by the both the British and global elites as stupid, knuckle-dragging, uneducated, racist xenophobes for not following orders, while the pro-Remain Government is currently negotiating a fake Brexit which looks to effectively keep Britain in EU in all but name.

The author hopes that the EU will reform in the wake of the possible fury of Italian voters, while showing the same contempt for British voters as the EU does, and the same contempt that the EU showed to the voters of France, Netherlands, Ireland and Greece in the past. Good luck with those reforms. The EU makes me understand why the old revolutionary left insisted that you couldn't reform the ruling, capitalist class, or vote them out, because they would simply not allow it.

The only way to stop the EU ruling class is to break up the EU, and that will only happen when enough countries leave.

Posted by: Ash | May 29 2018 12:47 utc | 12

vbo - 11: my best friend is half-Italian and has plenty of family between Rome and Napoli. The trend now is that, if you want a job, any job, you actually pay for it, you have to bribe your way in. That's a level of racket that would amaze old-school mafia.

Ash - 13: I never had any doubt British people would vote to leave the EU, and I wondered if that wasn't Cameron's goal when he proposed his referendum, because the outcome was so obvious to me that I thought only a pro-EU madman could want the vote to happen. Looks like I was wrong and Cameron really was that stupid.
As for reforming the EU, there are 2 ways, either downright revolutions in major countries, that then expand to the bulk of the Union, or indeed a break-up. Ideally, I'd love the former to happen, but that's way less likely than the latter.

somebody -12: The Lega ruling over the industrial North as its bastion and being ignored or hated outside it is past. They can come 2nd easily in many Southern places, the same way 5 Stelle can get plenty of votes in the North as well. Looks like a good chunk of Lega, including the recent leadership, has moved towards a more general Italian nationalist position - a bit like Sadr became an Iraqi nationalist and not a mere Shia supremacist.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 29 2018 13:10 utc | 13

somebody says:

Lega Nord represent northern Italian industrialists - see Silvio Berlusconi. "Five stars" represent the movement of 1968 which was definitively not working class

no dude, you're wrong, but mostly you're missing the point. this is the first time since the republic was formed in 1946 that the people, the people, from north to south, have united against the corruption of the central government. names are largely insignificant at this point in time.

incidentally, in the last general election, the lega nord, aside from winning outright in the north, was the second largest in Aosta Valley, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, the third largest in Liguria, Marche and Umbria, all stalwarts of the left since WW2.

Posted by: john | May 29 2018 13:18 utc | 14

Two points:

1. It is absolutely wrong to suggest either that the European Community was ever a noble project supposed to "guarantee protections" to anyone or that it somehow went wrong by accident. Its primary purpose has always been to transfer power gradually away from voters in European countries and concentrate it in the hands of unaccountable technocrats who know what's best for everyone. The transfer of power has only ever been in one direction and is not reversible. People are simply much more aware of this today than they were at the beginning of the process.

Here is just one example: In 1971, before the United Kingdom had even joined the EC, the British government was already well aware of this. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office wrote a secret report discussing the huge loss of democratic power that would result from joining, and recommended that the British people be prevented from finding out until it was too late for them to do anything about it. This document (FCO30/1048) was kept secret for 30 years. See here and here for some analysis. It is naive to characterize this as an unfortunate mistake made by people who meant well. This was the Club of Rome plan before the EC even existed.

2. Gough Whitlam was not dismissed by "an englander queen". He was dismissed by a CIA asset Governor-General (John Kerr) in what amounted to a US-instigated coup. Whitlam's withdrawal of Australian support for the Vietnam war, threats to shut down the US spying facility at Pine Gap and general anti-American stance had enraged the US and caused them to target him for dismissal at the earliest possible opportunity. It was the US deep state that engineered Kerr's dismissal of Whitlam's government, not the Queen. This brought to an end Australia's brief independence from US foreign policy. See this Guardian article by John Pilger which, ironically, predates the one cited by Debs is Dead.

Posted by: Mobius 01 | May 29 2018 13:18 utc | 15

What is the end game for those Euro fanatics? The Euro has failed - it's a fact. Keeping it on life support will simply raise the price tag of the final break up when it comes. More years of lost opportunity for the South, more irredeemable debts in the vaults of the North. More years of misallocated investment and robbed savings due to artificially low interest rates, without which Italy and some others would go bankrupt immediately. This looks about as pointless as Germany's fight after 1944.

Posted by: Mike P | May 29 2018 13:26 utc | 16

The oligarchs are the top predators of our world, roaming the globe in search of prey to devour. No nation or natural resource is safe from their bottomless hunger for more, more, more.........

Posted by: mike k | May 29 2018 13:51 utc | 17

Clueless Joe - 14: The pro-EU Cameron didn't intend to lose the referendum and his job. He, and the whole establishment, expected a Remain vote because they had confidence that the PR machine would deliver it.

He called the vote to move against the Euro-sceptics in his party which had long divided it, and also to effectively shut down UKIP which was percieved as a rival for votes. He actually succeeded in the latter, albeit with the opposite of the intended outcome. Either way, once the referendum had happened, UKIP's main reason for existance disappeared (although we do badly need a anti-imperialist, anti-interventionist party).

If/when the fake Brexit goes through, UKIP will be back bigly when the voters are faced with the reality of their betrayal. Though Italy could change the entire dynamic if they want to leave too.

Posted by: Ash | May 29 2018 13:55 utc | 18

Posted by: john | May 29, 2018 9:18:31 AM | 15

You describe Matteo Renzi as "left"? Only in America ...

Italy is very much split - have a look at the electoral map. 5 stars are the joker.

My bet is that 5star movement and Lega Nord mostly got their vote because of their - vile - anti-immigrant stance - they are ambiguous on their positions on Europe.

Lega Nord is very establishment - five star is anti-establishment. Italian government has never worked very well.

It is doubtful any of them are very anti-Europe. The proposed minister - an old Berlusconi ally - who caused the present crisis definitively is not.

From an open letter he sent to Yanis Varoufakis and Dominique Strauss-Khan during the height of the "Greek crisis".

And that is not all. During the process of political union, we took a wrong turn at one point. We failed to unite that which could be and needed to be united (such as defense). Instead, we united that which did not need to be united (for example, the size of vegetables).

This is why, in Europe today, it is not “more union” that we need.What we need is to propose, discuss and design new “articles of confederation”.

Dear Yanis, dear Dominique, we agree on the fact that life and civilization cannot be reduced to mere calculations of interest rates; we agree that today, in Europe, it is not the technicalities that need changing but the political vision. History teaches us that in order to reach our goal we must change what is inside people’s heads or – at the very least – admit that mistakes have been made. We agree that the piazzas of protest are to be avoided, but that we must find a new road, down which we can all walk, regardless of our country or political party of origin.

This story has been spun top down - it is not this "anti-Europe" economist who refuses the vision of Europe - it is Germany's Angela Merkel who refuses to spread the wealth in her country and the Eurozone.

Posted by: somebody | May 29 2018 13:58 utc | 19

Far from the hyper-centralized EU experiment being about inclusivity and peace, it has meant perpetual-war by attaching itself in its full weight amd industry to the death-machine of the neoliberal world order.

One can forgive those who wanted to believe that after the bloodiest century in history, the EU would mean happy-happy-peace-joy for all involved, not realizing that border skirmishes, bilateral diplomatic negotiations, and the occassional venting through bloodshed allows humanity to be itself without imposing a totalitatian framework that proponents (charlatans) of hyper-centralization insist on and INVARIABLY lead to the looting of public coffers.

One can put it this way about "big-ideas" like the EU or even the UN: do you like life "intolerable" or "untenable"?

The latter points to an acknowledgement that further evolution is neccessary. The prior invokes the feeling of utter hopelessness and an eventual explosion of violence. The populist surging in the EU, I believe, is the result of the mere disgust of their intolerable reality.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 29 2018 14:10 utc | 20

Mobius 01
1) It is inconceivable that Kerr a staunch royalist did not discuss his planned move with the englander hag queen brenda
2) The Pilger article you linked to made it plain that Whitlam's removal was a joint englander amerikan operation. At that time england still had more hooks in the Oz elite than amerika did. Witness the appalling cringe (it is unfortunately all over that net) that the tory Menzies who was Whitlam's predecessor PM did to brenda battenburg when she first visited OZ. He actually tries to sing to her - dreadful It was the anti-englander royalty backlash which prevented charlie the sanitary napkin-phile from being made governor general of Oz. After the dismissal england's chinless inbreds became persona non-grata with Australians of the boomer generation. It has only been younger australians who have fallen for the awful battenburg schtick - even so once brenda shuffles off they are gonna have a hard row to hoe with most commonwealth nations. The only thing keepin them going is reluctance to have a politically appointed head of state, but time & time again the parasites have revealed they are political.
As the strategy for a jury style selection process to select the head of state becomes more popular, the bludgers of buck house will be just another piece of Oz' rich history.
England and it's corrupt royal family were in the thick of the dismissal, pretending that isn't so is just as incorrect as the claim that the original EC was founded as a project to fit up euro citizens. Little englander revisionists be damned, while it is correct that anglo/amerikan interference ensured that the immediate post war governments of western europe were anglo aligned conservatives, these were old school conservatives such as Schuman and Gasperi who along with the xtian dem Adenauer joined with former CP members like Spinelli and were primarily committed to creating a peaceful union. They had no interest in founding tyrannical regimes as all of them had suffered the consequences of tyranny.
It is correct that things got much worse when they foolishly let england join belatedly. Thatcher's policies became part of EU lore by some form of osmosis and for all the petty whining about the EU englanders love to spew, it was england who truly screwed that pooch.

