Tuesday, March 9, 2010
"As the Obama Administration works up its 12,487th plan for keeping underwater homeowners in their homes, Arizona’s legislation may have the courage and good sense to do the obvious: let foreclosed homeowners stay in their home as renters. A bill was just introduced in legislature that would allow homeowners in houses that sell for less than the median price to remain in their home as renters for at least one year following foreclosure.
With this simple gesture the Arizona legislature could do more for the nation’s underwater homeowners than all the brilliant DC policy wonks have managed to accomplish in the last three years with all their billions of dollars. The legislation would give low and moderate-income homeowners security in their homes. It doesn’t make them jump through hoops and prove to bureaucrats that they were worthy. It doesn’t require them genuflect before loans servicers or bankers.
This legislation would give homeowners the right to stay in their home. And bingo, every low and moderate-income homeowner in the state would know that the bank could not just throw him or her out on the street. If this passes the banks may also think more seriously about loan modifications, since they couldn’t just throw a foreclosed homeowner out on the street. The proposal doesn’t cost the taxpayers any money. It also doesn’t require any government bureaucracy. It’s easy to see why it’s a non-starter in Washington." ("Arizona Leads the Way in Combating Foreclosure" Dean Baker, Truthout)
This is a good first step and we can only hope that Arizona lawmakers follow-through and provide some badly-needed relief for the victims of the mortgage fiasco. But let's not kid ourselves, the banks are not going to roll over and die. They're going to fight this thing tooth-and-nail and do everything in their power to stop this mini-uprising from mushrooming into a full-blown rebellion. This is the type of populism that can leapfrog from one state house to another if it isn't nipped in the bud. Besides, the banksters have no intention of taking orders from "do-gooder" politicos or allowing people to stay in homes if it denies them their pound of flesh. They'll just ring-up their legal team and drag it out in the courts.
But the bankers have bigger problems than the mutiny in Arizona. That's small beer compared to the boatload of non performing loans and mortgage-backed securities they still need to dump. And that's become a much more difficult process, now that the public's radar is on high-frequency and politicians are backing away from anything that smacks of a bailout. That's why most of the ideas that are currently under consideration have been kept out of the media.
One such idea--promoted by John McCain's former economic advisor--is is for the Treasury to use $75 billion from the TARP fund and lever it at 10 to 1, so that the banks can write-down the mortgage principle on millions of delinquent loans and, thus, keep the homeowners out of foreclosure. In other words, the Treasury will act as a sovereign hedge fund providing borrowed capital for cramdowns to keep the banks from losing more money. This would provide nearly a trillion dollars of public funding (which would cover most of the future losses from defaulting ARMs and Alt A mortgages) without congressional approval. Naturally, the bailout would be accompanied by a public relations campaign that would divert attention from the banks and focus on the (fictional) beneficiaries of government largess; aka. struggling homeowners.
But it's clear from Fannie Mae's recent losses, that the banks have already figured out how to shed their toxic assets without arousing undo public interest. Most people are unaware that the Bush administration dumped hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed sewage into the GSE's (Fannie and Freddie) right after the subprime meltdown. As soon as the secondary market froze-over, banks realized that their vaults were filled with worthless paper they needed to get rid of pronto. Fannie turned out to be the perfect solution, a vast and shadowy public landfill where all manner of toxic sludge could put to rest. Here's a clip from Rortybomb which explains how it all worked:
"It is likely the GSEs (Fannie and Freddie) took on some of the worst loans and mortgage-backed securities of the banks during 2007 and 2008, transferring losses from the private banking sector to the quasi-private-quasi-public GSEs. Let’s look at ... articles from the New York Times on the collapse of the GSEs... Here’s "Pressured to Take More Risk, Fannie Reached Tipping Point", by Charles Duhigg, Oct 2008:
NY Times: "Had Fannie been a private entity, its comeuppance might have happened a year ago. But the White House, Wall Street and Capitol Hill were more concerned about the trillions of dollars in other loans that were poisoning financial institutions and banks....Lawmakers, particularly Democrats, leaned on Fannie and Freddie to buy and hold those troubled debts, hoping that removing them from the system would help the economy recover......"
And also this article, "White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire by Becker", by Stolberg and Labaton, from Dec 2008:
"In an Oval Office meeting on March 17, however, Mr. Paulson barely mentioned the idea, according to several people present. He wanted to use the troubled companies to unlock the frozen credit market by allowing Fannie and Freddie to buy more mortgage-backed securities from overburdened banks. To that end, Mr. Lockhart’s office (ed... James Lockhart, Director of Fannie Mae) planned to lift restraints on the companies’ huge portfolios — a decision derided by former White House and Treasury officials who had worked so hard to limit them."
One doesn’t have to be an advanced game theorist to see the adverse selection in play – the loans sold to the GSEs from the major banks, under much political pressure, in this period were almost certainly of poorer quality and too expensive." (Rortybomb, "GSE Losses as Shadow Bailout")
So, as soon as subprimes started detonating at a 6 percent rate, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson went into crash-alert mode and began looking for a place where his buddies could offload their dodgy assets. As the article suggests, Paulson finally decided that Fannie and Freddie were the only practical option.
And that's just one of many stealth bailouts. There are others, too. Like Bernanke's quantitative easing (QE) shell game. QE was promoted as a way to increase consumer lending by building reserves at the banks. Only it doesn't work that way. What QE really does is exchange bank reserves for "unsellable" mortgage-backed securities. In other words, it trades quality, liquid bonds for illiquid assets of uncertain value. The arrangement allows the banks to earn interest on reserves at no cost to themselves, while the Fed is saddled with downgraded securities for which there is no current market. If you are the Fed; you just got taken to the cleaners.
Bernanke implemented the "good bank/bad bank" model that was recommended after the Lehman default, but without any strings attached for the banks. Since then, it's been one ginormous government-paid freebie after another. Rather than nationalize the banks so they could be cleaned up, reorganized and recapitalized. Bernanke found a way to rebuild balance sheets, restore profitability, and preserve the banks political firepower without any fundamental structural change. None of the head honchos at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup or JP Morgan lost their jobs. The same wobbly, crisis-prone system has been reassembled without the slightest change to the blueprint.
Now all Bernanke needs to do is figure out how to get rid of all the crummy MBS he just bought and he can take a sabbatical. And that shouldn't be too hard either. Treasury Secretary Geithner, who has been working on the problem from the get-go, will probably buy the sour assets incrementally and then discreetly move them to Fannie Mae where they will reappear as quarterly losses. And that will be the end of the toxic assets.
