October 4th, 2009

Ireland ratifies the Lisbon Treaty
Old Europe is history

Ed Note: See comments below into 2011 as the whirling Credit Crisis brings the European Union and its currency to the brink of … Rescission? Dissolution? One might hope.

Well. Ireland has voted 67-33 in a referendum to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, which would pretty much create a United States of Europe centrally governed by the EU apparatus in Brussels.

It seems to me a sad day, despite a recent half-apology for dem Bilderbergers.

Last year, of course, the Irish rejected the treaty/constituiton, drawing the ire of the continental powers. This time around, the Times story suggests, fear born of the current economic crisis and a media blitz did the trick.

I wonder what Wim Wenders thinks about it …

Here’s first thoughts from Richard Moore, an American in Ireland for ten years or so, and author of Escaping the Matrix:

From rkm@quaylargo.com:

Sad news today. The normally intelligent people of Ireland capitulated to a fear-mongering propaganda campaign, and voted for the Lisbon Treaty, 2:1.

National sovereignty in all of Europe is now a thing of the past. The “Treaty” is in fact a constitution, and all European national constitutions are now subservient to the terms of this self-amending Treaty.

‘Self-amending’ is all important: it means that the Brussels bureaucracy can add add new amendments to the Treaty at any time, and those amendments also supersede national constitutions. The Irish people were told that the Treaty “does not bring in military conscription”, “does not affect taxation”, and many other things that people in Ireland are not in favor of.

This was all lies. True, the Treaty itself does not talk about those specific items, but because of self-amending, those specific items can now “be brought in” at any time in the future. And Ireland’s voting power, in opposing measures, is very greatly reduced by the Treaty.

If the Treaty were a ‘good’ constitution, all of this might not be a bad thing. But it’s not. The structure of the EU government is very much less democratic than any of the current European governments.

Most of the power is vested in the EU Commission, none of whose members are elected. It’s like a Politburo, with lots of power and no accountability. And its polices are very much oriented around neoliberalism, globalism, privatization, and deregulation – the very things that have brought the global economy to a standstill and accelerated unemployment in Europe.

Both Holland and France had voted against the constitution, when it was openly called a constitution. So the bigwigs repackaged the very same thing and called it a “Treaty”. They did this so the people of France and Holland wouldn’t get another chance to vote it down. The “Treaty” could be passed by the legislatures – except in the case of Ireland.

The people of Ireland, God bless them, voted against the “Treaty” the first time they were given a chance to vote. But they weren’t able to keep their heads in the face of the overwhelming media blitz about how the world would fall apart if Ireland voted No a second time.

Europe is now under the firm control of a handful of unaccountable elitists in the EU Commission. Where they will take Europe is anybody’s guess, and there will be no democratic voice present in setting that direction.

Today will live in infamy, as its consequences become visible.


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  1. ed says:

    The video at the bottom above is the opening scene of Wim Wenders’ lovely Lisbon Story.

    (Dubbed in Italian — the original being English.)

    The narrator — driving from Berlin to Lisbon in 1994 — expresses slightly yet-skeptical joy as he whizzes thru the border stations without stopping to show a passport, thanks to then-recent EU centralizing deregulatory reforms.

    The new inwoner then declares, again with some hesitant wonder, Yes, this [all of Europe] is my country. My … country!

    Thus, Lisbon Story, fifteen years old, opens airing the big question that today’s Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty raised and perhaps settled.

    I have long thought there’s no cure for what industrialism did, sociopolitically, to Western societies.

    No cure, that is, aside from a great disaster.

    No cure, I mean, for massive centralized states — and for the kind of fear that drove the Irish vote. Erich Fromm nailed this in Escape from Freedom.

    Peasants were roughly self reliant. Proletarians cannot be, and anyone with a family to care for is imprudent not to fear, and take Consenting steps away from personal freedom. This is the sausage grinder of industrial society.

    It’s hard to hope for great disaster — and almost irrational to do so as a cure.

    But at the same time it’s impossible, for many, to embrace the technological Megamachine (David Watson’s word and good book). Hence the chronic

    Richard Moore’s writings maintain, with admirable erudition and articulation, a Utopian search.

    I imagine Europe will remain the best place in the world for a Westerner to be, as long as I’m around to watch and wonder.

    October 5th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

  2. ed says:

    Somebody at Human Rights First thinks the treaty is a good idea.

