Degrade This!

200px-Standard&PoorsWe live in an increasingly degraded country.

Our politics are degraded and a laughing stock to the world. Our military is demoralized and degraded with soldiers urinating on dead civilians and awaiting deployment orders for the next illegal intervention.

Our education system has been degraded with standards falling and pervasive defunding. Our transportation system, ditto.

I could go on, but I don’t have to. We are all living the decline with downward mobility, joblessness and foreclosures, to cite a few trends that make life so miserable for so many.

Now, our godlike financial ratings agencies have decided to degrade nine countries struggling to fix their financial crisis. The decision by Standard and Poors (Best renamed, “It is now Standard to Be Poor”) to downgrade credit ratings for France, Italy, Austria and six other European countries signals those nations that Wall Street has them by the cojones. Their costs for borrowing will go up.

They are being warned: We are in Charge. Do as we say!

Unreported in all of this, is that many of the companies that loaned them the money are part of a US led financial oligarchy. The Credit agencies–the same ones that legitimated fraudulent sub prime lenders with no accountability—are part of the enforcement gang of today’s loan sharks who are squeezing Europe to pay up or else.

Its been reported that when Greece finally gets a huge new loan from the European Central Bank and the IMF, most of the money will only touch down in Athens before being wired directly to Hedge Funds based in London who pushed the debt out in the first place and demand to be repaid first.

The hell with Greece’s needs.

Interesting:  the Financial Times used the term “vengeance” in its report:

“The eurozone debt crisis returned with a vengeance on Friday as Standard & Poor’s, the credit rating agency, downgraded France and Austria, two of the currency zone’s six triple A creditors, as well as other nations not in the top tier.”

S&P’s goal was not just about economics. It was political, to press Europe’s political leaders to move faster to please them—i.e., suspend democratic checks and balances if needs be, and do what Wall Street wants ASAP!

It was an act of bullying

It was also punitive because, according to Bloomberg, Europe was actually making progress in getting its house in order:

S&P acted at the end of a week in which signs grew that Europe’s woes may be cresting as borrowing costs fell, evidence of economic resilience emerged and the European Central Bank said it had quelled a credit crunch at banks.

…. The result is that refinancing costs for certain countries may remain “elevated” and credit availability and economic growth may fade, it said. …

“It’s not a catastrophe,” French Finance Minister Francois Baroin told France 2 television, noting his country now has the same rating as the U.S.

How reassuring. The US is getting the same treatment. The problem is that the more the  .001% financiers push, the more their borrowers may be forced to push back,

Bloomberg’s report ends with a quote about “dangers” that the article glosses over: “This decision could upset the positive developments we’ve seen in Europe in the last few weeks,” ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said. “That’s the most dangerous thing in my view.”

In short, we are all in the same crunch, being pushed around by the same avaricious interests.

Call it what it is: a system of financial terrorism.

Europe is not simply a passive victim here–its elites have been collusive and complicit with the lenders, taking massive loans and often squandering the money

Satyajit Das, a brilliant author and derivatives expert, writes on NakedCapitalism.com:

“Europe is on a road to fiscal bondage.”

“Financially futile, economically erroneous, politically puzzling and socially irresponsible, the December 2011 European summit was a failure. Only the attending leaders and their acolytes believe otherwise. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s post-summit homilies about the “long run”, “running a marathon” and “more Europe” rang hollow.

The proposed plan is fundamentally flawed. It made no attempt to tackle the real issues – the level of debt, how to reduce it, how to meet funding requirements or how to restore growth. Most importantly there were no new funds committed to the exercise.

The centerpiece of the new plan was a commitment to a new legally enforceable “fiscal compact” requiring government budgets to be balanced or in surplus, with the annual structural deficit not to exceed 0.5% of nominal Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”).

The language was Orwellian and incomprehensible in equal measure.”

While some get the stick, others enjoy the carrots.

Matt Taibbi reports: “Newspapers in Colorado today are reporting that the elegant Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado, will be closed to the public from today through Monday at noon.

Why? Because a local squire has apparently decided to rent out all 94 rooms of the hotel for three-plus days for his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.

The hotel’s general manager, Tony DiLucia, would say only that the party was being thrown by a “nice family,” but newspapers are now reporting that the Daddy of the lucky little gal is one Jeffrey Verschleiser, currently an executive with Goldman, Sachs.”

He was also an executive and the now departed Bear Stearns, This particular “nice” padre was part of a double dipping scheme exposed in the Atlantic:

The traders were essentially double-dipping — getting paid twice on the deal. How was this possible? Once the security was sold, they didn’t have a legal claim to get cash back from the bad loans — that claim belonged to bond investors — but they did so anyway and kept the money. Thus, Bear was cheating the investors they promised to have sold a safe product out of their cash. According to former Bear Stearns and EMC traders and analysts who spoke with The Atlantic, Nierenberg and Verschleiser were the decision-makers for the double dipping scheme.

Scratch beneath the surface and all the old players and financial gangsters come into view in an internationally interconnected and manipulated system

Unless something is done by those outside the system —a more powerful global Occupy Movement for starters—we will all be on what Satyajit Das also calls “The road To Nowhere.”

News Dissector Danny Schechter writes the newsdissector.com blog. His new book is Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street. His latest film is Plunder: The Crime Of Our Time. Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org

, , ,

  • Andrew

    General strike?

  • Andrew

    General strike?

  • DeepCough

    Remember the Golden Rule: He who has all the gold gets to rule over you with an Iron Fist.

  • DeepCough

    Remember the Golden Rule: He who has all the gold gets to rule over you with an Iron Fist.

  • Dunzain

    Dont’t Worry, be happy…

    Sorry, I am a bit fed up with the doom and the gloom.

