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Sunday
Feb272011

Ireland's Prelude to Revolution: IMF Bankster Party Tossed From Power In Crushing Defeat For Bank Bailouts

Ireland's Fine Gael party will take control of the government after winning in yesterday's elections.  A few weeks ago, they were threatening to give haircuts to bank bondholders, but now most "serious" people in government and the media believe this will never actually happen.  However, the wildcard in all of this is the Irish people themselves -- they're expecting real change, not half measures.  And some of them are openly talking of a "revolution."

It remains to be seen whether the moment of truth has finally arrived for Ireland's bank bondholders.  As predicted, Ireland's opposition party, Fine Gael (pronounced "feena gail"), did very well in yesterday's elections and will likely form a coalition government with Ireland's Labour party.  As we reported earlier, Fine Gael played to voters' anger over the bailouts by engaging in a good deal of tough talk about unilaterally restructuring the debts of Ireland's bailed out banks.

However, the tough talk will likely turn out to be nothing but talk.  Fine Gael's pre-election threats to bank bondholders were promised to be carried out only if they were unable to restructure the terms of the IMF "bailout."  Such restructuring would only amount to tinkering around the edges of the agreement, not rejecting it outright.  The main point of contention amongst "serious" people has been the 6% interest rate Ireland was saddled with, not the obvious injustice of making the Irish people debt slaves for the benefit of Deutsche Bank and Soc. Gen.

Photo - Campaign gimicks: Fine Gael's Enda Kenny kisses babies and threatens bondholders.

Indeed, as Reuters reported last week, Fine Gael has already backpedaled on its threats to whack senior bank bondholders:

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Ireland's main opposition party withdrew on Tuesday a previous threat to unilaterally restructure bank debt if it wins power, as expected, this month in an election dominated by a controversial EU/IMF bailout.

The centre-right Fine Gael party's election manifesto said imposing losses on senior bondholders in Irish banks would only be extended as part of a European-wide framework and would focus on state-run lenders Anglo Irish Bank [ANGIB.UL] and Irish Nationwide [IRNBS.UL], which are being wound down.

In its banking strategy published earlier this month, Fine Gael warned that if some of its proposals for dealing with the banking crisis were not implemented it could unilaterally impose losses on unguaranteed senior bonds, estimated at around 15 billion euros. [ID:nLDE71318V]

"I don't think there has been a particular softening of our position on banking and on burden-sharing," Michael Noonan, Fine Gael's finance spokesman and a likely contender to be finance minister after the Feb. 25 poll, told a news conference.

"It might be slightly more nuanced."

It's a little-known fact, but "nuanced" is etymologically related to an obscure Old Irish word meaning "empty."  As in, "empty promises and idle threats cynically used to fool the Irish people into voting for us, with the hope that we don't actually have to do anything so bold as mess with our banking masters who, if we're being honest, are really in charge of this country."

The Wall St. Journal today ("Irish Voters Reject Government, But Accept Austerity Program") doesn't even entertain the possibility that yesterday's election was a popular rejection of the bailouts, characterizing it instead simply as a rejection of the outgoing ruling party, Fianna Fáil (pronounced "feena fall"):

DUBLIN (Dow Jones)--Irish voters have decisively rejected the political party most closely associated with the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger economy, but have largely accepted an austerity program intended to repair the government's tattered finances....

"It is fairly predictable that we will have a Fine Gael-Labour coalition," said Diarmaid Ferriter, professor of modern history at University College Dublin.

Ferriter said that the Irish electorate had expressed deep anger about the country's economic crisis not through violent street demonstrations but by casting ballots to drive Fianna Fail from power.

"The answer was in the polling booths," he said.

Labour wants the budget cuts to take place over a longer time frame and a different balance between spending cuts and tax rises. But both parties are committed to renegotiating some of the terms of the bailout package, including lowering the 6.0% interest rate charged by the EU.

It is absolute nonsense to pretend that the election yesterday was an endorsement of the bank bailouts and the austerity measures being put in place to finance them.  The very reason Fianna Fáil was booted from power is voter anger over the bailouts and the austerity measures being put in place to finance them.

