One of the crime scenes

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Bastion
of Democracy

Reykjavik, Iceland

Maggie Thatcher and her bitch, Ronnie Raygun, were the figureheads that launched the last forty years of kleptocratic economic criminal activity that still has Europe, North America and even the rest of the world on the brink of economic collapse of a degree not seen since the end of the last gilded age of greed that came to a crash in the fall of 1929. Unlike that time, when many of the perpetrators served justice to themselves by jumping out the windows overlooking Wall Street, this time the worldwide reaction has been mostly to assist the criminals and reward their bad behaviour by bailing them out at taxpayer expense, so that they could lose little time at getting back to giving themselves unwarranted mega-bonuses for bad performance of their fiduciary responsibilities. Meanwhile the victims of the "Masters of Wall Street's" just have to suck it up and get used to living in the street, while the perps flip the foreclosed homes to each other for pennies on the dollar, because it would be "morally hazardous" to try and work out a reasonable re-payment plan with the original purchaser.

So today the world watches as the Sarkozys, Merkels, Geitners and Camerons impose "austerity" on the masses of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain, the UK and elsewhere, while dispensing bailout funds in the trillions on those who created the problems with their ponzi schemes or casino style "free market" Kapitalism - risking other peoples' money while they win if they profit and everyone else loses if they don't, though they still win - thanks to the taxpayer bailouts. This is little more than a stark example of socializing risk while privatizing profits and then these same "conservative" (they call themselves) assholes claim they deserve extravagant bonuses because of the risks they take and the skill with which they go about it!

Icelanders are a very smart and capable people, they've had to be to survive in the environment in which they live, which though rich in resources presents many challenges in weather and geologic forces. So when the biggest industry in modern Kapitalism became playing with imaginary or other peoples' money, rather than actually producing anything, Icelanders jumped in with both feet and for a number of years were doing very well at it, thank you! Doctors, teachers, lawyers and farmers decided to follow their professions or trades was a mugs game when one could become a millionaire or billionaire by playing computer games with exotic imaginary derivative investment instruments that were often less than betting on the weather in Rangoon at noon on April Fools Day!

Inevitably, in 2008, when the house of cards started to fall down for everyone, Iceland's not only fell first but perhaps hardest and all of a sudden three banks owed more than the combined GDP of the entire nation and Gordon Brown and the bankers all expected the Icelanders to suck it up and pay them for their foolishness. To begin with the conservative government of Iceland at the time, like the Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy etc. administrations figured they should indeed assume the debt, even though the people and taxpayer's hadn't been partners in the profits, except for those in the game personally. But then a funny thing happened - the people of Iceland called bullshit and began demonstrating and protesting in a sustained and increasingly violent manner and over the next couple of years not only tossed their government out of office, but forced various referenda on issues such as bailing out the banks and then even started criminal proceedings against not only shady banksters and fraudsters but politicians including Prime Minister, Geir Haarde, who had already been forced to resign.

The President of Iceland, who respected the will of the people and allowed them to re-write the constitution and hold referenda on bailout proposals figures that Gordon Brown, the former P.M. of the UK, will be remembered longer in Iceland than in Britain, though he wouldn't necessarily want to go there. The UK and Europe did everything but threaten to invade and occupy Iceland when it started to be evident that Iceland might just decide to let the banks who after all had leveraged themselves to the hilt take their own losses and too bad, so sad for those other European banks that had believed the phoney ratings on the sleazy bonds and other trick investments. The US basically said they could do nothing, and the UK and Europe basically said that if Iceland let the banks fail, that Iceland would return to the dark ages as no one would ever invest there in the future and they could live in the dark and eat fish.

Anyway, long story short, the people voted to tell the banks to take a hike and go broke just like anybody else with a gambling disorder dumb enough to bet the farm on goofy rigged games. Lo and behold the world didn't come to an end and even stranger, Iceland is already performing economically better than any other jurisdiction in North America and/or Europe. According to Bloomberg , hardly an anti-Kapitalist outfit:
Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Iceland’s economy grew in the third quarter as the first western nation to succumb to the global financial crisis in 2008 shows signs of a sustained recovery.

