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Europe's days of anxiety

Gavin Hewitt | 11:32 UK time, Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Greek strikers blocking ferry in Piraeus, 5 May 10Like engineers off the Louisiana coast, Europe's leaders are scrambling to stop the Greek slick from spreading. The signs of acute anxiety are everywhere.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said the rescue plan must succeed or other European countries may suffer the same fate, threatening the bloc's future. "We're at a fork in the road," she told the Bundestag, "this is about nothing less than the future of Europe and with it the fate of Germany in Europe". This dramatic assessment was, of course, intended for German voters who remain hostile to the billions they'll be loaning Greece.

The leader of the German opposition Social Democrats (SPD), Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said "it is the biggest test of European integration since the Treaty of Rome".

The fear that haunts Europe's leaders is contagion. Axel Weber, a member of the European Central Bank's governing council, said today there is a serious threat of Greece's problems spilling over and spreading to other parts of the eurozone. The head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, also indicated there was a risk of the crisis spreading. In early trading the euro was down again.

So what are the dangers in the days and weeks ahead?

Firstly, although Greece now has enough funds to stave off default, fears remain that further down the road it will have to restructure its debt.

The bigger question is whether the Greek government will fully implement the austerity measures it has agreed in exchange for being bailed out.

Despite the sound and fury on the streets of Athens it is unclear what a majority of Greeks feel. A couple of days ago I spoke to the head of the civil service union, Adedy, which is striking today. The union's argument was not with the bail-out; it was with the terms of the rescue. The unions are aggrieved they were not consulted and what they are after is a reworking of the terms and conditions.

The Greek government, however, has very little room for manoeuvre. Any indication that it was retreating from the deal it has signed would set off alarm signals, particularly in Germany. Austerity is the price for the German billions being loaned.

Judging support for today's general strike will be important. Support for previous strikes has been lukewarm. So today will be seen as a trial of strength. If the Greek government appears vulnerable or the protests are particularly violent then the rescue deal may be in jeopardy but, so far, the violence has mainly come from the anarchist fringe.

Even if the bail-out package is implemented there are longer term risks. The Greek economy is expected to contract by 3% this year and could well be still shrinking in 2011. As it implements cuts of 30bn euros over three years where will growth come from? It might turn out that Greece will need further help or be unable to repay its huge loans.

The more immediate concern is of the crisis spreading. Will investors shy away from buying Spanish and Portuguese debt? Already investors are fleeing to the safe havens of gold and the dollar. The Spanish strategy at the moment is to fight the rumours and to castigate the speculators. There are no plans for new austerity measures. There are indications that the Spanish economy has started to grow again and that industrial production is up.

The Spanish Economy Minister, Elena Salgado, said "in terms of the economic data we are receiving, we have positive data and we are better off than a year ago". Its debt level as a share of the overall economy is half that of Greece.

But what makes Spain vulnerable is that its private sector has huge debts.The spending cuts announced so far are judged as modest - only 2.5% of GDP. The government drew back from increasing the retirement age. Unemployment is at 21% and rising, and so far it has not embraced labour market reforms that could deliver a more flexible economy.

The risk, like with Portugal, whose deficit is set to rise to 8.5% this year, is that it becomes increasingly difficult to borrow money at affordable levels.

If that happens it is very unclear whether the eurozone countries have the appetite for further rescues. It was clearly stated at the weekend that the Greek bail-out plan was not a blueprint for others. Already we have countries like Ireland, that is struggling to reduce its own deficit, having to lend money to Greece. It is most unlikely that such generosity would extend to others. And if other countries ran into difficulty, how would Germany and its people react? One bail-out has proved a very tough sell. Further rescues may weaken the European ties that bind.

And adding to these difficulties is a European economy that remains fragile. Consumer demand is weak. The eurozone economy is set to grow by only 0.9% in 2010. Growth could stave off many of the dangers but it remains elusive.

Martin Wolf, writing in the Financial Times, said "the fear that yoking together such diverse countries would increase tension, rather than reduce it, has been vindicated: look at the surge of anti-European sentiment inside Germany".

