## Simon Reeve in Russia

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I just finished watching the Simon Reeve in Russia, series.  I was really looking forward to it but I feel disappointed and let down by the overall tone of it.  The constant anti-Putin rhetoric, spoiled it for me and the thing about it is, the issues that Simon focussed on, are mirrored here exactly: health cuts, corruption, elites controlling and taking all for themselves and having special privileges, ordinary people having no voice.  The only difference in here and Russia, is they actually have a strong leader and ours are all weak, ineffectual and useless.  Politicians here would die for Putin's satisfaction ratings, up in the 80%'s.

On tonight's show, he featured a girl who lives in one of the old style apartments and is being forced to leave because they're knocking them down, and has to go and live in a brand new apartment block.  There are working class people in this country wishing that was a problem they had!  Simon has a short memory, does he not remember the issues around Stratford when the Olympic Stadium was being built or the social cleansing that has happened in London under the guise of 'austerity'.  And just on that, the economy crashed in 2008, that's nearly 10 years ago, and we're still being hammered with austerity!  What have they been doing all this time, twiddling their thumbs???

Anyway, Russia is a huge country and one that I hope to visit some day.  I even starting learning a bit of Russian last year.  I had a real flair for it too and was picking it up very easily.  By the way, the Russian word for the number one is pronounced adeen,  So, I'm nearly number one in Russia!

I'm studying the Cold War too, as part of DD306 at the moment so it's all very relevant especially since it all seems to be going strong again!  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

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## Irony

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 7 Dec 2022, 13:28

It's rather ironic that the year I was doing a 'writing course' is the one in which I was writing very little for the blog.  I'm off work this week so I promised myself I would use this week to get back in the habit of more regular postings.

There is so much going on in politics at the moment that it's a bit difficult to decide where to begin.  Greece is the big news and good luck to them for defying the 'autocrats' and fear mongering of the troika and voting no.  The biggest threat to the EU monolith is the chance that Greece would pull out and make a success of running their own country - I sincerely hope they do, then maybe Spain, Portugal and Ireland might consider doing the same.  I support the idea of a common market for Europe but I don't support the idea of a European State controlled by corporations, the IMF and the World Bank.  The creation of the single currency was a con that sucked in poorer nations who were never going to be able to compete economically with richer nations like Germany, and now it has come back to bite them on the ass and deservedly so - I've pasted this article by Chris Kanthan from nation of change.org as he can explain it all much better than me;

Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can't pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?

Except that it is a big fat lie ... not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.

Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.

In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government and deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt so that oligarchs and international corporations can profit from the ensuing chaos and misery.

If you are a fan of mafia movies, you know how the mafia would take over a popular restaurant. First, they would do something to disrupt the business - stage a murder at the restaurant or start a fire. When the business starts to suffer, the Godfather would generously offer some money as a token of friendship. In return, Greasy Thumb takes over the restaurant's accounting, Big Joey is put in charge of procurement, and so on. Needless to say, it's a journey down a spiral of misery for the owner who will soon be broke and, if lucky, alive.

Now, let's map the mafia story to international finance in four stages.

Stage 1: The first and foremost reason that Greece got into trouble was the "Great Financial Crisis” of 2008 that was the brainchild of Wall Street and international bankers. If you remember, banks came up with an awesome idea of giving subprime mortgages to anyone who can fog a mirror. They then packaged up all these ticking financial bombs and sold them as "mortgage-backed securities” at a huge profit to various financial entities in countries around the world.

[x]

A big enabler of this criminal activity was another branch of the banking system, the group of rating agencies - S&P, Fitch and Moody's - who gave stellar ratings to these destined-to-fail financial products. Unscrupulous politicians such as Tony Blair got paid by Big Banks to peddle these dangerous securities to pension funds and municipalities and countries around Europe. Banks and Wall Street gurus made hundreds of billions of dollars in this scheme.

But this was just Stage 1 of their enormous scam. There was much more profit to be made in the next three stages!

Stage 2 is when the financial time bombs exploded. Commercial and investment banks around the world started collapsing in a matter of weeks. Governments at local and regional level saw their investments and assets evaporate. Chaos everywhere!

