First Iceland, then the World



The public is angry. Why should the public pay for the bankers mistakes. Iceland blogger Halldor Sigurdsson

Who cleans up the mess when ignorant, greedy bankers rack up massive debt then go broke? The people of Iceland made a strong statement Saturday. The sins of big bankers and government regulators shouldn't fall on the citizens. By a 93% to 2% margin, they voted down a proposal requiring them to cover bad debt incurred by one of the nation’s oldest and largest banks. Covering the debt would have cost Iceland's 317,000 citizens around $17,000 each.

Iceland's national referendum was the first opportunity for the people of any nation to vote directly on who pays when the financial elite fail.

As citizens voted, Iceland's Prime Minister was dismissing the importance of the vote and promising to negotiate a payment scheme obligating citizen subsidies for bad debt created by Iceland's beyond-bad bankers.

Icelanders are struggling with a collapsed economy. Businesses are failing at a startling rate, unemployment is soaring, and the prospects for the future are simply not there. Yet the British and Dutch governments demand that their swindled citizens receive compensation from beleaguered Icelanders. Where were the British and Dutch central banks and politicians while their citizens were being fleeced? Aren't the rulers of these countries aware that the failed Icelandic bank was owned by wealth investors, not the citizens?

Iceland's size and the very dire circumstances offer a focused preview for citizens around the world. The banks make bad deal after bad deal. When they're about to fail, the government steps in with a
taxpayer bailout. It doesn't matter which faction of the narrow political spectrum is in charge. The message is starkly clear -- when the banks fail, you pay. The solution is presented to citizens as a fait accompli, a mandatory submission to indefinite financial slavery for the benefit of the failed financial elite. The will of the people doesn't matter even when there's a direct vote.

The failed financial enterprises that control global commerce are opening their new show on the road in Iceland. Greek citizens are next in line for indentured servitude, thanks to their lying leaders and Wall Street's Goldman Sachs.

Citizens in the United States remain overwhelmingly opposed to bailouts for Wall Street and big banks. Like Iceland's Prime Minister, members of Congress and the president don’t care. Big banks have now received at least $12 trillion in credit and cash from the US Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank. The 17 million citizens out of work, their families, and the eight million forced to work reduced hours are
barely mentioned and get just a pittance compared to the ultra wealthy bankers.

How did the financial elite and their political minions do it in Iceland? The lesson is instructive.

Tiny Iceland's Bankers Fool British and Dutch Regulators

Iceland's second largest bank wanted some new customers. In 2006, the bank created the Icesave banking service. For the British market, Icesave pushed high fixed interest rates and easy access to online banking. The Netherlands sales pitch was based on banking transparency, seeing how the bank functioned online, with a 5% interest rate on deposits.

British regulators voiced no major problem with Icesave's policies until the bank collapsed in October 2008. The Netherlands central bank (just now in a liquidity crisis) gave its stamp of approval to Icesave even though there were substantial warning signs that the bank was in trouble.

By the time Icesave was insolvent, its 300,000 British depositors and over 100,000 in the Netherlands saw their money vanish. The finger pointing began. The Dutch central bank claimed Iceland's regulators lied to them. British regulators were shocked at the disarray of Iceland's banking system.

Dutch and British regulators failed to mention that they'd outsourced regulation for their citizens to tiny Iceland's central bank. These financially savvy nations couldn't be bothered with their own people until the Icesave scheme did its damage.

Dutch and British political leaders somehow forgot to mention that Sweden and Norway insured the deposits of their citizens when another Icelandic bank failed in those countries.

Icelanders Stuck with the Bill

Icesave's failed business tactics, negligent regulation by Iceland's government, and indifferent British and Dutch authorities created the problem. But citizens are taking the fall.



The usual suspect, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), offered up billions in cash in return for covering the lost deposits for British and Dutch citizens. IMF backed off of this position as it became clear that Icelanders would reject the March 6 referendum. (Image)

Ultimately, the financial machinations by international bankers and G-20 leaders don't matter. The people of Iceland are in no position to pay the bill. Pretending otherwise only prolongs the charade of some order for the comatose global financial system. Who benefits? The financial elite who continue to accumulate more and more money as
though it's actually worth something.

Furious Citizens - Bloggers Won't Give Up

Icelanders take their voting seriously. Turnout is usually above 80%. But the turnout for this referendum was 57%, the lowest figure in years.

The very good news is that Icelanders are providing real analysis and hitting the streets on a regular basis to protest the big con pulled by their leaders and financial elite. This is a sample of the vibrant dialog of the people who choose to fight back.

Independent Icelandic News - The Icesave Fraud Case

"The public was deliberately lied to and the deception was complete. The banks fell, the Brits and Dutch, and Germans too are pissed off and we Icelanders have to loose our savings, our homes, our jobs, our dignity. We also have to pay for the Germans, the Dutch and the Brits.

"We are only starting to 'feel the cold dead hand of the neoconservatist financial free market monster' that tore through the world and is still squeezing the Icelandic nation, even after its death. We don’t get a recession, we get a complete collapse." June 23, 2009

*******

Economic Disaster Area - Arrogant, Humiliating, Short Sighted, and Stupid

"Right now the nation is numb. Everyone is waiting for something while trying to stay afloat. Businesses and individuals who have been watching their cash fly out the window atop exorbitant interest rates for years are experiencing a drowning feeling. It seems like many are
just shutting their eyes and resigning their fate to fate itself while still waiting for rescue to appear somewhere on the horizon.



