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Thread: Why Iceland Should Be in the News But Is Not

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    Default Why Iceland Should Be in the News But Is Not

    Why Iceland Should Be in the News But Is Not

    By Deena Stryker

    An Italian radio programís story about Icelandís on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.

    [See also Lesley Riddoch on the High North here - or Mike Small on Scotland in Europe here]

    * Both editor and author are aware of mistakes in this piece which are due to mistranslation from Italian Ė apologies

    As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Hereís why:

    Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the countryís banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. But as investments grew, so did the banksí foreign debt. In 2003 Icelandís debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent. The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro. At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.

    Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution. But only after much pain.

    Geir Haarde, the Prime Minister of a Social Democratic coalition government, negotiated a two million one hundred thousand dollar loan, to which the Nordic countries added another two and a half million. But the foreign financial community pressured Iceland to impose drastic measures. The FMI and the European Union wanted to take over its debt, claiming this was the only way for the country to pay back Holland and Great Britain, who had promised to reimburse their citizens.

    Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign. Elections were brought forward to April 2009, resulting in a left-wing coalition which condemned the neoliberal economic system, but immediately gave in to its demands that Iceland pay off a total of three and a half million Euros. This required each Icelandic citizen to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties. It was the straw that broke the reindeerís back.

    What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Icelandís leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Icelandís citizens responsible for its bankersí debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.

    Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country. As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF. The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts. As Grimsson said: ďWe were told that if we refused the international communityís conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North. But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.Ē (How many times have I written that when Cubans see the dire state of their neighbor, Haiti, they count themselves lucky.)

    In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt. The IMF immediately froze its loan. But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis. Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.

    But Icelanders didnít stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money. (The one in use had been written when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, in 1918, the only difference with the Danish constitution being that the word Ďpresidentí replaced the word Ďkingí.)

    To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituentís meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.

    Some readers will remember that Icelandís ninth century agrarian collapse was featured in Jared Diamondís book by the same name. Today, that country is recovering from its financial collapse in ways just the opposite of those generally considered unavoidable, as confirmed yesterday by the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde to Fareed Zakaria. The people of Greece have been told that the privatization of their public sector is the only solution. And those of Italy, Spain and Portugal are facing the same threat.

    They should look to Iceland. Refusing to bow to foreign interests, that small country stated loud and clear that the people are sovereign.

    Thatís why it is not in the news anymore.

    Originally published in the excellent SACSIS (with thanks)
    *Legal Disclaimer: While I am a keen researcher and want nothing more than to help people, I am not a doctor and more importantly, I am not your doctor. Any article I post that contains general information about medical conditions, treatments and remedies is to bring awareness. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You should never delay seeking medical advice, or discontinue any medical treatment because of information in an article I have posted. The only advice I would give is to continue to research further and use discernment with all advice.



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    Nice find.
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    yep.like ron likes to say,the problems willl not go away unless the debt is "liquidated".exactly what iceland did.defaulted big time.
    ofcourse krugman would love to point out that what helped them get back on their feet was the ability to devalue their currency.(and my retort would be -the currency was already worth much less.it just adjusted to its correct value)

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    Awesome find! +rep!
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    this is a nice read.... buuuuuut... the idea that our own constitution is irrelevant and outdated has been a pretty big idea pushed pretty hard by progressives, with the following thought that it should be scrapped and re-written. and in this day and age, in this country, that's a disconcerting thought for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flightlesskiwi View Post
    this is a nice read.... buuuuuut... the idea that our own constitution is irrelevant and outdated has been a pretty big idea pushed pretty hard by progressives, with the following thought that it should be scrapped and re-written. and in this day and age, in this country, that's a disconcerting thought for me.
    No scrapping just adding a amendment and repealing ones like the 14th and 16th will do.
    *Legal Disclaimer: While I am a keen researcher and want nothing more than to help people, I am not a doctor and more importantly, I am not your doctor. Any article I post that contains general information about medical conditions, treatments and remedies is to bring awareness. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You should never delay seeking medical advice, or discontinue any medical treatment because of information in an article I have posted. The only advice I would give is to continue to research further and use discernment with all advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flightlesskiwi View Post
    this is a nice read.... buuuuuut... the idea that our own constitution is irrelevant and outdated has been a pretty big idea pushed pretty hard by progressives, with the following thought that it should be scrapped and re-written. and in this day and age, in this country, that's a disconcerting thought for me.
    Well I'd like to see this clause of the U.S. constitution repealed.

