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Europe: A pause in the crisis

Gavin Hewitt | 12:18 UK time, Friday, 14 May 2010

Berlin shoe shop - file picAfter long months of turbulence in Europe there is a pause. The euro is no longer under daily attack. The massive bail-outs and loan guarantees have bought time.

The crisis, when Europe nearly saw the sinking of its currency, has left the EU uncertain, wounded and divided.

There are signs that belatedly leaders are understanding that the core of Europe's problem is debt and low growth. Quite simply most European countries are living beyond their means. The reckoning has arrived.

The new realism can be seen in the way that Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain reversed his position on cuts. Civil servants are to see their wages reduced by 5%. A subsidy for new parents - a so-called "baby cheque" worth 2,500 euros (£2,135) - has been scrapped. Portugal, too, is increasing wages and cutting wages. France has announced a freeze in government spending and will almost certainly have to do more. Germany has backed off a second instalment of tax cuts.

Here lies the challenge. Big cuts will be demanded in Europe's welfare state. The era of austerity will challenge and threaten Europe's social model. Protesters in Greece have gone to the streets. Protests are now being planned in Spain for early June to oppose what the unions call "unjust" measures. Europeans will be called on to work harder, to face the fact that they are competing globally. None of Europe's leaders are yet spelling out the cultural revolution that is to come.

The pain can be diluted, but only by growth. There are signs that growth in Europe is picking up, but it is not strong enough to reduce deficits and to finance a way of life that people have become accustomed to. There is also a risk that as Europe cuts it diminishes growth and falls into a vicious spiral.

Some European officials see very clearly that the priority for Europe will have to be growth, jobs, reducing deficits.

Within the EU there is tension, and at its heart is the role of Germany. The Germans never wanted to join the euro if it meant it would have to bankroll the weaker countries. That is what has happened. For Germany the single currency has become not so much a monetary union but a transfer union. It raises the unresolved question of the great divide in economic cultures between the North and southern Europe. In the long term that cannot be resolved by Germany bailing out the rest.

In the past the engine for decision-making was the Franco-German alliance. It drove the EU forwards. That can no longer be taken for granted. President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel have clashed too often. There is a report in the Spanish paper El Pais, sourced to the Spanish prime minister, that President Sarkozy threatened to pull France out of the euro if Germany wouldn't help Greece.

So to the future. The push is on to co-ordinate tax regimes more closely. Some want to go further with economic integration or economic government. Tensions will resurface. If the changes are far-reaching Germany will want treaty changes. That will open up arguments that have scarcely subsided since the Lisbon Treaty was ratified.

Lying behind this is an old argument. When do Europe's people get a voice as to whether they want their national budgets scrutinised by the EU before their national parliaments? Potentially there could be the most significant expansion in economic governance since 1999.

An American observer, Richard Haass - and president of the Council on Foreign Relations - noted that the EU was unloved. "A united Europe no longer captures the imagination of many of its residents," he said.

In the past few months, apart from in France, I have discovered a begrudging acceptance of the EU, but little enthusiasm.

What will play out is a struggle between "integrationists", who see the answers in greater integration, and others who care less for the dream or institutional changes and more for delivering on jobs and growth.

For the moment the turbulence has subsided, but it is only a pause.

And I am taking a few days off, so will fall silent for a week.

Comments

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  • 1. At 1:01pm on 14 May 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Germany needs to cut costs to retain competiveness against emerging low-cost industrial countries like China, but this means deflation for countries that share a currency with Germany. Economic activity in Ireland for example is down 18% since the peak for example.

    Deflation is a very challenging environment for paying down debts. When sterling is devalued the debt of individuals, companies and government is also cut and the country can recover quite quickly. But when a eurozone country undergoes the internal devaluation of wages cuts the debt burden remains unchanged but there is less income for the individual, and less income tax revenue for the state, to service their debts. And this threatens a runway debt problem that can never be retrieved.

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  • 2. At 1:31pm on 14 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    More integration, less government rules, less government employees, more government investment in education, research, helthcare & infrastructure
    better balanced trade agreements with China, US, Brasil, India, Russia and problem solved.

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  • 3. At 1:40pm on 14 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Save money?

    Abolish the "EU"!

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  • 4. At 1:41pm on 14 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    What about other "European" projects - the ESA, the telescope in Chile etc?

    Will there be savings there?

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  • 5. At 1:42pm on 14 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Work harder?

    When they haven't got jobs to work at?

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  • 6. At 1:44pm on 14 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Of course Gavin is entitled to take a week off!

    However, I do think the BBC could parachute in a replacement for that time.

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  • 7. At 1:44pm on 14 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    "And I am taking a few days off, so will fall silent for a week."

    And yet somehow events in Europe will continue to unfold themselves before our eyes.

    Notwithstanding the sloth of the typical modern day "journalist", and saying nothing about the futility of expecting the leviathan EU to change character all of a sudden, I expect this thread will keep me up to date on current issues.

    But it will be curious if the german people suddenly reject an ever closure union. That seems likely. They've been fleeced by the east, now by the south. England could also come begging, being a friend and so forth.

    It is a curious thing, Germany having so many good friends, and even more curious still that they all need loans at the same time. More or less.

    More, in fact, rather than less, because current deficits are huge, and all the talk is about reducing the deficits, not eliminating them. So the debt will continue to grow, because no state will cut back government payrolls, all are waiting for the fabled "economic recovery" to boost tax revenues.

    But there seems no sign of a real recovery in European economic fortunes, as china and india seem to be taking up the global slack in manufacturing during hard times. And the US is becoming more competitive by virtue of being nearly as broke as Europe.

    And so if tax revenues drop further, and Europe recedes into the economic gloom for a period of 5 or even 10 years, the public debt situation becomes grave indeed.

    Germany and Spain could face total public debt levels equal to that of greece within five to ten years, if tax revenues stay low or drop, and in such a case greece will be a failed state, and not the only one in Europe by that time.

    So it is the recovery or bust for the EU project, with all the member states, for once, in complete agreement. Europe is going to continue to tax and spend through the party machine, and wait for the next economic miracle to enrich the party faithful. Until the next economic miracle arrives, the people of the EU are going to grind away into more abject, debt ridden poverty.

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  • 8. At 1:53pm on 14 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    It was high time. Old Europe has got goodwill, brains and tools to overcome the crisis. The process is irreversible...much to the disappointment of the Euro-sceptics.

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  • 9. At 2:17pm on 14 May 2010, EuroSider wrote:

    Gavin,

    As someone who lives in Belgium I can give a view point from the heart of Europe (Brussels).

    The european people have effectively 'sleep-walked' through the introduction of the Euro 10 years ago. They naturally assumed that their way of life would be maintained and supported by high-employment coupled with high taxation. There is an attitude that the government will support them from the cradle to the grave; trade-unions are there to fight their cause; and that what happens outside of the European Union is of little or no concern to them. The European Union is based on a model put together during the post-war and Soviet Union period. A model which has failed to develop to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Now that this crisis has hit the Euro, generally Europeans have adopted an attitude of burying their heads in the sand and hoping that the problem will go away before their annual, monthly holiday in August.

    Where I am in Belgium there appears to be little understanding of the Eurozone, and even less support for it. After all Belgium is due to face yet another election after their coalition government collapsed over yet another argument between the French-speakers and the Flemish-speakers.

    The Eurozone is in a state of denial. The Euro, as a single currency, was supposed to be the answer to all their prayers. Just as long as their old customs, jobs and social welfare was maintain.

    For many Europeans the Eurozone is something that happens in Brussels (not Belgium) and is between some group of MEPs from some part of Europe which, honestly, does not effect their lives and as such has no consequence.

    I feel that if the Eurozone failed, there would be a general sigh of relief. Not so much because it is a bad thing, but because the majority of Europeans would see it as an opportunity to return to their old way of life, without having to consider the needs or requirements of other countries.

    Their is a social need to return to a time that people remembered where decisions were taken by their elected governments and not by a large institution of 'no-bodies' who appear to be making decisions on their behalf. Decisions that generally people don't understand; don't want; but have to put up with because that is what they sign up for.

    Even in Europe many people find that the European Union does not communicate what it is doing and what its intentions are. A simple browse of the European Commission's web site would tell you immediately that whoever is running their media office has little or no understanding of how to communicate with the international community.

    For me, it gives all the impression of someone writing for a village parish council; not an international media centre trying to communicate its intentions to a sophisticated population.

    Take a walk around the european district of Brussels and you are faced with bland, pointless posters exalting the integration of Europe. Personally, when I see some of them I can't help feeling they were designed by some infant-school teacher and aimed at 5-year olds.

    Also many communications from the European Parliament and European Commission are issued in French. Great for the French.....not much good for the Americans, Germans, Spanish etc. who are, perhaps, not fluent in French.

    If the Euro was to eventually die, I don't think that many people living in Europe would cry any tears over its passing.

    After all they have more important things to think about.

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  • 10. At 2:30pm on 14 May 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    I may be a fool; you may be telling me (shortly) to come down out of my tree, but…
    a) I believe that the United States will collapse economically; further, I believe this will occur in 2010, sending shockwaves around the world. The American debt is just not sustainable.
    b) The EU will do moderately well – initially struggling with all the damaging economic tools injected by the United States of America i.e. derivatives, credit default swaps, etc. which will need corrective (perhaps even criminal) action.
    Yes, at present the EU is full of uncertainty and divisions but soon it will see its direction; the direction will become clearer at the next G-20 in Toronto.
    You state there are signs already that belatedly leaders are understanding that the core of Europe's problem is debt and low growth. No, no, the problem is not debt; the problem is sovereign debt against which (mostly) American econmic tools have bet, causing bloated deficits. European countries may be living beyond their means, but they have also been assualted (insulted) by (illegal?) fianancial betting.
    The reckoning will soon arrive: G-20 Toronto.
    The sudden depletion of social programs throughout Europe is now placing Europe on the exact same plain as American position: food stamps, unemployment, home defaults…Even this pathetic American position is not sustainable. The European position has not yet become unsustainable.
    I point out that UK has palced herself in a sort of limbo. Sadly it appears, regardless of what the coalition says, the UK appears to be in financial lock-step with the United States. Time to abandon the Titanic, or the UK and the US will go down together. For goodness sake, audit your Government ledgers, check for credit default swaps and illegal hedging, and then decide who are your financial friends.
    I feel the cuts in Europe are temporary.
    Why?
    The EU will impose a bank levy (I hope inclusive of all foregin transactions) so that every time a bank conducts a financial trade
    1. tax revenue is generated and
    2. an audit trail is established.
    Then we will see on an ongoing basis who is up to what.
    The EU has said that it will go with a bank levy alone if she must. I like that. Leave the US to drown in an econmic quagmire of its own making.
    This tax levy (no matter how designed & implemented) will not amount to peanuts. Even a 1% levy will bring in billions. It will be enriching, enabling growth and increased social spending in the EU.
    I believe that Germany is privy; this is why Germany is demonstrating such cooperation. I believe that France is privy; this is why it atempts to keep the encouraging pressure on Germany.
    So, take some time off.
    Lay silent for a week.
    And get ready for the G-20 in Toronto.

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  • 11. At 2:46pm on 14 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #2 "Less government employees"?

    Tell that to Mr. Zapatero and his Socialist cronies.

    It seems that half of Spain is employed by the Spanish government.

    Although I would not say that half WORKS for it, or anybody else.


    And now let's talk 'bout Portugal.

    And the next Landt election in Germany.

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  • 12. At 2:52pm on 14 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    GH reports: Richard Haass - president of the Council on Foreign Relations - noted that the EU was unloved. "A united Europe no longer captures the imagination of many of its residents," he said.



    You don't need Haas to tell you that. It's obvious.

    And Germans I talk to dream of nothing else but returning to D-Mark.

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  • 13. At 3:45pm on 14 May 2010, kelvynjkr wrote:

    I have just been reading Malcolm Brabant's report on the naming and shaming of doctors and dentists in Athens as part of the government's drive to enforce tax collection in Greece. The tone of the report leads the reader to be sorry for these health professionals. Earlier today I was reading a similar report in eKathimerini which revealed some relevant facts about these cases. The named doctors were on record as earning less than the personal tax allowance, and so paid no taxes.The tax investigation teams revealed that all the named doctors had many millions of euros in their bank accounts, and should have paid many thousands of euros in taxes! These health professionals should be condemned, supervised and regulated. We should not be invited to be sorry for them.
    Of course, I recognise that such massive tax avoidance can only be allowed when the tax officers are looking the other way and taking their cut of the fiddle.
    But what does it say about a society [global and local] in which many people are poor [absolute and relative]struggling to stay alive. The annual World Wealth Reports make it clear that out of 6.8 billion people, 5.14 billion are trying to survive on less than $10 a day and 1.4 billion are starving to death.
    Poverty is the norm. And the millionaire health professionals in Athens and millionaires across the world really do not care. What they seem to care about is keeping their fortunes away from governments who are trying to operate social services to benefit all communities.
    Yes, I know that sounds 'banal'. But the Greek government has bankrupted itself in many ways including trying to provide a NHS, State pensions, compulsory education for all 5-18 year olds, compulsory Armed conscription for all 18 year olds, cheap public transport,an impressive METRO in Athens, effective Armed forces [to protect the Eastern borders of the EU and Nato].

    [go to www.kelvynrichards.com]

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  • 14. At 3:58pm on 14 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    Converting back to the D-Mark would indeed not be the worst for us but probably the overkill for mostly the rest of Europe ;-)

    And I don't think any government really considering to pay those 123 bn rather than switching back the currency will be elected ever again for some decades. If the rescue package had been signed just 1 single day earlier Merkels party and the liberal party would have lost far far more voters than they already did. However it was signed approx. 6 hours after the last polls were closed - now talk about coincidences.

    On the other hand the ECB is only doing what national banks in other countries such as the US and the UK have been doing since their creation. If the country needs to spend more money than they can tax from the people directly - find some way to start an inflation. If this is done by purchasing loans from the country or directly by printing money does not matter really. As the money ofthe citizens loses value this a also nothing but an alternative way of taxation

    Maybe every euro country should receive 1000 euro for each of it's citizens from the ECB sent to the goverment.

    That would probably cause a short period of inflation but solve a list of problems - oh no wait there is a clue to this - rich and influential people would lose most of the money as they are those sitting on it rather than averge Joe who worries about paying bills rather than stockpilling coins. It would even be far better sellable to the voters as many wouldn't understand the consequences this would provoke.

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  • 15. At 4:04pm on 14 May 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #10 Bluesberry

    It's the magic of Believing ! Dream on , who knows your dreams may come true . Personally I'm not persuaded , time will tell .

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  • 16. At 4:08pm on 14 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt,
    You might be interesting in the conclusion of the editorial of Die Zeit this week:
    FDP is the stock exchange party here, the advocate of unpopular "reforms". Die Zeit interpret the election in Nord-Rhine Westphalen with these words: As little as possible of FDP. The paper thinks, we need a post-socialdemocratic taming of "the markets".

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  • 17. At 4:09pm on 14 May 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #9 Eurosider .

    I think you have got the picture of general European resident attitudes .

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  • 18. At 4:25pm on 14 May 2010, Richard35 wrote:

    Firstly enjoy your holiday Gavin. I am afraid that this blog shows signs of you already being somewhat demob happy as you tell us that the Euro is no longer under speculative attack. In fact I understand that it has hit an 18 month low today. I believe that a trigger was news on Spanish inflation and according to notayesmanseconomics web blog which today has anlysed both Spain and Portugal's economic situation.

    "Perhaps it has also focused the markets mind on another problem for Spain (and some others) which is that she needs cost disinflation to improve her competitiveness without debt affordability disinflation as it increases the real cost of her debt. This is indeed quite a quandary."

    Whilst this sort of situation remains I suspect the markets will still be volatile..

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  • 19. At 4:32pm on 14 May 2010, frenchtommy wrote:

    It appears to me that if President Sarkozy did threaten to pull France out of the Euro, then the German government would be delighted. Or perhaps a better idea would be two Euros; one grouping the denial faction of France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece and another the realist faction of Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, etc.

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  • 20. At 4:41pm on 14 May 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Eurosider (9) said "A simple browse of the European Commission s web site would tell you immediately that whoever is running their media office has little or no understanding of how to communicate ... it gives all the impression of someone writing for a village parish council"

    Websites are for EU-sceptics that have no money. They are also bidirectional and therefore dangerous. Should the views of dissident subjects be seen it could fatally undermine the message that politicians want the unidirectional media to relay to the citizens of each country that everyone in all the other countries is perfectly happy with ever closer union.

    So far better to direct the EU DG Communications budget (a mere €2.4 billion a year) into the EU's own TV and radio stations, 'training' for journalists, and to fund think-tanks and other organisations to push the message of ever closer European cooperation. This targetted allocation of overwhelming financial resources into one-way messages directed at the citizenry is the only sure guarantee of the EU popularity that we see today. And this strategy will also work in other cases too. For example with a mere €750bn the single currency can defy the laws of economics too.

    Remember - Nothing is impossible with inifinite resources. Therefore any suggestion that the EU is not communicating effectively merely indicates the need for a further increase in the EU Communications budget.

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  • 21. At 4:42pm on 14 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:


    "..the push is on to coordinate tax regimes more closely.."

    This may or may not be an entirely legitimate aspiration of the Economic-Fiscal masters of the EU.

    What is beyond dispute is that nowhere in EUrope is there an indication that that Brussels' policy initiative has stemmed from even the slightest public demand or even awareness that such an undertaking was on the agenda!

    Brussels proposes to take over the National Budget plans of 27 Nations: An immense and wholly 'political' manoeuvre that must irrevocably reduce 27 National elected Parliaments to the position of rubber-stamp collectives.

    This decisive move away from any conceivable vestige of National independence (literally the reverse of 'No Taxation Without representation') is underway with absolutely no regard, consultation or respect for the views, opinions, aspirations of 500,000,000 Citizens!

    Even I when formerly accusing the EU of moving toward being totally 'anti-Democratic' & 'unrepresentative' of the Citizens had not envisaged quite how blatant & crude would be the grab for supreme authority & power!
    Anyone who doubted the ECJ will be making Judgements affecting National Parliaments at every level of policy-making must surely now acknowledge if this EU initiative is put on the Statute books there is no way back from rule by a group of unelected Judges.

    With these powers the EU becomes an utter disgrace to Democracy & the most dangerous threat to the Free-will of Citizens of EUrope and the British Isles for over half a century.

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  • 22. At 4:46pm on 14 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @8. At 1:53pm on 14 May 2010, generalissimo

    It makes no difference how much brain power the EU has. It doesn't have it in he right place.

    The EU (and in particular us here in the UK) have been living on borrowed time (and money). No matter how many people the governments fire, no matter how efficient we run our countries and our services, nothing will make the slightest difference unless we change our development approach. The theory the free market advokates have been preaching us since Margaret Thatcher is wrong. Even without one single public servant, we still do not produce enough in our own countries. Unless we cut wages to Chinese or Indian level with the free market method we use now we will never make it. Free markets is driving us to that level, for the last 10 - 15 years we were borrowing in order to live, in the meanwhile our countries have been emptied of all production. Here in the UK I've been hearing for the last two years now, that we are luck we can devalue the pound and have an export lead recovery. Reality it has not made any difference we still post huge trade deficits.

    The EU should get out of the WTO and set up trade agreements with countries on terms that benefit the all of the EU, not the nonsense we have now that we low tarrifs in exchange for the other nation(s) to allow 5 - 6 large EU companies to buy and run the utilities of those other nations. Lowering tarrifs on everything putting millions of EU people out of work and on benefits, just in order a couple of utilities companies can increase their sales.

    That development model is not sustainable in the long run.

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  • 23. At 4:56pm on 14 May 2010, ubaldi81 wrote:

    I ve been following your blog for almost 6 months. And I thought I had to make a comment.
    France out of the euro!!! What a joke! I know that the Brits are very independant. I admire this very much... But this is just inaccurate and false. You shouldn't, as a journalist refer to fantaisies.
    This is just impossible. It would be the mother of all financial crises!
    I know htat some of your article are tinted with euroskepticism. I respect that, but don't tell impossible things just to make your presentation more convincing!

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  • 24. At 4:58pm on 14 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #7 - democracythreat

    'Germany has been fleeced by the east'. Really? Where did that come from? German companies have made significant investments in the east to be sure, especially the automotive industry in the Czech Republic and now Mercedes in Hungary but fleeced? I can only assume that you are referring to the bailouts to Hungary, Romania and Ukraine in which case you should pause to reflect that these were all IMF led (there was modest ECB involvement with the Hungarian loan). The Germans are much more vulnerable to the south because all the countries involved are in the Euro zone. Ukraine, Hungary and Romania are not and therefore cannot be said to be fleecing Germany. Moreover, the three countries I refer to have all taken steps to rein back on public sector spending and adopted austerity measures in order to service the borrowing.

    The characterisation of eastern European states as a tiresome burden on the west simply does not stand up to scrutiny. They are providing manufacturing opportunities to western companies based on affordable real estate, flexible planning and a modest wage workforce and they are not accustomed to and therefore demanding of excessive 'nanny state' social payment levels. They certainly need to look carefully at the excessive red tape which ties up progress but, that aside, the east presents opportunities rather than risks.

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  • 25. At 5:26pm on 14 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Now is the perfect opportunity for America to ramp up a trade war with Europe. It can start by printing tons of money and devaluing the US dollar. This will put Europe between a rock and a hard place. If it doesn't devalue also, it will be uncompetitive with the US and will be priced out of American markets during the recovery. And if it does follow suit and devalue, inflation and loss of buying power will drive its citizens to revolt. All the American government has to do to start the ball rolling is spend trillions of dollars it doesn't have and can't get through higher taxes because its citizens don't have it either. When those debts come due, it won't have any choice except to print it. Hmmmm, it seems to me that is exactly what the US has been doing.

    And Europe? It hasn't even begun to see trouble yet. What has happened up to now and what is happening now is the calm before the storm. When the storm hits with full fury, there won't be any doubt these were merely the preliminary first breezes of the outer bands so far.

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  • 26. At 5:28pm on 14 May 2010, bart wrote:

    From what someone on this site said thee French President threatened the German Chancellor with taking France out of the Euro if Germany did not come to the aid of Greece.
    If the French can leave the Euro for this why not Germany for the other?

    Seems the French president does not love the Euro nearly as much as the Germans?

    When there was no panic countries (read that as leaders) in Europe agreed to a set of responses to problems with the Euro. Then Panic and all the thought out responses were thrown out the window.

    When are your leaders going to get a grip?

    When the Euro came out it was a economic wonder everything done just right or the Germans would not join.

    Since the Germans were in politicians playing games for things like Glory and Honor rather than (Sound Business and Economic principles). It is Europe’s leaders and gamesmanship that will kill the Euro not the Greeks.

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  • 27. At 5:34pm on 14 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #19 Frenchtommy
    You are absolutey right: The possible threat from Sarkozy would be completely empty. Actully, it might be a press fabrication.

    A note: Denmark is not using the Euro, but is linked to it. By the way the parlamentary majority for a change to the Euro has just changed and has become larger. That is one and a half year before I had expected it.
    Voila!

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  • 28. At 6:12pm on 14 May 2010, frenchderek wrote:

    @ frenchtommy: you don't seem to be up with the news. Spain, Portugal and France have all put forward to their Parliaments plans for public service cut-backs.

    And the idea of a "two-speed" EU has been around for a while. Sarkozy now wants the top tier to be the eurozone countries - who would set the agenda (17, soon to be 18 countries win the argument when it comes to majority voting), whilst the others (eg UK) would have to follow. Fortunately it seems other member nations (eg Germany) told him to shut up and go sit in a corner.

    NB Obama is widely reported as having held long (pressurising?) conversations with several key EU member nations (eg Germany, France, Portugal, Spain) - which led them to change their minds on both the EU loan/guarantee scheme and also on their own economic policies. Seems he's more than the President of the USA..... hmmm, I wonder.

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  • 29. At 6:14pm on 14 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Gavin, Enjoy your holiday.

    The collapse of the eurozone will take a little longer than a week. (I give it another 12-15 months).

    As for 'further integration': that's like putting out fire with gasoline.

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  • 30. At 6:28pm on 14 May 2010, bart wrote:

    Whatever some people think or hope the majority of people in the Europe continue to vote for the politicians who support further integration of Europe's countries.

    This could be called a consensus of the willing in relation to the peoples of these countries.

    Meanwhile voters looking to stop the process have not put together the votes in any single European country as far as I can tell.

    This integration is happening is Starts and Fits possibly because it can not be done any other way.

    Even French and Dutch voters have slowed the process down a few times when Leaders have gotten to far out in Front.

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  • 31. At 6:34pm on 14 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @25. MarcusAureliusII

    Go to the Gulf Coast and get some gallons of oil, it is for free right now...
    You will need it when the US enters Ice Age 4

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  • 32. At 6:58pm on 14 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #27 - Mathiasen

    "The possible threat from Sarkozy would be completely empty".

    Can't argue with that. In any case, as you say, it probably is not accurate. Nevertheless, we are certainly see some nasty stress fractures in the Paris-Berlin Axis. Given the apparent rise in antipathy towards if not the EU then the Euro project amongst ordinary Germans, one wonders whether the Chancellor might seek a more productive relationship with the new government in London.

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  • 33. At 7:02pm on 14 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #25 - MarcusAureliusII

    You want a trade war with Europe?

    Do the terms 'off your trolley' or 'out of your tiny' have any resonance your side of the pond?

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  • 34. At 7:02pm on 14 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #21 cool_Brush_work

    The plug has been pulled-- and Britain is going down the drain with no help needed from the EU.

    Are you still so politically naive to believe that Democracy is the name of the game ?

    The only hope citizens of UK and Europe have, is that those in power will provide (with our taxes) a better living standard.

    If you are not using the UK as an exemplary example for all to follow, then please stop this incessant repetition.



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  • 35. At 7:18pm on 14 May 2010, prolemmie wrote:

    "A united Europe no longer captures the imagination of many of its residents"

    "Germans I talk to dream of nothing else but returning to D-Mark"

    None of the Germans I work with are dreaming of any such an idea. Like many others in the Eurozone, they have seen the enormous advantages and appreciate the euro as a major factor in advancing the EU. Of course there is a nasty feeling about always being the paymaster but there is a grim determination to make the euro work, so we can continue to benefit from the success of the first decade but also a determination to avoid continuing the mistakes that have been made.

    The euro is one of the worlds major currencies and will continue to be so. An the EU will not fall apart.


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  • 36. At 7:25pm on 14 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Portugal, too, is increasing wages and cutting wages. "

    what???

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  • 37. At 7:29pm on 14 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    How will any solutions be accepted when no one has explained why this all happened. There has been no responsbility assigned to the banks and investment houses and eveyone seems happy to pretend that nothing wrong was done. If you do not fix the barn door buying a new horse to replace the one that ran away does no good. The only way to have consumer confidence is to give them something to be confident about and as nothing has changed most people believe the banks will only do it again...and why not they were rewarded for the greatest upward transfer of wealth in the history of the world. One must wonder about the lack of governmental response to all of this and how the banking lobbyist can block any legislation that might protect the investors. The government is surely corrupt.

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  • 38. At 7:31pm on 14 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Quietoaktree

    Re #34

    Naive!

    Well, you would know, wouldn't You?

    Are You still banging that great big drum without any sense of how very unimpressive the constant noise is whilst others get on with making a tuneful orchestra!

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  • 39. At 7:37pm on 14 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "35. At 7:18pm on 14 May 2010, prolemmie wrote:

    "A united Europe no longer captures the imagination of many of its residents"

    "Germans I talk to dream of nothing else but returning to D-Mark"

    None of the Germans I work with are dreaming of any such an idea. Like many others in the Eurozone, they have seen the enormous advantages and appreciate the euro as a major factor in advancing the EU. Of course there is a nasty feeling about always being the paymaster but there is a grim determination to make the euro work, so we can continue to benefit from the success of the first decade but also a determination to avoid continuing the mistakes that have been made.

    The euro is one of the worlds major currencies and will continue to be so. An the EU will not fall apart."

    I agree. One shouldn't judge German opinion solely on the comments of "Bild" readers.

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  • 40. At 7:43pm on 14 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @34. quietoaktree

    What I find always amusing is the wording "Our Taxes"

    1) if you are a civil servant then your entire salary is paid through tax and therefore also YOUR income tax and NI contribution. It could be simplified by giving civil servants a new lower income tax and NI free salary and would reduce the administration of the treasury to collect these contribution they paid anyway for
    It is like giving myself a £1000 loan with 5% interest.
    Does this makes sense to you.
    Refer to (2) to see where Your taxes come from.

    (2) if you work in the private sector then your entire gross salary is paid by your company, including Your tax and NI contributions.
    As the employer also pay NI, the payslip could be simplified by Your lower net salary plus employer's double NI contribution and let's call it a SALARY TAX

    So tell me which part of the income tax is YOURS?

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  • 41. At 7:45pm on 14 May 2010, David Skene-Melvin wrote:

    The bitter truth is that continuing growth is an economic impossibility in the combination of the world's current environmental and over-populated situations. The present standard-of-living is inexorably decreasing and shall do so in geometrical progression. Consumer consumption is no longer the panacea as "I want" gives way to "I would like" to "I need".

    Canuckelder

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  • 42. At 7:46pm on 14 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #32. At 6:58pm on 14 May 2010, threnodio_II
    Well, I shall not go into further speculations on Merkel-Cameron. I have already mention a couple of reasons why this alliance is quite unlikely.

    “Ordinary Germans” is excellent as an empty label. Who is ordinary and who is not? You can decide for yourself what the answer is. May I mention that Merkel’s party, CDU, is the largest, and has appr. 40% of the votes. Also: All parties in Bundestag gave their principal yes to the bail out of Greece, and so with the exception of nonvoters all “ordinary Germans” are covered. Die Zeit writes in its editorial this week that there are stupid voters, only they are not the majority. This is where politicians are making a mistake.

    On Wednesday the influential paper Süddeutsche Zeitung mentioned to its readers what the advantage of the Euro is. In the competition with Germany companies the 15 other Euro zone members could back in the old days devalue their currency. That is over now, and German companies profit from a large single market. Secondly, SZ mentions millions of new jobs within the zone. Without this growth I think we could be pretty sure that the UK were not a member today.

    Merkel has indeed lost much political capital in the last couple of months, and an election last Sunday. If her Euro policy had been straight form the beginning, she could have avoided that, and the problems with Paris. France and Germany do not always have the same approach - regardless of what has been repeated here ad nauseam - but they are bound to find a common solution. I understand they get some support from Washington this time: IMF contributes 250 bn Euros to calm down “the markets”. It is very interesting to observe this proces.

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  • 43. At 7:48pm on 14 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    for self-employed, try to play the game for yourself...

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  • 44. At 7:49pm on 14 May 2010, SpareACopperGuv wrote:

    The tone of the commentary for the past 2 months on the Euro gives the impression that Germany is philosophically out-of-tune with its southern neighbours, but also, perhaps consequentially, wealthy. It's being portrayed as some rich grumpy uncle with the means, if not the will, to bail out less disciplined members of the family.

    Germany is a federation - look at the parlous economic condition of most of the individual states and you see if different picture. Low wages and a frugal attitude do not lead to wealth. There is no pot of gold there.

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  • 45. At 8:04pm on 14 May 2010, andrewme wrote:

    Time to kick Greece to the kerb. The Greeks want loans but dont want cuts for services they cant afford, doctors are signed off by taxmen as living below the poverty line, and riot over it. We should roll back to a trading zone and save our net £16 billion contribution and we can keep our open trade borders. Thank goodness we can keep the pound, ad if we can only force our unemployed to work and ban recruitment of non EU workers in everything executive positions, we can survive. The age of AUSTERITY began in the 1980's, we just kept borrowing to hide it. Perhaps in teh 1960s we really never had it so so good

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  • 46. At 8:21pm on 14 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious;

    "#25 - MarcusAureliusII

    You want a trade war with Europe?"

    A trade war. America has been in one with them for a long time, now is the perfect chance to put Europe under, give 'em hell Harry. There are some under a delusion that this would be bad for America. Perhaps for American multi-national corporations which are not really American anymore at all but it would be great news for the average US citizen. I wish President Obama would stop meddling in other people's affairs, he's got more than enough problems at home to deal with and he has not fixed any of them yet. Anyway, there is nothing America can do to bail out Greece let alone the entire EU, if it's going down it's going down. I hope he doesn't expect America to throw money at it, it's bad enough our IMF contributions went there. If he tries, Congress will have his head, even his own fellow Democrats will be angry about it. Nobody here really cares about Europe anymore, not since it sold America out. We haven't forgotten.

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  • 47. At 8:27pm on 14 May 2010, Raskolnikov wrote:

    The 'South' of Europe has felt entitled to German largesse for too long. The Germans, burdened by the guilt of their past, have paid up. The present generation, now 65 years after the end of WW2, will come to their senses sooner or later, and refuse to participate. France as usual wants to be a big fish in a little pond. Britain should thank its "Little Englanders' that it did not become involved with the Euro. It was a cadeau empoisonné.

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  • 48. At 8:31pm on 14 May 2010, oldguy10 wrote:

    We tend to jump into things using about half the brainpower and patience needed to make good decisions. Examples of this are the Euro, U.S. health care, bailouts, world trade, Iraq, Immigration reform, Afghanistan, financial regulations, and elected officials.

    Anybody care to add to this list?

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  • 49. At 8:31pm on 14 May 2010, SpareACopperGuv wrote:

    re #46. MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Nobody here really cares about Europe anymore, not since it sold America out. We haven't forgotten."

    Enlightenment on the "sold America out" bit please. But did anyone care anyway? and if so, for whom?

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  • 50. At 8:34pm on 14 May 2010, Leo Wilson wrote:

    I'm reading through the posts and seeing an awful lot of insight into the problem. The west (EU and US) doesn't produce anything anymore and can no logner pay the bills. What it does produce is sucked dry by union worker models that can no longer compete in the real world. I don't know why, but everyone is talking about higher taxes on the revenues that aren't there and cutting services that we can't afford instead of talking about the one thing that might actually help: tarrifs that make local manufacturing competitive, if not globally, then at least in our own neighborhoods.
    Then I read things like MarcusAureliusII's post about the US waging a trade war against Europe, and I wonder... are there dingbats on every continent, or has the west a monopoly on them? America is who stopped imperialism around the world, mostly European, not the guys that get into financial trouble and go to war.
    The danger I see in the future isn't in trade wars with our allies. It's in renewed wars of imperialism and the economy of conquest and looting that traditionally start on the European continent... and that while the wealth-producing industries have moved to Asia.
    Stop banging at the US. Yes, we're in the same boat, and no, bickering among ourselves while Asia gets wealthy and arms up isn't going to help.

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  • 51. At 8:37pm on 14 May 2010, Joeblo wrote:

    The banana peel that Europe is gonna step on is France.

    You have people that don't want to work because they will lose entitlements (and there are a lot of them in France).

    The austerity programs that are gonna have to initiated will result in a problem that France has ignored (illegal immigrants).

    Good luck fixing that one.

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  • 52. At 8:43pm on 14 May 2010, Kennys_Heroes wrote:

    Gavin Hewitt's unique objective in life seems to be to kick Europe & stamp on it's euro. It's getting rather tiresome. (Or maybe I just stumbled on a UKIP blog?)...

    Never mind going all the way to the US every time for "expert" opinions on Europe, just to come out with deep gems like "A united Europe no longer captures the imagination of many of its residents". Could you not find any Europeans to tell you that?

    As for "apart from in France, I have discovered a begrudging acceptance of the EU, but little enthusiasm" - with your qualified negatives, I am at a total loss to imagine what it is you HAVE discovered in France!?


    @ ubaldi81 (#23): You put that a lot more diplomatically than I am wont to myself.

    @ prolemmie (#35): That's pretty much the same view I have from my corner of France! Goodness me, we must both be living in the only 2 little rebellious microcosms surviving within a swathing anti-Europe Europe!

    I do hope the BBC will have a stand-in for the week. At least.

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  • 53. At 8:47pm on 14 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @46. MarcusAureliusII wrote
    "...Nobody here really cares about Europe anymore, not since it sold America out. We haven't forgotten"

    You know, Europe is so poor, we had to sell SOMETHING (out)

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  • 54. At 8:51pm on 14 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @47. Raskolnikov

    And Britain wants to be a small fish in a big pond???

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  • 55. At 8:51pm on 14 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #42 - Mathiasen

    Perhaps 'ordinary' was an unfortunate choice of words. What I meant was what I suppose the English call 'the person on the street' as opposed to the members of the political élite which we all recognise. It was not meant to be offensive or condescending. I too saw the piece in SDZ and agree with them and you.

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  • 56. At 8:52pm on 14 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Wilson noisy tennis racket;

    "Then I read things like MarcusAureliusII's post about the US waging a trade war against Europe, and I wonder... are there dingbats on every continent"

    You look at what Europe did to itself not merely willingly but eagerly and you suggest that I..."MOI" is a dingat? I think you need a reality check bub. They had the world by the tail after we handed it to them and the greedy b******s blew themsevles up. Now that's what I call dingbat.

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  • 57. At 9:16pm on 14 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    Marcus.

    Come to think of it, I can't think of any occasion when Europe 'sold you out'. Several when we should have done but that's another matter altogether.

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  • 58. At 9:47pm on 14 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    oi oi oi:

    "You know, Europe is so poor, we had to sell SOMETHING (out)"

    Too bad for Europe it was the only thing it had of value. Now it is entirely worthless.

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  • 59. At 10:10pm on 14 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    This is like the Irish weather: 4 seasons in 1 week

    Monday
    Shares surge after EU loan deal
    Tuesday
    US Stocks Fall, Scepticism Over EU Plan
    Wednesday
    US Stocks Climb As Euro-Zone GDP and Spain's austerity plan Relieves Investors
    Friday
    Global shares fall amid fear of Europe austerity plans

    And they still dare to use the word "investor"

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  • 60. At 10:13pm on 14 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #58 - MarcusAureliusII

    "Now it is entirely worthless". A bit like your comment then Marcus.

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  • 61. At 10:37pm on 14 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    48. oldguy10

    marriage? I think there should be a ten year cooling off period.

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  • 62. At 10:41pm on 14 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    59. oeichler

    'And they still dare to use the word "investor"'

    They were killed out in the mass extinction in March 2009.

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  • 63. At 10:45pm on 14 May 2010, armagediontimes wrote:

    #46 MarcusAurelius11. Oh dear Marcus you are a confused soul. America has been sold out alright, but by Goldman Sachs and its ilk. The last time I looked they were located in NYC.

    If you want Obama to stop meddling in other people affairs you might start by asking why the US has military bases in something over 150 countries around the world - surely they are not all in mortal danger.

    If there is nothing America can do to bail out Greece ask why the Fed started shipping virtually unlimited $´s to Europe as of last Sunday night. Ask also where the Fed gets the lawful authority from to engage in these shipments. Aren´t you supposed to be a Republic with a Constitution? How does it feel to have the Fed and the financial oligarchs use the Constitution as so much toilet paper?

    You really think that the 36 million US citizens reliant on food stamps would somehow benefit by the collapse of Europe? If so how?

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  • 64. At 10:51pm on 14 May 2010, bart wrote:

    We seem to be getting a little heated here. The shorter the sentences the higher the heat.

    AS an American and i can only speak for myself.

    More large countries with stable currencies can only add to world stability.

    Iran is dealing in Euros I understand for its oil out of a hate for the US.

    While anything that hurts Iran for me is a positive good the damage done to World stability is Not worth more that the pain inflicted to that particular bunch of loonies.

    European leaders are and American as well I guess are constantly trying to mange exchange rates between these two currencies.

    This defeats the simple idea that floating exchange rates allow for corrections to occur in trade patterns automatically. So when a Government tries to fix rates these problems continue to build to real trouble.

    Trade wars are for fools there are no winners only losers.

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  • 65. At 11:20pm on 14 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #64 - bart

    "We seem to be getting a little heated here. The shorter the sentences the higher the heat". Yes. Sorry about that. On a good day, Marcus can be erudite and pithy but, on a bad one, he just lobs insults around. We really should not rise to it.

    On the substantive point, I completely agree about stable currencies and stability. As regards managing exchange rates, I think all the main central banks have understood - especially in the post crash volatility that intervention is a necessary evil since an unfettered market would distort and magnify problems to the point where the whole thing could spiral out of control.

    On the specific subject of Iranian oil prices, Ahmadinejad's anti-American rhetoric is simply the public face. There are some very clever people running Tehran not least Ali Khamenei. You can bet that there are sound pragmatic reasons for what they are doing. You may recall that at the beginning of the slump the Arab members of OPEC briefly flirted with an idea of adopting a 'petroeuro'. The idea disappeared as the contagion spread to Europe.

    You are right that, in normal circumstances, trade wars are for fools. In the current climate, they are reserved for the certifiably insane.

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  • 66. At 11:54pm on 14 May 2010, vilma82 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 67. At 00:05am on 15 May 2010, vilma82 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 68. At 00:06am on 15 May 2010, vilma82 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 69. At 00:22am on 15 May 2010, Stephen Morris wrote:

    Based on past experience, one thing is certain: the People of Europe (with the possible exception of the Irish) will get no say in what happens to them next.

    The Euro was never an optimal currency zone. The risks were pointed out long before it was implemented.

    The Euro debacle was forced upon the People of Europe by megalomaniac politicians who saw it as a way of writing themselves into the history books as "Great Leaders" and "The Founding Fathers of Europe".

    The German People, in particular, were denied any opportunity to vote directly on this catastrophic blunder. Had they been allowed to do so they would never have agreed to it.

    The People of Sweden and Denmark, who were allowed to vote, wisely kept away (despite the exhortations of their elites, telling them that they were too stupid to be allowed to vote on such important matters of state). The People of Britain would certainly have voted No, had their politicians not realised that it was futile even calling a referendum in the first place.

    But the cardinal rule of all politicians is "Never let the People bugger up your power base." Having caused this fiasco, they will now impose their own "solution" over the wishes of the People.

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  • 70. At 00:24am on 15 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #40 Oiechler

    Where do YOU live ?

    Where I live practically EVERYTHING is taxed ---from products to services !

    The non-commonsense_expressway appears to believe the UK taxes justify the UK living standard.

    I do not !


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  • 71. At 00:26am on 15 May 2010, Heiner Moers wrote:

    Interesting readings so far.

    I see two major issues and they are not nessessarily saving the world or the EU. First governments have to spent less. One way would be to immediately freeze all government entitlement payments at current levels for at least two years (salaries, pensions and other benefits) across the board. Second increase taxes on all non-productive earned income e.g. interest, capital gains, dividends etc. and charge the financial institutions a fee for every investment transaction like a .25% of the value to be added as a transaction tax.

    We can not load more taxes on incomes earned by people in the productive age, our seniors have to contribute too, they are in many cases the benefactors of social programs which are paid by an ever smaller numder of contributors and with smaller salaries or wages. If the suffer or living standard goes down so should the 65 plus generation.

    We need drastic measures otherwise we have to consider trade barriers and force manufactures to produce locally again and get the unemployment numbers down. Inflation is a distint possibility under that scenario.

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  • 72. At 00:40am on 15 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    armadillo;

    "You really think that the 36 million US citizens reliant on food stamps would somehow benefit by the collapse of Europe? If so how?"

    Jobs, jobs, jobs.

    BTW, the new British Foreign Secretary William Hague has made a bee-line to the US without the slightest delay to start licking American boots. He knows his place very well. I'm sure Lady Clinton appreciates a spit polish shine on her shoes. I'll bet you can see your face in them now. Getting the collar and leash on him was entirely painless. Very obedient as expected from a representative of a society that knows and respects pecking order.

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  • 73. At 00:53am on 15 May 2010, craigmcinerney wrote:

    The fear of on an economic outbreak perpetrated by the “contagious “Greeks, and the foreboding forecasts of a wave of financial instability consuming the Euro zone have prompted E.U Commission to take a drastic stance encompassing a potential inflammatory budget review process.
    The commission is advocating the implementation of a “peer review process”, where effectively national sovereign member states would submit their budgets for approval by the Commission. The review process would act as a preventive measure to ensure economic harmony and act as a defense against potentially destabilizing fiscal policy.If unharmonious policy was enacted it would have detrimental consequences to the valuation of the Euro and effectively devalue other member states economies, and in this lies the premise for the Commission’s actions.

