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Sunday, June 19, 2011 7:52 PM

Vote For Whoever You Want, Bailout Policies Won´t Change One Bit; A Look at Eurozone and US Politics; Would it Have Mattered if McCain Won in 2008?

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Take a good look at policies in Ireland, in Spain, in Portugal, in Greece. In Ireland, voters overwhelmingly rejected the policies and leadership of Prime Minister Brian Cowen in the biggest rout in history as noted in Timeline Ireland.

Did it matter? How?

Enda Kenny, the new prime minister quickly caved-in to the ECB and EU regarding haircuts on government bonds.

Similar setups are underway in Portugal, Spain, and Greece.

Also, take a look at policies in Germany where chancellor Angela Merkel completely and totally caved-in to French president Nicolas Sarkozy and ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet regarding rollover of Greek debt.

If ever, if ever a wizard wimp there was, Merkel is it.

Simply put, bankers insist on being bailed out, and under threats of Armageddon they are. Taxpayers foot the bill regardless of who they vote for.

Socialize the Losses, Privatize the Gains

The EU Observers reports The junta of experts tells us: ‘Vote how you like, but policies cannot change'

The formal trappings of clean elections - in which political parties with competing manifestoes contest a ballot free of voter intimidation - are all still there, but someone else has decided in advance what the result will be.

It's not the voters that are intimidated any more: it's the parties that are.

The count of EU member states now tallies to four - Ireland, Portugal, Finland and Greece - where this post-political phenomenon has materialised, but committed democrats across the Union should wonder which country is next.

This has not happened by putsch or coup d'etat, at least not one involving any guns or tanks. There are no colonels or partisans who have captured the garrisons and seized the telephone exchange.

Yet a junta has installed itself nonetheless, a junta of ‘experts', technocrats, those educated in the knowledge of What Needs To Be Done. Wherever these masters of the European universe happen to be hovering at any one moment, the refrain in effect is the same: ‘Of course, there is no question that you are still allowed to vote however you like. Nevertheless, the policies absolutely cannot change even if the government does.'

Apart from a handful of Irish democrats, on a European level, the democratic implications of this orchestration went largely unnoticed. It was only when Portugal became the focus of the European engineers that ears pricked up.

One week in April, Portuguese banks announced they would stop buying government bonds if Lisbon did not seek a rescue. Later that week, the head of the country's banking association, Antonio de Sousa, admitted that he had been given "clear instructions" from the ECB and the Bank of Portugal to cut off the tap.

Without the support of domestic banks, Socrates had no choice but to request an external lifeline. Days before, the opposition Social Democrats withdrew their support for the government over an austerity programme they would later sign up to, forcing the minority government into a snap election.

The very day that Portugal finally capitulated, EU and ECB experts demanded that even though the parties were in the middle of an electoral campaign, all main parties sign an accord endorsing the bail-out memorandum, no matter the result of the vote.

Letting the people decide what was best for them was out of the question. "Let's not have a public dialogue every day," [Finland Economy Commissioner] Olli Rehn declared.

His ECB colleague, Jean-Claude Trichet, echoed his concerns, saying simply that bail-out negotiations were "certainly not for public" discussion.

Experts and colonels

And here's the kicker.

According to a poll conducted by Greece's Kappa Institute two weeks ago, 30 percent of Greek respondents actually want the country to be led by "a group of experts and technocrats."

A plurality of Greeks have now become so disillusioned with sovereignty and democracy that they think at least the experts could deliver something better than the seemingly insurmountable unemployment, corruption and economic collapse they see around them.

The same survey said that less than a quarter believed that a democratically-elected government will be able to overcome the ordeal they are going through.

But if the experts, the technocrats who are sidelining democracy in their subtle way, feel heartened by such polls, they should pause when they read the rest of this census.

A full 22.7 percent want "a strongman" to resolve the ongoing crisis.
There is much more in the Observer article, especially in regards to Ireland. Inquiring minds may wish to give it a closer look.

Is it Any Different in the US?

For all the political bickering in the US would it have mattered if McCain won the last election? If so how?

Would McCain have bailed out the banks and voted for nonsensical stimulus programs? Of course. Indeed McCain voted for bailouts while the 2008 election campaign was still in progress.

