Greece

Open Thread - Movin' on!

I am at the point where I can choose to live in a half empty house with only a computer and a lot of furniture (minus the drawers of "stuff" that are already moved) or live in a half empty house with a TV and no furniture inside (though we do have our patio furniture moved so we can sit outside). We load up the van and take it over every night and so far we have moved most of the small things we have. We rented a small moving truck to move the big things figuring on doing it in two loads but with so much already done we may just get everything left to fit in that one small truck for one last load.

Below the fold is some open thread stuff that is moving in the traditional and new media.

What The Big Banks Have Done To Your Community

From Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman and her crew takes a look the latest Matt Taibbi piece in Rolling Stone Magazine:

“Looting Main Street”–Matt Taibbi on How the Nation’s Biggest Banks Are Ripping Off American Cities with Predatory Deals

In a new article in Rolling Stone magazine, journalist Matt Taibbi takes an in-depth look at the experience of one small Alabama town and its disastrous dealings with Wall Street. Taibbi writes, “The destruction of Jefferson County reveals the basic battle plan of these modern barbarians, the way that banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have systematically set out to pillage towns and cities from Pittsburgh to Athens.”

The Democracy Now! video is below the fold while the Rolling Stone piece is at the other end of this link and deals with how it all is hurting your school and your local government. To make matters worse for many of these communities they also have to deal with how their local government has been corrupted by bribes from the bankers.

Economic Warfare? Europe versus Wall Street


Michael Collins

(March 10) Wall Streets is headed toward international pariah status thanks to two recent actions by the European Union (EU).

On Tuesday, the EU announced that it was banning Wall Street banks from the lucrative government bond business in Europe. They didn't express official concern or fire off a warning shot. They simply banned Wall Street from financing government bond deals like the one Goldman Sachs sold to Greece. The Guardian pointed out that Wall Street bond business from European governments has gone down over the last two years. Now the business is gone period. In effect, the EU has labeled Wall Streets business tactics as too dangerous for their governments to handle.

Then on Wednesday, the President of the European Commission said that the EU was considering a ban on government debt speculation through Credit Default Swaps (CDS) President José Manuel Barroso announced that, "the Commission will examine closely the relevance of banning purely speculative naked sales on Credit Default Swaps of sovereign debt." While not an outright ban, the threat of banning CDS on national debt would be a major loss for the world's financial speculators, particularly those in the United States and Great Britain.

The Hoi Poloi v Goldman Sachs

Numerian (Feb 15)  Posted by Michael Collins with permission of the author

Ask yourself who knows how much has really been borrowed by various governments around the world?

Greece is turning into a battle royal between the global financial
elites and the average worker in the industrial West. This started out
as a more limited struggle, pitting the finance ministers and central
banks of the European Union against the Greek unions, but the fight has
unexpectedly broadened with news of the surreptitious involvement of
Goldman Sachs in helping Greece avoid borrowing constraints.

The picture painted in the Western financial press makes the unions
the villain in this play. The unions are described as greedy, lazy, too
quick to strike, and insensitive to the burdens they were imposing on
the Greek economy. To cope with union threats and extortion, various
Greek governments had no choice but to borrow excessively, and well
beyond the European Union target range that allowed domestic budget
deficits to be no higher than 3% of GDP. As of last year, Greece’s
budget deficit was 12.7% of GDP.

The sheer level of these deficits – the highest in the European
community – has spooked international investors and the ratings
agencies like Moody’s, which have dropped the Greek sovereign credit
rating and threatened further demotions if nothing is done. This, along
with the prospect of default on their government debt, has thrown
Greece into a crisis and into the hands of the EU commissioners and
finance officials who are contemplating a bailout.

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