I'm always stunned by those who appear to believe the amerikan empire just happened like Topsy, that it is unconnected with the englander empire which proceeded it and that it was englanders who were on one side of the segue.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 29 2018 14:28 utc | 21

I'd like to think that commenters on this site are able to distinguish between the ruling class of a country and the citizens as a whole.

Well it may be he case here but I remember how Western countries an their public marked Serbs as " savages"," butchers" "kid's livers eaters" etc. not even knowing anything about Serbia and Serbs. The stigma is still there and to this day westerners support illegal bombardment of Serbia by NATO in 1999 and illegal "independent" Kosovo.
And story goes on and on...Animal Assad , bad Syrians...and all the others not willing to be vassals.
People tend to fall to propaganda and easily generalize.
As much as I hate for example American politic (especially foreign policy) I understand that Americans are trapped not really having a choice as well as most of us living in Western matter whom we vote nothing will make the difference. Just look at the Greece and Italy now...

Posted by: vbo | May 29 2018 14:32 utc | 22

vbo - 23:

Yes, I have been depressed for the last 25 years about the relentless propaganda demonising the enemy of the day, starting with Serbs. Sadly, only a small minority look beyond the MSM outlets that they trust.

Ultimately though, responsibility lies with those abusing their power by creating the conflicts and the propaganda to justify them. And to steer back to the topic, I had a positive view of the EU until it was a party to the destruction of Yugoslavia and the campaign of hatred against Serbia, showing itself to be a political wing of NATO - the North Atlantic Terrorist Organisation.

Posted by: Ash | May 29 2018 14:48 utc | 23

somebody says:

You describe Matteo Renzi as "left"?

no, Matteo Renzi's party, PD(partito democratico), describe's itself as center left.

Italy is very much split

yeah, perhaps, but less so than ever before

blah, blah, blah, blah

yeah, i agree, we're all doomed, and nothing matters anyway.

Posted by: john | May 29 2018 14:49 utc | 24

@ Debsisdead with his posting and comments about the EU and Australia

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Especially the historical context of elite control in the West through the various instantiations of empire. It is this contextual understanding that is helpful for my argument for changing the tools of global finance to be public.

This circus we are watching has gone full 3-ring now and the sun will never set on the snippets of its demise. We only hope the process does not take us all down with the evolution of public finance.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 29 2018 14:52 utc | 25

Excellent stuff. Particularly the US killing off the only country group that can save it against Chine - the EU.

Goodhart's Anywhere vs Somewhere analysis seems to work everywhere now. The Socially conservatives and economic liberals merge to become the Somewhere majority, and the Economic conservative, Socially liberal Anywheres suddenly discover that despite supplying 100% of media talk they are in a distinct minority.
Traditional left/right politics has disappeared, and the Anywheres are only just seeing it.

(Or at least I'm guessing at that - can't really say I know enough about Italy to confirm the idea).

Posted by: mdroy | May 29 2018 15:07 utc | 26

Serbian government is talking about Serbia's aim to join EU...luckily it will stay just a dream because they will never let Serbia in even if EU survives ( which I doubt).
I do not believe in "evolution" when it comes to "finances". They will never give up voluntarily , not only on their wealth but most importantly on the way that they managed to arrange to endlessly keep grubbing absolutely everything that makes money on this globe. Revolutions are never spontaneous (especially successful ones) so no hope there. But what I can see as possible is WW3 because the "elite" already started fighting each other greedy for plunder...which was always the only purpose of any war.

Posted by: vbo | May 29 2018 15:14 utc | 27

So it's true that all the real dick-heads of Europe work for the E.U.
This German cretin might like to think of Italy in that way, but to say it out loud shows total ignorance !
I love Italy, Venice and Rome particularly, and without exception the Italians I have met will react in only one way, and that will be to ram the E.U. where the sun don't shine ! VIVA ITALIA !

Posted by: MIKE MAUNDER | May 29 2018 15:35 utc | 28

Ash 13 posted:
The EU makes me understand why the old revolutionary left insisted that you couldn't reform the ruling, capitalist class, or vote them out, because they would simply not allow it.

The only way to stop the EU ruling class is to break up the EU, and that will only happen when enough countries leave.

Yes I agree that reform from the inside never works. The reformers are either co-opted or driven out. But simply breaking up the EU isn't enough. Greece has essentially been ostracized and wrecked for resisting the banker parasites, and the daily suffering of Greek workers is worse than ever.

If nations leave the EU one at a time they too will be isolated and looted just like Greece. Success will require solidarity across nations. Is that even possible? Can European workers put aside animosity? Are they class conscious? There are genuine questions for me, as I don't live in Europe and can only observe from a distance while looking through wavy glass.

As a resident of Uncle Sam Land and life-long troublemaker I can say unequivocally that Uncle Sam's wage slaves are class-unconscious. They still believe they might one day win the megabucks lotto, so they feel sorry for wealthy parasites that pay (now much reduced) inheritance "death" taxes. They have allowed themselves to be convinced of the possibility of endless wealth for selected peons, in order to avoid the despair of endless daily struggle for the necessities of life.

Uncle Sam's wage slaves are barely surviving, deeply indebted, afraid, and angry. This is a dangerous combination that can easily push Uncle Sam Land from thirty years of "friendly fascism" over the line to a very ugly fascist state. God help all brown and black and native people and anyone who is "different" when it happens, 'cause we are going to need it.

Uncle Sam has practiced divide-and-conquer at least since European ships arrived here with African captives and is very, very good at it. I would genuinely like to know: is it the same in Europe?

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 29 2018 15:39 utc | 29

Posted by: Mobius 01 | May 29, 2018 9:18:50 AM | 16

I wholeheartedly agree, and so does Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. For the forgetful barflies, it all started in the aftermath of WW2 when the freshly "paperclipped" CIA & MI6 operatives rigged the Italian elections, opposing ordinary Italians who, inspired by the Red Army's total annihilation of Nazi Germany, voted predominantly left in the post-war elections. That is how Operation Gladio was born as a military-subversive propaganda wing, while the political "assimilation" was delegated to the "EU Project"... Full Spectrum Dominance...

As Clueless Joe says in post #2, the game is rigged and the only way to win is by changing the rules. It's not about hunger; Italians should burn down the Presidential Palace simply because of the sudden realisation of being pulled by the nose and lied to about "sovereignty" by the best liars-in-suits that money can buy for more than 70 years. Time is ticking very fast, though, and their chance to make any significant impact decreases over time with geometrical progression. Either way, these (((elitist))) thugs only understand the language of pitchforks, axes and sickles. Why would it be any different this time?

Posted by: LXV | May 29 2018 15:51 utc | 30

This was a great article .
I always thought that the Revolution for European countries' emancipation will start from Italy.
For the following reasons : Italians are very smart and have a touch of genius( see their great food, fashion,design,architecture,art,construction,literature,music,etc). The highest IQ in Europe and the west.And they haven't lost their belligerence and some of that Roman spirit . And "the dolce far niente" does not imply their economy ,it's just a philosophy of life ,live well , do not take anything too seriously. See here how countries are rated :
Italy is number 10 (EU is no1 and Germany is no 2; US is the last ,no 201 and UK is 200); self explanatory (see the CIA site,they know).
Italians do not have personal debt ,like Americans . The country does ,is true , the biggest debt in EU. The country has 53Bil + on trade balance. And has Gold. They are pissed because of the Russian sanctions. italians were the only country in EU to honor fallen Russian soldiers in the fight in Syria ( one has a statue) and the Syrian gen. Zahreddine ( which means they know the truth).
I expect great things from Italy. And hopefully ,the movement will spread to the whole EU( French people are pissed too,see the big protest against Macron).
PS: for anybody interested .I have a site where I post portraits ,done by me,of the resistance personalities : Lavrov,Putin,Maria Zakharova,gen . Soleimani,Gen. Suheil al Hassan , Nasrallah. I will continue ,plan for Ahed Tamimi, Assange,etc. And a blog.

Posted by: veritas semper vincit | May 29 2018 16:03 utc | 31

I don’t see much of anything here. Italy will stay in the EU. It will be like what happens in any level of US elections. The politicians promise the sun, moon, oceans and mountains. They shout out that they will roll up their sleeves and get to work “for the people!” Yea, right. Once elected, they have a behind-closed-doors exclusive meetings with those who “stand against the people”, then come out all somber and down looking, saying that what was done was for the people, hope is still alive and in reality the same song and dance continues singing and dancing. And they drive off in their limos to some posh hotel to discuss the results over caviar and champagne, courtesy of the people. “It’s a nice racket!” Al Capone.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | May 29 2018 16:07 utc | 32

I stopped reading when I saw that the popuplist racist party "5 Star Movement" is labelled politically "left" and the also racist far-right party "Lega Nord" is labelled politically "right". As usual it reveals more about the author then it reveals about the subject. It's like calling the National Socialist German Workers' Party, socialists.

Posted by: xor | May 29 2018 16:10 utc | 33

I haven't seen this reported here yet and the title says it all

Italians Furious After EU's Oettinger Says "Markets Will Teach Them" Not To Vote For Populists

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 29 2018 16:36 utc | 34

Let's not ascribe any 'admirable ideal' to the origins of the EU. The EU formed from industrial leagues into essentially a banker's league that holds the citizens of the EU countries hostage, as per plan. Any prattle about democracy and full rights was just window dressing to get the suckers to go along with the charade.