In these days of angst some very fundamental questions are being asked of Europe and its leaders.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:24pm on 05 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

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

  • 2. At 12:33pm on 05 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:



    " ...Spain ... The government drew back from increasing the retirement age. ..."

    EUprisoner: So is it the case that the Spanish are retiring earlier than Brits, Germans, Austrians or others who are funding this luxury?

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  • 3. At 12:34pm on 05 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:



    The "EU" is still not Europe.

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  • 4. At 12:41pm on 05 May 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    I WANT MY REFERENDUM! Down with this Tyranny that will Tyrannize us all.

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  • 5. At 12:57pm on 05 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "Angela Merkel thinks the unthinkable: the EU future is in danger

    By Janet Daley ...

    Oh joy! Angela Merkel has said it: the EU’s future is at stake. The whole project is in danger of becoming untenable, let alone unaffordable ..."

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/janetdaley/100038030/angela-merkel-thinks-the-unthinkable-the-eu-future-is-in-danger/


    EUpris: Continental "EU"-lovers! Are you beginning to understand just how much some of us hate your "EU"? I don't hate the continentals. I hate the "EU".

    Can you not see that there is going to be continual trouble as long as the UK is in the "EU"?

    Please could you get your politicians to stop conspiring with anti-democratic forces in the UK against the rights and interests of the British people?



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  • 6. At 1:26pm on 05 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Informative Article Mr Hewitt though very understated IMO.

    E.g. "...further rescues may weaken the EUropean ties that bind.."

    Sorry, are there parallel EU-universes at the moment? Did I miss something or has the last 5 to 6 months self-evidently revealed the clap-trap propaganda of Brussels about 'unity' and 'togetherness' that the last 20 post-Maastricht Years were supposed to be all about simply do not exist in reality!
    Division right the way across the EUropean Union: Among Politicians, Business and Citizens there is no unity or togetherness at all.

    Typically of the EU Leadership the most glaring aspect is the total lack of 'Democracy' in these last months of desparation-negotiation: Not only were Greek Trade Unions not "..consulted..", neither were the Citizens of any EU Nation, e.g. the already beleaguered Irish, Spanish etc. whose 'big-Government/big-Business' have just volunteered their own Citizens' Taxes to "..lend to Greece..", and as for the German public that ius going to be paying an enormous share of the bail-out, well, Chancellor Merkel may well find in due course her complete lack of consultation of Germany's Citizens will lead to a very 'un-EU solidarity' approach in National Election results.

    No wonder the last 4 EU Parliament Elections have seen non-stop decline of EU Voter participation: Why would any self-respecting Citizen take part in electing a bunch of nonentities who throughout this crisis have NOT ONCE consulted their Constituents? MEPs have themselves been very sidelined!

    Where is the EU 'Democracy'?
    When push comes to shove the triple axis-of-ill-intent, Paris-Brussels-Berlin as ever make all the key policy-decisions and the rest of the EU27 can splutter all they like, but they have no relevance.
    Therefore, should not ordinary Citizens justifiably ask, 'why does the EU exist'?
    This crisis reveals it is a sham political construct whose only real purpose is to service the needs of 'big-Government/big-Business': How else can any 'pro-EU' explain that not 1 voice in Brussels has stood up for the Citizens of Greece or any EU Nation and questioned/challenged the view that it is the Citizen Tax-payers who MUST PAY for the criminally stupid-greed-driven Fiscal policies of the last decade?

    I just wonder if there is a 'pro-EU' out there willing to even entertain the idea that the EU mantra of 'one-size-fits-all' has been exposed as the most dangerously over-optimistic & foolish Political-Economic-Fiscal-Cultural notion since the Designer-Builders-Owners of the Titanic confidently declared it was "..unsinkable.."?

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  • 7. At 1:28pm on 05 May 2010, Lenispal wrote:

    Way to go Greek workers and professionals. Get your message across. You are leading the way. Watch the cowardly politicians cringe.

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  • 8. At 1:42pm on 05 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    It is a very tricky situation. The German Chancellor misread it badly and we find ourselves here.

