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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Tokyo street

Yesterday I finished up the 6 day workshop at the Film School of Tokyo.  Given that it was really just 4 days as a hole was knocked into the schedule by the Christmas 24/25th days making no room available those days, I’d say it came out very well. 13 participants, all of whom tried, and last night, showing the rushed little films they’d made during the last day, I was very pleased at how good they were, and how much they’d learned in so short a time.  I come back at the start of March to give a talk at the Athenee Francais, which is doing a partial retrospective, and the last thing we’ll show is new films these people make in the 2 months at hand.  I am optimistic most of them will make something worthy of showing in public.  Anyway a nice time, even if I am a bit tired in consequence.

While here, at the behest of Toshi Fujiwara, who translated for me, and has his new film No Man’s Zone showing in the upcoming Berlin Forum, I screened for just a few of us, my last finished film, Dissonance.   I had, in fact, never actually sat down and seen it – instead I’d set it up on the computer, rendered a file of it, and since the conceptual nature of it didn’t really require I look at it there, and once finished I didn’t take time to sit and look at it, I never did look at it.  On finally seeing it I guess I’d say it confirmed my thoughts about what it would do – ruffle your psychic feathers in some undefinable manner.

The first sequence lasts 50 minutes: 3 panels, per above, each a single take.  As I thought, it doesn’t get boring at all – instead it slips under your radar and plays with your subconscious.  The remaining sequences do the same:

So I guess it will join the growing list of my unseen cinema.  I sent this one, and previous ones, out to enough festivals, but for some reason they don’t accept them.  I confess they’re not what one would call “audience pleasers” and it seems increasingly that is what festivals, bowing to the dictates of commercial pressures, require.  Don’t want to challenge or upset our audience.  Recently, while looking for screenings in US for the coming spring, I suggested to programmer in the mid-west that I’d like to screen my Iraq war trilogy - Homecoming, Over Here, and Parable.   She nixed the idea, saying that whenever she’d screened films having anything to do with Iraq or Afghanistan, the warm butts had not shown up.   I guess even the so-called liberal kind of people who go to art-house type cinemas would rather keep their heads in the sand about what America does, and what that does to us.   Nice for the government that does these things in our name that the citizenry, acting like good Soviet ones, makes censoring unnecessary: they do it themselves.

From Parable

At Toshi’s request also showed Parable, which I had not seen in quite a while – a few years perhaps – and it is one weird film too.  I guess in my dotage I am going off the deep end.

Homeless in Tokyo

Tomorrow back to Seoul, for a few more months.  Later perhaps some further ruminations on the rich texture of Tokyo, where a disembodied present collides with fragments of the past and sends signals of the future spiraling out.

Happy Gregorian Spin Around the Sun 2012 !

Asakusa Temple

Christmas, a day I normally evade as best I can, found me in Tokyo where I’m doing a workshop at the Tokyo Film School.  As it happened the space we were using there was not available on December 25, so it was a free day for me.  In the days before in the hyper-busy Shibuya district I’d noted the frenetic Christmas theme in the many young people dressed in red Santa outfits, hawking restaurant offerings and such.  Noxious seasonal songs pervaded the speaker systems, though it was clear that this country – unlike South Korea – is very minimally Christian, but they seem to have gone whole-hog on Christmas as yet another excuse for rampant consumerism – as if they needed one.   While Japan supposedly wallows in a now several decades long malaise of the economy, and was hit with the double whammy of the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster it caused – recently said by the government to be a 40 year long problem to clean up – one would be hard-pressed to note this on the streets.   Or when exchanging money, where the Yen seems to stand supreme, despite the alleged difficulties in Japan’s economic machinery.   Rather there seems a constant rush of well-dressed people, young and old, wrapped up in fashion (a wide range of often curious ones), and with the means to have it, as well as engorge themselves in the endless restaurants and bars, not to mention classier places which I can’t afford to enter.   As well “love hotels” hawk their space and time with notices of 1,000 to 4,000 Yen for “rest” (120 mins) or 6K for “stay.”   Yesterday during my random walk around Asakusa and Ueno I bumped into a street of these, nearby the Ueno station and across a railway track from the Tokyo National Museum, with appropriate ladies standing about on the street offering their wares.  No Christmas outfits though.     As it happened the museum was mostly closed, as was the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum and I found myself instead going to the National Museum of Western Art for a somewhat dismal collection of 2nd and 3rd rate works from major artists, and a larger assortment of lesser artists.  There were though a few good paintings – a Hammershøi being perhaps the best.   They did, however, have a very interesting exhibition of William Blake engravings.  At least they let in the elders for free.