The notion that Irish voters will be placated by merely symbolic "change," which is what a reduction of the 6% interest rate would amount to, sounds to us like wishful thinking on the part of the ruling class and their handmaidens in the media.  What professor Ferriter, for instance, fails to take into account is what the Irish people will do once they realize they have been summarily duped by Fine Gael.  That's the wildcard in all of this.  At some point, it may not matter what the government wants to do, because the people may force their hand.  Can anyone say Egypt?  Or Tunisia, Bahrain or LibyaCollege Green could be the next Tahrir Square.

Photo - Irish writer and newspaper columnist, Bruce Arnold, calls for a "national referendum" on the bailouts.

In this vein, the influential Irish Independent columnist, Bruce Arnold, offers Fine Gael and its leader, Enda Kenny, some sage advice:

Forcing us to sell our national assets to pay off our debt is a polite form of robbery

It is reassuring to know that Enda Kenny, who is likely to be the next Taoiseach, will, in his own words, "hit the ground running". Much of what follows is designed to ensure that he will be running in the right direction.

Arnold continues:

There has to be a European solution and it has to be radical. Nothing that has been said or done by the departments of Foreign Affairs and Finance, not to mention the outgoing ministers who got us into this mess by their craven approach to the EU, indicates any real understanding of how deeply we are in trouble.

The seriousness was recognised by David McWilliams, in his column in this paper on Wednesday, when he pointed out that the interest on our debt could reach €12bn by the end of next year. This would eat up roughly 85pc of income tax revenue. That is an impossible burden and clearly unsustainable. That is just a beginning.

We are required by the EU to take on the debts of the European banks and pay with the sale of national assets, like Greece selling beaches and Portugal selling its unique Port vineyards.

This is a polite form of robbery and runs in the teeth of everything Europe has stood for, in Irish eyes, since we joined the Common Market 40 years ago. Luckily, as McWilliams also says, "there are many more democrats in European politics than there are central bankers".

Arnold gets all the main points right -- the unfairness of the bailout, the undemocratic nature of the bailout decision, and, most importantly, the impossibility of actually being able to pay it off.  But here's where the wildcard comes in and things get really interesting:

So let us appeal to [Europe's central bankers] and do so by a national referendum, under Article 27 of the Constitution, where a matter of "such national importance that the will of the people thereon ought to be ascertained" is authorised.

It could be argued that the mandate in this general election obviates such a course. Yet the mandate, as I indicate above, is not that clear cut. Though the enormity of the botched bailout was at the heart of public anger during the campaign, the threat of this to the country's future was vaguely and imperfectly assessed.

The debates on it were on the fringe of the issues, and were largely concerned with the difference between Fianna Fail smugness about us not being able to do anything and opposition tinkering with minor details, like getting a better interest rate on borrowed tranches of money and introducing a share-out with bondholders. Its threat to us is far more serious than that.

The situation involves default and is getting progressively worse. It is still focused on the banks and the haemorrhage of money is growing.

It's clear that Arnold gets it.  Tinkering around the edges of the bailout settlement is an inadequate response to both the anger of voters and to Ireland's extremely precarious fiscal situation.  It's unlikely that there actually will be a national referendum in Ireland in the way that Arnold calls for, but there is absolutely no doubt, that in such a referendum, the bailouts would be overwhelmingly rejected.

However, if the politicians won't give the people the opportunity to vote down the bailouts -- and there is zero indication that they will -- there remains the distinct possibility that the Irish people will hold their own national "referendum" in the streets of Dublin.  We've already seen flashes here and there of bailout anger and a few, large protests over the bailouts, but all of these were before the election that was supposed to change everything.  When the people see that almost nothing has changed, and especially when it becomes clear -- as Arnold points out -- that Ireland's very sovereignty and solvency are at stake, things will get very interesting indeed.

Just yesterday I was listening to NPR on the radio and they were interviewing a young unemployed woman in Dublin about the election and what people were most concerned about.  Bailouts and austerity were the main focus of the conversation.  But at the end of the interview the young woman was asked whether she would be glad if Fine Gael won and a new administration put in place.  She half-heartedly said that she would, but then said, with an understated frankness, and just a slight hesitation that suggested she really meant it,  "I'd rather call for a revolution, actually -- if I could."

--

Photo - Days of Rage: Chicago, 1968.

--

Photo - It used to be "Brits Out," but now it's the IMF.

 


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Reader Comments (37)

Fine Gael victorious as Fianna Fáil vote collapses

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0226/breaking8.html
Feb 27, 2011 at 1:41 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Layton mayor shares story of wrongful foreclosure

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=14531711
Feb 27, 2011 at 1:42 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
incredibly thorough job with this story pitchfork...best write-up i've seen anywhere...