  • Dunzain

    Dont’t Worry, be happy…

    Sorry, I am a bit fed up with the doom and the gloom.

  • Dunzain

    Dont’t Worry, be happy…

    Sorry, I am a bit fed up with the doom and the gloom.

    • chinagreenelvis

      I agree.

    • ishmael2009

      Yep. Me too. There may be an economic crisis at the moment, but life isn’t *that* bad for most people, in developed countries anyway. Too much doom and gloom from the old 1960s countercultural establishment

  • chinagreenelvis

    I agree.

  • Anonymous

    Yep. Me too. There may be an economic crisis at the moment, but life isn’t *that* bad for most people, in developed countries anyway. Too much doom and gloom from the old 1960s countercultural establishment

  • Anonymous

    The ironic thing is that they always announce these things on Fridays–giving the “markets” two extra days to cool off and blunt the reaction.

    But really no one cares any more.  People only used to care about ratings agencies for comparative pricing–not absolute pricing.  And now they don’t care about them at all, because since the other shoe dropped in ’08, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the agencies’ “opinions” are useless and reliably behind-the-beat.

    In the wake of the U.S. downgrade yields actually went down.  That’s because anyone in the markets with half a brain in their heads knows that it’s only the full faith and credit of the issuing countries and their central banks that’s propping up the economy at all.  As bad as our political leadership is, the tax base is the only credible asset in town.

    I regard that as contingent good news, actually.  It means that, in the unlikely event of an actual patriotic statesman assuming office, he has guaranteed leverage over the big banks.

    Key words, however, are probably “unlikely event”.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    The ironic thing is that they always announce these things on Fridays–giving the “markets” two extra days to cool off and blunt the reaction.

    But really no one cares any more.  People only used to care about ratings agencies for comparative pricing–not absolute pricing.  And now they don’t care about them at all, because since the other shoe dropped in ’08, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the agencies’ “opinions” are useless and reliably behind-the-beat.

    In the wake of the U.S. downgrade yields actually went down.  That’s because anyone in the markets with half a brain in their heads knows that it’s only the full faith and credit of the issuing countries and their central banks that’s propping up the economy at all.  As bad as our political leadership is, the tax base is the only credible asset in town.

    I regard that as contingent good news, actually.  It means that, in the unlikely event of an actual patriotic statesman assuming office, he has guaranteed leverage over the big banks.

    Key words, however, are probably “unlikely event”.

  • Apathesis

    It’s pretty bad when there are no employees or police in subway stations in New York.  In one afternoon, I witnessed several people not paying for tickets, jumping the turnstiles, and even one drunk, racist black man who proceeded to piss all over the floor while threatening my family if we looked at him.

  • Apathesis

    It’s pretty bad when there are no employees or police in subway stations in New York.  In one afternoon, I witnessed several people not paying for tickets, jumping the turnstiles, and even one drunk, racist black man who proceeded to piss all over the floor while threatening my family if we looked at him.

    • BuzzCoastin

      yeah, i had the same experience
      except it was a cop pissing and threatening me

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    yeah, i had the same experience
    except it was a cop pissing and threatening me

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    > we will all be on what Satyajit Das also calls “The road To Nowhere.”

    dude, “we will be on the road to Nowhere.”
    we’re almost there
    “Next stop
    Nowhere’s Ville
    Everyone off, it’s the last stop
    Thank you for riding the humanity train
    Say hi to the dinosaurs

  • BuzzCoastin

    > we will all be on what Satyajit Das also calls “The road To Nowhere.”

    dude, “we will be on the road to Nowhere.”
    we’re almost there
    “Next stop
    Nowhere’s Ville
    Everyone off, it’s the last stop
    Thank you for riding the humanity train
    Say hi to the dinosaurs.”

    • MrSta

      ….another day and another uggity-buggity-boo to you too.

      In pink tiled room of water
      on the great throne
      pesky brown peasants
      expelled and no longer wanted
      fall from the grand stage exit
      air gushing around them
      loud noises preceding and following
      foul stench of their rejection
      “plop” into the toilet bowl they go.

    • MrSta

      ….another day and another uggity-buggity-boo to you too.

      In pink tiled room of water
      on the great throne
      pesky brown peasants
      expelled and no longer wanted
      fall from the grand stage exit
      air gushing around them
      loud noises preceding and following
      foul stench of their rejection
      “plop” into the toilet bowl they go.

  • Raz

    What S&P is doing is more like bitting in their own asses cause the very same thing that S&P stands for caused the crisis in the first place.

  • Raz

    What S&P is doing is more like bitting in their own asses cause the very same thing that S&P stands for caused the crisis in the first place.

  • Raz

    What S&P is doing is more like bitting in their own asses cause the very same thing that S&P stands for caused the crisis in the first place.

  • Raz

    What S&P is doing is more like bitting in their own asses cause the very same thing that S&P stands for caused the crisis in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    ….another day and another uggity-buggity-boo to you too.

    In pink tiled room of water
    on the great throne
    pesky brown peasants
    expelled and no longer wanted
    fall from the grand stage exit
    air gushing around them
    loud noises preceding and following
    foul stench of their rejection
    “plop” into the toilet bowl they go.

  • Anonymous

    ….another day and another uggity-buggity-boo to you too.

    In pink tiled room of water
    on the great throne
    pesky brown peasants
    expelled and no longer wanted
    fall from the grand stage exit
    air gushing around them
    loud noises preceding and following
    foul stench of their rejection
    “plop” into the toilet bowl they go.

21
More in Economics, Plunder, Recession
Are Skyscrapers Linked With Financial Collapse?

So says the BBC. On various continents, and going back for over a century, the construction of new record-nearing skyscrapers seems to be a consistent canary in a coal mine...

Close