Buddhist prayers

Tokyo seems a vast melange, a cyclotron in which the sublime and the crass are racing by one another at the speed of light, and occasionally they smash into one another and produce a hybrid of the two, spinning out in delirious design.  From their arts it seems they’ve been at this a long time.  I am sure Mr Blake would have found it all fascinating.

William Blake draws himself

Wandering the chaos of the internet today, I came across this other declaration, with which I totally concur.   While it didn’t really begin with 9/11, but had been in the works for some time before, with that event (yet to be meaningfully investigated by genuinely impartial parties), our government commenced a series of serious attacks on the Constitution, with perhaps “The Patriot Act” signalling the first step.  Since then in one “legal” ruling after another the Bill of Rights has been stripped of meaning.  As famously said by Mr Obama’s predecessor, “it’s just a goddamn piece of paper.”

While the circus of the Republican nominee selection process travels the country putting on its dog and pony show, back in DC, in the furious rush to wrap up “business”  before the Christmas break, our wonderful Congressmen and women have hobbled together a fantastic new bill, the annual National Defense Authorization Act – to say “law” – which Barack Obama, our erstwhile scholar of the Constitution, and our erstwhile “liberal” President, had promised to veto if it retained a certain element that had been tacked on in the devious manner of our politicians, a “rider” having to do with giving the Executive the (unconstitutional) right to declare someone “a terrorist” or even someone as being vaguely in some way connected to a claimed “terrorist” and to arrest them, lock them up, hide them, and throw away the key.  American or not, where ever they are.   However, as is his way, Mr Obama did his feint to the left, and now is ready to sign this new bill/law.  And bye-bye to what is left of the Constitution’s “Bill of Rights.”

Mr Obama does what his Harvard Massah’s taught him

Thus goes America’s political world, which, like our financial world, basically engages in a constant shell game, shuffling the cards like the hustler down on the corner.   Just keep ‘em movin’ and no one will notice.  So in short order, with a signature on this piece of typical Nazi-style “law” we will have all the trappings of a real genuine dictatorship.  We have already had the practice, now we just need to formalize it in our “laws.”

Bradley Manning

In the same week as this dubious item, Bradley Manning surfaced from the Federal military detention system where he has been held the last year and a half, often naked, in what might reasonably be called less than “humane” conditions.   He was taken, dressed, before a military tribunal to face whatever music they might wish to inflict for having released reams of governmental “secret” documents, many of which essentially described crimes committed by America’s military, along with many revealing views of those in government.  While complying with the Nuremberg laws which require a citizen to report war crimes and crimes against humanity, which the American government purports to support and follow, Manning ran afoul of higher ups within our governmental system who regarded this a dire threat (which in fact it – the truth – is).   Mr Manning will undergo this kangaroo court “trial” and be put away for decades, no doubt.  In the same week, in Iraq, America did a military about face, at least in theatrical terms, and allegedly ended the war in said country, folding flags and driving military vehicles to next door Kuwait.  The corporate news doesn’t see fit to inform our public how many “private contractors” receiving Federal funds remain in Iraq.   The recipient of Mr Manning’s alleged leak, Julian Assange, of WikiLeaks, is in detention in the UK awaiting a British court’s decision whether he should be extradited to Sweden where two women, who admit to consensual sex with him, filed charges of subsequent rape for having had morning- after sex with them, allegedly without consent or condom.   In the interim, while this wound its way through the UK’s legal system, American corporations – PayPal and others – commenced to refuse to service WikiLeaks’ fund-raising system, drying up its financial capacity to function.

And  in yet this same week, a reporter, American, found a trove of US military documents in Iraq, which had been tossed in the garbage as the troops left.  An Iraqi man was using them as a heating source, burning them.  Some of the documents – 40,000 pages – the reporter obtained detailed “secret” testimony within the US military regarding the Haditha massacre of November 19, 2005.  These documents reveal clear knowledge within the US military of what are certain “war crimes” but which were covered up as well as possible by American authorities.