    The implication of this move could be potential shattering to the solidarity of the European Union. The emergence of a fractured European Union is a real possibility.

    Take the hypotheses of an indebted member state in a position where its Government is unable to enacted tough austerity measures which are the perennial prerequisite of any current bailout package. The Euro zone bailout reserve will be forced to provide funds even though the Government is unable to meet the requirements of its lenders. The alternative; to refuse funding is utterly unpalatable. It would have a domino effect of instability on other member states, particularly in the strength of the Euro.

    The Budget review process would try to act as a combatant to this happening in the first place, and would act as a progressive form of economic governance and undoubtedly would give the Commission the ability to pre-approve bailout countries budgets ensuring economic harmony.

    The fundamental problem that may arise from this is that the tenure of any Government under the current climate is on shaky ground. In the case of a further bailout to a member state, there could very well be a rapid turnover of Government. The incoming Government will undoubtedly have to appease public opinion and undoubtedly dilute austere policies and in some cases abandon them. The consequences would be dire and other member states would undoubtedly call for harsh repercussions and in extreme cases expulsion from the Euro zone.

    Olli Rehn, Europe’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner stated: “Coordination of fiscal policy has to be conducted in advance, in order to ensure that national budgets are consistent with the European dimension, that they don’t put at risk the stability of the other member states”

    The dwarfing of sovereign fiscal autonomy is not new to member states, their very presence in the E.U is a commitment to a higher authority. However the national Budget is the ultimate in economic autonomy and the Big Brother Budget review process will inevitable be taken on the premise of “what is good for European economic harmony? “ and the needs of a domestic national economy will inevitably be marginalised.

    Austere measures imposed by a national government are bitter pill for most to swallow, but the implementation by a supranational body of these measures with the primary goal of Euro zone stability, would be comparative to asking citizens to swallow a rugby ball, it wouldn’t fly and the backlash would range from protest, to calls for referendums on an exit of the Euro zone.

    The complex between indebted member states wanting what’s best for them tempered by stable member states refusal to be weighed down by these reckless states may be the impetuous for a radical overhaul of the composition of the Euro zone. The creation of a fractured E.U is a distinct possibility with the relative solvent in one corner and fiscally defunct in the other. The Budget review process may be the catalyst to accelerate this dynamic and invariably bring about the beginning of the end of the European Dream.

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  • 74. At 01:01am on 15 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #64 Bart

    Both the € and the $ are floating, so what is the problem ?

    I see no attempt by Europe to prop up the € Vs $. That is Obama´s problem when America is again showing ´Green Shoots ´.

    Both Spain and Portugal have passed laws today to lower their deficits, other European countries will follow as the Euro falls. The 1.24 barrier has been breached the next 1.20. 1.15 or $1=€ ???

    It is only be a matter of time before America and China etc begin to complain.

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  • 75. At 01:08am on 15 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #73 Craigmcinery

    It would be suicide for ANY country to leave the Euro if it has large debt ---Think the scenario through !

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  • 76. At 02:15am on 15 May 2010, An-Ordinary-Joe wrote:

    Europe is finished as a project, the cracks are all to evident and the Euro dream is dying. Ireland will have to borrow billions in order to fund the bailout package for Greece yet that country has suffered austerity measures of its own yet the idiot administration would rather inflict more pain on their own by way of an increased tax burden to fund Greece's reckless spending habits of the last decade.

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  • 77. At 03:08am on 15 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    oeichler wrote:
    "@34. quietoaktree

    What I find always amusing is the wording "Our Taxes"

    1) if you are a civil servant then your entire salary is paid through tax and therefore also YOUR income tax and NI contribution. It could be simplified by giving civil servants a new lower income tax and NI free salary and would reduce the administration of the treasury to collect these contribution they paid anyway for
    It is like giving myself a £1000 loan with 5% interest.
    Does this makes sense to you.
    Refer to (2) to see where Your taxes come from.

    (2) if you work in the private sector then your entire gross salary is paid by your company, including Your tax and NI contributions.
    As the employer also pay NI, the payslip could be simplified by Your lower net salary plus employer's double NI contribution and let's call it a SALARY TAX

    So tell me which part of the income tax is YOURS?"

    This is the best post I've read on this blog in ages.

    It is worth a close look, and deep reflection. Notice that oeichler is being highly specific about the physical act of paying tax. Who pays it? Government workers clearly do not. Nor do workers who have their tax deducted by corporate employers. In both these cases, taxes are taken from the employers budget and paid to government BY THE EMPLOYER. So it is the state paying itself, and corporations paying for the workers they use.

    That is who is PAYING tax. Yes, it is paid in the name of the workers, but you have to be a bit skeptical about things done in the name of the workers, for the supposed benefit of the workers. Into that basket goes genocide, war, death camps, the gulag, speeding fines and opera. And further deprivations I'll not mention here.

    So if we discount things done for the workers for their benefit, who is paying tax in this system of corporate dominated representative democracy?

    Well, clearly the government paying itself tax is a nonsense, so the answer must be that corporations pay tax. And so they do. Huge amounts of payroll tax. It is like a hire fee for workers. If you want one of the workers who belongs to the state, you can rent one from the state for the fee of the payroll tax.

    That is the business being done, under corporate dominated representative democracy. Corporations are paying the tax, and corporations are also being fed tax dollars via government spending. Those corporations which have access to resources and monopolies, or shares of monopolies, can afford to pay their worker rent tax by jacking up prices. And so you get a massive growth in companies doing things with monopoly resources: air wave band width, energy supply, and the like.

    And this is indeed what we find in the west. Energy companies and band width providers are massive, massive new business's.

    But who is paying their tax, if they use their share of monopolies in order to jack up prices? Why, the consumer, of course. The "worker". After receiving what is left over after all deductions for worker rent tax, the worker then pays a truly staggering amount of money in taxes for energy and communications band width. Fuel tax, transport costs, heating, phone, internet: all these things are many multiples higher in price than they might be, except for the fact that selected corporations have access to the finite resources in question and they jack up the prices to pay their worker rental tax and their fuel tax and so on and so forth.

    What is predictable about such a system of corporate oligarchy, where government serves the monopolies of large corporations in order to generate tax revenue, is that they fail. Fascism, which is the technical term for a government run by and for corporations, traditionally fails in the longer term. Why? Because it destroys innovation by taxing the majority into the ground in order that the elite few, who are shareholders of massive corporations with monopolies on resources, can survive and make huge profits.

    In short, when you have a society where large corporations can run government, they do so. They run government in order to create profit opportunities for themselves, and they use the ruse of "income tax" to pretend that the vast majority of the society is somehow included in the grand game of work for profit.

    Unless you have a society where the independent small business person, the individual innovator, is sufficiently free of taxes so that they can work and save and invest in their business, then you will never get innovation, savings and grass roots growth. If the taxation regime and political economy of the state favour corporations, you end up killing off the work of the little man and generating a fascist, degenerate state.

    Europe has now entered a phase of its evolution where governments have been caught out spending far too much, for far too long.

    Now look at how they respond. Do they accept responsibility for the mistake and change course? Or do they try to raise taxes, pretending that more tax is the answer, rather than less spending?

    Pretty clearly, the party machine wants more taxes. Everyone is hoping for the fabled economic recovery. Nobody wants to reduce spending.

    What makes this situation painfully absurd is the desired outcome: economic growth. In order to generate economic growth, Europe decides to raise taxes even higher, and increase government control of the economy.

    That, in a nutshell, is where Europe has gone wrong again, and again, and again, and yet again. European leaders, who are a self appointed elite with a history of feudal privileges, think they can run Europe as a despotic fascist state and still get economic growth!

    It is as if the dark ages and two world wars never happened!

    Europe, meaning here the EU, has been run as a funny money game for as long as the fake money could be produced. Now the debt is too big, and the fundamental structure of the political economy is being questioned.

    It has always been a feudal and fascist arrangement. Ever since the treaty of Rome. It was always based on select corporations using government as a means to carve out shares of markets, thereby killing off the small independent business person and increasing tax revenues for the state.

    Europe has not learned that the state is not a legitimate partner with corporations, nor has it learned that such an arrangement is fundamentally despotic and must lead to economic ruin.

    Tragically, the USA seems to have forgotten. But I don't think Europe ever learned in the first place.

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  • 78. At 03:45am on 15 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    It's rather remarkable how little faith Europeans have in the Euro. It's demonstrated by the fact that the prospect of default on bonds of only one government of a small country has sparked virtual panic that the entire currency will collapse if it is allowed to happen. This begs the question, does this overwhelming reaction move Euroland away from the cliff...or much closer towards it.

    Noisy little acorn, I'd have thought the fall of the Euro against the dollar would have been a golden opportunity for me...except now I like California wines much more than Bordeaux. All that wine in my cellar and most of it classified Bordeaux from 88, 89, and 90. What a pity it isn't from Napa instead.

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  • 79. At 03:49am on 15 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    So to sum up where the EU is at now.....

    We can all agree that:

    1. The EU is an economic disaster waiting to get worse. Member state governments have created vast debts they cannot service, or can barely service, and which grow relentlessly.

    2. The EU was set up to provide economic prosperity.

    Ergo, it has failed. It may, in time, recover, but it has failed in its stated aim. It didn't work. The grand plan failed, it did not work out.

    3. The EU is no more democratic than the worst of its member states, and far less than most.

    4. The EU was set up and endorsed by its creators as a "union of European people".

    Ergo, it has utterly failed to deliver on any promise of a greater political role for European people. Insofar as the EU has brought the people of Europe closer together, it has done so by way of removing what little democratic participation they had in former member states. The EU has been, however, an ever closer union of European socialist and conservative political parties. And their mutual corporate sponsors.

    5. The EU has failed to uphold human rights law in Latvia, where hundreds of thousands of people still cannot get a passport or fundamental civil rights in the country of their birth.

    6. The EU was endorsed (by its creators) as a bastion of human rights.

    Ergo, it has failed to uphold human rights law inside the EU when it was deemed politically useful to ignore human rights abuses. But that's OK. It is only Latvia. When it happens in a town near you, be sure the EU will jump in to demand justice with swift and sure focus on your human rights.

    Now we may differ on the outlook for the future, but this is pretty much the cold hard facts of the past.

    What strikes me most, aside from the human rights joke and the willful determination to reduce citizen participation in the political economy, is the economic failure.

    The EU has failed to make Europe economically prosperous. If anything, it has overseen the exact opposite. The debt mountain is the product of the SAME FOLKS who staffed the various institutions of the EU. These are the same people, from the same political parties, who made up the governments of the member states.

    All the debt that was dreamed up to loan to eastern europe and southern Europe? All that was the brainchild of the party politicians in the richer states. Great idea! But the bankers made their cut as the money passed through their hands, so not everybody lost.

    Of course, now we are being sold the line that the EU is somehow a different bunch of people than the party members from member states. Now the suffering public needs to listen to the same people who caused the mess explain how they are going to fix it with more of the same: more taxation, more government activity. More EU oversight of this wondrous project to..... wait for it..... create economic prosperity for all europeans!

    Have you heard of such a thing before? You might have done. That has been the mantra of these party goons in Brussels for nearly half a century. "We'll make you rich! Trust us!"

    But they haven't. They failed. The EU failed. All they created was a public debt so large it defies reasonable contemplation.

    When i was studying EU law at university, I had a moment of clarity one day, as I struggled to fathom the greater purpose of the regime. It suddenly dawned on me that the EU was a vast government bureaucracy, set up specifically in order to counter the evil economic influence of many small government bureaucracies.

    That is a fitting epitaph for the EU project. It is classic European style political and economic advancement. In order to free the economy from control, government must take over more of the economy through taxation and spending. As long as the end result is that private corporations own everything, then we live in a capitalist democracy. Even when people don't vote for those who make the laws!

    European elites think they can get "democratic" economic growth by being free themselves to own everything, whilst the common people work as feudal slaves in their corporate holdings. The elite seem to think that as long as they can innovate (and they can with secure government contracts: they can innovate things nobody wants or will pay for, and so they do!), then the overall economy will be one of innovation and growth.

    Europe is trying to mimic the USA, but it has failed to understand the fundamental engine of economic growth that drove the USA forward as an economic world power. People, the majority of common people, must be free and must be willing to work. They must be free politically, and that means being reasonably free of taxation.

    In any case, the EU has failed in its stated aim of providing economic prosperity. Given that it offers the people of Europe nothing in terms of human rights or political participation, what is it for?

    Or put another way, why does it still exist?

    Or put another way still, how badly must it fail in every respect before it will no longer grow as a despotic cancer, aiding reckless governments in member states and destroying what political liberty still exists?

    Can it ever fail, in its own eyes, or must it be gotten rid of by force?

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  • 80. At 04:17am on 15 May 2010, frenchydoc wrote:

    Do allow an American (albeit living in France) to correct the notion that France and Germany have bailed Greece out of its financial quagmire: France and Germany have bailed out their own banks to avoid default on billions and billions of high interest euro denominated Greek bonds, that otherwise would go belly-up. In the States that horrendous bailout of banks et al, is done quite openly and the US Treasury is hoping, at least to break even, on those tax payer supplied funds.

    This is the elephant in the room.

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  • 81. At 05:16am on 15 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @2 ChrisArta
    I totally agree

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  • 82. At 05:35am on 15 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 47 Raskolnikov
    The German sloppiness is nothing compared to the Russian one. France still plays the first fiddle partition along with Germany in the EU band. The Brits are lucky for having preserved the pound, but nobody can tell what would happen tomorrow after the Euro will regain the lost positions…
    Your nickname suggests that you enjoy the fact that the Euro has not yet recovered. At the same time, you seem somehow uneasy that the EU /as an entity/ is going to overcome the fiscal crisis. Better have a drink and leave us alone!

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  • 83. At 05:55am on 15 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #69. At 00:22am on 15 May 2010, Stephen Morris
    It is quite an essay you have written here.

    The German constitution does not allow for referenda.
    Contrary to this the Danish constitution allows for referenda, and they are even required in certain cases. Add to this the political agreement in DK from 1992 that the Euro must be approved through a referendum. There has been one (1) referendum in 2000, and the Euro failed.
    It is the same political situation in Sweden.
    Thirdly, for the time being neither Denmark nor Sweden fulfill the obligations of the Euro, and therefore nobody is planning any referendum.

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  • 84. At 07:08am on 15 May 2010, opinion wrote:

    The truth is that nobody knows what is gonna happen if EU disintegrates.
    I think that nothing good can come out of that.

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  • 85. At 07:14am on 15 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Mathiasen (83):

    Actually the case of Euro isn't the same between Sweden and Denmark. Denmark has an opt-out of it in the Maastricht treaty while Sweden doesn't. The Swedish accession treaty to the EU includes accepting the Maastricht treaty in full extend, thus obligating it to join the single currency.

    The Swedish government later invented a legal loop-hole to keep it joining the single currency by not fulfilling the criteria to join it. While the EU commission has signalled that in case of Sweden, they can accept this behaviour because at the time of accession there wasn't any single currency in effect, however same kind of behaviour from the newly joined EU countries wouldn't be acceptable and would be dealt with.

    In my opinion Sweden is in treaty violation of its accession treaty. While it has gotten forgiveness from the EU, that doesn't mean that its politicians shouldn't be pushing for Sweden to join the single currency to fulfil its treaty obligations.


    To everybody else...

    You are being way too dramatic in case of Euro. The turn in economy happened in the beginning of 2009 and from then on there has been slow recovery being under way, even while Euro has been too highly valued for the export industries. When the Euro stabilizes to 1.1 to 1.3 against US dollar, this will cause a dramatic increase in orders for European export industries. In few years time the recovery of industries will pull the public sector too out of the recession.

    Once again, to remind you on why we have Euro. We have Euro because it lowers transaction costs and removes currency risk inside the Eurozone. This is important because European industries and companies are heavily interlinked, by having one single currency, companies can concentrate on their core competencies and not on playing with markets. This is the actual reason why Eurozone is not going away, it is way too important for Eurozone companies. Plus there is an additional benefit, when public sector fails, it can't inflate or monetize itself out of trouble, a major positive benefit for all capital holders.

    Now somebody may note that importing energy and raw material to Europe costs more because of the decline of external value of Euro. However European economies are more energy efficient than for example the US or Chinese economies, thus the impact on having higher energy costs are covered by benefits of increased exports.

    I have no worries about Euro, it is here to stay.

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  • 86. At 07:48am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    This sounds anti-British, but it's not.

    I think the reason Obama wasnt crazy about Mr. Brown was his reluctance (his total anti even stance towards the Euro). He got on better with Sarkovsky and the reason being Britain to have a future role has got to join the EURO zone. So, the euro can have a chance and EUrope can be a counterweight to China.

    China is keeping America up and running. I wouldn't bet on American going down soon, not until China doesnt need its markets. China is pragmatism personified-almost an institutionalized philosophy. But, we need a counter influence to prevent them from making America their protectorate.

    If Britain is to have ANY influence in America, it had better shore up Europe and the EURO ...this fatigue is just that battle fatigue...remember the reluctance of Britain joining the Common Market. If Britain doesnt contribute more to European unity, France and the EU will be the

    USA's BFF, not the UK.

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  • 87. At 08:00am on 15 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    @Jukka,
    Comparisons can be dangerous - an was in this case. It was my intention to say only that also in Sweden there will be a referendum before Kroner are replaced with Euro.
    I didn't make a comparison of constitutions, because I don't know the details of the Swedish constitution in this matter, but obviously it allows the Swedish politicians to ask for an advice from the voters.
    I (also) agree on the drama part.

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  • 88. At 08:13am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    Welcome back, Mathiasen,

    Your Germany is back to sanity and in a better position financially than most nations. Your Germany is the most peaceful broad based democracy on the earth. All that sniping at you was just ideological.

    Keep up your good posts:)

    My brother lives in Germany and he likes the place--Stuttgart--history and all brand new buildings together. Germany is the heartland of Europe and unappreciated by all the people who live off its largesse. Just ignore the cr*p and keep us informed.

    Sincerely
    David

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  • 89. At 08:19am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    That is one of the best pieces you have written, DemocracyThreat...it sounds like a well written argument and makes me think.

    But hmmmm who really knows...things happen randomly and culture does adapt. Good reading.

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  • 90. At 08:39am on 15 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #72

    Elmer;

    "British Foreign Secretary William Hague has made a bee-line to the US "

    After David Cameron was appointed prime minister on Tuesday, Mr Obama was the first world leader to telephone to congratulate him.

    The US president told Mr Cameron that America had "no closer friend and ally than the United Kingdom


    Perhaps Obama invited Hague at that point? It must make your blood boil, lol

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  • 91. At 08:42am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    Think about it, Governments operate on deficits. People usually are worse than governments debt wise...student loans, mortgages, second mortgages, credit cards, bankruptcy...

    New job, new life...but Governments have to survive on taxes...so taxes must be collected that is the hard part in a slim majority of the world.

    But taxes have to be collected for the infrastructure, and they are not the enemy..

    *Markets that are unregulated and debt* is the enemy of our times, not inflation, deflation, the USSR, Hitler and terrorists. As long as we don't go broke trying to derail terrorism, we'll be ok. How did debt become something that is necessary???

    Really, it is the everyman problem of our world...debt. If you have good credit it is not the time to be a spendthrift. Its time to work hard and then spend it on your children and retirement...so banks can lend money to people for business purposes.

    To compete with Asia--the cause of Europe's reawakening--we as individuals are going to have to manage with hell jobs to make money--its scary but so is dying or living in a nursing home the rest of your days.

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  • 92. At 08:49am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    In the future decade, "the West" should keep Terrorist nations out, Israel down, and China IN" to survive.

    That means work, work, work, but productively and intelligently ..living off no debt except necessary debt cars and houses...have to be Asian and live in Asian shoes...Look at Japans culture...it emcompasses American looks and workers, but uses its own culture for entertainment businesses.

    China will follow suit, but it will be China at the end of the day (this decade), the WILD CARDS ARE

    India and Russia...the interesting and the fascinating, respectively...

    which is actually which

    is your decision.

    CAN U TELL ITS FRIDAY NITE/SATURDAY ...JUST OFF WORK...BETTER ATTITUDE?

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  • 93. At 08:53am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    BTW,

    The BBC, for me, is "where its at."

    So, Britain does have a role. It just needs to find its bigger role on the world stage and at home.

    Go Britain, beautiful Britain. Rapproachment with France, then America (as it were--falklands negotiations)

    So that Europe has a future, please be there for them as a people.

    Look for your purpose. Not to destroy, but to build.

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  • 94. At 09:08am on 15 May 2010, Alexandereski wrote:

    10. At 2:30pm on 14 May 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    ------------------------------------------

    Yes, someone else who gets it. There's already reports coming out of European Govs, and EU ministers defining a new financial code of conduct in legislation, and insulating the Euro against what has proved to be an extremely toxic and amoral US and UK financial system, and their attack dogs.
    The G20 won't just be about the Euro, derivatives, etc.. Already there are noises from numerous countries about establishing a more stable global financial base outside of the US dollar, that specifically excludes speculation on local and regional currencies, and the creation of a "financial defense mechanism" where countries support each other in defending against the speculators in legislation, and "fine" countries who house and support these villains, with a reduction in trade, limited policy interaction in defence, finance, etc... Outside the usual mainstream propaganda, there's a wealth of information to be had about this new wave of determination, and a real intent, to change what up until now has been a small gang of financial terrorists in NY and London attempt to wreak havoc on the rest of us.

    I wish the G20 good luck, and hope for a positive result that sets a clear line of reference, with extremely punitive consequences for those who attempt to circumvent the rules, from both within and external, and the governments that support them.

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  • 95. At 09:12am on 15 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    J_R

    Re #85


    ".EU Commission has singalled in the case of Sweden they can accept this behavious..", "... Sweden is in treaty violation.. it has gotten forgiveness from the EU..", plus, "...however, same kind of behaviiour from new countries wouldn't be acceptable."

    How can You still be so high-minded and imagine anyone in Brussels with authority, a vested political interest or simply a finger-in-the-pie thinks and acts as You appear to believe the EU should!?

    Jukka! It has been revealed over the last few moths only 4 of the original EUro-zone members fully complied with the terms & conditions for entry. Greece, is the worst example, however it now turns out even big guns like France, Italy, Belgium were cooking their accounts to various extents to ensure they reached the criteria.

    Jukka, as I have written to You several tims before: Just because something is written in black & white on a document does not mean it is correct or happens that way. People decide which bits of documents, pacts, deals etc. they will use and then how to interpret them (in that sense the ECJ makes a little sense) - - hence, even Germany had an inkling Greece, Italy were not from the start fulfilling their EUro-qualification criteria, but it turned a blind eye, and, as You have just written, the almighty EU Commission deliberately chose not to notice Sweden ignoring its Treaty obligations.

    The EU from top to bottom via Nations 1 to 27 across every Directive, Protocol, Subsidiarity, Competency etc. is riddled with connivance and unaccountability as each Nation's Government attempts to alleviate the uneven, unsupportable Brussels' 'one-size-fits-all' blanket of legislation.

    I totally agree with You, "..the EUro (inc. expanding zone) is not going away..".
    However, it will not be the Currency of choice for all Nations in the EU or elsewhere - - and there is no reason to suspect this will harm it - - it is a Currency and like the Pound, Rouble etc. it will have periods such as this when the harsh Fiscal-market will make profit from perceived weakness.
    Though whilst You write that 'not going away..' to everyone else perhaps You would do well to realise the EUro, the zone, the EU are no better than any other political construct and hence some of its main players as well as the smaller ones cheat on the rules - - they always have & they always will.

    It is my personal contention that the UK/England would do better to stay outside of the EUro-zone & withdraw from the EU: My view is based precisely on the notion that 'democratic' idealism (such as You & I write of) of holding those in authority & power to account for their attitudes & actions (their interpretations of the 'black & white' documents) is more likely to be exposed and better dealt with at National than supra-National level.
    Accountability matters: Sweden is accountable to the EU for finding that "..loop-hole..", however, when we grasp that every Nation practises the politicval-judicial art-of-the-loophole then we get a sense of what the EU idealism is up against. A realisation of why it can never succeed in its vast undertaking. There are so many loop-holes within the EU it was and will remain wholly anti-democratic or it would be unable to function. Therein lies the problem/issue for Citizens such as myself: I do not hold out any hope for the complex web of the EU to ever be responsive enough and have the instinct/inclination among its top echelon to be more 'democratic' in dealing with Citizens at all levels of society.

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  • 96. At 09:16am on 15 May 2010, JP wrote:

    The northern euro members (Germany, France, Netherlands, Austria and Finland) should create their own euro zone. Neuro? ;)

    These countries have strong economies and they share the similar business culture (low corruption, high tech businesses).

    I dropped Belgium because it has huge problems with the debt exposure.
    Maybe France should be dropped also?

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  • 97. At 09:17am on 15 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    47% of the Germans would like to have D-Mark back.
    That is the result of an inquiry made by the distinguished Allensbach Institute. Actually I am impressed that the number is not higher, not least because of the shortsighted way the less serious part of the German press is dealing with the current crisis.

    The most prominent example and one of the largest newspapers in Europe, Bild Zeitung, has been leading in this. In the last couple of months it has published a never-ending series of prejudices, populist and conservative in its contents, but it has now become clear to the managers of the newspaper that they must change the tone - which by the way has also damaged a conservative politician like Angela Merkel. Therefore the Saturday edition of the newspaper explains its readers, why it would be a very bad idea to reintroduce the D-mark.

    In the article the following data can be read:
    1) Germany represents 20% of the entire growth in the EU.
    2) 43% of the German export goes to the rest of the Euro zone. Further 20% to the rest of the EU.
    3) 10 mio jobs in Germany are depending directly or indirectly on this export.
    4) The existence of a single currency save German companies large sums previously known as exchange costs.

    The newspaper has asked managers and economic experts to explain that many of these jobs and the export would disappear, if D-Mark were reintroduced. The reason is the D-Mark would be a very strong currency surrounded by weaker economies. The result: German articles and goods would be impossible to pay. (Add to this that devaluation would be reintroduced as a tool in the economic policy, making German export even more difficult.)

    Would be a great idea if Bild Zeitung would continue to tell its readers about the facts of this world.

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  • 98. At 09:20am on 15 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    DemocThreat

    Re #79

    A comprehensive description that almost entirely holds water.

    Unfortunately, though I would wish the EU could instinctively recognise and react to reform itself, I therefore very much fear that during this decade Your very last sentence becomes an inevitable conclusion.

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  • 99. At 09:37am on 15 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    oeichler

    Re #40

    I have long held the view if Income Tax were actually 'ours' then Citizens should have the right to Vote on its uses by a simple Tick-box prioritisation of an admittedly very long list of Public Expenditure proposals.
    Thus each 5 years (in UK) as soon as practicable after the elected Government would issue its list of proposed policies and the Citizens would 'tick' the first 101 of their choices out of perhaps 1001.

    E.g.
    Education - - probably broken down into various sub-sections Nursery/Primary/Secondary/Specialist/Technical/18+ etc.

    I suspect under that system the HM Forces would have been out of Iraq before they even got there & HM prisons would be minus tv, radio & gourmet meals!
    I also strongly suspect the boxes opposite Policing would do quite well until the Political Correctness one at which point one wonders if it would get a single vote!?
    The whole EU - UK thing could be resolved with boxes marked 'IN' & 'OUT': Thus a vote for 'in' would have the Government continue with the status quo and a vote for 'no' would have it start negotiiations for an exit - - whether it could accomplish it in 5yrs is another matter.

    However, at least the Public will have got for the next 5 years the policy initiative they had actually Voted for!

    Quite what proposals a Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government could agree to put to the Citizens' vote makes the eyes water!

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  • 100. At 09:47am on 15 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #88. At 08:13am on 15 May 2010, David
    Thank you, David. Actually Germany is a beautiful country and it has fantastic music, but it was indeed the fault of Germany itself that it was forgotten by its neighbours.

    The European cooperation is crucial to Germany, and I don’t see how the country can possibly distinguish between national and continental interests. That is also the understanding in Bundestag and in national newspapers. We are very happy to be back in the community of peoples, and this aspect is always present when Germany considers problems and solutions, we have within the continental framework today.

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  • 101. At 09:55am on 15 May 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #78. Maximus Barbarius wrote:

    "It's rather remarkable how little faith Europeans have in the Euro."

    Perhaps you could relate the histories of currencies in your federation of states (admittedly long long before you/your forebears emigrated from Europe)? (see The Continental etc.) The Euro is a very young currency and the European federal system is still developing the tools to manage itself and its currency. Almost everyone alive in Europe still remembers their old currencies and their long historical associations.

    When a sane and level headed view is taken (after the demise of many of the essentially selfish and short sighted posters on this blog - you know who you are!) the economic efficiency of the single European currency will be seen as one of the most important and very positive steps in the economic development of the continent.

    As an essentially selfish and self obsessed person yourself with the apparently inability to either understand the progress of historic events or to appreciate the needs or views of others (saving your two rottweilers) I am not at all surprised by your sniping from the sidelines. However most things are about the economy and for very good economic reasons a well manager single European currency that prevents speculators playing one country against another and dramatically reduces the bank changes when doing business can only be a good thing. Of course there will be road-humps in progress, but I do not hear (at least very loudly!) California wanting to remove itself from the US Dollar and its currency and California is in fact in just as a precarious financial position as Greece - perhaps you can explain why? Is it because it would be economically daft! Just as leaving the Euro would be fro any of its member states (and indeed why the UK will, eventually, join!)

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  • 102. At 10:03am on 15 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    I have a radical idea to solve the eurozone crisis: each of the Eurozone states adopts a variant of the euro that better reflects its unique economic circumstances.

    Each euro variant would supervised - and local interest rates set - by the member states' national bank.

    They could even give this euro variant currency a name that reflects the local cultural and linguistic heritage. In France they could call it the Franc; in Germany the Deutschmark; in Greece the Drachma; etc.

    Problem solved!

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  • 103. At 10:20am on 15 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    70. At 00:24am on 15 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    #40 Oiechler

    The non-commonsense_expressway appears to believe the UK taxes justify the UK living standard.

    Eh what? Where did I say that?

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  • 104. At 10:20am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Not to racialize myself, but my background is Scots/Irish and German.
    I have the British face with fair skin and a fat face (from my german side)

    But, my mother (German ancestry) gave me my dreams in essence. She is the giver of dreams, and my father (scots/irish) gave me goals and spiritual grounding) Well,anyway always remember that America helped Germany after the war.

    It doesnt mean we are family but we are related. As such disagreements will make the blood boil, but there is always the way to just agree to just listen and get along as a person goes (my brother who looks just like me is a polar opposite in personality...a bounder but frugal...) Im a prudent, but trailblazer in diff ways-not conservative) both of us Gay but not proud, just grounded.

    I never went the scene way ...toooo dependent on mimicry for me...I went the way of my dreams and with the degree I got am now in a decent job (as it were)

    But anyway Missouri is where many Germans settled when they entered America--it looks like Germany here.

    :)

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  • 105. At 10:23am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    John from Hendon

    Don't you realize that Marcus baits you, doesnt hate you, generalizes but tries to entertain at the same time? Don't write a thesis or go tit for tat, off subject just to get back at him,

    Give us your ideas, please.

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  • 106. At 10:33am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    BTW, Marcus,

    How does one write off a whole European continent of 400 million people? Do we sell them at auctions to China and Japan?

    "Riches (money) and people here. Good workers will raise your children and give them a good home."


    Not very ....um pc.

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  • 107. At 10:50am on 15 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    wow some Americans like Marcus are an interesting bunch.

    They call for countless wars whenever the oil price reaches new heights and invade random oil producing countries and now that any american can have his oil for free from the southern shores you still call for war? Something must have gone seriously wrong in your childhood.

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  • 108. At 10:50am on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    MaxSkeptic,

    Very doable idea, therefore a good idea--and You get the patent), and entertainingly solidarity type currency hmmmm.:)

    Bye going to Amazon.com to watch a movie (get some popcorn first)

    Have a nice wkend all.

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  • 109. At 10:59am on 15 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    David.

    I am sure this is going to come as a shock to Marcus but there are no caucasian peoples indigenous to the American continent. Unless you are native American or Inuit you are de facto from immigrant stock in the modern age. Unless you are African American or of Asian origin, you are Europeans.

    Yes, the political landscape changes but the gene stock merely evolves. We need less of this 'us and them'. Basically we are all human beings, we need to coexist and, while competition may be healthy, animosity is not. So I congratulate you and many other American guests on this blog for your open-mindedness. Let's hope it is contagious.

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  • 110. At 11:04am on 15 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I read an article on the difference btw economies in Southern Europe and Northern Europe. Will take long to fish it out back. Warning it was lablelled as "a typical socialsit approach" by the bloggers below the article, and as a "one-sided view".
    Now I wish I remembered it better, for details, but the essence was the author found a difference.

    Like, in Germany, for example, money is made from running a ? business ? a corporation? - not from owning it. You don't need to own a business to profit from it. Accordingly, no one gets nervous when shares are sold out. And the capital becomes, how to say, internationalised ? And businesses are interested in international markets. Going the wider the bigger spreading to other places the better.

    In Italy, for example, owners try to retain the business ownership in their hands, traditional approach, not to sell it to the side, as money comes from owning that business. Like, you can know who has what, better than in Germany, and it doesn't become so spread-out, neutral, and un? faceless, the capital.

    Two different approaches, or models, or something. Which kind of may be compete. or may be not.

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  • 111. At 11:06am on 15 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    It was also noted that that is why Germany is for wider units, EU or whatever, the way money is made in Germany , its capital needs wider markets or wider in-puts? or, how to say, needs space, to work.

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  • 112. At 11:21am on 15 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    100. At 09:47am on 15 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    " ...

    The European cooperation is crucial to Germany ..."

    EUpris: We need more European cooperation not less. We just don't need the "EU". We do not need the attempt to create a Greater European Reich. "EU" arrogance, megalomania and dictatorship make cooperation more difficult, not easier.

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  • 113. At 11:30am on 15 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    94. At 09:08am on 15 May 2010, Alexandereski wrote:

    " ... reports of European Govs, and EU ministers ...insulating the Euro against what has proved to be an extremely toxic and amoral US and UK financial system, and their attack dogs ..."

    EUpris: I wish they would insulate us in the UK from the immoral imposition of the pan-"EU" Dictatorship through the Lisbon Treaty.

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  • 114. At 12:12pm on 15 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    Back again after helping friend with broken leg and computer on the blink, but hopefully feeling better!
    #10 interesting point of view and a positive look towards Europe and how it's been affected by the various external financial games. Would be interested to learn more.
    #13 a point close to my heart and having just read the article (BBC) on children in India eating mud and silica to survive even more so now.
    Having realised that all politicians, bankers, speculators, managers of all kinds etc. are just employees of the really wealthy, I was intrigued to hear an unusual story when discussing this point with an acquaintance and thought that I'd share it!
    This person had visited Switzerland quite a few years ago with his wife and asked their guide to take them to a place which few had seen and would show a rare view. The guide regarded them for a while and then said he had an idea , but it would cost! They agreed and the trip was arranged. They were taken to a place where they left the car and then got on board a funicular train for which the ticket cost more than their airfare to get to Switzerland. This train took them to very high plateau in the mountains and they travelled with an elderly lady and a pipe smoking man. On arrival they passed 3 security checks as to why they were there, tourism they replied, but the guards assured them there was nothing of interest there,however this did not deter them. Eventually they were allowed to enter the plateau and what did they see? Approx 10 mansions and a massive square in the middle for the residents to walk and exercise. Nothing else, no cafe, no shop , no restaurants. They talked to the old lady who seemed unassuming, but no doubt was one of the owners of the mansions and then made their way back down the mountain. The only access to this place was the funicular, it was too high even for helicopters. What's the point? It is that there is a sub-culture of extreme wealth that does not wish to associate with the average man and will do anything to remove themselves from the everyday chaos of life. Nor is it in their interests to allow the people of this planet to have too much freedom and security as this will somehow reduce their own levels of wealth.As a society we have been showing signs of wishing more for our fellow man, of helping those in true poverty and providing more equality, but this is disturbing to the oligarchs ( my 9 year old daughter's words!! ) and so we have been plunged into turmoil and fear to distract us from our plans. Governments follow the directives of those who handle the financial reins and MAY not even realise how controlled they are, but we all are.
    I my be ranting again, but as before I stand by my points as non-political just realisations over time of what the world is really about and how we are such a small part of the big picture. I just want to insist that we are not pushed to the edge and do something that we will regret, but keep our eyes wide open and gather info world wide of apparently small incidents ( attacks on tombs in Cyprus, Rioting in Bangkok, Athens etc) which when added together can produce dramatic events.
    Good luck to my fellow man and basic living standards for all, with as much wealth as can be made for those who have the creativity and ability to do so!!

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  • 115. At 12:28pm on 15 May 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    The European Union grew out of the end of WWII due to the death and destruction; subsequent food shortages, homelessness and disease, and to avoid another war in Europe, to name but a few? hmm.

    Sadly, today, the EU solution has grown bigger, and even more distant from it's original purpose, remit and actual needs of Europe today?

    The European Union has now lost it's way and become a political eurocrat industry?

    The most recent, and most destructive to Europe, is the unelected/unaccountable EU Commission AND the single currency - that was forced on all countries. Too many bad eggs in one currency basket case?

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  • 116. At 12:56pm on 15 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re114:

    ""...attacks on tombs in Cyprus""

    You obviously refer to the grave theft of the body of the recently deceased hero of Cypriot resistance, member of EOKA1, against the British occupation and late president of Cyprus Tasos Papadopoulos.

    There are 3 cases:
    1) The body was stolen by the Turkish Cypriots who hated him to desecrate his memory and take revenge for his uncompromising stance in the issue. Not very probable, why would they do such an act? Turks are known to break christian cemeteries whenever they occupy a territory but why would they want to steal the tomb?
    2) The body was stolen by the British who hated him, as a warning on Cypriot people that they will rest in no peace if they continue Papadopoulos' policies. Not very probable too.
    3) The body was stolen by the political opponents of Papadopoulos to desecrate his memory. Not very probable too.
    4) The body was not stolen but was taken in a manner pretending it to be an as-if desecration, by the family & political friends of Tasos Papadopoulos to re-do the examination in secrecy and establish if it was a murder. This can be possible. One has to note that British have a tradition of murdering honest and capable politicians or other leadership in both Greece and Cyprus. In Greece the murders of president Metaxas & January 1941 and PM Papagos in October 1955 are established. The recent murder of archibishop Christodoulos is also very probable (mysterious illness, rapid deterioration reminds the death of Papagos). In Cyprus, the murder of the the predecessor of Makarios (British agent) is established too (... since the doctor who examined him was murdered a week later too...).

    While not having full evidence, I find it more probable than not that Tasos Papadopoulos was murdered by British.

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  • 117. At 1:29pm on 15 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    #116 Nik. Yes, that's it, but it was more the timing of it( December 2009) and who was suspected of doing the act( a Romanian) that bothered me. Acts, such as the assassination of Arch-duke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, in times of crisis can ignite a pile of kindling which has been amassing over time and eventually one of the apparently insignificant and unrelated events breaks the camel's back and leads to terrible consequences. That is what I mean about keeping a watchful eye out on apparently unrelated events, as they are not always so inconsequential.
    By the way part of my studies at Uni was History ( Modern history being my chosen interest) and although I was not the best of students my factual knowledge and training of checking out causes and consequences just keeps me alert to events that I see occurring and I hadn't realised how useful this would be in my understanding of the world around me. Combine this with Geography, my other half of studies, then this goes to enhance this clarity and to see where the consequences of our abuse of the planet, it's population etc are leading to and I feel there is good cause for worry and need for immediate action. My chosen studies may have been scorned at the time by many in more economically productive studies, but I'm grateful for the knowledge and insight it has given me.

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  • 118. At 1:58pm on 15 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #116 Nik
    The tomb was always empty anyway.
    Tasos Papadopoulos lives.
    He is held by the CIA in a secret prison in Germany with Merkel's knowledge.

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  • 119. At 2:53pm on 15 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    It can be written in the epitaph of the Euro and the EU that when the first real financial crisis came and the Europeans had to put their money where their mouth is by allowing one small nation to default on its bonds and test how much impact that would have on the currency in world markets, they ran like a pack of frightened rabbits throwing everything they had at it. If a state like say South Dakota were to default on its bonds, would the US dollar collapse, come apart at the seams? I don't know anyone who would even suggest that.

    The problem with the crisis in Greece is that it was not a potential cause of the trouble with the Euro but a symptom of it. Everything the Europeans said they would do to strengthen the Euro when they adopted it, they did exactly the opposite. And they knew it all along, they just chose to ignore it and pretend it wasn't happening or didn't matter. They thought they could get away with it forever. What is the evidence they knew? When the crisis finally came they all understood it immediately, there was not doubt, no investigation necessary, no equivocating. It is the result of a pan continental culture that deep down is unprincipled, irresponsible, and irrational. It's also a warning to America that if it doesn't get its own financial house in order, at some time in the future it could face the same. But unlike Europeans, a very large percentage of Americans are worried, angry, and speaking out about how reckless Washington has been with the people's money. The collapse of Europe will be a wake up call that nobody no matter how large is immune to the consequences of stupidity and recklessness, not even the US economy. Size matters but it isn't everything. That's what the concept of the EU doesn't understand, one of its many fatal flaws.

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  • 120. At 3:12pm on 15 May 2010, tridiv wrote:

    @97 Mathiasen: "47% of the Germans would like to have D-Mark back".
    Really? As a German citizen, i have no clue to this 'revelation'- not at the workplace, not the cafes and bars, and more importantly- not among the young people in the universities. May be the 'prestigious' researchers asked leading questions or messed up their methodology? It really sounds more like 'Bild' news.
    I risk this statement now: among the younger Germans, the schoolchildren, there is increasing awareness of climate change, and need to prevent future wars. A survey of schoolchildren during the last Bundestag election projected more future green voters. I would say a significant number of Green votes in NRW came from the younger people- this is my guess. In the context of European project, this means that there is and will be no antipathy towards Europe in Germany. This is different from not being happy with the present European turmoil.

    Another plea: how many times we have suffer the death of Euro in these blogs?

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  • 121. At 3:23pm on 15 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    opinion 84:

    "The truth is that nobody knows what is gonna happen if EU disintegrates.
    I think that nothing good can come out of that."

    How do you know? I thought nobody knows.

    John from Helldom in britain;

    "The Euro is a very young currency and the European federal system is still developing the tools to manage itself and its currency."

    Yes America's first currencies before the US dollar existed was not very strong and only used locally. Little was known about economics then and the US was still no more than a handful of towns, villages, and farms in a remote part of the world. It never presumed in its early days to be a world currency. But the Euro was quite a different story. It was the currency of a unified group of nations whose economies were among the largest in the world and it billed itself as an ultimate alternative to the reigning world currency, the US dollar. With typical bravura, boasting, and puffery Europe was certain it would become the world's leading economy and managed to ammass enough states to have a larger GDP and populaton than the US. As I said in a previous posting, size isn't everything. When large top heavy masses become so unstable they topple over, you can say the bigger they are, the harder they fall. I see no disadvantage to the United States and much advantage if Europe collapses. One less competitor to concern ourselves with. The important economies of the world that will define the future IMO are not in Europe, not even one of them.

    David;

    "How does one write off a whole European continent of 400 million people?"