So, how will all these stealth bailouts effect the economy?
While diverting trillions of dollars into broken institutions is a bad idea in the best of times; it's much worse during a downturn. Confidence is flagging because unemployment is high. And unemployment is high because demand is weak. That means that the money that should be going to people who will generate more economic activity, is actually going to prop up lending institutions that don't lend and banks that operate as casinos. What sense does that make?
The bailouts are not the problem, they merely indicate the extent to which the banks control all parts of the political apparatus. That's right, the problem is political not economic. Speculators will always try to bend the rules and game the system. It's human nature. But it's the public's responsibility to make sure their representatives keep a tight leash on the high-stakes gamblers and other flim-flammers. That means tough, hardnose regulations; a new regime of stop signs, speed limits and guard rails. Cross the meridian, and it's "off to the poky". Presently, the rules only apply to those who are not powerful or well-connected enough to shrug them off, which is why the system is broken.
The Federal Reserve has won its battle to maintain singular regulatory oversight of America's major financial institutions, the Financial Times reported Sunday night.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) gave up the fight for a new super-regulator over the weekend, and will propose financial reforms this week that leave the Fed in control of big banks and the rest of the major Wall Street players, sources told the FT.
The parties allegedly responsible for the Fed's victory are easy to guess. The FT's sources point the finger at Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is unsurprisingly speaking up more loudly now that he's won reconfirmation:
"Until, frankly, chairman [Ben] Bernanke was confirmed I think the Fed's hands were kind of tied," said a banking industry figure who has held discussions with one of those [regional] Fed presidents. "Now he is chairman for the next four years ... the Fed has been able to be more aggressive in fighting for its authority."
Iceland’s voters expressed their outrage on Saturday against bankers, the government and what they saw as foreign bullying, overwhelmingly rejecting a plan to pay $5.3 billion to Britain and the Netherlands to reimburse customers of a failed Icelandic bank, Sarah Lyall reported in The New York Times.
With about 98 percent of the votes counted Sunday, roughly 93 percent of voters said no to the plan, in the first public referendum ever held on any subject in Iceland. Less than 2 percent voted yes, and the rest of the votes were invalid.
But the referendum was more symbolic than substantive, and the Icelandic government hastened to make clear that Iceland would still pay back the money, albeit on different terms from the ones rejected.
“We want to be perfectly clear that a ‘no’ vote does not mean we are refusing to pay,” Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said. “We will honor our obligations. To maintain anything else is highly dangerous for the economy of this country.”
In the Netherlands, Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said Saturday, as the first results were being reported, that Iceland’s referendum was an “internal matter,” the Dutch news service ANP reported.
Still, Mr. Jager noted that no agreement was operative yet for the repayment. He said in a letter to his Icelandic counterpart that Britain and the Netherlands were committed to “finding a solution in line with international standards,” the news service reported.
International standards may have more importance for Iceland than other countries, as it was invited last month to begin accession talks with the European Union.
“I consider accession talks to be an extra tool to force Iceland to come to an agreement,” the Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, told ANP on Saturday.
Icelandic officials have already accused Britain and the Netherlands of slowing financial aid from the International Monetary Fund to put pressure on Reykjavik.
The vote Sunday shows the depth of Icelanders’ rage. They are angry at the British and Dutch, who they say are mistreating them; angry at the regulators and government officials who failed to properly oversee the Icelandic financial system; and angry at the bankers whose recklessness helped the economy grow at a headspinning rate and then caused it to self-destruct in days.
“Ordinary people, farmers and fishermen, taxpayers, doctors, nurses, teachers, are being asked to shoulder through their taxes a burden that was created by irresponsible greedy bankers,” President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said on Bloomberg Television.
How to repay the debt, which represents more than 40 percent of Iceland’s gross domestic product, has consumed this small, isolated nation for the last year and a half, since its banks failed, its stock market crashed and its currency collapsed.
The money represents a portion of the losses incurred by more than 300,000 Dutch and British customers of Icesave, an Internet branch of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki. The bank went bankrupt in October 2008, along with 85 percent of Iceland’s banking sector. The Netherlands and the British reimbursed their citizens, and are now pushing to get the money back from Iceland.
The three countries have been fighting over the deal’s terms ever since. An agreement this fall that would have given Iceland 15 years to pay the money, at 5.5 percent interest, only narrowly passed the country’s Parliament.
But on Jan. 5, Mr. Grimsson unexpectedly refused to sign the bill into law, setting off the need for a nationwide referendum.
But the vote has been overtaken by events, the government said: the deal at issue in the referendum is no longer the deal that is currently on the table in international negotiations.
Each day of delay increases Iceland’s financial burden. The second installment of a much-needed loan from the International Monetary Fund and a coalition of Nordic countries has been put off pending resolution of the dispute.
Britain has warned Iceland that it risks being an international pariah if it does not pay the money back and has threatened to stall the country’s efforts to join the European Union.
The Icesave matter has put increasing pressure on the year-old Icelandic government, a fragile coalition led by Johanna Sigurdardottir of the Social Democratic Party. On the one hand, it needs to show that it acknowledges the public’s deep bitterness; on the other, it needs to negotiate a deal quickly in order to move economic recovery along.
“We need to keep going,” Ms. Sigurdardottir said in a television interview. “We have to get an agreement.”
Go to Article from The New York Times »
Go to Article from ANP via De Limburger Dagblad (in Dutch) »
Go to Article from ANP via Beursduivel (in Dutch) »
Go to Article from Het Financieele Dagblad (in Dutch) »
We have a governor (as of this writing, anyhow) who just got blasted by the New York State Commission on Public Integrity for lying to them under oath in their investigation of him. But that’s okay. Before that, he accepted the favor of free tickets to the World Series, which is what he lied about. But that’s okay. Before that he was putting pressure on a woman who was the victim of domestic violence to go away and shut up. But that’s okay. The person who was beating and choking her was one of his top staffers. But that’s okay, before that he and his wife were involved in all sorts of tawdry but unspecified sex and drug related scandalous behavior. But that’s okay. He’s the governor who came in after the last governor had to resign because he was laundering money in order to visit high-priced hookers. But that’s okay. Everybody in Albany is out of control, including one state senator who cut his girlfriend’s face open with broken glass, and a former leader of the Senate on trial for wholesale corruption. But that’s okay, because none of them actually do anything, anyhow.
Which, considering the sheer scumminess of this lot, could very well be a good thing.
