Category Archives: Neoliberalism

The Assassination of Greece, by James Petras

James Petras was Director of the Center for Mediterranean Studies in Athens (1981-1984) and adviser to Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou (1981-84). Here he analyzes the Greek crisis and its issues within the European Union.

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Yánis Varoufákis and Aléxis Tsípras

The Greek government is currently locked in a life and death struggle with the elite which dominate the banks and political decision-making centers of the European Union. What are at stake are the livelihoods of 11 million Greek workers, employees and small business people and the viability of the European Union. If the ruling Syriza government capitulates to the demands of the EU bankers and agrees to continue the austerity programs, Greece will be condemned to decades of regression, destitution and colonial rule. If Greece decides to resist, and is forced to exit the EU, it will need to repudiate its 270 billion Euro foreign debts, sending the international financial markets crashing and causing the EU to collapse.

The leadership of the EU is counting on Syriza leaders abandoning their commitments to the Greek electorate, which as of early February 2015, is overwhelmingly (over 70%) in favor of ending austerity and debt payments and moving forward toward state investment in national economic and social development [1]. The choices are stark; the consequences have world-historical significance. The issues go far beyond local or even regional, time-bound, impacts. The entire global financial system will be affected [2].

The default will ripple to all creditors and debtors, far beyond Europe; investor confidence in the entire western financial empire will be shaken. First and foremost all western banks have direct and indirect ties to the Greek banks [3]. When the latter collapse, they will be profoundly affected beyond what their governments can sustain. Massive state intervention will be the order of the day. The Greek government will have no choice but to take over the entire financial system . . . the domino effect will first and foremost effect Southern Europe and spread to the ‘dominant regions’ in the North and then across to England and North America [4].

To understand the origins of this crises and alternatives facing Greece and the EU, it is necessary to briefly survey the political and economic developments of the past three decades. We will proceed by examining Greek and EU relations between 1980 – 2000 and then proceed to the current collapse and EU intervention in the Greek economy. In the final section we will discuss the rise and election of Syriza, and its growing submissiveness in the context of EU dominance, and intransigence, highlighting the need for a radical break with the past relationship of ‘lord and vassal’.

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The Time Machine in Australia, by Gary Flomenhoft

The massive brain rot that is observable in the US can perhaps be explained by the “fracking fluid in the drinking water” theory; but what about the rest of the English-speaking world? This is a guest post by Gary Flomenhoft that offers some clues.

I’ve been in Australia (pronounced “Straya”) for four months now. I live in Brisbane and have traveled to Melbourne, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, and Stradbroke island. I’ve met my share of Australians around the world over the years. They are all “how’ya going, G-Day mate, no worries,” eternal optimists, and very nice people. They all, every single one of them, say thank you to the bus driver when exiting the public bus. They are happy, they are polite, they are kind. They live thousands of miles from most of the world, and haven’t got a care. Go for a surf, eat some prawns or Moreton Bay bugs, hike in the hills, enjoy life! Obsess about cricket, Australian Football League, National Rugby League, Rugby Union, soccer, any kind of sport.

Their Prime Minister Abbot is a doofus, but entirely harmless, like a Koala. His Putin “shirt-front” turned into a friendly photo-op at the G-20, although his outraged sentiment was entirely understandable after the shoot-down of MH17 with so many Australians on board. But Abbot credulously believed the absurd propaganda spewed out by the US, instantly blaming the Russians, and imposing sanctions as a result, without a shred of evidence. If they had evidence, don’t you think they would parade it all over the press? Duh! All the actual evidence so far, including 30mm bullet holes in the cockpit, point to a Ukrainian Airforce jet shooting it down. Australians remind me of the US in the 1950’s, very naïve and innocent, but no cold war, so truly nothing to worry about. But they reminded me of something else too. I just couldn’t put my finger on it… All blond and tanned, perfect hair, perfect bodies, pure and innocent… It suddenly dawned on me! ELOI!

eloi

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Whiplash!, by Dmitry Orlov

Source: Club Orlov

Whiplash-Injury-Lawyer

Over the course of 2014 the prices the world pays for crude oil have tumbled from over $125 per barrel to around $45 per barrel now, and could easily drop further before heading much higher before collapsing again before spiking again. You get the idea. In the end, the wild whipsawing of the oil market, and the even wilder whipsawing of financial markets, currencies and the rolling bankruptcies of energy companies, then the entities that financed them, then national defaults of the countries that backed these entities, will in due course cause industrial economies to collapse. And without a functioning industrial economy crude oil would be reclassified as toxic waste. But that is still two or three decades off in the future.

In the meantime, the much lower prices of oil have priced most of the producers of unconventional oil out of the market. Recall that conventional oil (the cheap-to-produce kind that comes gushing out of vertical wells drilled not too deep down into dry ground) peaked in 2005 and has been declining ever since. The production of unconventional oil, including offshore drilling, tar sands, hydrofracturing to produce shale oil and other expensive techniques, was lavishly financed in order to make up for the shortfall. But at the moment most unconventional oil costs more to produce than it can be sold for. This means that entire countries, including Venezuela’s heavy oil (which requires upgrading before it will flow), offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico (Mexico and US), Norway and Nigeria, Canadian tar sands and, of course, shale oil in the US. All of these producers are now burning money as well as much of the oil they produce, and if the low oil prices persist, will be forced to shut down.

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Conversation: Arundhati Roy on the “I” in BRICS

We quite often get caught up in a whirlwind of geopolitics, popular sentiment, personal hopes and sheer desire to finally see someone stand up to the status quo. What we forget in these moments is that life is almost never that simple.