    Actually it's 500 million but what's a hundred million people more or less? How has America written off Africa and the Middle East? By recognizing that ultimately they are not important to America (except as a potential security threat.) Whatever involvement America has had with Europe has been to America's detriment. This should come as no surprise to anyone who read Washinton's farewell address. American presidents sagely heeded Washington's warning until Woodrow Wilson, by far the worst President America ever had. The entire history of the 20th century would have been entirely different had it not been for him and not just in the US. The single best thing America could do for itself today is to pack up and get out of Europe lock stock and barrel. The next best thing is to take back all of its sovereignty by exercising all of the escape clauses in all of the treaties we've signed including NAFTA and WTO and erecting high tarrif barries to force large corporations to resume investing their money in America again and not overseas. (The claim that Smoot Hawley had anything to do with the great depression is one of the biggest lies Business Schools teach.) If they don't, they'd be forced to compete against the inherent enterprise, ingenuity, and productivity that has always been at the core of American culture and values. Contrary to what you say the US does not depend on China, it's the other way around. America could survive very nicely without China but a cutoff of trade with China would bankrupt them overnight and send their entire nation into social chaos, probably into a revolution. Just look at what happend last year when US imports from China slowed down for a short time. That was barely a taste of what would happen. America's fate is still entirely in its own hands.

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  • 122. At 3:30pm on 15 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    #119. Who says we're not angry? The problem is that Europe does not have a central body like the senate that works for the whole, it has the EU bodies which cannot work in the same way, as each country ultimately runs itself. For this reason it is hard to be heard. Of course this is all the more reason to make a more unified central body which will enforce laws to protect the whole, but it will take time and will need to overturn those who do not wish to leave their nationalistic tendencies behind. However, I assure you that just as Greece is praying for change, so is Europe, but we have a much more divided history to overcome. Those in USA left it all behind when they emigrated and so have already accepted losing their national identities at least once, they come from a very different background. The USA is a mass of different cultures which has had to accept differences and forget its cultural pasts and hatreds in order to survive, Europe is less willing to do so. I for one would gladly forget if it could lead to a fairer outcome. Unity is essential to this.

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  • 123. At 3:51pm on 15 May 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #121. Maximus Barbarius wrote:

    "I see no disadvantage to the United States and much advantage if Europe collapses."

    Your xenophobic hatred really knows no bounds (no change there then) - even to the extent of deliberate self-harm!

    We, all the World's countries, need all the other countries as they are all CUSTOMERS.

    If you had no customers for your taxi you would soon go bust, have to join the soup-kitchen queue and move to Hoverville!

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  • 124. At 3:53pm on 15 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    I wonder if the euro reaches parity with the dollar will China or perhaps Japan buy up some of Euro-land. It can't be the US cause we ain't got any dollars.

    Alternate energy technologies. If the pound falls too, maybe North Sea Oil. What esle?

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  • 125. At 4:03pm on 15 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #120. At 3:12pm on 15 May 2010, tridiv
    Did you notice this:
    "The newspaper has asked managers and economic experts to explain that many of these jobs and the export would disappear, if D-Mark were reintroduced."

    Why should Bild Zeitung make the group of people that want the D-Mark back bigger? Why should Allensbach, which you as a German must know, do it?
    I look at the percentage as a measure for the information needed.
    Perhaps you should take a look at the articles. They are online. It will also give you an opportunity to read the interview the paper has made with ECB president J-C Trichet.

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  • 126. At 4:21pm on 15 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #120

    "Another plea: how many times we have suffer the death of Euro in these blogs"

    The Euro will be resurrected to eternal life by some posters and condemned to slow death by others , whilst suffering the eternal damnation of every possible position in between.

    Not one of us knows what is going to happen. Too much depends on the outcome of economic recovery coupled with austerity measures.The only difference between us is whether we wish it well or wish it ill, the rest is just rhetoric. Of course, the doomsayers cant lose. A hedged position is always the safest after all.If the Euro collapses they say "See, I was right". If it doesnt they say "Ah, you got away with it , but its only a matter of time".

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  • 127. At 4:24pm on 15 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    118. At 1:58pm on 15 May 2010, oeichler wrote:
    """"#116 Nik
    The tomb was always empty anyway.
    Tasos Papadopoulos lives.
    He is held by the CIA in a secret prison in Germany with Merkel's knowledge""""

    Ehehe... oeichler, well, did they use a false body in his funeral or was it him but sleeping under sedatives? And why couldn't had been the Russians who knew that he was murdered by "induced cancer rapidly deteriorating" and who have wanted to see the exact technique used by British so as to kill other Russian ex-spies sold to British, living in London under British proction... you know, nowadays British have became wary of polonium.

    Anyway, above I did not propose an evident explanation, I just did suggestions on the basis of the murders of Metaxas (last treated by "English doctors using own equipement") and Papagos (died in a couple of dies by an illness that "no doctor could explain") and archibishop of Cyprus Makarios II (who may had been old enough to die, but then the doctor who did the necropsy too died a week later). The deaths of Tasos Papadopoulos as well as that of archbishop Christodoulos in Greece were really quite handy as both were pro-neutral and thus seen as pro-Russian: both were replaced by pro-western successors, how convenient? Again I underline these are just suggestions on the basis of many other similar events, not necessarily the case. But far from conspirationology, there is really absolutely nothing in the British, US or Russian (or whoever else) action in the region that may describe such views as excessive - on the opposite, it is actually the first thing to think on such occasions of sudden or quick deaths in times of full action and not in times of retirement or political loss.

    117. At 1:29pm on 15 May 2010, bdsm wrote:
    """"#116 Nik. Yes, that's it, but it was more the timing of it( December 2009) and who was suspected of doing the act( a Romanian) that bothered me. Acts, such as the assassination of Arch-duke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, in times of crisis can ignite a pile of kindling which has been amassing over time.... I'm grateful for the knowledge and insight it has given me.""""

    Eheheheh the poor Arch-duke of Austria. He was so idiot as to assist in his own set-up (by Austrian forces) assasination (he actually knew he was about to be killed as the topless car was circulating without guards in the town of Serajevo and he had alrady 3 or 4 attempts before that final by Gavrilo). His assasination could get the oscar of best comedy of the 20th century.

    Hmmm december... december... I have to go back to see where this could had been linked but really I cannot think of something specific. The official explanation of the robbery is "ransom money" from the family but one would rather rob the tomb of some really rich family to have any hope rather than the tomb of a politician whose case would anyway become directly a major police investigation. Thus the official explanation alone is insufficient like trying to say that "no it is not the correct one".

    I do like your inquisitive spirit. Indeed one may find out that there is indeed a lot of info out there that passes right in front of our eyes and that those coincidences are rarely any coincidences. Just take out the case of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico... arriving not even 1 month after the very fractious decision of drilling the oil there (for "some" """good""" reason left there to sleep while drilling everywhere else...). Too convenient for an accidental leakage for those that wished not to see any drills in the region - and we do not talk about save the whale tree-huggers of course!

    Myself here I try to do this search, for the pleasure of knowning something more around me, not for politics, I am not into that. I do not claim to hold the truth for every issue I am occupied, I just try to count things 1 after the other 1 and combine them arriving to some conclusion that may at least stand up to the existing evidence. From there on, just like police suspecting the ones with the motive, I may do some hypothesis of the type "most probable, least probable" according to the interests and motives of each. It is the most logical thing to do.

    To go to the other end of the world for example, take the example of Burmal and that lady Suu-something which gathers so much respect to the west that indeed started getting on my nerves, I guess the "ethical man" in Burma is NOT this lady but the generals ruling the country not permitting it to become a puppet of western forces to be used against China. Of course, one may say that these generals are equal puppets to the Chinese regime, which may be equally true. But that does not need to say that Suu-lady is any better, she is the same kind, otherwise she would had differentiated openly her position to all that support from the west. Why all that case about Burma? Well see what happens in Thailand? Hmmm... no get the map and see the position of Burma and Thailand as to China. Oh yes. One little railway, 1 leased port and the Chinese avoid the US/British controlled Singapoor and Indonesia channels. Now that is all I mean about geopolitics. Of course, poor Burmese and Thai people think it is all about their internal politics when that is the last thing all these people playing these games care. Aren't maps lovely?

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  • 128. At 4:32pm on 15 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    This information is being distributed in many European media now:

    May 14 (Bloomberg) --
    "Aides to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero all denied a report that Sarkozy had threatened to pull out of the euro."

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  • 129. At 4:53pm on 15 May 2010, tridiv wrote:

    @125 Mathisen: i will look at the article shortly. But i still would not take that "as a measure for the information needed". True i do not have an alternative statistics to offer. My, and i suppose your own, measure of public mood, simply does not allow for this figure- that's about half of the German population. There will be outright tension. i believe German public is intelligent enough to know the consequences of another currency change. But of course, scenarios such as the one you referred to helps.

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  • 130. At 4:58pm on 15 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    John from helldom in Britain;

    "We, all the World's countries, need all the other countries as they are all CUSTOMERS."

    Oh really? What makes you say that, because Europe needs America? We're all in this together, all men are brothers, kumbaya, kumbaya. What a joke. The US is a net importer from Europe. If Europe went out of business the US could buy whatever it gets from Europe somewhere else or make it itself and keep the money and jobs at home. What exactly does Europe supply to America that is so vital to its existance...except for emigrees. I'm sure there will be no shortage of those in the future. Anyone with brains or money in Europe will sooner or later give it up as a lost cause and come here. They have in the past, they will in the future. You don't have to be in Mexico to know where life holds out more promise, especially if you don't think a government owes you the world on a silver platter for free.

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  • 131. At 5:05pm on 15 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #127

    Nik, do you understand the English expression "to flog a dead horse"?

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  • 132. At 5:10pm on 15 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    120. At 3:12pm on 15 May 2010, tridiv wrote:
    "I risk this statement now: among the younger Germans, the schoolchildren, there is increasing awareness of climate change, and need to prevent future wars. A survey of schoolchildren during the last Bundestag election projected more future green voters. I would say a significant number of Green votes in NRW came from the younger people- this is my guess. In the context of European project, this means that there is and will be no antipathy towards Europe in Germany. This is different from not being happy with the present European turmoil."

    Last time I had the chance I also voted green, but not because I think we need to do more in that direction (if it was up to me i'd rather see more nuclear power plants than these inefficient and highly costly solar panels on every 3rd roof), but because there are hardly any alternatives left.
    The SPD really messed some things up during the 11 years they were part of the government.
    The FDP is a bunch of lunatics calling for tax cuts when we have the highest deficit in ages and the 'Kopfpauschale' is rubbish as well. That they hired some hundred new people for the foreign development ministry which they wanted to close down before the election proves how selfish they are.
    Also they and the CDU wasted tax money on the hotel industry.
    The CDU and the SPD also did about nothin at all when they had the chances and a good 2/3 majority in both chambers except for making the health care system worse by preventing ANY real competition. The lefties are not really to be taken serious either with their calls for minimum wages of about 10 euro per hour. So the green party was mostly just the least stupid one rather than the optimal choice.

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  • 133. At 5:22pm on 15 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    @ tridiv 129:

    Well about 30% of our population is in the retirement age already. I guess any survey under those alone would give you a 90% to 95% "we want the D-Mark back" result. Then there are of course those couple millions a day who due to a lack of an own opinion buy the BILD every day to simply use theirs which was never really the euro friendly either. I personally wonder that it is ONLY 47%.

    @ Marcus:
    If Americans were capable to produce what Europe or likewise Japan has to offer they already would. The economic environment here is far more inflexible and yet we are still more competetive in many areas.
    I don't think there is a single thing I own produced in America. Not because I avoid those on purpose but because either european or japanese products are more advanced or because chinese (or whatever else low cost country) are cheaper.
    I love Subway restaurants though, but I assume they don't import their ingredients from America ^^

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  • 134. At 5:32pm on 15 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    131. At 5:05pm on 15 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:
    """#127
    Nik, do you understand the English expression "to flog a dead horse"?""

    Yes. How about doing some practice before flogging the live thing?

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  • 135. At 5:37pm on 15 May 2010, tridiv wrote:

    @132 Seraphim85: Agree with you although there are differing views on the nuclear power. What i regard as important are the following:
    1. In the long run not only Germany but the world at large would need to tap renewable energy. So investing and being ahead in green technology combined with job creation is a good idea.
    2. Investment in education and health care meaning human resource development- only the greens have clearly stated.
    But i agree with you that they do not have a competent partner as of now. The FDP is looking so lost in its direction that i hope they do not contaminate German psyche.
    From the E

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  • 136. At 5:39pm on 15 May 2010, tridiv wrote:

    Must add FDP at the moment really "geht gar nicht"

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  • 137. At 5:43pm on 15 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #133

    "If Americans were capable to produce what Europe or likewise Japan has to offer they already would"

    "I don't think there is a single thing I own produced in America"

    "because either european or japanese products are more advanced or because chinese (or whatever else low cost country) are cheaper"

    Uh oh. (Gets popcorn and awaits the Marcusatron)



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  • 138. At 5:44pm on 15 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 139. At 7:04pm on 15 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    136. At 5:39pm on 15 May 2010, tridiv wrote:

    Must add FDP at the moment really "geht gar nicht"

    I thought using other languages than English isn't permitted...

    Lets try Latin: "Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes"

    Marcus Aurelius, at least, should understand it.

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  • 140. At 7:18pm on 15 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Uh oh. (Gets popcorn and awaits the Marcusatron)"

    I think he will not try to defeat your argument but rather hurl more insults at you while ignoring the point that you made.

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  • 141. At 7:39pm on 15 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    It doesn't matter what country's laborers manufacture a product.

    What matters is who holds patents for it.


    BTW. Have you checked a list of Nobel prize laureats in science and medicine for the last 60 years? :)

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  • 142. At 7:47pm on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    YES Us Americans, Seraphim, we just live off the land ...work in Mcdonalds, but actually many are union workers and me, Im in the Service industry.

    Acctng and service sadly is the new working model in America. Banks? Service industry. Government jobs and Medicine are higher pay service industry, but India scares us with their service Industry competition and software competition.

    But, people forget American people go to college here now because all manufacturing is done elsewhere. What's your major? is the question not what is your Mc Job?

    Lovely and luckily I found a job -- a life -- at the govnmt agency, IRS, hated by many but it at my city houses 2500 workers with its own culture and job paths..tech, service, examiners, and/or accts mananagement/csr (me).:)

    And it pays decent if you want to work, work, work. Then we get laid off for 2 mos. per yr..vacation?..w/unemp benefits.

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  • 143. At 7:57pm on 15 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Gheryando @139.

    Sorry old chap. It was all Greek to me ;-)

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  • 144. At 8:51pm on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    btw, a Russian built part of the Space Station was lifted off on the shuttle, WebAlice.

    What do you know of that?

    See, Russia is the wild card, it will need to join up with someone to compete, it has so much to offer. But this world is mighty competitive..I say join the NAFTA, Russia, Europe won't want ur dominating ways.

    The USA is ur equal so u wouldnt feel either inferior OR on thin ice cause of your big size. Just what I would do. We both fear terrorism and both want to go to space. And with China by our side ur Siberia would be secured.

    Space I think is the next big thing. I, David, Marcus, invite the old USSR to join up with the USA and China in a big ol bear hug. Ur expertise, our patents, China's money. One big space bound place.

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  • 145. At 8:56pm on 15 May 2010, David wrote:

    Another thing, With all this axis of ill intent isnt it interesting that France is up there with all the nations Japan, USA, and Germany in quality of living.

    How is that and how did they gain leadership of the EU just now with this loan package ..they sympathize with the Med and they are for the Euro. Obama is cozying up to them. hmmmmm.

    Britain u better not miss out. Germany is of course their partner but they are the grounded people with the rules to rein in the French. :)

    See Charlemagne article in Economist website. :)

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  • 146. At 10:11pm on 15 May 2010, bart wrote:

    Some time back in the year 1860 Two American Presidents had a argument

    President Jeff Davis
    We can no longer live together as friends.
    We must always be Enemies
    Our history and past spilt blood allows for no reconciliation
    between us.

    President A. Lincoln
    I disagree

    Since that time the world has had a chance to decide which President was right.

    Some of things that have come out of that are

    The Idea of the US after WW I
    DO not punish the defeated Enemy to much The French and other allies at the
    time chose Rage and Humiliation over Burying the Hatchet.
    The result WWII in Europe.

    The idea of the US after WWII
    DO not punish the defeated Enemy to much The French and other allies at the
    time chose Burying the Hatchet.
    The result
    Marshall Plan, NATO, Common Market. No war for I forget how many
    years

    The basic idea of the Marshall plan was that countries that had equal and fair treatment could rebuild without war. But for Europe to have jobs and prosperity the US would have to give some of those jobs to Europe. Fine for Europe.

    But what about the rest of the World. Can other countries live with no manufacturing no industry, no medicine because some part of the world keeps all the advantages to themselves.

    The US at the end of WWII devolved some of its industry to Europe, Japan and other countries as a part of sharing the wealth.

    Poor people are easily led to war. Well feed and employed people it is a bit harder.

    Each country that We and Europe is kicking in a bit here too are accepting less prosperity at home to have to fight fewer wars overseas , at least that is the Idea.

    Yes some countries once they start to see some prosperity are not interested in leaving these trade advantages but at some point they must.

    Believe me as a Italian American the last thing I want to do is stop buying Italian and French Wines and Cheeses. Scotch Wishey, Russian Vodka. Has anyone in Europe tried American Vodka or American processed Cheese.

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  • 147. At 10:56pm on 15 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Well I don''t know about others :o)))), when I want good news, I always look up "Izvestia" newsp.
    So, what have we got there on euro?

    Greece finally received first transfer of 5.5 bln euro, from IMF. Why not Brussels, Brussels promises 14.5 bln in near days.
    "- short-backs of European bureaucracy, IMF as a consolidated structure acts more speedy".

    "anti-crisis package, though not consisting of the live money overall, is still likely to drive inflation" "if so - will result in increase of rates of borrowing of the European Central Bank and will lead to the slowing of the economic growth."

    In this situation Brussels will need good news and the good news is Euro Commission decision to take Estonia into the euro zone fr Jan 1st 2011.
    Thus, in spite of econimic problems, euro zone demonstrates that it is alright and widening. Besides, Estonia's arrival will not harm anyone, it is too small a place to influence anything, and is the most developed country of the 3 Baltics', after all.
    So this is good news.

    Slightly spoiled by the British :o), whose new government swears it won't give up pound ever . :o))))

    Russia's ex-minister of Economy believes that "let Britain demonstrate what it wants, Britain won't drown euro" "Britain never really wanted euro yet, if not to count discussions within separate parties. "Pound is a brand older than dollar, Britain values it very much"

    Meanwhile analysts believe that euro will continue the slide.
    The ex-Russia's Minister of Economy is though cheerful :o)
    "The slide is no tragedy, let me remind all that euro becan its career from the ration 0.8 to dollar. So, let currency speculators worry. Euro might continue to slide down for a while, simply, by inertia, but by the end of the year the exchange will I think stabilise at 1.2 to dollar.
    Lower- hardly."

    Way too cheap euro will strengthen US dollar and will harm US economy; states will take their own measures and won't allow for deep euro slide."

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  • 148. At 11:03pm on 15 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PS
    Russia holds state reserves in both dollars and euros so we are naturally interested that both of you are doing alright.

    (still :o), more that Mavrelius does)

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  • 149. At 11:47pm on 15 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Believe me as a Italian American the last thing I want to do is stop buying Italian and French Wines and Cheeses. Scotch Wishey, Russian Vodka. Has anyone in Europe tried American Vodka or American processed Cheese."

    bart - No, but as an Italian I enjoy many a things American. Just had the "Chicago Supreme" and a delicious strawberry milkshake @ Macky Ds.

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  • 150. At 11:51pm on 15 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    WebAlice wrote
    Way too cheap euro will strengthen US dollar and will harm US economy; states will take their own measures and won't allow for deep euro slide.


    Wow, Alice is actually talking about the topic at hand. Whatever happened to Wonderland?

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  • 151. At 00:09am on 16 May 2010, mvr512 wrote:

    Gavin wrote: So to the future. The push is on to co-ordinate tax regimes more closely. Some want to go further with economic integration or economic government.

    The push by whom? A minority of federalists? A handful of politicians who feel they can bypass the peoples again?

    8.generalissimo wrote: It was high time. Old Europe has got goodwill, brains and tools to overcome the crisis. The process is irreversible...much to the disappointment of the Euro-sceptics.

    EU-federalists are but a tiny minority, and more and more this realization is setting in. Watch what happens in the next 'crisis' when France starts to realize it too would be better off without EU/Euro.

    9.EuroSider wrote: As someone who lives in Belgium I can give a view point from the heart of Europe (Brussels).

    The european people have effectively 'sleep-walked' through the introduction of the Euro 10 years ago.

    ...

    I feel that if the Eurozone failed, there would be a general sigh of relief.


    Not just in Belgium. Here in Netherlands too. Myself and almost all my family, friends and colleagues here in Netherlands (where I am from) will not mourn its passing. The EU is unpopular here in Netherlands and the Euro currency even less. Apart from some politicians I don't personally know anyone enthusiastic about it anymore.

    The Eurozone will fail and none but the politicians and a minority that we can refer to as EU-federalists will mourn its passing.

    10.BluesBerry wrote: The American debt is just not sustainable.

    Newsflash: European debts (combined) are higher.

    The European position has not yet become unsustainable.

    It was unsustainable 10 years ago. Only now the realization has set in. Except with you, apparently. Oh, and Europe is not EU.

    The EU will impose a bank levy (I hope inclusive of all foregin transactions) so that every time a bank conducts a financial trade
    1. tax revenue is generated and
    2. an audit trail is established.


    Cloud cuckoo land anyone? Who will end up paying the extra costs? The consumers, obviously. Which hasn't seemed yet to have dawned on the politicians proposing this. And no one wants the EU to impose taxes. Fiscal union has zero popular support in EU countries.

    120.tridiv wrote: "I risk this statement now: among the younger Germans, the schoolchildren, there is increasing awareness of climate change

    Well there would be, because climate change is a natural phenomenon. Climate change is however not man made, but unfortunately this fact has not stopped (mainly) leftist from trying to impose massive climate taxes upon us.

    132.Seraphim85 wrote: Last time I had the chance I also voted green, but not because I think we need to do more in that direction (if it was up to me i'd rather see more nuclear power plants than these inefficient and highly costly solar panels on every 3rd roof), but because there are hardly any alternatives left.

    The greens in Germany are essentially the remnants of the west German communist party (Die Linke are the east German ones). In fact, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, communist parties throughout western Europe started calling themselves 'green'. And in this, we must not forget that communism was the most murderous ideology of the 20th century. I believe that voting for a green party is spitting on the graves of the war dead. Communism ought to be treated the same as fascism.

    120.tridiv wrote: @97 Mathiasen: "47% of the Germans would like to have D-Mark back".
    Really? As a German citizen, i have no clue to this 'revelation'- not at the workplace, not the cafes and bars, and more importantly- not among the young people in the universities.


    But your only reference point is a bunch of progressive (wannabe-)elitists. This is especially true of many students in universities and then in particular the self proclaimed 'progressive' types. The problem with them is that progressives tend to look down upon ordinary people.

    The people at large do not support the Euro, nor has it had any benefits for the lower middle and lower classes (class in terms of income). Only a minority of elitists, politicians and bankers (most of them university educated) are in favor. Of my friends in Germany, only one is mildly in favor of holding on to the Euro for the time being.

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  • 152. At 00:16am on 16 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Mathiasen wrote:
    "The European cooperation is crucial to Germany, and I don’t see how the country can possibly distinguish between national and continental interests. That is also the understanding in Bundestag and in national newspapers. We are very happy to be back in the community of peoples, and this aspect is always present when Germany considers problems and solutions, we have within the continental framework today."

    Distinguishing between national and continental interests has long been a problem for the ardent German nationalist, Mathiasen. Nevertheless, being mad only north by north west, you seem perfectly capable of isolating Germany as an independent nation when you then discuss "Germany considers problems and solutions..".

    And this is not a cheap point. Germany really does have a strong streak of ardent nationalism that sees the german national interest as more important than collective European interests. The raw fact is that all this talk about being in "the community of nations" and being thrilled to be a partner with Europe, all of this junk talk is betrayed by the reality that Germany profits from the EU. It is in Germany's national interests to be in the EU, and to have the EU structured the way that it is.

    In actual fact, I think the phrase "national interests" is an abomination and a gross lie. There is no such thing. There are very wealthy people who have property interests in real estate and corporations and capital, but the truth is that "national" interests are just these private interests dressed up to win the loyalty of idiot patriots.

    But Germany has a lot of staunch patriots, and the EU has provided German political parties with mechanisms to generate german economic growth from the debts of other member states. But that economic windfall has gone to the bankers, mostly, and now the patriotism of the german people is being used to get them to pay for the bad debts the EU has facilitated.

    You are not the "we" of germany, Mathiasen. You cannot speak for "we", and claim to be happy upon behalf of all germans. You speak for your own nationalistic pride, and that is all.

    If you, or anyone from the EUtocracy were serious about bringing the people of Europe into an ever closer union, you would advocate for political reform across Europe. You would stop talking about nation states as the primary actors, and most of all you would stop promoting the party politicians from member states as if these people were the most fit people to bring about an ever closer union of people.

    In short, you are promoting a bunch of nationalist party hacks who profit from the status quo to bring the people of Europe into an ever closer union. How? And why on earth would party members from national governments WANT an ever closer union of people? Could there possibly be a worse group of people for that job? We are talking about people whose entire careers are based upon nationalistic sentiment and the party system of representation.

    That is the fundamental problem with the EU, and it is not going away anytime soon. The people who made it, and why they made it. It was made by nationalist party members for the purpose of enriching the careers of nationalist party members and their sponsors, at the expense of public political participation in european affairs.

    Waiting for the EU institutions to come up with a coherent plan for uniting the people of Europe and enriching the common folk is no more sensible than it would have been to wait for the communist party of the soviet union to bring about direct democracy and private property rights to the people of the soviet union. It is not what they do. It is not what these people believe in. These people are party members, and they think the party should rule Europe for the benefit of those who sponsor the party.

    And that is where I call falsehood on the idea that the fundamentals of the german economy are strong. I don't believe it. Not for a second.

    Firstly, if the economy is so strong, why the massive public debt? That didn't happen overnight, and speaks of a culture weighed down by massive state expenses.

    Secondly, a huge amount of the economic growth in germany over the past twenty years has come from the public debt of other member states. That is a funky economy: it is over, and it was all government contracts in any case, so the people who did the work probably learned nasty habits that will not fly in the private sector.

    Thirdly, and most importantly, the german state and the german elite do not understand the rule of law, and the german judiciary do not understand human rights. Without these, germany will be unable to keep social unrest within germany in check, just as it has always failed to do since Bismark. The social unrest brought on by weird and foolish german judicial activism will cause extremist political activism, just as it has done in the past.

    In short, Germany is still a fascist state and it has the appearance of a healthy economic power because for the past sixty years it has either been hand fed by American jurisprudence or busy fleecing the other nations of Europe via sovereign debt instruments.

    Today in Germany a judge ruled that a person can be fined for failing to put a password on an internet connection. Utterly, utterly ridiculous. It would be moronic, if it were not such a typically calculated piece of mean spirited authoritarianism.

    And every day in Germany, the state tells people what they can and cannot say, and every day the brutal and plain vicious german police shake people down for bogus fines and torment them for the fun of it.

    Germany may have OK music, but the economy is nothing special enough to cause other Europeans to want to live like germans. Germans are not rich. They work hard, are told what to do by their corporations and their state, and are taxed into the ground to provide for a massive police force which treats them like errant children.

    Europe does not need to become more like germany. Germany needs to become more like Europe. And both Germany and Europe need to develop some serious civil law principles and stop treating fundamental human rights as though they are something americans talk about when they are drunk.

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  • 153. At 00:19am on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    According to former Secretary of the Treasury Paulson, the US manufacturing economy is still 2 1/2 as large as China's. Much of what is manufactured in China is engineered and designed in the US by Americans and made in China because it requires labor that is unskilled, semiskilled, is dangerous to make, involves toxic chemicals, would result in fines and lawsuits of enormous proportions if there were an industrial accident or toxic emissions in the US. All of the Central Processing Units (CPUs) in all of the computers, file servers, etc. in every computer in this network including the one you are all sitting at now whether they are Intel, AMD, Citrix were conceived of and designed in the US as was the software that operates it whether it is Microsoft of MacIntosh. There is nothing the US could not manufacture and no industry it couldn't bring back to the US (all of the overseas industries with few exceptions are US exports) if it wanted to.

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  • 154. At 00:26am on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Speaking of Russia, the place is so corrupt you'd have to be an idiot to invest there. IKEA is one company that really got burned when it found out the hard way what it should have known all along.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8681834.stm

    Is there anyone with money to invest that doesn't know it yet? Well if they have money, don't know it, and make the same mistake they won't have it for very long. Russia is as dumb a place as the rest of Europe.

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  • 155. At 00:26am on 16 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Gheryando wrote:
    "Wow, Alice is actually talking about the topic at hand. Whatever happened to Wonderland?"

    Whereas you, cherryando, are lifting everybody up by waffling on about "Macky D's" and your dubious predilection for grease burgers.

    I always felt there was something not quite right about you, Cherry, and now that I know you are the type of person who drinks strawberry milkshakes, I am confirmed in my worst suspicions.

    I am a tolerant person, but I do not forget, and I do not excuse wanton character defects. When the People of Europe's Revolutionary Council (you may refer to us as the "PERC's") next meets, I will be making a note of your conduct.

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  • 156. At 00:42am on 16 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    mvr512 wrote:
    " " The EU will impose a bank levy (I hope inclusive of all foregin transactions) so that every time a bank conducts a financial trade
    1. tax revenue is generated and
    2. an audit trail is established."

    Cloud cuckoo land anyone? Who will end up paying the extra costs? The consumers, obviously. Which hasn't seemed yet to have dawned on the politicians proposing this. "

    I let this one pass, but you've nailed it down, mvr. Though I would hesitate to suggest that the politicians proposing this idea have not worked out that their new tax would be passed onto the consumer. I'm even cynical enough to believe that is rather the entire point.

    I mean, how would you get a new tax passed? Tell folks they will pay because bank owners do what they like? Explain to people that you actually need their money to give to the bankers so the bankers bad loans don't fall over? If I were an oxygen thieving party member with a thing for robbing honest folks, I'd be dressing it up some.

    But you are right, it is cloud cuckoo land. And what about the other bit? The bit about the "audit trail"?

    What a farce!! The gubment geniuses can't even write their own books straight, nor read each others books with teams of professionals on the job. These are the people who are going to follow an audit trail on every transaction in Europe????? My word, you'd have to have some real faith in redemption to suppose it were even possible. And imagine the cost! 60 million folks employed by the state to check the bank audit trail each day. Then another 20 million to police the first 60 million, and then another 5 million to police the second 20.

    That is how they do, in cloud cuckoo land. I believe the starting premis is that the state knows best. From there it follows naturally that the state should spend more and borrow more to spend more, and tax more to borrow more to spend more. Pretty soon you realize that private property and human rights are mere obstacles to the glory of the state perfection, and you have the total state system, where half the population are members of the secret police, and the other half are subsistence farmers, agrarian peasants whose only mission in life is to steal something back from the the secret police who steal everything they grow.

    An "audit trail". My hat. And even if it were physically possible to police every transaction, the idea that party members are the folks competent enough to do it!!! So insane. So, so insane.

    But here we are! Europe by the party, in debt with massive taxes, and the bloated state rushing to the rescue with more of the same.

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  • 157. At 01:25am on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt, have you come to the conclusion that Europe is stupid? Fatally stupid? Suicidally stupid? That it would cut off its nose to spite its ugly face? Hmmm, you're starting to come around to my point of view. I'd better reconsider, that scares me :-)

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  • 158. At 01:37am on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius, you don't know what you are talking about (as usual).
    Nevermind, please look up here

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=338>

    I know it's hopeless, but the man seems to be yours, American, and may be like did famous films, or something. Or wrote something?
    Anyway, some silly Russians mistakingly believe Americans would know him and his views.

    I am sure you won't see him blind :o)))), but I promised on the Smolensk blog, to a chap, to ask a real alien what he thinks about it.

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  • 159. At 01:44am on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Gheryando, it's the result of disciplining-streamlining effect of own Russian audience. I think.
    I spent a while among own folks in the Smolesnk blog, and there all are like me (and quite snappy :o)))) (and funny :o))))
    and there you won't get away with being a novelty or an inordinate thing of any kind :o))), (as I do always here). All are the same wonderland around and? how to say. sobering effect to be among equals.

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  • 160. At 01:45am on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    155. At 00:26am on 16 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Gheryando wrote:
    "Wow, Alice is actually talking about the topic at hand. Whatever happened to Wonderland?"

    Whereas you, cherryando, are lifting everybody up by waffling on about "Macky D's" and your dubious predilection for grease burgers.

    I always felt there was something not quite right about you, Cherry, and now that I know you are the type of person who drinks strawberry milkshakes, I am confirmed in my worst suspicions.

    I am a tolerant person, but I do not forget, and I do not excuse wanton character defects. When the People of Europe's Revolutionary Council (you may refer to us as the "PERC's") next meets, I will be making a note of your conduct.

    "lol"

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  • 161. At 01:46am on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    Now Im sick of this Euro thingy, but lets suggest new topics

    Since Gavin is gone...they can be historical...even about the Euro.

    Lets see something different....cuz WA, and some people are not engaged at all. So, this whole euro thingy is exhausting. But, it also has interesting sides like..

    why or what is it for? and how can it work? The Daily Mail, the National Enquirer and the average person (me) wants to know

    Why the Euro????? Never understood the concept.

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  • 162. At 01:48am on 16 May 2010, bart wrote:

    @153

    China is now stuck in a process yes they are making things cheap for now.
    The Good News is that they are not working in the vacuum that the leaders of that country are used to.

    Economic engagement with China like with Japan before it started with the cheapest items imaginable. Cameras sold in NYC made by Japan were a joke and sold for $1.00 in Times Square with two rolls of film. Over time things got better but Japan was used to at the same time at making some good stuff. Before WWII I mean.

    China never had a Industrial age until now and what is the result.

    Bad for us we buy cheap stuff.

    Good stuff
    China can no longer sell 120 gallons of milk for every 100 gallons they produce.

    China can no longer make tooth paste with harmful chemicals because some of the tainted product leaks out to customers overseas.

    China officials when they take a bribe can no longer be sure they are safe.

    Chinas cost of doing business is going up because they cant sell cheap product anymore.

    There is a realization that countries like Iran and N. Korea cant pick up the slack in tainted goods.

    It took a while in the US to figure out that you can not make good drugs with tainted or polluted water or drink it either.

    Pollution in China will eventually change the way they work and produce.

    China wants to become a high end producer. Fine for that you need people who have mastered thing like (quality control, quality assurance, materials management, marketing, economics, long range planning, etc, etc).

    Your every day party hack spouting slogans wont fill the bill.

    From my point of view IMHO the more business and trade between China and the US and the EU the safer I feel.

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  • 163. At 01:56am on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And MA, don't worry for Swedes. I used to know heaps of them, worked with. When I interviewed them for a staff weekly newspaper, (used to have a list of standard silly questions, kind of, jokes of the week:o)

    one question was "What will you do in 10 years from now?"

    Most replied "Relax. From Russia." :o))))))

    So far so good, but I didn't cry over their poor fortunes back then, and still less - later on :o))))
    Three of the ones I know left Russia with 1 mln dollar each after 5 years in.

    100%, I knew the people well enough, to be their home guest in Sweden several times, they knew me well enough to still wonder how is my mum and all cats by names, and, how to say, this is reliable fact.

    So we aren't that ruinous for foreigners (though quite ruinous for ourselves :o)))), won't deny :o)))))

    That's on the personal level. On the company level - that very IKEA - you won't pull them out from Russia by ears, tug-boats, and three r/w trains tugging in a row.

    It's good taste to complain about us and still stream in.

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  • 164. At 02:08am on 16 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "dt, have you come to the conclusion that Europe is stupid? Fatally stupid? Suicidally stupid? That it would cut off its nose to spite its ugly face? Hmmm, you're starting to come around to my point of view. I'd better reconsider, that scares me :-)"

    Fear not, old chap. I have not indulged myself in your habit of anthropomorphizing entire subcontinents into simplistic characters in a Disney movie. I lack your reckless abandon, and prefer to garnish my thoughts with hope, rather than flinging feces around the room like a caged and cranky simian.

    But yes, essentially you are right. I'm beginning to lose my patience with European politics. I am beginning to think Europeans are a bit stupid.

    I'm not sure which aspect of "the despotic misery of feudalism" escapes them, but they sure have a long way to go before they approach innovation and a work ethic through freedom of the individual.

    Mind you, the Swiss are alright. And they are European. So..... it is not the people. It is the British, I think.

    Yes, I blame the british. It's worked for me before. And the French.

    By that I mean the cultures, not the individual folks. There is a hateful and pompous culture of refinement that the brits and the french share, it just makes a person want to stab them all in the eyes with a fork.

    There is a certain..... fawning sycophancy for the old stories in Europe. Talking history here is like a competition to see who has spawned the biggest mass murderers and outright psychopathic hooligans. It's crazy, but the people genuinely respect the worst autocrats and abusers of human rights. These are cultural heros in Europe.

    I mean, Americans like their war heros too, and they celebrate plenty of scoundrels. But even so, if, for example, you mention to an american that General MacCarthur wanted to use nukes on China during the Korean war, generally you get a raised eyebrow in reply. And americans have secular men of peace and human rights as their founding heros.

    Here in Europe, it is all Og Magog who slew the thirteen warriors with a blunt axe, then raped their women folk and created a new line of noble princes. And that is a good thing! Or you hear the story about how the Germans nearly made the atomic bomb, and how they just missed out by this much (picture a german mechanic with a beer in his hand, a joint hanging out of his mouth and pinching his fingers together about half an inch apart). And when you ask "What if they had made it first?", the answer is an astonished "Well of course we could have bombed Russia and the USA and won the war."

    Of course. I mean, of course. Why not?

    So, yeah, there is something not quite right about the continentals. Like I said, my current plan is to blame the brits and the french, and anyway it happened on their watch.

    What we need here on the continent is American troops out. No more easy living blue jean fantasies. We need the german people to be exposed to their home grown fascist police state and to start rioting and causing massive social unrest.

    Germany never had a revolution. By god, does it need one. Europe needs a german revolution, towards direct democracy and the rule of law.

    The brits and the french had their go at it, and they turned the whole affair into a gin party in a bordello.

    The ruskis had their go too, but they only managed to get rid of god. They left the church standing for the red priests to enter and set up shop.

    Anyway, it is easy for you to make critical comment, marcus. But watch out for your own back yard, if there are any convictions hiding under your eloquence.

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  • 165. At 02:11am on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    Although most Americans have probably never heard of Gore Vidal, I have. He is part of what we call the lunatic fringe of our political spectrum. He's an extreme left wing hate America type who would have made an excellent apologist for the USSR. Along with him, other of his ilk in this self appointed intellectual elite the left wing admires so much are Noam Chomsky, Norman Mailer, and Kurt Vonegut. These refugees from the 1960s are a repugnant bunch who get little attention outside of the university crowd. I'm sure they have many admirers in the citidels of socialism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism in America like Columbia University in New York City but they hardly represent anyone but themselves. Were it not for the fact that America is a free and open democratic society, people like these would have been thown in prison as dangerous subversives. The advantage to freedom of speech is that when people talk nonsense like these do, few listen to them for more than a second or two and then move on to something that makes sense. BTW, Mailer once ran for Mayor of New York City along with the spors writer Jimmy Breslin on the same ticket (can't remember which fringe party) and of course lost in a landslide against him. These people have no real following outside academe.

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  • 166. At 02:11am on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Overall, I never minded BBC articles like that one.
    If I ever go back to normal work, this is good for me.
    The scares aaah of difficulties to do business in Russia drive expatriate salaries up.
    After expatriate salaries in a (good democratic company :o)))) - go up salaries of Russians working in top management positions as well.
    All is inter-related, in this world :o)

    It is a rule not an exception, for line managers in Moscow to have (foreign companies)
    - an 8 thousand dollar a month apartment rent covered by the company
    - company car and driver for business and own/family trips/shopping etc. in the city
    - paid trips home times a year/depends
    - insurance - es of all kinds
    - medical service covered in top Kremlin clinics, with evacuation to Finland in case of tougher cases
    etc etc.

    The more aaah reputation we've got :o) - the more valuable is the risky! daring! clever! able! talanted! manager who manages to do his work in these extraordinary difficult conditions.

    Pity wild bears, KGB and freezing temps are not selling well these days :o)))))

    but some things one can always find - and have eagerly echoed by the whole deeply suffering bsnss community.

    :o)))))
    _________
    On the freezing cold by the way, will complain. :o(
    They switched off central heating today. :o( Cold radiators.
    Officially summer in Russia as of today :o(

    And what if a chilly evening? rainy weather?
    What if I need to dry up something, quick, on a radiator? :o(

    How they dared - overall? It's just 29 C!

    :o))))

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  • 167. At 02:18am on 16 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Re: 151. At 00:09am on 16 May 2010, mvr512

    Excellent post.
    !

    We need cooperation in Europe. We need cooperation to free ourselves of the "EU"!

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  • 168. At 02:29am on 16 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Re: 139. At 7:04pm on 15 May 2010, Gheryando

    EUpris: In a certain Catholic institution in Germany is an ancient library going back, I believe, to the thirteenth or fourteenth century.

    I am told that somewhere in one of the books is written "sic transit gloria mundi" = "thus passeth the glory of this earth."

    I am further told that a long time ago, someone (a monk) wrote in the margin "sicut flatus lumbi" = "like a fart."



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  • 169. At 02:41am on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    Take a breather, Demo Threat, dont build up Americans so much, remember Gore Vidal, he is not so bad. he hates America, but his books were good and therefore his sales are good so he can hate America all he wants;)

    Marcus, point made, but also Woody Allen slept with his step daughter, married her and he is great as an artist. So Gore Vidal at least left the USA, these are mostly artist types is my point. Look at all the ex communists because of Stalin.

    Remember artists always ask what is the correct way of thinking before they speak.:)

    Dont get hubris, guys, start complaining ...never give up...hehe...

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  • 170. At 02:43am on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:


    "See, Russia is the wild card, it will need to join up with someone to compete, it has so much to offer. But this world is mighty competitive..I say join the NAFTA, Russia, Europe won't want ur dominating ways.

    The USA is ur equal so u wouldnt feel either inferior OR on thin ice cause of your big size. Just what I would do. We both fear terrorism and both want to go to space. And with China by our side ur Siberia would be secured."
    __________________

    - And where was your Obama on May 9th?

    I understand the USA do not know "pere-zagruzka" LOL, but it is no brainer to know how paranoid Russians are about the Victory day.

    Two weeks in advance it was known here Obama and Brown are not coming.

    You think "Izvestia" complained? No. Center-stream media didn't mention the fact, looked through. Not willing to admit relations failure, the subject was royally ignored, as non-existent. You think, though, Kremlin skipped it? Three ha ha.

    Echo editor wrote "it is disgrace". "We'd understand Eastern Europeans after all, these were liberated by Russian blood - and grabatised in the following events - they have complex feelings. But the USA - and Britain - in all honesty - should feel nothing like that, and only PURE GRATITUDE to Russia, for her in-put in the 2nd WW."

    End of quote.

    If Echo of Moscow - key opposition media, who is never tired to give floor to Milliband and US blogs and who only not, who hardly ever says a good word about Kremlin :o))) (if only - my mis-hap :o)))) - writes this editorial - you can only imagine what our governmental media would - if they did.

    Our ways are forked. To wait for the USA and Britain to come to senses - for the 2nd century in a row - is too long. Time doesn't wait, life passes on.
    We'll be friends with those who want to be friends. Save God to impose ourselves again on anyone, and all. No-no.

    When I heard that Obama and Brown are not coming , I said, like "Damn!"
    Damn!

    (Damn it all again :o)

    David, we'll be friends with China Jesus Christ, Germany and Poland.
    We don't want to :o)))) - but will!!!

    :o)))))))))))

    France and Italy are out of the scenery, these 2 weeks. Gone. :o)
    Were - and aren't.
    I don't know South streams :o))), things :o)))).... Gone.

    Well, it's good at least your respective states OKeyed your respective Defence Ministries to send it some platoons to the parades.

    If we won't be friends as countries - as minimum our military will be more or less friends.

    By the way, I think that was the message. "We were not friends at war time - our troops cooperated". So, our troops/military - will come.
    Country leaders - won't.

