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Michael Clark

Michael Clark
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  • A New Deal For Greece [View article]
    Timothy and Andreas: Love him or hate him, Varoufakis was more of a rock star than a typical government office -- I admit. I found him refreshing. Clearly he would have been fired from a corporate job; perhaps that is what I like about him. I am so tired of the plastic, magazine natures who appear all cut from the same cloth, all proper and processed from the same dull imagery of middle-class virtues and groomed by propriety's common interests. He was less civilized than his opponents. True. More visceral; more real. I really don't think we all have to be made from a corporate cookie-cutter. I'm very suspicious of the corporate cookiei-cutter. I think that is part of our problem. We have all been corporatized, sucked into and out of a corporate homogenizer. I don't know how old you guys are. I'm almost 65. My generation was much more tolerant of odd behavior; in fact, nothing was worse than the skim milk corporate creations that today are commonplace and apparently hallowed, with all that surface goodness and bland charm of the 'Establishment' assembly line personality created without dimension. Suburbia of the soul. Everyone forced to be the same, forced by fear of losing one's job, losing one's reputation, losing one's elevated place in the white, the very white, food chain.

    Varoufakis is real, has a brain. He knows how to think for himself. He knows how to express his ideas. As much as I like Angela Merkel, I found him much more colorful and original that Angela. Compare him to Draghi, Monti, Bernanke, Paulson, Greenspan....with whom would you rather have dinner, Varoufakis or Ben Bernake?

    Draghi, Monti, Bernanke, Paulson and Greenspan are all well-behaved, cultivated for a public life -- but they are dead inside. We like people who are well-behaved and dead inside. We think we can trust them. Maybe we can, maybe we can't.

    Beware too much homogenization. We are all human. But we need to value the differences too, not just the similarities.

    I think Varoufakis stole the show, with his sincerity, even considering his frustrated antics. I believe he thinks the Troika are terrorists. Terrorists come in all forms, not just in Muslim clothing -- sometimes they come in Armani suits, driving German cars, stealing a country's future with a pen.

    He is the very nature that does not make for a professional politician; but, then again, I'm really tired of professional politicians, who are mostly opportunists and careerists, looking to pad their pockets and curry favor with everyone, seeking popularity as a rat seeks an oversized piece of cheese.

    Be tolerant of genius. Sometimes it is odd, unpopular, shy when it should not be, and noisy when we do not expect it or feel it appropriate. It often sees more clearly the world we all need to be seeing, after we have been led into a dead-end by the well-mannered sycophants who have stopped seeing many years earlier, for such sights of new continents can often be very dangerous to one's professional career, following being much more admired in the trail of tears often relegated to one's career.

    Varoufakis clearly loves his country and his countrymen and woman, which he feels is being attacked and misused. I think he is the most interesting politician of the season -- mainly because he does not act like or appear to be a 'legitimate' politician. I think we need more leaders like him, rather than the plastic Ken and Barbie dolls with which we have been shackled for so many years, ever since television began to require beauty, country club decorum, and the vexing fake 24-hour smile that I so despise.

    I think we need a whole new generation of leaders like Varoufakis, real, passionate, and imaginative -- not the old white bread leaders who have sold us out to Wall Street.
    Jul 7, 2015. 01:30 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
    Well-said, ST. The abyss is getting closer, and hungrier.

    There is a power greater than us who must empower us all now, soon, and inflict Death upon the destroyers of Earth, the destroyers of decency.

    Jul 7, 2015. 12:51 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Greece And Germany - A Marriage Made In Hell [View article]
    I agree with you. The bankers' squeeze is getting closer to home. If we are sensitive enough, we can even feel it in America.

    Agree with almost everything you write here.
    Jul 6, 2015. 05:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Plight Of Greek Pensioners? [View article]
    Very interesting post, Peter Palms. Very interesting read.
    Jul 6, 2015. 05:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Plight Of Greek Pensioners? [View article]
    I agree. My view is that the world we're accustomed to, the world we built from 1983-2001, is dying and will die in 2019. So I agree with you. The 'end of the world' is always interesting, getting more so by the day.

    I also believe the 'next world' will be re-born in 2019. Thus, the death of the Old World and the rebirth of the New World happen at the same time.