    The "cooking the books", "paying for Greekss to retire early" and all that made great headlines and fine to boost internal support for the upcoming elections but did nothing to help solve the crisis.

    The moment speculators (and that's all they are, they are not investors) saw that there was no unity within the Eurozone all they had to do was create uncertainty and pick one country after the other.

    There is no logical reason why today Greece, Spain, Portugal etc. are any more likely to not pay than they ware 6 months ago (other than the fact that speculators have created chaos).

    If six months ago the Eurozone spoke with one voice and said we all borrow at the same rate give or take a couple of % points we would not have the mess we have in front of us today.

    The shortsightness of the German governments actions are beyond belief, also the fact that the new government in Greece for its own political ends was presenting news in such dramatic tones did not help.

    The solution to move forward is very simple:
    1 - Regulate the financial markets to trade on facts not fiction
    2 - Remove the ability of the banks to create money out of thin air
    3 - Ensure the Eurozone borrows at similar rates so speculators can't play with Credit Defaults
    4 - Turn rating agencies back to rating agencies instead of the oracles that they are today.

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  • 9. At 1:52pm on 05 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The question becomes: What is not being told about the financial difficulties in a larger sense. Certainly not everyone is waiting around for something to happen, although that is apparantly what happened before the crash. Is this another case of the political leaders have decided that it is not in their interest to be truthful with the people...for their own good of course. They all have the look of someone who knows that their is a crack in the dam and wondering if they should tell anyone.

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  • 10. At 2:03pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    5. At 12:57pm on 05 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "[quote from the Daily Telegraph] Angela Merkel thinks the unthinkable: the EU future is in danger [unquote]

    EUpris: Continental "EU"-lovers! Are you beginning to understand just how much some of us hate your "EU"? I don't hate the continentals. I hate the "EU"."


    "The King is dead, Long live the King"

    In other words, this might well be the death throws of the Euro and possibly the "EU" but it won't be the death of the 'project', it will just be back to the future, back to the idea of a common trading market (the EEC) - Jacques Delors vision of political/monitory union will have failed.

    Hello the 1970s, again...

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  • 11. At 2:03pm on 05 May 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Europe indeed must be anxious.
    I can't guess all that is the offing, but...
    As far as I can see the Greek austerity program is doomed to fail. Why?
    Austerity will only serve to further depress the Greek economy. I don’t know whose thinking this austerity stuff is, but this sort of solution usually results in economic contraction, which in turn increases the deficits while decreasing the ability to pay. Not good...
    Greece should be declaring a debt moritorium and restructuring her debt.
    What will austerity solve – fewer jobs, less tax to collect, higher taxes on what you need to buy…
    But not to worry! As things stand, the IMF who will never let Greece or the other PIIGS fail because the imposition of austerity, more austerity, and back-breaking austerity keeps the victim/country tied up in debt forever + a day.
    The IMF's austerity approach will fail with Greece.
    The IMF is “an independent organization” but the US is the IMFs largest benefactor. Meanwhile the US just looks on: Greece has nothing to do with the United States: not Goldman-Sachs, not the collateral call, not the downgrading to junk, not IMF intercession – none of this has anythiong to do with the United States, right?
    Talk about Greek austerity, what about American austerity? People losing their jobs and homes, suffering anxiety over the decline in the value of their 401k's, losing, losing, losing...
    Something tells me that if the eyes of the world were not on Greece and Europe, they might be staring at Wall-Street and getting seriously irate.

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  • 12. At 2:09pm on 05 May 2010, healthytoes wrote:

    From the last blog....

    203. At 7:28pm on 04 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:
    Well, the message out of greece is pretty clear. The ordinary do not want to be the ones who pay for the mistakes of the elite.

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

    I can only agree. The ordinary German, Brit, Greek, Spaniard etc are sick of the corruption of the elite all over. Both in business and in politics. Either they get their act together or we all go down the drain.

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  • 13. At 2:23pm on 05 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    4. At 12:41pm on 05 May 2010, Benefactor wrote:
    "I WANT MY REFERENDUM! Down with this Tyranny that will Tyrannize us all."

    EUpris : Well said!