    So, what it is, it is. It's been underlined, a fat bold line put under.
    Wooosh.

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  • 171. At 02:46am on 16 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Marcus wrote:
    "Along with him, other of his ilk in this self appointed intellectual elite the left wing admires so much are Noam Chomsky, Norman Mailer, and Kurt Vonegut. These refugees from the 1960s are a repugnant bunch who get little attention outside of the university crowd. I'm sure they have many admirers in the citidels of socialism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism in America like Columbia University in New York City but they hardly represent anyone but themselves."

    Noam Chomsky is an american jew, marcus. He is hardly anti-America or anti-semitic. And he is not self appointed, either. He is the most cited academic authority alive.

    As for Vonegut, he fought the nazis in germany in WW2, in an American uniform. Your comments next to that sort of display are about as vacuous and despicable as it gets.

    But that is how it goes, when you wrap yourself up in a flag and scream to the world that your own character holds the virtue of the nation itself, isn't it?

    You end up making a hideous spectacle of yourself, braying ignorance and hate towards everyone except those as small minded and ignorant as yourself.

    You cheer war from the background and wave your flag, then spit in the face of men who have served their country in a real war.

    Take a bow, marcus. You're a real red blooded armchair american.

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  • 172. At 02:47am on 16 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "MPs poised to renew calls for Lisbon Treaty referendum"

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8685001.stm

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  • 173. At 03:12am on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Thank you MA, and you, David, and you Brutus , oh even the best of you :o))))

    Anyway you will get international fame :o)))), finally, I mean I am glad I can give an authentic American opinion to the enquiring minds in Smolensk of all places.

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  • 174. At 03:15am on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    170 referred.

    David I explained in it why USA and Britain will never be Russia's friends post May 9th this year - and explained so very well that it hit the spot.

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  • 175. At 03:16am on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Dt

    I have, with great pleasure, enjoyed the eloquence of your recent contributions. Less the content. But we can't have it all, can we.

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  • 176. At 03:20am on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "172. At 02:47am on 16 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "MPs poised to renew calls for Lisbon Treaty referendum"

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8685001.stm"

    I was gonna post this, too. I immediately thought of you Eupris, when I read it.

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  • 177. At 03:22am on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Webalice - thanks for the explanation. Now I understand better. Btw, what did you write to offend? Your post has been referred to the moderators.

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  • 178. At 03:48am on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    buttons buttons buttons....pushing them ...how fun...bye

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  • 179. At 03:55am on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "But yes, essentially you are right. I'm beginning to lose my patience with European politics. I am beginning to think Europeans are a bit stupid."

    A bit!!! Only a bit???

    That's one small step for dt, one giant leap for....????? nobody. But at least its a crack of light coming through a small opening in the mind, all hope is not lost entirely for you yet dt, you may one day accept the truth as much as you hate it before you die.

    dt you said;

    " I lack your reckless abandon, and prefer to garnish my thoughts with hope, rather than flinging feces around the room like a caged and cranky simian."

    And then you did exactly just that. Now whom do you hate, the French, the British, and the Germans. That's about 180 million or more out of the 500 million right there. I'm sure if time and space permitted you'd have gotten around to all the rest of them but they are so small by comprison they are hardly worth the trouble to single them out, right?

    I'm sure you would never admit the same about the Swiss. Perfect in every way. Except that they are the bankers and money launderers for every criminal on earth who has money to hide. In my book that makes it a criminal society on those grounds alone. I'm sure you don't see it that way. After all, you are an attorney making money by selling your services to them. Where would they get the scratch to pay you if they didn't?

    BTW, I stand by what I said about the American lunatic fringe on the left and your little snit about it did make me laugh. Meanwhile, over 50 years later North Korea has manufactured atom bombs itself and is working to develop an ICBM to launch it at the United States. All one can say was that were MacArthur around he'd be saying "I told you so."

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  • 180. At 04:36am on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    I like Mr. Vidal NOT FOR HIS POLITICS but for his contribution to film history..he was the main writer for Ben-Hur

    and I hadnt discovered Norman Mailer, (whom he feuds with) so I read Myra Breckenridge the sequel...better than the first book.

    You might like Leon Uris, Marcus....when I was younger (way way back before my Israel disillusionary period) I loved anything by him. Trinity was a great book...

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  • 181. At 04:39am on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    You know,Marcus,

    Im a middle child, but there are some conflicts.. bush/ahmejihad [sic] you and dt, that cant be distracted or dissolved (into anything fruitful.)

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  • 182. At 04:50am on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    Its ok, WebAlice, you are always being referred (for only details, details, details-not for content..I suspect),

    Im just bored tonite (every wkend I turn to virtual reality for friendship or go see my friend in her nursing home...tomorrow this week)

    but this is the best place of all the blogs ...to me...so Britain always has a place in my heart effectively.

    Instead of Crimea, we'll all meet in Athens (more realistic)...only trip abroad 10 yrs from now for me--retirement--invite all from blog--yes that will happen, but so fun to see these famous in my mind people--u know ...have to have realistic plans (1 trip)lolol:)

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  • 183. At 06:50am on 16 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #152. At 00:16am on 16 May 2010, democracythreat
    It will not do it if you get a new pair of glasses, and when I have read the first 8-10 lines of your prose I checked the time of the messages and began to think of the word you end with: drunk.

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  • 184. At 08:59am on 16 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #116 & #127

    The travesty of self-indulgent extremism that is the oracle of hellenic-paranoia is back!

    "..one has to note the British have a tradition of murdering honest & capable politicians.." plus, ".. more probable than not that Tasos Papodopoulos was murdered by the British..".
    Then, "..Metaxas... Papagos.. treated by English doctors.. with equipment.." (Arghh! NOT an Englishman with 'equipment! By the hounds of Zeus that clinches it!)

    Meanwhile back on planet proof: Not a shred of evidence, not a word of serious explanation, inextricably bound up in bile, prejudice & outright fantasised invention!

    And finally, to add egregious insult to long-suffering, sickening injury of the innocent men, women & children of Burma, we have this from the delphic-vacuity:

    "..I guess the 'ethical man' in Burma is not this lady (***Nobel prize-winner, Aung Suu-Kyi***), but the Generals ruling the country not permitting it to become a puppet of western forces to be used against China.."

    There is contempt for Humanity and then there's a lower order: A 'politically' grounded indifference to anyone else's anguish because a person claims to feel the greater pain of the world!
    They carry their burden into every facet of their life and inflict it on everyone else because they alone know what real suffering is - - basically, these few individuals are evil.

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  • 185. At 09:35am on 16 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #164

    dt;

    "I lack your reckless abandon, and prefer to garnish my thoughts with hope, rather than flinging feces around the room like a caged and cranky simian"

    You might like to read your post again. Fair bit of unsubstanitiated faeces flinging going on there.

    "Americans like their war heros too, and they celebrate plenty of scoundrels"

    And the Understatement of the Year Award 2010 goes too....

    "My current plan is to blame the brits and the french"

    Take a ticket...get in line....its de rigueur old boy

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  • 186. At 10:46am on 16 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Europe is taking a pause in the crisis, but the stream of texts lingers on, and it is amazing what they reveal. I shall return to that, but as an exception I would first like to mention a few things about myself! My wife is a linguist and has taught German and Spanish for decades. For a period we had an apartment in Berlin as well as in the central Spain. In our house I am the main responsible for arts, or at least music, and I will soon publish a book about a jazz musician. We visit France regularly because of our admiration for the French way of living, but we also like Belgium, and find it interesting to discover Poland.

    I assume a few here have noticed that we are celebrating Chopin this year, and those with a general interest in the humanities will know that European art, music, literature, film, ballet, theatres as well as European history are entities. To a great extent it can also be said about languages. Van Gogh is for instance a Dutch painter, but he is as a rule is categorised as a French painter by the art historians. For centuries artists have crossed political borders, and something similar can be said about scientific studies in the broadest sense of the expression. Parallel to the economic structures both tendencies are strengthened now.

    Actually, these structures are not only evident, but should also be generally known. Nonetheless a Dutch writer with the name Leon de Winter has been granted the space by the magazine Der Spiegel to tell everybody that he has no clue of this what so ever, or the art history of his own country for that matter.
    On the background of the situation in Greece he would like to have the entity of the original six (BeNeLux, France, Germany, Italy) back, as well as their national currencies. I am not sure, why Der Spiegel has published the article. It is an awful lot of confusion and nostalgia. If nothing else it should tell media, politicians, and interested readers that a couple of things need to be explained.

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  • 187. At 10:59am on 16 May 2010, Bluegrasskie wrote:

    @152: "Today in Germany a judge ruled that a person can be fined for failing to put a password on an internet connection. Utterly, utterly ridiculous."

    Wrong. The supreme court (Bundesgerichtshof) ruled that someone running an unsecured wlan (wi-fi), can be responsible for abuse. It was a civil procedure about copyrights. Any press release telling you could be fined or - as I found recently - "German courts may fine users" are "utterly utterly ridicolous", not the court's sentence.

    The idea of an access point liability has been discussed for a long time among legal experts. Just take a look at Robert V. Hale "WI-FI liability", saying "The WAP operator can mitigate liability by implementing a secure network throught the use of password protection and encryption". That's all the case was about.

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  • 188. At 11:11am on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Mathiasen

    "I am not sure, why Der Spiegel has published the article. It is an awful lot of confusion and nostalgia. If nothing else it should tell media, politicians, and interested readers that a couple of things need to be explained"

    I asked a good friend of mine how long it would take for Germany to get back to old habits and he said "two generations".

    Looks like the crisis has accelerated it.

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  • 189. At 11:15am on 16 May 2010, KeepTheChange wrote:

    @democracythreat

    Thanks for the free hangover.

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  • 190. At 11:23am on 16 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #186

    Only a despondent fool or the utterly tired-of-life (plus MAII in his worst bouts) would find anything but sincere pleasure and interest in continental Europe.

    The place is awash with the cultural evolution that dignifies Humans and yet it also bears the harsh scars that denominate us all as mere animals.

    It is therefore with a degree of respect and not a little natural wonder I find that 'we' who are found so far inside opposite camps share a joy of Poland (my Polish airman Godfather, Mikel Czarnecki), a warming home in mother's Brussels that is draped with 'original' Flemish tapestries and 'copies' of both Breughel's plus Ruben's works, and further back into a family history that takes me into the realms of Dutch-German grandparents on the Ruhr pre-WW1.

    Surely it is only in Europe that Humanity can find such common ground in the past and remain divided as to what is best for the future.

    All the best.

    I'm taking a break like Mr Hewitt.

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  • 191. At 12:01pm on 16 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #152 Democracythreat

    Both yourself and non-Commonsense_expressway really spoil any intelligent discussion by throwing in not only stupid non-existent `realities´, but make decisions to suit your fictitious ideas of what you think countries are like and how their citizens are treated.

    If you wish to throw around ´Fascist´ , then look at those countries who take pride in their ´Freedom´.
    USA, UK, France and other countries are those who vote and scream-out in that direction.

    If you had one-iota of knowledge concerning Germany, you will know that whenever it raises its ugly head there are many many more Germans demonstrating against it than for it.

    The stifling conformity of the American flag- waving ´melting pot´allows only two political directions to flourish, the Right and the far Right. In Britain the discussions appear limited to universities (Politics in American universities range from Liberal to Neo-Liberal or from A to B ) While the citizens of both countries are limited by their Press and media --which in most cases ´Dumb Down ´

    This ´Dumbing Down ´ is most often demonstrated in the contributions Democracythreat, and non-Commonsense_expressway. #152 is a typical example.



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  • 192. At 12:07pm on 16 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Re: 176. At 03:20am on 16 May 2010, Gheryando


    As long as you understand that we are not going to give up!

    When the Argentinians had occupied the Falklands, they thought it was all over.

    Wadda mistaka ta maka!

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  • 193. At 12:22pm on 16 May 2010, laughingjkings wrote:

    People should work towards a positive solution - for example, the UK does over half of its trade with the EU - therefore if the rest of the EU goes under then Britain will be effected. Roll on the Eurorealists who have none of the pathalogical negativity of the Euro'septics'. As for the US vs EU - has anyone heard of NATO? Has anyone heard of the 'Open Skies' agreement? Man Up!

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  • 194. At 12:46pm on 16 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    176. At 03:20am on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:
    "172. At 02:47am on 16 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "MPs poised to renew calls for Lisbon Treaty referendum"

    Yes, and let's have a referendum to reverse the Big Bang
    Bye Bye EUp and MA, sorry... majority decision...

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  • 195. At 12:49pm on 16 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #191

    quietoaktree;

    If you want to pursue a personal vendetta against me then kindly do it directly, without associating me with another poster or his posts. Thanks.

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  • 196. At 1:04pm on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Gheryando, @177 "By the way what did you write to offend, you were referred to".
    _____________________

    Gheryando, as a positive person, I decided to view it like BBC places their highest hopes on me.
    For the lack of other promising talent on the horizon.

    Training me to become humanitarian, and an ideal writer, something like new Leo Tolstoy or Dostoevsky.

    Accordingly, BBC wishes to put in their modest lepta. ? lepton? euro-cent
    into my writing talent formation (until it's not too late :o)))) I spread my wings and fly out of the moderation format.

    Using their last chance :o)))), while I prefer to train on their ground, anyway.

    For I certainly used no offending words, it's a joke, last week I was moderated for the word "lazy" classified as "intent to offend". Which was quite a warning re what BBC will tolerate from me, and what they shall not.

    So I concluded BBC gave up on multiple , say, contributors other :o))))
    like, it's a no-go they will graduate from the blog as great humanitarians :o)))))) so, what to bother
    but Alice - well that's another matter - she ought to be all-forgiving and kind.

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  • 197. At 1:07pm on 16 May 2010, Anglophone wrote:

    Methinks the Germans protesteth too much!

    Much political energy is being expended in complaining about the virtuous nature of Germans versus the spendthrift profligacy of the Southern Europeans, but this does miss out an important part of the story. Germany has become the preeminent exporter of high quality manufactured goods in the world. In one sense this is deserved as they do make excellent products and have clung to the unfashionable but nonetheless true belief that you have to actually make and do things in the world to pay your way. On the other hand however, such has been their success that had they still had the Deutshmark it would have appreciated massively, reining in their export potential and giving others half a chance competitively! Instead, the value of the Euro is discounted by all those free and easy ClubMed types and Germany remains free to run up the second biggest trade imbalance in the world! The price of German success is the relative impoverishment of others!

    Should the Southern Europeans be squeezed out of currency union then Germany, for all its virtue may suddenly find itself highly uncompetitive. Once again a quick thank-you for the unfashionable but prescient John Major for keeping us out of the Euro and the clunking-fist of the equally un-hip Gordon Brown for keeping it that way

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  • 198. At 1:45pm on 16 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    197. At 1:07pm on 16 May 2010, Anglophone wrote:

    "Should the Southern Europeans be squeezed out of currency union then Germany, for all its virtue may suddenly find itself highly uncompetitive"

    I don't agree.
    look what happened 2006, 2007, up to the crises in 2008
    The Euro rose from 1.17 at the end of 2005 after the two failed referendums in France and Holland to 1.60 just before the meltdown.

    And every year the German industry was screaming that the Euro got to strong and every year they posted new record numbers of export.
    There is always a market for high quality products.

    The problem is that Club Med has literally nothing to export.
    All they have is tourism, that's why we call them Club Med..., soon perhaps "Club Mad".

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  • 199. At 2:22pm on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Phonograph;

    You sound like a broken record.

    "Germany has become the preeminent exporter of high quality manufactured goods in the world."

    The Japanese make better cars, especially now with the demise of Mercedes Benz, the Americans and Japanese make better electonics, the Americans make better heavy machinery, the Americans invent more cutting edge pharmaceuticals, they build better planes, and nobody in the Western world makes nearly as much steel as before because it is smarter to send that filthy dangerous industry to places like India, China, and Russia. Were it not for interEuropean trade, the Germans would find little market for their products...unless they continued bribing people to buy them. If they are so good, why must they pay bribes to get customers? High uncompetitive prices, outclassed in technology by their competitors, and only in good economic shape by comparison to their even worse off neighbors, I don't see justification for your claim.

    That being said, it seems to me that for anyone including the Greeks to throw up the Nazi past now that there are few Germans who lived through that period even still alive is typical of the knee jerk reaction of ethnic hatred characteristic of European cultures. It seems so many Europeans always find a reason to blame someone else for the problems they face that they largely created for themselves. Greece like all of the rest of the countries in Europe has enough freedom to find no cause to blame its problems on anyone but itself. If Greeks failed to act over the past decade or more to deal with it, it's no one's fault but their own. Same with all of the rest of them. How much public debate was there looking at the downside of the Euro, how much public outcry was there over the failure to perform honest audits, how much reaction was there to the elimination of the Stability and Growth Pact as an act with teeth? None. They say people get the government they deserve. Europeans who are so quick to tell people around the rest of the world how they should act should instead figure out how to fix up the mess they've created for themselves first.

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  • 200. At 2:34pm on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    So you see yourself as a budding Leon Toy Story, a Dotty Dotstoyevsky.

    Frustrated with the KGBBC censoring your postings for no apparent good reason? What do you expect, they're part of the BBCCCP.

    "Using their last chance :o)))), while I prefer to train on their ground, anyway."

    It's the golden rule; he who has the gold makes the rule. When you play on their court with their ball, you play by their rules...even when it isn't clear what those rules are or mean, when they are inconsistent in deciding how to apply them, and that when you find you've broken them, they won't tell you how or why you broke them. When your posting has been sent to be moderated, the time it takes is so long that even if you find it is published, it is so far back in the queue, nobody will read it anyway because it is so old. Often it takes a day or more. It's as good as censored.

    "they will graduate from the blog as great humanitarians"

    Don't count on it. The British empire has a long and savage history. Changes don't happen overnight. Come back in say three or four hundred years and look again. They claim there will always be an England, that skewered Isle, that plessed blot, but will there always be English people to populate it? A lot of English people themselves are asking that question. Anyway, with the current rate of population decline there won't be any Russians.


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  • 201. At 2:36pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "The problem is that Club Med has literally nothing to export.
    All they have is tourism, that's why we call them Club Med..., soon perhaps "Club Mad"."

    Oeichler, I agree. I think those countries need to find some competitive advantages, otherwise they will be bancrupt soon. I'd say trade with the Maghreb/ME & Turkey could be very useful.

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  • 202. At 2:36pm on 16 May 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:

    'Europe - a pause in the crisis'? As this piece, by BBC European correspondent Mr Hewitt, included links to American commentators; leading to Americans commenting on European Union, is fascinating to say the least? Perhaps Americans imagine UK citizens are somehow 'disconnected' from European politics? Actually, most of UK and most of the so-called European Union countries have totally disconnected from policy and politics by the UNELECTED EUROPEAN COMMISSION all of European countries are being destroyed by the Euro as a currency?

    There are, on this BBC HYS site, many senior BBC political and financial editors.

    Perhaps Nick Robinson (politics) and Robert Peston (financial) should include similar in their blog pieces with links to American politics/American blogs too?

    Europeans are more fascinated and deeply affected by American politics than the other way around? Americans still, have much to say and demand from UK and Europe, but not so much in return?

    Furthermore, before anyone says America saved Britain - Britain is still paying the loans - American intervention was not free economically. America woke up after Pearl Harbour. In fact, ALL politicians have to apologise to all mothers of British and American troops too!!!!

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  • 203. At 2:39pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    193. At 12:22pm on 16 May 2010, laughingjkings wrote:

    People should work towards a positive solution - for example, the UK does over half of its trade with the EU - therefore if the rest of the EU goes under then Britain will be effected. Roll on the Eurorealists who have none of the pathalogical negativity of the Euro'septics'. As for the US vs EU - has anyone heard of NATO? Has anyone heard of the 'Open Skies' agreement? Man Up!

    "thanks for that"

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  • 204. At 2:47pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 205. At 3:00pm on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MA, I will certainly reply to you but right now I need to make apt look acceptable for antique dealers' arrival to view my Rembrandt.

    Well, if it were real Rembrandt I wouldn't have to bother :o)))
    No-name. But 300 yrs old, Dutch. But in awful condition a crack on wood. Age! after all. siege of Leningrad, things.

    I've got no money that's why into family memorabilia with voracious intents.

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  • 206. At 3:09pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Webalice - I just joined the club. My comment was removed :o)

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  • 207. At 3:19pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Webalice - just make sure to not get ripped off..You might have a real one after all, spoils of war, things.

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  • 208. At 3:19pm on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    Rembrandt is turning over in his grave this very minute.

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  • 209. At 3:36pm on 16 May 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #201 Gheryando

    The advantage the Club/Med countries had , was that their currencies were worth so much less before joining the Euro . That is what they need to go back to . When I went to live in Italy , the exchange rate was Lire3000 to the £1 Sterling , a very advantaged exchange rate and very beneficial to Italy .

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  • 210. At 3:45pm on 16 May 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    When do Europe's people get a voice as to whether they want their national budgets scrutinized by the EU before their national parliaments? This should be a no-brainer: No one country can have the expertise, the best possible financial expertise which lies with Brussels.
    Do you believe George Osborne knows more than Brussels, or Vince Cable?
    Who cares about potential expansion in economic governance? Does it not profit all of the EU countrues to have a tightly regulated and healthy financial systems that works for the benefit of the people, even when sharks circle the waters?
    "The EU is unloved", and who is promoting that? The Americans? The UK Coalition Government? We have long since passed the days when isolated countries could survive without a multipliity of talents.
    If the EU does not capture your imagination, ask yourself WHY?
    What do you think you will gain?
    What do you think you will lose?
    Are you really longing for an Americanized banking system?
    There is economic warfare at play - for the most part between the American dollar and the European Euro, and the Americans fight dirty.
    Wall Street is under siege from regulators, prosecutors and Capitol Hill.
    Senators have already voted to change the way in which Wall Street does business; it has stripped banks of the power to go directly to individual ratings agencies to get their bonds rated. Politicians want the SEC to set up an independent board. The aim is to remove the “temptation” for ratings agencies to give glowing ratings in order to get more business.
    In addition, the New York attorney-general has subpoenaed eight banks
    - Morgan Stanley,
    - Deutsche Bank,
    - Merrill Lynch,
    - Citigroup,
    - Credit Suisse
    - Crédit Agricole
    - Goldman Sachs,
    - UBS
    for information on their dealings with ratings agencies.
    Andrew Cuomo is thought to suspect that banks may have manipulated the agencies’ to get top ratings for poor mortgage products, or even "lied" to the agencies re the quality of the mortgages in the bundled derivatives.
    Mr Cuomo’s investigation comes on top of a SEC civil investigation into the banks’ sales of mortgage products to investors during the housing boom, and a simultaneous criminal investigation by federal prosecutors. Goldman Sachs was charged by the SEC with securities fraud last month over its sale of a synthetic collateralised debt obligation (CDOs)
    If you recollect it was CDO betting against European sovereign debt in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy...the UK...that was at the very heart of wounding the PIIGS.
    So tell me, if the EU is united against this type of manipulation, if it applies a bank levy to recover some of the financial damage, why on earth would the UK want to stand outside the EU circle?



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  • 211. At 4:13pm on 16 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: MM on self-appointed America haters Noam Chomsky, Norman Mailer, and Kurt Vonegut.




    I would most certainly put comrade Angela Davis in the first place.

    The good news is that some of the pro-Communist dinosaurs are already dead and the rest (also long in the tooth) are on their way to a demise since a (political) climate on Earth has changed and USSR (their spiritual motherland) is no more.

    And only completely blind would see Socialism as a way of the future.

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  • 212. At 4:16pm on 16 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #169

    "Remember artists always ask what is the correct way of thinking before they speak."



    John Steinbeck most certainly didn't. Neither did Faulkner.

    P.S. Need I mention Orwell? And Koestler?

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  • 213. At 4:17pm on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Much of Germany's exports appear to be to other EU and Euroland countries, probably much of it to the PIIGS. With the economies forced on them, probably much more cautious lending to them, we'll see what impact this has on Germany's exports. I've never gotten a straight answer as to whether or not the EU or Euroland are net importers or exporters and to what degree its net balance of payments are. If Germany's exports fall as a result of the crisis this will only increase the social and political tensions within Germany and demonstrate the weakness of Euroland as a whole. It will also be proof that the leveling process of moving capital from those most productive to those least productive to save the economic and political union such as it is is accelerating.

    The crisis has hardly paused a beat, it is just as intense as it was two or three weeks ago, it has merely altered the details of its form, it has not diminished even one jot. In fact if the productivity of Germany falls while that of Greece and the other PIIGSs does not increase in like measure, that will only make the crisis worse. For Mr. Hewitt to say it has paused because there are no new newsworthy developments to report is entirely self serving. You'd think the crisis only exists when there is something novel for the media to report about it. Wrong Mr. Hewitt, it hasn't gone away, it has not receded. Only the imminent threat of a small default has been exchanged for the future possibility of a much larger one.

    BTW David, China only keeps 15 cents of every dollar of GDP generated within its borders. The other 85 cents is repatriated to other countries, especially to investors in the United States. Much of China's output is American and its profits are owned by Americans including through shares of large corporations invested there and held by pension funds and other investment funds. I wouldn't be particularly worried if I were you. I'm sure it is far more than the 800 billion dollars each year, the total the US government owes to China. The down side is we lose the dangerous low paying tedious factory jobs, the upside is that we get to buy products at far lower cost than we would if we produced them here and we don't get the pollution (except for the west coast which is downwind.)

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  • 214. At 4:19pm on 16 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #51The banana peel that Europe is gonna step on is France.

    You have people that don't want to work because they will lose entitlements (and there are a lot of them in France).

    The austerity programs that are gonna have to initiated will result in a problem that France has ignored (illegal immigrants).

    Good luck fixing that one.






    According to one of the latest polls 50% of young Frenchmen (and women) want to study psychology.


    Which of course will do marvels for their future gainful employment prospects.

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  • 215. At 4:23pm on 16 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #74
    "The 1.24 barrier has been breached the next 1.20. 1.15 or $1=€ ???"



    I recall you said it would never come to that and that I was exaggerating. :)

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  • 216. At 4:26pm on 16 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #195 commonsense_expressway

    A personal vendetta is not intended.

    However ´Birds of a feather ´is.

    You follow the trend of criticizing other societies without knowing your own--- which you have refused to discuss.

    I am wrong ? Then start now !

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  • 217. At 4:58pm on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MA and Gheryando, and where are our Dutch bloggers? (a friend in need is a friend indeed)
    I've got a breathing space till Wed for them to formulate their offer.
    Would be nice to mail the photos to a site of some Dutchmen antique dealers, who might recognise something of their own.
    I carried it to the Rus. museum - they said not theirs, Western, but old as hills - carry to the Hermitage.
    I carried the poor chap (it's a potrait of an extremely sad and depressed Biblical oldman) to the Hermitage buying office; they said 300 yrs old Dutch, they won't buy, they've got "a whole cellar of such own Dutchmen in need of restauration", go to antique dealers.

    I said them now 5 thousand dollars (? no idea) - which they accepted quite cool and enthusaictically, without a word of complaint , LOL.
    From which I concluded I may be said too little :o(

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  • 218. At 5:04pm on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PS No spoils of war. From 1924 on one and the same wall at home guaranteed. Spoils of revolution, rather. Granddad got a premium, for a ship ? drafts? designs? those, to build according to, papers. Diploma work. Went to the sale at Pavlovsk museum, ex-tsar things, and furnitured the apartment.
    But I think it's all rather from the third floor , of tsar Paul's palace, where cervants lived. Hardly the museum will sell tsar own things.
    I mean, they would, but to acquaintance, via own friends, not to the public.

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  • 219. At 5:07pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    209. At 3:36pm on 16 May 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #201 Gheryando

    The advantage the Club/Med countries had , was that their currencies were worth so much less before joining the Euro . That is what they need to go back to . When I went to live in Italy , the exchange rate was Lire3000 to the £1 Sterling , a very advantaged exchange rate and very beneficial to Italy .

    Huaimek - I understand your reasoning. It is important to remember, however, that devaluation is not a long term solution to structural problems. Sure, 3000 lire to 1 pound (equal to 1.52 euros = 1 pound) made Italian imports cheaper but it made imports even more expensive and looking at Italy's negative trade balance, a cheap curreny isn't all that attractive. Furthermore, a volatile currency is risky to markets and will demand a higher premium. No, Italy is not worse off with the Euro. Same goes for all the others. What ClubMed needs is to become more dynamic markets. Euro can be a part of this but don't blame it for the cowardice of politicians.

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  • 220. At 5:09pm on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    All hopes now on Roger. Since they know the address. That my head is not chopped off, together with Rembrandt, LOL.
    The damn dog didn't even bark! :o))))) Though I urged him , to try to look scary.

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  • 221. At 5:16pm on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Huckleberry;

    "In addition, the New York attorney-general has subpoenaed eight banks...for information on their dealings with ratings agencies.
    Andrew Cuomo is thought to suspect that banks may have manipulated the agencies’ to get top ratings for poor mortgage products, or even "lied" to the agencies re the quality of the mortgages in the bundled derivatives.

    Insofar as what has been reported in the media about the credit rating agencies in collusion with the investment banks, Cuomo seems to be on a fishing expedition. There's been no suggestion of hard evidence or even soft evidence in the press. What is more likely is sheer laziness, incompetence, and being overwhelmed by the number and complexity of these instruments. The credit reporting agencies were likely as taken in as the investors. It hardly matters. Under American law, SCOTUS has ruled that their opinions are merely an exercise of free speech. Bought or sold on those ratings or otherwise, there was no legal obligation to follow them, no way therefore to rule that they are somehow responsible legally for the disaster, even though in fact this may be the case. It seems to me that courts outside the US have no jurisdiction over them even though foreign banks may have been affected directly or indirectly.

    Goldman Sachs is in a unique position. It appears that Goldman engineered CMOs that were deliberatly designed to fail, that is the properties were chosen with the expectation that their mortgages would go into default and then these CMOs were sold as good investments to unsuspecting clients, mostly or all large investment institutions. The President of GS seemed adamant about the fact and Senator Levin's questioning of him was not only repetitive but kept asking the wrong questions. Levin seemed preoccupied with the morality of the issue rather than its legality. Bad move Senator.

    It will be hard for anyone to make a strong legal case against these investment banks it seems to me. Those who bought the defective instruments did not do their own due dilligence. Why? Probably in most cases for the same reason the investment banks who bought them from the originators didn't they were too complex and had too many components to check out. How do you investigate whether any reasonable percentage of hundreds or even thousands of mortgages in one instrument will go into default. The answer is that you spot check at least a sample of them. Had banks bothered to do that, they would have quickly discovered just how defective they actually were. Chalk it up to laziness and refusal to commit enough manpower to do the job. To save millions on hiring employees to do the legwork, the banks lost billions in investments. I've never felt business people who came out of business schools in general and bankers in particular were very smart or business savvy. Behind their diplomas, credentials, and accolades there is often little of real substance pertinent to demonstrating strong business accumen. This was just one more example of it I've seen in my life but there were many others. The Time Warner AOL merger stands out as does Daimler's takeover of Chrysler.

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  • 222. At 5:40pm on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Send a photo of your painting to each of the large auction houses. Sotheby's, Christy's, Butterfield and Butterfield, possibly over the internet or if not by mail. Most of them are headquartered in London but they may periodically visit large cities, have a local office or representative, or might make a special trip if there is something that particularly interests them. However, there can be problems exporting art from Russia, I understand the Russian government sometimes takes a dim view of that. Usually small local art dealers either don't know what they are looking at or are ready to cheat you if they do know. If the painting has a discernable signature, try to research it on the internet or in an art library yourself. You might also try to find someone who knows a curator of a museum or an art gallery that might help you or steer you in the right direction. It's best to find someone like that who is a disinterested party (will not have a personal financial stake in the outcome.) Good luck.

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  • 223. At 6:08pm on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 224. At 6:48pm on 16 May 2010, smroet wrote:

    #165 MA-II

    I'm sure they have many admirers in the citidels of socialism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism in America like Columbia University in New York City but they hardly represent anyone but themselves.

    This is an absurd comment. There are many Jews working/studying at Columbia University, who certainly will take offense at the accusation of Anti-Semitism. Moreover, most of the personnel and students are Americans... Are you an anti-American American, or an American anti-American, or what ?

    #223 WA

    Try Glerum in Amsterdam.

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  • 225. At 6:56pm on 16 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Yes, an edited newspaper is a blessing.

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  • 226. At 8:03pm on 16 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 227. At 8:24pm on 16 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    226. powermeerkat

    "Pro domo sua: Never had any problems with my Chevy Corvette, nor do I have any problems with my Lincoln TownCar [Yes: GM products both :)]"

    GM as in "genetically modified" or "government mandated". If Lincoln is a General Motors product somebody needs to let Ford know.

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  • 228. At 8:40pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 229. At 8:48pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "# 226. At 8:03pm on 16 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment has been referred to the moderators."

    wtf?

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  • 230. At 8:51pm on 16 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    smroet @224 Thank you, sent.

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  • 231. At 9:07pm on 16 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #215 powermeerkat

    I mentioned that one should be careful with wishes.

    The world cannot afford a non-existent Euro.

    If the anti-€ contributors are unable to see this fact --they are blind to the difficulties ahead for their own economies and unemployed --- on both sides of the pond.

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  • 232. At 9:11pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Powermeerkat - I dont get why both our posts have been referred to the moderators for talking about cars..

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  • 233. At 9:11pm on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    You know, Web Alice,

    Give your Swedish friends my addy (like I can give it to you)

    But, I like rich women better than rich men (more loyal the women more perverted the man) and here Im "alternative."

    Much rather go to Russia or Sweden than the Netherlands ohhh ewww ick, the people online...but im dancing around the issure (im 53 look 38) (with a glitter in me eye)

    And I hate silly old men. Prefer silly renaissance women not men who look like their apartments are their major investment ...yuk...plus their address books.

    To tell the truth, men are beasts/snakes unless they're st8/hetero or non attractive to me. Im at that age of certainty...certainly yuk...give me a nice woman with her space around her body. (do not touch)

    And you are in your prime -- career wise -- so make some wise moves:)

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  • 234. At 9:14pm on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    Yes Mathiasen,

    edited is better...you want proof?

    Go to the Guardian paper website and read the comments there....enuff said (uncensored there) (mainly all these "nutter comments" come after well written articles.)

    Then come back here and recline and just enjoy the sanity.

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  • 235. At 9:31pm on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    And DemoThreat your articles are great, but when you get angry, you get toooo lucid...ya know? (bulls eye scores)

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  • 236. At 10:00pm on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 237. At 10:35pm on 16 May 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #236. Maximus Barbarius

    What on earth have your interventions on the blog got to do with the topic being discussed? Your ranting on about your barbaric hatred and prejudice against everyone else are no longer amusing. Please consider taking you dogs for a walk and leave Europe to the rational and the less prejudiced. Your previous attempts to solve the World's problems through genocide put you so far outside the pale of civilised society to never have you contributions seriously considered (I am sure you do not wish me to remind you of your previous ill-judged postings).

    Europe does not yet have sufficient mechanisms to manage a currency properly as has been shown - but that does not mean that it will not rapidly and in a timely manner create such mechanisms.

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  • 238. At 10:52pm on 16 May 2010, David wrote:

    WHISTLING IN THE DARK ..ABANDONING THIS PLACE LIKE MR HEWITT

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  • 239. At 11:03pm on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    John from Helldom in Britain;

    You amuse me...sometimes.

    "Europe does not yet have sufficient mechanisms to manage a currency properly as has been shown"

    They've only had about three thousand years of practice at it so give them time. Eventually they will get it....maybe....in a pig's eye they'll get it.

    BTW, the basic principle is very simple, don't spend more than you earn and tell the truth....in a pig's eye they will.

    Hey why don't you reprint some of my prior gems just to add a little spice to this blog while Hewitt is off doing whatever?

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  • 240. At 11:08pm on 16 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #237

    I´ll drink to that !

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  • 241. At 11:20pm on 16 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    noisy little acorn;

    You'd drink to anything.

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  • 242. At 11:33pm on 16 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #239 MarcusAurellius

    Your prior gems include your vicious attack on ´RoyinVegas ´, an elderly Jewish gentleman who questioned Israel´s treatment of Palestinians ????

    As I have said, some American Neo-Liberalism is closer to Fascism than anything Europe can deliver.

    Your views are more than often to be viewed as such.

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  • 243. At 00:12am on 17 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    # 121 MAII

    "How has America written off Africa and the Middle East? By recognizing that ultimately they are not important to America (except as a potential security threat)."

    Err, are you saying the US has no interest in Middle East oil and only views the ME as a security threat?

    Are you also classifying Israel (a Middle Eastern country) as a security threat to the US? Or is this yet another example of your sweeping, poorly thought out statements?

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  • 244. At 00:14am on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    acorn brain, I am not what most people would call liberal, neo or otherwise. I don't like being put into a box. My views don't fit into neat little categories. I judge each issue on its own merits. Same with the way I judge people. If I sometimes lump them together it's because I've noticed a common trait where there is rarely if ever an exception. If one occurs, I note it.

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  • 245. At 00:32am on 17 May 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    217 WebAlice
    "...5000 dollars ...which they accepted.."

    I don't think you should be too hasty to take their offer. Take your time or you may regret it. Why not send a photo and description to Sotheby's Moscow Office, which is located just moments away from the Kremlin on Romanov Pereulok, 4, Bldg.2, 125009. Here in London they give their services free and advise you even if you don't sell it through them. At least you know you won't be swindled by some shady dealers.

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  • 246. At 00:49am on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    sleep til noon;

    The US imports almost no oil from the middle east. Most of America's imported oil comes from Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico, and others. The US interest in Middle East oil is only of indirect importance in how it affects world markets. The US also has a misplaced concern for the welfare of Europe which does depend on Middle East oil. Both invasions of Iraq were actually to protect European access to Middle East oil.

    America's on again off again support of Israel is based on principle and some but not all common values. It is not based on a direct interest in Israel's welfare. There are strong ethnic and religious ties as well, especially among evangelical Christians and other Christians who make up the overwhelming majority of American citizens. They seem to have a vested interest in Israel remaining a secure and independent nation. In fact they expect a climactic war between Israel and its neighbors, one in which Israel will be victorious as foretold in bible prophesy and as a necessary event before the second coming of Jesus Christ. So they have their own reasons and many actually are looking forward eagerly to such a war.

    Militant Islam which was born in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran but has spread to other areas like Pakistan, Somalia, and Lebanon is clearly and obviously a threat to American national security. IMO the US has not responded forcefully enough so far. Militant Islam fears above all else the influence of Western culture in general and American culture and values in particular as being in direct contradiction to their interpretation of Islam. They see it as their sacred duty to destroy America to prevent it from spreading its culture. Isreal is merely a convenient scapegoat for every Arab complaint in the Middle East but the fact is that of the hundred and fifty million or however many Arabs there are, only about 2 1/2 million are Palestinians and other Arabs have not treated them very well at all, for the most part they don't really care what happens to them.

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  • 247. At 00:53am on 17 May 2010, David wrote:

    Yes WA,

    Rembrandts Or "name artists" are worth big time money...millions maybe at, yes, big auction houses..I'm not greedy..but I'm prudent...

    Margaret H is right.

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  • 248. At 00:55am on 17 May 2010, David wrote:

    And Marcus, why bother, dont ever explain, don't ever apologize..that shd be your motto

    And watch out for angry mobs with torches lol

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  • 249. At 01:27am on 17 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    246 Deluded Maximus II

    "Both invasions of Iraq were actually to protect European access to Middle East oil".

    LOL....Please back this up with evidence? Are you actually saying that the US invasion of Iraq was an altruistic act to ensure Europe had access to oil and was only for price stability??? I've heard it all now LOL!!! It wasn't an illegal war it was actually to help the dastardly Europeans!!

    Brilliant!

    PS. I'm well versed (pun intended) with US fundamentalist Christians warped view of Israel and frankly frightening lobby/power those wackos have in your country.


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  • 250. At 02:06am on 17 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    194. At 12:46pm on 16 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    " ...
    Bye Bye EUp and MA, sorry... majority decision..."

    EUpris: If you are going away, then please send us a postcard when you get there.

    Re: "majority decision" Are you claiming to speak on behalf of the majority without having asked them? Sort of like van Rumpoy or Ashton claiming to represent us when they haven't been voted for by us and only have their jobs as a result of us being denied the referendum we were promised?

    Are you yet another "EU"-lover who wishes to silence me? There have been several before you. It is an indication of the nature of "EU"-lovery that it should wish to silence an honest man whilst tolerating an organisation built up by and infested with disgusting people.

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  • 251. At 02:13am on 17 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Marcus, you must be joking aren't you?

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  • 252. At 02:23am on 17 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    As far as one can tell from observations, the last Iraqi war was about enriching Haliburton - very successfully - spending money the US didn't have, ripping the shirt off the average American and killing not a few, poor buggers.

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  • 253. At 02:36am on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    sleep til noon;

    I'm well versed with UK tea drinking scone eating warped view of the world and frankly frightening lobby/power those wackos have in your country. Why don't you switch to some real food like pepperoni pizza and hot dogs. And while you're at it, try puttig your beer in the refrigerator for a day or two before you drink it. Ugh, warm beer and greasy fish and chips.

    Nik;

    "Marcus, you must be joking aren't you?"

    I wish I were. What do you eat, stuffed grape leaves? Nauseating place Europe.

    Europe doesn't need oil. Everything is run on wind power. Must be. Seems that way every time I tune in to PMQT. Next ones should be humdingers. So when does Clegg get a chance to tell his side of the story?

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  • 254. At 03:01am on 17 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    # 253 Deluded Maximus II

    Is that what is comes to? I ask for evidence of your frankly ridiculous sweeping, laughable statement about the US invading Iraq to protect European oil supplies and all you can come back with is to tell British people to put beer in the refrigerator & not to eat fish & chips???

    Oh dear....couple of points, firstly, I'm not British so running them down means as much to me as you running down say, Ghana (nothing against Ghana mind). Second point, it's always important to get your facts right .....In Britain they drink ale at room temperature, beer is of course consumed cold...but you knew that right??

    PS. I'm completely unaware of the "UK tea drinking scone eating warped view of the world and frankly frightening lobby/power those wackos have in your country". Please substantiate this claim and where can one attend meetings?

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  • 255. At 03:48am on 17 May 2010, Thumper3181 wrote:

    254. At 03:01am on 17 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    # 253 Deluded Maximus II

    Is that what is comes to? I ask for evidence of your frankly ridiculous sweeping, laughable statement about the US invading Iraq to protect European oil supplies

    And he did, very clearly but since you evidently don’t have the wit to see it I will point it out to you:

    246. At 00:49am on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    sleep til noon;

    The US imports almost no oil from the middle east. Most of America's imported oil comes from Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico, and others. The US interest in Middle East oil is only of indirect importance in how it affects world markets.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html

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  • 256. At 04:19am on 17 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    Thumping your chest....

    Listing the major US suppliers of oil does not constitute proof that the reason why the US invaded Iraq was to protect European oil supplies and only maintain price stability.

    FYI, Iraq was under an oil embargo for 10 years prior to 2003 so I fail to see how invading an embargoed country protects oil supplies? Besides the region has become significantly more unstable since Bush invaded Iraq, not more stable!

    If you want to believe the US has the 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf and 100,000 plus troops in Iraq just to maintain oil price stability you're deluded. Just look at oil prices since 2003, they've been anything but stable.

    Anyway, I think Marcus can fight his own battles?

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  • 257. At 04:59am on 17 May 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #219 Gheryando

    You wrote , " What Club Med needs is to become more dynamic markets ".

    That will be the Day !

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  • 258. At 06:34am on 17 May 2010, Thumper3181 wrote:

    9to5
    Sorry you cannot fathom the obvious. We get the vast majority of our imported oil elsewhere. Further I do not recall either myself or MA saying anything about invading Iraq for oil. If we wanted to invade a country for oil I would say that Mexico, Canada and Venezuela would be better choices.

    Iraq was rightfully liberated from Saddam for other reasons not at all having to do with oil, currency or WMD.