Haditha, Iraq, Nov 19, 2005

While Pvt Manning is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison for releasing documents which reveal American war crimes, as well as other useful information regarding American practices, the soldiers who committed the Haditha murders have had charges dropped, been acquitted or been left alone.  Sargeant Wuterich, the platoon commander, had his trial postponed until 2012.   Apparently the papers discovered in Iraq last week will be pertinent – they clearly show a perfectly normal attempt by the military to cover up this war crime – one among thousands committed in the name of the United States, commencing with the lies which were used to initiate this war of choice upon a country which had nothing to do with 9/11.  Naturally the perpetrators of those lies will never be prosecuted by America’s courts.

While beautiful, the above image, of a lake in Alaska, is less than lovely in other respects.  By coincidence it was published in the NY Times within the same day as another report, from Russia.   In both cases the substance of the articles was on the scientifically predicted surge of methane gasses which are coming from the warming of the arctic tundra and from undersea sources.   The essential story is that biomass which has been frozen for hundreds of thousands of years is now warming, in effect fermenting, and releasing methane gasses into the atmosphere.  Methane is a potent “greenhouse” gas, functioning to trap solar heat 20 times more effectively than does CO2.   As predicted by many ecological scientists the warming of the arctic region will result in a feed-back loop in which the warming induced by industrial releases of carbon based gasses, will provoke the production of methane, which will hasten global warming, ad infinitum.   The NY Times Andrew Revkin has a less apocalyptic view here.

US troops withdraw to Kuwait from IraqCliffs on MarsDiagram of black gravitational hole in space

POSTSCRIPT

In today’s emails came one from Michael Moore, which I think warrants as much exposure as it can get, so in case you did not get it, I print it below:

Friends,

It’s Saturday night and I didn’t want the day to end before I sent out this note to you.

One year ago today (December 17th), Mohamed Bouazizi, a man who had a simple produce stand in Tunisia, set himself on fire to protest his government’s repression. His singular sacrifice ignited a revolution that toppled Tunisia’s dictator and launched revolts in regimes across the Middle East.

Three months ago today, Occupy Wall Street began with a takeover of New York’s Zuccotti Park. This movement against the greed of corporate America and its banks — and the money that now controls most of our democratic institutions — has quickly spread to hundreds of towns and cities across America. The majority of Americans now agree that a nation where 400 billionaires have more wealth than 160 million Americans combined is not the country they want America to be. The 99% are rising up against the 1% — and now there is no turning back.

Twenty-four years ago today, U.S. Army Spc. Bradley Manning was born. He has now spent 570 days in a military prison without a trial — simply because he allegedly blew the whistle on the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. He exposed what the Pentagon and the Bush administration did in creating this evil and he did so by allegedly leaking documents and footage to Wikileaks. Many of these documents dealt not only with Iraq but with how we prop up dictators around the world and how our corporations exploit the poor on this planet. (There were even cables with crazy stuff on them, like one detailing Bush’s State Department trying to stop a government minister in another country from holding a screening of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’)

The Wikileaks trove was a fascinating look into how the United States conducts its business — and clearly those who don’t want the world to know how we do things in places like, say, Tunisia, were not happy with Bradley Manning.

Mohamed Bouazizi was being treated poorly by government officials because all he wanted to do was set up a cart and sell fruit and vegetables on the street. But local police kept harassing him and trying to stop him. He, like most Tunisians, knew how corrupt their government was. But when Wikileaks published cables from the U.S. ambassador in Tunis confirming the corruption — cables that were published just a week or so before Mohamed set himself on fire — well, that was it for the Tunisian people, and all hell broke loose.

People across the world devoured the information Bradley Manning revealed, and it was used by movements in Egypt, Spain, and eventually Occupy Wall Street to bolster what we already thought was true. Except here were the goods — the evidence that was needed to prove it all true. And then a democracy movement spread around the globe so fast and so deep — and in just a year’s time! When anyone asks me, “Who started Occupy Wall Street?” sometimes I say “Goldman Sachs” or “Chase” but mostly I just say, “Bradley Manning.” It was his courageous action that was the tipping point — and it was not surprising when the dictator of Tunisia censored all news of the Wikileaks documents Manning had allegedly supplied. But the internet took Manning’s gift and spread it throughout Tunisia, a young man set himself on fire and the Arab Spring that led eventually to Zuccotti Park has a young, gay soldier in the United States Army to thank.

And that is why I want to honor Bradley Manning on this, his 24th birthday, and ask the millions of you reading this to join with me in demanding his immediate release. He does not deserve the un-American treatment, including cruel solitary confinement, he’s received in over eighteen months of imprisonment. If anything, this young man deserves a friggin’ medal. He did what great Americans have always done — he took a bold stand against injustice and he did it without stopping for a minute to consider the consequences for himself.