Vultures like Goldman Sachs and other big banks profited enormously in three ways: one, they could buy other banks such as Lehman brothers and Washington Mutual for pennies on the dollar. Second, more heinously, Goldman Sachs and insiders such as John Paulson (who recently donated $400 million to Harvard) had made bets that these securities would blow up. Paulson made billions, and the media celebrated his acumen. (For an analogy, imagine the terrorists betting on 9/11 and profiting from it.) Third, to scrub salt in the wound, the big banks demanded a bailout from the very citizens whose lives the bankers had ruined! Bankers have chutzpah. In the U.S., they got hundreds of billions of dollars from the taxpayers and trillions from the Federal Reserve Bank which is nothing but a front group for the bankers. In Greece, the domestic banks got more than$30 billion of bailout from the Greek people. Let that sink in for a moment - the supposedly irresponsible Greek government had to bail out the hardcore capitalist bankers.

Stage 3 is when the banks force the government to accept massive debts. For a biology metaphor, consider a virus or a bacteria. All of them have unique strategies to weaken the immune system of the host. One of the proven techniques used by the parasitic international bankers is to downgrade the bonds of a country. And that's exactly what the bankers did, starting at the end of 2009. This immediately makes the interest rates ("yields”) on the bonds go up, making it more and more expensive for the country to borrow money or even just roll over the existing bonds.

From 2009 to mid-2010, the yields on 10-year Greek bonds almost tripled! This cruel financial assault brought the Greek government to its knees, and the banksters won their first debt deal of a whopping 110 billion Euros.

The banks also control the politics of nations. In 2011, when the Greek prime minister refused to accept a second massive bailout, the banks forced him out of the office and immediately replaced him with the Vice President of ECB (European Central Bank)! No elections needed. Screw democracy. And what would this new guy do? Sign on the dotted line of every paperwork that the bankers bring in.

(By the way, the very next day, the exact same thing happened in Italy where the Prime Minister resigned, only to be replaced by a banker/economist puppet. Ten days later, Spain had a premature election where a banker puppet won the election).

The puppet masters had the best month ever in November 2011.

Few months later, in 2012, the exact bond market manipulation was used when the banksters turned up the Greek bonds' yields to 50%!!! This financial terrorism immediately had the desired effect: The Greek parliament agreed to a second massive bailout, even larger than the first one.

[x]

Now, here is another fact that most people don't understand. The loans are not just simple loans like you would get from a credit card or a bank. These are loans come with very special strings attached that demand privatization of a country's assets. If you have seen Godfather III, you would remember Hyman Roth, the investor who was carving up Cuba among his friends. Replace Hyman Roth with Goldman Sachs or IMF (International Monetary Fund) or ECB, and you get the picture.

Stage 4: Now, the rape and humiliation of a nation begin under the name of "austerity” or "structural reforms.” For the debt that was forced upon it, Greece had to sell many of its profitable assets to oligarchs and international corporations. And privatizations are ruthless, involving everything and anything that is profitable. In Greece, privatization included water, electricity, post offices, airport services, national banks, telecommunication, port authorities (which is huge in a country that is a world leader in shipping) etc. Of course, the ever-manipulative bankers always demand immediate privatization of all media which means that the country gets photogenic TV anchors who spew establishment propaganda every day and tell the people that crooked and greedy banksters are saviors; and slavery under austerity is so much better than the alternative.

In addition to that, the banker tyrants also get to dictate every single line item in the government's budget. Want to cut military spending? NO! Want to raise tax on the oligarchs or big corporations? NO! Such micro-management is non-existent in any other creditor-debtor relationship.

So what happens after privatization and despotism under bankers? Of course, the government's revenue goes down and the debt increases further. How do you "fix” that? Of course, cut spending! Lay off public workers, cut minimum wage, cut pensions (same as our social security), cut public services, and raise taxes on things that would affect the 99% but not the 1%. For example, pension has been cut in half and sales tax increase to more than 20%. All these measures have resulted in Greece going through a financial calamity that is worse than the Great Depression of the U.S. in the 1930s.

After all this, what is the solution proposed by the heartless bankers? Higher taxes! More cuts to the pension! It takes a special kind of a psychopath to put a country through austerity, an economic holocaust.

If every Greek person had known the truth about austerity, they wouldn't have fallen for this. Same goes for Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and other countries going through austerity. The sad aspect of all this is that these are not unique strategies. Since World War II, these predatory practices have been used countless times by the IMF and the World Bank in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

This is the essence of the New World Order -- a world owned by a handful of corporations and banks; a world that is full of obedient, powerless debt serfs.

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## Bankers again!

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 14:54

Well, here we go again, another banking scandal, quelle surprise!!

Yes, because we all know that bankers are honest, hard-working, decent types only interested in looking after our money and giving us the best deal they can offer! So what if they fixed the interest rates, mis-sold mortgages, mis-sold insurance, gave themselves huge bonuses and salaries and screwed up the computers, not to mention all those billions they lost.

