Greece Ignites Global Economic, Monetary Debate.

Posted on January 26, 2015

by Jerry Alatalo

aaa-31Alphabet Ashort excerpt from Greek philosopher Plato’s “The Republic”.

Now, if we are to form a real judgment of the life of the just and unjust, we must isolate them; there is no other way; and how is the isolation to be effected? I answer: Let the unjust man be entirely unjust, and the just man entirely just; nothing is to be taken away from either of them, and both are to be perfectly furnished for the work of their respective lives.

First, let the unjust be like other distinguished masters of craft; like the skillful pilot or physician, who knows intuitively his own powers and keeps within their limits, and who, if he fails at any point, is able to recover himself. So let the unjust make his unjust attempts in the right way, and lie hidden if he means to be great in his injustice (he who is found out is nobody): for the highest reach of injustice is: to be deemed just when you are not.

Therefore I say that in the perfectly unjust man we must assume the most perfect injustice; there is to be no deduction, but we must allow him, while doing the most unjust acts, to have acquired the greatest reputation for justice. If he have taken a false step he must be able to recover himself; he must be one who can speak with effect, if any of his deeds come to light, and who can force his way where force is required his courage and strength, and command of money and friends.

And at his side let us place the just man in his nobleness and simplicity, wishing, as Aeschylus says, to be and not to seem good. There must be no seeming, for if he seem to be just he will be honoured and rewarded, and then we shall not know whether he is just for the sake of justice or for the sake of honours and rewards; therefore, let him be clothed in justice only, and have no other covering; and he must be imagined in a state of life the opposite of the former.

Let him be the best of men, and let him be thought the worst; then he will have been put to the proof; and we shall see whether he will be affected by the fear of infamy and its consequences. And let him continue thus to the hour of death; being just and seeming to be unjust. When both have reached the uttermost extreme, the one of justice and the other of injustice, let judgment be given which of them is the happier of the two.

The Syriza Party of Greece came close to winning in 2012, and, since economic conditions for the Greek people have remained dire up until the January 25 elections, the people have decided and voted for an entirely new political direction.

Alexis Tsipras became sworn in as leader of Greece without any of the typical pomp, wearing his much commented-on open-collared shirt without tie, speaking to the citizens of the nation about an end to their multi-year “humiliation” at the hands of the oligarchs and elites.

Worth noting is that on Monday January 26, the day after Mr. Tsipras’ swearing-in formalities as such, no American mainstream media TV outlets reported on the results of the Greek elections. This despite the truly historic nature of the event, and widespread first story treatment on nearly all TV news broadcasts outside the United States. In a certain sense, while it is obviously an important public service to report on what some are describing as one of the most dangerous winter storms ever in America’s northeast, Syriza’s election victory in Greece could be seen as a record-breaking “political blizzard” of its own.

If those Americans who know about the results of Greek elections asked their fellow Americans if they’d heard about it, the odds are probably good that not a small percentage would answer with “No, what about Greece elections?” or “No, what happened? or “Was there an attack by ISIS or something?” or “Did Putin invade Greece?”

American mainstream media’s apparent censorship by omission, and absence of Americans’ awareness of the true significance of Greece choosing an astonishing direction aside, most men and women observers are well aware that things have changed in a big way. For people who participated in the Occupy movement whose motto “We Are The 99%” is now recognized internationally, what they see now is that the real battles (knowing the Greeks’ esteemed philosophical history, ones fought with reason and in-depth debate) with the banksters has begun.

So, if anyone noticed, the Greek people followed the advice of one of America’s “radical leftists” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, and overcame efforts to portray Syriza as the dangerous choice which would result in “the sky (over Greece) falling”. Radical left, radical right, radical whatever. There is no doubt that something fundamental and certainly to some extent extreme happened on January 25, 2015 in Greece and, by extension, around the Earth.

Syriza is now faced with trying to carry out its campaign proposals to end austerity, negotiate with the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund (the Troika) on Greek debt, tackling corruption and tax evasion by performing honest governance, and – fitting for the nation where democracy was born – bringing about a higher level of democracy-based politics.

According to interviewer Tariq Ali in the following video, mass popular mobilization is “critically important for Syriza’s success”. This has become more difficult to accomplish after Greeks have grown weary of political activism from their tough, years-long economic experience with harsh austerity. It will be no small task to improve the health and well-being of the Greek people who, according to the televised discussion – “have become marginalized and basically forgotten”.