Flashback October 01, 2008: Obama, McCain Vote for $700B Bailout Bill in Senate

McCain now says he was "misled" as noted in Talking Points Memo McCain Rewrites Own History On Bailout Vote
McCain said recently that he only voted for the $700 billion package because Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke misled him, by assuring him it would focus on the housing meltdown, rather than on Wall Street. But that appears to be directly contradicted by the record.
Regardless, the key point is nothing about the bailouts would have changed.

Would Iraq or Afghanistan be Different?

Would US troops still be in Afghanistan? You bet! Would US troops still be in Iraq? You bet! Would the US still be wasting money stationing troops in 140 countries? You bet!

McCain Supports Obama on Libya

Please consider McCain uneasy over Republican 'isolationism'
US Senator John McCain on Sunday expressed concern about growing isolationism in the Republican party, particularly among those vying for the 2012 presidential nomination.

"There's always been an isolation strain in the Republican party, that Pat Buchanan (a former Republican presidential contender) wing of our party. But now it seems to have moved more center stage, so to speak," he said.

There is no question that President Barack Obama, a Democrat, made the right choice in lending US military support to the NATO mission in Libya, McCain told ABC's "This Week" program.
McCain tries to differentiate on war policy but for all practical purposes McCain and Obama are twins.

Moreover, Obama promised "change you can believe in" but carried out similar economic policies and warmongering of president Push.

McCain on Balancing the Budget

Would McCain have balanced the budget? Hardly. We would have the same Senatorial impasse we have today.

Worse yet, the senator proposed a nonsensical plan in 2008 to Balance Budget by 2013.
In his proposal, Mr. McCain said he would hold overall spending growth to 2.4 percent a year. That is a tall order because federal spending has been growing an average of more than 6 percent a year in the last five years.

Mr. McCain said he would also slow the growth of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and fiscal experts agree that he would need to do that to achieve his goal. But Mr. McCain did not give details of how he would alter those benefit programs, which have powerful constituencies, including older Americans, a huge health care industry and state and local government officials.

A longtime foe of pet projects known as earmarks, Mr. McCain said he would stop such spending. The Bush White House says earmarks this year total $17 billion, a comparatively small share of a $2.9 trillion budget.

Mr. McCain proposed a one-year freeze in most domestic spending subject to annual appropriations, “to allow for a comprehensive review.” This proposal would affect education, scientific research, law enforcement and scores of other programs.
Would any of McCain´s proposals have done a thing to balance the budget? Only a fool would answer yes. So what would have changed regarding the budget? The sad answer is next to nothing.


To be fair, Obamacare would not have passed under McCain. However, it is also fair to point out Obamacare passed only because of a procedural move, and the Supreme Court may soon invalidate key provisions of that legislation.

Bailouts, Budgets, Warmongering

The sad state of affairs is that when it comes to the bailouts, budgets, and warmongering trifecta, things would not be much different under president McCain than we see right now under president Obama.

There are many reasons for this, but at the top of the list are campaign contributions from bankers, warmongers, homebuilders, etc, to candidates of both parties.

Does any candidate really want reform? The answer is "Yes, until they are elected and start receiving campaign contributions".

Fear of touching the "third rail" of messing too much with Medicare and Social Security is another piece of the puzzle.

Republicans do want to do something about public unions.

However, Republicans lack the votes or bargain the votes away in compromises to get other things they want. The result is "no progress" on something that would genuinely help: national right-to-work laws and scrapping of Davis-Bacon.

Senator Rand Paul had a proposal to balance the budget. It gathered 7 of 100 votes in the Senate. President Obama´s proposal gathered 0 out of 100 votes. Does anyone really want to do anything or do they just want to pretend they do?

I look at the Republican presidential candidates other than Ron Paul in dismay.

I see little hope in balancing the budget or getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan soon. I see nothing on campaign finance reform. I see nothing on reducing military spending. I see no structural reforms on pensions or public unions.

Most of all, I see how little it would have mattered if McCain won the last election or how any candidate other than Ron Paul promises genuine solutions about the mess we are in today.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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