Yes, please consider me a huge fan of Matt Stoller. He is a true progressive, and a brave and courageous Democrat, from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.
He is a truth teller, and has worked deeply in the 'trenches' of what can only be called, in my own opinion have become the 'sewers' of our once, somewhat decent and fair minded governmental political body. Unfortunately 'that body' has become what has been apply termed as 'Pigs at the trough,' feeding off the insane greed of Wall Street and the Banks, the MIC, and the Corporate takeover of all 3 branches of our government (4 if you care to include the man behind the curtain that answers to no one, Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve).
When the Shock Doctrine 'fuse' was ignited with a bazooka, and the basic idea of any accountability, in our government was thrown out (the baby and bathwater,) it changed everything from that point forward.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist or Paul Krugman, or Joe Stiglitz, William K. Black, or Simon Johnson, or any other brilliant economist to 'explain' to the workers of this world, what has occurred, and why we are watching day after day, the people of the Middle East and Europe in despair, rage, on strikes, and are now are gaining a huge momentum throughout the world. Courage is contagious.
If you actually by into the idea that the MSM is feeding us, the usual propaganda machine, that 'what is going on' world wide, is all about Democracy, then you still are not getting the full picture here.
This is just the beginning, believe me. There is a very delicate balance, between governments and the 'consent of the people' that must be honored, and maintained. When that basic sense of decency, dignity, and humanity is continually breached there comes a breaking point of no return. Now, as some say, we are all Egyptians, and I for one, am so proud of their peaceful union, to come together and in the actions of both Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., to prove that peaceful revolutions, can and do work, if solidarity is strong, and if courage, perseverance, and fortitude are maintained for the good of all.
It has always been my belief, and always will be my belief, that this world wide paradigm of change we are witnessing, is a direct result of what began in our own nation. When Wall Street/the Banks began the Great Heist of 2008, (and even before that time...30 years coming, the great unraveling of the Reagan years), it set off a deep chain reaction though out the entire international world.
It wasn't enough that the key financial markets, crashed the economy of our own nation, but then this spread world wide, and of course, that is when the powers that be, figured out a way to virtually 'take the workers of the world hostage' and make these same workers pay off the toxic debts that they not only created, and made trillions off of, but managed to, pocket billions into their own off shore bank accounts, for the havoc and chaos they had created.
(Of course that is why they are all so terrified of Wikileaks).
The result of this world wide travesty: obvious fraud and criminal activity that has been continually covered up, was what we are all have experienced world wide: millions have lost their jobs, millions have lost their homes (many are illegally losing their homes with absolutely no due process), credit has been frozen throughout the world, so there is no way out of this gridlock, as the World Banking Crooks, sit on the cash they do have, while, they are all still figuring out a way, to pay off the hidden toxic debts, so who is now going to pay for their 'little party that got out of control?'
That would be the workers of the world.
From now on when you think of all that hidden 'Toxic Debt,' Call it these new buzz words:
'Austerity Measures'...or 'Shared Sacrifice.' Regardless it is bullshit, and that is why you are now watching the rest of the Middle East and Europe exploding. Food prices have gone sky high, as 'commodities' have become the latest 'crap game' for the Wall Street crowd who own our government along with their fellow international players.
Without the 'consent of the people' there is no government, anywhere. We are only as good as the confidence and trust we have in our leaders, and when that is lost, we are nothing more than a haunted house filled the the ghosts of lost hope, and total despair. What pains me, is to see that my own beloved party, the Democrats, are just turning against one another. That breaks my heart.
I don't give a shit how 'pragmatic' you believe President Obama is, if he cannot provide us with trust, confidence and true leadership. It just does not work that way people.
What happened to that trust? You tell me.
My friend Matt Stoller has give me full permission to print his amazing article that he did, and btw, thanks Matt so much. You really connected all the 'dots' as to what is really going on in the world:
I wanted to remind all of you about Robert Rubin and the connection here:
Robert Edward Rubin (born August 29, 1938) served as the 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury during both the first and second Clinton administrations. Before his government service, he spent 26 years at Goldman Sachs eventually serving as a member of the Board, and Co-Chairman from 1990-1992. His most prominent post-government role was as Director and Senior Counselor of Citigroup, where he performed ongoing advisory and representational roles for the firm. From November to December 2007, he served temporarily as Chairman of Citigroup. On January 9, 2009, Citigroup announced he was resigning after being criticized for his performance. He received more than $126 million in cash and stock during his eight years at Citigroup.