Well, anyone can make a mistake can't they? I mean, it's probably not really their fault is it? If the nasty old governments had just got rid of ALL the regulation and let them do whatever they wanted well, they would have sorted things out all on their own, wouldn't they?

When you think about it, it's probably the fault of those poor people and all those benefits cheats who get their benefits paid into bank accounts, yes, clogging up the system, they probably shouldn't even be allowed to have a bank account!!  Because £67.50 a week to live on, if you're a single person, is tantamount to living a life of luxury. Just think of all the places you can go and things you can do with £67.50 a week, after you've bought your groceries and paid all your bills. It's no wonder so many people want to live on the dole isn't it?

It just doesn't compare to Bob Diamond's millions, does it, or David Cameron's? I mean what sort of hardship must David Cameron have grown up in when everything was handed to him on a plate. Living a life of privilege, going to the best schools and colleges, never having to worry about what he was going to wear or what he would eat for dinner, or if the house would be warm enough in the winter. I mean, it must get so frustrating being one of the elite that him and his mates used to go out and trash restaurants on the weekend when they were pissed. Of course, daddy paid for it all because, you know, it's not like those people in the riots who seemed to think that they were entitled to do whatever they like. I mean, they were vandals, not like David and his pals, well, that was just youthful high spirits, wasn't it?

I don't know what you mean, double standard, indeed!

And let's not forget the hordes of immigrants who are arriving by the boat-load daily. If we didn't have all them to worry about we might have noticed what was going on and helped the bankers to look after things better. You know who I mean, all those people fleeing dictatorships and the like, you know, all those countries that the white Europeans used to own, when they had empires and those places where they helped to throw over the democratically-elected governments and install those friendly dictators who would help the British and American arms industry by buying all those weapons and tanks and things.

You know, I can't remember them all, well, like we did in Iraq and Iran, helping those backward peoples with their funny religions to find the true path to democracy and capitalism, so they can live like us, burdened with taxes and worried about keeping our jobs, and paying mortgages on our negative equity properties. Why should they be allowed to live in peace and harmony with nature in their own countries? We know better than them, everybody knows that! That's why we had to go there, to teach them, to make them civilised like us.

HA, HA, HA, Ha, ha, ha, haAAAA!!!

What are you laughing at? I don't think this is a laughing matter at all!!

Actually, you know you're right, because if this was really true, it wouldn't be funny at all......it would be tragic!

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012, 23:24)
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## The Alternative Feminist/ Austerity

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 15:08

(Contains strong opinions, she's angry today, you have been warned!!)

I am angry today, very, very angry, about bankers and the whole austerity package that has been dumped on everyone, everyone that is, EXCEPT bankers and tax-dodging millionaires and billionaires.

I watched the news during the week about Greece, and it really upset me to see people in such distress and to hear how the suicide rate is soaring. This part of Ireland had the dubious honour of the highest suicide rate in Europe at one time, and if you had to live here, believe me you would really understand why, but it's Greece and the banks we're on today, we'll get back to Ireland (North and South) another day.

What I don't understand about the whole austerity/economic crisis is this.

The bankers lent money, recklessly, to people who couldn't really afford to be borrowing on the scale that they were allowed to, BY the banks. Then the banks failed and they were bailed out of the public purse. Now the 'public purse' is your tax money, which I am sure you all know because I'm sure anyone who reads this blog is intelligent, knowledgeable AND politically aware!!!!

So when they failed, we bailed them out, (by the way do you remember anyone asking you, if you wanted to bail them out, no, neither do I). So the banks lost all the money, were given all our taxes to 'save' them and they still get to keep all the defaulted property. And now, they are busy throwing people out of their homes and taking back properties that rightly belong to us, THE TAXPAYER!!!!

And here's another thing, why are they not paying back the money they received in the bail out FROM THEIR PROFITS? WE all have to pay our loans back so WHY DO THEY NOT HAVE TO????? This is wrong morally, ethically, politically and logically.

So why is no-one else asking these questions and challenging these bail outs? Why are the left and the socialists not screaming from the rooftops????

I'll tell you why, it's because the so-called party of the left, sold it's soul under Tony Blair and dumped the working classes. Tony Blair was no child of Labour, he was a Thatcherite, born and bred!!  And if you’re expecting Ed Milliband to do any better, then forget it, because he really needs to grow a pair and start standing up for something more than trying to out-soundbite bloody Cameron. (Wasn’t it great to watch him squirming at Leveson this week??? The whole thing, to quote Baby Herman, ‘STINKS LIKE YESTERDAYS DIAPERS!!!’)