Feb 27, 2011 at 3:09 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Will NEVER happen here. In fact, the opposite has happened. The banksters have convinced everyone that some teacher's retirement has bankrupted the country.
Feb 27, 2011 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBenny and the Talibanks
Benny, it was Democrats and poor people (especially gay Democrats like Barney Frank). Didn't you know? The Bailout was just Obama interfering with capitalism and taking over the economy. [sarcasm] Of course, Sarah Palin supported the Bailout, but that's a whole different can of tomatoes. Oh, you betcha.
Feb 27, 2011 at 3:31 PM | Registered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
LOL & Doktor Pitchfork. Hahahahaha! Obama couldn't find his arse if you gave him a map and a flashlight. As for Sarah Palin, well, she's a wet dream for the stupid American public.
You turds deserve everything that's coming your way. Retards, this is your final warning: rise up and slay the daemons cos if you don't they sure gonna pickle your boonies. Okay, slaves, go back to sleep.
Feb 27, 2011 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterme
@me,

Thanks for the kinds words.
Feb 27, 2011 at 4:13 PM | Registered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
me--

Try not to piss your pants. Plenty of us American country boys saw this coming long time ago. I must say, though, that the Sunday Night Special--a bullet in the head of fiat with Egypt's ban of gold exports + the bankster smack down in the good old Emerald Isle--is especially scrumptious this evening.

And what exactly entitles you to such a high and righteous spot, if I may be so bold?
Feb 27, 2011 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
Cheyenne, it's a UK location, so he's probably British and most likely English. So...???? Your guess is as good as mine....
Feb 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM | Registered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
Ouch. So Ireland more than stings a bit...

What was it Sinn Fein had to say about bankers a few months back?
Feb 27, 2011 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
Feb 27, 2011 at 4:35 PM | Registered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
I'm talking about whoever it was that woke up damn close to 70% of Irish voters who just said enough.

I have a feeling that guys like "me" are gettin' to know their milque-toast cores and not liking it too much.
Feb 27, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
LMAO! Nah, not English (spits) Scottish. The people that made your great country (the US of A) ... um ... great! lol. Don't take yourselves so seriously. You're just a bunch of scumbage like the rest of us. Your last and final chance was JFK, the playboy son of a multi-millionairre. Yippee! The Dark Ones saw no difference between Nixon (their man) and the aforesaid playboy. And yet miracles do happoen: the playboy thoght that once he was elacted (by the slimmest of margins and with Mafia assistance) he ruled the country (that's the late great US of A) on behalf of the people and not the banksters, bwankers, and assorted other whackimadoodies who only know how to make money and ... and .. not much else. You fookers had your chance back then but you blew it big time when Kennedy's skull fractured in Dealey Plaza. And since then you've been going down the tubes and flushed out in the drains. Hey, that moron who fixed me with a UK comp, listen you half-witted son-of-a-bitch ... you listenin'... have I got your attention buddyboy (or girl as the case may be) go fook yourself.
And so, the end is near and ... and ... sing it Frankie baby ... another moron from New Joisey... anyway, if you think this is another boring anti-American rant, go do some more thinking ya bovine excremental turdy fookers. Start to think for yourselves, slaves.
I think therefore I am... I think.
Okay, back to your TVs, morons.
Goodnight.
Feb 27, 2011 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterme
Let's see, me. The Irish have done their job, check. So have regional Germans. Ditto Wisco in the U.S.A.

Your cash is the British Pound, no? This makes you a victim of Brown's Bottom, does it not? You remember that fire sale on gold, correct?

I wonder. Can you name a single transaction more idiotic than your own?