    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by flightlesskiwi View Post
    this is a nice read.... buuuuuut... the idea that our own constitution is irrelevant and outdated has been a pretty big idea pushed pretty hard by progressives, with the following thought that it should be scrapped and re-written. and in this day and age, in this country, that's a disconcerting thought for me.
    Yeah, that's kind of how I felt about their whole method of crafting a constitution. Selecting random people to trust with your liberty?

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    totally agree. add the 17th to that list, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by donnay View Post
    No scrapping just adding a amendment and repealing ones like the 14th and 16th will do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmdrake View Post
    Well I'd like to see this clause of the U.S. constitution repealed.

    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
    Great Amendment clause to put on the table for repeal. We could be out of debt with the scrawl of a pen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flightlesskiwi View Post
    this is a nice read.... buuuuuut... the idea that our own constitution is irrelevant and outdated has been a pretty big idea pushed pretty hard by progressives, with the following thought that it should be scrapped and re-written. and in this day and age, in this country, that's a disconcerting thought for me.
    "This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet."

    Worse. Can you imagine Kludge participating in the formation of our future Constitution!
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    Awesome read! Naturally not reported on.

    Quote Originally Posted by flightlesskiwi View Post
    this is a nice read.... buuuuuut... the idea that our own constitution is irrelevant and outdated has been a pretty big idea pushed pretty hard by progressives, with the following thought that it should be scrapped and re-written. and in this day and age, in this country, that's a disconcerting thought for me.
    The U.S. Constitution either gave you the government you have, or it was unable to prevent it. In either case it's unfit to fulfill it's intended role.

    I can't understand how people have so much faith in a piece of paper. News flash, if you aren't protecting what you call your rights with your own hands, guns and money, it's not going to get protected.
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    Wow !

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    Quote Originally Posted by hazek View Post
    Awesome read! Naturally not reported on.



    The U.S. Constitution either gave you the government you have, or it was unable to prevent it. In either case it's unfit to fulfill it's intended role.

    I can't understand how people have so much faith in a piece of paper. News flash, if you aren't protecting what you call your rights with your own hands, guns and money, it's not going to get protected.
    That's the point. Our Constitutional government hasn't been Constitutional for long ass time

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    Quote Originally Posted by donnay View Post
    Why Iceland Should Be in the News But Is Not
    To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituentís meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.
    ^^^^ interesting approace
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dsylexic View Post
    yep.like ron likes to say,the problems willl not go away unless the debt is "liquidated".exactly what iceland did.defaulted big time.
    ofcourse krugman would love to point out that what helped them get back on their feet was the ability to devalue their currency.(and my retort would be -the currency was already worth much less.it just adjusted to its correct value)
    Liquidating and defaulting are not the same. I believe the US govt bought bad private debt - we nationalized it like a bad investment (GM) - that should have been liquidated, i.e., sold on the private market at whatever pennies on the dollar it is worth. Default occurs either way.

    I do not believe Ron Paul is calling on us to default like Iceland and that is not what he means by liquidating the debt. Now, were we to default, private investors in other countries may seek the nationalization (bailout of the current investors) of the that defaulted debt as opposed to its liquidation (sold at pennies on the dollar with current investors taking a big loss).

    Here's the dirty not-so-little secret. We can pay our debt. We can stop adding to the debt. We can run a nation at the surplus required to pay off the debt in 10 - 30 years. We - as a group - have decided not to do these things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Free Hornet View Post
    Liquidating and defaulting are not the same. I believe the US govt bought bad private debt - we nationalized it like a bad investment (GM) - that should have been liquidated, i.e., sold on the private market at whatever pennies on the dollar it is worth. Default occurs either way.

    I do not believe Ron Paul is calling on us to default like Iceland and that is not what he means by liquidating the debt. Now, were we to default, private investors in other countries may seek the nationalization (bailout of the current investors) of the that defaulted debt as opposed to its liquidation (sold at pennies on the dollar with current investors taking a big loss).