    You want to see how stable the price of oil would be if the 5th fleet was not out there? Frankly I wish the Europeans had the stones and the forces to police the region but for whatever reason they don't. Unless we want to pay more for oil then it is up to us to either find more sources closer to home by expanding on and offshore drilling or we have to ensure Europe's oil supply in order to indirectly keep the global price of oil down. I know you are scratching your head right now so I will leave you with a hint. Supply and demand. World supplies are linked.

    The Thumper is not my chest. Its for fools.

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  • 259. At 07:53am on 17 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 260. At 07:55am on 17 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #227

    Lincoln TownCar is Genially Modified.

    You should try one some time. :)

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  • 261. At 08:03am on 17 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    At 9:11pm on 16 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:
    Powermeerkat - I dont get why both our posts have been referred to the moderators for talking about cars..



    Somebody bviously didn't like our comments.

    In my case - perhaps Ford. Or Porsche. [[inciting brand hatred?]

    But in yours? I have no clue, 'cause had no chance to read it. :(

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  • 262. At 08:06am on 17 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #244 MAII

    I guess it takes a leftist con to detect a neocon.

    Or neon, or... oh, forget it. :)

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  • 263. At 08:44am on 17 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    "The French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel have been keen for some time to introduce greater regulation for the private equity and hedge fund sectors - which many say played a part in the global financial collapse", BBC writes in the article "EU prepares to vote on new hedge fund rules".

    It can also be seen as a comment to the rumour retailed in the blog article about France and the Euro.

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  • 264. At 09:22am on 17 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    253. At 02:36am on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    """"...I wish I were. What do you eat, stuffed grape leaves? Nauseating place Europe. Europe doesn't need oil. Everything is run on wind power. Must be. Seems that way every time I tune in to PMQT. Next ones should be humdingers. So when does Clegg get a chance to tell his side of the story?""""

    Re 255. At 03:48am on 17 May 2010, Thumper3181 wrote:
    """"...The US imports almost no oil from the middle east. Most of America's imported oil comes from Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico, and others. The US interest in Middle East oil is only of indirect importance in how it affects world markets.""""

    You got your answer Marcus. Should I go on and make a text on the petrodollar? Saddam's decision to trade in euros? Iran's will too to trade in euros? Europeans are simply hostage of US aggressive policy in Middle East. They always were anyway. They have to comply otherwise they risk having the US destabilising completely their economies. Hence, they let the US control their own suppliers and set the trade currency and price, them giving real value to buy false value to trade in oil losing twice, in the sense of byuing false value as well as byuing their energy expensively. One needs to mention that a part of the inflated US economy is simply down to this purchase of false value with real value.

    Europe needs oil but it really does not have to be the major source. Gas can replace most of oil's uses while the use of diesel cars permit the easy change to biofuels whenever the price of crude is getting too high. However, Europe lacks the will and the independence to deploy a viable energy policy.

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  • 265. At 10:46am on 17 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The euro has fallen to a four-year low against the dollar, after being hit by renewed fears over the strength of the eurozone economy." [BBC]


    Please stand by for a new all time low record.

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  • 266. At 11:16am on 17 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    265. At 10:46am on 17 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    "The euro has fallen to a four-year low against the dollar, after being hit by renewed fears over the strength of the eurozone economy." [BBC]
    """Please stand by for a new all time low record."""

    We keep hearing views full of contradiction. On the one hand, the Mediterranean club must have a monetary unit of lower value, on the other Germany, France but also Italy and Spain want to decrease the euro to ease their exports in the the rest of the world since the energy purchases will become marginally more expensive in relation to the increased exports. So finally is the decrease in euro really unwanted? Everything is relative. All a question of balance. Though I am not a specialist in stict financial issues but I still cannot see the huge difference in the life of the average eurozone citizen with a euro falling from 1,35 to 1,20 US dollar compared price. It might render the chinese imports marginally more expensive, even better, buy EU. Don't know...

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  • 267. At 11:26am on 17 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I see powermeer is bored to hell, disputes with himself. Even, tried to do a spell or two, to call me.

    I haven't even pointed out (magic wand circle)

    that most of Rembrandts and Picassos and Matisses nad Kandinskys in Hermitage collection cannot even be put display (short dance with a tambourine)

    since they would be immediately recognised as robbed by the Red Army 'liberators' from Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Warsaw museums (magic wand double toe-loop)

    Well, I am kind today.
    Short answer: none.

    Expanded answer, for those interested in art and museums and things.

    Hermitage museum - the first public museum of a major size and importance in Europe.

    The idea of large public, touring halls stuffed with pieces of art - as means of enlightening citizens en mass, came to the Russian tsars quite early. It was a very advanced approach to matters of education and improvement of general morale, and things, and I don't know what - for its time.

    Most contemporary European monarchs kept to own treasures for, how to say, personal entertainment and fun.

    Peter the First began buying things for the first public museum in Russia in 1703, and put them on display (St. Petersburg old Kunstkamera).

    The following tsars picked up the banner, into Kunstkamera nothing squeezed anymore (it's quite a big thing, facade only nearly a kilometre along the embankment) - so what they did was adding additional buildings, connected bby inter-passages, to the own house the Winter Palace. Peter's daughter, Elizabeth, began. Catherine the 2nd continued. And so on.

    Thus, we got along the Palace embanknment, a row of buildings, in which the Royal residence was naturally continueing into museum buildings, it's a walk - from where the tsars lived in winter - to their collections of art. Winter Palace goes into Small Hermitage which continues into Old Hermitage which continues into Hermitage Theatre which continues into New Hermitage - 5 buildings overall.

    Russian monarchs were buying collections of other tsars and at art sales in Europe of all kinds. Were buying full collections, on one theme. Then on another. All Empire money went into buying art.
    They had own say experts -agents, supervising sales developments, and potential show-ups on sale - where will something inetersting be sold.

    Catherine the 2nd kept correspondence with Voltaire and Jean Jacque Russo, advising her on art matters, what to buy.

    Then all the place on embankment ended up. 5 buildings were full.
    Then they continued buying and stufffing stocks in the cellars. Then - in other warehouse museum buildings in the city.

    By the time Bolsheviks took Winter Palace, in revolution, the situation was - 5 buildings stuffed up with art to the celing on 3 floors and basements - Hermitage complex, several art warehouses in the city.

    Bolsheviks simply continued what tsars did - continued to run the museum as it were.

    The difference is - they sold heaps of things, for cash, to USA, short in finances post-revolution. On the back-ground of Hermitage museum directors getting heart break and stroke one after another in indignation.

    And Hermitage museum directors and admin here is a caste, they are all there for 300 years and relatives, it's like a tsar dynasty, one museum director dies - his son continues to be museum director.
    It's a monarchy, the only true and consequtive one in Russia :o)

    Now, please, on aforementioned Rembrandts - Hermitage has the largest collection on Rembrandt beyond The Netherlands, 48.
    They were there, in the Rembrandt Hall, since 1800 something - and are there - nothing new, nothing less.

    Well, yes, less. 4 were sold by Bolsheviks I think. As minimum, 4.

    On Matisse and Picasso - again :o) - Hermitage and Pushin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow - together hold one of the largest impressionism and post-impressionism collection in the world. (Not sure it's the biggest, unlike Rembrandt beyond his home country).

    The acquisition was done by two Russian merchants - Schukin and Morozov - who were buying from the Impressionists and post-impressionists - direct - when no one in the world was interested in them - YET.
    And thus they acquired quite a lot, between the two of them, had excellent art taste or premonition.
    Some things in the Hermitage were done to order of Schukin and Morozov, for them to decorate own houses in Moscow.

    Now, when aforementioned merchants quickly and speedily left Russia post-revolution, their collections stayed.

    Bolsheviks split them 50/50 btw 2 museums - one half went to Hermitage, one half - was awarded to the Pushin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

    Hermitage had no place for neither impressionists, not post-impressionists. They have 2.4 % of their stocs on display in 5 buildings, the rest doesn't squeeeze in.
    So they thought high and low, and stuffed Shukin's and Morozov's modern French into the Winter Palace 3rd floor, under the roof, the narrow ceiling un-beautiful rooms, where servants to the tsars used to live.
    That's where it is.

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  • 268. At 11:32am on 17 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 269. At 11:47am on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Sleep til noon

    "In Britain they drink ale at room temperature, beer is of course consumed cold"

    Civilization advances. There's hope for everyone.

    I've tasted Bass ale. It's like drinking a glass of mud. Small wonder they often cut it with lager.

    Nik;

    Saddam Hussein needed Euros because that's what the military equipment suppliers who illegally violated the UN sanctions and the politicians in European government who worked to try to stop America's invasion in 2002/2003 like being paid off in.

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  • 270. At 1:09pm on 17 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @250. EUprisoner

    no, it was a joke, as you are Mr. Referendum.
    A yes at the referendum to reverse Big Bang and you would disappear into thin air.

    I have nothing against referendums but they can be manipulated as any other kind of vote.

    1) In which areas do you want to introduce referendums?
    Where do you start, where do you stop?
    Only Europe?
    Why not Iraq war, nuclear power stations, Heathrow extension or even flight restriction due to volcanic ash.

    2) The Irish said no to Lisbon Treaty in 2008 and yes in 2009.

    3) The majority of the Australians wanted to replace the queen by a president, elected by the people, as head of state.
    The establishment was against but they held a referendum for a president elected by the members of parliament. As expected and wanted, the referendum was rejected.

    4) British referendum regarding "EU"
    a. Pull out of EU - you might get a "NO"
    b. reduced powers of EU - "YES" but difficult to implement as treaties have been signed.
    c. Full integration into the United States Of Europe - you get a "NO"
    d. Full integration into the United Kingdom Of Europe with the Queen as head of state - you might get a "YES"

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  • 271. At 1:27pm on 17 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PS About "transferred Art"

    ("Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Warsaw museums")

    There is German Art pieces in Russia grabatised by the Red Army during the 2nd WW.

    They constitute - in legal parlance - writings and meetings and exchanges on the subject between various Ministries working on it in Germany and Russia: "Transferred Art".
    In physical shape - it's a hall in the Hermitage, 2nd Floor, Small Hermitage building, Western European department.

    I would say - one pathetic room with a plaque on entry "Transferred Art".
    Kind, of "Warning; not Hermitage's, not ours."

    There a guide tells you about each piece, where from approximately originally, whose work and what it is.

    None of it is from German museums - it was grabatised by Red Army individuals from private places or small churches.

    From a church - it's stained glass multi-coloured, like, a window cut out and put anew.
    Books from a library.
    Sketches for further paintings, in pencil.
    Water-colours.
    And some normal oil paintings, old masters.

    No, stained glass is gone, returned back to Germany, during the warm up time to the North Stream. About 4-3 yrs ago.

    Names there, in that collection, are not first tier, no one a man from the street would know the name of. Well, if you are not an Art expert or an ex-owner yourself.

    Hermitage is the only place that could allow itself to openly sport such a collection, because of their impeccable reputation.

    And I also think Kremlin imposed it on them 20 yrs ago in Perestroyka, in the atmosphere of openness and putting up sensitive things from deeply hidden stocks previously - out to the view, for open viewing -

    because even the most negatively minded foreign tourist, by simply walking to the room from the Hermitage entrance - understands it's a drop in the Hermitage sea. And that the museum itself has clearly no interest in holding the stuff. Needs it as a dog a fifth leg.

    Now, we are very eager to swap with Germany their things for our own Art pieces stolen in occupation - but Germany has nothing to trade with.
    So the only way the "Transferred Art" room shrinks in size - we give it away to Germany as presents on one political occasion or another.

    Why Germany has nothing to swap with?

    This has to do with different attitude to what is private property in USSR and in Germany past and present.

    Unlike USSR - who ran no organised effort to rob Germany in the 2nd world war, and whose "acquisitions" were separate Army officers grabs.
    And, naturally, on return home to USSR these grabs were sooner or laer grabbed from them - by the USSR state. There was no black market for dealing with antiques in USSR. Once a thing like that emerged to the surface - you couldn't hide it. It was taken from officers - by the state.

    So, unlike USSR - nazi Germany ran an organised state effort to de-culture USSR, export contents of its museums, it was a well-run campaign in occupation. Nazi Germany, according to German own documents, exported 155 trains loaded exclusively with art pieces from Russian museums in the occupied territory.

    None of what ended up on the Western Germany side was ever back.
    New owners, of all calibres, hurried to sell it further on, along the chain. The paintings changed hands not once post 1941-1942-1943. They are spread out in the world, and if in Germany - it's never the original German owner.
    Western Germany ways and habits - though USSR started the swap bac programme early on, looong time ago - did not allow the German state to expropriate art from private people, even if its origins was a Russian museum, and it was badly on the "Wanted. Dead or Alive" USSR list -presented to the German powers.

    Private property or something like that.

    Effectively - we've got 155 trains of Russian Art collections missing, LOL :o)))) - and a pathetic hall of "Transferred Art" in a Hermitage display - in where, I swear - if you see it once - you won't have anything to remember afterwards.

    Germany has nil to swap further on, or anyway says it doesn't.
    So I think we use it in future for presents to germany where appropriate, because anyway it doesn't matter.

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  • 272. At 2:46pm on 17 May 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    Further integration without serious thought about how we want to live in the 21st century will just lock us in to an unwanted and completely ineffective political system.
    Why, when there is an all time high level of dissatisfaction with our own political systems, should we add another layer of unaccountable bureaucracy? I am not one of the hardcore euro-skeptics but it seems like common sense to get our own houses in order before we all get into bed together.
    Their needs to be a new european initiative aimed at securing energy supplys for the continent (having an old adversary as one of your main energy suppliers seems shortsighted to me). This can never happen within the current structures we have built. They are too focused on managing our lives within the current system. They have no use apart from to our buisness and political elite.
    This is of course a simplified view point, but always remember, life is as simple or as complicated as you choose to see it. The trick is not to slide too far either way. One way and you will end up like MAII, seeing everything in black and white, with big bold captions crying "America is the greaest". The other and you end up believing in all the crazy conspiracys you hear, thinking that their must be some kind of pattern behind everything.

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  • 273. At 3:21pm on 17 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re" Catherine the 2nd kept correspondence with Voltaire and Jean Jacque Russo"


    So what?

    The sex-maniac from Prussia kept close relationships even with horses.
    [Reportedly]

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  • 274. At 3:26pm on 17 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    It's been duly noticed that an issue of Picasso, Kandinsky, Miro,
    etc., paintings robbed by Red Army 'liberators' from museums in Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw is as unfamiliar to some Russians as the Katyn massacre was till very recently.

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  • 275. At 3:28pm on 17 May 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #254 Ninetofivegrind

    Draught Bitter Beer and Guiness are drunk at ( Underground ) cellar temperature ( Not Room Temperature ) which is cool but not cold . Draught Bitter Beer loses its flavour when too cold . Lager Beer or Light Ale should be served cold .

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  • 276. At 3:30pm on 17 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re Robbed/stolen art


    Then of course, there's this small issue of the Amber Chamber. :)

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  • 277. At 4:11pm on 17 May 2010, qmaqdk wrote:

    Ah, Hewitt's daily rant. All is normal.

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  • 278. At 5:43pm on 17 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Glad to see that you have bought into the "blame the victim" trumpet of the bankers and governments. See it wasn't their fault...we all borrowed too much and spent too much and now we will have to pay the banks and the government to straighten all this out.
    I don't think anyone could write such nonsense and have it sell as a fiction novel yet entire nations are buying into this nonsense....
    You must wonder if they are putting things in the water to make people both gullible and passive.
    Look around and see all that you have from your luxurious lifesytles while the poor bankers and government leaders have been suffering on your behalf....don't be so ungrateful, vote for higher taxes and higher interest rates as well.

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  • 279. At 7:36pm on 17 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    @ everyone except MA2:

    As I assume most of you are more frequently here than I am and more continuously in that manner - why are you still feeding the troll?

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  • 280. At 7:38pm on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Mad Mad Mad Mad villain;

    "big bold captions crying "America is the greaest"."

    Since you know it by heart, I guess you won't need a sign on the front lawn to remind you when you leave the house every morning. Very good.

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  • 281. At 7:40pm on 17 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    As this is a topic that is often discussed in the media here right now nationally and Gavin having has well earned holidays: What are your thoughts about introducing a tobin tax internationally? We only get to hear it is not possible because other countries would refuse it.

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  • 282. At 8:18pm on 17 May 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    280. At 7:38pm on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    I guess I should feel ashamed for the typo. But since it doesnt invalidate what I was saying, I fail to feel anything. Just remember that ALL empires fall.

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  • 283. At 8:33pm on 17 May 2010, Johansen wrote:

    After have reading this discussion for a while.

    Alice: Reading scandinavian newspapers, I do get the impression that it is difficult to do business in Russia because of wery different culture. Glad to hear that some Scandinaviabs mange to work in Russia. Even if Europe has some problems Russia seems like they are doing relativly well.

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  • 284. At 8:40pm on 17 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 285. At 8:43pm on 17 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Seraphim85 (281):

    Tobin tax will hurt poor and developing countries by making it more expensive to invest into them. Rich developed countries on the other hand will benefit as their problem is not lack of capital, but lack of good investment opportunities.

    Now somebody might say that a small tax doesn't hurt investors as profits gained from investing into poor and developing countries outreach any small costs like this. However even now it isn't that lucrative to invest into poor and developing countries, there are for example political risks, risk regarding loosing intellectual property, bad quality due to corruption in the foreign operation or foreign subcontractors, etc.. If you add even a small costs of running foreign operations, companies might instead decide to invest on their current plants in developed countries and offset the costs by investing more automate and robotize their production processes.

    For example, in some article that I read years ago, it was said that Toyota Takaoka plant with all its new industrial robots is as cost efficient as producing cars in China. That article I can unfortunately produce, but here is some info about the plant. ( http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/archives/2007/07/toyota_way_automaker_president_tps_lean_quality.html )

    Now somebody might counter what I have just said by telling that profits of the Tobin tax would be used for the poor and developing countries. To that I have only one thing to say: dream on. Only Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands and Denmark contribute more than the UN target of 0.7% of GNI to development aid. No, profits of the Tobin tax will stream back to the rich and developed countries.

    A lot better thing that would be beneficial for all countries in the world, would be to shut down tax havens and places of money laundering. We still have those even right in the middle of Europe.

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  • 286. At 8:43pm on 17 May 2010, David wrote:

    All empires decline but not with a bang, but with often a whimper.

    The Greek empire provided a European renaissance later.

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  • 287. At 8:50pm on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Mad Mad Mad Mad Villain;

    Contrary to popular propaganda.....America doesn't have an empire...unless you count a handful of Islands like American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands.

    Johansen;

    "I do get the impression that it is difficult to do business in Russia because of wery different culture."

    You mean like IKEA having to pay 15 million dollars in bribes to open just one store? Serves them right for not clearing all of the obstacles ahead of time and then not pulling out at the first sign of corruption. How many boxes of press board knock down furniture do you have to sell in Russia to make 15 million dollars to pay for that mistake?

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  • 288. At 8:57pm on 17 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Johansen,
    yes, Scandinavians are doing not bad here. Swedes, overall, are not scared of Northern Russia because from what I noticed :o), in conversations :o), they survey it as own land lost long time ago, and, how to say, feel quite proprietory, brave, and at home.

    Though the leading managers, managing to do things, to their own and mutual satisfaction - are Dutch.
    They seem to have gotten the angle or, I don't know, the know-how, of the place, best.
    The Dutch never complained once, LOL, and they quietly became the leading investor. How, at that - nobody noticed :o)
    Just once upon a good day Russia realised its biggest investor is
    The Netherlands, and keeps steadily to be. :o)

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  • 289. At 9:15pm on 17 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    Um Jukka don't get me wrong but you are saying that if a plant in some random undeveloped country costs 1,00001 bn euros instead of 1bn euros a company would seriously take this point as the key reason NOT to invest abroad? We are talking about percentages far belowe 1% and I think there are various reasons that have far higher influence on such decisions.

    By the way the producing economy here is demanding from the politicians to argue in favour of such a tax in future meetings but it seems as if Angie doesn't want to upset her buddy Georg A. from the DB.

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  • 290. At 9:31pm on 17 May 2010, smroet wrote:

    The euro fell to $1.2237 in early trade on Monday, but then recovered to trade at $1.2307, according to the BBC. Traders fear that the austerity measures being put in place in many eurozone countries will hit growth.

    Well, an euro was worth $0.84 in october-novembre 2000, and the world did not end there, manifestly. So why would 'traders fear ?' More importantly, why should we worry about 'fearful traders' ? We did not appoint them to regulate our lives, did we? Or are they some superior know-all class whose whims we should monitor continuously ?

    I am in favour of some form of the Tobin tax, if only to curb the currency carry trade, which does not serve any other purpose than making speculators rich and 'common people' poor. Ask the people from Iceland.

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  • 291. At 9:34pm on 17 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Seraphim85 (289):

    Well, APEC disagrees...

    "We believe that imposition of a global tax is an inappropriate response and a further burden to industries, especially small and medium enterprises, and consumers in the wake of the global financial crisis. We also believe that the proposals under consideration would be harmful for a range of additional reasons, including the practical challenges of implementing any such tax."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobin_tax

    To the point you made, costs multiply in scale and in time as we are not talking about single investment, a single plant or a factory, but building up of a whole supply and production networks. Besides, to be effective, Tobin tax would have to be much higher than what has been put out in the media.

    And to give perspective, in here there have been no arguments for any kind of tax for international financial transactions. The reason being largely that it is possible to compete and succeed in global markets and sacrifice welfare state in the mean time, it just means that the state must be very efficient and continuously invest on what ever makes the economy grow.

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  • 292. At 9:43pm on 17 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @286. At 8:43pm on 17 May 2010, David wrote:
    "All empires decline but not with a bang, but with often a whimper.
    The Greek empire provided a European renaissance later"


    Yes... but much much later and without the Greeks!!!

    So there is hope for a new world without the US... in 3000

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  • 293. At 10:06pm on 17 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 294. At 10:09pm on 17 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    270. At 1:09pm on 17 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    " ...
    it was a joke..."

    EUpris: But, Herr Eichler, you are German! Does your constitution allow you to tell jokes?

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  • 295. At 10:12pm on 17 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "# 268. At 11:32am on 17 May 2010, you wrote:

    This comment has been referred to the moderators. Explain."

    Lol..again..what is going on? I was talking about CARS!!!!!!!

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  • 296. At 10:24pm on 17 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 297. At 11:01pm on 17 May 2010, Bluegrasskie wrote:

    @213: Euroland is a net exporter. A cheap Euro for both US$ and Yuan will make EU exports more likely.

    The weakness of Euroland as well as the weakness of GB and USA consists of debts. At the moment "the markets" focus on the Euro. Let's see who will be the next target. When the time has come, it will be the Pound, some of the folks here will be not so loud any longer.

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  • 298. At 11:07pm on 17 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "The weakness of Euroland as well as the weakness of GB and USA consists of debts. At the moment "the markets" focus on the Euro. Let's see who will be the next target. When the time has come, it will be the Pound, some of the folks here will be not so loud any longer."

    Yes, but we should realize that instability of your main trading partners isn't desirable and cooperation and mutual support are better ways of dealing with it. But yes, you are correct, today its us and tomorrow its them. Lets see how it will play out.

    ImO, the eurozone should come to the rescue of the pound, even if they didn't help us. It would show them the meaning of "solidarity".

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  • 299. At 11:19pm on 17 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    296. At 10:24pm on 17 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    " ...
    Wow, EUpris, you must be quite old. Are you like 70?"

    EUpris: Gheryando! This is not the first time you have asked me about my age. I am between 60 and 65.

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  • 300. At 11:25pm on 17 May 2010, PopolVuh wrote:

    "The Euro is in trouble so let's push for more European integration," so say the powers that be. That's like a couple, whose marriage is on the rocks, thinking that having a baby will bring them together again. Ain't gonna happen!

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  • 301. At 11:34pm on 17 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @294. At 10:09pm on 17 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:
    Does your constitution allow you to tell jokes?


    Not mine but anyway...

    Yes...
    http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/documents/legal/index.html

    Art.157 - Germany has one joke: "This horse has diabetes."

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  • 302. At 11:40pm on 17 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 303. At 11:43pm on 17 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "EUpris: Gheryando! This is not the first time you have asked me about my age. I am between 60 and 65."

    Mr. Eupris, I do apologise.

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  • 304. At 00:15am on 18 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 305. At 00:19am on 18 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 306. At 00:52am on 18 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    281. Seraphim85 wrote:
    "As this is a topic that is often discussed in the media here right now nationally and Gavin having has well earned holidays: What are your thoughts about introducing a tobin tax internationally?"

    As far as I can tell a Tobin tax will also become an very undesirable tax on real trade and investment.

    Also some 80 or more percent of all foreign exchange swaps are between banks and based on speculation, not real trade. I should expect the tax to be unloaded on the bank's customers.

    I should prefer Spahn's variant, which I think is better suited to limit speculation, taxing only transactions at rates outside a certain +/-limit.

    I should even more prefer a Spahn-type solution, which also address some of the problems Jukka points out in #285.

    A real investor must (and can) prove the money in question has stayed in the foreign country for longer than a certain period.

    In this case the tax would be applied when money is withdrawn and would be void if the original transfer is older than what is defined as a reasonable minimum investment time.

    This, however, will also pose problems in a genuine investor realizes that the investment is too risky or gone completely bad.


    Seraphim, I suggest you try to argue the costs and benefits of a Tobin/Spahn tax from a real investor's point of view, using a percentage that will reduce speculation.

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  • 307. At 02:04am on 18 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The downward pressure on the Euro continues as the markets seem unimpressed with the actions taken so far and the promises of more actions. They evidently are also concerned that the nature of the actions might impair economic growth which would be self defeating.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10118673.stm

    Short of sudden and surprising very bad news there may not be a precipitous drip but a slow drift downward. A trend of a few days or weeks is not a sure indicator of a long move and so we'll have to watch for the long haul but the solution of transfering money where it seems to produce some wealth, Germany to where it doesn't, Greece does not bode well for the future of the EU economy or the Euro.

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  • 308. At 03:40am on 18 May 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    This story won't do any favors to dispel the stereotype of Greeks being a bunch of tax dodgers.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8688612.stm

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  • 309. At 06:14am on 18 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Taxes on transactions in the financial sector:
    The chairman of the Euro zone 16 Jean-Claude Juncker has said in Brussel yesterday that the Euro countries have agreed to put a tax on transactions in the financial sector.

    Previously, chancellor Merkel has been against it. She said it will just harm the Euro-16 in the international competition if the taxation is not international, but she is now backing the initiative, which will write a bill to the sector with a great responsibility for the present misery, as Juncker said.

    I expect other countries in the EU to follow up on this, including the two Scandinavian countries that are not using the Euro.

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  • 310. At 07:25am on 18 May 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    287. At 8:50pm on 17 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Mad Mad Mad Mad Villain;

    Contrary to popular propaganda.....America doesn't have an empire...unless you count a handful of Islands like American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands."

    1st of all, an empire is not really defined by size, so I guess I could be talking about those islands and puerto rico...
    But what I was refering to is the economic hemogeny that america has established post WW2. In an earlier post you yourself mention the fact that a significant % of the GDP made in china goes to external sources, the majority of these are american multi-nationals. What is that apart from an economic empire?
    I am not like a lot of other poster who deride americas crimes while ignoring their own goverments. I think that all nations would have acted in the same way, protect thier own interests regardless of the human cost. I just find it sad that you attempt to rationalise and jusify all her crimes. You are yet another willing sacrafice for the nation state.

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  • 311. At 07:29am on 18 May 2010, David wrote:

    Is anyone on this blog quite young? Doubtful.

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  • 312. At 08:38am on 18 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva says he will sign a law legalising same-sex marriage passed by parliament earlier this year.


    I'm happy to see that Portugal does not have any more pressing issues.


    [BTW. Pres. Obama, on his tax return, has valued his Portuguese water dog at US$1600.00]

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  • 313. At 09:00am on 18 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "a pause"???


    'In a separate development on Monday, a tax scandal led to the dismissal of Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou.

    She was forced to go after a newspaper revealed that her husband, a popular singer, owed more than 5m euros in unpaid taxes and fines.

    Ms Gerekou, a political protegee of Prime Minister George Papandreou, had filed joint tax declarations with her husband for years.' [BBC]


    That news should make some Greek posters' day. :)




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  • 314. At 09:59am on 18 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    312. At 08:38am on 18 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    """Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva says he will sign a law legalising same-sex marriage passed by parliament earlier this year.
    I'm happy to see that Portugal does not have any more pressing issues."""

    Hahah! You got the point of politics! Avoid the main issue, bring on something irrelevant, change of course, diversion, cover and hide etc. In Greece they did much more, I have already developed the programme of Jeffrey Papandreou - nothing close to handling any crisis, while this week's visit of turkish PM simply stamped what I have been saying all these months here for the crisis and for Jeffrey's destructive role.

    313. At 09:00am on 18 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    """"'In a separate development on Monday, a tax scandal led to the dismissal of Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou. She was forced to go after a newspaper revealed that her husband, a popular singer, owed more than 5m euros in unpaid taxes and fines. Ms Gerekou, a political protegee of Prime Minister George Papandreou, had filed joint tax declarations with her husband for years.' [BBC]
    That news should make some Greek posters' day. :)""""

    Hmm not necessarily. People know that popular singers do not pay proper tax. Tolis Voskopoulos was a popular greek-folk/pop singer in the 1960s-70s who innovated the till then rather traditional scene but by the late 80s he was already an aged singer in half-retirement because he could not support anymore his youngish style, in fact by early 90s he was quite forgotten, his fortune was eaten and himself was in a downward spiral into alcohol. When Angela Gerekou, back then a beautiful rising young actress from Corfu married him (more than 20 years her senior) everyone was surprised, especially when she left her own career to restart her husband's one, later to be occupied with the local politics of her home island and from there to rise in PASOK party.

    Now, while it is known that singers when they are at their heyday hardly do they declare any revenue, guess how much would they declare when they have not anymore that revenue - note Greek singers gain mostly out of live appearences as record sales are minimal in a country where copying predated the age of internet copying, thus when contracts and invitations become less, revenue falls sharply and you are left to pay taxes for 2 villas, 3 piscines and 5 cars. Of course, it is not the singers themselves that manage their treasury but their managers and them know well the basics of the profession (you never declare the construction of a piscine of course (... ahhh that cursed google earth!!!!), the square meters of the house will include only the bedrooms and cars are called "leased machinery" by all means!!!).

    But lets put it straight... lovely Angela and pappy-teenager Tolis are not the epitome of corruption, they are rather a small symptom. Their case is a common tax evasion case to be treated along with the 1000s of tax evaders. It is served as a diversion to avoid tackling the huge scandals that other MPs of this and the previous government have created - and there we talk about millions of euros (you would feel dizzy...). It is like filtering the mosquito while letting the camel pass. Good old tactic.

    Powermeerkat, you should also note that this governement first declared the measures against the salaries of that part of middle class which even if they wanted they could not tax evade and weeks later came to as-if (as-if of course) deploy a strategy against corruption and tax evasion so as to serve the bitter pill more sweet). If they were sincere they would had started since October 2009 from the second. If they were ever really into that the Greek people would expect to see people going in jail. But as far as I know, there is no jail construction project lately...

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  • 315. At 10:03am on 18 May 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    "a pause"???

    I noticed the pound continues to slide against the US Dollar. That is the problem of having a weak economy, massive debt vs. GDP, non-productive economy and unaffordable social, welfare and public sector costs.

    On the bright side, the GB Pound is faring better than the Euro today being two cents better than yesterdays close ... now almost a continuous daily slide in the value of the Euro against both the US Dollar and GB Pound.

    I hardly think that there is going to be a pause in the demise of the value of the Euro unless ALL of the european nations agree that the social and welfare provisions of the european way-of-life are no longer affordable and the burden of cost imposed on the taxable income of the middle classes and wealth creators is no longer viable.

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  • 316. At 10:30am on 18 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    314. At 09:59am on 18 May 2010, Nik wrote:
    "and there we talk about millions of euros"

    Billions my dear, billions...

    "...Their case is a common tax evasion case to be treated along with the 1000s of tax evaders..."

    10 million tax evaders and assistants of tax evasion!!!


    Poor Giorgos, he is not lucky with his Angels, first Merkel and now Gerekou.
    :-)))

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  • 317. At 10:43am on 18 May 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    315. At 10:03am on 18 May 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    Just for a bit of clarity, who are the wealth creators you are refering to?

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  • 318. At 10:49am on 18 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:



    Austria Radio website reports a study by the University of Toronto whereby children who start lying young have "successful" careers.

    Presumably the apparatchiks who rammed the Lisbon Treaty down our throats started lying before they were born.

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  • 319. At 11:32am on 18 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @318 EUprisoner209456731

    CNN reports a study of the London School of Economics and Political Science that "on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs than those identified as conservatives"

    When is your next church visit with your UKIP friends?

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  • 320. At 12:18pm on 18 May 2010, Freeman wrote:

    @319 Oeichler

    What has people labelling themselves as liberal and atheist got to do with it? ... Despite the problem what too many 'liberals' are anything but.

    I am liberal (true sense not the PC sense) and agnostic.
    I am against the EU as I can see what it is and what it is very likely to become.

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  • 321. At 12:34pm on 18 May 2010, smroet wrote:

    @oeichler #316,319

    10 million tax evaders and assistants of tax evasion!!! Since when do people under age have to pay taxes ?

    Read for you in the CNN report (which uses statistics about Americans) : "The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning -- on the order of 6 to 11 points -- and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people".

    Some people simply don't advertise that they are smart. The IQ of others can be estimated from the relevance of their comments.

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  • 322. At 12:44pm on 18 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @315. At 10:03am on 18 May 2010, Menedemus,

    "That is the problem of having a weak economy, massive debt vs. GDP, non-productive economy"

    you explained the problems that the US economy faces quite well! But why is the pound loosing ground against the dollar?

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  • 323. At 12:59pm on 18 May 2010, frenchtommy wrote:

    I’m surprised that there is very little coverage in the UK media about the meeting in Brussels last night to discuss budgetary control in the Euro zone. The accord (if signed) basically means that each country in the zone must submit its national budget to Brussels for agreement before presenting it to its national parliament.
    What the accord will mean is that the countries with low debts, low budgets and low social spending will be able to control the spend happy nations such as Spain, France, Portugal, Italy & Greece, etc. These countries are about to sacrifice their national sovereignty on the altar of the Euro.

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  • 324. At 1:14pm on 18 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #314

    Nik, when you wrote about piscines (unfortunately seen from space, unless roofed - but then you have pay 'roof tax') I wasn't initially sure whether you were referring to pisciculture or pissculture.

    But since you've later mentioned that people who owe Greek taxman more than 5 million euro are small fish I would not like to piss you off by asking how many millions (billions?) one has to owe in Greece to be considered a big fish. :)

    Good luck: I hope you eventually make it after all.

    Just remember: beware of IMF Danaes who bring you gifts ;).



    P.S. Mr. Berlusconi used to be a crooner himself.

    But I wouldn't dare to ask how much he owes. [too many tough people owe him]

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  • 325. At 1:31pm on 18 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Menedemus opines:

    "I hardly think that there is going to be a pause in the demise of the value of the Euro unless ALL of the european nations agree that the social and welfare provisions of the european way-of-life are no longer affordable and the burden of cost imposed on the taxable income of the middle classes and wealth creators is no longer viable."



    Don't expect much: too many citizens of 'old Europe" were born and raised in a walfare state and they'll scream bloody murder the moment anybody tries to take those nice entitlements away.
    [or make them actually pay for those perks]

    Even in the U.S. it is a major problem: that's why you see American politicans cutting on the fringes (at best) but never touching entitlements, which account for most of federal spending [and deficit].


    BTW. I've never seen a U.S. Congressman or a senator with a bumper sticker:

    "I OWE, I OWE, SO OFF TO WORK I GO". [it's just us, working stiffs ;)]

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  • 326. At 2:03pm on 18 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    316. At 10:30am on 18 May 2010, oeichler wrote:
    ""314. At 09:59am on 18 May 2010, Nik wrote:
    "and there we talk about millions of euros"""

    """Billions my dear, billions..."""

    Hahah... no I was referring to each MP's share not all of them (unless we count in drachmas and there indeed we may easily arrive to billions). They are 300 of them. A 70% of them are not new face. At least the 40% of them (all parties) is esteemed to be involved in some average or major scandal while the big families are all into huge scandals involving billions having acquired large personal fortunes (several million euros each family) to live their great-grand-children.

    Back in the 1980s, Jeffrey's father when learnt the amount stolen by a corrupt minister of his he said (I translate the amounts) "Ok, I could say ok to make for himself a "little present" of 100,000-200,000 euros but not 1-2 million euros!!!".

    And it was just one minister...

    """"...Their case is a common tax evasion case to be treated along with the 1000s of tax evaders..."
    10 million tax evaders and assistants of tax evasion!!!""""

    Civil servants of course cannot tax evade unless they have private businesses on the side (most of them have not).
    On the one hand all Greeks are acucsed of tax evasion, on the other they are also accused of having too many civil servants...

    ...i.e. whatever.

    If you cared to know you would not put in the same pot the businessman who never paid any tax in his working life, the doctor who started earning his first real salary in his late 30s and tries to make up for the huge loss of time and the little businessman without any connection who tries to tax-evade to avoid the "system" imposing him more tax than he should pay by any logical system (you must really dive into the Greek tax system to understand what successive Greek governments have done there killing all local business...).

    I guess if US citizens (i use them just as an example,I do not accuse them!) who have a generic aversion to taxation lived in a system lile the Greek they would not even bother to fill up tax forms and would refuse to even communicate.... in anyway nothing much would happen to them, nobody went to prison for tax evasion, nobody lost his house...

    Big discussion anyway...

    """Poor Giorgos, he is not lucky with his Angels, first Merkel and now Gerekou.:-)))"""

    Jeffrey you mean (Giorgos is the name given later when his US parents decided it would be a good idea for little Jeffrey to carry the Greek name of his grandfather, PM in Greece in post-WWII Greece, you know, the one who came to Greece and civil war started...). Yes Angela is not his favourite female name. But you speak of Jeffrey as if it is him the ethical man being shamed by his collaboration with unethical Angela... the name "Papandreou" is the personification of corruption in Greece...

    I remember as a kid in the carnival of 1988, for a party, I had bought two masks, one was of Papandreou, one was of Koskotas (a Greek banker, US born, US citizen who rose inside Papandreou's regime from obscurity to steal hundreds of millions for the account of many people of the Papandreic regime...). So I was dressed Papandreou Andreas, one of my mates Koskotas and another as a policeman... haha, we were the clue of the party - the guy dressed as Koskotas had packages of pampers (you do not know about the pampers scandal... aahhhh you know nothing!!!ehehehe...) and I was carrying big bags of pop-corn I had labelled "Eurozastava corn" (Zastava was the carmaker of Yugoslavia as a reference to a scandal where thousands of tons of Yugoslavian corn was sold as Greek production to diflect agricultural EEC aids to political party members....). What a party!!!

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  • 327. At 2:06pm on 18 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    321. At 12:34pm on 18 May 2010, smroet wrote:
    @oeichler #316,319
    "...Some people simply don't advertise that they are smart. The IQ of others can be estimated from the relevance of their comments...."

    And yours is already being measured by what you have said so far as being on the far right of the scale (unless the scale is in Arabic which is the in the far left, or in case it is in Chinese then you hit bottom down...).

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  • 328. At 2:19pm on 18 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    323. At 12:59pm on 18 May 2010, frenchtommy wrote:
    "... nations such as Spain, France, Portugal, Italy & Greece, etc. These countries are about to sacrifice their national sovereignty on the altar of the Euro...."

    For the case of Greece, no Greek would that much mind sacrificing their (anyway non existing - never existed in full terms) national sovereignty to some German or Belgian bureaucrat. Greece's problem is that for long and now in an an accelerated manner, its soverignty is being sold to the US but not directly... that would be most fortunate. Unfortunately the US has placed Turkey to place aside the Greek sovereignty and in that way it places aside EU sovereignty and no EU country has commented on that: "what did the turkish full government visit to Greece do there 1 week after the temporary solution of the crisis?". Nabucco? Aegean oil? Aegean traderoutes? There has been nothign publised apart some mumblings of Erdogan asking Greeks to fly unarmed over their own terrotiry (amazing nerve eh?) and that Greek journalists should not "do the radar" and publish about Turkish violations of Greek airspace (some increadible nerve there eh?). Unofficial reports have it that Jeffrey already sold half of the Greek sovereignty of the Aegean annulating Greece's main geographical advantage in the Black-sea/Mediterranean trade - and that from now on, if Greece wants to re-affirm its rigthts as given by the international treaties, it will have a US-backed Turkey threatening war.

    Where are the good-hard-working Germans who don't want to pay the lazy Greeks? EU oil on EU ground will be drilled for the account of Americans (of course only when Americans decide so) and Europeans will be left to watch.

    OR are Europeans part of the intrigue? Their silence is really a sign of guilt in this crime against Greece and Europe.

    In other times, not so long ago, Jeffrey would be shot as a common traitor. But today it cannot happen. Let alone him being a US citizen (and only a US citizen... Greek citizenship was only given to take a ministerial the prime-ministerial position when he would grow up, that is why he started learning Greek at about 12 years of age...).

    You think I say all the above for joking? Not at all. These events are tragic. I told you, Greece's problem is not financial, but geopolitical: the former is rather the side-effect of the latter as well as only a means to further deteriorate the latter. It is 3 months now I am commenting here and you have seen ALL what I have been saying so far happening right under our nose.

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  • 329. At 2:37pm on 18 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    EUprisoner

    Maybe this:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8688781.stm

    can convince you of the benefits of European co-operation?

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  • 330. At 2:46pm on 18 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    324. At 1:14pm on 18 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    """Re #314
    ...I would not like to piss you off by asking how many millions (billions?) one has to owe in Greece to be considered a big fish. :)..."""

    Do not worry you never piss me off even when we lively/strongly disagree. Greeks like to strongly disagree even when they slightly disagree for reasons of building a more constructive dialogue (i.e. include all important points of each position).

    """P.S. Mr. Berlusconi used to be a crooner himself."""

    Yes! Mr. Italia! He is very popular in Greece too, the archetypal type of arrivist, epitome of social success in ND-PASOKic Greece!

    Now, it is known that all thse DNA researches on top of good-old historical knowledge which only comes on top of all layman observation say that Greeks' closest cousins are Italians (in particular the Napolitan Italians of South Italy, note not Sicilians so much, apart a small part of eastern Sicily close to mainland):...

    ... :However there is a huge difference that my (French) fiancee mentioned:
    - Greeks are mafia-like people with huge ego but at the same time they have the openess and self-consciousness to admit their defaults and to do self-critiscism and even joke about it without complexes.
    - Italians are mafia-like people with huge ego but without the slightest capability for self-critiscism, always maintaining a huge opinion on themselves, they are the best and everything is cool about them!"

    Now you know why it was finally the Italians who built the Empire! Haha!


    """But I wouldn't dare to ask how much he owes. [too many tough people owe him]"""

    Dare. Ask. Search. No question is bad question!

    Ok... now back to your question:

    In Greece a major scandal for an MP has to include several 10s of millions of euros and at least more than 1 million of euros enterring his personal account. Anything less than that are just the almost institutionalised "little presents" that all MPs. ND MP Aris Spiliotopoulos had a budget for ties which rose to 70,000 euros!!! Unless he bought 1 tie per working day so each tie costed on average 300-600 euros, quite modest by Greek MP standards - he must had bought a tie made out of 6th century A.D. Chinese raw silk carrying the Imperial stamp. I am not joking: the case of 70,000 euros for ties is considered as "small letters" and it is jsut publised as diversion for the bigger ones.

    For large (foreign or local) companies implicated in large projects the scandal to be major must exceed the "dissapearence" of more than 50 million euros to be spread around for corruption purposes (usually on a large number of people - note in international projects, most of it flies abroad - Greek MPs just get peanuts...).