    October 6th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

  3. surfwalker says:

    Americans who haven’t lived in Europe long enough to have experienced the committee culture over here almost certainly fail to appreciate the deep differences between European and American democracy.

    European democracy pretty much boils down to election and vote-counting formalities. The kind of voting irregularities that happen in America are unthinkable here. Hence European snobbery about being more democratic than America.

    But the European experience also lacks a substantial dimension of government by the people — the very thing that Americans consider essential. There’s very little interface between the career politicians — most of whom get their start in party youth organizations and work their way up over decades — and the citizenry at large. Free speech is tolerated in the sense that you don’t get thrown in jail for voicing unpopular views — but public debate is much less inclusive and much more highly scripted than what you have in the States.

    All that needn’t have been an unqualifiedly bad thing. American democracy, after all, has had its excesses. A Europe that made cautious and clumsy progress — almost in parody of itself — towards more substantially democratic arrangements over a long period of time might have been a nice place to live.

    But the prospects for that are pretty dim now.

    October 10th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

  4. ed says:

    Fast forward just a little over a year and it’s Ireland’s financial troubles that are provoking the greatest surge of euro skepticism we’ve seen


    November 29th, 2010 at 1:19 am

  5. ed says:

    Here’s Paul Krugman re the Euro-bankers evil handling of the Irish situation


    November 29th, 2010 at 1:21 am

  6. ed says:

    And Krugman again, with a feature in the Times Magazine:



    The rescission of the Euro would be a dramatic move against Globalization.

    I hope it comes. Peacefully with minimized economic pain.

    January 13th, 2011 at 11:17 am

  7. ed says:

    A snapshot of Spain’s finances


    January 13th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

  8. ed says:

    Another Times Mag feature — Merkel and Sarkozy, the Odd Couple


    January 13th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

  9. ed says:

    George Soros in the Financial Times yesterday re the fundamental problems with the financial stability program about to be activated under German leadership:

    Germany blames the crisis on the countries that have lost competitiveness and run up their debts, and so puts all the burden of adjustment on debtor countries. This is a biased view, which ignores the fact that this is not only a sovereign debt crisis but also a currency and banking crisis – and Germany bears a major share of responsibility for those crises.


    March 23rd, 2011 at 9:11 am

  10. ed says:

    Here is the Soros piece from yesterday in the FT in its entirety:

    How Germany can avoid a two-speed Europe

    By George Soros

    March 21 2011

    The “euro crisis” is generally seen as a currency crisis, but it is also a sovereign debt and, even more, a banking crisis. The situation is complex. The complexity has bred confusion, and this has political consequences. Europe’s various member states have formed widely different views and their policies reflect their views rather than their true national interests. The clash of perceptions carries the seeds of serious political conflicts.

    The solution that is about to be put in place will, in effect, be dictated by Germany, without whose sovereign credit no solution is possible. France tries to influence the outcome but in the end must yield to Germany because its triple A rating is dependent on being closely allied with Germany.

    Germany blames the crisis on the countries that have lost competitiveness and run up their debts, and so puts all the burden of adjustment on debtor countries. This is a biased view, which ignores the fact that this is not only a sovereign debt crisis but also a currency and banking crisis – and Germany bears a major share of responsibility for those crises.

    When the euro was introduced it was expected to create convergence but it brought divergence instead. The European Central Bank treated the sovereign debt of all member countries as riskless and accepted them at its discount window on equal terms. Banks that were obliged to hold riskless assets to meet their liquidity requirements were induced to load up on the sovereign debt of the weaker countries to earn a few extra basis points.

    This lowered interest rates in Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy and Spain and generated housing bubbles – at the same time as Germany had to tighten its belt to cope with the costs of reunification.

    The result was a divergence in competitiveness, and a banking crisis that affected German banks more strongly than most of the others. Truth be told, Germany has been bailing out the heavily indebted countries as a way of protecting its own banking system.

    The arrangements imposed by Germany protect the banking system by treating outstanding sovereign debt as sacrosanct; they also put all the burden of adjustment on the debtor countries.

    The arrangements are reminiscent of the international banking crisis of 1982, when the international financial institutions lent the debtor countries enough money to service their debts until the banks could build up sufficient reserves to exchange their bad debts for Brady bonds in 1989. That caused a “lost decade” for Latin America. Indeed, the current arrangements penalise the debtor countries even more than in the 1980s because they will have to pay hefty risk premiums after 2013.