Gross domestic product expanded 4.7 percent from the second quarter, after shrinking a revised 3.6 percent in the previous three-month period, the Reykjavik-based statistics office said in a statement on its website today. Output expanded 4.8 percent from a year earlier, the office said.

Iceland is emerging from its 2008 banking meltdown as the euro area sinks deeper into its debt crisis. It costs less to insure against an Icelandic default than it does to guard against a credit event in the common currency bloc, credit default swaps show. Iceland’s government successfully tapped international debt markets in June while Arion Bank hf, formerly Kaupthing Bank hf, said this month it may sell Eurobonds in the next 12 months.

Exports grew 6.8 percent from the previous quarter, while household spending increased 1.1 percent, the office said. Overall national expenditure rose 1.6 percent.

Iceland’s economy will grow 2.6 percent this year, driven by consumer spending and fixed investments, the statistics office said Nov. 24. The island’s output will expand 2.4 percent in 2012, it said.

The Independent UK also has a recent article, Iceland: The broken economy that got out of jail that succinctly covers the crash and recovery.

Iceland was a pioneer in recklessness during the credit boom. And now the small nation in the north Atlantic is a pioneer in political accountability during the credit bust. Geir Haarde, the Icelandic prime minister between 2006 and 2009, appeared in a special constitutional court in Reykjavik yesterday on charges of "failures of ministerial responsibility" during the 2008 financial meltdown. But there is an irony here. For the economy that Mr Haarde helped to wreck has fared surprisingly well since the bust..../snip

Reykjavik was warned that it would never borrow again if it failed to honour the debts of its financial sector. But the country already seems to have been forgiven by the markets. The Icelandic government issued $1bn in sovereign debt in June at an interest rate of around 6 per cent. This was twice oversubscribed by investors. The contrast with Ireland, which assumed responsibility for all the liabilities of its bust banking sector, is stark. Thanks to Dublin's blanket bailout, total government debt is now more than 100 per cent of GDP, four times pre-crisis levels......./snip

Geir Haarde heads a cast of hundreds who could face prosecution for their part in Iceland's financial implosion.

Iceland's special prosecutor, Olaf Hauksson, has named more than 200 suspects in his criminal investigation into the country's financial crisis.

So far, those convicted in connection with the country's big banks – Landsbanki, Kaupthing and Glitnir – include former Kaupthing brokers who got six months in jail for manipulating bond deals and Baldur Gudlaugsson, a former permanent secretary at the finance ministry, who received two years for insider trading of Landsbanki shares. Haukur Thor Haraldsson, a former managing director with Landsbanki, was sentenced to two years in July for embezzlement.

Yesterday I heard an interview, on Sunday Edition on CBC Radio One, with "the man almost solely responsible for this remarkable turnaround....the country's president Olafur Grimmson" which should be available online here soon. (the audio or podcast didn't seem to be available yet this morning, perhaps one could e-mail the CBC and inquire why)

One interesting point that Mr. Grimmson raised was the way the post pretend financial services obsessed Iceland economy made better use of the skills of Icelanders. He explained that when Iceland went on its orgy of play money investment schemes, the financial sector not only utilized the natural born crimnals (MBAs and accountants), but programmers, engineers, mathematicians and so forth. Now with the return to actual productive economic activity, these skilled people are available for jobs that actually produce marketable software or conduct research or heaven forbid even produce infrastructure for transportation, energy or mineral extraction.

It's amusing to notice how little notice is given to Iceland's contrary response to the crime spree of the finanacial sector, especially here in North America, but then here the criminals are still in charge and not only running the show, but the media, the government and basically the agenda.

Though thanks to the boneheadedness of Ben Meisner, I struck my former link to Opinion250:
In August of 2011, Peter Ewart and Dawn Hemingway, columnists for Opinion250, visited Iceland. During their trip, they toured Reykjavik and other parts of this beautiful country, and interviewed a number of political figures and community activists about the financial crisis that recently gripped the nation. The following series of articles, which will be published over the next few days, are their impressions of this experience. The first several articles will provide some background on Iceland and its people, and are aimed at “setting the stage” for the articles that follow on the financial crisis.

The first segment can be found here, and then they each link to the next.

Watching the River Flow
in Iceland


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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Go Home!