The Pentagon and the national security apparatus are hell-bent on setting an example with Bradley Manning. But we as Americans have a right to know what is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. If the government tries to cover up its malfeasance, then it is the duty of each and every one of us, should the situation arise, to drag the truth, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the light of day.

The American flag was lowered in Iraq this past Thursday as our war on them officially came to an end. If anyone should be on trial or in the brig right now, it should be those men who lied to the nation in order to start this war — and in doing so sent nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths.

But it is not Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney or Wolfowitz who sit in prison tonight. It is the hero who exposed them. It is Bradley Manning who has lost his freedom and that, in turn, becomes just one more crime being committed in our name.

I know, I know, c’mon Mike — it’s the holiday season, there’s presents to buy and parties to go to! And yes, this really is one of my favorite weeks of the year. But in the spirit of the man whose birth will be celebrated next Sunday, please do something, anything, to help this young man who spends his birthday tonight behind bars. I say, enough. Let him go home and spend Christmas with his family. We’ve done enough violence to the world this decade while claiming to be a country that admires the Prince of Peace. The war is over. And a whole new movement has a lot to thank Bradley Manning for.

Yours,

Michael Moore
MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com

Line-up

Demonstrating its illogical editorial policies, the NYTimes once again, on Dec 11,  declined to post most items I’d written in response to OpEd items, but did print one.  Here’s the censored items:

Reply to an Editorial on our bloated Pentagon and cutting its budget (a little bit):

America spends more on militarism annually than all the rest of the world combined. It does so in part because it has morphed into an over-extended and reviled empire; it does so in part because it is very profitable for a narrow sector of the population, usually called “war profiteers” in history books. It does so in part because the military-industrial complex hi-jacked the nation back when former General and Republican President Eisenhower forewarned us of what was happening. He was correct and our military-industrial complex has inflicted on the nation all the ills which he sagely predicted. Go read his Farewell Speech.

Ironically this editorial is an example of the damage, this mincing around this massive ugly problem as if it were a sacred totem instead of an evil burden.

We can cut the Pentagon down by 4/5ths and it would not only do no damage, it would be a blessing on the nation in more ways than we can count.

But we won’t do it because we are terminally ill and our military-industrial complex is a major component of that illness.

And then a silly Maureen Dowd item on the even more silly Newt Gingrich:

Ms Dowd unleashes a massive missive of meandering metaphors, carefully constructed in binaries, but unlike Kierkegaard’s Either/Or which enlightens, Maureen’s sinks under the weightlessness of her wit. Too clever by far, just like what I just scribbled. Sunday morning gruel.

And then a reply to another rather inane item by Ross Douthat:

I think most of the country, as say in the electoral stats of 2008, – ( i.e., that actually “liberal” majority which our pundits insist doesn’t exist in lieu of their “America is basically conservative” mantra) – what most of America wants from Republicans is that either they go away, or they magically turn themselves back into some variant of the last sane ones, like Eisenhower (who would be reviled by today’s version as some kind of commie for his Farewell Speech). They are not going to voluntarily go away, though they do appear to have voluntarily reported themselves into the loony bin, which even Mr Douthat hints at in his despair. And they most certainly are not going to morph into the reasonableness of Ike.

Obama is already a few steps to the right of Ike, however, so there’s not much solace to be found in having him beat Newt or anybody else.

Why these can’t be printed I don’t know, especially since other writers say essentially the same things.  Some kind of secret black-list perhaps…. Oh, those conspiracies.

UPDATE, December 18:

Once again, the scissors at the Times came out, yesterday, 12/17, and the following was unpublished:

By Gail Mitt’s-Dog-On-Roof Collins, on the National Defense Authorization Act signing by the inimitable Obama-bot.

The most important element you weave into this story (sorry, dog) is Mr Obama’s signing of the bill which demolishes what is left of the Constitution, and gives him (and future President’s) the right to call someone, an American someone, “a terrorist” and have them locked up indefinitely without a trial. King George should have such a dream! But here we are, doing it. (Do you imagine the warped Supreme Court would deem this “unconstitutional?”). Mr Obama is doing this, following his usual pattern of vaguely liberal feints, and then doing whatever the corporate military-industrial overlords have requested. Mr Obama is one slick Harvard trained Stepn’Fetchit, with a special talent for a dazzling tap-dance just before he says “yes, massa.”