Other challenges for Syriza include stopping privatization of government-owned industries and assets, fiscal reforms, environmental regulation, and creating completely new economic development models. Although positively transforming reality for the Greek people will need a strong united effort, of the greatest outcomes of Greek elections is that political philosophy has made a fortunate “comeback” starting from Greece, where it originated thousands of years ago,  and “Syriza can trigger large social movements across Europe, a re-composition of political forces, and a new internationalism”.

Wonder what Plato’s thinking.

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(Thank you to teleSUR English at YouTube)

Planet Ponzi.

by Jerry Alatalo

Alphabet Former hedge fund manager and author of “Planet Ponzi” Mitch Feierstein talks to Tariq Ali on “The World Today”. Mr. Feierstein believes a better option in 2008 would have been to allow “too-big-to-fail” banks to fail, instead of propping them up with massive taxpayer bailouts. He sees no real difference between conditions or regulatory measures from the worldwide financial crisis of 2007-8, a global crisis still being experienced today, and now in 2015 where the financial sector can still pronounce “heads I win, tails you bail me out”. His view is the financial sector is in worse condition now than in 2008, after considering comparative levels of leverage, credit and debt.

Feierstein points out that Cyprus-like actions have recently been adopted in Europe, the United States, along with the other G20 nations. This includes the phenomenon of “bail-ins”, where bank customer deposits in savings and checking accounts etc. are at risk of confiscation by troubled or bankrupt banking organizations, while parties to complex derivatives contracts hold first place among those who seek legal remedy for losses from any bank failures.

G20 nations:

Argentina

Australia

Brazil

Canada

China

France

Germany

India

Indonesia

Italy

Japan

Mexico

Russia

Saudi Arabia

South Africa

South Korea

Turkey

United Kingdom

United States

European Union

It is worth noting that during the recent passage of the United States “Cromnibus” spending bill, a provision written by Citigroup which placed American taxpayers “on-the-hook” for certain derivatives trade losses – in essence repealing one of the main regulatory measures of Dodd-Frank legislation – became included in the must-pass bill, despite strong objections from a number of legislators, most visible being Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Mr. Feierstein notes that, in connection to the 2008 economic crisis, people have “short memories”. He shares the statistic that 60 cents of every tax dollar which comes to the U.S. Treasury goes toward servicing interest on the national debt. He sees the examples of people-powered movements “from below” in Greece, Spain, Italy, and perhaps even soon France as reason for optimism in such movements’ potential for bringing about real reform which could become international.

He sees so-called deficit cutting measures by governments as “spending money they don’t have, but less of it”. He shares the analogy of his wife coming home from a high-class clothing store with an expensive dress, telling him that she “saved” 100,000 euros because the price had been reduced by 100K, but that he didn’t have the 100k she paid for the dress.

According to Mitch Feierstein, democracy is “vaporized”; it’s an illusion”. Whenever the economy goes down, extreme right-wing parties spring up, along with more acceptable alternative third parties whose success is directly linked to the people’s no longer being able to vote for people “who have lied to you”. Feierstein tells Tariq Ali about illegal manipulations of LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offer Rate) interest rates, the interest rate banks charge each other for loans.

Mr. Feierstein considers the LIBOR rigging scandal as the largest financial crime in history, LIBOR rates connected globally to $300 trillion dollars worth of contracts. If such massive rigging at the highest levels of bank management of LIBOR weren’t disturbing enough, some now view manipulations of currency rates and prices for precious metals as even more damaging to the world economy.

The world’s combined GDP (gross domestic product) is an estimated $67 trillion. Some of world’s largest banks hold more than the world’s GDP in complex financial instruments contracts becoming more commonly known as derivatives. Thanks to the “Citigroup Provision” passed along with America’s Cromnibus spending bill, the American people could face the situation where their tax dollars will “cover” losing derivatives bets that Mr. Feierstein early in the interview termed “…tails you bail me out”.

He tells Mr. Ali that these are “incredibly bizarre times”, and that governance has become a stepping stone to great wealth instead of an honorable profession where speaking the truth and trying to make life better for fellow citizens is the one and only focus. Using the example of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Feierstein concludes: “If you’re a good boy, and you toe the line and keep the narrative, you’ll do just fine. Get out (of political office) and become very wealthy”.

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(Thank you to The World Today with Tariq Ali at YouTube)