Posted by: WorldBLee | May 29 2018 16:47 utc | 35

m5s has already woken up to the ugly reality of the fenced freedom and emasculated democracy behind the shiny stage…

please read the latest reactions from the head of the M5S, DiMaio (in Italian)

And have a look at the proposed contract for the government of change, its program, now dead.
a program like that, the empire will get seizures and the banksters heart attacks.

And also, new and near elections are a given, the new ‘technical’ government imposed by the rent-extracting criminal elites won’t have any hope of earning the approval in parliament.
To see how, again, have a read at the M5S blog, ‘’

Posted by: rr | May 29 2018 16:54 utc | 36

"The Italian economy is number 3 after Germany and France in the EU".

This is completely false. Germany, UK and France all have bigger economies than Italy.

Posted by: Rob | May 29 2018 16:56 utc | 37

It is simple enough: the EU never has been, never was intended to be and never can be democratic.
Debs' 'englander' act is wearing very thin: it may very well be that some voters in the Brexit referendum were racist in their motivation. Such is the nature of referenda and representative elections, of revolutions for that matter. But the reality is that the UK cannot reform its institutions as many people wish them to be reformed within the EU: re-nationalising the railways, for example, and expelling the thieves, contractors and spivs from the NHS would be very difficult if not impossible under EU rules.
The reality is that the EU is increasingly run by neo-fascists practising corporatism, for socialist reforms to be implemented in any member country first it will be necessary to withdraw from the EU.

Posted by: bevin | May 29 2018 17:02 utc | 38

I would quibble with the conclusion that the EU is a Franco/German affair. While yes, France has some leverage and power because it has nukes but I do not think France has the final word - I believe it is all Merkel.

One of the interesting things to come out of the German financial coup against Greece was that Wolfgang Schauble was pushing to put the Troica into Paris as France was over the debt line too.

I see Europe as a German Empire now - kind of a sub empire to the Make Empire Grate Again Empire. Germany achieved through the EU and EZ and economic aggression what it could not in two world wars.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 29 2018 17:12 utc | 39

thanks debs and b.. excellent commentary from everyone here.. thanks!

@2 b post from clueless joe.. agree fully to your comment - "Playing by the rules won't work, since they've been set up by the house, and the only rule is that the house always wins. The only winning move is not to play that game and just discard the board entirely.'

@24 ash... thanks for articulating what looks fairly obvious to me as well..

@33 veritas semper vincit - thanks..

@35 xor... you have missed a lot of great educational and informative commentary then..

Posted by: james | May 29 2018 17:15 utc | 40

Peter S at 1, mucho quote Guardian comment: .. one topic.

D. Strauss-Khan (DSK) *may* (as I don’t really believe it, another story..) have been kicked out of the game through a ‘sex’ entrapment scene.

The only reason, imho, is the rivalry re. and ‘hate’ from Sarkozy. Sark I nominated DSK as Boss of the IMF to propell him out of France (long-standing agreement between US/F), away from F politics, to get rid of him, into a position that much of the F public despises, as DSK was (in Sark’s mind) the No. 1. dangerous rival, true enough in a way.

DSK was never anti-EU (sure one could dig up some minor quotes), he was bang in the EU - atlantiste - neo-lib, globalist, line, and a sub-rosa staunch supporter of Israel. He is Jewish as was his wife of the time. + Many of his speeches positions etc. are typical ‘third way’ paste-copy guff.

One link as ex. DSK proposes more Europe etc. in F. to promulgate a EU-wide VAT. - msm news in F

DSK was a loyal servant who obeyed but was knocked away for other reasons - done in by rivals, but more likely as completely unreliable, too vulnerable to take-downs.

Orthogonal - yet concerns support for EU not doing well.

Posted by: Noirette | May 29 2018 17:20 utc | 41

wow! It looks this time the EU, Merkel, the Italian establishment in the flesh of President Mattarella has finally shot himself in the foot; they thought with the usual blackmail of rising the spread they could force Italians to comply…

they thought wall to wall would suffice to scare Italians; they didn’t pay attention to the last few years of corruption and crime suffered by the Italian people; and to the birth and growth of the socialist, honest, antagonist M5S. For the M5S can count on a grass-root bunch of people very actively involved in antagonist politics.
You see, it’s not the usual politicians’ promises… yes they could still be ‘offered a deal they can’t refuse’; but until now, in those towns and regions where they are in power, they have never taken any detour from strictly being honest; and cut their own salaries, and denounced all dodgy deals, and… try have a look by yourselves.

Try read the comments of Beppe Grillo, one of the founders of M5S (in Italian), on this institutional crisis: it’s a very short few words, but it says much, really.

Posted by: rr | May 29 2018 18:53 utc | 42

Zombies and Draculas have been around popular culture for a good while now and for a reason.

Zombies hoover up stuff pouring out of the media from its every pore of 24 hour sticky gunge, emanating from soaps, documentaries, films, talk shows and of course news - the information and low culture Matrix. Zombies are not just fat people sitting on sofas and scoffing stuff from packets. They are also vegetarian, bicycle-riding alternativos.

Once you gouge the lid off the Matrix and start to look at its workings nothing will ever be the same again (thanks Raymond Chandler). You start to study people’s conditioning like a doctor might study a patient’s condition. That one so self-assuredly believes she has the awful Assange totally figured out for the creep he is that I can smell Guardian gunge.

The Draculas are the banksters. The company Cerberus Capital (Cerberus was the three-headed dog that guarded the gates of hell) has franchises on the Mexican border that extract plasma from people’s blood. Cerberus has made a killing withholding supply and bumping up prices. From an excellent article by Mark Ames entitled: Cerberus Capital Literally Blood-Sucking the Poor to Make their Billions:

“Like so many awful stories of the past few years, it turns out that these Wall Street vampire-billionaires really exist, literally. Like all vampires, they live in remote castles, and they feed themselves by luring poor, desperate humans into their dens, hooking them into blood-pumping machines and sucking out their plasma for mind-boggling profits.

“Despite all the billions that Wall Street’s vampires earn from plasma, the hapless humans whose veins they milk make barely a pittance—$30 dollars or so for spending an hour hooked up to a pumping machine that sucks the blood, sifts out the valuable plasma through a cold-filtering process and reverse-pumps the debased, icy blood back into the plasma donor's veins.”

Cerberus also owned the company that manufactured the Bushmaster rifle used in the Connecticut school shootings and its owner, Stephen Feinberg, just loves killing deer with his high-powered weapons as he stalks around his own self-created hell.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 29 2018 19:08 utc | 43

Sorry, Debs I do not agree. You occasionally write with zeast and colour, This time not.
For starters Greece fucked up itself, and Italy and France i doing the same. Population being stupid. Not Eu's problem.
Me thinks you are a brexiteer. A Wrecker.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 29 2018 19:26 utc | 44

Somebody 20
From the moment Germany - arm twisted - the US to destroy Yugoslavia on behalf of her client state Croatia, we were in trouble.
Germany now faces of course, a more agile , coordinated Russia especially in the diplomatic arena . The reality , is that Germany feels somewhat paranoid and vulnerable long-term . Her failure to shift real productive capacity to the East of Europe could be caused in part by this 'competitive fear ' and phobias embedded deep in her history and geography . Could she overcome these problems Germany and Europe - therefore the E U could develop in a more balanced way ?

Posted by: ashley albanese | May 29 2018 19:31 utc | 45

LXV - 31
Oh, just don't burn the Quirinal Palace, it's a nice one. Kicking out the jerks inside and hanging some of the political and economic elites from lampposts, sure, go ahead, as long as buildings and works of art are safe; I don't want to see Rome burn once again.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 29 2018 20:50 utc | 46

No regrets about the EU. The sooner it falls apart, the better. Here are some information:
a) The EU is not a European creation, it's an american one. The US recylced the old nazi plan (Das neue Europa) aimed at dominating Europe.
b) The european charta of 1953 was written in the office of Dean Acheson the then US secretary of state.
c) the most active "founders" of the european community, Jacques Monod and Robert Schumann were both on CIA payroll.
d) the former foreign minister of the Konrad Adenauer in the 1950s and a key architect of the EU, Walter Hallstein, was one of the writers of the nazi project "Das neue Europa". He would later become the first President of the European Commission in 1958.
e) As events of the past 20-30 years have shown, the EU has become completely vasalized to the US and European politicians have no say.
f) the map of the EU and of NATO are more and more the same, especially with the expansion towards eastern Europe. Turkey is missing, or else the maps would perfectly overlap.
There are now 27 members and decisions have to be taken unanimously, which means that it is impossible to move anything. That's why the Brussels regime is ruling in a dictatorial way and the european parliament is only here to pretend that there's a parliament.
Interestingly, while the Soviet Union was disappearing, the Maastricht treaty was being adopted that would give birth to an almost similar system:
- The SU had the Politburo composed of self-nominated members. The EU has the european commission composed of self-nominated commissioners.
- The SU had a parliament, the Soviet Supreme, that was only there to endorse the decisions of the politburo. The same goes for the european parliament.
- The SU had the Gulag, the EU has political correctness (maybe soon some form of Gulag).
- the SU wanted to create a new “human”, the soviet man or women, where there would be no differences of religion, nationality and even, language. The EU wants to create a new “human”, the European with more or less the same criteria, except that the “European” will be speaking bad English, i.e. American.
- the soviet citizen thought he was in Paradise. The European thinks the same.
- etc. etc.