India is not just a great land mass but also one that has been grossly mismanaged for many reasons, the root of some are in its very creation. It is celebrated as the “world’s biggest democracy” but seldom do we stop and think about the majority for whom nothing ever really changed.

The current Prime Minister, Narendra Modhi, does in fact hail from a Hindu Nationalist party whose cadres are quite the opposite of what might be found on the left in any shape or form.

Arundhati eloquently presents to us not just the status quo of Indian affairs but the key driving force behind it.

AE
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Part I:

Part II:

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Hostilities grow in Ukraine

Source: Anti- Fascist

This article is a machine translation from Google

Fascism

KIEV “war party” preparing a military coup. Sure, the US curator, stand behind NEW Maidan, is also presented it as the top democratic procedures.

In Kiev Popular Assembly will meet at the initiative of the Council of the maidan. Traitor Council Petro Poroshenko Maidan announce “people’s impeachment. But with this and will interchange all the drama called “The End of Ukraine.”

Panic has swept the capital’s elite, which began en masse to evacuate. In all directions. Time is short, because the parliament approved a decree on the mobilization, according to which a call fall all men between the ages of twenty and sixty years. And women too, so the border in the coming days will be closed. Optimists argue that it is necessary to wait until March, and then somehow “resolve.” Pessimists do more dire predictions: it’s all for years, the country will finally turn to Syria. But all sources are unanimous: the country will begin a bloody mess. On the basis of leaks from the knowledgeable circles, we obtain the following very apocalyptic picture.

About a tenth of February to begin the aggravation under the slogan of “treason to the ideals of the Maidan.” Occasion – anniversary of the “revolution of dignity.” In form it will be armed coup. Hence, its methodology. The need for constant “extras” in the central square of the capital is not. Is that on the stage of the process started. The main subjects of the coup will “volunteer battalions.” They will act quickly and decisively, fulfilling orders “cartridges for traitors to spare.”

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Is the Deep State Fracturing into Disunity?, by Charles Hugh Smith

Source: Of Two Minds

I recently discussed the Deep State and “throwing Wall Street under the bus” with my friend and colleague Jim Kunstler.

When we speak of The Powers That Be or the Deep State, this ruling Elite is generally assumed to be monolithic: of one mind, so to speak, unified in worldview, strategy and goals.

wall-street-scrooge

In my view, this is an over-simplification of a constantly shifting battleground of paradigms and political power between a number of factions and alliances within the Deep State. Disagreements are not publicized, of course, but they become apparent years or decades after the conflict was resolved, usually by one faction winning the hearts and minds of decision-makers or consolidating the Deep State’s group-think around their worldview and strategy.

History suggests that this low-intensity conflict within the ruling Elite is generally a healthy characteristic of leadership in good times. As times grow more troubled, however, the unity of the ruling Elite fractures into irreconcilable political disunity, which becomes a proximate cause of the dissolution of the Empire if it continues.

I recently proposed the idea that Wall Street now poses a strategic threat to national security and thus to the Deep State itself: Who Gets Thrown Under the Bus in the Next Financial Crisis? (March 3, 2014)

Many consider it “impossible” that Wall Street could possibly lose its political grip on the nation’s throat, but I suggest that Wall Street has over-reached, and is now teetering at the top of the S-Curve, i.e. it has reached Peak Wall Street.

Consider what the extremes of Wall Street/Federal Reserve predation, parasitism, avarice and power have done to the nation, and then ask if other factions within the Deep State are blind to the destructive consequences:

How The Fed Has Failed America, Part 2 (March 12, 2014)

The Fed Has Failed (and Will Continue to Fail), Part 1 (March 11, 2014)

Can anyone not in Wall Street or the Fed look at this chart and not see profound political disunity on the horizon?

source: Poll Shows Why QE Has Been Ineffective (STA Wealth Mgmt)

source: Poll Shows Why QE Has Been Ineffective (STA Wealth Mgmt)

I recently discussed the Deep State and “throwing Wall Street under the bus” with my friend and colleague Jim Kunstler: here’s the resulting podcast, which you can download or listen to on whatever device you are using at the moment: KunstlerCast 250 — Chatting with Charles Hugh Smith

Jim’s trademark wit and clarity guide the discussion, and he kindly lets me blather on about the Deep State. I think you’ll find the discussion of interest; you certainly won’t hear this topic being aired elsewhere.

I have covered the Deep State and profound political disunity for many years:

Going to War with the Political Elite You Have (May 14, 2007)

The Shape of Things To Come (July 8, 2011)

The Master Narrative Nobody Dares Admit: Centralization Has Failed (June 21, 2012)

Charles Hugh Smith

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The Dollar and the Deep State, by Charles Hugh Smith

Source: Of Two Minds

If we consider the Fed’s policies (tapering, etc.) solely within the narrow confines of the corporatocracy or a strictly financial context, we are in effect touching the foot of the elephant and declaring the creature to be short and roundish.

I have been studying the Deep State for 40 years, before it had gained the nifty name “deep state.” What others describe as the Deep State I term the National Security State which enables the American Empire, a vast structure that incorporates hard and soft power–military, diplomatic, intelligence, finance, commercial, energy, media, higher education–in a system of global domination and influence.

Back in 2007 I drew a simplified chart of the Imperial structure, what I called the Elite Maintaining and Extending Global Dominance (EMEGD):

EMEGD2

At a very superficial level, some pundits have sought a Master Control in the Trilateral Commission or similar elite gatherings. Such groups are certainly one cell within the Empire, but each is no more important than other parts, just as killer T-cells are just one of dozens of cell types in the immune system.

One key feature of the Deep State is that it makes decisions behind closed doors and the surface government simply ratifies or approves the decisions. A second key feature is that the Deep State decision-makers have access to an entire world of secret intelligence.

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