Meantime in the broader world the Euro continues to be the focus of politicians and economists, and, well, frankly under attack by “the markets.”  Today Moody’s rating agency, a tool of “the markets” huffed and puffed about downgrading the AAA ratings of France and Germany.   Curiously this attack of the bankers, for that is what it is, has produced Europe’s new odd couple:

Merkel and Sarkozy cozy up in defense of the Euro

Every other day there seems, as there was today, to be yet another ominous report on the state of the Euro and the state of Europe: some countries are tilting towards authoritarian regimes (Hungary);  others, under economic stress have voted in conservative/rightist governments (Portugal, Spain) as if somehow the parties which produced their problems would magically become their opposite.  And others, in a bit of backroom banker’s maneuvers have been given newly appointed heads: in Greece a “technocrat” was not elected, but appointed.  He is of the banking community and was installed to impose “austerity.”   In Italy the odious Silvio Berlusconi was pushed out in a kind of coup engineered by, well, bankers.  And he was replaced with another so-called “technocrat,” a banker who once worked for, would you ever guess, Goldman Sachs.

Basically the minuet in Europe is one in which sovereign nations are being supplanted by the ever mysterious hidden hands of “the market.”   Of course we are not allowed to actually name names or actually define just what is “the market.”  Our conservative ideologues might call that “class warfare” or something, and we can’t have that.  And John Mills, whose words have been twisted beyond recognition by the corporate powers which are steadily engaged in a trans-Atlantic coup d’etat, would not likely approve of how his philosophy of “the hidden hand of the market” has been bent to the service of oligarchs.

One Euro pizza in Madrid

Meantime, back in the USA, the police have broken up almost all Occupy camps and the media, run by our wonderful corporate masters, have delegated their movement to the back pages, if not to oblivion or Foxxy ridicule.   Though the truth is Occupy continues to exist and grow, and has impacted the American political arena in ways far deeper than the faux Tea Party, despite not being supported with millions in Koch money.  It is, instead, supported by tens of millions of Americans who share their multi-faceted views and admire their willingness to stand up and be counted.

Occupy in Portland, Oregon

And in Russia, following a parliamentary election in which Putin’s United Russia party was found transparently rigging the vote with the usual ballot box stuffing and similar things, but was caught on cell-phone videos doing so (the old guard apparently is too old to realize that almost everyone has some kind of camera and video, and the means to upload it to the world).   And in turn, even in Russia there’s a Spring in December going on.

Protesters in Moscow

On a global level there appears to be something of a generational struggle in process, in which the entrenched powers that be, where ever and what ever ideology they claim, are being besieged by the young (and some of the old), whose futures have been robbed by a globalized transnational oligarchic system that developed since the Cold War began in the late 1940′s and mutated into a more harshly corporatized entity since the fall of the Soviet Union.  We note that in many areas of the world half the population is under 25 years of age.

Lottery ticket seller in RomeThe latest front-runner for the Republican nomination in USAFrom George Landow’s On the Marriage Broker Joke as Cited by Sigmund Freud in Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious or Can the Avant-Garde Artist Be Wholed?

A few weeks back I chanced into a brief notice that George Landow, a.k.a Owen Land, and if I recall properly a few other name changes during his life, had been found dead in his apartment in Los Angeles in June. I guess I must have missed earlier notice as I was traveling in Europe then.  I recall visiting him in his apartment, shared with John Schofill (who also changed his name to Luther something), at the time a hot-shot cinema avant gardist , sometime in the early or mid 1970′s in Chicago, where both were teaching at the Art Institute.   I recall George being a rather weird guy, which fit perfectly well with his rather weird films.    John was a self-appointed genius, and when showing me clips of his upcoming “masterpiece” one sensed one should sit on knees before the screen in religious silence and awe, and comment accordingly.  I found his footage nothing special and failed to behave as expected (I found similar behavior in Stan Brakhage, who had servile acolytes at his feet and seemed to require it – I never found his work all that wonderful and failed to kiss his toes either).   John seemed insulted by my failure to genuflect at the altar of his genius, and George seemed uptight.  I do remember finding it all a bit too much, and finally giving Landow a big bear hug, lifting him off his feet and perhaps suggesting he loosen up a bit.    Some decades later I think, but my memory is hazy here, that I bumped into the new Owen Land in Los Angeles, at some film something. He said he was trying to make a movie there, which from what I read, apparently he did:   Dialogues, or A Waist Is A Terrible Thing To Mind

Owen Land, 1944 – 2011

Aside from the roller-coaster ride of the wobbling Euro – up-down-spinning apart – and the other economic news which animates the moment, the Department of Labor released the latest US Employment figures, showing a decided bump downwards in the percentage of unemployed, to 8.6%.   This from the alleged 9% which many observers suggest is something more in the realm of 17% or more.  As usual, these figures are inherently false and falsified deliberately, for political reasons.  It is normal practice that a month later “corrections” are made, usually making the figures a bit less palatable politically speaking.  On the other hand in the NYTimes, Floyd Norris, economics columnist, says of late corrections have been in the other direction, and he spins the figures this way.