Posted by: Bongocero | May 29 2018 20:53 utc | 47

Posted by: ashley albanese | May 29, 2018 3:31:45 PM | 46

It used to be Germany, Britain and the Netherlands with similar economic models, and France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, never mind Greece, with a different type of economy.

With Britain gone, Germany will struggle in European committees. I have seen no concept dealing with this.

Germany has de facto become an immigration country as they have the economy but not the workforce. The inability to get jobs to the places where people want to live is quite striking. It is forced migration, the people who do it would prefer to stay where they came from and to pay taxes to the benefit of the countries they came from.

Debt is taboo in German society, so presumably it is cultural. Most people don't buy homes. But politicians should be able to think straight and be able to tell their constituencies that being dependent on the debt of others means you will never get your money back. Or that austerity policies in foreign countries means people will buy less from Germany. Italy and Germany have lots of trade and the balance is - of course - in favour of Germany.

This here is the view from France

First, Germany embraces the self-serving fiction that it owes nothing to others for its prosperity. Yet we know very well how much Germany’s economy depends on European demand, and how much it benefits from the undervaluation of the “German euro” (whereas the “Italian euro,” for example, suffers from overvaluation). Germany also gains the most from European Central Bank policy. As the German economist Marcel Fratzscher recently tweeted, “The unbearable cynicism of some German politicians and economists: they attack ECB policy, yet Germany’s government is its biggest beneficiary – €294 billion in interest savings since 2007. Compare that to risks assumed in the crisis and it is an excellent deal for Germany.”
Second, Germany insists that any slowdown should be met with greater discipline and tighter austerity, not countercyclical policies. According to German leaders, no matter how severe the effects of that approach may be, they are simply the price of redemption after committing the sin of accumulating excessive debt.
Finally, Germany is convinced that, in a market economy, the state’s responsibility is to set rules, not to steer the choices of economic actors. In fact, a recent report from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy portrays Germany’s enormous current-account surplus as a reality that policymakers cannot change, and that thus must be accommodated. This ignores the fact, highlighted by a recent study by Guntram B. Wolff, that Germany’s current-account surplus is the result not of aging households’ frenzied desire to save more, but of underinvestment by businesses seeking to resist wage pressure.

Posted by: somebody | May 29 2018 21:35 utc | 48

Jen @6:
"Brussels and Berlin would declare the Italian elections illegitimate and order Italy to hold new elections until the voters vote the right way."

Clearly, Italy needs to "modernize" its election system and install an apparatus like we have in the USofA. One can't "forecast" election results efficiently without being able to scrub millions of eligible voters off the voter rolls.

Then, one needs "black box" computer voting machines with proprietary software that can be programmed to record whatever votes are desired.

Of course, if paper ballots are still in use anywhere, then the USofA system of using electronic paper-ballot tabulating machines makes them just as "reliable" as the computers.

Gerrymandering comes in handy, but only for the partisan theater. Italy doesn't need an Electoral College like we have that is who actually votes for President, since Italians already don't get to vote for President.

Ahhh.. "Democracy Inc."

Posted by: Daniel | May 29 2018 21:46 utc | 49

Hoping "Macron have the good sense" to democratize the EU is akin to imaging Trump is a hero for "the working man."

Have we forgotten that Macro is " Consummate Banker Puppet, Bizarre Elitist Creation? "

That he was groomed by the Rothschilds? That he was "Socialist" President Hollande's Finance Minister who created the "austerity" programs that has had the French up in arms for years now? That he's made the French "anti-terrorist" law permanent? That he promotes every false flag so as to officially re-invade the former French colony of Syria? What about re-conquering North Africa?

All evidence is that whatever "good sense" Macron has is fed to him by the supra-national bankster cartel.

Posted by: Daniel | May 29 2018 21:57 utc | 50

Den Lille Abe @ 45:
Britain, Germany and Greece have always had a special master-slave relationship since Greece became independent back in the 1820s, with Britain and Germany (or its earlier equivalent) the masters: Greece even had to accept a Bavarian prince as its first king when the country originally opted for a republican form of government back in 1832 under the Convention of London.

The lowest point of that relationship came during the Nazi invasion and occupation of Greece in 1941 as a result of the tiny Greek army thumping the invading Italians in 1940. Nazi Germany plundered Greece's food supplies, confiscated all the country's transport supplies (including pack donkeys!) and seized all its fuel and major strategic industries. The result was widespread famine (known as the Great Famine): some 250,000 people in Athens and its suburbs alone died from starvation over the winter of 1941/42.

Even then after the war the British (and the Americans) continued to meddle in Greek politics resulting in the tragic Greek civil war in the late 1940s which forced thousands of republicans to flee the country after they lost to the British and American-backed monarchists.

Over the last 20 years also, Germany and France have, more or less, compelled Greece to buy their military hardware to the tune of several billion euros even during the period of austerity after 2008. Greece's continuing purchase of EU arms and military hardware not very coincidentally parallels Turkey's continuing purchase of US arms and military hardware: the more one side buys, the more the other side buys.

Yes the Greek political elites fucked up their country big time but they had plenty of outside help and harassment from others who benefited from the fuck-up.

Posted by: Jen | May 29 2018 22:52 utc | 51

Posted by: bevin | May 29, 2018 1:02:31 PM | 39

I enjoy how the englanders indulge in all sorts of criticism of amerikan culture & society, but get their backs up when they are called out for exactly the same behavior. This needs to be highlighted at every instance.

I'm not a brexiter but I did follow the debate and it became obvious that the primary motivation of most brexiters was racist. Sure some had other motives, but the movement driven by the likes of Murdoch & Dacre was basically driven by a national sense of failure -"remember when the maps of the world were all pink" sort of thing.

I shall continue calling the humans of that dominant culture which viciously exploits the rest of the people those islands, englanders for as long as I refer to the people of parasite culture north of Mexico but south of Canada, as amerikans.

Finally those who seek to blame Greeks for what happened to their economy would be wise to consider the history of that nation which has been callously used by other empires for centuries. Why? Because if you're an englander or an amerikan you need to know Greece is your future.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 29 2018 22:59 utc | 52

@Debsisdead 22

If I'd known I'd provoke such an unhinged and Boerish response I wouldn't have bothered. This is not little-Englander revisionism. Someone who claims that Thatcher somehow inadvertently caused the EU to go off the rails must know a thing or two about revisionism though. It had to be England's fault somehow!

The EC/EU is primarily a supranational project to force the political and economic integration of European countries, with or without the consent of their citizens. The transfer of power is and was always intended to be a one-way process, away from its nation states. It was designed to be a supranational government and it is functioning exactly as designed. Monnet and co. explicitly wanted it to be a supranational government that forces its countries towards ever-closer union. You can argue that it is somehow virtuous to transfer power irreversibly away from the demos (ie to prevent war or "protect" citizens from their own governments), but you can't claim it isn't supposed to happen. The gradual and permanent deprivation of power was planned from the beginning, and whether those perpetrating it ever had lofty goals or not is irrelevant. It was intended to happen without the consent or even understanding of those being governed and in that sense fit them up, yes.

This isn't a matter of opinion. It was absolutely not a democratic project that set out to do something else and unfortunately went astray. If the Treaties that make up the EU used to function as intended and then stopped, at what point did they stop? In what way are the Treaties that make up the EU not being implemented as intended?

Posted by: Mobius 01 | May 29 2018 23:13 utc | 53

@54 mobius... from where i sit - the uk/usa have been in bed with one another for a good long while... nato and the european union seem like 2 ideas cooked up to screw, or keep europe in it's place as basic slave or 'poodle' to uk/usa... it isn't working out as planned though and brexit is only part of it.. the development of alternative political parties that are getting voted in, like in italy - is the backlash which has been a long time in the making... that is how it looks to me.. so much of this is about finance, with the euro currency not coming onstream until jan 1 1999 - that not long ago.. i just don't think it is working out for the people of europe, or the uk, or the usa for that matter. it is only a matter of time and this neo-liberal disease that has spread around the globe will be challenged... it serves the corporate 1-5% interests, but not ordinary people's..

Posted by: james | May 29 2018 23:35 utc | 54

@54 Mobius

You are quite right about the supranational scheme. Did the architects believe nation states were to bond through never ending crisis...? Nope...? Ok, debt slavery it is then. As you were.

And the treaties...? One ring to rule them all...

From Maastrict and All That.
By Wynne Godley
18th October 1992
London Review of Books

Although I support the move towards political integration in Europe, I think that the Maastricht proposals as they stand are seriously defective, and also that public discussion of them has been curiously impoverished. With a Danish rejection, a near-miss in France, and the very existence of the ERM in question after the depredations by currency markets, it is a good moment to take stock.

The central idea of the Maastricht Treaty is that the EC countries should move towards an economic and monetary union, with a single currency managed by an independent central bank. But how is the rest of economic policy to be run? As the treaty proposes no new institutions other than a European bank, its sponsors must suppose that nothing more is needed. But this could only be correct if modern economies were self-adjusting systems that didn’t need any management at all.

I'll see your vote and raise you another unelected technocrat

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 30 2018 0:08 utc | 55

Europes desire to be free from US hegemony led them to embrace the EU which was a synachristic plot led by the Global elite to bring Europe into the neoliberal fold along with Russia, the FSU and China.

Its sad. As an American I hoped that one say Western Europes success would move the US more toward Social Justice. Instead Social Justice is being wiped out in Europe through the EU and is but a memory in the US

Alas, the movement globally is an elitist and authoritarian order where inequality is the rule and justice is limited to the chosen elites. 1991-1992 were truly wonderful years for the spread of neoliberalism globally.