It’s certainly a common thing. I grew up in California, which seems determined not to be eclipsed by New York or anybody in the dyfunctionality department. California once had the nation’s top school system. But it cost money, so they gutted property tax revenues and made it nearly impossible for the state to ever raise taxes again. Now the schools are making Mississippi’s look good. California once had a great Supreme Court, too, which was the envy of other states in the union. But the justices weren’t killing enough inmates, so some nice folks engineered a then-unheard of thing and got the public to recall half the bench, replacing them with pro-death penalty (oh, and incidentally, pro-corporate) new judges. California also once had a decent and politically very moderate governor. But then Enron came in and created power black-outs in order to drive up electricity prices on the grid, and so he to was blamed and then recalled too, replaced by a movie actor who played a tough but loving cyborg from the future. Now, in his new role as governor of California, he plays the leader of a nascent third world country, fiscally so chaotic it’s about ready to qualify for IMF bailouts.
As for Texas, I don’t live there and I didn’t grow up there, either. (I did kinda like Stevie Ray Vaughan, though. I don’t know if that counts for anything.) But them folks are about to re-elect a governor who just last year was talking about how so very heavy is the yoke of the federal government that Texas just might have to secede from the union. Er, rather, secede again, I should say. Funny, though. He didn’t mention how the states where you find the most tea-partiest type of politics tend to be the ones bringing home the bulk of the federal bacon. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted in 2005, only five blue states are net recipients of federal subsidies, while only two red states are net payers of federal taxes. Imagine my surprise at the hypocrisy of it all, and at recent revelations that lots of the Neanderthal Party’s members fulminated in Congress expressing their outrage at the stimulus bill, while simultaneously bragging at home about how many federal dollars from it they were able to funnel into fat local projects.
And then, of course, nominally presiding over New York, California and Texas is the United States federal government, about as pathetic a sight as one is ever likely to see. Groaning under the weight of enormous problems, almost all of them entirely of its own making, it is completely unable to act in any fashion other then to exacerbate those problems further while denying their existence. It’s true that the Founders of this country set out to create a system of government that would almost never be able to do anything, and boy were those fellas good. Just in case, though, the current lot of kleptocrats in the Republican Party have done them one better, grinding a system that’s already ground to a halt all the way into reverse. Except when they have the keys to the government, of course. At which point they employ the legislative equivalent of bunker buster bombs to kick out the jambs and rape the country with impunity.
Meanwhile, there’s another party in Washington, too. You may have heard of them. Heck, they even control the government, though you’d never know it. They’re pretty much committed to not doing anything, ever. And, if by some inadvertent mistake they actually do take action of some sort, they’re equally devoted to doing it ineptly, ineffectively, and on the terms of their adversaries.
Well, really, nominal adversaries would be a more accurate way to put it, since the party that once actually used to do something for the public interest every once in a while has now joined the other party in full-on devotion to the feeding and care of oligarchs, 24/7. The only difference is the masks they wear. If you’re merely a sick puppy, you put on the disguise of ineptitude and frustration as you do the bidding of your corporate masters. If you are, on the other hand, absolutely sociopathic, you work for the same folks, but you sell it to the numb-nuts you affectionately refer to as your constituents in the form of protection from fur’ners and fags, instead. Oh, and a bit of wholesale violence with the invasion of some third world country every other year or so.
A very good measure of the health of a given polity – especially in a democracy – is given by the quality of leadership running the joint. That measure is incredibly telling in the case of the United States, and what it is telling us is grim indeed. Consider the last three presidents against the comparative backdrop of one of our greats, and his response to the country’s most serious existential crisis ever, excepting the Civil War. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and the Germans soon thereafter declared war on the US as well, Franklin Roosevelt led the country into a massive national response and a four-year-plus effort combining full-on public support, massive military, industrial and societal mobilization, masterful diplomacy and stellar strategic vision in order to defeat the genuine threat of global fascism.
If Bill Clinton had been president, on the other hand, he would have responded by trying to cop a feel off the Japanese ambassador’s daughter. If George W. Bush had been president, he would invaded Mexico, bungled the war for seven years, then invaded Botswana, and sapped the military’s strength by simultaneously bungling that irrelevant war for six years, all while the Japanese and Germans rampaged freely, coming closer to American shores every day. And if Barack Obama had been president, he would have studied the matter for a year, offered to bargain away half of Europe and Asia in a deal with the Axis Powers, and then, when they spit in his face for the thirty-seventh time, deployed a half-dozen or so unarmed marines in a rubber dinghy as America’s military response to the attack.
Our so-called leaders are bad enough, but it gets almost worse at the level of the American public, who of course also bear the burden of choosing these abysmal presidents, on top of their own crimes. These latter include utter negligence in maintaining the gift of American democracy, complete laziness in the most basic of civic duties, mass corruption of social, political and personal values, and a reliance upon every form of cheap magic or distraction to avoid basic personal and civic responsibilities.
And, always, it’s about having everything. At once. For nothing. The same idiots who have been seduced by cigarette-money-sized tax cuts for themselves, used to justify a massive slashing of the burden once carried by the rich, are now bitching as government services implode. The New York Times is reporting that citizens of Arizona – one of the most regressive states in the union – are now unhappy because their highway rest stops have been eliminated due to the state’s fiscal crisis. I just want to grab these people and shake them by the shoulders, politely suggesting to them that next time they have to pull over in the desert sands between Tucson and Phoenix and squat by the side of the road, they might want to give a thought or two to all the money they pissed away in another desert, this one in Mesopotamia. Likewise, people are now also starting to whine about schools closing and prisoners being released from jail, also because of budget slashing. And I just want to ask those bright folks whether they still think all those tax cuts for the already outrageously wealthy plutocracy were such a good idea in retrospect, after all.
This is just the tip of the spear. American government is in the process of imploding, and it won’t be long until the pathetically minuscule social safety net that we have will be shredded as well. Stupid voters who turn to the Republican Party in the next two election cycles will be outraged at the GOP if it does what it says it will do and slashes social spending. And, of course, they will be equally outraged if the Republicans don’t. It just doesn’t seem to occur to these folks that you have to pay for government services. And why should it, really? The GOP have been selling the magic of free government since Ronald Reagan brought voodoo economics to the national stage in 1980, nearly quadrupling the national debt in the process.
And when the financial voodoo remedies somehow amazingly fail to entice the gods sufficiently to redeem the disaster that is American fiscal policy, desperate political invocations and supplications to the deities du jour are sure to follow. In fact, they began long ago. Term limits? Swell! No tax increase pledges? Cool! Tea parties? What a great idea! Ross Perot and his binders full of government plans gathering dusts on the shelves of bureaucracies all across Washington? Brilliant! Deregulation? Of course! Let the market fix everything! Privatization? Why have a government when you can buy a lousier one for a lot more money, so that profits can be extracted? Hey, and while we’re at it, why not pretend to fund our schools as the pretext for government-sponsored gambling through lotteries? Excellent! That’s a threefer! Bad schools, government-induced addiction, and a rip-off of the public’s money.