    So keep a lookout. A day and a time: I'd have to say December 21, 2019. Of course, it is a process. And then a spark.
    Jul 6, 2015. 05:45 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Plight Of Greek Pensioners? [View article]
    Longimagn: I am impressed that you noticed. I'm not sure most people recognize where I have come from.

    Jul 6, 2015. 05:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Deal For Greece [View article]
    Every government in the world (except probably Russia) went into a debt crisis AFTER Wall Street collapsed in 2008. They all used government money, new debt, to bail out the banks. Is that a fabrication?

    There was no sovereign debt crisis until the collapse of the global economy threatened the banking system and government's rushed in to keep the system from collapsing. Greece paid $30 billion to bail out its banks. Suddenly Greece was in trouble. Greece was not paying more to finance its pensions and government programs before 2008 than it was after. But suddenly it has this huge debt from saving its banks. And then the bond vigilantes -- the big banks themselves? -- boycotted Greek debt, driving interest rates up to 177% on 2-year notes and making it impossible for Greece to realistically pay this debt. Ahh, the wonders of capitalism, the marvels of the free market.

    The free market, without a conscience, is the devil's playground.
    Jul 6, 2015. 05:00 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Deal For Greece [View article]
    The Greek government paid $30 billion to bail out Greek banks. Suddenly, they were bankrupt. Slick move how the banks got the taxpayers to bail them out; if they would have just done their jobs and done due diligence on risk, they could have avoided all this capitalist chaos. Unless this was all part of the plan.

    In the 1980's America had a savings and loan crisis. Basically the savings and loan industry made sweetheart loans to cronies, loans they never expected to be paid back; and then cried to the government, which bailed them out. That was a precedent for the big banks. In 1998, they got rid of the Glass-Steagall law which kept them from fully implementing the BIG SCAM in America. But after 1998, it was GAME ON. Let's soak the taxpayer, and blame Big Government at the same time.

    Look at European sovereign debt before 2008 -- and the bank bailouts began: no debt really. Nothing serious. Even Greece had reasonable debt. The only solution to the debt crisis now is to either default on the debt, which generates a new crisis; or subject Big Capitalism to a wealth tax to pay off the debt taken on, largely to save Capitalism after 2008, when Wall Street greed drove the train over the cliff.
    Jul 6, 2015. 04:46 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Deal For Greece [View article]
    There are many levels of war, before the hot shooting war. America was at war with Russia from 1945- through 1992 without firing a shot at Russia directly. Vietnam was a war with Russia and China; Korea was a war with Russia, and China...clearly NATO's recent moves against Russia are agressive (probably predatory from Russia's perspective). The peace between Europe (NATO members) and Russia is very tenuous now. America is clearly trying to destabilize Russia, to unseat Putin. European, American sanctions are economic war. Are you unwilling to see this, Jason, or to admit it?
    Jul 6, 2015. 04:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Deal For Greece [View article]
    Examples? If you are going to publicly admonish a man's character, please give examples. How did he shame his academic career?
    Jul 6, 2015. 04:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Deal For Greece [View article]
    Jason, I'm very suspicious of the Big Business view of what is ailing the world, i.e., Big Government. The Big Business model wants all social service spending cut so it can reduce costs and maximize profits guessed it, Big Business. This is the "feudalism works" argument, I'm afraid. I don't buy it.

    Here's a different picture of what went on in Greece, and what is going on everywhere in the world, as the Corporate Wall Street Empire attempts to reduce everything except its own profit potential.

    One of the reasons Greece's government spending was so large is because the government had to bail-out Greece's banks, to the tune of $30 billion. In fact, government spending all over the world jumped after 2008 as governments raced in to bail out banks and the teetering economic system. Capitalism failed; and goverments shielded the banks from collapse.

    THIS IS THE SCAM GOING ON NOW. Banks are 'stealing' money from governments as bailout money, extortion, with the threat that the whole banking system will go down if the government does not pay up. It's a mafia tactic. This has happened in America also -- America first; now it is a universal model. Instead of letting the banks go bust, the FED rushed in and bought up all the bad debt of the banks -- essentially they transfered this bad debt over to the taxpayers. This is a world-wide coup that has been engineered by Wall Street mafia.

    Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can’t pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?

    Except that it is a big fat lie … not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.

    Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.

    In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government and deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt so that oligarchs and international corporations can profit from the ensuing chaos and misery.

