"Yes, as through this world I've wandered, I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen."
I've been frustrated the last few days, too much news watching will do that to you on occasion, I suppose, and it's caused a sort of mental constipation. Not a writer's block but an inability to say what I'm trying to say without it coming out all wrong. The issues of the day make that tricky and mass media makes it trickier still. So, as I see it, the big issues of the day are Greece, Goldman Sachs and the Arizona immigration law, and I thought and thought about it. I could write about Goldman Sachs but that's like shooting fish in a barrel. I could write about Greece but I'd be preaching to the choir, and the Arizona immigration law? Well, that's sticking your finger in a light socket. What if I told you that it is all the same story?
"A printing press is worth 100,000 rifles." Mao Zedong
If a printing press is worth 100,000 rifles, what is a cable TV news network worth in rifles?
The head of Goldman Sachs testifies before Congress and receives a tongue-lashing full of righteous indignation from millionaire Senators all heavily invested in the stock market. In 2007 Senator Bob Corker sold off hundreds of thousands of dollars in stocks to avoid any conflicts of interest just weeks before the stock market tanked.
The roots of the Greek financial crisis flow directly back to Goldman Sachs; they were known as the go-to guys in Greece. They helped the previous Greek governments to hide their rising amount of debt through currency swaps. Then, like a loan shark, once they had them on the hook they began to short the bonds. In January Greek Prime Minister Papandreou said the following, "There is only one dilemma: Will we let the country go bankrupt or will we react? Will we let the speculators strangle us, or will we take our fate in our own hands?"
What Blankfein swore Goldman Sachs was not doing in the mortgage market is exactly what they were doing in the European bond market. The profits and repercussions from this naked and ugly capitalism will be paid by the poor and the elderly in Greece. Sharks know no pity and when the carcass is gone they'll move on to Portugal, Iceland, Ireland, the UK, or even the United States. A story that didn't get much attention is that Greece has outlawed short selling for the next two months and Goldman Sachs said, "Damn it" under their breath. They had managed through shorting to drive up the Greek's borrowing costs to 24 percent.
So the Greeks must go to the European Union for a bailout but also to the IMF and the IMF is a consortium of the world's major banks who then dictate terms to troubled nations. In 2001 Argentina defaulted on IMF loans because it felt that the IMF was squeezing the economy by demanding a 3.5 percent budget surplus. The IMF, the world's loan shark, is made up of banks, the same banks that have been shorting Greek bonds. It is the bank of last resort and this time around the banks will have strict control over the Greek Government.
Between the United States and the IMF the country of Mexico has become a vassal state. It is a nation of 111 million people, a nation where the top 20 percent of the population own 65 percent of all the assets. A nation where almost 20 percent live in food-insecure poverty and almost 50 percent of the population owns nothing. It is a country that exports more oil each day than Venezuela, Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates and yet in 2009 ran a trade deficit of $15 billion.
It is a country where 50 percent of the population is under thirty years old. Free trade brought the promise of jobs and foreign investment and for several years that panned out. In 2009 the Mexican economy shrank by 6.5 percent and foreign exchange reserves shrank by 5 percent. The peso has continued to lose value, 13.64 (2009), 11.016 (2008), 10.8 (2007), 10.899 (2006), 10.898 (2005) which means for the poor life just gets harder.
Your media, your corporate media, describes what is going on in Mexico as a drug war or a gang war. They are trying to minimize what is really going on. Last year in Tijuana police came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades. Mexico is on the verge of becoming a failed state. A corporate failed state, an oligarchy where the presidents are Harvard-trained corporate attorneys who represents transnational corporations or presidents of American corporations.
This is the travel advisory from the UK to citizens traveling in Mexico: "We advise against all but essential travel to Ciudad Juarez, where there is a high level of drug-related violence and criminal activity. There has also been a recent increase in violent incidents in the northern states of Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, including in and around the border areas of Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Tampico."