The American public is in oscillating parachute mode right now, and my guess is that it’s going to get worse. Like a desperate patient with a potentially terminal illness, we careen from one panacea to the next, hoping that the laws of political physics can somehow be suspended if we just wish it earnestly enough. In observing this pathetic sight, I am reminded of nothing so much as a cranky adolescent who expends ten times the energy and grief to avoid doing his math assignment as it would take to just sit down for twenty minutes and crank it out.
That’s the funny thing about the American political malaise. Some of the changes most necessary for our rescue would not only be easy, they’d be way cheaper than free. This country could solve ninety percent of its problems by the simple act of getting money out of politics and thereby (re)turning the American government into being an instrument for the benefit of the public, rather than a servant for aggregating wealth on behalf of a predatory plutocracy. Among the immediate benefits such a change might be expected to realize would be precipitous drops in military spending and corporate welfare, along with a serious rise in revenues from a tax system that required the rich to actually pay their share. In other words, for no cost to the individual American other than getting up off their couches and actually demanding government for the people rather than for the people’s vampires, the public could right the ship of state and probably even get a beloved tax cut out of the deal. But, alas, there is that couch to keep warm...
Really, I’m afraid the kindest thing you can say about America today is that it is so not a serious country anymore. Churchill joked that you can always count on America to do the right thing, after it has exhausted all the other possibilities. I’m down with the second half of the equation, but unfortunately growing increasingly dubious about the first.
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that there is no substantial economic recovery – measured in jobs, not GDP or the Dow or Wall Street bonuses – in the coming years. I regret to say that I think that’s a pretty safe assumption. The abandonment of workers in America that we’re seeing today is a the final (we hope) result of a decades-long relentless pursuit of profits in the name of overclass greed über alles. Who cares about American workers if you can do a job cheaper with a machine? Why give a shit about shutting down entire communities if you can export those jobs overseas at a fraction of the cost? Sorry too about those trade treaties that only helped to exacerbate that tendency! Oh, and too bad we don’t have any money to dump into community redevelopment or schools or infrastructure. Gots to do tax cuts for the rich instead. Gots to keep our priorities straight, you know?
In short, we’ve worked pretty hard these last decades to destroy the American middle class and to hammer the working class and poor, all because the folks who were really rich decided about thirty years ago that they instead deserved to be fantastically rich. And, lo and behold, it’s worked! The good years of the mid-twentieth century in America are now going, in the long view of history, from being a foundation to a continuing and improved future to instead becoming an historical anomaly. It was a blip, in between the normal of gross disparities of wealth that came before it and after it. A thirty year party. A generational experiment that went badly awry for the boss class, ‘til they returned to clean up the mess.
But it’s hard to give it up, especially since nobody told us it was a one-time deal. Ironically, our decline based on class thievery soon became become the perfect condition for its own amplified replication, as the regressive movement in America, starting with Reagan, began marketing an exacerbation of this effect, masked as just its opposite and channeling the fear and rage of economic insecurity into hatred and violence toward brown people, gays, women, etc. Aided and abetted by an ‘opposition’ party that went from consternation to crash to concussion to confusion to compliance to co-optation to collaboration and then finally to clones, the process has been really quite remarkable for its diabolical ingeniousness and its near complete success.
Emphasis on the word ‘near’, though. It’s not over yet, and this is where I think we begin to get into some really scary territory, and where Churchill’s formula may well break down. This is a country steeped in violence, political stupidity, racism, sexism, homophobia, and beliefs in every kind of magic, including – especially – religion. It feels in my gut, right now, like a very combustible collection of tinder, and I don’t imagine the revolution, if it comes, will be a particularly progressive one.
I would expect the Democratic Party to get annihilated in the next two election cycles. Assuming people will even wait that long for serious change, that brings Sarah Palin, or her equivalent, and gang to power three years from now.
Consider their choices as they take control of the government.
If this new regime does nothing, or reverts to the GOP’s previous form of spending more, taxing less and borrowing like crazy, they will solve nothing, and will be tossed out (again) like the Democrats before them.
If they govern like they actually say they will, they will slash spending on social programs, angering the public furiously, and completely alienating their only real remaining base, old white people.
Which leaves, to my mind, only a third option, kinda like the one Hitler brought to the Weimar Republic, then suffering from similar tendencies toward economic despair, political oscillation and ineffective governance.
That’s pretty drastic, but I guess it comes down to the question of just what one thinks these people are capable of.
As for me, I say keep you passport current.
'We will not offer Greece a cent': German economy minister deals hammer blow to Athens as rioters attack police on the streets
It could almost be a battle from Greece's ancient past - a melee of fighting at close quarters with shields, raised weapons and flags.
But this was the scene in Athens yesterday as riot police clashed with protesters outraged by cutbacks designed to slash the country's huge budget deficit.
The violence came as Germany ruled out offering Greece 'a cent' of financial aid, insisting it should sort out it own problems.
Mob violence: Two policemen are down and a third is cornered by rioters in Athens yesterday
Clashes: Riot police wearing gas masks look on as a cart burns after violent protests to proposed cuts broke out in Athens
More than 7,000 protesters gathered in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as politicians debated the spending cuts, which aim to save 4.8billion euros with measures including higher consumer taxes and cuts to public sector workers' pay.
Rioters have attacked two military guards, smashed windows on banks, hotels and shops and thrown missiles at police.
There were smaller clashes during protests in Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city.
Fury: Police fire tear gas at protesters who smashed bank and hotel windows and attacked military guards outside parliament
Cuts: Thousands of protesters take part in a rally in the capital city of Athens at plans for cuts of 16million euros
Greece's centre-left government is seeking a total of 16billion euros in savings to reduce its bloated budget deficit of nearly 30billion euros.
The cuts are key in convincing bond markets to loan the country money and to win support from the EU.
Mr Bruerderle stressed each EU state was responsible for its own affairs and that the Greek government had to implement its austerity plan effectively.
His comments will be a hammer blow to Athens, coming just ahead of today's meeting between the Greek prime minister George Papandreou and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Jean-Claude Juncker, Eurogroup chairman of euro zone finance ministers, said there was no reason to believe German taxpayers' money would be needed to rescue beleaguered Greece.
