Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Layer 468 . . . The IMF, Strauss-Kahn, Hattie Carroll, Naomi Klein and Bob Dylan

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn refused bail on sex assault charges

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who denies the charges, remanded in custody in New York over fears he might flee the US


As far as Oxzen can see the IMF is still a New York-based ultra-powerful right-wing institution controlled by individuals who have aligned it with the doctrines of the notorious Chicago School of Friedmanite economics. For several decades it has forced governments throughout the world to privatise public assets and impose austerity on their citizens (a la New Labour and New Tories who did it without any external encouragement or direction - simply for fun and profit) in return for receiving emergency loans, etc. Read what Naomi Klein has to say about the IMF:

IMF Go to Hell

The IMF had its chance to run Argentina [ETC!]. Now it's the people's turn. 


Naomi also has plenty to say about the IMF in her book, The Shock Doctrine, which, of course, everyone should have read by now.

"The IMF has three trademark demands - privatisation, government deregulation, and deep cuts to social spending . . . " [P9]

"The colonisation of the World Bank and the IMF by the Chicago School [graduates] was a largely unspoken process, but it became official in 1989 when John Williamson unveiled what he called "the Washington Consensus".  It was a list of policies that he said both institutions now considered the bare minimum for economic health - "the common core of wisdom embraced by all serious economists". These policies, masquerading as technical and uncontentious, included such bold ideological claims as "all state enterprises should be privatised", and "barriers impeding the entry of foreign firms should be abolished". When the list was complete it made up nothing less than Friedman's neoliberal triumverate of privatisation, deregulation/free trade and drastic cuts to government spending. Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and one of the last holdouts against the new orthodoxy, wrote that "Keynes would be rolling over in his grave were he to see what has happened to his child [the IMF]". [P.163]

"The IMF's official mandate was still crisis prevention - not social engineering or ideological transformation - so economic stabilisation needed to be the official rationale. The reality was that in country after country the international debt crisis was being methodically leveraged to advance the Chicago School agenda, based on a ruthless application of Friedman's shock doctrine." [P164]

Sounds familiar?

Wikipedia says -
The IMF sometimes advocates “austerity programmes,” increasing taxes even when the economy is weak, in order to generate government revenue and bring budgets closer to a balance, thus reducing budget deficits. Countries are often advised to lower their corporate tax rate. These policies were criticized by Joseph E. Stiglitz, former chief economist and senior vice president at the World Bank, in his book Globalization and Its Discontents. He argued that by converting to a more Monetarist [ie Friedmanite] approach, the fund no longer had a valid purpose, as it was designed to provide funds for countries to carry out Keynesian reflations, and that the IMF “was not participating in a conspiracy, but it was reflecting the interests and ideology of the Western financial community.”

Now, Mr Strauss-Kahn is a member of the French Socialist Party (!) and has apparently made a pretty good fist of managing the financial current crisis, insofar as he's advocated the expenditure of reserves [ie OUR money] on propping up the financial institutions, banks and indeed whole countries, such as Greece. What's not clear [to me at least] is whether he's also been calling for re-regulation of financial institutions, and indeed the nationalisation of banks and finance houses. And if not, why not?

Something happens to people who rise to positions of enormous power - people like Thatcher, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Blair, and, possibly, Strauss-Kahn. Either they start to feel omnipotent and godlike, in which case they assume the right to think and to do whatever they like, or else their latent psychopathic tendencies completely take over and they feel no limits on their desires, impulses and need for personal gratification.

This story instantly brings to mind the lyrics of Bob Dylan's song,


Play the video and listen to the words -

The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll

William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger
At a Baltimore hotel society gath’rin’
And the cops were called in and his weapon took from him
As they rode him in custody down to the station
And booked William Zanzinger for first-degree murder
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain’t the time for your tears

William Zanzinger, who at twenty-four years
Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres
With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him
And high office relations in the politics of Maryland
Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders
And swear words and sneering, and his tongue it was snarling
In a matter of minutes on bail was out walking
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain’t the time for your tears

Hattie Carroll was a maid of the kitchen
She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten children
Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage
And never sat once at the head of the table
And didn’t even talk to the people at the table
Who just cleaned up all the food from the table
And emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level
Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a cane
That sailed through the air and came down through the room
Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle
And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain’t the time for your tears

In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all’s equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain’t pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught ’em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin’ that way without warnin’
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence . . .
Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now’s the time for your tears.


Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly raped a maid
In his New York hotel bedroom that she was a'cleaning
He came out of his bathroom and stood there stark naked
He grabbed her and hit her, and he raped her
And the cops were called in and his name took from him
As they rode him in custody down to the station
And booked Dominique Strauss-Kahn for all of his sex crimes -
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain’t the time for your tears


Bob's written an interesting piece on his website, on his China gigs -


Allow me to clarify a couple of things about this so-called China controversy which has been going on for over a year. First of all, we were never denied permission to play in China . . . 

So much for the right-wing press - who have, let's say. . .  issues - with Bob, and with China.


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