Crusty, the import and Slow Shirley

Our buttlicking local (BC and Canadian from the center)was so happy last week to have the opportunity to pretend that our pretend premier, Princess Christy had finally done something constructive that they jumped on it with both feet while clapping from coast to coast in their effort to reinforce the idea that not only was Christy actually the Premier of British Columbia, but actually doing something. Check out this sample of the first ten hits from a google search for news based on "Christy Clark and Rosenthal."
Being an outsider big advantage for new BC police watchdog
The Province - ‎Dec 8, 2011‎
It makes sense that BC's new watchdog on the cops is from Los and made his name in Tinseltown — the guy's resumé reads like a movie script. In fact, one of the reasons Richard Rosenthal decided to ...

Ex-U.S. DA appointed to probe cops
The Province - ‎Dec 8, 2011‎
From left, BC Premier Christy Clark, Richard Rosenthal, newly appointed civilian director of BC's independent police investigation office, and BC Attorney-General Shirley Bond attend a news conference ...

Warm welcome from all sides for police overseer

Vancouver Sun - ‎Dec 8, 2011‎
The BC Civil Liberties Association, police brass and union chiefs welcomed Wednesday's appointment of a civilian director to lead the province's police oversight body. Richard Rosenthal, a former US ...

Tough critic hired to lead police oversight body
Vancouver Sun - ‎Dec 8, 2011‎
Rosenthal was in Vancouver Wednesday as Premier Christy Clark and Solicitor General Shirley Bond announced he will be the chief civilian director of the new Independent Investigations Office. ...

Police oversight head looks a good hire
Vancouver Sun - ‎Dec 8, 2011‎
Richard Rosenthal was a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles in 1999 when he was assigned to prosecute a cop charged with stealing cocaine from an evidence locker. To avoid the charge, ...

Independent police monitor coming from Denver to start BC office
Globe and Mail - ‎Dec 7, 2011‎
He was Denver's first independent police monitor. He has prosecuted judges and cops in Los Angeles. Now Richard Rosenthal is coming to police British Columbia police. He is leaving Denver to head BC's new Independent Investigations Office, ...

Hardnosed US attorney heading new police watchdog - ‎Dec 7, 2011‎
BC's new police watchdog agency tasked with probing serious and fatal uses of force across the province will be led by Richard Rosenthal, a hardnosed US attorney with a reputation for being tough on cops. Rosenthal's appointment to chief civilian ...

American to head BC oversight agency to investigate police incidents

Winnipeg Free Press - ‎Dec 7, 2011‎
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, right, looks on as Richard Rosenthal, centre, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver Wednesday. Rosenthal is the province's first chief civilian director for independent investigations to provide ...

BC names 1st civilian police watchdog - ‎Dec 7, 2011‎
BC has named its first civilian watchdog over police conduct. Independent Investigations Office The office was established under BC's Police Act in July. The chief civilian director cannot be a current or former police officer or Mountie. ...

Former US attorney appointed head of new BC police investigation office
The Province - ‎Dec 7, 2011‎
By Staff Reporter, The Province December 7, 2011 Premier Christy Clark (left) with newly appointed chief civilian director for independent investigations, Richard Rosenthal, and BC Attorney-General Shirley Bond in Vancouver. Dec. 7, 2011. ...

All 38 related articles

We could most likely read all 38 and find nothing but praise, but don't forget that all these "so called" different opinions actually come from papers and media outlets owned by a handful of conglomerates that have a policy of singing to the same sheet music which thinks the BC LIEberals are the best thing since sliced bread and they would be lazy or actively lie in order to support their favorite criminal organization and/or Stevie Spiteful's Ottawa and Calgary based Canadian Taliban. These same people consider Gordon the Capo Campbell, who has indebted BC Hydro to Billions and Billions of debt stretching decades into the future the best fiscal manager between St John's and Victoria......debt ain't bad if your friends get to collect it or something.