Mr Juncker also said euro area states would guarantee the stability of the single currency zone if they had to, but he believes this is unlikely given Greece's own efforts at reform, including plans to slash public spending.
Deficit: A protester is grabbed by riot police during the clashes. Five people have been arrested and several officers injured
Struggling: Greece has been forced to plead with EU members to help bail it out after its borrowing costs spiralled to nearly 30million euros
He told a German radio station: 'It remains the case that Greece must get itself out of this self-indebted situation. Greece really has to do something. Greece is doing that now.
'If all this were not to suffice, the euro zone would be ready to guarantee the financial stability of the euro area but I do not expect that to be necessary because I want to expect the financial markets to register that the Greek government is goal-orientated and acting appropriately.'
Although Mr Juncker did not expect Greece to need foreign financial aid, he added: 'That can't be ruled out.'
His comments were in line with the carrot and stick approach taken by European policymakers in recent weeks, saying Greece must do more to solve its own problems but would not be abandoned.
Violence: Yiannis Panagopoulos, leader of the main workers union GSEE, is injured during a demonstration outside parliament
Riots: Left-wing politician Manolis Glezos, 88, who fought in the Second World War resistance, is shoved by police as the clashes became ugly
'Greece will have to borrow and refinance with higher rates for a longer period of time,' he said.
'There is a European solidarity with Greece - at least in the euro zone - a solidarity that can be activated if the financial markets were not to acknowledge that the Greek government is acting systematically.
'The Greeks won't be left alone.'
Asked if this solidarity meant financial aid, Mr Juncker replied: 'No, we're not doing that.
'We are just saying to the financial markets "pay attention, we're not leaving the Greeks alone and we're not giving the Greeks the impression that we will simply pass money across the table".'
Greece dipped into the financial markets yesterday and drew strong demand for a crucial bond issue to raise some much needed cash.
But it is having to pay investors in the bonds a steep risk premium that underscored its plea to Germany and other EU countries for support to help it cut its debt mountain.
Britain is "prepared to be flexible" to reach a deal with Iceland over the £2.3bn debt owed since the collapse of the online savings bank Icesave, the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, said yesterday.
But there is still no clear way out of the deadlock, as negotiators go back to the drawing board in the wake of Icelanders' overwhelming "no" in last weekend's referendum on the issue.
"The fundamental point for us is that we get our money back, but in terms of the terms and conditions we are prepared to be flexible, because it's not in our interest to have Iceland excluded," said Mr Darling.
"We want Iceland to be part of mainstream Europe, and this is just part of that process."
Under the rejected deal, Iceland was to pay the Dutch and British governments a total of €3.9bn (£3.5bn) by 2024, at an interest rate of about 5.5 per cent, in repayment for the cost of reimbursing savers when Icesave's parent Landsbanki collapsed in 2008.
But Icelanders vehemently opposed the proposals, blaming reckless bankers and politicians for the crisis and claiming that the country must help its own citizens before repaying foreign debts. Some 62.5 per cent of the electorate turned out to vote in the referendum called by President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, and a massive 93 per cent of them voted "no".
"The referendum was not about refusing to pay back the money," President Grimsson said yesterday. "Iceland is willing to reimburse those two governments, but it has to be on fair terms."
Improved terms were offered by the British and Dutch last week, but can only be discussed in detail now the referendum is over.
Iceland desperately needs to find a way out of the deadlock. Several countries have refused to pay their portion of a $2.1bn loan for Iceland from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) until the matter is resolved, although the IMF managing director Dominique Strauss Kahn said yesterday that the Icesave matter is a "private question". The dispute is also complicating talks about Iceland joining the EU.
In the following 9/11 ABC News live interview Giuliani states he was warned of the collapses:
|Giuliani has subsequently denied making the above comment proving that he has no qualms about lying about an inconvenient truth.|
No steel framed building had collapsed through fire prior to 9/11, so how was it known that the World Trade Center was going to collapse? There was no factual or historical basis for this prediction.
When was Giuliani warned?
Why were only a select few people warned? How many lives would have been saved if everyone had received this warning? Were Port Authority staff told to stay in the buildings? If so, why?
Why were firefighters in the impact zone of WTC 2 unaware that the building was going to collapse? They should have been the ones reporting this information, instead they reported only isolated fires immediately before the building's collapse. Isolated fires do not bring down steel framed buildings.
Update: The OEM Issued the Warning
But the surprising gunfire was not my fault, as I had just read that the Federal Reserve is being as dangerously incompetent as ever by continuing to massively increase the money supply (which is so horrible because it causes inflation in prices) so that they can buy up (monetize) at least a part of the massive, monstrous, mega-moolah Treasury debt issuance that will be necessary to fund the unbelievable sum of, as I understand it, US$1.9 trillion in government deficit-spending in the upcoming One Freaking Year (OFY) as a result of the massive spending of the terrible, awful, worse-than-I-had-feared, demon-from-hell Barack Obama administration, plus trillions more for the needs of the private sector, and a trillion or so in congressional "supplemental appropriations" throughout the year as congress periodically, almost ritually in a satanic kind of way, "discovers" that their original estimate of their borrowing needs was inadequate, and - surprise! - that these slimy, lying bastards need LOTS and lots more money!
I can see by rereading that paragraph that I was so wrapped up in heaping Massive Mogambo Scorn (MMS) on the arrogant, radical-left Obama, on every sniveling Democrat in the place, most of the Republicans, and on the despicable, guilty-as-charged, incompetent Federal Reserve that I never actually got around to telling you how much money and credit the Fed created last week, which was the original point I was going to make for some reason other than decrying such irresponsible expansions of the money supply that will guarantee horrific, economy-destroying, dollar-destroying, soul-destroying inflation in prices, but I forgot what I was planning to say about it, to tell you the truth, but with or without it, the increase in Fed credit last week was another $5.2 billion, which (although terrifying), is less than his usual increase, and at $5.2 billion, is merely twice the usual weekly rate of money and credit creation by the monster Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, who - single-handedly! - created all the economic mess of the world by merely creating $10 billion-or-so per month of new Federal Reserve money and credit!
Now, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, a clueless academic, still stubbornly hews to that same, tired, insipid-yet-stupid neo-Keynesian econometric theory that has now been shown to be not only wrong, wrong, wrong, but also stupidly and catastrophically wrong, which doesn't say anything at all about the morons, like Bernanke and Princeton economist Alan Blinder, who are themselves mere representative examples of the neo-Keynesian econometric bozos rampant in the world today, all of whom believe in such imbecilities as their precious economic theories in the face of, literally, overwhelming evidence to the contrary! It is absurd on its face! Ya gotta laugh! Hahahaha!