    It is difficult to explain this. But you should note that part of the known Greek corruption is actually almost standard procedure even in coutnries like US, Britain, Germany, France or Japan - you don't have to go to Russia or China to see that. The only difference is that in those countries rarely things are reported as corruption is institutionalised to the very upper level while the middle level has few if any at all opportunities to participate. What happens in Greece is that due to its really small size, market and production it has no local "upper layer" thus it is the middle layers, the middle-men that dive into corruption and to do so they have (not just to tolerate but) to cultivate corruption in the lower layers too ending up in a situation of the equivalent of the dying cowboy in the rocky dessert of Nevada eating his own legs together with the voltures... Quite complicated case. Even more when you have a Papandreou as-if to deal with it: its like hiring the wolf to guard your sheeps.

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  • 331. At 3:11pm on 18 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Nik, why do you always write so much...I mean...sure Greek rhetoric..but I'm mostly too bored (and I mean "bored", in the Greek way) to read them..

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  • 332. At 3:19pm on 18 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "You think I say all the above for joking? Not at all. These events are tragic. I told you, Greece's problem is not financial, but geopolitical: the former is rather the side-effect of the latter as well as only a means to further deteriorate the latter. It is 3 months now I am commenting here and you have seen ALL what I have been saying so far happening right under our nose."

    Thats such bullcrap. U lived beyond your means. thats the only thing that matters. Stop being paranoid.

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  • 333. At 3:59pm on 18 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @320 Freeman
    @321 smroet

    It was just comment regarding #318 EUprisoner209456731

    Or explain to me the correlation between lying children and the Lisbon treaty

    @327 Nik
    euxaristw

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  • 334. At 5:18pm on 18 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Or explain to me the correlation between lying children and the Lisbon treaty"

    There is none. It is a semi-serious comment, similar to MAII. It is comedy.

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  • 335. At 5:37pm on 18 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    332. At 3:19pm on 18 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:
    """""You think I say all the above for joking? Not at all. These events are tragic. I told you, Greece's problem is not financial, but geopolitical: the former is rather the side-effect of the latter as well as only a means to further deteriorate the latter. It is 3 months now I am commenting here and you have seen ALL what I have been saying so far happening right under our nose."""""

    """Thats such bullcrap. U lived beyond your means. thats the only thing that matters. Stop being paranoid."""


    It is not about being paranoid. It is the underlying reality and it is not just Greece but everybody. The case of Greece took that extreme form because of exactly of what I am saying about the greater game plan in the area according to which NO country can raise its head (is it accidental? we are talking about more than 20 countries there ALL ridden with similar problems).

    For the case of Greece Refer to the "loans of independence", the "bankrupcy of 1897" and what followed etc. to understand. Each time the country was about to clear its debt something magical would happen and in no time debt would be back. That is way it worked. You have a different opinion? Count first how many of its leaders were murdered in the last 200 years... and how... and especially when.

    Refusing to accept the reality as it is, and sticking to accusing Greeks of "living beyond their means" is simply naif for a country whose position in the international traderoutes should normally permit them to live actually much much better, i.e. Greeks finally borrowed to "live under the level they could really atteign" while much of those loans simply never enterred the country (refer to loan details, how they were issued, by whom, on what bases and on what terms...).

    You might simply be too bored to find out the reality but that won't change it.

    Now go back 3 months and read all my messages: I have been verified in most if not all points I have made... and as for US-backed geopolitics, the recent full-government visit of the turkish government (that represents the US-backed Nabucco project as well as other stuff) verified me once again.

    You might be bored to get occupied more with this specific issue but that won't make you correct or precise if you sum it up as "Greeks spending more than they earned"*

    * Thoucydides on the relationship of production, loans & subsequent expenditures:

    "...when one goes on to borrow then spend more than he will be able to ever produce, then one wonders if his whole point is to aim to a failure..." (i.e. he asks himself whether the REAL aim of the politicofinancial leadership is to drive things to a fail consciously...)...eee 2500 years later that is precisely the case for Greece.

    Why do you find it so strange? Do you know how many people were murdered to have the Papandreides, the Karamanlides and the Mitsotakides families ruling this place for more than 60 years? Check how much money and how many financial scandals did murdered politicians like Metaxas or Papagos make and compare it to these modern day feudal clans.

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  • 336. At 6:01pm on 18 May 2010, Johansen wrote:

    I also believe that the current crisis is a result of spending more money than the countries got. Welfare and war both costs money. But I do not belive that the solution is to completely stop the traditions of European welfare. I am currently living in Sweden, here the welfare state are functioning , not as good as everyone wants perhaps but the basic welfare services are provided by the government. But because we have a these services we pay a lot of taxes. And I rather pay tax and have social services that work than not having reliable social services.

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  • 337. At 6:46pm on 18 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Nik

    I can't really comment, once again, on these issues. You seem to have a coherent web of arguments, nevertheless. What do you study? History? PoliSci?

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  • 338. At 6:48pm on 18 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    334. At 5:18pm on 18 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:
    There is none. It is a semi-serious comment, similar to MAII. It is comedy.

    I know... so was my comment (NOT)

    If they want to learn proper comedy they have to come to Greece, even if it is here more "une comedie dramatique"... isn't it Nik...?

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  • 339. At 7:10pm on 18 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    present trading as of 2PM DST Eastern Time Zone (NYC)

    USD/EUR 1.2289 -0.0112

    GBP/USD 1.4389 -0.0100

    The long slow procession of the downward spiral continues.

    The best of these Euro economies France and Germany can barely stay afloat on their own. Being dragged down by the lead anchors they have taken on and married themselves to voluntarily, willingly, eagerly in the past they will all sink together. But it hardly matters, they would have all sunk separately anyway so finger pointing accusations at other countries are not merely pointless, they are inaccurate. The problem begins much closer to home for each of them, the societies conceptually fatally flawed and unable to survive for the long term in the form they have adopted.

    Meanwhile China has its own problems;

    http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/forget-greece-china's-%22red-flags%22-are-a-bigger-problem-487264.html?tickers=FXI,PGJ,GLD,GDX,EEM,FXE,UUP&sec=topStories&pos=9&asset=&ccode=

    If the link breaks, after http:// copy and paste;

    finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/forget-greece-china's-%22red-flags%22-are-a-bigger-problem-487264.html?tickers=FXI,PGJ,GLD,GDX,EEM,FXE,UUP&sec=topStories&pos=9&asset=&ccode=


    So where does the flight to quality lead? Gold or........
    Guess Who!!! :-)

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  • 340. At 7:25pm on 18 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Johansen;

    "I rather pay tax and have social services that work than not having reliable social services."

    You must be or expect to be or fear becoming a "payee" and not a "payor" of these services. Frankly the likes of me doesn't like paying out much of what we earn to support the likes of you. Invariably it's the poor who are the most avid fans of socialism or the social welfare state. Sometimes a college professor to make a point will say to his students; "everyone take all the money you have in your pockets out and put it on the table, we're going to divide it all up evenly." Suddenly a lot of socialists in the room quickly become capitalists. How many wealthy "public socialists" evade taxes and have secret bank accounts in places like Switzerland? More than we know.

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  • 341. At 8:41pm on 18 May 2010, smroet wrote:

    MA-II #340

    Frankly the likes of me doesn't like paying out much of what we earn to support the likes of you. Invariably it's the poor who are the most avid fans of socialism or the social welfare state.

    And the result is ... an unequal society .., not entirely free from race problems. I prefer the Swedish model.

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  • 342. At 8:44pm on 18 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To MarcusAureliusII (340):

    I don't mind paying up taxes and neither most of my friends. And no, it isn't because we are unemployed hippies living on welfare reading Marx all day long, on the contrary we all have nice jobs in the private sector with nice paychecks.

    The reason why I don't mind paying taxes is because I get so much out of them.
    ..Public health-care started to take care of me before I was even born
    ..Quality education from my rural school to high school
    ..New friends and skills in the army
    ..Free university education with students benefits to cover basic living
    ..Start-up grant to start my own company with a friend
    ..Social benefits for a few months when I was in between jobs

    Now one could of course be selfish at this point and say "I don't want to pay taxes anymore!", but there is one thing, the best thing, that keeps me paying up taxes. The best thing that I get from this society is an insurance for me and for my loved ones.

    For example..
    ..if I would get injured very badly and I couldn't work at all for the rest of my life, the society would take care of me. I would get a decent or satisfactory small apartment from the city and enough social benefits to live a modest but more or less comfortable life.
    ..if I would suddenly die and leave my future wife and children to survive on their own, me passing away, wouldn't be the end of the family in economic sense nor it would close any doors from my children. Schools are good in any neighborhood and universities are free of charge, so without me they still could have all the doors in life open to them.

    I don't mind paying up taxes. I don't mind that every year I will be paying more and more taxes both in absolute and in relative terms. I have gotten a fair share from the society, I don't mind paying back to it.

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  • 343. At 9:22pm on 18 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    What is being attacked is the idea that citizens should have some sense of financial and medical security after working for most of their lives. Business needs a fearful workforce to maintain cheap labor. Consoldiated wealth always leads to bad social policies and eventually fallen governments.

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  • 344. At 10:00pm on 18 May 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    "a pause"???

    The Euro is now done to 1 Euro = $1.22 having rallied slightly before the close of trading.

    Germany is to ban naked short selling of the currency from midnight. For what little difference that will make to currency speculators.

    Tomorrow ... more of the same I expect.

    I bet the ECB and Eurozone nations are looking forward to the weekend and the short respite that will bring.

    The end result is now starting to look like it will have to be a smaller and more centrally managed Eurozone. Best the Financial Experts and EU Eurozone States Financial Ministers start discussing how to evict the squatters sooner rather than far too, too much later I reckon.

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  • 345. At 10:01pm on 18 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #340

    "Invariably it's the poor who are the most avid fans of socialism or the social welfare state"

    Brilliant deduction Sherlock. For "avid fans" read "desperately in need of", like the 40 million Americans currently relying on food stamps, or the record numbers using soup kitchens or living in tent cities, or not having access to a doctor. I suppose people like you just want those people to rot in the gutter right? Or at least turn themselves invisible so you dont have to see them? Shanty towns in America?!? -greatest nation on earth my arse.

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  • 346. At 10:24pm on 18 May 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    ghostofsichuan @343

    What is going to have to change is the concept within European society that THE state will fund financial and medical security without constraint

    The British Welfare Society developed post World War II when the UK population was relatively small and had an economy that was much more productive in manufacturing terms than it is now.

    With the growth of population, the costs of unconstrained financial, social and health welfare have expanded whilst at the same time the manufacturing sector of the UK economy has shrunk quite considerably.

    Prior to World War II, UK citizens were more readily accepting of the concept of asking themselves what they could do to make a living rather than asking what the State will give them in the way of finacial, social and welfare provision be it jobs in the public sector (which does not produce wealth but simply recycles tax pounds used to sustain jobs and jobsworths and only returns 20% of tax on the income paid by taxation (a false economy in so many words)) or for wasted billions on government initiatives to fund overseas aid to countries like India where people eat mud and grass to sustain themselves in States like Utar Pradesh but where the Indian government spends billions of Rupees on an Indian Space Agency ... just an example of how wasteful the UK is of its GDP income.

    For Britain one can transpose France, the Benelux nations, Germany, and any of the new Eastern European and Mediterranean EU nations where government of all hues have consumed taxed income on propping up social, fiancial and health provisions without thought of what they would do when the money ran out.

    The time when the money ran out is now. What takes the place of the unconstrained financial, social and health spending is anyone's guess but it simply cannot go on without constraint any longer.

    Austerity is happening in Greece now but the need for austerity will spread to other european countries as sure as eggs are eggs and we will all have to get used to less social provisions than we have grown used to receiving or being there as a parachute if needed.

    Postcript: An example of the newly-discovered need for austerity in Europe will extend to the EU for 2011 onwards as George Osborne, the new UK Chancellor of the Exchequor for the UK, has opened discussions with his colleague EU Finance Ministers to cancel the planned 6% increase in EU funding for next year - on the basis that it is idiotic for the EU to be unconstrained in its funding/spending when the member states and their populations are going to see austerity measures taken nationally.

    I look forward to hearing the squeals of horror within the corridors of power of Brussels and Strasburg at this bold but essential move.

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  • 347. At 10:33pm on 18 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #340 MarcusAurellius

    ´Never heard of Philby, Burgess or Maclean ?

    But that is another British story.

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  • 348. At 10:39pm on 18 May 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    342 Jukka Rohila
    Wonderful contribution. It shows again what well-rounded and generous people your system produces. Still, you get what you give and generosity of spirit is one of the most valuable gifts we can bestow on the next generation. You lifted my spirits no end.

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  • 349. At 10:50pm on 18 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #346 Menedemus

    If you are living in Britain, you are my best example of ´Island of the uninformed ´

    The troops came home after WW11 , and started asking questions.

    My # 347 is also directed at your insensitivity and ignorance of what Britain is all about.

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  • 350. At 11:03pm on 18 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "acorn brain, I am not what most people would call liberal, neo or otherwise. I don't like being put into a box."

    Well, that's right. Nobody likes being put into a box. Not even small boxy thinking type folks.

    MarcusAureliusII then wrote:
    "My views don't fit into neat little categories."

    Quite so. They're sprawled across messy little categories. At this point in the narrative of the contemporary classic "Marcus: My Story by Self Psychoanalyses" one is overcome with visions of spaghetti kicked across dirty kitchen floor.

    MarcusAureliusII then wrote:
    "I judge each issue on its own merits. Same with the way I judge people."

    Poorly.

    MarcusAureliusII then wrote:
    "If I sometimes lump them together it's because I've noticed a common trait where there is rarely if ever an exception. If one occurs, I note it."

    It is possible to feel uplifted by the vain pride expressed here. Failing that, it is nevertheless curious and unusual that Marcus does feel pride in possessing the rudimentary ability to think. As my grandmother used to say, by way of endorsement, "Who must he be associating with, then?"

    In any case, I feel blessed to have been invited into the rare tapestry of Marcus's thoughts, and it has had no ill effect on my view of Europe and the Euro sovereign debt crisis.

    Looking at the sheer volume of money being loaned to sovereign states by sovereign states, one is forced to wonder if the transfer of debt is not merely a postponement of its default.

    Because all that is happening is that the bad news in greece is being shifted around and spread out across the books of all the member states. But those books aren't looking so great anyway. The nations bailing out sinking greece and bailing debt into their own leaking hulls. The crucial point is that all over the euro area, sovereign debt is still increasing. How long before the whole Euro armada simply takes on too much debt and sinks?

    If the markets continue to punish the Euro, and if the sovereign nations of the Euro area continue to pile up debt, it is likely that various member states will calculate the outcomes of getting out of the euro zone. Getting out before default might be a very wise move.

    If that is the thinking, there will a sudden pause, followed by a rush to the exit. Germany and France will probably get out, and a few others, and the piigs will be left holding a worthless devalued currency.

    And that would be about right, in terms of constructing a modern Europe as French and German owners would see it. All the colonially administered second tier states of Europe would use the Euro, and the most powerful nations would have their own currencies and border controls.

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  • 351. At 11:38pm on 18 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #350 Democracythreat

    Europes´ problems have not exactly been helped by the continuing American sub-prime catastrophe.
    The Trillions used to bail-out European banks is no longer available to sort out Greece etc.

    While I agree with you criticism of Marcus, your apparent schadenfreude and derogatory remarks concerning the ´ Colonial ´aspirations of France and Germany, do not sufficiently distance you from him.

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  • 352. At 11:44pm on 18 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #350 Democracythreat

    Please ignore my criticism of you.
    By re-reading I see my error.

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  • 353. At 11:51pm on 18 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    350. democracythreat wrote:
    "If the markets continue to punish the Euro, and if the sovereign nations of the Euro area continue to pile up debt, it is likely that various member states will calculate the outcomes of getting out of the euro zone. Getting out before default might be a very wise move."

    If the markets continue to punish the Euro, export prices from the Eurozone continue to gain an advantage. Staying inside might be a very wise decision.

    China is worried, the US is worried - is China considering an investment in Eurozone bonds? Most likely.

    Solving the debt crisis with incoming foreign currency through a trade surplus is the best solution - and the EU is already a net external exporter.

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  • 354. At 00:14am on 19 May 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    quietoaktree @349

    I suspect you misunderstand my comment @#346? Quite what the MI6 Traitors have to do with that comment I fail to see ...

    Yes, indeed, the returning British troops disposed of the national coalition that had gathered to govern Great Britain through the war years and their return ushered in much reformation of the British way of life with the the introduction of the 1944 Education Act that introduced the Tertiary education system with free schooling for all, the National Health Service followed quickly and the 1950s and onwards saw the expansion of social welfare and financial and health security for all.

    I don't despise those aspirations and changes nor do I wish to denigrate the achievements of the social provisions that came from 1945 onwards in Great Britain.

    I merely stated that the wealth of the British Isles in 1945 was much greater (despite the war years almost bankrupting the country) and the British way of life changed for the better at the expense of higher taxes and greater GDP than the country of today can afford or, in the case of GDP, has lost from the coal mining, ship building and textile industries of the post-war years for, in some parts of the country now, seeing 60% of the population employed in the public sector which is not productive and does not contribute to GDP or GNP and, in fact, just consumes public monies more than it generates income.

    You may wish to see my comment as a criticism of social provision but that was not my intent. My comment was to highlight the fact that unconstrained social provision is no longer something the British can afford. Nor, for that matter, is is something that can be afforded in much of the rest of Europe apart from Sweden and the nordic nations - who have a different approach to capitalist supported social provisioning.

    My view is that the affordability of social provisions created in the post-war years were based on a smaller (and less consuming) population and an economy that was much more productive (and produced more wealth per capita then) than the present day when there is more consumption of social provision as a result of a greater size of population and that population is less productive of wealth per capita than the post-war years.

    The fact is that for every $4 GBP spent by the UK Government today, £1 GBP is borrowed and that borrowed money is supporting a nation that has massive public expenditure supporting social, financial and welfare provisions, huge bureacracy in the form of central and local government provisioning and the nation cannot afford to continue to borrow at the rate it has been doing to maintain that status quo by continuing to spend beyond GNP at the rate is does.

    Other European nations are in exactly the same predicament

    I hope that clarifies the intent of my comment @#346 for you.

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  • 355. At 00:15am on 19 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @346 Menedemus
    BRAVO

    @349 quietoaktree
    what a stupid remark

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  • 356. At 00:55am on 19 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Solving the debt crisis with incoming foreign currency through a trade surplus is the best solution - and the EU is already a net external exporter."

    True

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  • 357. At 01:13am on 19 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    quietoaktree wrote:
    "While I agree with you criticism of Marcus, your apparent schadenfreude and derogatory remarks concerning the ´ Colonial ´aspirations of France and Germany, do not sufficiently distance you from him."

    I hesitate to wish any distance at all between Marcus's views and my own, in many respects. His affectations of hostility towards Europe are no less admissible than the jingoistic nationalism and worse, Pro-EU sentimentality which we read here on a frequent basis.

    Underneath the moronic sports fan persona, Marcus is consistent in his economic analyses. He is also consistently wrong about a lot of stuff, which is also useful.

    Anyway, when I go to America to make my fortune I expect to opportune his wine cellar and grill whilst he schools me on easy pickings. So I have to stay on the right side of the issue.

    As far as Europe is concerned, they are just a year behind the UK. Just as the UK printed pounds and called it "quantitive easing", as if they were doing something new and clever, soon the printers in Brussels must be called into play.

    It will have a new name, so that folks will imagine that the clever herr's and monsieur's have thunk their way out of debt with ingenious new terminology. But it will be good old fashioned money printing, at the end of the day.

    And then it will remain to be seen what happens to the bond market. Both the USA and the UK have been testing the bond market with inflation over the past year. So far it is too early to tell how much affect the inflation will have on bond prices.

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  • 358. At 01:21am on 19 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    margaret howard wrote:
    "342 Jukka Rohila
    Wonderful contribution. It shows again what well-rounded and generous people your system produces. Still, you get what you give and generosity of spirit is one of the most valuable gifts we can bestow on the next generation. You lifted my spirits no end."

    Just as my own spirits are lifted up to read this ringing endorsement of Jukka, the psychopathic Finnish economist who want to invade Switzerland for practicing civil rights and then use nuclear weapons against the Russians to keep them in their place.

    As for the most valuable gifts we can bestow upon the next generation, the end result of Jukka and Howards thinking will mean that the next generation inherit a vast mountain of debt.

    The problem with paying too much tax is not losing the money for yourself. It is creating a massive government leviathan beast which then strangles the economy entirely, and makes ordinary life miserable by policing every last behavioral trait in order to impose fines and gather revenue.

    Government is parasitic by nature, and needs to be pruned by democratic action.

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  • 359. At 01:35am on 19 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    355. At 00:15am on 19 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    @346 Menedemus
    BRAVO

    @349 quietoaktree
    what a stupid remark

    Ditto

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  • 360. At 01:45am on 19 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "MarcusAureliusII then wrote:
    "I judge each issue on its own merits. Same with the way I judge people."

    Poorly."

    I've judged you dt and I'd say your character does reflect poorly upon you. And I haven't even prejudiced my views based on the fact that you are a lawyer or that you likely earn much of your income from people who get their money directly or indirectly from the Swiss banking system that protects the assets of many of the world's wealthiest and most heinous criminals. No, I take you on your own merits or lack of them based on what you say. Perhaps a book or two on self improvement would alter your outlook and my judgement.

    Juka Boxa, I am glad you like paying taxes, I'd be only to glad to make you even happier by paying mine for me as well. Perhaps you and your nation could do more to help out poor Greece and the other PIIGS. I'm sure their social safety nets could use an infusion of more cash, all they can get in fact. Just how happy would you like to get?

    Nonsense offramp, I'm sure America would have much more money to pay for feeding its own poor if we spent less money on defending Britain and the rest of Europe. Therefore I am sure you would agree with me that the US should pull out of NATO and allow the responsibility and cost of defending Europe fall where it belongs, on the shoulders of Europeans...that is if you think they've grown up enough to be allowed to have dangerous weapons at their disposal without killing each other in another of their seemingly interminable string of internescene wars. As I recall, it was barely 10 years ago that the Greeks and Turks were prepared to go at it with each other hammer and tong or should I say NATO weapons against NATO weapons over the crisis in the Balkins. Now come to think of it maybe it would be better if we left things the way they are for the time being.

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  • 361. At 02:37am on 19 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    319. At 11:32am on 18 May 2010, oeichler wrote:
    '@318 EUprisoner209456731

    CNN reports a study of the London School of Economics and Political Science that "on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs than those identified as conservatives"

    When is your next church visit with your UKIP friends?'

    EUpris: I am a vegetarian.

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  • 362. At 03:16am on 19 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    Well I guess we're even now. The US gave the world sub-prime housing debt. Europe has given us sub-prime sovereign debt. What will Asia throw in the pot?

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  • 363. At 06:52am on 19 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MAII, at all:


    euro as already at #1.21 yesterday.

    But don't worry: it'll go lower. :)



    Re: "Philby, Burgess and McLean" ...

    [there's a nice little British poem about those three, btw.]


    But, don't go that way.

    For pretty soon we'd get to Harold Wilson and Sir Roger Hollis level :-)

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  • 364. At 06:55am on 19 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #362 "What will Asia throw in the pot? "



    Chinese juan depreciated by 40% (to its real value)? :)

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  • 365. At 08:03am on 19 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Chinese juan depreciated by 40% (to its real value)? :)"

    I doubt it. Rather postponing the next appreciation for a couple of months..

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  • 366. At 09:13am on 19 May 2010, Dempster wrote:

    A comment from an article posted 6th February 2010

    To No.159. At 10:22am on 06 Feb 2010, ArnoldThePenguin

    Individuals can be allowed to fail, companies to, but not nations.

    The ECB will have to print more money and give it Greece, and then print some more and give it Spain and Portugal.

    It ceases to be a European Union if they let member states fail.

    I reckon No Unity = No Union.

    I don’t think there’s going to be a currency crisis, but unless they save member states from failing there may well be a Union crisis.

    What the ECB need is Magical Mervyn. That wily old goat can find a way round just about anything monetarily speaking.

    Mr King has proved that a country that can print its own money can negotiate its way round a debt crisis.

    What The Weimar Republic and Zimbabwe on the other hand have proved is you can destroy a currency’s value if you become over zealous.

    For the UK, we're all about to get quite a bit poorer, the day of reckoning has just been put off a while. But by the same token, I don't believe we're about to go broke.

    Sterling crisis, I doubt it. Sterling's significant devaluation, quite possible.

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  • 367. At 10:23am on 19 May 2010, Snagletooth wrote:

    The last time Germany stuck their neck out this far to prop up a flailing nation, some guy got shot...

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  • 368. At 10:53am on 19 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    * 258 - Thumper3181:

    "Iraq was rightfully liberated from Saddam for other reasons not at all having to do with oil, currency or WMD".

    The invasion of Iraq was based solely on the assessment by that US and British led group of nations who chose to join "the coalition of the willing" that UN Resolution 1441, which related specifically to WMDs, was either being violated or could not be verified because of Iraqi obstruction. It followed in their view that Resolution 678 came into play and that the use of force was necessary or appropriate.

    The "liberation", as you so quaintly put it, had everything to do with WMDs and, during the early days, both Washington and London were keen to underline that 'regime change' was not the main purpose. Only when it became evident that the intelligence was flawed and the WMDs were simply not there, did they revert to the fall-back position that Iraq required "liberation" from the tyranny.

    It is naive and simplistic to postulate this theory at all but to do so by dressing the whole thing up as being an exercise in altruism is hypocrisy of the worst kind. You wanted to rid the region of Sadam and you wanted a scapegoat for 9/11. Iraq fitted the bill nicely even though there was no tangible connection. So you got your bloody war but please don't tell us it was for the good of humanity.

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  • 369. At 10:57am on 19 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #354 Menedemus

    I took issue with the sentence ´Prior to WW11, UK citizens were more readily accepting---´

    Between the two world wars, social and political discontent within the UK increased. This led to the under-priveledged majority of citizens sympathizing more and more with ´Social´ ideas (in various forms).

    A few of the British elite compared their life to that of the masses and became active with the hope of changing the system to something more fair. Burgess et al. and the Mosleys are only two examples.

    It should not be forgotten that the late Queen Mother gave only ONE interview during her lifetime and practically nothing was known about the Royal Family by her ´Subjects´. Only 20 years after WW1, the under-priveledged masses were thrown into WW11 and demanded change.

    If you mean `more readily accepting´ was more ´Downtrodden´, I agree with you.



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  • 370. At 11:06am on 19 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8690882.stm


    'Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is to pledge the "biggest shake-up of our democracy" in 178 years as he expands on plans for political reform.
    The Tory-Lib Dem coalition backs plans for fixed-term parliaments, more elected peers and a referendum on changing the voting system. ...'

    EUpris: If he had any sense of democracy then he would have tried to get us the referendum we were promised rather than working to stop us from getting it. He and others should remember that more people wanted a referendum than voted for him and the Dodgy Dave Party. More people wanted to say NO than voted for the current government.

    His desire for a change in the voting system is a recognition that the present system is unjust. Therefore, if he gets that change, he should work to get us a new General Election under the new 'fairer' system.

    As long as we do not get that referendum we do not live in a democracy.

    "Mr Clegg will pledge to restore faith in politics in a speech on Wednesday."

    EUpris: In that case he should try to get us our referendum, apologise for what he has done to the British people, resign and refuse to take his pension because he is not merely worthless. He is much worse than worthless.

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  • 371. At 11:10am on 19 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100040178/the-eu-is-as-doomed-as-its-currency-lets-get-out-from-under-this-collapsing-monstrosity/

    "The EU is as doomed as its currency – let's get out from under this collapsing monstrosity"

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  • 372. At 11:45am on 19 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 373. At 11:46am on 19 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    oH... sorry for sending the message half... hehehe... I will coplain myself against it! I give the full one below

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  • 374. At 12:26pm on 19 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re360. Marcus

    """I've judged you dt and I'd say your character does reflect poorly upon you.... Perhaps a book or two on self improvement would alter your outlook and my judgement."""

    Marcus, really you don't exist! You are an experiment based at Cambridge according to which an AI programme reproduces a BBC blog commentator which will eventually push people to speak a lot and thus enable MI5 to file up interesting info on their profiles and sell it to CIA in exchange for facebook files. Hehe!

    DT is one of the most knowledgeable of people here on the politicofinancial issues we discuss, you can't complain he read not enough of books - this guy CAN write himself books that you should be reading (or incorporating in your archives if you are AI! haha!)! Reading books is one thing, having the will to open your mind and comprehend is another and these two are not going always together. Gheryando asked me above if I studied Sci.Po. or something similar. No. As I said I have an enginering background, working in larger scale international projects, never got occupied with politics or such, and frankly I may have read the 1/10th of books on politicofinancial that most of you have read. I do have an increased knowledge of the history of my region (central-eastern Mediterranean) and from there on I do gather conclusions which I extrapolate - when applicable - to current events all over the world.
    I do not claim to be the most knowledgeable. However, my "positive science" background pushes me to take things mathematically: 1+1=2 and that is why I try to sell you here the geopolitical approach of viewing the major events that occur around us and ask you to get a map in front of you when talking about major events in 1 country.

    """"Juka Boxa, I am glad you like paying taxes, I'd be only to glad to make you even happier by paying mine for me as well. Perhaps you and your nation could do more to help out poor Greece and the other PIIGS.""""

    You do a basic error Marcus. Juka is Finnish, I think. It is a country with a strong coherence and social cohesion something your country totally lacks for various historical reasons linked to its development and evolution. These dangerous "socialist tedencies" as you claim them, are usually found in countries with increased social cohesion. I won't elaborate more on what is social cohesion (cos it is something that is going down to family level) but even without that explanation, why would you expect to have any short of social cohesion between 2 countries th Finland and Greece who had neve rhad any direct (and I guess indirect) relations?

    “”””Nonsense offramp, I'm sure America would have much more money to pay for feeding its own poor if we spent less money on defending Britain and the rest of Europe. Therefore I am sure you would agree with me that the US should pull out of NATO and allow the responsibility and cost of defending Europe fall where it belongs, on the shoulders of Europeans...””””

    Absolutely no problem with it.
    And we Greeks would ask you to retire all that blind support to Turkey which anyway costs you billions. Turkey’s plasmatic inflated developed was based single-handedly in the continuous pumping from US – you would love to hear about the free loans, free weaponry that Turkey enjoys and how it kept dodging for years the IMF to which it had been nominally under control only years back… see all that costs enormously to the US. Do that and we have absolutely no problem to pay double rate the weapons we buy from you.

    Problem is, that this US “neo-isolationism” is a fake argument, US cannot afford to do that for the simple reason that it has entered a phase that any neo-isolationist tendency will instantly collapse its economy. Thus it has to pursue aggressively its overseas operations either directly militarily either maintaining US watch dogs like Turkey, Saoudi Arabia or Indonesia, or via collaboration with Britain, Israel and even EU countries who are simply taken hostages. The key is “US presence” everywhere. The secret is not global military occupation of course. The objective is “no international transaction outside the US-set global framework”. I.e. it is US which will point out where the international traderoutes will pass and who will sell to who, who will be the hub and who will do the transportation. Oil is just one part and not even the most major (apart its direct effect on economies). Traderoutes are at the heart of geopolitics.

    And in setting this global framework, the presence of US army in one form or another is absolutely necessary.

    “”””that is if you think they've grown up enough to be allowed to have dangerous weapons at their disposal without killing each other in another of their seemingly interminable string of internescene wars.””””

    “””As I recall, it was barely 10 years ago that the Greeks and Turks were prepared to go at it with each other hammer and tong or should I say NATO weapons against NATO weapons over the crisis in the Balkins. Now come to think of it maybe it would be better if we left things the way they are for the time being.””””

    Wrong. It is not “go at it with each other hammer and tong”. The situation is that US aids Turkey and pushes it to be exact (not that Turkey does not want!) to directly ignore Greece’s sovereignty and openly ask for occupation of Greek territory. It is thus the case of Turkey attacking, Greece defending. Greeks ask nothing from Turkey apart respecting the international law and become a civilised country stopping to threaten its neighbours with expansionist wars. The issue of Turkish aggressiveness against Greece and the full support of US to Turkey is at the heart of the current (not so current… it dates at least since 1974 if you know what I mean!) Greek crisis as the crisis in Greece is technically mounted over the last 30 years to desensitise the country and weaken its resistances and thus accept easily, even without any opposition at all the rendering of its national sovereignty on certain regions if not on a more global maner.

    I have been saying the above for the last 3 months and most of you have ridiculed me accusing me of “trying to blame others for own faults” (while I had explicitly explained that the logic behind is not at all about Turks themselves having any involvement in the Greek crisis, that has been clearly US, or lets say "international circles of interest represented mainly by the Anglosaxon block", I am not accusing US people in that).

    Who was proved to be right? Me. Unsurprisingly last week we have seen a unique show according to which ALL the Turkish government, PM and 10 ministers landed in Greece to as-if talk on global issues. This thing has NEVER happened even among Greece and its closest trade partner, Germany, let alone with Turkey. Yet here in BBC only small articles and really information was kept hidden. No strange thing, even in Greece, information was hidden and media was more occupied what Papandreou and Erdogan ate and what colour of headscarf/chador was Ergodan’s wife wearing than what was discussed. But in reality what was discussed was the Nabucco project and the annulation of the Southstream one, the practical annulation of Greek sovereignty in Aegean and not only… Without sovereignty Greece has no hope of ever redressing its position. 1+1=2

    Marcus, even as an AI, I would expect you to do your maths better. Try to learn something out of other commentators here.

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  • 375. At 12:45pm on 19 May 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    @ 370 EUPrisoner

    "As long as we do not get that referendum we do not live in a democracy."

    You mean as long as you do not get what you want, we do not live in a democracy?

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  • 376. At 12:48pm on 19 May 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    371. At 11:10am on 19 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100040178/the-eu-is-as-doomed-as-its-currency-lets-get-out-from-under-this-collapsing-monstrosity/

    "The EU is as doomed as its currency – let's get out from under this collapsing monstrosity"

    Nice opinion piece, I didn't see much in the way of facts though...

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  • 377. At 1:03pm on 19 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nik-ers;

    "Marcus, really you don't exist! You are an experiment based at Cambridge according to which an AI programme reproduces a BBC blog commentator which will eventually push people to speak a lot and thus enable MI5 to file up interesting info on their profiles and sell it to CIA in exchange for facebook files. Hehe!"

    So far, all of my life, I thought I existed. I look in the mirror and there I am every time, or at least that's what I seem to see. At least what I see in the mirror looks like what I can see of myself directly except in reverse of course. I'm as sure I exist as I am sure of anything else in life which isn't of course ever absolute. After all, if Sartre and Camus are right, it's merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream going not always so gently down the stream. The evidence I have that you exist on the other hand is no more than a lot of silly postings on this one internet blog site. Rather slim evidence from my point of view. However, that is the only evidence you have that I exist and so that too is a mirror image for each of us. How do I know you aren't some computerized invention made up at the University of Athens?

    If your hypothesis about me is correct, it's rather interesting that MI5 would choose an American personna for this task. How nice to know that MI% believes Americans can provoke more emotional reaction and self revelation of Brits than a British personna would. After all, most of the people posting here are British not American. Most Americans don't even know BBC exists and far fewer give a fig about what it has to say or what is said on its blogs. More non British Europeans post here than Americans do, at least I think so. Evidently MI5 must feel that Brits are far too bored with each other and far too indifferent to what their fellow countrymen think and say to react very strongly. I could accept that. I feel the same way about Brits myself...if I even exist.

    Well if I am only a computer program, I'm a damned good one since I can easily outsmart everone else here. Hehehehehehe. After all I am smarter than a million Europeans. But then that's not saying a whole lot is it?

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  • 378. At 1:21pm on 19 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Analysts said comments by German chancellor Angela Merkel that the "current crisis" facing the euro was "the biggest test Europe has faced in decades" were doing nothing to help stop the euro's falls.

    Meanwhile oil fell to $68 a barrel, as concern over tighter financial regulation sparked a move away from riskier assets." [BBC]



    Ahmadinnerjacket and his yokels won't be happy: So many extra centrifuges needed to enrich uranium-235 to "weapon-grade". ;)

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  • 379. At 2:27pm on 19 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re377: Hehe Marcus, I was just joking thus I picked MI5 only because BBC is British. But in such cyber-espionage cases, things are so complicated that you could have a KGB developed programme to infiltrate an MI5 programme to gather info to be used to launch various forms of electronic attacks, all that while the CIA knowingly monitoring and permitting this so as to see where it leads and what short of attack to be used, while KGB acting in full knowledge that CIA is monitoring thus actually using the collected info on complete different and non-electronic applications than the ones presented as diversion on the net etc. I know have people here asking me too what profession am I and how fast I type and if I think before to attain that amount of text. I guess it is all about me and my job (on the move and with a laptop on hand, for good or for bad).
    So no need to ask:
    "How do I know you aren't some computerized invention made up at the University of Athens?"
    ... you should had known it first hand: had it been such a programme in the NTUA (national technical universtiy of Athensn, one of the most corrupt education institutions of the ecountry) the responsible professor would had eaten all the programme's budget on building a piscine for his new summer villa in Sifnos (because he sold the old one in Mykonos, too much crowds there too much noise) and the students working in it would just develop a, perfect theoretical model, that would print in their dissertation, get a good note, then move on to do a Phd in US where they will be employed by companies which occasionally or systematically are working as leased backoffices for CIA... ehehe... got the circle of activities?

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  • 380. At 2:30pm on 19 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The Euro fell to 1.21 USD on Asian markets last night breaking through its 1.22 support level. Technical analysts and especially chartists consider this significant and will look for a test of its next lowest support level although whether or not it is really as important as they say it is is a matter of debate. What is not a matter for debate is that the low and falling Euro indicates a lack of confidence that markets have in Euroland's finances and economies. Traders around the world are concerned that a weak Euro suggests that the fragile economic recovery after the financial crisis could be in jeopardy, at least that is what I hear here in the US. I think their concerns at least from an American perspective are unfounded. The lower value of the Euro which suggests that European products will be cheaper IMO is likely to be offset by higher taxes in Europe, higher interest rates, and possibly demands for higher wages by workers to offset the lower buying power of their earnings. That will push European product pricing upwards. If the workers don't get raises they demand, they could go out on strike and impact factory production making their employers unreliable suppliers. While this may to some degree hurt US exporters, I don't think the impact will be as severe as is feared and in fact will actually help America's recovery. America being a net importer and Euroland heavily dependent on exports will result in benefits to the US at Europe's expense.

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  • 381. At 2:33pm on 19 May 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    Interesting to see that some of the Tory rightwingers are already upset with Cameron.

    So he can't be all bad.

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  • 382. At 3:03pm on 19 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The Euro is rallying on markets this morning and it's at 1.23. Impossible for me to tell if the buying is coming from central banks trying to prop it up or from private speculators.

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  • 383. At 3:33pm on 19 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 384. At 3:36pm on 19 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #377 - MarcusAureliusII

    Marcus,

    I confess I have never thought of you as a bit of software but, now it has come up, I can't help wondering if you were written by Microsoft. It would kind of make sense.

    Every time we seem to be making progress, they come out with a real dog like Millennium Edition or Vista. Inspiration alternating with farce. A bit like your posts Marcus?

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  • 385. At 3:46pm on 19 May 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    @ 377 Marcus the AI

    "If your hypothesis about me is correct, it's rather interesting that MI5 would choose an American personna for this task. How nice to know that MI% believes Americans can provoke more emotional reaction and self revelation of Brits than a British personna would. After all, most of the people posting here are British not American. Most Americans don't even know BBC exists and far fewer give a fig about what it has to say or what is said on its blogs. More non British Europeans post here than Americans do, at least I think so. Evidently MI5 must feel that Brits are far too bored with each other and far too indifferent to what their fellow countrymen think and say to react very strongly. I could accept that. I feel the same way about Brits myself...if I even exist."

    Easily explained, Britons are polite and reserved, Americans are borish and insufferable.

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  • 386. At 3:49pm on 19 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    380. At 2:30pm on 19 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "America being a net importer and Euroland heavily dependent on exports will result in benefits to the US at Europe's expense."

    I really don't understand this correlation

    fact is:
    before the crisis in 2008
    *Euro high
    *World markets high
    *Oil price high
    *employment high

    At the peak of the crisis
    *Euro low
    *World markets low
    *Oil price low
    *employment low

    during first wave of recovery
    *all up again

    right now during European debt crisis
    *all down again

    that's the correlation, so I really don't see how this crisis will "result in benefits to the US at Europe's expense"
    Globalisation mean we are all in the same boat and if you want to see Europe sinking, I hope you can swim...

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  • 387. At 3:54pm on 19 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #380 - MarcusAureliusII

    See what I mean? I love this one - erudite, well argued and sensible.

    I would almost agree with you but for one thing. In the summer of 2007, confidence in the USD had slipped to the point where it was 2:1 on the GBP and about 1.75 on the EUR. It reached the point that, when tourists with dollars went to pay bills here, they were swiftly directed to Bureaux de Change because the shop traders were far from sure they were going to make anything by the time they got to bank the stuff. It was, of course, short lived and the dollar recovered as market circumstances changed. I don't disagree with what you post but I think it is a mistake to take a long term downside view of something which might turn out to be a little local difficulty in the context of the economic cycle.

    Euroland has structural problems for sure but there indications that the European recovery while slow is likely to be more sustainable and the performance of Europe's multinationals, according to Newsweek, is significantly better than their American counterparts (http://www.newsweek.com/id/236598/page/1). This could be nothing more than a glitched triggered by over nervous speculators pressing the panic button.

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  • 388. At 4:27pm on 19 May 2010, vlmichfi wrote:

    The Euro might fall even lower when compared to the US Dollar, but it still has a long way to go when compared to it's lowest exchange rate which was about 87 cents to one Euro. The main importance of the Euro however is to avoid exchange risks between Euro Zone Members. The European economy is so interwoven that fluctuations between currencies, could make or brake a company. Just imagine that we still we have French Francs an DM (not linked as they had been for years prior to the introduction of the Euro). This potentially could have meant that when the Franc dropped 30% compared to the DM a German car manufacturer had the choice of taking an exchange rate loss of 30% (which meant it would probably not make any profit on the cars sold) or raise it's prices by 30% (which would have meant that the cars in question no longer would be competitive). I realize that certainly in the car industry things are not quite that simple (suppliers from abroad of the home market, manufacturing plants from abroad, ...) But this is why a common market, has a lot to benefit from a common currency. Hence the Euro was created. Prior to the Euro when Germany already had the most important economy in Europe, several of it's most important trading partners already had their currency linked to the DM, for years the exchange rate of for instance the French Franc towards the DM remained exactly the same. This is because business wants to avoid, avoidable risks. And it is not only business, just check with Brits that previously moved to the Club Med countries, and how the low Sterling made it much more difficult for them to remain in whichever country of choice. Last but not least for the consumer going on a holiday driving to several countries, to get to his country of destination meant, that banks were demanding a fee for the privilege, there is some old study that suggests that if you started with for instance 100 DM and went trough all of the founding members of the Euro Zone you would have ended up with less then 10 DM, due to the costs levied by banks when exchanging money

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  • 389. At 4:56pm on 19 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #382 MarcusAurellius

    If central banks are buying € , they are doing it to prop up their own exports. USA, China, Japan are the likely suspects. Since January Euro exports are 20% cheaper to buy for Americans and others.

    $1=€1 would make you happy ???

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  • 390. At 5:04pm on 19 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threndoious, once dogs like Vista are focibly sold to the hapless customer, they eagerly embrace the fix by buying the next system like Windows 7. I on the other hand remain a constant just like the Windows XP I use. Your problem is that in dealing with me you are looking in a mirror as I pointed out above but you don't recognize it. Mirrors don't lie. If you don't like what you see in the mirror, then "to thine own self be true." "The trouble dear threnodious lies not in our mirrors but in ourselves." (Wild Applause!!! :-) Just call me Sir Marcus Laurence Olivier.

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  • 391. At 5:17pm on 19 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "The Euro is rallying on markets this morning and it's at 1.23. Impossible for me to tell if the buying is coming from central banks trying to prop it up or from private speculators."

    It might simply be that the market has nowhere else it wants to go just now.