Good luck to Italy but I am not optimistic

Posted by: Pft | May 30 2018 0:51 utc | 56

I understand a lot of Euroskepticism but if (once?) the EU collapses, what comes after? Many of the stridently anti-EU parties on the "right" are fellow travelers of fascist and authoritarian ideologies that have as little respect for the rule of law as the Brussels bureaucrats. European nationalism was the driving force behind so much of the 20th century bloodbath and it's not inconceivable that the anti-immigrant/refugee sentiment will transfer back to the old chauvinisms.

The Eurosceptic governments in Poland and Hungary are both increasingly dictatorial and illiberal, which leads me to believe that the end of the EU will have a similar effect to the end of the USSR, with the local oligarchs concentrating all political power in their hands and crushing any hope of democratic or pro-human reforms. Eastern Europe has already gone through this process once, and we can see a very clear link in the Western world between declining standards of living and the rise of old school authoritarianism and fascism as a response. Despite the serious deficiencies of EU government structure, on the whole EU member states have a higher standard of living than most anywhere on the world, and a lot of this is thanks to US forced economic integration. But it seems this system is increasingly non-viable.

China sees OBOR and Eurasian integration as a guarantor of peace and stability in its neighborhood, how can Europe unravel itself and keep the peace? Germany and France will still be much more powerful than most of their neighbors with or without EU structure, and all the major powers (USA, China, Russia, India) who are themselves multinational super-states regularly bully and dominate their neighbors...

Posted by: Almand | May 30 2018 1:14 utc | 57

.@ xor
"It's like calling the National Socialist German Workers' Party, socialists."

So what were they? Is there a dimes worth a difference? Both odious philosophies share more in common then they don't. This is a distinction without much of a difference because both are statist to the core and therefore evil.

Posted by: 76239 | May 30 2018 1:31 utc | 58

I posted a comment earlier which appears to have been lost in the melee. Today I'm due to spend some time with a friend from outside Manchester - Salford from memory who is 92 (he immigrated here in the early 1970's) and talks more sense than those englanders around here who happily jump all over amerikans but baulk when their own corrupt culture is called out for exactly the same behaviour. I share that tidbit because I don't have time today to reply more fully.
We can pretend the argument is about the origins of the EU which I contend was driven by the need to prevent these pointless conflicts that even though we live half a world away from, still wiped out a big chunk of my family thanks largely to the same corrupt activities (bribery, blackmail & extortion) by englanders which they are so quick to pull amerikans leaders up for.

We can use a similar displacement ploy to make out that brexit is driven by a passionate need for englanders to re nationalise their railways, that Gove, Johnson & Rees-Mogg are closet socialists, if it makes englanders feel better about themselves. Or that Paul Dacre & Rupert Murdoch are not racist shitbags who used little englanders' sense of post colonial inferiority to worry why the map of the world is no longer blemished by an arc of pink that concealed rape, murder and theft on a scale amerika has yet to approach - but that will not alter the reality.
Claiming that the primary motivation for brexit was not the usual englander fear of the dreaded 'other' is ludicrous, delusional and typically perfidious.

What matters is now. There will be no more questioning pieces in fishwraps like the graun; the word has come down from on high that the alleged populists are the scum of the earth, a patent deceit I'm sad to see repeated here.
The scungy Italian prez has had a rethink and no longer plans to install a technocratic government. He has been told that his moves 'play into M5S hands' and now he intends blocking the elected government whilst offering no replacement, in the hope that sufficient fake news will claim that it is the winners of the previous election who are insisting on a fresh ballot so soon after the fact of the last one. Desperation eh.
It won't work but whatever comes next from the arseholes will be ugly.

Incidentally it is laughable to leave the EU and still claim to be a major economy within it. I dunno which derp wrote that but all he/she has succeeded in, is illustrating the essential hypocrisy of englander culture.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 30 2018 2:19 utc | 59

Despite the serious deficiencies of EU government structure, on the whole EU member states have a higher standard of living than most anywhere on the world,...
Posted by: Almand | May 29, 2018 9:14:12 PM | 58

It is a bit like a "reminder" that Palestinians under Israeli control have the highest standard of living in the Arab world. The "beneficiaries" all too often refuse to admit how well of they are.

It is true that bozos in Brussels are often less incompetent than locally elected cretins, and Polish government is an exhibit for that, although I am less sure about Hungary (Orban seems more autocratic, but also more competent). But it would help if they were less mediocre. Western elite chase wrong "ideals" for the last generation, and that gives technocracy a bad name.

A note on the rank of Italy: the estimates of the value added in manufacturing are Germany > France > Italy > UK. UK has larger GDP than Italy due to services.

One paramount mistake (malevolent design according to some) of the elite is "free movement of goods, people, services etc." which sounds nice but can be overdone and it was overdone. Workers were exposed to worldwide competition where the winners have least paid and most disciplined work force, where discipline can be assisted by a totalitarian state (China) or private thugs cooperating with bribed police (Bangladesh), and a number of other creative ways. Then market can find the optimal suicide rates, frequency of factories being burned to the ground together with workers etc. -- clearly, if those rates are too high, the profits suffer, but spending too much to reduce them is also bad for profits, who can find the optimum better than the invisible hand? And regions that cannot match the world most wretched conditions suffer decline or stagnation -- if ruled according to the "free movement" principles.

Now Evil Emperor sends Lord Vader to keep Italy within the Empire. Some are surprised that a previous job of Mr. Vader was a high position in IMF. Why not Goldman Sachs? I have no idea, but I got impression that IMF is more represented in top government positions that GS. Expect the populists raising demagogic objections to IMF-trained overlord.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 30 2018 2:41 utc | 60

@60 Britain (I use that word because I'm not sure what 'englanders' are exactly....they seem to come in all shapes and colours these days) has always had an ambiguous relationship with Europe for geographic reasons mostly. This probably accounts for their essential hypocrisy. The ones who want to leave the EU probably preferred the Common Market to the current situation with Brussels.

Posted by: dh | May 30 2018 2:45 utc | 61

A prediction: due to couragious decision of Prez. Mozzarella (sorry for approximated spelling) Italy will not veto the extension of EU sanctions on Russia, leading to infestation of trolls and other hybridians in Italy which will corrupt the democratic process, and Lege + 5 Stars will win again. Will Lord Vader be the interim PM for yet another mini-term? I would bet 50 Euroes that Lege + 5 Stars will win, and a separate 50 against the renomination, but those are sheer guesses, so bets are 1:1.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 30 2018 2:49 utc | 62

@ Chipnik and Piotr Berman with perspectives on the Great Readjustment the world is undergoing.

I am going to repeat a paragraph from PB's comment and apply it to the US
One paramount mistake (malevolent design according to some) of the elite is "free movement of goods, people, services etc." which sounds nice but can be overdone and it was overdone. Workers were exposed to worldwide competition where the winners have least paid and most disciplined work force, where discipline can be assisted by a totalitarian state (China) or private thugs cooperating with bribed police (Bangladesh), and a number of other creative ways. Then market can find the optimal suicide rates, frequency of factories being burned to the ground together with workers etc. -- clearly, if those rates are too high, the profits suffer, but spending too much to reduce them is also bad for profits, who can find the optimum better than the invisible hand? And regions that cannot match the world most wretched conditions suffer decline or stagnation -- if ruled according to the "free movement" principles.
For the US, this has been going on for longer than the EU and the US lifestyle has a bigger amount to adjust in this great global leveling of slaves for the elite. The weeping and gnashing of teeth in the US are real but there are parts of it that one might call dystopian. The house of cards called consumption is collapsing and no amount of the sickness called sales and marketing will revive it.

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. This is assuming that the world AND the US deal with the private/public global finance issue directly or through this proxy BS evolving in the ME.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 30 2018 4:17 utc | 63

D @ 51:Thanks for that descriptive and true round-up on the U$A's "voting" system..

pft @ 57 said:" Alas, the movement globally is an elitist and authoritarian order where inequality is the rule and justice is limited to the chosen elites. 1991-1992 were truly wonderful years for the spread of neoliberalism globally."

Yep, and it seems to be spreading..

Posted by: ben | May 30 2018 4:30 utc | 64

@65 Chipnik

I wanted to say, as it has been said by others, that you are writing very evocative pieces now, please keep going.

I love these tales of life. Have you ever read Linh Dinh over at the Unz Review? His heart is broken too, just like all of ours, as we survey what we once called America, and as we also see all this world, and the wretchedness that some people actually have a great passion for bringing down upon simple societies.

Posted by: Grieved | May 30 2018 5:07 utc | 65

@ jen 53
I am perfectly aware of European history, thank you.
Debs is a wonderful commenter, with great wit. But greece brought it on herself, her inhabitants all in on the swindle.
I live in "civilised" Sweden, we are taxed to death, yet manage to be very prosperous, organized and with an infrastructure most could only dream of. We did not come to this point, if not for a concerted, collective effort begun almost 150 years ago. Same as Denmark, although 1940 -1945 put us back 25 years.
The Eu with all its faults and fails, has been the chief instigator of prosperity and peace in Europe since its founding.
People here on this site, faux leftists and all, brought up in safety and prosperity, need to tvisit Ucraine, Donbass, to see what life can also be.
Greece and most of southern Europe has always been corrupt and will be for another century, I shed no tears for any of them.
Do or foking die.
Us in the North have just to keep them relatively peaceful for our own safety. Look at France, electing a clown as PM, an European Trump, trying to dismantle France in traditional Thatcherist way. FO.
Italy has more governments than yers my mother lived, it is a mess and will be untill, its own people reject corruption, which the wont, same as Greece (Danish tax collectors sent there to help, had to have lifeguards, FCS !!)
Next is Greenland wanting independence, 63000 inhabitants, sitting on vast ressources WTF! Just put a US or Chinese stamp on it.
Raving over.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 30 2018 5:21 utc | 66

Den Lille Abe @ 69: Did you read any of the articles or watch that Youtube video I linked to in my comment @ 53?