    If you are a fan of mafia movies, you know how the mafia would take over a popular restaurant. First, they would do something to disrupt the business – stage a murder at the restaurant or start a fire. When the business starts to suffer, the Godfather would generously offer some money as a token of friendship. In return, Greasy Thumb takes over the restaurant’s accounting, Big Joey is put in charge of procurement, and so on. Needless to say, it’s a journey down a spiral of misery for the owner who will soon be broke and, if lucky, alive.

    Now, let’s map the mafia story to international finance in four stages.

    Stage 1: The first and foremost reason that Greece got into trouble was the “Great Financial Crisis” of 2008 that was the brainchild of Wall Street and international bankers. If you remember, banks came up with an awesome idea of giving subprime mortgages to anyone who can fog a mirror. They then packaged up all these ticking financial bombs and sold them as “mortgage-backed securities” at a huge profit to various financial entities in countries around the world.

    A big enabler of this criminal activity was another branch of the banking system, the group of rating agencies – S&P, Fitch and Moody’s – who gave stellar ratings to these destined-to-fail financial products. Unscrupulous politicians such as Tony Blair got paid by Big Banks to peddle these dangerous securities to pension funds and municipalities and countries around Europe. Banks and Wall Street gurus made hundreds of billions of dollars in this scheme.

    But this was just Stage 1 of their enormous scam. There was much more profit to be made in the next three stages!

    Stage 2 is when the financial time bombs exploded. Commercial and investment banks around the world started collapsing in a matter of weeks. Governments at local and regional level saw their investments and assets evaporate. Chaos everywhere!

    Vultures like Goldman Sachs and other big banks profited enormously in three ways: one, they could buy other banks such as Lehman brothers and Washington Mutual for pennies on the dollar. Second, more heinously, Goldman Sachs and insiders such as John Paulson (who recently donated $400 million to Harvard) had made bets that these securities would blow up. Paulson made billions, and the media celebrated his acumen. (For an analogy, imagine the terrorists betting on 9/11 and profiting from it.) Third, to scrub salt in the wound, the big banks demanded a bailout from the very citizens whose lives the bankers had ruined! Bankers have chutzpah. In the U.S., they got hundreds of billions of dollars from the taxpayers and trillions from the Federal Reserve Bank which is nothing but a front group for the bankers.

    In Greece, the domestic banks got more than $30 billion of bailout from the Greek people. Let that sink in for a moment – the supposedly irresponsible Greek government had to bail out the hardcore capitalist bankers.

    Stage 3 is when the banks force the government to accept massive debts. For a biology metaphor, consider a virus or a bacteria. All of them have unique strategies to weaken the immune system of the host. One of the proven techniques used by the parasitic international bankers is to downgrade the bonds of a country. And that’s exactly what the bankers did, starting at the end of 2009. This immediately makes the interest rates (“yields”) on the bonds go up, making it more and more expensive for the country to borrow money or even just roll over the existing bonds.

    From 2009 to mid-2010, the yields on 10-year Greek bonds almost tripled! This cruel financial assault brought the Greek government to its knees, and the banksters won their first debt deal of a whopping 110 billion Euros.

    The banks also control the politics of nations. In 2011, when the Greek prime minister refused to accept a second massive bailout, the banks forced him out of the office and immediately replaced him with the Vice President of ECB (European Central Bank)! No elections needed. Screw democracy. And what would this new guy do? Sign on the dotted line of every paperwork that the bankers bring in.

    (By the way, the very next day, the exact same thing happened in Italy where the Prime Minister resigned, only to be replaced by a banker/economist puppet. Ten days later, Spain had a premature election where a banker puppet won the election).

    The puppet masters had the best month ever in November 2011.

    Few months later, in 2012, the exact bond market manipulation was used when the banksters turned up the Greek bonds’ yields to 50%!!! This financial terrorism immediately had the desired effect: The Greek parliament agreed to a second massive bailout, even larger than the first one.

    Now, here is another fact that most people don’t understand. The loans are not just simple loans like you would get from a credit card or a bank. These are loans come with very special strings attached that demand privatization of a country’s assets. If you have seen Godfather III, you would remember Hyman Roth, the investor who was carving up Cuba among his friends. Replace Hyman Roth with Goldman Sachs or IMF (International Monetary Fund) or ECB, and you get the picture.