    Here's the dirty not-so-little secret. We can pay our debt. We can stop adding to the debt. We can run a nation at the surplus required to pay off the debt in 10 - 30 years. We - as a group - have decided not to do these things.
    *Legal Disclaimer: While I am a keen researcher and want nothing more than to help people, I am not a doctor and more importantly, I am not your doctor. Any article I post that contains general information about medical conditions, treatments and remedies is to bring awareness. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You should never delay seeking medical advice, or discontinue any medical treatment because of information in an article I have posted. The only advice I would give is to continue to research further and use discernment with all advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donnay View Post
    You can use this video to support either side. "Default" is how it "inevitably" ends. That is not Ron Paul arguing we should default. About 2 minutes in, he explains on how we can cut back on government and still pay the necessary bills (social security, debt interest). So I do not see where in here Ron Paul is supporting default on the debt. He is supporting ending unnecessary government spending. I stopped 3 minutes in and it would be my preference if you post your opinion with the video because it can be taken out of context.

    If someone intelligent can argue that Ron Paul is pushing for default on our national debt, please point me to that resource as it would be an eye-opener. This is not to say default isn't likely. I think most with a good knowlege of both history and economics would see default as the path we are headed on. The point of a Ron Paul is that we don't need to take that path.

    Thanks for playing or thanks for the support - can't tell what you meant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flightlesskiwi View Post
    this is a nice read.... buuuuuut... the idea that our own constitution is irrelevant and outdated has been a pretty big idea pushed pretty hard by progressives, with the following thought that it should be scrapped and re-written. and in this day and age, in this country, that's a disconcerting thought for me.
    You got that right! A new Constitution, written by the largest global corporate interests would be a disaster, and it would probably be a million pages long.
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    The information we need is missing.

    What we need is to know how are they doing now? Did things improve radically? Since they kicked out the criminal banksters are they doing better? Have they been able to actually cut ties to the international banksters and their "system"?

    If they are doing well, then this information needs to get to the campaign and we need to go viral with this in a video and other means of getting this information to the people.

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    Great job man. Thanks for the article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yieu View Post
    Yeah, that's kind of how I felt about their whole method of crafting a constitution. Selecting random people to trust with your liberty?
    You could profit from a thorough analysis of how the delegates to the US Constitutional Convention were selected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy L View Post
    You could profit from a thorough analysis of how the delegates to the US Constitutional Convention were selected.
    The US Constitutional Convention delegates were a group of elites. Most were highly educated and wealthy.
    I am Zippy and I approve of this message. But you don't have to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edu View Post
    The information we need is missing.

    What we need is to know how are they doing now? Did things improve radically? Since they kicked out the criminal banksters are they doing better? Have they been able to actually cut ties to the international banksters and their "system"?

    If they are doing well, then this information needs to get to the campaign and we need to go viral with this in a video and other means of getting this information to the people.
    Here is a member of the Iceland parliament, Birgitta Jonsdottir:


    Most recent interview with Birgitta Jonsdottir:
    *Legal Disclaimer: While I am a keen researcher and want nothing more than to help people, I am not a doctor and more importantly, I am not your doctor. Any article I post that contains general information about medical conditions, treatments and remedies is to bring awareness. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You should never delay seeking medical advice, or discontinue any medical treatment because of information in an article I have posted. The only advice I would give is to continue to research further and use discernment with all advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    The US Constitutional Convention delegates were a group of elites. Most were highly educated and wealthy.
    Can't really say that about delegates nowadays...

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    Quote Originally Posted by flightlesskiwi View Post
    this is a nice read.... buuuuuut... the idea that our own constitution is irrelevant and outdated has been a pretty big idea pushed pretty hard by progressives, with the following thought that it should be scrapped and re-written. and in this day and age, in this country, that's a disconcerting thought for me.
    Not just a progressive idea. It was a classical liberal/libertarian idea long before the progressives glommed onto it like parasites (or even existed, for that matter). They just want to scrap it for different reason.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    The US Constitutional Convention delegates were a group of elites. Most were highly educated and wealthy.
    qft.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul
    The government is incapable of doing what it's supposed to do. A job like the provision of security is something best left to private institutions.
    My music/art page is here"government is the enemy of liberty"-RP
    That which doesn't kill me has made a grave tactical error
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    This whole board is a thoughtcrime in progress.
    Quote Originally Posted by danke View Post
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