Interestingly, a crucial part of the stupid Keynesian nonsense holds that the government can, by virtue of borrowing the money, replace any perceived lost "consumer demand", in any economic downturn, by merely borrowing and spending money, even if borrowing and spending money was the cause of the original downturn, and that there are no repercussions that cannot be solved by more borrowing and spending, and that inflation in prices has nothing to do with the money supply but with irrational exuberance! Which doesn't even make any sense! Hahahah! It doesn't even freaking make sense!!
Sharp-eyed Junior Mogambo Rangers (JMRs) will recognize the two exclamation points as indicators of something, usually the preceding sentence (as in this case), as being very important, as, now that I notice, it is, in this case, in that it is Beyond Freaking Crazy (BFC)!!!
Horrors! The punctuation using the rare triple exclamation point! You can tell I am on a roll here! I suggest you go to someplace safe in your house where your enemies would have to attempt a painful frontal assault against you, and as you wait, you think to yourself, "Obviously, this is extremely important! As indeed it is, now that I think about it after it has been drawn to my attention, thanks to the Magnificent Mogambo (MM), because you do not get anything except total, unmitigated disaster from inept management by people who cannot be controlled and who are Beyond Freaking Crazy (BFC)!"
I am very proud of you for thinking this, as it shows that it has all become clear: the preponderance of people on this planet, and in our universities, and in our media, and in our governments, and in our central banks are BFC lunatics if they think that borrowing (racking up debt) and spending money will "cure" the bust of the boom produced by borrowing (racking up debt) and spending the money! Hahahaha!
I immediately think of the joke, "Doctor! I've been gorging myself, but I never lose any weight!" but it doesn't seem to fit the conversation, somehow, and it doesn't really seem to have anything to do with anything I was talking about, which makes me think that maybe my subconscious is telling me that I SHOULD have been talking about it, which doesn't make any sense, either, because I don't think anyone needs advice on how to gorge themselves, and in fact, people seem quite disgusted when I do it, although it makes their kids laugh, meaning that the kids like me better than they like their own parents, which is a small victory for me and, although small, is a victory.
So I say to the kids, who just showed how much they love me, "Hey, kids! Tell your parents that they are idiots unless they buy gold, silver and oil right now, because unless they do, they are going to be poor when excessive government deficit-spending and excessive Federal Reserve over-creation of money and credit make prices soar as the buying power of the dollar falls, which means that you will be poor, and you tell them how you don't want to be poor, and how you have been thinking about, in an idle sort of economic self-defense way, the many, many advantages of being too young to be charged with a capital crime should they fail to acquire the aforesaid gold, silver and oil!"
This is where the parents turned around and gave me this "dirty look", which I interpreted to mean, "I surrender, under protest, to your magnificent, powerful presentation of the case for gold, silver and oil, enhanced by the paranoid notion that my own children are threatening to kill me in some bizarre extortion racket involving gold, silver and oil that you have planted in my head, which I realize is all for my own good because I now see that only an idiot would not buy gold, silver and oil when the government and the banks are acting so despicably! Thank you, handsome stranger!"
The name's Mogambo, ma'am. It's my job.
Richard Daughty is general partner and COO for Smith Consultant Group, serving the financial and medical communities, and the editor of The Mogambo Guru economic newsletter - an avocational exercise to heap disrespect on those who desperately deserve it.
(Republished with permission from The Daily Reckoning. Copyright 2010, The Daily Reckoning.)
A Danish scientist who was a key researcher in two studies that purport to show that mercury used in vaccines and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine do not cause autism is believed to have used forged documents to steal $2 million from Aarhus University in Denmark according to reports in the Copenenhagen Post Online and a statement from Aarhus University.
Poul Thorsen, MD PhD, headed up a research unit at Aarhus University that was hired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prepare a series of studies that would exonerate thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative and adjuvant used in vaccines, and the MMR vaccine from any role in causing autism. The veracity of the three studies he co-authored is now in doubt.
These studies formed the foundation for the conclusions of several Institute of Medicine reports that claimed that it was highly unlikely that thimerosal or MMR were implicated in autism.
In a statement Aarhus University officials said that believe Poulsen forged documents supposedly from the CDC to obtain the release of $2 million from the University. Poulsen resigned abruptly in March 2009 and left Denmark. Since then Thorsen has held several jobs in the US, first at Emory University in Atlanta and then at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Documents show that as late as January 22, 2009. Thorsen was employed at Drexel. Any reference to Poulsen has now been deleted from the Drexel website.
Investigations also revealed that while employed full-time for the University of Aarhus in Denmark, Poulsen simultaneously held a fulltime position at Emory University in Atlanta, and drew salaries from both Universities despite a contract with Aarhus forbidding outside employment. According to the statement from Aarhus University.
Autism advocacy groups have published extensive analyses on Thorsen's studies and found many problems in methods, assumptions and conclusions that are supported by the data. And Thorsen is the lynchpin in the series of studies used to dismiss concerns about thimerosal and MMR causing autism.
See SAFEMINDS analysis of Thorsen's role in the discredited studies here:
See the Copenhagen Post Online article at:
See the statement from Aarhus University
Read more at Age ff Autism at: www.ageofautism.com
The two studies now in doubt include:
Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data. Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, Thorsen P, Plesner AM, Andersen PH, Mortensen PB, Pediatrics. 2003 Sep;112(3 Pt 1):604-6.
A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism.
Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, Schendel D, Wohlfahrt J, Thorsen P, Olsen J, Melbye M., N Engl J Med. 2002 Nov 7;347(19):1477-82.
Most Americans don't know what kind of people 9/11 truthers really are. So they can't figure out whether or not they are dangerous.
Below is a list of people who question what our Government has said about 9/11.
The list proves - once and for all - that people who question 9/11 are dangerous.
Email this list to everyone you know, to prove to them that 9/11 truthers are all dangerous nut cases.
- Former military analyst and famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers". He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11. And he said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that "very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been", that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of the current administration, and that there's enough evidence to justify a new, "hard-hitting" investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath (see this and this).
- A 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials (Raymond McGovern) said “I think at simplest terms, there’s a cover-up. The 9/11 Report is a joke”, and is open to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job.
- A 29-year CIA veteran, former National Intelligence Officer (NIO) and former Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis (William Bill Christison) said “I now think there is persuasive evidence that the events of September did not unfold as the Bush administration and the 9/11 Commission would have us believe. ... All three [buildings that were destroyed in the World Trade Center] were most probably destroyed by controlled demolition charges placed in the buildings before 9/11." (and see this).