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  • 14. At 2:23pm on 05 May 2010, Richard35 wrote:

    These developments are already getting more serious Gavin as it appears that at least 3 people have been killed by a fire started by a petrol bomb. The scenes being shown on the BBC news are very concerning...

    The truth is that the euro zone has tried to force through a plan which has fatal flaws in it. Adding to this I read on the notayesmanseconomics web blog (http://notayesmanseconomics.wordpress.com) that they have not let the IMF take full charge and their plans are assessed as follows.

    "The fatal flaw in it was its failure to have any plan for debt restructuring in it. Without it then it is simply not a plan to return Greece to solvency.
    Another issue is how exactly will Greece put herself in a position to repay these loans? There is no real answer to this so the begged question that is forming in people’s minds is what will the replacement aid package look like?
    Even a bank bailout on this scale has not prevented fears for other banking systems such as Spain’s"

    It would appear that Europe's politicians have taken 3 months to come up with a flawed plan.

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  • 15. At 2:29pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    7. At 1:28pm on 05 May 2010, Davidethics wrote:

    "Way to go Greek workers and professionals. Get your message across. You are leading the way. Watch the cowardly politicians cringe."

    Yes, I suspect that the three innocent workers and professionals who died, trapped in that bank today following the petrol-bomb attack on it will have no doubt 'cringed' in the face of the approaching fire...

    Riots are never justified.

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  • 16. At 2:32pm on 05 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    When do you financial expert guys start squeaking ?

    At $1.25 , $1.20, $1.10 or $1.0 ????

    At those levels, the recovery of America will be at stake.

    Or do you still believe the world is flat ?








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  • 17. At 2:33pm on 05 May 2010, EuroSider wrote:

    Gavin,

    The essential problem at the moment in Europe is not the European Union itself, but the management of the Union and in particular the management of the Euro as a single currency.

    The European model is essentially flawed, and unless radically changed is in danger of collapse. One international commentator speculated that the Euro can only exist for another 10-15 years, and then it will be gone. If not completely gone, it will be changed out of all recognition.

    The European model depends on high employment and revenue from taxes. It is also dependent on all member countries following the same fiscal control.

    It is not feasible to manage a single currency without a centralised fiscal policy. This the EU does not have; or at least is not capable of implementing it.

    The problem with Greece is that no one has any realistic expectations that the Greek government (or indeed the Greek people) will implement those austerity measures needed to get it out of trouble. Many feel that tax-evasion and high levels of state aid are too ingrained into the Greek way of life. Social un-rest will continue; the politicans will water-down the cuts to appease public opposition.

    The EU and the IMF will have paid out good money only to find that there is no real political will in Greece to implement these packages.

    This will cause a real crisis of confidence, not only amongst the finance ministers of the member states but also the international markets.

    The bail out of Greece will also send a message to other member states suffering high level of debt that if they also play the game then they can also receive hand-outs from the EU. Thus contagion.

    This in turn will lead the international markets in the U.S.A. and the Far East to believe that the EU is unable to manage its own currency and the behaviour of the member states.

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  • 18. At 2:40pm on 05 May 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #4. Benefactor wrote:

    "I WANT MY REFERENDUM"

    No you don't - you want to take your ball back - but what if you loose again, will you then accept the twice referendumed (sorry about the word, buy I don't know anything better to expressed the idea of two previous referendums!) view of the British people that we are part of Europe and actually quite like our neighbours?

    My guess is that when the referendum goes against you - you will still want to leave the EU - so why are you so scared of saying so? Mealy mouthed lies such as Euro-sceptic may be a nice sound bite, but what they mean, and have always meant, is a rampant xenophobic lurch to the rabid right.

    (PS take EUPris. with you to some offshore island and life your lives in total isolation, if that is what you really want, but don't seek to cripple the country on the alter of your extremist nonsense.)

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  • 19. At 2:46pm on 05 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    Three dead as Greece protest turns violent
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8661385.stm

    Protesting is fine, but when protests turn into riots and in this case deadly riots, there is no more sympathy left for the protesters. When is the Greek government going to act and put these rioters away? There is no place for this kind of behavior in a civilized country.