And how did this whole rotten mess begin, well, it wasn’t with Gordon Brown as the Tory party would try and have you believe, it began with Thatcher. She smashed the working class political power base, the Unions (I know they needed some reform but they have been annihilated, helped in no small measure by the whole rotten Murdoch media empire and those other right-wing rags, you know of whom I speak), and then brought in the so-called Free Market Monetarist policies, which of course led to the opening up of the markets so we all could get rich, lifted all the banking controls and let the market take care of AND, regulate itself, and we all know how that turned out now, DON’T WE??!!!  Yes, because now we’re all rich and happy, aren’t we???  Oooops!

(Just on the subject of the Murdoch rags, it’s amazing how many ‘Irish Republicans’ buy The S** (it pains me to even mention it) and have the satellite dish up on the roof. They are quite happy to contribute to the media empire of Maggie Thatcher’s old mate and staunch supporter, funny that, but politics is a funny old game, innit?)

Anyway, back to the bankers and the spineless politicians who won’t stand up to big business and do the job WE ARE PAYING THEM TO DO. Remember that, AS LONG AS YOU ARE PAYING TAX, DAVID CAMERON IS YOUR EMPLOYEE, YOU PAY HIS SALARY, maybe, we all need to remind THEM of that.

So, what can we do about it all anyway, Greece, the whole mess? Well, here’s an idea to help the Greeks, why don’t we give them the Olympics to keep. Instead of this faffing around the globe every fours years, let the games stay in Greece where they began. I wonder do they have a copyright on them, or even if you can copyright them, and give them back the Elgin Marbles while we’re at it.

And why should we?, (I can hear Thatcher’s children cry) well, again, I will tell you why, because they are HUMAN BEINGS and they need help. They didn’t cause this mess, just as most of you didn’t either, but they are paying for it, big time, and let’s be thankful, the REAL Labour men of the past who set up the Social safety net, (so despised by the Right and which Cameron and co desperately want to get rid of) which just about keeps us from being completely crushed by austerity.

And let’s start talking politics again, turn off that drivel, X Factor, Y Factor, who gives a crap factor and lets start DEMANDING that OUR EMPLOYEES start governing this country for ALL the people in this country and not just for their friends and cronies, and REMIND your Labour politicians of what their party used to stand for before they were infiltrated by the Thatcherites, and remind yourself daily, (or at least monthly) of the working class struggles of the past, re-discover the writings of ORWELL, (read Animal Farm and dare to challenge the myth that it doesn’t apply to capitalism) find out about PETERLOO, TOLPUDDLE, the CHARTISTS, teach your daughters about the SUFFRAGETTES: remember the Miners and the Liverpool dockers, and the UNIONS who used to fight for the working classes, and how and why they began.

And if you do all that, you can be sure that when the revolution comes, you'll definitely be on the right side.

And finally and MOST importantly, when you have done all that, put on  a black beret with a star on the front, and shout out loudly and clearly while punching the air -

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!

(And if you don't know what that means, make it your business to find out, or else, just ask someone who lived through the 70's!!)

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Stephen, Friday, 22 Jun 2012, 11:20)
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## A little bit of politics

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 13 Nov 2015, 13:34

I wrote this poem last year on my creative writing course but it was much shorter and didn't seem finished, so now I have finally finished it, I hope you enjoy it.  Comments are welcome

Austerity

The stated precedent of the Condem Government is:

To implement cuts to pay off the deficit.

When greedy bankers and free market Capitalism

Dramatically failed, they were saved by Socialism

And still they demand no tighter regulation

To control their gambling and reckless speculation

Even when it leads to third-world starvation,

Because profit is their only consideration.

And their biggest worry is double-dip recession,

Which if it lasts longer, will be a depression.

‘There is no alternative’ says Thatcher’s next generation.

‘Someone has to pay for this economic devastation’

As they roll out the old policy of privatization,

(Which also demonstrates their complete lack of imagination),

To sell off to the few, what belongs to the nation

And the cost will be yours and your children’s education.

While blaming the poor for the whole situation

Not to mention that other old chestnut- immigration

Because every government failure needs a scapegoat to aim for

And tomorrow the finger might be pointed at your door.

So, the next time there is a general election

Think carefully before you make your selection

And vote in the best interests of the entire population

Not for Oxbridge boys and their corporate connections

Who deceive us with rhetoric and tabloid machinations

In their lust for power and without any consideration

For the debt, they’ve dumped on future generations.

Because this legacy of poverty has been laid down for posterity

But not for the millionaires who’ve Condemned us to austerity

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