- A number of intelligence officials, including a CIA Operations Officer who co-chaired a CIA multi-agency task force coordinating intelligence efforts among many intelligence and law enforcement agencies (Lynne Larkin) sent a joint letter to Congress expressing their concerns about “serious shortcomings,” “omissions,” and “major flaws” in the 9/11 Commission Report and offering their services for a new investigation (they were ignored)
- 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer (David Steele) stated that "9/11 was at a minimum allowed to happen as a pretext for war", and it was probably an inside job (scroll down to Customer Review dated October 7, 2006).
- A decorated 20-year CIA veteran, who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh called "perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East”, and whose astounding career formed the script for the Academy Award winning motion picture Syriana (Robert Baer) said that "the evidence points at" 9/11 having had aspects of being an inside job
- The Division Chief of the CIA’s Office of Soviet Affairs, who served as Senior Analyst from 1966 - 1990. He also served as Professor of International Security at the National War College from 1986 - 2004 (Melvin Goodman) said "The final [9/11 Commission] report is ultimately a coverup."
- Professor of History and International Relations, University of Maryland. Former Executive Assistant to the Director of the National Security Agency, former military attaché in China, with a 21-year career in U.S. Army Intelligence (Major John M. Newman, PhD, U.S. Army) questions the government's version of the events of 9/11.
- According to the Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, an FBI informant had hosted and rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House (confirmed here)
- Current Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy said "The two questions that the congress will not ask . . . is why did 9/11 happen on George Bush's watch when he had clear warnings that it was going to happen? Why did they allow it to happen?"
- Current Republican Congressman Ron Paul calls for a new 9/11 investigation and states that "we see the [9/11] investigations that have been done so far as more or less cover-up and no real explanation of what went on"
- Current Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich hints that we aren't being told the truth about 9/11
- Current Republican Congressman Jason Chafetz says that we need to be vigilant and continue to investigate 9/11
- Former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel states that he supports a new 9/11 investigation and that we don't know the truth about 9/11
- Former Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee endorses a new 9/11 investigation
- Former U.S. Democratic Congressman Dan Hamburg says that the U.S. government "assisted" in the 9/11 attacks, stating that "I think there was a lot of help from the inside"
- Former U.S. Republican Congressman and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, and who served six years as the Chairman of the Military Research and Development Subcommittee Curt Weldon has shown that the U.S. tracked hijackers before 9/11, is open to hearing information about explosives in the Twin Towers, and is open to the possibility that 9/11 was an inside job
- The Commission's co-chairs said that the 9/11 Commissioners knew that military officials misrepresented the facts to the Commission, and the Commission considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements (free subscription required)
- 9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton says "I don't believe for a minute we got everything right", that the Commission was set up to fail, that people should keep asking questions about 9/11, and that the 9/11 debate should continue
- 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer said "We were extremely frustrated with the false statements we were getting"
- 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland resigned from the Commission, stating: "It is a national scandal"; "This investigation is now compromised"; and "One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up"
- 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey said that "There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version . . . We didn't have access . . . ."
- And the Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) - who led the 9/11 staff's inquiry - recently said "At some level of the government, at some point in time...there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened". He also said "I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described .... The tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years.... This is not spin. This is not true."
- U.S. General, Commanding General of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, decorated with the Bronze Star, Silver Star, and Purple Heart (General Wesley Clark) said "We've never finished the investigation of 9/11 and whether the administration actually misused the intelligence information it had. The evidence seems pretty clear to me. I've seen that for a long time."
- Former Deputy Secretary for Intelligence and Warning under Nixon, Ford, and Carter (Morton Goulder), former Deputy Director to the White House Task Force on Terrorism (Edward L. Peck), and former US Department of State Foreign Service Officer (J. Michael Springmann), as well as a who's who of liberals and independents) jointly call for a new investigation into 9/11
- Former Federal Prosecutor, Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Department of Justice under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan; former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, and currently a widely-sought media commentator on terrorism and intelligence services (John Loftus) says "The information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defense of incompetence."
- The Group Director on matters of national security in the U.S. Government Accountability Office said that President Bush did not respond to unprecedented warnings of the 9/11 disaster and conducted a massive cover-up instead of accepting responsibility
- President of the U.S. Air Force Accident Investigation Board, who also served as Pentagon Weapons Requirement Officer and as a member of the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review, and who was awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses for Heroism, four Air Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals, and nine Aerial Achievement Medals (Lt. Col. Jeff Latas) is a member of a group which doubts the government's version of 9/11
- Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan (Col. Ronald D. Ray) said that the official story of 9/11 is "the dog that doesn't hunt"
- The former director of the FBI (Louis Freeh) says there was a cover up by the 9/11 Commission
- Director of the U.S. "Star Wars" space defense program in both Republican and Democratic administrations, who was a senior air force colonel who flew 101 combat missions (Col. Robert Bowman) stated: "If our government had merely [done] nothing, and I say that as an old interceptor pilot—I know the drill, I know what it takes, I know how long it takes, I know what the procedures are, I know what they were, and I know what they’ve changed them to—if our government had merely done nothing, and allowed normal procedures to happen on that morning of 9/11, the Twin Towers would still be standing and thousands of dead Americans would still be alive. [T]hat is treason!"
The issue, as framed by the U.S. ruling elite’s hometown house organ is very simple; a top insider in Japan’s new government has lost his marbles. The Washington Post’s apoplexy over the fact that Councilor Yukihisa Fujita isn’t buying the official version of what happened on September 11, 2001, is well reflected in the two headlines it gave to its March 8, 2010 editorial. First we have the print edition:
Poisonous Thinking in Japan
Has a conspiratorial view of 9/11 taken hold in the ruling party?
Then we have the even more hysterical headline in the electronic version:
A Leading Japanese Politician Espouses a 9/11 Fantasy
The two paragraphs below capture the flavor of The Post’s screed. I have provided some educational assistance for the reader by supplying useful links. Only the last of the six links was in The Post’s original online version.
Fujita's ideas about the attack on the World Trade Center, which he shared with us in a recent interview, are too bizarre, half-baked and intellectually bogus to merit serious discussion. He questions whether it was really the work of terrorists; suggests that shadowy forces with advance knowledge of the plot played the stock market to profit from it; peddles the fantastic idea that eight of the 19 hijackers are alive and well; and hints that controlled demolition rather than fire or debris may be a more likely explanation for at least the collapse of the building at 7 World Trade Center, which was adjacent to the twin towers.