    There is something inconsistent in bailing out the banking system once again and then bailing in the holders of sovereign debt after 2013 by introducing collective action clauses. As a result, the European Union will suffer something worse than a lost decade; it will endure a chronic divergence in which the surplus countries forge ahead and the deficit countries are dragged down by the burden of accumulated debt. The competitiveness requirements will be imposed on an uneven playing field, putting deficit countries into an untenable position. Even Spain, which entered the euro crisis with a lower debt ratio than Germany, could be dragged down.

    Berlin is imposing these arrangements under pressure from German public opinion, but the German public has not been told the truth and so is confused. The solution to the euro crisis to be put in place this week will set in stone a two-speed Europe. This will generate resentments that will endanger the EU’s political cohesion.

    Two fundamental modifications are required. First, the European financial stability facility must rescue the banking system as well as member states. This will allow the restructuring of sovereign debt without precipitating a banking crisis. The size of the rescue package could stay the same because any amount used for recapitalising or liquidating banks would reduce the amount lent to sovereign states. Bringing the banks under European supervision rather than leaving them in the hands of national authorities would help restore confidence in the banking system.

    Second, to create an even playing field, the risk premium on the borrowing costs of countries that abide by the rules will have to be removed. That could be accomplished by converting most sovereign debt into eurobonds; countries would then have to issue their own bonds with collective action clauses and pay the risk premium only on the amounts exceeding the Maastricht criteria. The first step could and should be taken immediately at Thursday’s summit; the second will have to wait. The German public is a long way from accepting it; yet it is needed to re-establish a level playing field. This has to be made clear to give deficit countries hope they can escape from their deficit predicament if they work hard enough at it.

    The writer is chairman of Soros Fund Management and founder of the Open Society Foundations

    March 23rd, 2011 at 9:53 am

  11. ed says:

    Update on bad situation with Irish banks. About $99 billion needed for four to meet Stress Test.


    Movement to reject Austerity and write down the Irish bank bonds strengthened by news.

    March 31st, 2011 at 6:52 pm

  12. ed says:

    Greek anger re privatization of national assets to conform to bailout rigor:

    Civil war in greece, here and now, over Bailout bullshit:

    April 23rd, 2011 at 11:40 pm

  13. ed says:

    Papendrou anger re euro policies


    It seems that a restructuring — ie writedown, or increased maturities — of greed sov debt is in the cards and imminent.

    ie the german banks have agreed to cry uncle.

    April 23rd, 2011 at 11:42 pm

  14. ed says:

    Der Spiegel suggests Greece is on the verge of withdraw from the Euro


    too much to hope for?

    May 7th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

  15. ed says:

    What chaos, what danger …

    Greece, Italy, Spain … France next.

    The implementation of the Euro took down within the zone barriers to investment in the “peripheral” states.

    Investors from the richer north (former holders of the much stronger currencies) went on a Carpetbagging jaunt that last years.

    This combined with low interest rates created Booms in the peripheral lands, which in turn provoked the established, in-balance economies of the peripheral to “Grow” (borrow, build, borrow more, build more) to accommodate the sudden inflow of wealth/investment and encourage more of same.

    But the whole thing was managed such as to not recoup from the incoming wealth a balanced return to the states incurring the new Boom-born debt.

    This is how the Euro crisis was born. The southern socioeconomic polities had been largely in sync with themselves and suffering no wild debt problems. The various socioeconomic differences had always been accommodated at the border, with currency fluctuations.

    IE carpetbagging and a suddenly new hyperfertile environment for investment created an Investment-and-Debt circle that seemed Virtuous until credit suddenly dried up a few years ago.

    Yet the corporate press has successfully painted the story with “WE TOLD YOU SO!” headlines over smug pieces about the fatal excesses of “socialism.”

    And now the parliamentary governments of the “peripheral” states are being torn down overnight and replaced with Tyrants from the Banking Sector and (this weekend in Spain) neo-fascists of a Franconian sort — pretty much at the behest of Berlin, which insists that a second Weimar must be avoided at all costs.

    The French Big Banks will go under with the Spanish. The German banks will be there to pick up the pieces at pennies on the dollar (as JPMorgan got Bear and BoA Merrill ). 1870. 1918. 1945. 2012.

    November 20th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

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