Jun 162015
 
 June 16, 2015  Posted by at 10:32 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,


Jack Delano Conductor picks up message from operator on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 1943

While I’m on the Greece topic again today, I can’t help but pointing out some of the changes in tone I’ve noticed in the press recently, shifting towards outright oftentimes vicious if not ridiculous antagonism vs Greece. Remember, there is an agenda, there are pre-cooked narratives galore, and these people are not your friends.

I won’t be able to cover all the things I would like to right now, let’s start with just the one. And I’m warning you: it might get philosophical.

This is from Marc Champion for Bloomberg yesterday:

Tsipras Isn’t on the Side of Democracy

Recently, I asked whether the Greek government actually wants to strike a deal on its debt, or if its increasingly erratic approach to negotiations might reflect a determination to ensure that Greeks blame their creditors, not their government, for a coming meltdown. [..] Here’s what Tsipras said in a statement about the abortive talks and current bailout:

“One can only suspect political motives behind the fact that the institutions insist on further pension cuts, despite five years of pillaging via the memoranda. The Greek government has been negotiating with a specific plan and documented proposals. We will wait patiently till the institutions adhere to realism.

Those who consider our sincere wish for a solution as well as our efforts to bridge the gap as a sign of weakness, should have in mind the following: We are not only carrying a historical past underlined with struggles. We are carrying our people’s dignity as well as the aspirations of all Europeans. We cannot ignore this responsibility. It is not a matter of ideological stubbornness. It has to do with democracy.”

Tsipras’s proposition that he’s championing the hope of downtrodden masses across Europe is nonsense. Germans may be wrong and unfair to prefer losing the loans they made Greece to taking a haircut, but they have a democratic right to believe they’re correct.

Really, Champion? Where do I start? How about “its increasingly erratic approach to negotiations”? At the very least, that doesn’t sound like a subjective view at all. It’s also completely off, but that’s another matter.

Syriza has stuck to what it said all along: negotiations are possible, but not about everything. Not about making a desperate people even more desperate. Not only is that useless and harmful to all parties involved in the talks, it’s also immoral. Granted, ‘immoral’ may be considered a subjective view too. Then again, it shouldn’t be.

But how sticking to your convictions qualifies as ‘erratic’, I simply don’t know. I presume that’s a subjective interpretation of what the author reads in the press. Maybe he never realized there were convictions in play, maybe he figured it was all just another political barter trade, two goats for a cow. It’s not.

Then, “championing the hope of downtrodden masses across Europe” is merely a frankly pretty stupid interpretation of Tsipras’ words. Who talks about “our people’s dignity” and “the aspirations of all Europeans”. Oh, and “democracy”. Why that needs to be translated as ‘downtrodden masses’ reveals a lot about who Champion is, but nothing about Tsipras. It’s just not what he says.

The last point is more interesting, and more cantankerous at the same time. Champion contends that Germans have the right to insist on Greek haircuts before they take losses on loans they made to Greece. And the right to “believe they’re correct” about whatever it is they believe.

Is that an attempt to turn democracy into a religion, or is it just me?

First off, Germans made no such loans to Greeks, not in the way they are consistently presented. Instead, their government insisted in 2010 on bailing out their own banks and have the Greek people pay for that bailout when it was crystal clear the Greeks wouldn’t be able to, let alone should.

If that is still not obvious, here’s the thing: it’s why we are where we are. If Merkel and Sarkozy had simply told their people what was really going on, we wouldn’t be in this mess. And they might have lost their office.

Bailouts of French banks were even more costly. Costly not to the French, but to the Greeks. And I’ll repeat myself again: that is and was a political decision, not an economic one. Which is the pivotal point in the entire Greek saga.

Thing is, this was never explained to the German or French people. Their media, and their politicians, have always persisted in maintaining the less-than-honest version. That is it was wasteful Greeks who were to blame, not German and French greedy well-connected bankers and their losing wagers.

Which leads to the question: if Germans have been consistently misled about the whole Greece issue, what exactly is the value of their “democratic right to believe they’re correct”? A phrase that sounds pretty absurd to begin with, mind you, if you read it more than once.

Is it that being lied to in and of itself is a ‘democratic right’, or is this about the right to draw -inevitably faulty- opinions based on those lies? How does that work? Honest, I don’t get it.

Do Bloomberg’s mostly American readers, after reading Champion’s obvious distortions of what Tsipras said, spiced with the author’s personal ‘opinions’, then also have a democratic right to judge Greece based on those words? I’m going to have to guess so.

But let’s get real: What does any of this have to do with democracy anymore? And, more importantly, where does it leave the democratic rights of the Greek people? Do they need to be fed lies too to participate in this game?

The Greek people have had no say in how Berlin and Paris presented the bailouts of their domestic banks to their respective homebase(s). All they have a say in is how Tsipras and Syriza stand up for them. That right there defines, and limits, their democratic rights. That’s all they got -left-. They have the right to elect a government that promises to take care of their interests, better than umpteen governments before them who didn’t.

How does that compare with the Germans’ alleged right to “believe they’re correct”? When all they’ve been fed is a greatly distorted version of what actually went down?

I couldn’t tell you if I wanted to.

I think what Champion says is that people have a democratic right to be wrong. But do they then also have the right to hurt others while exercising that ‘right’?

Doesn’t this put the onus on their governments and media? Do they have a democratic right to spread distorted information? If so, what is democracy, exactly? What is left of it if all that is valid?

I suggest you and I revisit this, and in the meantime I’m curious to see what you have to say about it. How do lies, distortions and subjective opinions relate to democracy? Is lying and distorting a democratic right, for politicians and journalists?