While you're at it, wank-shammy, why don't you tell us what it is that draws you here?
Feb 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
Hey, I felt damn good after I wrote that. It cleared my innards and now I'm at peace with the world. Anyhoo, sorry for all the spelling mistakes. Damn" Damn! Damn" I just hate to be wrong about anything. Any fookin' thing. You get me, baby?
Peace, love, understanding and GREAT SEX! Especially the last one ... once you get that you stop having wet dreams about invading other countries.
Oh, by the way, here's something fot you morons to wank over. Why didn't we invade Rwanda (an African country for those who find it difficult to get out of Philadelphia... and who doesn't?) wnen the government there massacred 800.000 of their own citizens? Is that too difficult a question for you? Let me put your sad little minds at rest. The reason we didn't invade Rwanda and the reason you never saw the tragic plight of the Rwandans every night on your caring, sharing Faux News or whatever... is ... you still reading baby? ... because, so far as we know, Rwanda has no oil, zinc, copper, blah, blah, blah. It's a subsistence agricultural economy with lots of poor farmers tilling the soil foir not very much in return. In other words, we moralistic fookin' christian fooktards don't rate Rwandans as worth saving cos they ain't got nuthin' for us.
And you think I'm angry? Jeebuz, you ain't seen nuthin' yet.
Now fook off and do some real thinking/
Feb 27, 2011 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterme
"tilling the soil foir not very much in return. In other words, we moralistic fookin' christian fooktards don't rate Rwandans as worth saving cos they ain't got nuthin' for us.
And you think I'm angry?"

Angry? Don't get ahead of yourself, son. You're an illiterate.
Feb 27, 2011 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
LOL! Hey, Cheyanne, who are you? You want my identity? I'll be more than happy to give you that. By the way, you skimmy shimmy fuckin' sloopy, you haven't answered one of my questions. And one more fuckin' thing, please don't confuse me with a wet-behind-the ears liberal, as you Yankee Spankees, for some unknown reason, call them. Maybe you're one of them? Come out! Come out! Wherever you are. lol Hey. down the drain, pretty soon. What's that, little baby? You haven't heard of it on the news? Really?
Oh, you poor little fooky. You are in for one big shock when your gummint tells you to fall into line and behave! lol
What a sucker.
Ok. I'm going to bed now. It's 12.10am here in the dysfunctional UK. lmao.
Feb 27, 2011 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterme
"sloopy"

Says it all, thanks. As for answering questions, my score card reads as follows, Scottish me:

1. Yes. GBP is your currency.

2. Yes. Gordon Brown did sell the plurality of your country's gold in 1999 at a multi-decade low. For that debacle the UK--that's your country--promoted him to head. So yes, you are a victim.

3. No. You can't name a more idiotic financial mistake than 2.

4. You don't want (or aren't allowed) to explain what brings you here.

5. You're uncertain on the illiteracy thing.

Did I leave anything out?
Feb 27, 2011 at 7:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
No, you didn't leave anything out because you never put anything in. lol
Now, listen up and try to learn something. I have no time for G. Brown (I knew him as a student...very bright but dreadfully dull, that's why he got a job in television to begin with, the home of the boringly obvoius claptrappers) either as a man, human being, politician or anything else. His wife is busily trying to promote him as a really lovely man/husband/father. You know, the usual bullshit. Or am I getting ahead of myself and assuming that you are reasonably intelligent. Shy Anne?
You are Scottish? Which branch? By the way, I said I was Scottish to get the nationality nonsense out of the way. I'm not particularly proud to be Scottish. Or anything really. Every country has its strenghts and weaknesses. Mostly weaknesses.I'm afraid. But they all love to boast about how great they are. lmao
Now, tell me, Shy Anne or whoever the fook you are, do you want to rngage in a serious debate. I mean SERIOUS, or do you merely want to swap ineffectual anecdoted that your parents/school/ uni fed into that thing you call a mind?
Thinkl carefully before you reply because once I am committed I do not take prisoners.
Think on.
And now I really must go to bed and sleep. It refreshes my mind.
lol
Feb 27, 2011 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterme
"Now, tell me, Shy Anne or whoever the fook you are, do you want to rngage in a serious debate."

Time's up, wanker, you already lost. Seriously? You have no rebuttal to any of the 5 points above?

Not surprising, really. Your home is after all just a dingleberry clinging onto a geriatric parasite known as Old Blighty. Oh, which does remind me to ask: Can you remotely support the following of your many pregnant statements?

"Scottish. The people that made your great country (the US of A) ... um ... great!"

Thanks in advance. A name or two will do. No need to bore us again. Answers work fine.
Feb 27, 2011 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
"I am committed I do not take prisoners."

This indeed is a difficult feat after institutionalization. Tell us more.
Feb 27, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
One clarification, it is not accurate to call Fianna Fail "conservative." Irish politics are very complicated and many of the party's political strands date back to the days of De Valera. Fine Gael has traditionally been more "conservative" than Fianna Fail. Fianna fail is more like New Labour in Britain and Fine Gael is closer to David Cameron. The most interesting part though is to watch and see how Sinn Fein plays a role in the new government.
Feb 27, 2011 at 9:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtlanta Roofing
atlanta roofing,

Who called Fianna Fail "conservative"? Your British analogies are apt, however.