As with almost any calamity whose scale and scope assume historic proportions, the events of Sept. 11 have spawned a thriving subculture of conspiracy theorists at home and abroad. The only thing novel about Mr. Fujita is that a man so susceptible to the imaginings of the lunatic fringe happens to occupy a notable position in the governing apparatus of a nation that boasts the world's second-largest economy.
The giveaway as to how frantic The Post is over this matter is that they are editorializing before reporting. That Fujita, who as a graduate of Keio University is about as plugged in to Japan’s ruling “old boy” network as it is possible to be, has abandoned the 9/11 sinking ship was not previously even mentioned in The Post or anywhere else in the mainstream U.S. press, to my knowledge.
Now The Post tells us that they have interviewed him, and here we see them running out of the interview screaming like Chicken Little. So where is the interview itself? Shouldn’t we all raise a hue and cry for The Post to print the whole thing so we can decide for ourselves whether Fujita’s "ideas" (conclusions based upon an examination of the evidence?) really "are too bizarre, half-baked and intellectually bogus to merit serious discussion." The Post can’t claim lack of print space. We’re in the Internet age now. We don’t really need the mainstream media to give us all our opinions pre-chewed and digested.
I’m not holding my breath waiting for The Post to print that interview, no matter how much we might clamor for it. It would be nice if Fujita taped it and publishes it himself.
Rockefeller's,Ford the Bush family belongs to them as the Clinton's work for them. One very easy proof is the remaining official Rothschild's fortune is petty cash compared to my calculation how much the fortunes of them should be worth easily in the trillion league. Compared to the pathetic list Forbes publishes every year about Gates and Buffett who are also members of the Club. Imagine it like the middle ages with kings and lords who share one big interest and we are close to the real picture. The idea of democracy is the Matrix cover to run their business as it is easier to screw with people as long as they think they have a saying to what is going on. The list below gives some ideas but there are far more names and they are not only from Goldman they have different breeding organisations like the IMF and Worldbank.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/busin ... 73869.html
They are well-credentialed, partly by design. From its beginning when the German immigrant Marcus Goldman began discounting IOUs among the diamond merchants of New York in the 1870s, Goldman Sachs has always known about the power of the network of influence. Goldman hires former politicians and civil servants, as readily as it supplies them.
And then there is simply the intellectual quality of the employees, many hired as much youngster men via a gruelling interview process, and then forged in the fire of 17-hour work days.
With Goldman Sachs at the heart of Wall Street, and Wall Street at the heart of the US economy, few expects its power to wane. Indeed, The New York Times columnist David Brooks noted that Goldman Sachs employees have given more money to Barack Obama's campaign for president than workers of any other employer in the US. "Over the past few years, people from Goldman Sachs have assumed control over large parts of the federal government," Brooks noted grimly. "Over the next few they might just take over the whole darn thing."
From his post as professor and director of global leadership at Tsinghua University in Beijing, the former Goldman Sachs co-chief operating officer John Thornton has become a highly-influential figure in the developing business and poltical inter-relations between the US and China. He was Goldman's boss in Asia in the mid-Nineties and remains well connected in the East and the West.
Wall Streeters joked about a Goldman Sachs "takeover" of the New York Stock Exchange. Hank Paulson, the Goldman boss on the NYSE board, moved to oust the chairman, Dick Grasso, and recommended the then chief operating officer of Goldman, John Thain, as Mr Grasso's replacement. Mr Thain modernised the exchange as demanded by Goldman, and Mr Thain's old Goldman deputy, Duncan Niederauer, is in charge.
The former co-chief executive of Goldman went into full-time politics in 1999, having lost the internal power struggle that preceded the company's stock-market flotation in 1999. He has been governor of New Jersey since 2006, having spent the previous six years in the US Senate. His 2000 Senate election campaign was then the most expensive ever in the US, and Corzine spent $62m of his own money.
For five years until 1999, Mr Bolten served as director of legal affairs for Goldman based in London, effectively making him the bank's chief lobbyist to the EU. The Republican lawyer aided George Bush's 2000 election campaign, helped co-ordinate policy in the White House and has been the President's chief of staff since 2006.
The man heading London's planning for the 2012 Olympic Games, Paul Deighton amassed a fortune estimated at over £100m during his two decades at Goldman Sachs, where he had been one of its most powerful investment bankers.
A US Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, Mr Rubin could once again emerge as a powerful figure in Washington if Barack Obama wins the presidency, since he has maintained his influence on Democrat politics. Mr Rubin reached the second-highest rung at Goldman, becoming co-chief operating officer before joining the US government in 1993.
The ex-chairman of the BBC still has the ear of Gordon Brown, to whom he has been a good friend and informal adviser. He is married to the Prime Minister's aide Sue Nye. Mr Davies spent 15 years as an economist at Goldman. He was commissioned to report on the future funding of the BBC by Mr Brown in 1999. Two years later, he was poached to chair it.
This former Goldman trader is, without question, the most influential stock pundit in the US. Hectoring and shouting his investment advice nightly on his CNBC show, Mad Money, he routinely moves share prices. His primal scream against the Federal Reserve ("They know nothing") was a YouTube sensation last year, as the central bank refused to lower interest rates to ease the pain of the credit crisis on Wall Street.
Goldman provided a lucrative home to Robert Zoellick, the neo-conservative Republican, between the time he quit as Condoleezza Rice's deputy at the State Department in 2006 (having not secured the job he coveted as Treasury Secretary, when it went to Hank Paulson) and his appointment last year as head of the World Bank. At Goldman he had acted as head of international affairs, a kind of global ambassador and networker-in-chief.
The head of the Italian central bank is another example of the revolving door between Goldman and public service. Mr Draghi had been an academic economist, an executive at the World Bank and a director-general of the Italian treasury before joining Goldman as a partner in 2002. He is becoming a significant figure in the response to the credit crisis, chairing the financial stability forum of central banks, finance ministries and regulators.
Treasurer for the opposition Liberal Party, Mr Turnbull is one of the fastest-rising politicians in Australia. He was the aggressive advocate who took on and beat the British Government in the Spycatcher trial of the former MI5 agent Peter Walker, but he then pursued a career in business and ran Goldman Australia from 1997 to 2001, before jumping in to politics to serve as environment minister under John Howard.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. President George Bush must be delighted he lured a reluctant Hank Paulson away from his $38m-a-year job as Goldman Sachs chief executive in 2006, just in time to deal with the Wall Street crisis that has engulfed the entire US economy. The bird-watching enthusiast had been a surprising choice as Treasury secretary, since his environmentalism was at odds with much of Bush's policy.
Srouce: http://behind-the-matrix.blogspot.com/2 ... -over.html