    Word from the Liechtenstein banker's gossip circle at the local Reggae bar in an unnamed town in Eastern Switzerland is as follows:

    Banking advice to private clients is to get out of currencies. World leaders are all gathering to agree on co-ordinated inflation to keep trade agreements stable. Effectively all governments are deep in debt and could use a little inflation to wipe it out so they can start borrowing and growing again. If they all undergo inflation at the same rate and at the same time, the balance of trade ought not suffer. So that is what the political leaders want. The party wants to borrow and spend, so the leaders want to print money to pay off the debts. But nobody wants to be the first the devalue, for fear of the market trashing their borrowing rate. If everyone devalues at once, probably everyone's interests rates will rise but nobody will be utterly obliterated by market panic, and face 15% interest, or more, future borrowing costs.

    So that being the way the wind is blowing in party member land, bankers are advising their clients to get out of currencies, generally.

    OK. Now my question was "Into what?", because obviously one needs to place store value, or it just kind of wafts away into the air like a spoken story.

    The answer (and this is the policy of large private investment banks in a low tax jurisdiction, so gauge your own view of the likely impact on markets) is to move into equity, and by this the Leichtensteinians mean stocks. Private company shares. Buying into companies. Swapping bonds for shares in the market, is the general idea. Earn dividends instead of interest. Choose jurisdictions with good property law credentials (good for UK). Choose companies with hard assets (real estate, raw materials).

    Now the big problem with this advice being put into action is essentially that company stocks have been plummeting in value over the past year, since the financial crisis hit. Currencies may sound bad in the future, but equity is the big loser of the recent past. Folks may understand that it is a good time to go into equity, but they have just seen it die on the wire, screaming for help in no man's land for hours. Equity looks funky and prone to very likely wipe out. Companies go under all the time. Even big ones sometimes go under. Countries rarely go under. Even Saddams' creditors got a seat at the table and profit on their investments.

    Apple is touted as the perfect investment vehicle by the Leichtenstein crew. Innovation, technology and high value products. Huge cash savings. Curiously, if apple hits 300 dollars a share it will have a market capitalization (the total values of all its subscribed shares) larger than microsoft. It is now around 250, having peaked recently at 270.

    But anyway, the word is that folks are not rushing to the exit on currencies, because they are unsure of where to go. They fear equity investments. Teams of "experts" are spending weeks going over books, and reporting back to investors who do not trust what they are being shown and ask for yet more "research".

    In short, the market has reached a nadir, and is waiting for the next great stampede to be set off in some random direction.

    But the general wisdom from the advisors to the private money is to do the due diligence and invest in companies with good business practices, in suitable business friendly jurisdictions, and with capital held in resources and paying technology.

    In global terms, that is good new for the USA, good news for the UK, and not so good news for the Eurozone.

    It also means that interest rates will rise, as will inflation, which will wipe out the value of wages as home loans become hugely expensive for working families.




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  • 392. At 5:25pm on 19 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    At $1=€1 my future Maserati will be 40% cheaper than in January !

    Marcus, can we pray together ????

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  • 393. At 5:33pm on 19 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 394. At 5:39pm on 19 May 2010, mvr512 wrote:

    186. Mathiasen wrote: On the background of the situation in Greece he [Leon de Winter] would like to have the entity of the original six (BeNeLux, France, Germany, Italy) back, as well as their national currencies. I am not sure, why Der Spiegel has published the article.

    Because Der Spiegel for a change wants to present the MAJORITY viewpoint, which is opposed to political integration and the unwanted Euro currency?

    Admit it federalists, the reason you don't like democracy and don't like referendums is because the peoples do not agree with you. And being overwhelmingly 'progressive', EU-federalists tend to look down upon the 'common rabble' and think the people do not know that is good for them, and need 'progressive' guidance to take these decisions for them.

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  • 395. At 5:55pm on 19 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    vlmichfi wrote:
    "Last but not least for the consumer going on a holiday driving to several countries, to get to his country of destination meant, that banks were demanding a fee for the privilege, there is some old study that suggests that if you started with for instance 100 DM and went trough all of the founding members of the Euro Zone you would have ended up with less then 10 DM, due to the costs levied by banks when exchanging money."

    This is the conventional wisdom most often used to justify the EU and the Euro. It makes life easier because when you go on holiday the banks don't charge you exchange fees.

    The wisdom behind the EU says that it is better to centralize financial power and banking practices around one currency because the population can trade more cheaply. The central idea is to create "efficiency" in the financial sector of the EU, thus benefiting everyone.

    The problem with this wisdom, in my view, is that it is based upon a very narrow and ultimately false understanding of the term "efficiency". Those who advocate for an "efficient" financial system presume that the benefits of efficiencies in one sector will lead to efficiencies in other parts of the whole economy. In fact, very often the exact opposite is true. Often creating efficiencies in one part of a system is achieved precisely by reducing efficiencies in other parts of the system.

    A simple example will show the principle clearly. Imagine you have a water barrel sitting on a high table, with two taps in its base. If both taps are turned on, water flows with the same efficiency from each. If you then reduce the efficiency of one tap, by turning it three quarters closed, the second tap will experience an increase in efficiency as the higher pressure generates faster water flows. Thus an increase in efficiency in oe part of the system is generated by a decrease in another part of the same system.

    And so too with institutional and organizational efficiency.

    The foolishness of promoting purely singular orrganizational efficiency is laid bare by the following spurious reasoning: A monopoly is the most efficient way of running a profitable business. You face no competition with regard to demand, and can restrict supply to boost price. Totally efficient, from the perspective of the owner of the monopoly. Therefore government and society should be made up of monopolies, as these are the most efficient form of business operation.

    Clearly, that is an absurdity, but this is the danger of defining efficiency in a narrow sense.

    As far as social policy is concerned, efficiency must speak to the overall distribution of resources and benefits to the whole society. We are not interested in how much water flows from each tap, but rather how much water flows out of the barrel.

    I would submit that centralization of individual economic sectors is generally, though not always, harmful to the overall economy. With market centralization comes political centralization, and with political centralization comes the cancer of slow, unresponsive, expensive government institutions.

    When small communities lose their independence to centralized institutions, they lose the ability to respond swiftly to changing circumstances. Whatever the federal structure of a federation of states or communities, the ability to enact local laws, taxes and trade policy is crucial. If these political powers are removed from the local level of government, then you have the centralization of the economy.

    If it worked, the soviet union would have worked. So would the massive centralization of political power which has overcome the USA in recent decades.


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  • 396. At 5:55pm on 19 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @388 vlmichfi

    You mentioned exchange rates within the European domestic market and how a common market has a lot of benefits from a common currency.

    Personally, I feel like the "Euro" was implemented in a way that would benefit most member nations.
    Other European currencies followed the DM for a reason and all this was eliminated over night without proper consideration of the different European nations` markets.
    Nobody took into consideration how different nations would have different structures and conditions, let alone unions.
    Also, they didn`t even consider that credit expansion might not work forever and what to do with members going bankrupt.

    Therefore I`d say that the common currency has done more harm than good so far.
    All thanks to your policymaker`s ineptness.
    Let alone their inability to tell the banks that there won`t be a bailout in form of socialization of debts again (so Greece could restructure). Because that could send the "wrong message" to banks that they maybe shouldn`t lend money to indepted nations.

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  • 397. At 5:59pm on 19 May 2010, mvr512 wrote:

    210. BluesBerry wrote: When do Europe's people get a voice as to whether they want their national budgets scrutinized by the EU before their national parliaments? This should be a no-brainer: No one country can have the expertise, the best possible financial expertise which lies with Brussels.

    Good luck at getting anything near a majority to vote for that. Oh wait, I just spotted the flaw in my reasoning, you don't plan on asking the people.

    Do you believe George Osborne knows more than Brussels, or Vince Cable?

    I believe the national finance ministers know far more than the unelected crowd in Brussels does. When's the last time the EU had its own accounts internally approved? Has it even happened at all since 1992?

    Who cares about potential expansion in economic governance? Does it not profit all of the EU countrues to have a tightly regulated and healthy financial systems that works for the benefit of the people, even when sharks circle the waters?

    Nothing like a 'beneficial crisis' eh? Abusing the socalled crisis to grab more powers for the undemocratic EU. The EU existed before the crisis, didn't prevent it, in fact probably made it worse so cannot possibly be part of the solution. If you are part of the problem you cannot be part of the solution.

    "The EU is unloved", and who is promoting that? The Americans? The UK Coalition Government? We have long since passed the days when isolated countries could survive without a multipliity of talents.

    The peoples are promoting it, increasingly so. Exposing ever more national politicians who spit in their electorates faces in order to do what 'Brussels' wants ahead of what those who elected them want. No national politicians should be allowed to circumvent his/her national parliament by going 'through Brussels'. And as for your frankly nonsensical 'isolated countries' claim, last time Germany tried to 'unite' Europe we all decided that it wasn't a good idea. So why is an undemocratic 'union' imposed from above a good thing now, when it wasn't a good thing then?

    The main reason why people increasingly dislike the EU is because the EU is undemocratic, its 'government' ie the Politburo (Commission) unelected and illegitemate and its parliament not a real parliament in any sense of the definition.

    If the EU does not capture your imagination, ask yourself WHY?
    What do you think you will gain?
    What do you think you will lose?
    Are you really longing for an Americanized banking system?


    The EU is in favor of an 'Americanized' banking system, which is another reason why I oppose the EU. If the EU was abolished most of us here would not be worse off, in fact many would be better off. We don't need EU for trade, we don't need EU for cooperation, we don't need the Euro currency for anything, we don't need EU for peace/prosperity.

    The EU serves no purpose whatsoever apart from allowing politicians to increasingly bypass elected national parliaments. And that I find not a good idea, also I hate centralization of power. It wasn't a good idea in 33-45 and still isn't a good idea today. I say this: NO superpower in Europe, ever again.

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  • 398. At 6:00pm on 19 May 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    @ 90. At 5:04pm on 19 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "threndoious, once dogs like Vista are forcibly sold to the hapless customer, they eagerly embrace the fix by buying the next system like Windows 7. I on the other hand remain a constant just like the Windows XP I use."

    Have you tried Linux recently, some of the newer distro's like Ubuntu are very good. XP is still required for some tasks (well...games is about it really) but setting up a partition is so easy during the install its unbelievable.



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  • 399. At 6:44pm on 19 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The program is working MI5, all the Europeans are responding and even an American...or someone doing a poor immitation of one (guess who) hehehehehehe.

    The German government seems to be in a state of near panic;

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/What-Will-German-Short-Ban-cnbc-1646651045.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=

    "German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that the "euro is in danger" and warned that if the "euro fails, Europe fails."

    "That was the reasoning behind a German government decision to ban naked short selling of German bank stocks, euro-zone bonds and credit default swaps."

    Of course it won't work. The article points out that a similar ban has been in effect in France for awhile and it hasn't worked. So long as these investment are traded on many exchanges in many countries, there will always be a way to make the trades and there are many ways to short an investment as the article points out.

    "Merkel just turned off the financial lights in Europe, one trader told Reuters, as the market sold off the single-currency."

    I think it is a mistake to take action that will certainly be ineffective, it appears as an act of desperation. And I think it is. It's an act that stems out of fear.

    "German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will now push for a transaction tax at the G20 and called on euro-zone members to cut deficits now to help convince the market of the blocks financial health."

    Now that would really be a dumb move and again completely ineffective. Declaring war against the markets is a sure way to lose whatever leverage you have with them. Personally, I don't think the US would agree to such an idea anyway. American economists see freedom to trade, short selling, derivatives, and other mechanisms the EU leaders fear most as necessary to the proper functioning of the market. The US effort will be directed at making them transparent and regulating them, not banning or supressing them when they are legitimate even if they are unfavorable to some economies. The US doesn't seem completely ready yet to abandon free market capitalism even if Europe is. I think all the US wants is for them to be open and honest investments so that buyers and sellers know exactly what these instruments actually are about.

    dt;

    "Word from the Liechtenstein banker's gossip circle at the local Reggae bar in an unnamed town in Eastern Switzerland is as follows:

    Banking advice to private clients is to get out of currencies."

    Here is the opposite recommendation;

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Gold-Prices-Dip-as-Investors-tsmf-1629084990.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=2&asset=&ccode=

    "Gold Prices Sink as Investors Go for Cash"

    It is my experience that you can find an expert opinion that will agree on any position you take on any stock or investment. Consider a stock whose price is going up. Those who like it will say it has momentum, buy now while those who don't will say it's overpriced and overbought, sell now. Consider one that is going sideways. Those that like it will say it's building a base, buy now while those who don't will say it's a dead stock going nowhere, sell it off now. And consider one that is going down. Those that like it will call it a buying opportunity, those that don't will say it is a broken stock that should be avoided and if you own it then sell it. Who's right? If I knew the answer to that do you think I'd be sitting here playing this game? Ooops, I forgot, I have no choice, I'm only a computer program. I have to play whether I want to or not.

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  • 400. At 6:59pm on 19 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 401. At 8:25pm on 19 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    "336. At 6:01pm on 18 May 2010, Johansen wrote:
    I also believe that the current crisis is a result of spending more money than the countries got. Welfare and war both costs money. But I do not belive that the solution is to completely stop the traditions of European welfare. I am currently living in Sweden, here the welfare state are functioning , not as good as everyone wants perhaps but the basic welfare services are provided by the government. But because we have a these services we pay a lot of taxes. And I rather pay tax and have social services that work than not having reliable social services."

    That may actually be true but average Swedes are more honest when it comes to taxes and also more modest when defining their actual "needs" in life (meaning being less greedy and demanding in salaries) than average Europeans are. (Of course the top level Volvo therefore is far cheaper than the top level Mercedes). And I am not even starting to compare Scandinavian countries with Club Med...

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  • 402. At 8:59pm on 19 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    As of today 19:59:22 UTC the position is

    Symbol ### Bid ### Sell ## Low # High Change percent
    EURUSD 1,2386 1,2389 1,2145 1,2398 +0,0184 +1,5100

    Rollercoaster

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  • 403. At 9:25pm on 19 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Menedemus (346):

    You said that European European states can't afford to fund financial and medical security. However have you taken notice that European states spend less GDP to health care than for example USA? USA spends 15% of its GDP to health care while UK spends only 7.5% and still getting the same or better results.

    http://thetoiletpaper.com/blog/2009/health-care-spending-in-developed-countries/

    The thing is, European states work because we have pooled resources in societies. We spend less to health care, less to education and so on than the USA. The reason why European countries can fare in global competition is that as a collective we cost efficient and in some cases very cost efficient societies.


    To democracythreat (358):

    You praise the Swiss democracy and defend it while shutting your eyes of from the misery that it produces in other countries around the world. Profits from illegal narcotics and weapons trade, human trafficking, corruption, crime, tax evasion etc.. end up to Swiss banks. Now you have many times said that such things are not legal and they never ever happen in Switzerland, but they do happen...

    Let me quote CIA fact-book on this one... Switzerland is "a major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries".

    And let me put some numbers in the table. 1/3 of all funds held outside country of origin are kept in Switzerland and they account for 5.7 trillion US dollars, that is a figure from 2007.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banking_in_Switzerland

    The thing is, the country you love so much, is living by blood money. Because Switzerland acts as an safe haven for huge amounts of illegal money, it allows criminals to continue to conduct their businesses. And you know what these businesses do... they cause girls being abducted to sex slavery, they cause people taken to slavery to mine diamonds, they cause people getting killed by illegal arms etc..

    I'm sorry, but you have loosen your moral right to preach about democracy and freedom as you by your support to the continuation of the Swiss banking secrecy and financial industry are supporting and enabling severe crimes and even crimes against humanity. If you really would care about people, care about democracy and freedom, you would reject the Swiss banking secrecy and support actions to take down safe havens for tax evasion and money laundering.

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  • 404. At 01:23am on 20 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Jukka Rohila wrote:
    "To democracythreat (358):
    You praise the Swiss democracy and defend it while shutting your eyes of from the misery that it produces in other countries around the world. Profits from illegal narcotics and weapons trade, human trafficking, corruption, crime, tax evasion etc.. end up to Swiss banks."

    Profits from all these activities and worse end up in all banks, Jukka. It is in the nature of banking. pecunia non olet and all that.

    You talk about banking secrecy laws, but in fact there are no such laws. There is only the rule of civil law between state and citizens in Switzerland. In Switzerland, the legal relationship between the individual and the state remains civil when disputing money matters. The state does not have feudal powers over the individual's person by way of the criminal law in financial disputes, in the same way as private citizens are limited to bringing civil suits in financial matters.

    So the banking secrecy you speak about is in fact citizens privacy, and a fact of the political economy of the Swiss state.

    What you advocate for is a return to feudalism, where the state has the power to use force to compel obedience and the relinquishment of property to the state. You want a criminal relationship between the state and the individual, concerning financial matters. You prefer to see the state with such powers.

    That is a less than liberal view, and shortsighted in my opinion.

    I have read a good deal of history, both European and global. I submit that whensoever and wheresoever you find a political economy which grants the state powers of force is disputes with citizens over property, so too will you find that those who represent the state, and control it, will do so in order to use force to gather property from the citizens.

    Jukka, you want total state control over the citizen, but you first ask us to believe that you know how to fashion the institutions of the perfectly formed state.

    So me the state which is fit to take away a citizens right to be treated in a civil fashion by the law.

    If the population do not control the state, those who do will use the state to steal from the population.

    It is inherent in the nature of states to be used as instruments of personal ambition and purpose, because states are inert structures without any will do be good or to assist evil. But people are real, and do have real ambitions and real purposes.

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  • 405. At 01:39am on 20 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    In European financial news, the germans and french have shown the world the sort of unity and cohesion of strategy that characterizes most EU undertakings. The Germans have banned short selling of euros in their markets, and the french have come out saying that they will not do so.

    The whole thing is appallingly ludicrous, from a market perspective. To entertain crowds of bewildered and angry germans, politicians there are shaking their fist angrily at the world media, and blaming it for reporting the wrong reality. They point their fingers and snarl at ratings firms and "speculators" (otherwise known as erstwhile investors), but what they are really complaining about is that the market doesn't think the Eurozone is being well managed and the germans would like the market to think that it is.

    And so we now see more futile gesturing at the market from german politicians who just cannot seem to grasp the idea that markets have punished and shamed much larger forces than the german state on a regular basis.

    The architects of the ex soviet union must be peering into their vodka with a chuckle and on wall street the survivors must be chuckling softly as they witness the spectacle of the german political behavior.

    So the German state is going to dictate terms to the global bond market, is it? Of course it is. Nothing easier. just send the polizei around to convince them, the good old fashioned german way.

    These party elites are the same folks who dreamed up the EU institutions. Horror farce does not begin to describe the situation. We are going to see supply, demand and stupidity ride roughshod over the aspirations of the European nobility, and the citizens of europe will suffer as serfs.

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  • 406. At 01:50am on 20 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Jukka, you and I differ fundamentally concerning belief in the existence of a communal mind.

    You have an inspiring faith in the good purpose and proper organization of the state. You don't advocate upon behalf of any particular group of folks to run such a great state, so I presume you think that a general sort of communal mind will guide the state to proper order and equitable purposes.

    I don't see that reality. I try, but I can't see any evidence of the unseen, perfectly ordered state.

    Most of the state structures I have studied have amounted to beating on folks until they work like donkeys in the fields, and then stealing the agricultural produce gifted by the land and the hard work of the subordinated donkey folk. I mean, that was the dominant model of human statehood for the vast majority of human history. It still goes on, in much of the world. That is the reality, apart from any theoretical ideal.

    Now when a man stops beating on his donkey folk and pays police to do it for him, perhaps then he gives himself a title and starts wearing fancy hats. That is another broad chapter in human history.

    However there are small parts of human history where the state was not the tool of despots.

    You will find that in these pockets of non despotism, there existed a largely civil relationship between the citizen and the law. The great economic fortunes created in such environments, where the state was made subordinate to the liberties of the individual at law, is the shining light which people see when they contemplate democracy, and a wealthy liberal society based upon human rights.

    You, however, prefer a vision of a very clever despot getting everything neatly into little rows. And everybody else waits for orders on how to live their lives from the ever loving and all knowing and profoundly wise state.

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  • 407. At 01:52am on 20 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    375. At 12:45pm on 19 May 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    '@ 370 EUPrisoner

    "As long as we do not get that referendum we do not live in a democracy."

    You mean as long as you do not get what you want, we do not live in a democracy?'

    EUpris: Not at all! I would like to do away with the monarchy - in the nicest possible way. The last time I heard any statistics on the matter about 70% want to keep the monarchy, so I am out of luck.

    The referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is different. We were promised a referendum and about 82% want that referendum.

    No referendum = no recognition = no respect

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  • 408. At 02:31am on 20 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @405 democracythreat

    "These party elites are the same folks who dreamed up the EU institutions. Horror farce does not begin to describe the situation. We are going to see supply, demand and stupidity ride roughshod over the aspirations of the European nobility, and the citizens of europe will suffer as serfs."

    I like the term "party elites", because that`s what they are, both in Germany and the EU.
    Voter turnout is decreasing for the most of two decades in Germany, because people are realizing that we got no democracy. The electoral committee actually consists of members of the major parties and they can effectivle block new parties from participating at elections if they want to. Those parties can only take legal action AFTER the respective elections. Way to go, democracy.

    As for the EU, implementing a bureaucratic monster by undemocratic means and then later giving people the right to vote (what for anyway? Last time I checked, the way demographics affect the number of seats in the European Parliament is a sorry excuse of what was once called "parliamentarian democracy". 17 Seats for Austria and 96 for Germany with 10 times as many citizens? Just because 96 is the maximum number? Mkay) to an insignificant extent, is not what I consider democratic.

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  • 409. At 04:47am on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "on wall street the survivors must be chuckling softly as they witness the spectacle of the german political behavior."

    More like side splitting laughter dt. So the Germans think they can stop short selling and speculation. Not a snowball's chance in hell.

    "These party elites are the same folks who dreamed up the EU institutions"

    EUpris, why do you think that after the tease, in fact David Cameron has no more intention of allowing a referendum on EU membership for Britain than Tony Blair, Gordon Brown or Neil Kinnock ever had. Cameron has to think about life after 10 Downing Street just like the others. He's also a party elite too.

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  • 410. At 07:30am on 20 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "taxpayers no longer seem prepared to pay for the mistakes of their EU partners."


    Good for them.



    BTW. Maseratti is a lousy car. Try Bugatti instead.


    If you can afford it, that is.


    Otherwise, buy Corvette. :)

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  • 411. At 07:32am on 20 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    EU Prisoner wrote:"The referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is different. We were promised a referendum and about 82% want that referendum.

    No referendum = no recognition = no respect"







    It's not a question of respect.

    That's an issue of living in EUSSR authoritarian superstate.


    ["Britons, never, never, never, shall be slaves" ???]

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  • 412. At 07:34am on 20 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #409

    Some folks are so blind they can't see the writing on the wall

    [MANE, TEKEL, FARES]

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  • 413. At 11:55am on 20 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #411 - powermeerkat (and EUprisoner)

    How many more times, guys? You were NOT promised a referendum on Lisbon. You were promised a referendum on the European Constitution. That died at the hands of the French and Dutch electorates.

    You can argue that Lisbon was a stitch up which brought most of the Constitution into play by stealth. You can argue that you should have been given a referendum on Lisbon. But you cannot argue that you were promised one because it simply is not true.

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  • 414. At 11:56am on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    So the woman who was born, raised, educated, and whose thoughts were formed in that economic powerhouse Communist East Germany is going to force the markets that trade her nation's entire GDP for a year in currency alone every day to knuckle under and stop selling her currency short because in aggregate the economies that support it are bankrupt and have no way to recover from it. It's like a little leaguer thinking she can play in the major leagues and somehow win. The problem with being so pathetically ineffective in taking action is that it reveals desperation and panic. They do what is useless because there is nothing else left for them to do that isn't. All of the things they are talking about doing now should have been done many years ago to prevent this before the crisis was allowed to grow when they were instead preoccupied with much more important issues at the time like the curvature of bananas. Von Rompuy, Ashford, Barroso. The whole place is run by a bunch of pineapples.

    EUR/USD 1.2329 -0.0094

    From Yahoo finance;

    "Thousands of protesters marched in central Athens on Thursday, as unions challenged harsh austerity measures in Greece by holding their fourth general strike this year."

    It's the same all over Europe. The lavish socail safety net that Europeans have come to expect as their birthright. It's economic suicide to keep it, political suicide to advocate giving it up. An irresistable force meeting an immovable object. KABOOOOOOM!

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  • 415. At 1:03pm on 20 May 2010, Leo_Naphta wrote:

    Of course it isn't economical suicide to keep the social safety-net, it's even feasible to extend it. It's true of course, that that would require some drastic changes in the way the economic system is allowed to run and how far we are agreeing to go along with Marcus' dream of Anglo-American Neo-Liberal Capitalism. It'll take a few radical steps, but the idea that we all have to back to the 19th century, is laughable. The future isn't something that should be used as a threat, scare! Run for the hills!

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  • 416. At 1:42pm on 20 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    From Yahoo finance;
    "Thousands of protesters marched in central Athens on Thursday, as unions challenged harsh austerity measures in Greece by holding their fourth general strike this year."
    """"It's the same all over Europe. The lavish socail safety net that Europeans have come to expect as their birthright. It's economic suicide to keep it, political suicide to advocate giving it up. An irresistable force meeting an immovable object. KABOOOOOOM!""""

    Marcus, you come from a country which was built on genocide and slavery and then illegal immigration. It was all about getting cheap vast lands and working them with cheap labour. It goes withoutsaying that for the ruling elites introducing some short of social welfare is all about giving money to latinos and blacks and all other recent financial immigrants.

    One has only to view how much the confrontation of anti-welfare and pro-welfare was all about a tribal clash between all these communities. Take whites and latinos for example: only 10% of whites have no medical cover but it is almost 4 times this % of latinos who have not. If we include the basic (in US it equals almost no) medical insurances ot that then a further 10-15% of whites is not really insured but the percentage of Latinos is simply huge as added together the majority of Latinos are uninsured or really badly insudered. So why would the 80% of average/well insured white Americans (the majority of the country) support a welfare state? Why would the 80% of white Americans care about the absence of retirement for all those masses downtown? Themselves have a nice retirement packet from their entreprises.

    Marcus, start calling things on their name: Us Europeans tend to come from (at least till recently) more homogeneous societies with much more social cohesion. For me it is natural to pay my part so my poorer neighbour can be supported if he loses his job or go fix his teeth. Losing your job in the US is one thing (people can quickly find one, in Europe however is another, you might not find one even n 2-3 years). I have been left unemployed years back and having changed country not completing the sufficient years (I had worked 3 years, 1 year with legal cover in Greece, had not choice as a young guy trying to find job... but you need 1,5 year to get 250-300 euros unemployment benefit which suffices only for basic food and without a lot of meat in it..., that is your lavish social benefits... well I did not get that even..., while in the new EU country I had moved (not for employment but personal-life reasons), I could not get a basic welfare benefit (while legally I could) since the social welfare officer (of non-local ancestry, to put it bluntly) esteemed that a "white european" with university education like me would find the way to survive (i.e. family, connections etc.) and refused to give me the suitable papers - it was totally racist, unfair and downright illegal I but had no time to get occupied with such lowly cases, I found a part-time job, a second full-time 6months contract, then another contractual one till I broke inside the upper market and do (relatively) well but only after I had lost all my previously hard gained money from Greece (i.e. I contributed several thousands of euros in my new country before it gave me the first euro).

    Yet I am 100% happy to give my share to the local welfare state knowing that this supports a social basic safety net. For my neighbour who lost his job, (I hope not for me) or my kids - and that even if I know that for every hard working neighour of mine that lost his job, there are other 2 people that prefer to sit around, work occasionally in the black (or even criminal) market and earn the basic insurance and cover that the welfare state provides them.

    I guess, I can argue that changes are needed so as to make the welfare state applied only for those that are in need as well as to push people feel "bad" and not "cozy" in a state of welfare support, but by no means would I like to see the abolition of the welfare state.

    You are far from imagining what the welfare state has provided so far to people in terms of health and education and even in your country (where there was since early one some basic form of welfare). Now if the welfare has to be undertaken by private sector or remain state is a huge discussion but common experience says that...

    ... in countries with private insurance sector replacing the welfare state people go around with really bad teeth. And bad teeth are a sign of 3rd world countries.

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  • 417. At 1:51pm on 20 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    At an international conference in Berlin, ahead of next month's G20 summit in Canada, Mrs Merkel set out key demands including:

    Stricter regulation of international markets, which she said must be the "benchmark" within Europe
    Levying a tax on financial institutions
    EU governments to shows greater budget discipline. Nations who break rules on debt and deficit to face strict penalties including cuts in European funds and the withdrawal of voting rights
    A co-ordinated approach to removing stimulus measures put in place to support economies [BBC]



    Forget the 'Lisbon' EUSSR Constitution be stealth.

    Germans have clearly had enough.

    And what are you (miserable failures) are going to do without them?

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  • 418. At 1:58pm on 20 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: "Thousands of protesters marched in central Athens on Thursday, as unions challenged harsh austerity measures in Greece by holding their fourth general strike this year."





    Now, thousands of BA protesters...


    Next week: thousands of Portuguese protesters...


    A month from now: thousands of Spanish protesters...


    3 months from now: thousands of Irish protesters...



    You, comrades, can protest till hell freezes over.

    No to avail.


    Until EUSSR is no more.

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  • 419. At 2:11pm on 20 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    343 Menedemus

    The greatest welfare is for the private sector. Tax exemptions, publically funded infrastructure, laws that inhibit competition, etc. What is labeled as socialism is the desire of the working people to have some security in their life and the ability to live without working in their later years. There is plenty of money to do this if the taxing systems and expenditures of governments were based more on this goal and less of businesses and banking. You may have noticed that the governments had no problem in coming up with vast amounts to bailout the banks. The reason the crisis exist is that the bankers have corrupted the governments and the governments, even when warned of the fake unwriting of loans by the bankers, did nothing to prevent the collapse. That is simply corruption of the worst sort and it can be called nothing else. The amazing part is the people have been passive in letting the greatest upward tranfer of wealth in the history of mankind. Welcome to the corporte state.

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  • 420. At 2:14pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nik, you reminded me of this quote from the BritCom Keeping up Appearances;

    Rose: "Why is Onslow reading the Financial Times?"

    Onslow: "I like to keep an eye on the economy. A bloke in my position has to wonder how long the country can afford him. If we don't get the economy right, people like me are gonna be in trouble!"

    I understand your concern :-)

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  • 421. At 2:28pm on 20 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    threnodio_II wrote:
    #411 - powermeerkat (and EUprisoner)
    "How many more times, guys? You were NOT promised a referendum on Lisbon. You were promised a referendum on the European Constitution. That died at the hands of the French and Dutch electorates.

    You can argue that Lisbon was a stitch up which brought most of the Constitution into play by stealth. You can argue that you should have been given a referendum on Lisbon. But you cannot argue that you were promised one because it simply is not true."

    So you advocate for the EU's legitimacy, and your case amounts that the politicians cheated and got away with it, so we all have to live with that.

    A curious argument. "Your honour, my client my have lied and cheated to deny my client his rights, but he got away with it. I think the law is fairly clear on this point. My client can do whatever he wants."

    I'm not saying it wouldn't fly, because that appears to be the law of the UK, but it is hardly a ringing endorsement of the EU mandate.

    You make the case that it is legitimate at law by pointing to precisely the behaviour and legal environment which renders it illegitimate by any reasonable standard of ethics, fair play or democracy.

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  • 422. At 3:21pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nik;

    "Marcus, start calling things on their name: Us Europeans tend to come from (at least till recently) more homogeneous societies with much more social cohesion."

    You mean like Belgium...or Spain...or Northern Ireland...or the disUnited Kingdom? Once there was a country called Czechoslovakia...and another called Yuogoslavia. Look at how very cohesive they were. The French love their 5 million Moslem citizens and residents while the Germans just adore the Turks among them. And everyone in Europe loves their Jewish and Roma neighbors. Which part of the Detuche Welle Broadcast called "Inside Europe" about the way the Roma children are discriminated against and segregated in Hungary I referred to last week, in Budapest, and in District #8 there in particular have you forgotten? Europe homogenious and harmonious. What insulated part of world do you liven in?

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  • 423. At 3:36pm on 20 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    415. At 1:03pm on 20 May 2010, Leo_Naphta wrote:
    """"Of course it isn't economical suicide to keep the social safety-net, it's even feasible to extend it.""""

    No, the question is not to extend it. It is to adapt it to the modern realities.

    For example, most European welfare states were developed on a basis that was formed in pre-WWII times when most of these countries were quire homogeneous societies where work and personal progress was seen as main way of success. For designers of the system, it was clear that someone who lost his job, would desperately seek another as the unemployment benefits would not permit him to take proper care of himself and his family.

    These models could not predict 2 things:

    - That later politicians & syndicates for cheap populist reasons would improve these unemployment benefits and would strive to take into account even the higher salaries (i.e. strive to pay as benefit an impressive amount to those that lost a really good job!). None can blame now if a few of these people take 3-4 months vacation in some tropical island with the money of the benefits (anyway they have a lot) before returning to get the new job they had already found via their their professional network.
    - the influx of immigrants of other cultures who were 100% satisfied with the cover of the welfare state to the unemployed and having found the trick to use themselves, their wifes and lots of kids for extra cash while they work in the black market and finally ending up earning a quite nice salary while paying no taxes and no house rent (let alone they don't care to spend money on their kids education or take their family on holidays preferring buying second hand BMWs and brand new iphones). And none can blame these people who simply found the system as it was.

    But tearing the welfare state because of the above is simply an extremist action based on terrorist practices. Welfare state needs to be there (at least in what we call a civilised society) but it has to fulfil its role as welfare not as free hand outs.

    If instead of giving full wages (reflecting the lost wage) unemployed people should be:

    1) given coupons to buy food up to a reasonable amount per day (i.e. enough to buy meat but not enough to byu foie gras! Coupons will be used only for food and house-related products and nothing else - if people wish to cheat and buy other things, too bad, they are going to be hungry for some days!
    2) given full medical cover (not half or basic, full: health is a universal human right not a priviledge).
    3) given the exact money to pay their rent or housing loan together with telephone/internet bills so they do not need to change house and degrade their life instantly. BUT in case of housing loan later they will be asked to repay slowly and no real interest, in case of rent they will need to pay a typical 1/3rd or 1/4th slowly and with no real interest. If the unemployed rents a house at 1000 euros and is unemployed 4 months that would mean that when he finds job he will be paying for some years a fixed amount, say 50-60 euros per month to cover that expense - he may freely chose to repay it more quickly of course. Under this scheme, unemployed for long time, say more than 3 years (cos 2 years is not something unbelievable), will be pushed to either sell their house and move on to a basic one or rent a cheaper room - no earnings, no big house, reality of life.
    4) given free public transportation inside the cities and very limited free transportation outside (including free travel for job seeking elsewhere).
    5) finally given an amount of money that is maximum the 1/4th of the basic salary, i.e. if the basic salary is 1000 euros then maximum 250 euros: with all the above points, an unemployed should not have more.
    6) in families when it is just the 1 of the two losing his job, still the above points should be applied but only for 2 years to quit any thoughts of a compromised family successfully living with 1 salary.

    Under such scehemes suc has the above (and I only drop 2-3 basic ideas, not saying that the above is the solution):

    1) the unemployed is not penalised for losing his job. He does not loses his house and his life does not deteriorates and he may even not lose money.
    2) coupons are not money, they will be produced with the photo of the unemployed (so no cheating selling them for cash etc.) state can force retailers to bear a part of the cost (knowingly that a large part of most often high-quality food is just going to waste - thus retailers can play along with it / some retailers in France give products on the last date of consuption for free to homeless people etc.).
    2) however, the bulk unemployed cannot really go on under that scheme and live with coupons in a stagnant life. And smart guys will find it impossible to buy their dream brand new iphone, Calvin Klein suit and second hand BMW.

    Sounds harsh? No sounds fair. I have found myself in a foreign country hardly speaking the language and unmployed for about a year (I was rejected everywhere on the basis of language as well as overqualification in the case I was applying to lesser jobs), so I should normally be expected to speak differently. But no, nothign like that: unemployment is not a shame, in our days of volatility it has become the norm. 50% will find themselves unemployed for some time. The unemployed should not be penalised. But he should not be aided either. He has to be supported to aid himself! To be motivated to move on and find a job and as the time passes just any job to improve his situation. I find it horrendous that unemployed people in some countries end up... toothless. But I also find it horrendous speading free money to people not wishing to do anything in their lifes or merely work occasionally as black market workers to end up with annual earnings that would be actually coveted by most working people.

    Therefore the short comings of the actualt welfare state should by no means give a basis to discussions about its abolition - that is the elitist trap.

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  • 424. At 3:37pm on 20 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    ghostofsichuan wrote:
    "The greatest welfare is for the private sector. Tax exemptions, publically funded infrastructure, laws that inhibit competition, etc. What is labeled as socialism is the desire of the working people to have some security in their life and the ability to live without working in their later years. There is plenty of money to do this if the taxing systems and expenditures of governments were based more on this goal and less of businesses and banking. You may have noticed that the governments had no problem in coming up with vast amounts to bailout the banks. The reason the crisis exist is that the bankers have corrupted the governments and the governments, even when warned of the fake unwriting of loans by the bankers, did nothing to prevent the collapse. That is simply corruption of the worst sort and it can be called nothing else. The amazing part is the people have been passive in letting the greatest upward tranfer of wealth in the history of mankind. Welcome to the corporte state."

    Your analysis is quite wrong in one respect, GOS. You state that governments had "no problem" coming up with vast amounts to bail out bank shareholders.

    But governments are quite clearly having very big problems due to their debts. Not all that debt is because of the recent bank bailouts, but all of that debt is the result of government spending money on programs the country could not afford.

    And governments in a corporate run state collapse precisely because the corporations who run the state do so for their enrichment: they get their pet government to spend money on programs which the country cannot afford, but which enrich the corporate sponsors. That is why fascism fails, as a system of government. It is why it stagnates and then weakens as the dominant corporate owners become incredibly rich as their country becomes engulfed by debt, and then either goes to war to stabilize power or gets overturned by revolution.

    The corporate run state may be a reality in the west now, but that doesn't mean it is unfamiliar territory.

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  • 425. At 3:38pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Stocks-sink-as-euro-drops-apf-2425241358.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=main&asset=&ccode=

    "The stock market extended its sharp slide Thursday as investors' already bleak view of the world economy worsened with another drop in the euro and disappointing U.S. employment news."

    "The euro is falling again and continues to hover near a four-year low. It has become a key indicator for confidence in Europe's economy. The euro fell to $1.2329, a day after hitting $1.2146."

    "There's a question out there now that potentially we could be talking about a collapse of the eurozone or countries breaking away from the euro," said Tim Quinlan, an economist at Wells Fargo & Co. As recently as four months ago, that wasn't even considered a possibility, Quinlan said."

    Such a stark change in views has unnerved investors, and the euro is now largely driving stock trading. Major European indexes gave up their morning gains and are now sharply lower after the euro retreated.

    The flight to the safety of US Treasury obligations continues. Liquidity will continue to drain away from Europe as the downward spiral continues IMO. Will there be a mad rush to the exit by those fearing the bottom will soon fall out of Euroland??? If there is, it will become a self fulfillling prophesy.

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  • 426. At 3:50pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    EUpris, you're not getting a referendum period so face facts. Nick Clegg has a shot at the brass ring in Brussels. Do you think the leader of a third rate party that might one day sit eating Beluga caviar and drinking Dom Perignon with the big boys in Brussels is going to give that chance up because the EU is not to the liking of 30 or 40 million of his fellow countrymen? Get real.

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  • 427. At 3:56pm on 20 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #421 - democracythreat

    No DT, I don't. I make the point because it is important. Everything you say is correct. Not just the British but may other Europeans were royally stitched up over Lisbon - one wonders what the French and Dutch would have made of the second attempt if they had been given a say.

    My point is that the argument on the substantive question - the lack of democratic validation for Lisbon - which is entirely legitimate - is not well served by over icing the cake with disinformation.

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  • 428. At 3:58pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "After long months of turbulence in Europe there is a pause. The euro is no longer under daily attack. The massive bail-outs and loan guarantees have bought time."

    Care to comment on your recent statement Mr. Hewitt? Mr. Hewitt? HELLO! Anybody home, anybody in there? (Must be in a coma, that or gone on vacation where there's no internet. Venus? :-)

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  • 429. At 3:59pm on 20 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    . . . and since when have the current European leadership shown any concern at all for "any reasonable standard of ethics, fair play or democracy"?

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  • 430. At 4:11pm on 20 May 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    411, 421

    The 2004 Constitution was exactly what it said on the tin; a full constitution with bells, whistles and National Anthems. The Lisbon Treaty was a modification of the existing treaties which included some of the elements of the Constitution.

    It's a bit like deciding that you want to want to knock down your house and build a complete new one. So you submit you application to the local Council, who receive several complaints that the new house is a bit too grandiose, and not in keeping with the wishes of the local residents. So you withdraw you application and ask yourself if you really need a new house when you could probably achieve most of the essential benefits by installing a new kitchen and bathroom in your existing house (using the same designs as intended for the original new house). That would not normally require planning permission. Of course, there will always be a few die-hards who claim that putting in a new kitchen and bathroom is just a stealthy way of rebuilding a house from the inside.

    They are entitled to their opinion. But they shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

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  • 431. At 4:31pm on 20 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "BTW. Maseratti is a lousy car. Try Bugatti instead.


    If you can afford it, that is.


    Otherwise, buy Corvette. :)"

    Maserati is NOT a lousy car. I'd take it over some American plastic gas-guzzler anytime. Its also much more stylish.

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  • 432. At 4:37pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I can understand why the Eurosites don't want to give up their welfare states. I understand why they march in the street at the prospect of it. It's easy to understand, they think they have a god given right to it. Now all they have to do is find more suckers who will pay for them. The old ones are not only on to them, they've gone bankrupt keeping them afloat.

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  • 433. At 4:41pm on 20 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    Democrazythreat wrote:
    "Profits from all these activities and worse end up in all banks, Jukka. It is in the nature of banking. pecunia non olet and all that.

    You talk about banking secrecy laws, but in fact there are no such laws. There is only the rule of civil law between state and citizens in Switzerland. In Switzerland, the legal relationship between the individual and the state remains civil when disputing money matters. The state does not have feudal powers over the individual's person by way of the criminal law in financial disputes, in the same way as private citizens are limited to bringing civil suits in financial matters.

    So the banking secrecy you speak about is in fact citizens privacy, and a fact of the political economy of the Swiss state."

    Kinda funny that you always hide behind some laws. Is it possible that it is partially for the fact that without this law Switzerland would instantly go bust like Greece? Neither other European countries nor the US or Japan have such a law and yet hardly anyone (except for some Swiss people maybe) considers them being totalitarian regimes as you call it.

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  • 434. At 4:44pm on 20 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    re "you were not promised referendum on Lisbon/EU Constitution" sham.


    Yes, and that's what I'd call a real 'democracy threat'.


    Unelected socialist aparatchiks in Brussels trying to create a West European version of USSR.

    Even after the original USSR was shown to be an empty commie shell.

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  • 435. At 4:45pm on 20 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "You mean like Belgium...or Spain...or Northern Ireland...or the disUnited Kingdom? Once there was a country called Czechoslovakia...and another called Yuogoslavia. Look at how very cohesive they were. The French love their 5 million Moslem citizens and residents while the Germans just adore the Turks among them. And everyone in Europe loves their Jewish and Roma neighbors. Which part of the Detuche Welle Broadcast called "Inside Europe" about the way the Roma children are discriminated against and segregated in Hungary I referred to last week, in Budapest, and in District #8 there in particular have you forgotten? Europe homogenious and harmonious. What insulated part of world do you liven in? "

    Well MAII, Czechoslovakia separated peacefully. Yugoslavia is history. And the others u mention, well, they are the heterogeneous part next to the homogeneity. So your point is misdirected.