Here is Matt Stoller's great great essay, on connecting the dots...bravo Matt !!!
Matt Stoller: The Egyptian Labor Uprising Against Rubinites
By Matt Stoller, the former Senior Policy Advisor for Rep. Alan Grayson. His Twitter feed is @matthewstoller
Via Wikileaks, we learned that the son of the former President of Egypt, Gamal Mubarak, had an interesting conversation in 2009 with Senator Joe Lieberman on the banking crisis. Gamal is a key figure in the forces buffeting Egypt, global forces of labor arbitrage, torture, and financial corruption. Gamal believed that the bailouts of the banks weren’t big enough – “you need to inject even more money into the system than you have”. Gamal, a former investment banker trained at Bank of America, helped craft Egypt’s industrial policy earlier in the decade.
Our purpose is to improve Egyptians’ living standards. We have a three-pronged plan to achieve this: favoring Egypt’s insertion into the global economy, reducing the state’s role in the economy, and giving the private sector greater freedom.
Deregulation, globalization, and privatization. This should be a familiar American recipe, commonly associated with former Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs chief Bob Rubin. That Rubinite rhetoric has been adopted by the children of strongmen shows the influence of Davos, the global annual conference of power brokers. Gamal, far more polished than his father, understood that the profit and power for his family lay in cooperating with foreign investors to squeeze labor as hard as possible. This strategy was targeted at the global labor arbitrage going on since the 1970s, with Egypt’s role as one cheap labor in-sourcer. It’s no surprise that the Mubarak family has $40-70B stashed away in the global tax safe havens coddling the superrich. This wealth was extracted from the youth and women in Egypt’s new factories making low-cost goods for export. This is why the revolution was spearheaded by youth and women, and why the nationalist business elite, with its deep ties to the military, sided with the protesters. Mubarak’s inner circle aligned themselves with international investors and set themselves against domestic business and military interests.
In other words, this is a revolt against Rubinite economic policy. Even the rhetoric Gamal used in pushing his policies echoes that of Rubinites. This Orwellian model of discourse frames corrupt decision-making to confiscate wealth from ordinary people as “tough-minded” because it’s “unpopular.” Here’s Gamal:
Bringing change is always a harsh task. You must sometimes accept unpopularity. But if you are really convinced that you are making the right decision, you must stick to it. Modernization is worth this price. If not, we will have to be honest both with ourselves and public opinion and acknowledge that we failed. I am perfectly aware of what the consequences of such a failure could be, and I am doing my best. I know that our action will later be examined scrupulously. This is what we call a “result-oriented culture.”
You can smell the McKinsey presentation. Here’s Obama’s budget director, ex-Citigroup executive Jacob Lew who made millions on the housing bubble, justifying his cuts to the social safety net (such as low income heating assistance, which means some poor people will freeze to death):
These three examples alone, of course, represent only a small fraction of the scores of cuts the president had to choose, but they reflect the tough calls he had to make.
And here’s George W. Bush, justifying his decision to invade Iraq:
And so what I’m telling you is that sometimes in this world you make unpopular decision because you think they’re right.
The political architecture of the Mubarak regime was directly pulled from the neoliberal shadow government model, right down to the political rhetoric of toughness as a mask for theft. Paul Amar has by far the most persuasive account of the Egyptian revolution. Amar goes beyond the absurdist Facebook revolution narrative, and points out that what is going on is in effect a youth-driven labor uprising, combined with fights between Mubarak-centric Rubinite elites and the domestic nationalist business community tied to the military. Mubarak had made tight alliances with the Islamic right, while slashing the social safety net and bringing in international investors to open low wage manufacturing (this is part of Mubarak’s son’s Bank of America training, more on that below).
This uprising is just the culmination of strikes that began a few years ago in response.
This revolt began gradually at the convergence of two parallel forces: the movement for workers’ rights in the newly revived factory towns and micro-sweatshops of Egypt especially during the last two years, and the movement against police brutality and torture that mobilized every community in the country for the last three years. Both movements feature the leadership and mass participation of women (of all ages) and youth (of both genders). There are structural reasons for this.