I don't think the Shinners or anyone else in the Dail will matter much on this issue. I really believe it will be hashed out in the streets for the most part -- unless the Irish just allow themselves to be used and abused. For the record, I don't think they will, though it may take a few months for them to realize how little has been changed by the election.
Feb 27, 2011 at 10:06 PM | Registered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
I've really enjoyed the lively banter.
Feb 27, 2011 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterTR
ME,

Don't you worry, in America the wheels of justice and the black hand move at their own pace. That is why the republicans are working overtime to crush the working middle class. If they can divide and split the middle class on themselves they can continue the theft for decades longer. If, however, the middle class rises up together and elect some honest hardworking people to office, we can get some investigations and prosecutions for the financials thefts.

Everyday, I dream about Warren Buffet (co thief at Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs), Henry Paulson, Timothy "Tax Cheat" Geithner and Ben Bernanke learning about the politics of the Aryan Brotherhood, Black Guerilla Family, Surenos and Nortenos.
Feb 27, 2011 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBenny and the Talibanks
Unintended irony in this article in that the photograph of the "Days of Rage" was actually taken by David Fenton, founder of Fenton Communications and nowadays a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Here's another co-opted "revolutionary" for you!!!
Feb 28, 2011 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterAye Claudius
Feb 28, 2011 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterslimeball
Joe Weisenthal was kind enough to post this story on Business Insider.
http://www.businessinsider.com/what-fine-gaels-win-means-for-the-irish-banks-and-the-imf-bailout-2011-2
Feb 28, 2011 at 5:28 PM | Registered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
Cheyenne, Gordon Brown sold the gold because he was told to, it's called price suppression. Let's hope China crashes the dollar quickly, buy gold and silver now too.
Feb 28, 2011 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterAR
The Anglo American model is imploding anyway, thanks God for that. Get ready to kiss goodbye to your cumfy lives, expecially in the US. lol
Feb 28, 2011 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterAR
"Cheyenne, Gordon Brown sold the gold because he was told to, it's called price suppression. Let's hope China crashes the dollar quickly, buy gold and silver now too."

I know. I was just joshin' and whatnot. Crazy thing about Gordon the Biggest Loser Ever is that he sold all that metal (1) AFTER announcing that it was for sale and (2) to bail out (sit down if you're not certainly ready)... AiG.

AIG is like herpes on steroids on top of an HGH-meth martini and a honker of Desonex from the trunk of the Monte Carlo.

WTF?
Feb 28, 2011 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
Dr. P--

Wiesenthal is one odd bird. I take it he's just under 30 and that he's talked to you a few times.

I don't get that dude at all--unless he is in some real turmoil.

Ultimately I think JW will pan out, but man what a ride.
Feb 28, 2011 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
Cheyenne,

Wha??
Feb 28, 2011 at 10:16 PM | Registered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
Dr. P--

You linked a Joe Wiesenthal article from BI, correct? (yes).

I read BI for entertainment, i.e., about 5 times a day. So it's weird that I'm just looking for breasts and yet somehow detect that Joe W. has a rather bizarre association with gold. He's like a closet Colonel Smithers.

You guys like Max and yourself and whoever has met Joe Wiesenthal all report that he's a great guy, because you've hung out with the dude. I have no reason to doubt any of you.

But to squares like me who just look at text, Joe is unpredictable.

That is all I meant.
Feb 28, 2011 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheyenne
Judging by the first pic, it looks as though even the baby saw through the BS
Mar 1, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterrobertsgt40
Now we're in Lybia to get rid of the "mad dog". He's been in power for 42 years. We didn't bother about him at first. Then we didn't like him for a while. Then we liked him again. But now we don't. Iraq, Afghanistan are disasters but most of you don't know that yet because you haven't been told. Lybia is another disaster. We are the dastardly disasteristas. We spread fear and chaos wherever we go.
Wonder who the next bad guy will be? Probably another cartoon character we put into power in the first place. What happened to OBL? We caught him yet? What? He's dead already? No shit, lady!
So long suckers. You'll get yours one of these days. Not too long to wait now. Bye.
Apr 4, 2011 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterme

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