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  • 20. At 3:02pm on 05 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Benefactor - you're american. Mind your business.

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  • 21. At 3:17pm on 05 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    I just wonder...

    What will happen if the average Greek policeman, who's payroll was less than 1000 euros per month, realises that he belongs to the bloated public sector and he just lost 30% of his wage while taxes go up all over?

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  • 22. At 3:27pm on 05 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #18 John_from_Hendon

    They do not know poverty, or saw a chicken ONCE a year on the table at Christmas !

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  • 23. At 3:42pm on 05 May 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    @ 18 John,

    I was poking fun at the repetitive nature of EUPrisoners posts. For months he went on about a referendum and even declared he replied to letter from the council about potholes (or something) demanding a referendum.

    I don't want one. There an annoyingly populist way for politicians to shirk responsibility.

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  • 24. At 3:43pm on 05 May 2010, Islandhopper1 wrote:

    Benefactor,
    On seeing your No.4 in between No's 1 & 5, I laughed outright - you British have a great sense of humour.:)))

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  • 25. At 3:48pm on 05 May 2010, Captianmarvel wrote:

    I'm obviously missing the elephant in the corner, we( ireland) have just borrowed 80 BILLION euro to rescue the banks in Ireland and create Nama-land and the Finance world is in chaos over 110 billion for Greece,from the EU, and the IMF, its smacks of speculation and oppurtunity for the same people that brought chaos 12 months ago on Wall st.and they are been aided by the credit agencies S+P Moody's and Fitch

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  • 26. At 3:57pm on 05 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @8 ChrisArta
    "The solution to move forward is very simple:
    1 - Regulate the financial markets to trade on facts not fiction
    2 - Remove the ability of the banks to create money out of thin air
    3 - Ensure the Eurozone borrows at similar rates so speculators can't play with Credit Defaults
    4 - Turn rating agencies back to rating agencies instead of the oracles that they are today."

    The first point is actually a logical consequence of the second.
    And it`s not "the banks" but THE CENTRAL BANK which creates money.
    In Europe, I wouldn`t say that this is our main concern right now,, because the ECB is following a much sounder financial policy than the FED.

    I completely agree with point 3 and 4, but would like to add another point:

    5. We have to realize that credit expansion does not work. You cannot build prosperity on credit.

    Every single country in Europe is using tricks to hide the true debt, e.g. the German government is lending money to the "Agency of Employment" this year which in return gives a promise to pay back. Nominally, this is not considered public debt. But it is public debt. How could this agency pay back. It is funded by the government.
    What makes me angry is the fact that they could actually save tons of money by cutting this agency dramatically without any impact on employment as it has been completely ineffective in mediating jobs s.so far. It`s simply not worth the billions of Euro

    No matter how much better the rich European nations look on paper, we are all bound to fail sooner or later if this continues.
    There will be a point where debt cannot be repaid.

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  • 27. At 4:14pm on 05 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Most of this can be traced to the financial collapse caused by the banks and their get rich schemes and the governments that facilitated that process. After the banks were bailed out the governments were short of funds and had piled debt upon their citizens. What is happening in Greece will happen to some degree in every country, Greece is just the first one. People are angry about having to suffer so that wealthy bankers could be saved. It is hard to say the anger is not justified. As the governments in Europe and the US were well aware that the bankers had financed everything with an empty box they should not be surprised when the citizens lack confidence in their ability to correct things as the only formula on the table is cuts in public employment and services and higher taxes and a good portion of the costs will be in interest payments to the banks that caused it all. When the governments decided to defend the banking system they should realize that that decision would return in a public that did not agree. This is just the first wave of such displays of public anger and as each country faces up to the decisions that have been made responses will be forthcoming. After the election someone will actually have to say what cuts and taxes will be made as none have been willing to do so thus far. Reality can not be avoided and it will be interesting to see what happens when each country no longer can put off the consequences of those decisions.