First, the passion of workers that began this uprising does not stem from their marginalization and poverty; rather, it stems from their centrality to new development processes and dynamics. In the very recent past, Egypt has reemerged as a manufacturing country, although under the most stressful and dynamic of conditions. Egypt’s workers are mobilized because new factories are being built, in the context of a flurry of contentious global investment. Several Russian free-trade zones and manufacturing settlements have opened up, and China has invested in all parts of the Egyptian economy. Brazil, Turkey, the Central Asian Republics and the Gulf Emirates are diversifying their investments. They are moving out of the oil sector and real estate and into manufacturing, piece-goods, informatics, infrastructure, etc. Factories all over Egypt have been dusted off and reopened, or newly built. And all those shopping malls, gated cities, highways and resorts have to be built and staffed by someone. In the Persian Gulf, developers use Bangladeshi, Philippine and other expatriate labor. But Egypt usually uses its own workers. And many of the workers in Egypt’s revived textile industries and piece-work shops are women. If you stroll up the staircases into the large working-class apartment buildings in the margins of Cairo or the cement-block constructions of the villages, you’ll see workshops full of women, making purses and shoes, and putting together toys and computer circuitboards for sale in Europe, the Middle East and the Gulf. These shop workers joined with factory workers to found the 6 April movement in 2008.
The torture and repression had a specific cause, as did the reaction against it.
In the place of food subsidies and jobs they have offered debt. Micro-credit loans were given, with the IMF and World Bank’s enthusiastic blessing, to stimulate entrepreneurship and self-reliance. These loans were often specifically targeted toward women and youth. Since economically disadvantaged applicants have no collateral to guarantee these loans, payback is enforced by criminal law rather than civil law. This means that your body is your collateral. The police extract pain and humiliation if you do not pay your bill. Thus the micro-enterprise system has become a massive set of police rackets and “loan shark” operations. Police sexualized brutalization of youth and women became central to the “regulation” of the massive small-business economy. In this context, the micro-business economy is a tough place to operate, but it does shape women and youth into tough survivors who see themselves as an organized force opposed to the police-state. No one waxes on about the blessings of the market’s invisible hand. Thus the economic interests of this mass class of micro-entrepreneurs are the basis for the huge and passionate anti-police brutality movement. It is no coincidence that the movement became a national force two years ago with the brutal police murder of a youth, Khalid Saeed, who was typing away in a small internet café that he partially owned. Police demanded ID and a bribe from him; he refused, and the police beat him to death, crushing his skull to pieces while the whole community watched in horror.
What is going in Egypt represents a remarkable new political coalition striking deep at the heart of the Washington consensus. Social media mattered, in that it was the language by which the youth expressed themselves and their hatred of the torture inflicted upon them to extract maximal profit. This alliances, of a domestic business-military community, women’s groups, and a youth-driven labor movement, has parallels in the 1930s New Deal coalition and the 1850s anti-slavery coalition. It is also interesting that the pre-Facebook blogosphere of 2004-2005 played an important role in unmasking torture and delegitimizing the authority of the state, including the justice system and the media.
Seen in this context, Egypt is part of a global conflict of financial oligarchs fighting with leftist human rights activists, unions, and domestic industries. Egypt’s going to need the money stashed away and stolen by the Mubarak family; getting to that money requires an international crackdown on superrich tax havens. Furthermore, the links between Mubarak corruption and various Rubinites are probably as extensive as the torture trade between the CIA and Egypt. The extent of the cover-up of the Mubarak regime’s behavior will be the way to judge what happens going forward. Obama’s mild-mannered and largely irrelevant statecraft simply reflects the paralysis of the foreign policy establishment as the extent of its complicity in the overall economic and political strategy of this repressive regime is revealed.
Of course, it’s quite possible that the Mubarak-style repressive franchise isn’t done. Already, the Egyptian military is trying to ban the labor and professional organizing at the heart of the uprising. Like Obama’s promises of hope and change in 2008, Egypt in 2011 is full of promise, with ambiguous tidings.