    Stage 4: Now, the rape and humiliation of a nation begin under the name of “austerity” or “structural reforms.” For the debt that was forced upon it, Greece had to sell many of its profitable assets to oligarchs and international corporations. And privatizations are ruthless, involving everything and anything that is profitable. In Greece, privatization included water, electricity, post offices, airport services, national banks, telecommunication, port authorities (which is huge in a country that is a world leader in shipping) etc. Of course, the ever-manipulative bankers always demand immediate privatization of all media which means that the country gets photogenic TV anchors who spew establishment propaganda every day and tell the people that crooked and greedy banksters are saviors; and slavery under austerity is so much better than the alternative.

    In addition to that, the banker tyrants also get to dictate every single line item in the government’s budget. Want to cut military spending? NO! Want to raise tax on the oligarchs or big corporations? NO! Such micro-management is non-existent in any other creditor-debtor relationship.

    So what happens after privatization and despotism under bankers? Of course, the government’s revenue goes down and the debt increases further. How do you “fix” that? Of course, cut spending! Lay off public workers, cut minimum wage, cut pensions (same as our social security), cut public services, and raise taxes on things that would affect the 99% but not the 1%. For example, pension has been cut in half and sales tax increase to more than 20%. All these measures have resulted in Greece going through a financial calamity that is worse than the Great Depression of the U.S. in the 1930s.

    After all this, what is the solution proposed by the heartless bankers? Higher taxes! More cuts to the pension! It takes a special kind of a psychopath to put a country through austerity, an economic holocaust.

    If every Greek person had known the truth about austerity, they wouldn’t have fallen for this. Same goes for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other countries going through austerity. The sad aspect of all this is that these are not unique strategies. Since World War II, these predatory practices have been used countless times by the IMF and the World Bank in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

    This is the essence of the New World Order — a world owned by a handful of corporations and banks; a world that is full of obedient, powerless debt serfs.

    I think the first step of true austerity needs to be debt default, and reconfiguration of the banking system under the model of Public Utilities. The banks are currently too big to exists. It's time for us to start pruning Big Business, break up the monopolies again, bust-up the big trusts, as Teddy Roosevelt insisted. It's time for us to start over again. Big Banks and Big Corporations and democracies are mutually exclusive. The goal of Big Corporations is, ultimately, to take over the government and the laws of the democracy. They are a threat to the continued existence of democracies.
    Jul 6, 2015. 02:56 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Deal For Greece [View article]
    Yestoeverything: yes, you understand what is going on.
    Jul 6, 2015. 02:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Deal For Greece [View article]
    Vlad: the CIA has an interest in everything. A western nation, a member of NATO, potentially swinging over to the enemy side. Are you serious -- no interest. If the CIA cared about Ukraine, it cares even more about Greece. If Greece makes peace with Russia, and then Italy does, and then Spain does...well, you can see how this goes.

    Putin is clearly a good chessplayer. He is winning merely by just sitting still. He will continue to win through 2019. Then he will start to lose.
    Jul 6, 2015. 02:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Deal For Greece [View article]
    "Hooligan" in contrast to 'lackey' -- are those the two choices? "Hooligan" in contrast to "bag man" or "collaborator".
    Jul 6, 2015. 02:29 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Good On You, Greece - But Don't Waver Now [View article]
    It is the banks' money. It is their business to analyze risk, and protect their money. In a perfect world, the banks would do their job, the potential borrowers would say no to seduction rates. We do not live in a perfect world, clearly. The FED is tempting borrowers all the time to take on more debt. What kind of leadership do we have that tempts us to borrow beyond our ability to repay, and makes it impossible for us to save for the future and fixes rates so we can't make money from our savings?

    We're getting bad leadership obviously. Our leadership wants us mortgaged to the hilt. There is a scam going on. Banks can lend to anyone who applies for a loan IF the government is back-stopping those loans with government bailouts. Stop the bailouts. Let the banks fail. A couple of banks fail and they will start doing their job again; they will start saying no to those who are not qualified for a loan. That is how it has always been done in America, until now.

    Anyone can ask for a loan; the bank has the power to say yes or no to any loan request. They have the responsibility to say no. It is their money. If we stop guaranteeing their loans with government tax receipts, they will either start doing their job or go out of business. That is what capitalism is.

    We have immature leadership, immature banks, and immature borrowers. Our lack of maturity is a problem for us. We think the world is always going to be filled with parental figures who bail us out when we don't grow up. Maybe it's time to grow up.
    Jul 6, 2015. 02:18 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment