Citizens stage mass strike and demonstration across France (with riot in Paris) over government bail outs of banks while U.S. citizens remain asleep in their La-Z Boys
Check out this BBC video from yesterday (Thursday, January 29):
[Whoever posted the video to YouTube requested to have external embedding disabled, so you’ll have to click on the link and actually visit YouTube to watch it.]
The summary and upshot: All across France yesterday, citizens staged a HUGE strike and public protest — over a million strong — out of anger and frustration at the government’s decision to handle the economic crisis by doling out money to the banks. For the most part it all proceeded peacefully, but in Paris it turned into a riot complete with police in riot gear who lobbed tear gas at the crowds. In the words of the BBC reporter on the scene, “It was inevitable that the mood here on the streets of Paris would change. There is a lot of resentment about the bail out of the banks and the fact that many ordinary people here feel that they didn’t get to benefit from that.” In the video you can see the reporter speaking with several Parisians who express the thought that — to paraphrase the way he summarizes it at one point — it’s outrageous that the very people who caused the recession should be bailed out while the ordinary person who suffers the most should get shafted.
Need I point out the obvious parallels to the situation in the U.S.? It remains to be seen how long we the sheeple will lie down and take it before similar things start happening here. In that capacity, I think the current blistering round of mass layoffs across the nation (which is already shockingly huge in scope and will only get much worse in the coming weeks and months), operating in combination with the giddy freefall of the foreclosure disaster, will move things along quite nicely.
For context, reference, and reflection, consider the following thoughts from James Howard Kunstler’s December 22 blog post, “Legitimacy Dwindles“:
Public sentiment toward the accelerating economic fiasco has shifted, seemingly overnight, from a mood of nauseated amazement to one of panicked grievance as the United States moves closer to an apparent comprehensive collapse. . . . What seems to spook people now is the possibility that everybody in charge of everything is a fraud or a crook. Legitimacy has left the syste. . . . This is very dangerous territory. In dollar terms, the numbers being applied to the various problems are so colossal — trillions! — that the death of our currency seems assured. And in defiance of congress’s express intentions, none of the TARP “money” has been applied to its targeted purpose of buying up “toxic” (i.e. fraudulent) securities hidden in the vaults of banks, pension funds, and municipal portfolios. . . . The years since Jimmy Carter have produced an astoundingly flaccid public, sunk in various addictions and distractions, but this is about to change. The darkling mood of political protest and violent activism that saturated my own young adult years is scudding up again on the horizon.
When legitimacy erodes, anything goes. Nothing is respected including rules and personalities. The center doesn’t hold and the new vacuum there is a tumultuous place. The same crisis of authority and legitimacy is spreading from nation to nation now.
. . . . Right now, the overwhelming sentiment is to get this country back to where we were, say, ten years ago, when everything was humming nicely: Clinton nostalgia. We’re definitely not gong back there, though. It’s an idle wish. And any set of policies designed to lead in that direction will prove very disappointing. Our destination is a land of much smaller-scaled local economies. We could retain our federal ties if the federal government can scale back appropriately from the bloated, feckless enterprise it has become. Otherwise, it might only get in the way and make matters worse, and the public in one region or another of North America might reach a decision that they are better off without it. That would be what’s called a revolution.