And that is what is 'really' going on in our entire world now. Cover ups, Oligarchy madness, Crooks who got so fucking greedy, that it became like a huge snake swallowing it's own tail. Only, what we are facing now with these insane new hikes in food prices, and commodities, (the new crap game on Wall St/the Banks) is driving a world wide revoluation, as it should.
Rising global food prices has pushed an estimated 44 million more people into extreme poverty in developing countries over the past eight months, the World Bank said Tuesday. The poverty-fighting institution said its food price index increased by 15 per cent between October, 2010, and January, 2011, and is just 3 per cent below its 2008 peak during the last food price crisis. But unlike during the 2007-2008 food crisis, higher prices have not yet affected all regions of the world.
Across Asia and in some parts of Latin America and Eastern Europe countries, costlier food is pushing up inflation pressures, while good harvests of staple foods in Sub-Saharan Africa has so far spared that region from rising prices. "Higher maize, sugar, and oil prices have contributed to increase the costs of various types of food, though local maize prices have largely been stable in sub-Saharan Africa," the World Bank said in an updated Food Price Watch report.
The report came days before a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies in Paris, where higher food prices is expected to be discussed.
More on rising food prices, and how Wall St./Banking cartels, are driving this world wide revolution:
International Speculation and Rising Food Prices
By UMBERTO MAZZEI
Henry Kissinger once said that whoever controls food controls people. In other words, everyone surrenders when they see their children starve. That is how the U.S. government subdued the American Indians defending their lands, by exterminating the bison that provided them food and instead handing out food on reservations. The British government did the same to subdue the Boer republics in South Africa by forcing the Boer civilian population into the first concentration camps ever and letting them starve.
International cartels now use their control over the global food supply to make huge profits. There are six major corporations that control the purchase and sale of agricultural products: Cargill, Kraft, Bunge & Born, ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), Nestlé and General Mills. Food prices are set at exchanges in Chicago, New York and London.
Some countries shield their population from commodity speculation on basic foods by restricting the export of their agricultural staples until domestic demand is satisfied. This has a clear and legitimate purpose: to stabilize domestic prices and ensure supply for their own people. Domestic prices are also an uncomfortable testimony of real prices and temper full international market control over pricing.
Just so you don't forget, about the past:
The Wall Street Journal published a front-page article Friday reporting that the nine biggest US banks, which have received a combined $125 billion in taxpayer funds as part of the $700 billion bailout authored by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and passed by the Democratic Congress, owed their executives more than $40 billion for recent years’ compensation and pensions as of the end of 2007. This means that nearly a third of the public funds given to these banks will ultimately be used to increase the private fortunes of a handful of multimillionaire Wall Street executives.
As the Journal explains, the minimal restrictions on future executive compensation stipulated in the bailout bill do not affect deferred payments to executives accumulated over previous years. Since such deferred payment accounts are commonplace in the banking industry and are the preferred means by which top executives build up nest eggs in the hundreds of millions of dollars, those who are primarily responsible for the financial disaster and, in many cases, the ruin of their own companies, will emerge from the crisis richer than ever. As the Journal puts it: “The deferred-compensation programs for executives are like 401(k) plans on steroids.” At some of the banks that have received government handouts, the newspaper notes, the total amounts previously incurred and owed to their executives exceed what they owe in pensions to their entire work forces.
The newspaper notes that at Goldman Sachs, formerly headed by Paulson, “the $11.8 billion obligation primarily for deferred executive compensation dwarfed the liability for its broad-based pension plan for all employees. That was just $399 million.” Goldman received $10 billion of the $125 billion doled out to the biggest banks. JPMorgan Chase, which was granted $25 billion, owes its top officers $8.5 billion. Citigroup, another $25 billion recipient, owes $5 billion, and Morgan Stanley, which got $10 billion in taxpayer money, is in debt to its top executives to the tune of $10 to $12 billion. A separate article in the same issue of the Journal amplifies this picture of parasitism and criminality. Headlined “Securities Firms Tackle Pay Issue,” it deals with discussions among the top executives of Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch over the advisability of paring down their traditional multimillion-dollar year-end bonuses in the face of growing public outrage.
And btw, that is from an 'old article'....
So, again, I'm just wondering how it feels for Robert Rubin to have pulled in $ 126 Million bucks, from Citi-group, who managed to bilk millions of people out of their own homes.
As the old saying goes: 'You can't polish a Turd.' And lord knows, we sure have plenty of those in our own fuzzy ginger ale fruit punch bowl of Turds in our own party.
The very fact that we are giving another $ 170 billion dollars to the corruption of the black hole of the endless Afganistan war, while cutting costs for the American elderly for fuel assistance, is outrageous, and disgusting. It is insane, and we wonder why, this world wide revolution is happening while food prices are going insane?
The real question is simple for me: how much do the working people of all nations need to keep paying for the repression of true accountability, and for a sane and legal way back to, at least a decent somewhat, temporal accountability, that will lead us back to holding our so called' Corporate Over Lords' to understand that there are true basic premises that uphold or destroy all civilizations.
That point has no come full circle world wide, and I believe that is exactly what my mentor and friend, Matt Stoller is talking about here.
One last article I thought you might want to visit on this same subject:
The sad truth is that the budget deficit is a direct outcome of the economic policies that were adopted by both parties over the years. National debt nearly doubled under Bush, and continued to grow under Obama, while the financial system pillaged the country for trillions of dollars twice - first, during the leveraged build-up to the economic collapse, and then, via a stockpile of creative subsidization awards afterwards, the underlying debt build-up for which, lingers like a bad hangover. Unless the real economy becomes healthier, more people are employed and we institute a far more progressive tax and distribution structure, there is simply no mathematical way, to balance this budget.
So, there is no silver bullet amount of spending cuts that is sufficient to balance it either, particularly as long as we are only looking at, and debating about, the spending side of the US balance sheet, and only a portion of the non-discretionary component, at that. Quibbling over whether Obama is cutting enough or not enough, is quibbling over the wrong question. Obama showcasing just the cuts as these 'hard choices' that will get us more towards balance, is meaningless. It is equally misleading for the GOP to focus on a separate subset of potential spending cuts, and conclude that this extra $100 billion will do the trick. Making $1.1 trillion of cuts over ten years, all things equal, with a projected deficit per year that's higher than that, won't balance any budget, for any political party. You know what would have been really cool?
If Obama had just said - you know what - the budget can't be balanced, deal with it. And you know why? Because over the past two years, the economy, that was trashed by the banking sector, still sucks. And, during the entirety of the Bush administration, while prepping the economy to suck, debt to pay for wars and tax cuts kept growing. And, when the banking system was facing the abyss, we opened our checkbooks, we stimulated the hell out of it, but we did it mostly through issuing Treasury debt and the magical Fed printing machines - so it doesn't show up in the budget that we're all debating, except for a couple hundred billion to Fannie and Freddie and what remains of the stellar TARP project. And you know what? I admit that was a stupid thing to do. It was stupid when it started under Bush, and it was stupid when it continued under me and the economic team I appointed to keep it going. The bailout binge increased our public debt by 50% under my reckless economic advisors, Treasury Secretary, the Federal Reserve. And, hell if other countries decide to dump Treasuries in bulk, and their interest rates rise, and Bernanke can't QE them down fast enough, our budget deficit will gap like the Grand Canyon. Meanwhile folks, we need revenue. Just like banks need profits to pay bonuses. And, that's something that can only be remedied through a healthier economy - not just for corporations, stock market investors and banks - that are sitting on $2 trillion in cash, with $1 trillion parked at the Fed - but for the general population that still counts 26 million people under or unemployed, not to mention a historically high 48.9% unemployment rate for youth, rising food and basic needs costs, continued foreclosures on entire families, and health insurance rates that will double within the next three years. You know what, when this country needed revenue in the past, Republican presidents and congresses did the math. Now, it's my turn. Let the GOP explain exactly how a lower corporate tax contribution created more jobs in the past two years, and while they're trying to figure that out, I'm gonna show some real leadership, and do everything I can - not to balance the budget - but to balance our economy. Oh well.
God I love that woman....as I do Matt Stoller, and William K. Black, and others...
Just wanted to share this with all of you, so the floor is yours, but want to thank Matt again, for allowing me to reprint his great essay.
I welcome a civil debate here, and BTW, I don't 'do pie fights'.....