My first inkling that everything might not be a groovy as the Liar's Choir was trumpeting was when I dropped in for my regular visit to Norm Farrell, who isn't a member of the "club," and tends to be interested in digging up and sharing factual information. His post Investigating BC's new police investigator suggests other ways of looking at the issue and begins:
A decade ago, Richard Rosenthal left the Los Angeles prosecutors' office to lead Portland's new Office of Independent Police Review. L.A. Deputy District Attorney Jim Cosper said it was a good choice. However, attorney Stephen Yagman, remarking also on Portland's selection of police chief Mark Kroeker, had the opposite view,

"Portland's loss is L.A's gain. Portland has become a toxic waste dump for Los Angeles law enforcement."

Rosenthal had been a key prosecutor in the Los Angeles Ramparts police scandal where many officers were accused of unjustified shootings, beatings, lying under oath, stealing, dealing drugs and planting evidence.

According to Willamette Week,

"...the Rampart probe today is widely viewed as a fiasco. None of the convictions has held up on appeal. Attorneys, including prosecutors, have attacked its handling, saying only a fraction of the likely police misconduct has been punished."

Then my inbox received the report from Robin Matthews, the man who attended more court sessions during the BC Rail Scam/Sham Trial than either judge or Wild Bill Berardino, the putative prosecutor who thought his underlings adequate for a prosecution the crown was going to throw anyhow, yet wasn't considered eligible for "accreditation" by the inbred hicks that are for some bizarre reason considered qualified to make such judgements in the third rate banana republic that British Columbia has become. BC (Saint) Mary, the real reason the BC Rail Scam has remained visible all these years, no matter what any other blowhards might claim, has Robin's entire piece published at her place, here, but some highlights from Robin follow, highlighting mine.
The search, Christy Clark says, in the government propaganda video, was “extensive”. It wasn’t. An “extensive” search was made, she says, for an independent police monitor for B.C. He may be called a Chief Civilian Director for Independent Investigations of police misdoings.

Then premier Christy Clark and Attorney General Shirley Bond - in the same propaganda video - modify the statement to say appointee Richard Rosenthal will deal with “some” police misdoings – explicitly, deaths allegedly caused by police, and/or the use of physical violence. Some time later … much later … he might get to other things.

Other things? Well, he might get to police collaboration with Special Prosecutors appointed by the Attorney General to destroy, to bury, or to fabricate evidence on behalf of cabinet members and their corporate friends. He might get to the refusal of the RCMP (as top B.C. RCMP officer Gary Bass refused) to act on formal requests to investigate alleged criminal actions by members of the cabinet (including then premier Gordon Campbell).

But he probably won’t get to those things … at all.

In fact, Richard Rosenthal is instructed, he is ordered, he is PAID – not to look at any police misdoings before December 7, 2011. Richard Rosenthal has agreed to those terms, throwing both his credibility and his integrity into doubt from Day One.

So, seventy years after Pearl Harbor, we have another day of infamy, or a day before which infamy didn't matter or be of concern, Frank Paul, the Polish Immigrant at YVR, Ian Bush, Gustafson Lake and the fishy parts of the BC Rail Sham, of which there are too many to list, are beyond the purview of Mr. Rosenthal.
What are the specific terms of Richard Rosenthal’s appointment? Neither Clark not Bond has attempted to tell the public. How much is Richard Rosenthal being paid? We have not been told. Why not? Will he be paid $1 million a year like the other Yankee appointment, David Hahn, head of B.C. Ferries?

Was Richard Rosenthal hired for the same reasons David Hahn was hired? To go around the people of B.C. and serve a corrupt cabinet by doing special dirty work?

If the search was “extensive”, and a Canadian was sought, why didn’t we know about it? Why didn’t we see ads in the Globe and Mail? Why didn’t we see an announcement of the search on the Attorney General’s website? Why didn’t Christy Clark announce in press conferences that the government was looking for a tough, independent, Canadian of irreproachable integrity to begin work as police monitor and to build for B.C. a tough, truly independent, public oversight body with real teeth?

I suggest we didn’t see those things because Christy Clark did not want that kind of person anywhere near corrupt police activity in B.C. and its intimate link to the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark cabinets.

Another week, another load of bullshit and sleaze and we're getting so used to it that most people don't even notice anymore as long as they can get a new flat screen made by slave child labor offshore and watch the Canuckleheads play against the Habs or the Leafs, whose own ownership is becoming interbred.....maybe everything in Canada will be owned by three assholes soon and if you are nice to them, you can have some fun and food.

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