Home Forums Is Telling Lies A Democratic Right?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  VisionHawk 3 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #21646

    Jack Delano Conductor picks up message from operator on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 1943 While I’m on the Greece topic again today, I can’t help b
    [See the full post at: Is Telling Lies A Democratic Right?]

    #21650

    Raleigh
    Participant

    Absolutely great writing, Ilargi, and you are right. The lies are getting thicker and thicker. Whoever is colluding (and this no doubt is going on) between governments/bankers and the media in order to get the LIES out there ought to be strung up. How can people even begin to have an opinion when what they read is a bunch of lies? From Wiki:

    “Freedom of the press in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This clause is generally understood as prohibiting the government from interfering with the printing and distribution of information or opinions…”

    But that’s not what’s happening, is it? Greece, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia, Libya, Snowden, banks, unemployment statistics – it’s all one great big huge pack of lies, half-truths, massaged crapola, and any depth (where all sides are presented equally with facts) is left on the cutting room floor. Otherwise, democracy might get a hold of the facts and start rearing its ugly head! Where is the investigative journalism? It’s dead, sold off to the highest bidder.

    1984 is truly alive and well.

    It was the German and French banks that got that Greek bailout money (92% of it, if I’m not mistaken). It was the U.S. banks that breathed a sigh of relief when that was done because, as Michael Hudson said, the U.S. banks were up to their necks in CDS (insurance) against these bonds and would have suffocated without this bailout. But, no, we can’t have the French and German people knowing this information. Why, they might start feeling some empathy towards the Greek people, and how in the hell are you supposed to “steer and engineer” democracy when that happens? Horror of all horrors, democracy might slip away on you!

    That American puppet (whatever her name is, the one that said “F*ck the EU) is actually calling for Ukraine’s debt (because the Russians hold a lot of it) to be declared “odious debt” (debt taken on by previous administrations) and calling for the Ukraine to renege on that debt.

    Well, if it’s good for the Ukraine, why isn’t it good for the Greeks? Their prior administration wasn’t exactly looking out for them either. Why isn’t their debt “odious”?

    Correct me, anybody, if I’ve got this wrong. I can’t keep up with all of the lies. Boy, you can sure understand the importance of having a free media, lots of it, not the monopolized media we have now.

    Great writing, Ilargi.

    #21651

    Raleigh
    Participant

    Re Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty – more lies! This is being presented to the American people as a glorious treaty – jobs, jobs, jobs for the American public. Lies, just like NAFTA.

    President Obama says at 5:43 of the following video: “If I did not think that smart new trade deals were the right thing to do for working families, I wouldn’t be fighting for it.”

    But as Bill Still says at 6:16 of the same video: “If TPP is so great, why are we voting extra unemployment benefits to the millions of Americans [the TAA – Trade Adjustment Assistance part of the bill] who will be put out of work as a result? And where will the extra money come from? One guess: we will be borrowing it. So let’s get this straight. We will be borrowing money we don’t have from banks, who don’t have the money either (they just get to make it up), so that we can finance unemployment benefits to millions of Americans who will be thrown out of work as a result of the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty, despite its advocates claiming that no one will be thrown out of work, that it will actually result in more American jobs. Do we have that straight now?”

    https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=230245

    They all know (that’s why they should be labeled as traitors and thrown in jail) that they’re lying. What’s going to happen is exactly what Ross Perot said would happen with NAFTA: a giant sucking sound (as factories and jobs head elsewhere).

    Democracy’s new name should be lyocracy. You wonder how they get away with it sometimes. They must be laughing at how stupid people are to believe them. But when you’re not given the information, when you’re told a pack of lies, how else are you going to think any differently? You’re not. It takes a lot of effort and a hell of a lot of information to unwind a lie. By that time, the damage is already done.

    #21654

    Diogenes Shrugged
    Participant

    I’m reminded of a scene from the Clint Eastwood movie “Unforgiven.”

    Replace the word “deserve” with the word “democracy” and imagine Greece (Eastwood) properly concluding its relationship with the Euro (Hackman).

    Democracy’s got nothing to do with it.

    Aaron Russo talking to Alex Jones back in 1999 (watch just over three minutes – – until the subject changes to the Federal Reserve):

    Quoting Alex Jones:
    “In a constitutional republic, a minority is protected against the majority.”

    Quoting Russo:
    “You hear George Bush saying ‘democracy means freedom.’ No, ‘Democracy’ equals New World Order. Democracy equals slavery. Democracy is not synonymous with freedom. It’s the opposite of freedom. Democracy is the worst form of government you can have because it’s majority rule, and the government can tell you exactly what they want you to do (ostensibly) because ‘the majority wants it.'”

    I added the word ‘ostensibly’ because it’s no longer possible to sort truth from lies when politicians make claims about support for something.

    By the way, front to back, that interview is worth every minute.

    #21656

    Diogenes Shrugged
    Participant

    Sorry, my error. That Russo interview took place sometime between 2003 (when the Iraq war started) and 2007, when Russo died.

    #21657

    Diogenes Shrugged
    Participant

    Double post / ignore

    #21661

    VisionHawk
    Participant

    To answer the question….. no, telling Lies is never a Democratic right – nor any other form of “right”.
    That comes from those who feel that the end justifies the means – and it never does.
    It is the Journey (and how well you travel it) that is important – not the destination.

    As to going to Greece….wow!
    Felt like doing the same a few days ago, as I am over the Moon about where the Greeks will find themselves soon – with a far stronger sense of Self, and community – and knowing that they did what was right for them.
    Brilliant. And thank you for having the courage and strength to show the way…..

    #21674

    John Day
    Participant

    I looked at this Champion piece yesterday and was just disgusted. It’s like he wrote it on a tight schedule when he had a hangover, mean and just wrong, like the crap in Ukraine.

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