The editors in the same paper of record, saw it this (edited) way:

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in November from 9 percent in October in the jobs report released Friday. The economy added 120,000 jobs and job growth was revised upward in September and October.

Most of the decline in November’s unemployment rate was not because jobless people found new work. Rather, it is because 315,000 people dropped out of the work force, a reflection of extraordinarily weak demand by employers for new workers.

The job growth numbers also come with caveats. More jobs were created than economists expected, but with the job market so weak for so long, that is a low bar. It would take nearly 11 million new jobs to replace the ones that were lost during the recession and to keep up with the growth in the working-age population in the last four years. To fill that gap would require 275,000 new jobs a month for the next five years. That’s not in the cards. Even with the better-than-expected job growth in the past three months, the economy added only 143,000 jobs on average.

And most of those new jobs are low-end ones. In November, for example, big job-growth areas included retail sales, bartending and temporary services. (Note: Xmas is around the corner, duh.) Teachers and other public employees continued to lose jobs, and job growth in construction and manufacturing were basically flat. Indeed, work — once the pathway to a rising standard of living — has become for many a route to downward mobility. Motoko Rich reported in The Times recently on new research showing that most people who lost their jobs in recent years now make less and have not maintained their lifestyles, with many experiencing what they describe as drastic — and probably irreversible — declines in income.

Against that backdrop, the modest improvement in the jobs report, even if sustained in the months to come, would not be enough to repair the damage from the recession and its slow-growth aftermath. Help is needed, yet Congress is tied in knots over even basic recovery measures, like extending federal unemployment benefits and the temporary payroll tax cut.

The  other shoe falling

This past week saw a concerted effort on the part of so-called “Central Banks,” including The Fed, to make dollars more liquid in the face of the tightening of Euro credit in Europe.  This action was hailed by “the markets” with a one day jump of around 4%.  The next day stocks slumped slightly – a phenomenon that has been repeated many times since 2008.   This process is a mixture of the Central Banks printing more money and giving it to banks are far lower interest rates than they will then loan it for – in effect, free money for the banks.  This functions to keep the usary system working and capitalism humming, if only for another day or week or month.  The cruel truth, which our bankers and their politicians dance around, is that the entire system was “leveraged” into a massive self-serving Ponzi scheme in which those in the financial industry robbed the banks, and left the empty bag in the public’s hand.   In doing so it has toppled several governments – Greece and Italy – which in turn gave the keys of those governments to – drum roll please – the bankers.  The new head of Italy, Mario Monti, is a former Goldman Sachs man and of course, a banker.  Lucas Papademos, the appointed (not elected) head of Greece is a former member of the Trilateral Commission, and, well gosh darn, banker.

In the current scramble to save the Euro the manifest self-interest of the US is being willfully smudged: American banks are deeply involved with their European counterparts, and should the latter go bust, their Atlantic cousins will follow shortly thereafter – though American banks are moving as quickly as they can to dump Euro funds.  But for what?  Incredible shrinking greenbacks?  Renminbi?   The brutal truth is that there is so much outstanding manufactured debt in the system that it out “values” all the assets in the world by factors beyond counting.  Missing in the endless mumbo-jumbo arcanities of the “financial industry”  – bonds, sovereign bonds, CDO, derivatives, and many other even more esoteric acronyms – are the simple words “shell game.”  Though anyone familiar with any professional world knows that the jargon of the profession is essentially designed to hide the inner workings from those on the outside.

Occupiers in NYC

 

So today’s news titillates with the impending tilt of the “futures market” with hedge-funders making their bets on the crystal ball, where they win when others lose.  Meanwhile mere humans await news of their fates – whether their “savings” in the form of 401-K’s or cash in the mattress or a looked-for Social Security or European pension will be evaporated at the stroke of a pen, or the election of political Dracula’s looking for a fast fix.

Unoccupied LA

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