"Most people agree that something must be done. They just cannot agree on what exactly." @ Dadi, May 24 (Image)

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The Iceland Weather Report - Johanna (Iceland's Prime Minister) sends a clear message

"As if the government wasn’t in enough trouble with public opinion here at home, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurðardóttir has publicly announced that she plans to shun the referendum tomorrow.

'To me it is pointless and I find it is very sad that the first referendum since the founding of the republic revolves around legislation that is already obsolete. Consequently I see no point in taking part in this referendum,' (said Iceland's Prime Minister). alda March 5, 2010

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Iceland Banking Crisis News and More

"According to numbers, 1.5 % percent have said yes to the agreement to pay Icesave, but 93.6 say not to that. But this does not change anything. The Prime minister and finance minister say that there is a new deal on the table. Iceland's President says that a Referendum makes
the democracy stronger. The outcome of the referendum does not have any affect on the government in Iceland." Halldor Sigurdsson, Mar 7

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Economic Disaster Area - National Referendum - A Sad Day for Democracy in Iceland

"Tomorrow is the first national referendum Icelandic citizens have been allowed to participate in by the political elite since the conception of the republic in 1944. By all measures, this should be a happy day for democracy in Iceland.

"But instead it is not a cause for celebration but a large milestone in the farcical power play which has taken place between the four largest political movements in Iceland since 1944.

"Yes, a farce.’Isn‘t that what this whole thing really is', asked a Dutch journalist yesterday after surveying the scene? It is a sad day.' March 5 @ Dadi

END

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[ed. note - CM1] Minor edits to HTML and originally posted 2010-03-07 23:35:33 -0500.

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homeland, as in the US of A:

"Yes, a farce.’Isn‘t that what this whole thing really is', asked a
Dutch journalist yesterday after surveying the scene?

Some people are beginning to get like-minded here as apparent in a current title on Alternet:

15 Reasons Why We Need a Revolt in This Country - Government works quite well for big corporations, banks, insurance companies, military contractors, lobbyists, and for the rich and powerful. But it does not work for people.

Maybe we'll finally bleed enough, here, to protest like those who gave birth to democracy are doing.  'First Greece, then the world'?

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"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

March 2 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg columnist Matthew Lynn talks about the Icelandic vote on paying back the U.K. and the Netherlands the so-called Icesave loan, needed to cover depositor losses at failed lender Landsbanki Islands hf. He speaks with Rishaad Salamat and Francine Lacqua in London.

It just makes sense - nobody asks the people about these screw ball schemes but when it comes time to pay, it's the peoples' turn at bat. Silly when you think of it although dire for Icelanders.

"Furthest from him is best, whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme above his equals." Milton

what I believe, like many others, was nothing more than reckless gambling and theft on a trillion dollar scale to pay off their gambling debts early eough on that IF I had been given the chance I would have voted against giving them all that money.

Would we have had to do something? Yes. Bailing out the banksters. Absolutely not.

We could have done a better (and cheaper) job just taking over all of the mortgages and resetting them to fixed mortgages. Then let those shadow banks figure out their losses on a scale that would not have continued disaster throughout the entire economy.

We probably could have covered the home mortgages, the coming commercial bubble implosion (we are about six months into it now) AND Medicare 4 All for about what we have spent just on the housing crash. But my way the elite banksters would have been left trading off their junk gambling debts on their own.

Just my two cents.

Those proposals all make sense. The overwhelming evidence points to wealth preservation for the incumbent powers that be. Letting the banks go under would have foiled all their CDS schemes. We wouldn't have been hurt but they would have felt the lash.

Doing this now would help avoid the implosion that is surely coming. I have an idea on that which I'll share soon.

Medicare for all. I work for myself. I pay $2000 a month for me and my wife because I can't get out of the policy I've had for 20 years. The only thing this health legislation would have done for me was the pre-existing conditions clause. But they put that off for four years for adults. Sweet! They better do Medicare for all. There are 15 million self employed and we're victims of the pure insurance scam - buying direct.

"Furthest from him is best, whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme above his equals." Milton

By Chris Hedges

There are no constraints left to halt America’s slide into a totalitarian capitalism. Electoral politics are a sham. The media have been debased and defanged by corporate owners. The working class has been impoverished and is now being plunged into profound despair. The legal system has been corrupted to serve corporate interests. Popular institutions, from labor unions to political parties, have been destroyed or emasculated by corporate power. And any form of protest, no matter how tepid, is blocked by an internal security apparatus that is starting to rival that of the East German secret police. The mounting anger and hatred, coursing through the bloodstream of the body politic, make violence and counter-violence inevitable. Brace yourself. The American empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying....

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"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

The means of control is so exquisite that many don't notice the fullness of the oppression. But I've got news for everybody. This has been going on since 1945. The Cold War was the boon for the amoralists, domestically and abroad. McCarthyism was fully tolerated for years. Of special note, Eisenhower allowed the Guatemala lies to be told and the destabilization to proceed despite the fact the only interest at stake was the profits of United Fruit.

The people have much more power than they realize. It's just a matter of getting enough educated so there's a critical mass.

"Furthest from him is best, whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme above his equals." Milton