Greece did not bring all its suffering on itself. Germany owes Greece reparations for the devastation it caused during the Second World War. But instead of paying back what it owes, Germany (and also France) are still extracting their pound of flesh in demanding that Greece spend exorbitant amounts in buying military hardware. In 2015, Greece was still spending huge amounts on its military budget.

Perhaps Sweden would like to help Greece out in this respect (since the Swedes suffered very little during WW2 and in fact came out of that period with economy and wealth intact) by offering to send more tourists to Greece to spend up big or remit whatever money it made out of collaborating with Nazi Germany in the 1940s to the Greeks?

Posted by: Jen | May 30 2018 6:19 utc | 67

I had read this before and a quick search brought up the global research article at the top of the list. Although another nail in the coffin of empire, this kerfuffle in Italy will come to nothing on its own, same as Greece. Germany, Japan and Italy are occupied enemy states.
"The UN Charter still designates Italy, Germany and Japan as enemy states to the United Nations."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 30 2018 6:32 utc | 68

I don't see anything happening to the EU... yet.

A lot of crap gets dumped at Brussels' door and some of it is unfair as leaders or EU nations agree to one thing in private at the Council of Ministers (where their discussions are still kept secret), then go home and claim they did the opposite. Brussels cannot even get credit when credit is due. Transparency and democracy my a**.

The flip side of course is that Brussels is its own worst enemy. Years ago it recognized that there was a legitimacy problem in that it was seen as far away and undemocratic by many. 'Subsidiarity' is a core part of he 1992 Maastricht Treaty that was supposed to leave most powers to EU member states to interpret and implement EU Directives with Brussels only intervening in the most egregious breeches of EU law, but instead power has only become more centralized and away from EU citizens.*

Take the increasing number of Trilogues, i.e. the Commission, Parliament & Council get together in secret to decide on EU legislation so that the Parliament can give their part of the consent (the Co-Decision procedure) in a couple of readings rather than an open and honest debate before the cameras. It's become a complete stitch up. Of course all three groups claim it is necessary because with 29 member states it would take far too long and be far too complicated to do it otherwise. If that's the actual case, then the EU is clearly too complex to be efficient.

I would just get rid of the European Parliament or at the very least have those MEPs sitting back home, close and accountable to those who voted for them, maybe meeting up in Brussels a couple of times a year.

The last European Parliament elections had the lowest turn out ever. What is supposed to be a highly visible direct representation of EU citizens has long become a joke, not to mention the various scandals such as MEPs signing in to collect their euro attendance fee in Strasbourg and immediately buggering off, paying their assistants very little or nothing and the rather large latitude they have to spend their 4,000+ euro monthly 'office expenses' as they see fit.

The EP has not stepped up to the mark demanded of it. It is little more than a holding station for second rate politicians and those who's parties are out of power back home. We see this when the domestic situation changes, Commissioners and MEPs go home to become minsters and politicians in ruling parties and coalitions. Dedication to Europe my a**.

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. Greeks have my great sympathy considering they have been screwed for a long time by inside and outside, but it was a golden opportunity not taken to clean house.

Vis Italy, it seems to me that they are proper Europeans (unlike the Brits who are very sniffy about coalition politics and only turn up for treaties, made a minimal impact in the EP or even bothered to try and form their own block of EU countries to counter the Franco-German axis) though rightfully quite grumbly. Sure, it could all go to another vote, but they will be no doubt of where they will be heading. If Italy leaves the EU, it will be by no accident (a la UK) and a lot of the issues thrown up by BREXIT will be similar so those questions will have to be answered publicly in the run up to any referendum which may well sway voters. On a side note, what really impresses me about Italy is that much of their business is family based, far more than the other big European economies.

On the one hand I'm glad the UK is leaving the EU because they have been vetoing the EU army and other stuff which is one of a number of basic requirements that would allow Europe to tell the US to eff-off, whether they actually do or not.

On the other hand, the EU has clearly needed serious reforms for some years (not to mention real subsidiarity) but as usual, the horse designed by a committee that it is has done sod all. As much as I like it and in a globalized world Europe needs to be able to fight its own corner effectively, it's still a lopsided freak that at the command of its main paymaster Germany (and acquiescent national politicians) has stuffed so many through forced austerity.



It is interesting to reflect on the offerings that were around at the time the Maastricht process was in full swing.

There was certainly enough discussion available to warn the Member States not to ‘walk the plank’ into the monetary union.

The literature justifying the creation of the union was ideologically skewed and resisted a serious application of the evidence or logic.

They cried subsidiarity but then misused the concept and created a disaster for the working people of Europe.

Posted by: et Al | May 30 2018 7:03 utc | 69

Den Lille Abe.

Sure, while Sweden is part of the EU its not currently in the Eurozone and has not sacrificed control of its monetary policy and control of money to the ECB. Its a vast difference

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

The ECB is accountable to nobody. Every decision is shrouded in secrecy. Its basically the spawn of the BIS which its a member of, but unlike BIS it directly controls the Eurozones monetary policy and enforces austerity measures in those countries where more austerity destroys economies, much like the weaponize IMF does against 3rd world /developing countries.

Only the UK and Denmark are legally exempt permanently from ever joining the Eurozone. Theoretically Sweden may eventually have to enter. Then you may change your tune.

Posted by: Pft | May 30 2018 7:10 utc | 70

Posted by: Jen | May 29, 2018 6:52:17 PM | 53

The "Greek" rabbithole goes way deeper than that. Beginning with the Brutish Empire's "nation-building" efforts in the early 1800's, when akin to today's "moderate headchoppers" in Syria and the post-war "Stern Gangs" in Palestine, the European Royal lizard bloodlines "shipped" Western European cannon-fodder (see: "Lord" Byron) to the Aegean to fight against the Ottomans and liberate what has since become the Empire's unsincable aircraft carrier and constant springboard for meddling into MENASEE (SEE = Southern and Eastern Europe) affairs.

After creating their new vassal state, the "Greek project" continued with the fabrication of "Greek history". For this task they found one Johann Gustav Droysen, who, "inspired" by XIX-century romanticism, created what today is known as "history of the Hellenistic world" by mixing facts with fiction and an unhealthy dose of wishful thinking. Droysen is the one who "invented" the term "Hellenistic", with the aim of cementing, once and for all, the "truth" that the ancient Macedonian civilization was in fact "Greek" and had nothing in common with the pre-Slavic (Pelasgian; Venetic) population native to the Balkans to this very day and also, that ancient "Greeks" somehow were a different, albeit superior, tribe that culturally assimilated all of its neighbours.

What is really unnerving, though, is people's belief in the "Western" constantly propelled sophistry of "Greece" being a "cradle of European democracy", while the Hellenic Republic was and still is one of the most racist apartheid regimes the world has ever seen. Greece refuses to acknowledge the existence of national minorities on its (stolen) territory and denies them basic human rights. Just your friendly hipocrisy at work...

The deep fakes from 200 years ago have been systematically buried ever since (as a friend of mine says: "if it's not to be found on the interwebz, then it must be false"), but small bits and pieces of the truth can still be retrieved from the heavily redacted translations of classic authors, such as Plutarch, Herodot, Arrian, Quintus Curtius Rufus. The less intellectually-declined amongst you can get a hint of the creators of "Greek" state and history by a simple web search: type "Greece flag East Indian Company" and look at the image results of the search; lazy slobs click here.

Posted by: LXV | May 30 2018 7:28 utc | 71

P.S. Am very glad to see Sorros get even more opprobrium at every turn. He's been a scumbag for many, many years.

Posted by: et Al | May 30 2018 7:34 utc | 72

Posted by: Pft | May 30, 2018 3:10:09 AM | 73

The ECB is accountable to nobody.

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.

At present the ECB is trying to bribe countries to invest by zero interest rates. Germany refuses to do that ("no debt" policy) despite its crumbling infrastructure and substandard social services. It also tries to impose austerity policies on other countries, as for them the value of the Euro is too low, whilst it is too high for the economy of south-eastern Europe.

The problem has nothing to do with ECB but with different standards of social services, government investment etc, basically with different income in Europe. Merkel's party has stuck to their promise to German voters that they would not "have to pay" for other people's economies.

Basically Europe is made up of competing not cooperating economies. With the common currency the only way to compete is to lower wages or to subsidize wages (Germany is doing that).

This subsidization of wages via taxes has transformed Germany to an immigration country. German companies invest now preferably in Germany not in poorer European countries with lower wages whilst enjoying sales to all of Europe.

Posted by: somebody | May 30 2018 8:42 utc | 73

Posted by: Jen | May 30, 2018 2:19:18 AM | 70

It is this horror tale which for me anyhow, best sums up england's parasitical relationship with Greece and Greek people.
Jen you have summed up the acquisitive financial skullduggery england used on Greece. The love of Greece by early romantics comes across as particularly duplicitous when considering that prior to Byron's 'activities', in 1801 the englander ambassador to the Ottoman court paid off the then Sultan in return for the 'right' for he (Lord Elgin) to hack the beautiful frieze that was carved around the top of the Parthenon in about 300 BC, and ship the fragments and shards out to england where they still remain.