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  • 436. At 4:53pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 437. At 4:53pm on 20 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #422 - MarcusAureliusII

    You are right about the rise of anti-Roma sentiment on the political far right of Hungarian politics and right to associate it with anti-semitic sentiment. You may be right, if I have understood your inference correctly, to be concerned that some of these extreme elements have found a political voice following the recent election. However, there is a difference between segregation and the ghetto mentality by which people of a particular identity tend to gravitate to one place. Hungarian society may not be the ideal social model but equality is enshrined in law if not always apparent in practice. And please what is this about the 8th District? I am not aware of any particular issue there and I am 15 minutes walk away.

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  • 438. At 5:03pm on 20 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    421. democracythreat

    "So you advocate for the EU's legitimacy, and your case amounts that the politicians cheated and got away with it, so we all have to live with that."

    Reminds me of a shell game. You are shown the pea (democracy) only to have it covered by a shell. As things progress you try to keep up with where the pea is. Off course it is never where you think it is because it never was in play at all. It was always in the hand of the politician.

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  • 439. At 5:06pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Will the Euro-song end in July?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIiUqfxFttM&feature=related

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  • 440. At 5:09pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #425 MarcusAurellius

    The Euro fell $1.2329 ?????

    If the € previously cost $1.21 and it now costs $1.23 you made the same mistake as the author of the article.

    The € increased in value OR the $ DECREASED in value !!!!

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  • 441. At 5:13pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 442. At 5:15pm on 20 May 2010, smroet wrote:

    Ma-II #425

    The euro fell to $1.2329, a day after hitting $1.2146.

    This sums up all the wisdom in the "markets", or at least in the reports from the markets. Marcus, where do you find such stuff? Some things fall up, some fall down, and some fall out.

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  • 443. At 5:32pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Frankfurt (DPA-FX )

    It appears the Swiss National Bank was responsible for the $1.21-$1.23 rise in the Euro ( export protection)

    Both Japan and China have expressed concern and China wants international effort if necessary to protect Euro from falling too far.

    FALL BABY FALL !!! -- I need €1=$1 for my new Maserati purchase (40 %) cheaper since January !!!

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  • 444. At 5:39pm on 20 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Oh come on everybody!

    I'm away a few days & just look at all that doom & gloom across EUrope!

    I left Sunday & the EUro was 1.1656 to the Pound & this p.m. it's all of 1.1742 - - that's a gain of 0.0086 - - surely at this stage any gain is enough to bring the adoration choristers out in Brussels!?

    More good news for the 'pro-EU' among you all: Estonia is champing at the bit to join the EUro-zone! What more can any EUrophile want to confirm their uninterrupted glee?
    Estonia is "..best placed to join the EUro.." (so says Brussels) - - bless them, it just makes the heart warm to them, doesn't it - - now the EU-concert goers can still find something to applaud.

    From Strasbourg's stalls to the Brussels' circle its a standing ovation for the 'Estonia pavane' - - the EUro is safe, the EU is saved, the marvellously dressed, stately procession goes forth...
    Just a pity the Estonia orchestra pit is all but empty of quantity populace & quality economy!

    Amazing really! Tunes some people try to play on a single tambourine!

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  • 445. At 5:43pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    EUprisoner;

    I'd think you'd be jumping up and down out of your socks and shoes with joy. This could not only spell the end of the Euro but the end of the EU itself. The most basic premises on which the European Union was rationalized have all been proven wrong. Every reason that was contrived to engineer that monstrosity has now given way to the reality that the entire idea is unworkable, not just on paper but in the real world. This Rube Goldberg of a machine has finally self destructed. Now go out and celebrate...while you can. The UK is next :-)

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  • 446. At 5:44pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    BBC

    Greek tourism from UK down 24% so far this year.

    From Germany down 30%

    NIK --- who do you blame ????

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  • 447. At 5:55pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious, I refer you to Deutche Welle radio's program "Inside Europe" broadcast within the last two or three weeks. It explains in great detail how the mechanism of segregation of the Roma in Hungarian schools works and uses Budapest District 8 as an example. The Roma go to schools which are either entirely Roma or if not, then only with the most socially disadvantaged Hungarian children. This evidently becomes a crucial factor in their future lives, their possibilities for getting good jobs and careers. This process we in the US call "de-facto segregation" has the end result of segregation without the formal mechanism of legal statute. Among the solutions in the US was busing. The way defacto segregation is accomplished is to draw up school districts on maps in such a way as to keep the Roma together. Naturally the Hungarian school administrators who were inteviewed denied it vehemently but the evidence is virtually beyond dispute. This is typical throughout Hungary and probably in much of the rest of Europe as well. By keeping the Roma segregated and preventing them from integrating into society, they can be pointed to as outcasts, undesirables who should not be allowed to be integrated. This is one of the major differences between the US and Europe. We admitted we had a problem, tried to fix it, and have come a long way. But Europe refuses to even acknowledge that there is something very wrong. Therefore it will never be fixed. It's just one more reason I hate the place so much. And some of my ancestors were Hungarians. I have no desire to see my ancient roots ever during my lifetime.

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  • 448. At 6:07pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Latest unemployment figures for under 25´s in USA 19.6%. highest since 1945 !

    1.4 million graduates coming on to the job market.

    Dow taking a beating -- Marcus, head for the cellar !

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  • 449. At 6:12pm on 20 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    noisy little acorn, it bounces around like all things in active trading markets. Right now it's in a trading range between 1.21 and 1.24. When something happens one way or another, it will break out of that range either on the up side or the down side. Now which do you suppose is more likely? A rally? Or dropping through the floor?

    Place your bets folks, place your bets.

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  • 450. At 6:32pm on 20 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MAII asks: When will Euro Contest sham end?


    That'll depend to a large extent on Katla and Basque rebels' acitivities.

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  • 451. At 6:34pm on 20 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Maseerati is a piece of junk at any price.

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  • 452. At 6:43pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #444 Cool_Brush_Work

    As I have previously said, the UK is NOT the center of the World.

    You make this mistake continuously !!!

    The UK and the monopoly pound is in for a much harder crunch than Europe and its falling Euro.

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  • 453. At 6:59pm on 20 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #447 MAII

    Before you blame Hungarians, please check how they treat Roma people in Italy, Romania and Slovakia.

    Racism is prevalent in both: new and old Europe.

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  • 454. At 7:15pm on 20 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    I think some foreign governments should be far more worried about falling Euros than the European ones. Considering those news above they have at least noticed now ^^

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  • 455. At 7:26pm on 20 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #447

    Sorry Marcus, nice try, everyone knows that racism and segregation are alive and well in the US, whether de jure or not. The fact that you use European racism to justify your hatred for the place whilst ignoring the endemic problems in your own country, is oh so typical. You talk about school systems ? Well thats a laugh. Black Americans are more likely to be in black-only schools than at any time since the 60's. Its so ironic that you spend so much time on the internet whipping yourself into a hate-filled frenzy about events thousands of miles away, when its happening right now, right outside your front door. New Jersey is the 5th most segregated state in the US for black students, 4th for Hispanics.

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  • 456. At 7:42pm on 20 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #435 - Gheryando

    "Well MAII, Czechoslovakia separated peacefully. Yugoslavia is history".

    Both were artificial constructs carved in an arbitrary way from the ashes of the Austro-Hungarian empire - proof, if any were needed, of the extraordinary stupidity of so called great powers when basking in the glory of victory. Their wretched Trianon Treaty rendered worthless the waste of 16.5 million lives during the First World War and led, at least in part, to a loss of anything from 62-78 million in the Second War. The same is true of Empire. You have only to look at a map of the Middle East or Africa to discern borders which are dead straight lines drawn in an arbitrary way with a ruler and pencil and having little regard to geography and none whatever to culture and ethnicity.

    The idea of locking people up behind or outside borders is actually quite a recent phenomenon. Relative freedom of movement in the 18th century was the norm and the Schengen countries have, in their modest way, sought to restore it. Borders are really only of use to states which have something to fear from their neighbors whether real or imagined.

    #447 - MarcusAureliusII

    I will look into the broadcast and thank you for pointing me in that direction. We may rarely agree but it is always interesting to have an opponent with a point of view as opposed to . . .

    #434 - powermeerkat

    ("Unelected socialist aparatchiks in Brussels trying to create a West European version of USSR. Even after the original USSR was shown to be an empty commie shell") . . . sheer blind prejudice.

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  • 457. At 7:46pm on 20 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #453 - powermeerkat

    Or ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia and Romania?

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  • 458. At 7:46pm on 20 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #453

    Racism is prevalent in both: new and old Europe

    Americans in denial are like buses, you dont see one for hours then three come along at once. Racism is prevalent in Europe and its prevalent in the US. I dont see Europeans on here denying the existence of racism in their countries, just Americans. Its laughable, maybe there are citizens of some countries who could lecture Europeans on racism, but sure as hell America isnt one of them.

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  • 459. At 8:05pm on 20 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #458 - commonsense_expressway

    You can legislate against discrimination, you cannot legislate against prejudice.

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  • 460. At 8:44pm on 20 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    @ commonsense_expressway:

    And one more thing -though I could hardly agree anymore with what you write- Marcus doesn't care about the real world he lives in a bubble made up by his own mind :-)

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  • 461. At 8:48pm on 20 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #459

    You can legislate against discrimination, you cannot legislate against prejudice

    Absolutely. Anti-discrimation legislation is as strong here in Britain as it is anywhere. But no one denies that racism and prejudice has gone away, far from it. Gets on my nerves when Americans start lecturing, they are just as bad and always have been.

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  • 462. At 9:02pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Marcus, you did not pray hard enough !!

    My Maserati is more expensive € now $1.25

    Dow -360 , pension is now lower !!!

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  • 463. At 9:12pm on 20 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #447
    #453
    Just because you have a black president you think you can lecture Europe on racism. Actually we have a lot of representative of minority in high ranking positions

    UK: head of state; the Queen (there is only one among 60 million Brits)
    EU: Barroso representing the PIIGS
    Germany: PM from the East, gay Foreign Secretary and Finance Minister in a wheel chair.
    Greece: PM American citizen
    France: President a dwarf

    So, as long as you don't have a Hispanic Lesbian Lilliputian blue-blooded American President in a wheel chair with a Russian passport don't lecture us on minorities.

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  • 464. At 9:15pm on 20 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    and they start again...

    Bloomberg:
    Bank of America Plans 1st U.K. Non-Conforming MBS Since Crisis

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=albr5sBS3XWA&pos=6

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  • 465. At 9:23pm on 20 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    462. At 9:02pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    Marcus, you did not pray hard enough !!
    My Maserati is more expensive € now $1.25
    Dow -360 , pension is now lower !!!

    Oh Dear...
    Forget Marcus, go to the UK, you might qualify as an ex-ex-ex-ex-ex-ex-ex-subject for a state pension at £95.25/week...

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  • 466. At 9:56pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #465 oeichler

    The problem with the UK state pension is that most people go on social benefits either for food or rent when they get it.

    Institutionalized poverty for the Subjects !!!

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  • 467. At 10:17pm on 20 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #466 - quietoaktree

    I have always assumed that the reason for top up benefits rather than a higher basic pension is that they are means tested whereas the pension is not.

    I am all for raising the state pension rather than topping it up but I would say that when I live on the other side of Europe wouldn't I?

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  • 468. At 10:18pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #465 Oeichler

    PS Don´t get me wrong, it is far better than the absolute poverty in the USA

    Ask Marcus, he will agree !

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  • 469. At 11:00pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #467 threodio_II

    My views on the British pension are colored by my observations on Britain as a whole, which are usually denied by most UK contributors.

    Having lived in Britain and seen pensioner poverty, the high cost of living and the terrible weather, a Greek pensioner with the same money is ´probably better off heating cost wise´ but not medical expense wise.
    Those Greeks who have their own home, are better off than a similar British pensioner especially if they have access (or grow) to much cheaper vegetables and cheese.

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  • 470. At 11:37pm on 20 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    468. At 10:18pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    #465 Oeichler
    PS Don´t get me wrong, it is far better than the absolute poverty in the USA


    Without sun, no moon
    Without white, no black
    Without poverty, no wealth

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  • 471. At 00:51am on 21 May 2010, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "#411 - powermeerkat (and EUprisoner)

    How many more times, guys? You were NOT promised a referendum on Lisbon. You were promised a referendum on the European Constitution. That died at the hands of the French and Dutch electorates.

    You can argue that Lisbon was a stitch up which brought most of the Constitution into play by stealth. You can argue that you should have been given a referendum on Lisbon. But you cannot argue that you were promised one because it simply is not true." (threnodio_II, 413)


    In response to your first para: it's not correct to say that the Constitution died at the hands of the French and Dutch electorates. As I've pointed out elsewhere on this blog, it died as a result of a European Council (EU heads of government) decision to kill it. To be sure, that decision was heavily influenced by the French and Dutch votes, but there was no prior decision to adopt a "two strikes and you're out" rule. And most importantly from the British perspective, the decision was made in full knowledge of the fact that there was an outstanding manifesto commitment by the recently re-elected Labour Party to hold a referendum on the Constitution. If the EU, in the shape of the European Council, had had any respect for democracy, they would have kept the Constitution alive until at least such time as the British had had a chance to vote on it, in fulfilment of that manifesto commitment.

    In response to your second para: yes, it's not technically correct to claim that the British were promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. But the phrase "a rose by any other name" comes to mind (although many people might not in fact have roses in mind when they think about the Constitution / Treaty). And it's certainly less incorrect than equating the EU with Europe - something Europhiles do all the time.

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  • 472. At 01:09am on 21 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    noisy little acorn....sm****t;

    "#425 MarcusAurellius

    The Euro fell $1.2329 ?????

    If the € previously cost $1.21 and it now costs $1.23 you made the same mistake as the author of the article."

    Good catch, I cut and pasted that from Yahoo Finance's website. If they are ever looking to hire a proofreader, I'll recommend you both for the job. Britain's Got Talent! (Even if one of you is posing as an American) :-)

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  • 473. At 02:23am on 21 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Seraphim85 wrote:
    "Democrazythreat wrote:
    "Profits from all these activities and worse end up in all banks, Jukka. It is in the nature of banking. pecunia non olet and all that.
    You talk about banking secrecy laws, but in fact there are no such laws. There is only the rule of civil law between state and citizens in Switzerland. In Switzerland, the legal relationship between the individual and the state remains civil when disputing money matters. The state does not have feudal powers over the individual's person by way of the criminal law in financial disputes, in the same way as private citizens are limited to bringing civil suits in financial matters.
    So the banking secrecy you speak about is in fact citizens privacy, and a fact of the political economy of the Swiss state."

    Kinda funny that you always hide behind some laws. Is it possible that it is partially for the fact that without this law Switzerland would instantly go bust like Greece? Neither other European countries nor the US or Japan have such a law and yet hardly anyone (except for some Swiss people maybe) considers them being totalitarian regimes as you call it."

    I did not call other european countries or the USA or Japan totalitarian regimes. I was specific with my terms, and I explained them. For you, I will explain once more.

    Whether a regime is totalitarian or not is a question of political organization under the constitution. A totalitarian regime does not employ representation through elections, but has representatives appointed by a central dictator. Clearly Europe is not run by totalitarian regimes, nor is the USA.

    But the relationship between the state and the individual is a question of law, not of regimes. One can have a representative democracy with a civil relationship between the state and the citizen, or one can have a feudal relationship.

    If the legal relationship between citizen and state proscribed in the constitution forces the state to behave towards citizens as other citizens are expected to behave, and pursue civil remedies for civil matters, then you have a regime of civil law. If the state is able to rely upon remedies against the liberty and property of the citizen in civil matters, the legal relationship between that state and its citizens is feudal.

    This distinction is not some abstract technical legal weirdness, although the terminology is precisely used. What we are discussing is the power of the state over the individual.

    I am forced to wonder how a person might know whether they lived under feudalism or civil law rule, if they did not perform this same analyses, based upon these terms.

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  • 474. At 02:31am on 21 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    And now it's

    Symbol #### Bid ## Sell ## Low # High .. Date-Time
    EURUSD 1,2537 1,2540 1,2456 1,2543 2010 MAY 21 02:29:01 UTC

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  • 475. At 08:07am on 21 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #469

    QOT, many of your views on Britain are just plain wrong, taken out of context ,irrelevant, and warped by your own prejudices. I dont actually believe you have ever been to Britain, thats why you lift stories from the internet relating to things like Sandringham, because you have no anecdotal evidence to present whatsoever. Thats why people disagree with you. Sorry if that forces the inevitable response of "arrogance".

    One of the things you repeatedly go on about is home ownership. Do you realise that home ownership in the UK, and that includes the land the house is built on, is at 70%, which is one of the highest in the world
    ? It is similar to the figure for the US (the white population that is)and way higher than that in France or Germany or the non-white population of the US. You also clearly dont understand what leasehold property is. You seem to be under the impression that all the land in the UK is owned by the aristocracy and all the citizens are somehow renting off them. I can assure you , I own my own home and the land it sits on and theres nothing the bloody Queen can do about it.

    And whilst I'm on, theres nothing anyone in the UK can do about the weather. Perhaps thats why so many pensioners retire to Spain, Greece, Australia or other places,and good luck to them.

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  • 476. At 09:08am on 21 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #475 Commonsense_Expressway

    Google-it yourself (if you do not read decent newspapers or hear decent radio)

    Then apologize !

    Ever heard of Feu-duty ?

    Do you think it no longer exists ??

    You are naive !

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  • 477. At 09:23am on 21 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "A pause?"


    Asian markets down on Europe debt fears.

    The Nikkei saw its biggest weekly fall for more than a year Asian markets have closed lower on continued fears that the debt crisis in Europe could spread around the world.

    Japan's Nikkei index fell 246 points to 9,784.54. Over the week, the index has lost more than 6.5%, its biggest weekly drop since January 2009.

    Markets in Singapore, Taiwan and Australia also retreated.

    The sell-off follows a brutal day on Wall Street where the benchmark Dow Jones fell by 376 points - its largest one-day drop since February 2009.

    [reported by BBC]

    Some pause, indeed.

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  • 478. At 09:36am on 21 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #471 [CorwallCoastPath]

    "But the phrase "a rose by any other name" comes to mind (although many people might not in fact have roses in mind when they think about the Constitution / Treaty)"





    Last time I checked roses did not stink to heaven. :)

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  • 479. At 09:38am on 21 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #475 Commonsense_expressway

    Google ´Land ownership Britain ´

    There are many articles, but a good summary is in ´New Statesman´20th September 2004.

    And again, please apologize !!!

    That is what I mean by ´The Island of the uninformed´

    If you praise or criticize any society or system, learn about your own FIRST. !!!

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  • 480. At 09:40am on 21 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Quietoaktree

    Re #452 & ".. UK is NoT the centre of the World.."

    Well, that is about the only accurate remark You have made in a very, very long time!
    Unfortunately for You, it is like almost all Your contributions, way off the mark in terms of relevance!

    It is You that constantly 'makes mistakes'.

    The most glaring where myself is concerned is that I do not live in the UK.
    I was visiting the UK - - in the few days I was there it was evident the new 'Coalition' seems to be reasonably popular (though not at all to my political preference were I a resident) - - it appears the 'Markets' are reasonably calm about its Economic-Fiscal policies.

    Your prediction of UK 'doom & gloom' is noted: It was Your prediction in the past about the UK & many of the 'pro-EU' over the last 3 to 4 years had all been confidently sounding the death-knell of the UK & its Pound.
    Now that it is the EU & EUro-zone in dire straits (excellent group - - I recommend 'Private Investigations') it would seem they still hanker after the British Isles' fall from grace to take their minds off their own serious misfortunes!

    Here in Finland an article a few days ago in the Helsingin Sanomat (the nation's best broadsheet) by a Mr Kivinen went on at length about what role G.B. would have to find in the future because of all the troubles it had at present - - an astonishing article about the effects of the World Economic Recession - - astonishing as rather like You & some others on here it entirely neglected to mention it was the EU and not the UK facing possible meltdown!

    As for Your more recent comment on UK Pensions: What You know about the British Benefits system (or indeed the EU - - recalling your laughable attempt to claim Germany was cheaper than UK) would not fill a thimble - - Pensions are most certainly not topped up for 'food' (there is a system of subsidised food costs for new immigrants), but there is a 'rent' subsidy for the over-60s who are permanently disabled, over-70s who fall below a certain 'income threshold' and that formula is fairly common to all of the EU Nations - - it is one of the reasons the Social Security system of Europe is in general far better than that of the rest of the World.

    You go spouting trivia from the Queen Mother's island in the Caribbean to a Pensioner in Hackney and have no more idea about the first than the latter!

    I would suggest You have a long, steady look at Germany: Always best to start on Your home patch. In February I visited from Essen to Lubeck & it seemed to me there were the same basic issues around the older generation as there are across the UK & EUrope - - there are a lot of them & no Government seems to have an answer as to how to cope as that number increases - - for sure 'immigration' is not the answer as it brings with it social security pressures that simply compound the Pensioner-funding difficulties now prevalent in the British Isles & continental Europe.
    I.e. Germany doesn't have the UK 'Royal' family exploitation You accuse G.B. of, but it does have the same problems - - so, if it really isn't the Bahamian island or the Duchy of Cornwall to what do You ascribe Berlin's obvious social conumdrums!?

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  • 481. At 09:40am on 21 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #475 "I own my own home and the land it sits on and theres nothing the bloody Queen can do about it."




    So now the only other thing you really need, my dear British Cousin, is an equivalent of a U.S. Second Amendment. :)


    ["From my cold hands!"]

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  • 482. At 09:58am on 21 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    RFe#480

    This extensively travelling meerkat (sometime moch more than he'd like to) can assert one thing:


    That is, that he knows only 3 European countries in which life is more expensive than in Germany.

    Those are (in alphabetical order): Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

    [perhaps if they had joined Euro zone, like San Marino... :-)))]



    P.S. No I won't retire to Greece. Hawai is good enough for me.

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  • 483. At 10:05am on 21 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #479

    Apples and Pears again! I'm not arguing about who the biggest landowners in Britain are! I'm telling you simply that 70% of British people own their own homes and the land on it! Blocks of flats are usually leasehold and are treated differently but most are on 99 year leases which are usually renewed without argument. I'm really struggling to see what you are driving at here - everyone knows the biggest outright landowners include the likes of the Duke of Westminster..its not a secret...we are not "uninformed". You are trying to extrapolate to show that British people dont own their own homes and that is palpably not true. Do you want me to scan and paste my title deeds? Would that appease you?

    As far as feu-duty is concerned that is only applicable in Scotland and has been abolished by the abolition of Feudal Tenure Act 2000. I live in England so its not my countrys system anyway.

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  • 484. At 10:10am on 21 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #481

    Well of course, England historically had a similar consitutional arrangement, although keeping arms was compulsory and not just a right. I doubt you'd find many English people who would support that now though, as Marcus says I doubt we could be trusted with guns :)

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  • 485. At 10:39am on 21 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    446. At 5:44pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    """BBC / Greek tourism from UK down 24% so far this year.
    From Germany down 30%
    NIK --- who do you blame ????"""

    Hahah... Germans are funny people, the media told them Greeks are bad and now they hold a grudge... haha... no no... nothing like that - I like though that you associate me with "blame" while I am the last to play the ethical judge here, I merely pinpoint the situation as it is. If am to name & shame, I blame none else than Jeffrey himself who pushed for this crisis and works hard to make it as worse as possible.

    It is natural that people in Germany as well as everywhere, including Greece, work hard the whole year to enjoy with family and/or friends some nice vacations - it is not 1 month, it is 1-2 weeks. Even 1 lost day can ruin enough a holiday (because usually for every 1 day lost you lose another for recovery...). Last thing people want is to be stranded in an airport or port for days without the possibility of joining their destination.

    As Greece is going to have an agitated period, the risk of strikes in the summer is increased, and it is 100% natural for people to cancel their reservations even at a cost and pick up another destination. I have long vacations this summer (I have several days since last year, both me and fiancee did not get vacations due to impeding projects) so... for your info, I plan to get my fiancee and go elsewhere (something more tropical and in less crisis...) but we will go to our family's summerhouses too for a couple of weeks, do a bit of fishing with the boat, it is on mainland and we go to own houses so the only risk to delay will be arriving in Thessaloniki (returning won't be a risk... we would love to be stranded and call our bosses and say "ooo I'm sorry, its the strike give me a week more"... and go back to fishing... haha!).

    469. At 11:00pm on 20 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    """Having lived in Britain and seen pensioner poverty, the high cost of living and the terrible weather, a Greek pensioner with the same money is ´probably better off heating cost wise´ but not medical expense wise.""""

    Hmmm... I do not know what is more expensive, central heating (usually oil burnerns, now lately gas, in cities its 1 for a whole block of appartments so usually a bit less expensive...) or air-conditioning working on electricity? Cos Greeks might be used to the heat but British pensioners will have to practice a lot to survive without air-conditioning. Unless they get a house on a mountain but I do not think that is their idea of Greece.

    Medical expenses is one thing, quality of medical service is another. And in Greece you have to pay attention: you might get both ends. British pensioners won't be accustomed to the... envelop... so they might as well wait hours and hours seeing people passing in front of them, not an ideal situation as it drives mad Greeks, so guess how much a foreigner!

    """"Those Greeks who have their own home, are better off than a similar British pensioner especially if they have access (or grow) to much cheaper vegetables and cheese.""""

    I guess a pensioner is better off if he has his children and grandchildren nearby so he can see them often. As most Greeks now live in the cities, it is only a minority of them in the rural areas that grow vegetables, yet indeed in the street markets these are relatively cheap depending on season of course. However supermarket ones are almost as expensive as everywhere in Europe (and tourists lately get a shock) while ALL other products are equally or more expensive than Germany or France. Fresh milk with which we were raised for example is 1,20 (yet milk is bought at 0,25 from producers, I guess boiling it justifies more than taking care of the animals!!! - a crime commited overywhere in Europe of course!) and thus untouchable on a daily basis by someone on 600-800 euros net wage. Indeed what saves Greeks is the own home but that is for the generations up to our parents and the one between our parents' and ours' (the generation that are today 40 to 50 years old). For us betwenn 20 and 40 and the future generations, things, at least speaking for today and the foreseeable future, look bleak.

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  • 486. At 10:49am on 21 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @459 threnodio_II

    "You can legislate against discrimination, you cannot legislate against prejudice."

    Good point. And I would like to add, that whoever thinks that there is any country without prejudice against foreigners, is living in a dream world.

    @461 commonsense_expressway
    "Absolutely. Anti-discrimation legislation is as strong here in Britain as it is anywhere. But no one denies that racism and prejudice has gone away, far from it. Gets on my nerves when Americans start lecturing, they are just as bad and always have been."

    Within the last ~5 years, I noticed a dramatic change in European public opinion about muslim immigration and social welfare for immigrants as a whole.
    We got a first-timer in history: immigrants who detest their new countries and their hosts.
    This is evidence for the failure of European immigration policy over the last 3-4 decades.

    America doesn`t have such a huge problem with immigrants for the sole reason that they don`t support a huge welfare state for foreigners.
    I`ve talked to quite a few Europeans on this issue and most of them are quite self-opinionated towards the USA and their dog-eat-dog society.
    But, in my opinion, the USA are doing a far better job at integrating immigrants by just forcing (and allowing them!) to work.




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  • 487. At 10:57am on 21 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #480 Cool_brush_work

    It is only trivia if it is not part of the whole picture.

    #483
    Meanwhile Commonsense_Expressway is still trying to deny the continuing (one sided) Feudal structure of Britain by pleading its irrelevance at every opportunity.

    Blocks of flats is another typical example. `99 year leases which are usually renewed without argument´and you still believe NO feudal duty is being paid and after 99 years the Lord of The Manor does NOT have the final say ?

    Don´t look at the name of the tax -- Follow the money trail IF YOU CAN !

    That you own your own house and land is OK . However it is rather illogical to use the Duke of Westminster (and others) to prove any point denying the role of Feudalism in ´Modern´Britain today.




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  • 488. At 10:57am on 21 May 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    475 commonsense
    "There are 60m acres in England, Wales and Scotland, roughly one to each member of the population but I was startled to find, first, that 90% of us live on less than 10% of the land and even the plots we inhabit are shrinking. Second, just under one-third of Britain’s land is still owned by aristocrats and traditional landed gentry. Ordinary British homeowners (freeholders) who have greatly increased in number over the past two decades are competing for land that gets tighter and dearer by the day."

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  • 489. At 11:11am on 21 May 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Congratulations to all American taxpayers out there! The US Senate has voted 94-0 against US involvement in the 250 billion euro IMF part of the eurozone bailout. Once again the wisdom of a separation of powers is demonstrated even as Barack Obama telephones Angela Merkel to demand she puts more than 100 billion of German taxpayer money onto the 750 billion funeral pyre to the dreams of euro-federalists that is being erected in Brussels.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100005734/congress-blocks-indiscriminate-imf-aid-for-europe/

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  • 490. At 11:48am on 21 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #488 /487

    Fine Margaret but as I said I'm not arguing about that. QOT is arguing that British people dont own their own land and that all leasehold property is somehow owned by "the lord of the manor" which is just completely wrong. ANYONE can own the freehold on flats or other leasehold property, usually its a property company or even the residents themselves. I've lived in flats on two seperate occasions - the first time the freehold was owned by a private property company and the second time by the residents association. A groud rent is payable yearly. There was no feudal "lord of the manor" - QOT, you are on a hiding to nothing with someone who owns residential property and who is also a landlord. Seriously, drop it.

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  • 491. At 12:00pm on 21 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #488

    Ordinary British homeowners (freeholders) who have greatly increased in number over the past two decades are competing for land that gets tighter and dearer by the day

    That is correct of course. But its not just "who owns what" that causes that - its to do with the availability of cheap credit, the rise of investment landlords (like me) , immigration, right to buy in the 80's, lack of a coherant house-building strategy, green-belt legislation, too much low density housing. I'm afraid those who assume, if we just took tens of thousands of acres away from the aristocracy ,that we would somehow solve the housing shortage are just plain wrong. The land would be turned over to farming , preserved by the National Trust/English heritage, listed, or turned into National Parks. It wouldnt be concreted over to create 3 million identikit houses. And thank God i say.

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  • 492. At 12:17pm on 21 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #488 margaret howard

    The 1/3 owned by the aristocrats and landed gentry seems rather small to me.

    Does that include land under the Crown (whatever that means) or in the National Trust?

    The Prince of Wales gets millions in rents and also EU farm subsidies, as do the others with their titles.


    #483 -- still waiting for two apologies, have you checked on Sandringham and EU subsidies to it ?

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  • 493. At 12:21pm on 21 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Quietoaktree

    Re #479 & "..land of the uninformed.."

    What a lot of nonsense spouted again! Even Your own references don't back-up Your version of UK Land Ownership!
    Were You so desparate to make a point You neglected to read down the whole of Your sources!?

    70% of the UK is indeed 'owned' by 1% of the population: But then as any one who pauses to consider what this actually means will come to realise - - how could it be otherwise in the UK or in France, Germany, Italy etc.!?
    Most 'ownership' of land is related to the 'Domecile' and most domeciles are where the work is, i.e. the Conurbations and not the rural hinterland - - the Population Explosion of the 17th-19th Centuries took place in the URBAN landscape and not in the villages - - People born & bred in the manufacturing/business centres of UK-Europe were never likely to 'own' vast swathes of rural England/Bavaria/Pays de Loire etc.

    Now that does not hold true for all Europe: So for example the 'land ownership' in Finland is much more liberally spread amongst the Population, however, that spread simply serves to exemplify the situation I describe above.
    In Finland the move off the land (rural emigration) to the Urban lifestyle really only took place in the last 60+ years (& much of it in the last 30) - - partly due to Finland's uniqueness (vast land & tiny populace) those People still retain links to their 'homelands' - - e.g. my Finnish wife & I annually 'holiday' at a kesa mokki (summer cottage) which is in point of fact the old family farm (& is also used by various other family relatives).

    Such an arrangement does not exist in the huge populations of UK & Europe that emigrated from rural areas centuries ago or were never connected by birth to it.

    For the truly 'unenlightened' (i.e. You 'qot') UK statistical analysis of Land Ownership - 2006 (% rounded-up):

    30% Land owned by **'Aristocracy'** (this is where You fell over Yourself, isn't it!? SEE Above & Below).
    20% Land owned by 'Private Farmers' (some 250,000+ farms of all sizes).
    15% Land owned by 'Private Business Associations' (e.g. Sports Arenas/Centres, golf, tennis, archery, shooting etc.).
    10% Land owned by 'Private Home Owners' (7 in 10 Occupants 'own' their 'home' compared to 1 in 99 in 1901).
    10% Land owned/held by various National/Public & Private 'Authorities' as part of National Infrastructure, e.g. roads, railways, pavements, land-fill sites etc.
    6% Land owned by the 'State' - - Ministry of Defence etc.
    4% Land owned by 'Commercial' enterprises - - Manufacturing industry, dockyards etc.
    3% Land owned by 'National Heritage' - - Lands inherited & managed by the State and/or Local Authority on behalf of the UK Population, e.g. National Trust etc.
    1% Land owned by the Royal Family (members of the House of Windsor inc. Prince Charles' Duchy of Cornwall & Lancaster).
    1% Land owned by the Church of England (YES! Even I was surprised at this enormous change of 'power'!).

    AND Your **Aristocracy**: Well, it turns out on reading the text of UK 'land owners' as opposed to leaping to conclusions that the term 'aristocrat' is very stretched indeed in the modern idiom!
    The UK aristocracy now includes people ennobled post-WW2 from all walks of life inc. the fabulously wealthy landed gentry such as the Dukes of Westminster, Norfolk, Argyle etc. down to Harold Wilson's Cabinet Secretary Marcia Falkender - - they all get the title & whatever 'land' they own is heaped into the 'aristocracy' pile.
    Doubtless a vast amount of the '30% is owned by the first sort of Peer of the Realm; however, when one considers Peerages & Knighthoods 'bestow nobility' we quickly realise from basic investigation there are some 22,000 'ennobled' servants of the State of one sort or another whose 'inheritance' of land goes as far back as when they made their first mortgage payment.

    A long piece QOT: So, to just put it shortly for the likes of You - - again, what You understand & know of the workings of the UK is of a very limited nature - - You would do well to consider whether it is good to repeat a stereotypical view of the average UK Citizen as "..uninformed".
    As a result of the UK's 'colonial' past (of which You also revealed glaring incomprehension) 1 in 8 Britons do not have English as a first language & the UK contains a larger multi-cultural mix than any other Nation in Europe: It is one more aspect of why 'land ownership' is so open to interpretation - - British Indians, Nigerians, West Indians, Malayans, Chinese etc. all have connections via overseas family to other 'lands' & 'cultures' - - by their own lives they are not stereotypical and the idea of their being "..uninformed.." about the UK or the World at large is ludicrous.
    Much is often written by 'pro-EU' on here about the UK tabloid readership - - infact prior to the present election many wrote of the influence of the alleged 'stereotypical' Sun & Mail - - and yet there is now in place a Coalition of Conservative and Liberal-Democrat Political Parties!
    It is strange, suddenly none of those critics now seem willing to comment on how little 'influence' it would appear these stereotypical' newspapers had on the electoral result/decision or the formation of a UK Government!?

    "..uninformed..": I think the general concensus after the recent UK General Election is the British Citizen would appear on the whole to be very well informed.
    That the average Briton has not/does not conform to Your stereotyping image is a difficulty made entirely from Your own prejudicial standpoint.

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  • 494. At 12:23pm on 21 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    FJ #489

    The United States Senate, the greatest deliberative body in the world has spoken. It has a history of speaking and it delivers a powerful message.

    When President Clinton wanted the US to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol, the US Senate voted: No; 95, Yes; ZERO! The message to Europe; "go to hell, your one sided plan to destroy America's economy is rejected!"

    Now it has spoken again when President Obama wanted to send American taxpayer's dollars to bail out Greece and rescue the ill conceived European plan and the Euro. And while the Germany people may have nothing to say about where their taxpayer money goes and their head of state may be a despotic dictator who will have her way no matter what they want, the President of the United States has no such power or authority and the Senate spoke again: No; 94, Yes; Zero! The message to Europe; "go to hell, fix your own damned problems, we have enough of our own to spend our money on, you've gotten too much of it already!"

    This is the difference between a democracy and Parliamentary dictatorships thinly disguised as democracies. I've said all along that Americans don't give a fig about what happens to Europe anymore, would not lift a finger to help it again, and now I am proven right. I've also said that my attitudes and views are fairly representative of what I believe most Americans think, in fact in many quarters they would be considered "moderate." 94-0 should send a message that is loud and clear. Which part of it doesn't Europe understand?

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  • 495. At 12:26pm on 21 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    DurstigerMann wrote:
    "@459 threnodio_II
    "You can legislate against discrimination, you cannot legislate against prejudice."

    Good point. And I would like to add, that whoever thinks that there is any country without prejudice against foreigners, is living in a dream world."

    A country? Show me the town or village which is not afflicted by petty geographical anthropomorphism.

    Not that this is all bad. In terms of knowing and caring about your own region, I think a bit of local pride in local affairs is a great thing. In fact, the modern world could use a lot more of it.

    The trick would seem to be limiting the ill effects of nationalism and petty rivalries, and turning them to good use.

    One way I believe we can use the natural forces of local pride is to devolve the political power to levy and collect a proportion of taxes. Generally people will attend and pay attention to local meetings where their tax is affected by up to one third of its final size. Generally people will not bother with local government meetings where the outcome will likely not affect them at all. That has been my experience in the world.

    When the majority of local people attend and pay attention to local government meetings, and when the local government is properly cashed up with local tax revenues, the results are enviable. You tend to get very specific, very focused plans of spending, and waste is seen and seen to swiftly.

    The problems we all know and associate with local government are caused by its financial and legal emancipation. Revenue is taken from local government by central government, and then handed back piece by piece, with numerous conditions and party policies attached. The planning for local spending becomes a party dominated affair, and local people with no party affiliation are reduced to being mere spectators of their government in action (with their money).

    Obviously there are great benefits to federalization, such as the use of a proper currency, free trade, banking capitalization regulation, federal security and human rights law protection of minorities administered by a central constitutional court. But one third of tax revenue should be sufficient to carry out these limited tasks.

    Switzerland has a fabulous model of local, regional and federal government, with each sector having about one third of all powers to raise tax for itself. Federal tax is capped at 8%, and is considered a cost of business, so it gets deducted from other taxes. (making the effective rate 7.8% or so) Local towns and villages (communes) range in size from a about a hundred folks to several thousand. These raise between 3% and 13% tax for their responsibilities, which include local works on infrastructure, garbage, administering local disputes and so on. Then you have the regional, or cantonal governments. Cantons are either a city or a district of, on average, 300 thousand souls. Cantons administer health (under the federal regulator of standards) and education, and other regional infrastructure projects. Cantons also raise between 3% and 13% tax for their duties.

    This devolved power to set tax rates creates a wide variety of taxation outcomes for the individual, as you can imagine. You may live in a canton with low taxes, but reside in a village with high local taxes. So you might pay 8% federal tax, 6% cantonal tax and 13% local tax. Your tax bill ends up being 27%. But you might also live in a village with low tax and a canton with moderate tax. So then you'd pay 8% plus 8% cantonal and only 4% local tax, thus paying a total of 20% tax. You have to pick and choose wisely. Living in a big city is useful and often lucrative, but the taxes are likewise higher. Being surrounded by farmers does not always mean low taxation. Many of the farmers from eastern Switzerland are insane, possibly due to the low iodine levels in the soil, and favour high taxes. In central Switzerland, where competition for tax payers is highest, you find very low taxes and very careful local government planning.

    Curiously, the main benefit of this system is very low unemployment. Do some research. It is curious that Switzerland has never seen high unemployment since adopting its current federal structure. Not even during world wars which raged around all its borders.

    4% unemployment is a horror in this land, as the local newspaper will now attest. The global financial crisis hit hard, causing unemployment to rise from 1% to 3%. The Swiss are shocked, and responding. It may hit four percent!

    I have puzzled over the reason for the very low unemployment of swiss for quite a few years. It is a very odd phenomena on the world stage, and highly desirable from every economical and social aspect. You must understand that this very low figure is also achieved with massive, massive social security benefits for the unemployed. The jobless in Switzerland do not go without. I will not quote the figure here, because folks will froth at the mouth about the great evil of swiss banks and swiss wealth. But it is probably more than you earn after tax.

    In any case, the reason for the low unemployment seems to be local government. I have attended some meetings, and they are all about planning local works and budgets. Local governments have a lot of money here. They collect it straight from residents, they do not have to wait and beg from central governments. So they have it, and thus they also tend to have local banks and local financial and legal experts, who follow piles of money like sucker fish. Which is very handy, for local works planning.

    And because local governments have this local tax revenue, they are able to respond to the demands of their local society very swiftly, and deal with problems like youth unemployment before it happens. A real example shows the process in action. One village I lived in had 127 residents. Well they had a meeting to discuss power costs. Two children of the village had been away studying. One was studying electrical engineering, the other something in humanities. The humanities student was taking a year off to visit Australia, but the electrical chap was in the job market.

    The proposal was put forward to raise electricity prices by 3 rappen (pence) a kilowatt. This would raise enough money to hire the electrical chap and put him to work in the local electricity substation, with the mission of maintaining it and making it more efficient.

    The local cabinet maker spoke up in the meeting, and said he would agree to the proposal, but that he ought to be able to explain to the new electrical worker the faults and the problems his business faced. His point was that he should get some use from this worker. That was agreed by all present, because everyone knew that the cabinetmaker ran a factory, and was by far the biggest user of electricity in the village.

    So a job was created, when and where it was needed, with complete negotiation, agreement and knowledge of costs by the citizens who were to pay those costs.

    That is the power of real local government in action, but i haver concluded that it requires a devolution of financial and legal powers to the local government level.

    To mak that system work, I think you need to break the rule of the party system, and have a uniform way of governing at local, regional and federal level. On a local level, voting by all citizens is the only fair way of doing business that people will accept.

    Therefore it makes sense to adopt that practice on on government, regional and federal alike. And that requires direct democracy. Government by the people, and not by the party.

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  • 496. At 12:52pm on 21 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #491 commonsense_expressway

    So you have been discussing all along in your own interest ?

    Thats True Blue British Nationalism in its best flag-waving form.

    ´ I´m alright Jack´?

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  • 497. At 1:15pm on 21 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #492

    Why on earth would there be even ONE fibre of my being that should apologise to you? You make Marcus look like he has a clue.

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  • 498. At 1:24pm on 21 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #494

    So the US Senate was asked the question , whether or not the US should contribute financially to bailing out a failed state via the IMF, whilst the US itself is multi-trillions of dollars in debt. And they said "no". That really took a great deliberation. My 8 year old could have predicted that one.

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  • 499. At 1:30pm on 21 May 2010, Deadlylampshade wrote:

    #492 QOT

    You are right about the Queen getting EU subsidies.It seems to irritate you and you presumably feel that it bolsters whatever point you are trying to make.

    In the interests of balance- what about taking a virtual trip over to Farmsibsidy.org and searching for Galina Dimititrova Peicheva-Miteva and her Euro 700k subsidy. There are many other "interesting" recipients too that you might like to enjoy.

    I dont know ( or care) whether you are in favour of or against the CAP. If you are saying that the Queen shouldn't get the money then I might be inclined to agree with you but equally there are many other causes that you might ( or you might not) look at and think "what on earth is going on?"- I certainly do. But as I don't have a say in such things I can't do much about it other than whine on internet forums.........ooh I forgot, I get to vote for 7 MEPs so that isn't true at all is it?

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 500. At 1:32pm on 21 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #490 commonsense_expressway

    ANYONE can hold freehold ONLY if it is available !

    `Usually´ is again your attempt to avoid the facts, no matter what evidence is put in front of you and does not comply with the view of Britain you wish.

    You probably believe that Thatcher was thinking of you when she changed the Feudal system rules that the house owners were responsible for the Taxes on the property ?

    She got her Baroness title for shoving the taxes on the renters, thus giving a massive yearly windfall profits to the likes of Princes and Dukes, who you still consider unimportant for the UK.

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