Even today 2018, the englanders refuse to return loot from their philistine crimes - why?
Because they are concerned that if they did a precedent would be created and the 400 plus years of plunder that fills englander museums and permits englanders' tourist industry would all have to go back. That is up there with the amerikan elite's claim that their banks were 'too big to fail'.
Of course the Parthenon frieze is the tip of the iceburg.

For example I have friends among Aotearoa's Tangata Whenua whose relations' heads sit in pickle jars or somesuch, in a european whitefella's private collection. Because that is such an obviously touchy situation when these human remains are put up for auction cos some aristo has done his/her inheritance, an anonymous philanthropist will buy the head/s and 'donate' it to what they claim to be the relevant iwi.
That typically sharp act is far from philanthropic as it prevents a court case against the receivers of stolen goods. A court case which even the bent judges of england would probably have to find in favour of Tangata Whenua and maybe open the floodgates for the return of so much plunder.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 30 2018 9:06 utc | 74

LXV, are you on fucking crack or what? You don't need redacted translations of Curtius or Herodot, there are people who can read Latin and ancient Greek, you know?

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 30 2018 9:38 utc | 75

Chipnik says:

I lived in a State park, in a tiny tent, and after work would hike high up to a sub-alpine pond and watch the sun reflecting the empty sky off the silent water surface. I kept frozen cod from the grocery thawing in yoghurt while I hiked, then that would be my meal. All night fast heavy freight trains roared through, carrying Wyoming coal and North Dakota crude to the marine loading docks in BC. Sparks from the wheels threw weird shadows on the tent fabric

so, let me get this'd hike high into the hills of a State park just to pitch your tiny tent next to some heavily used railroad tracks?

doesn't add up.

Posted by: john | May 30 2018 10:06 utc | 76

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 30, 2018 5:38:15 AM | 79

Ancient Greek? Which dialect of "ancient Greek" can you speak and/or read, cause there are many of them: Aeolic, Doric, Arcadic, Ionic. Mind you, all of them have a different set of grammar rules, so that ancient speakers of different "Greek dialects" could barely understand each other.

If, instead, by "ancient Greek" you mean koine, well, then I can only feel sorry for your I-Y-I scholarship. Koine is an artificial language, the ancient world's Esperanto, conceived by Philip II of Macedon to serve as an administrative lingua franca in the Macedonian state apparatus. While it is true that some koine words derive from the above mentioned Achaean languages, many others were borrowed from other contemporary languages spoken at that time.

This is also easily verifiable. Since modern Greek is an extended modification of koine, Greek linguists find it impossible to trace back the etymology of many of their modern words, or, moreover, find any linguistic connection between modern koine-Greek and terms that Homer used in his eposes...

Posted by: LXV | May 30 2018 10:59 utc | 77

Bilbo has a new blog post up today

The assault on democracy in Italy

1) ""As I concluded in my 2015 book – Eurozone Dystopia: Groupthink and Denial on a Grand Scale – while the SMP saved the Eurozone from breakup, it remained a failed vision for European prosperity because it didn’t address the core problem: Southern Europe was in depression and the only way out is for fiscal deficits to expand.

The ECB clearly signalled a willingness to buy unlimited quantities of government bonds if there was the risk of insolvency.

But this intervention required that the countries succumb to a fiscal austerity package that ensured their growth prospects were minimal.

And the combination just meant that the next crisis was just around the corner.""

2) ""Oettinger: We trust the Italian president who was pointing out to potential government or coalition partners the rights and duties that go together with membership in the European Union and the Eurozone. We also trust the new technocratic government and are relying on possible elections to produce a result with which Italy can be governed in a pro-European way.""

""The primacy of the technocracy and the markets over the democratic intent of the citizens in the Member States.

They will tolerate democratic freedom as long as it produces the ‘right’ result – a pro-European government. If the democratic process throws up something that challenges that aspiration then they will intervene and install one of their own until the ‘democracy’ conforms.""

3) ""His earlier comments were the truth. If the people get restive a good dose of economic crisis is needed to bring them back in line – with fear and trepidation.""


1) Money needs to be spent to get people out of depression. But it needs to be spent on jobs and social services not war and corporate welfare

2) Governments need to respond to the will of the people

3) Crises shouldn't be created to force people to capitulate

Posted by: financial matters | May 30 2018 11:34 utc | 78

john | May 30, 2018 6:06:59 AM | 80

How's your reading comprehension?
Not too good I'd guess.

Posted by: V | May 30 2018 12:14 utc | 79


ok, my bad, the hike was pre-dinner, got it.

Posted by: john | May 30 2018 12:24 utc | 80

LXV, you haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about. Anyone which has seriously studied ancient Greek can read Homer as well as Aeolian, Attic, Doric and koine - which basically is Attic dialect (the one with the widest cultural impact, due to the massive amount of literature produced) with slight modifications to make things easier. They were understandable, the difference wasn't that big - well, pronounciation probably changed as well from place to place, but thankfully we're spared that trouble with texts. 1AD Greeks and Romans understood very well Herodotus and Sophocles, the bulk of classical writings in Attic, and it wasn't that hard to read Homer either, once you'd learned the key details of his archaic dialect.
I'd also be wary to call Taleb to help on that topic, considering he's knowledgeable in Greek and is quite deep into Aramean, Phoenician and other linguistic basis for Lebanese dialect.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 30 2018 12:29 utc | 81

It was a bit more than a century ago actually, 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. It was the high point of German power.

Under Brest Litovsk Russia ceded the Baltic states, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Finland to Germany. Ukraine was to become 'independent', dependent upon Germany, an enormous source of food and raw materials. The rest of eastern Europe was already in the hands of the Central Powers-the Hapsburg empire and Germany.
Within eight months the war was over, Germany defeated, the Hapsburgs finished but Max Hoffman’s vision lived on.
The Baltic states became independent when German collapsed, Poland re-emerged from the ruins of the three empires, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, all the rest of eastern Europe also became independent.

A century later all these lands are part of the EU- their position is curious, on the one hand they are economically dominated by the western core of the EU, but politically they constitute what the seer Donald Rumsfeld called the New Europe, by which he meant that, through them the United States would rule Europe: they would be the frontline of NATO, and their governments dominated by russophobic expatriates, often born and educated in the US and Canada, would ensure that the EU followed Washington.

As to the EU, without the Eastern states, it consisted of six original members, France, Italy, Germany and Benelux . Two of these, Italy and West Germany, were essentially occupied territories whose economies and institutions were designed and built under Washington’s supervision. France's position was not much different, De Gaulle and his successors were allowed independence but on the strict condition that they keep the Communists out. Is that what is meant by "emphasis(ing) the rights of all citizens of member states, guaranteeing them a range of protections from unjust and stupid demagogues."?
Far from being an admirable idea the EU itself was a development of the Marshall Plan intended to fit Europe into a subordinate position in the US Empire.

Then there were the countries emerging from fascist rule: Spain, Portugal and Greece, all members of NATO while run by fascist dictators, loyal allies of the USA and the rest of the EU, the UK and Canada.

It was always quite clear that the plan was to unify the two organizations into what is now emerging, which is what General Hoffman envisioned, a revived European empire which would push Russia out of Europe into Asia. Rumsfeld went further seeing the EU not just as Russia’s enemy but as a junior partner of the United States, given free rein in Europe on the condition that it remained loyal to Washington’s global ambitions, which included implementing the neoliberal 'consensus.'

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.

As to those of us who cheered when the vote to leave the EU was announced ours are modest ambitions: in the first place we would like to see the pre-Common Market achievements restored: public ownership and control of the energy industry, the railways and toad haulage run for the public and not for profit, free education through University and beyond with maintenance grants for those needing them, a National Health Service operated on a non profit basis as a public service, adequate pensions for all and a guarantee of Full Employment with full civil and political rights for all wishing to join Unions and bargain collectively.
Add to that leaving NATO and expelling all foreign bases from British soil and developing a foreign policy independent from and opposed to imperialism.
Oh, yes and re-nationalising the Bank of England and taking control of the currency out of the hands of speculators, like Soros, and irresponsible interests.
Would the EU countenance such policies, modest and old fashioned reforms as they are? No, because if the UK introduced them every country in Europe would be demanding something similar.
Every day there is new confirmation of the EU's commitment to reducing democracy to plebiscites repeated until they produce the results desired: in France, the government is working to denationalise the railways as part of a slate of neoliberal 'reforms'designed to lower living standards to increase inequality.
In Italy the mask is torn off: the EU is the EUkraine, a battering ram against Russia dominated by high finance whose state form, currently, is centred in Washington.

Posted by: bevin | May 30 2018 12:47 utc | 82

Clueless Joe | May 30, 2018 8:29:15 AM | 85

Oh joy; wonderfully done you.
LXV is an arrogant, elitist, asshole properly put in "its" place.

Posted by: V | May 30 2018 12:55 utc | 83

@82 financial matters
Fantastic blog post. Captures history well. The neolib 'Austerity In Tough Times' flies in the face of economics that a 10 year old can understand and will go down as one of the most retarded chapters in economic history and is why Greece, Italy, [enter Mediterranean state here], etc will keep happening.

Euro currency membership effectively destroys a nation's sovereignty by disabling the very switches and levers that are critical to sovereignty.

Well done to the Czechs, Poles, Croats etc for not surrendering their native currency. And i guess well done to the Germans too who never destroyed their deutschmarks ...just ...stored them away for a rainy day.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 30 2018 12:58 utc | 84

Chip ok
On the previous post to this one chipmunk posted a vid link which had clip after clip of baby's being crushed under the wheels of cars.this was real footage! I would not advice you to look at it. He is a sick psychopath who needs help for his own sake and for the publics sake.
He should be banned from this site . disgusting monster.

Posted by: Mark2 | May 30 2018 13:01 utc | 85

My post above at 89 should have read...chipnik

Posted by: Mark2 | May 30 2018 13:03 utc | 86

Posted by: bevin | May 30, 2018 8:47:34 AM | 86


From 1967 - emphatic No by De Gaulle

The recent report of the Brussels Commission, he said, had shown clearly that membership of the EEC was incompatible with the economy of Britain, with her chronic deficiency in balance of payments. It was also incompatible with the British tradition of obtaining cheap food from all parts of the world.

It was incompatible with restrictions on the removal of capital from the country and with the state of sterling, which had been thrown into prominence by the devaluation and the loans which had proceeded and accompanied it. All these things prevented Britain joining the solid, interdependent and assured society of the EEC.

You really think Britain should return to this state of affairs? Of course you can create a history of likes and dislikes, just don't expect it to square with any facts.

Posted by: somebody | May 30 2018 13:22 utc | 87

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 30, 2018 8:29:15 AM | 85

You're talking about 1AD, I'm talking about IV century B.C. All the texts that you're pointing to, including Homer's, have been rewritten throughout the ages. The "modern" koine versions of Iliad and Odissey, i.e. the fragmentary papyri containing bits of the eposes, range in date from as early as the III century BCE to the VII century CE. That is to say, ALL retrieved versions of Iliad and Odissey reach back only to the times when koine was invented, but not any further...


Posted by: V | May 30, 2018 8:55:34 AM | 87

I "admire" your astounding argumentation. It suits you well...

Posted by: LXV | May 30 2018 13:42 utc | 88

Somebody - "Germany has de facto become an immigration country as they have the economy but not the workforce. The inability to get jobs to the places where people want to live is quite striking. It is forced migration, the people who do it would prefer to stay where they came from and to pay taxes to the benefit of the countries they came from."

That is the most succinct and accurate analysis of Germany's plight that I have seen. On b's site or anywhere else.

Would you accept an extension of that analysis to the West as a whole? It's not of course only Germany's plight. I'm thinking of such examples as the Eastern European cheap labour flooding into Western Europe because their own economies are too weak to sustain them, and of the unfortunate Ukrainians in turn flooding into Eastern Europe as even cheaper labour because the Ukraine is now semi-derelict.

If this insensate merry-go-round is all the West can offer its peoples then we do need democratic change.

Since "we the people" in Europe have the greatest difficulty controlling our own national units it is not to be expected that we can have any prospect of controlling the supra-national unit that is the EU. And as far as I can see those who run the EU are firmly committed to the present model.

Therefore the EU in its present form must go. It does not serve us.

I say this not as a "Little Englander" or as a "Rabid Brexiteer", though on the principle that reform is best attempted in small doses and locally I do not object to that characterisation as a start. I say this as a convinced European who is fully conscious that the links between our countries are central to our being and to our survival. Whether we are German or English, Greek or Latvian, we can none of us afford to be passive peoples run by an uncontrollable entity that is managing our affairs so badly and that is unable to see its way to managing them better.

So it's not so much "Raus aus der EU" as "Weg mit der EU", and then the peoples of Europe can find their way to living together to the benefit of all, and not to the benefit of those who do not serve us.

I don't know whether that extension of your succinct and accurate analysis is one you would accept. But can there be any other?

Posted by: English Outsider | May 30 2018 13:42 utc | 89

LXV | May 30, 2018 9:42:11 AM | 92

How jejune...

Posted by: V | May 30 2018 13:49 utc | 90

"mix of the left and the right perplexes neolibs..."

This is the magic bullet, if you will, that others should follow.

In the uS, a True Tea Party with no regard for cultural, demographic, race or political differences should be the first step to disengage from the neolib global cabal and bankster war machine.

Once done and the country righted, then we can rebuild based on the visions and actions from all parties. As long as we learn from the monstrosity of bankster debt/wars.

One can dream, can't he?

Posted by: JThomas | May 30 2018 14:29 utc | 91

bevin says:

In Italy the mask is torn off: the EU is the EUkraine, a battering ram against Russia dominated by high finance whose state form, currently, is centred in Washington

yeah, and no one can serve two masters, right?

Emblematic is the fact that, just in the week in which Europe was debating the “Italian question” bitterly, the 1st Armoured Brigade of the 1st U.S. Cavalry Division, coming from Fort Hood in Texas, landed in Antwerp (Belgium), without provoking any significant reaction. Some 3,000 soldiers landed, with 87 Abrams M-1 tanks, 125 Bradley combat vehicles, 18 self-propelled Paladin cannons, 976 military vehicles and other equipment, which will be deployed at five bases in Poland and sent from there close to Russian territory(link)

Posted by: john | May 30 2018 15:17 utc | 92

@65 chipnik, @68 grieved @74 v.. have any of your folks read 'hillbilly elligy'?

chipnik - your writing style is a bit like j.d. vance! entertaining writing, regardless of how much truth there is in it!

@86 bevin.. thanks for your post.. i see it much the same, while living here in canada..

Posted by: james | May 30 2018 15:48 utc | 93

LXV: What the heck would it change if the earliest manuscripts are from 300 BC, 1 BC or 650 BC? Iliad is obviously not written in koine, nor in 450 BC Athenian dialect, the same way Homer's mostly Ionic is obviously not koine or Attic. Heck, for Homer, we have some words and names that are obviously directly descended from Mycenaean - as was seen when people eventually managed to decipher Linear B.
As for the language as a whole, we have epigraphic records all across the centuries - at Gortyn for instance.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 30 2018 16:34 utc | 94

your - read...

Posted by: james | May 30 2018 16:53 utc | 95

James @ 100
Trust me it was that bad. 43 on the open thread. I had no warning so I to would not have chose to see it. I'm tough but most other people who see that would suffer serious truma.i do not exaggerate. He is likley to do that again. Eny comment he places on this site will be followed by me giving a warning.

Posted by: Mark2 | May 30 2018 17:07 utc | 96

@all - I deleted several comments from Chipnik as well as some other comments related to them. He is banned from this site.

Reason: Chipnik posted a non recognizable link which turned out go to something like a snuff video. He did so without any hint or warning.

This comes after I had over the last weeks to deleted dozens of his comments with obviously antisemitic claims. He also repeats again and again his false claims that North Korea has no nuclear capable missiles.

Posted by: b | May 30 2018 17:25 utc | 97

it's hillbilly elegy, not elligy.. j.d. vance... i am reading it now.. it is riveting..

although it doesn't have an immediate connection to the thread, it is a good place to start in understanding the gutting out of the usa, which seems like what neo-liberalism is shooting for in the world today..

and further to bilbo's link, there was another link inside that link someone posted that others would enjoy - italy's organic crisis which is directly linked to the thread..

Posted by: james | May 30 2018 17:38 utc | 98

B @98
I can confirm,it was a snuff move of the very worse sort .sincere thanks for banning that sick person.

Posted by: Mark2 | May 30 2018 18:11 utc | 99

Den Lille Abe @45

If you consult the following articles you may find that the common currency is the root cause for the structural debt problems within the Eurozone and the EU and ultimately the Western capitalist model:

Charles Hugh Smith on the structural issues with the Eurozone based on the mercantilist nation-consumer-debt nation cycle:

Automatic earth article on why the EU exit is not allowed and why a collapse is baked in:

Doctor D comments at the first Automatic Earth article that the collapse of the euro brings with it the collapse of the derivatives market which can bring down the western financial-insurance-real estate (FIRE) economic system:

“It’s really not the rates but the rate of change. That Italy chart is going to break all the derivatives. That is, the unbacked, unallocated insurance bets. Perhaps that’s the point because it’s been long since anyone told the truth.

Did the U.S. have a transfer mechanism? Essentially no. It was meant to be the next thing up from a toothless confederacy that left all the power in the hand of the states (or the people). So New York was NOT going to be transferring money to South Carolina any time soon. However, it’s not entirely off-base. One of Armstrong’s hobby horses, since the EU leaders did in fact buy his financial advice when the Euro was created, was that Hamilton forced the states to consolidate debts — war debts, “federal” debts while still retaining state debts too in one of the hardest fought negotiations in U.S. history. This gave the bonds somewhere to go instead of breaking Delaware over the “currency”, or in this case bonds, of Virginia. At the same time, there was no ‘transfer” or any intent to do any such thing. That belongs to the socialist state that didn’t come in until Weimar, 1913, and Wilson’s Progressives.

Then very slowly they began to tax states away and give to poor states, which is essential to have an outsized government that can collapse. States now bow to you to get that money, and bid on legislation and loopholes for donors, for states, for interests, and everything becomes for sale, but especially the Republic itself, and any fairness therein. Since Sitting Bull was on the Reservation back then and the Wright brothers hadn’t flown, it’s hard to remember there was any different time and sharply different ways. So yes? Thanks to Hamilton. But no? Thanks to virtually everybody else, but especially the South — that was not the premise of the new United States, but independence, self-sufficiency, and equality under the law. …At least as a common goal.
It’s the very idea of debts, much less transfers to the unworking, they would find appalling. Bad for liberty, bad for spirit, bad for efficiency. For the borrower is forever the servant of the lender.”

For more on the issues with FIRE capitalism see Michael Hudson’s article:

Posted by: Krollchem | May 30 2018 20:29 utc | 100

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