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  • 28. At 4:35pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    18. At 2:40pm on 05 May 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    [in reply to "Benefactor" @ #4]
    "My guess is that when the referendum goes against you - you will still want to leave the EU - so why are you so scared of saying so? Mealy mouthed lies such as Euro-sceptic may be a nice sound bite, but what they mean, and have always meant, is a rampant xenophobic lurch to the rabid right."


    But John, the same could be said about those who do not want a referendum, many Euro-sceptic see the continual signing of treaties in 'Our Names' as being a rampant lurch to the left - in some respects both are sides of the argument are correct, the problem is the more moderate voices in the middle just get crowded out or shouted down.

    I don't actually see any problem in having such a referendum, and I say that as someone who has had to re-examine my own beliefs were the "EU" (not Europe, not a European trading block) is concerned.

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  • 29. At 4:42pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    25. At 3:48pm on 05 May 2010, Captianmarvel wrote:

    "I'm obviously missing the elephant in the corner..//.."

    Yes I think you are, it's called the (likely) ability to pay the loan/debt off...

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  • 30. At 4:42pm on 05 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @Jukka
    It is not that simple. Governement does not implement policy alone. Policemen, riot police, judges, military, tax-collectors etc. got a severe pay cut and are unhappy. Some of them will have trouble paying their mortgages and will go bankrupt. How can they do their work? Socially, I strongly believe that the combined measures of cuts and indirect increases in tax were not very well thought out and target very sensitive social groups. They were too severe plus the raise in VAT (yet again) and other measures and unemployment. A cocktail of desperation and hunger is looming. But anyway, what the last couple days has shown is that also economically the plan is fundamentally flawed without a partial default. More and more I think we are heading for a complete of catastrophe of Greece and Eurozone in general. Have a look at:
    http://notayesmanseconomics.wordpress.com/
    This guy has been saying some truths from the very beginning and how flawed are the plans.
    I think we have passed the point of recriminations etc. of who is good who is bad and all policy makers in Eurozone have to think practically because it is not too late. Perhaps it is too late.

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  • 31. At 4:57pm on 05 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    There is a curious contempt for the democratic institution of referenda on this blog.

    I see two fundamental problems with the criticisms. Firstly, these people wouldn't know. They have not tried it, they just wouldn't know.

    Even so, Benefactor claims "There an annoyingly populist way for politicians to shirk responsibility."

    Which strikes me as a desperately inane comment. People voting is a way of allowing politicians to shirk responsibility. OK. And by that logic, having any kind of vote, even for politicians to represent us, is just a way of dictators shirking their responsibilities.

    WOOT WOOT!

    But secondly, the comments putting down the concept of referenda as simply hypocritical. Consider the act of coming online and typing your opinion. Is that not an expression of the will and worth of the individual opinion in world affairs? And yet folks use that method to state that the will and worth of individual opinions is not to be trusted.

    Well, why say it??? Why say anything at all?? Why not just sit at home and watch the TV and wait until your glorious leaders tell you what to say?

    The answer, of course, is that people who are against democratic processes still want rights and freedoms for themselves. It is just the lower classes they wish to see silenced.

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  • 32. At 4:57pm on 05 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    14. At 2:23pm on 05 May 2010, Richard35 wrote:
    """"... These developments are already getting more serious Gavin as it appears that at least 3 people have been killed by a fire started by a petrol bomb. The scenes being shown on the BBC news are very concerning...""""

    Hmmm... indeed very concerning... but do you know exactly why?

    15. At 2:29pm on 05 May 2010, Boilerplated wrote:
    """"....Yes, I suspect that the three innocent workers and professionals who died, trapped in that bank today following the petrol-bomb attack on it will have no doubt 'cringed' in the face of the approaching fire...Riots are never justified.""""

    Yes... yes... riots are never justified but...

    19. At 2:46pm on 05 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:
    """"Protesting is fine, but when protests turn into riots and in this case deadly riots, there is no more sympathy left for the protesters. When is the Greek government going to act and put these rioters away? There is no place for this kind of behavior in a civilized country.""""

    Ha! Jukka, unconsciously you threw the magic word:
    "...when protests turn into riots and in this case deadly riots, there is no more sympathy left for the protesters...""""

    Now you understand WHY this protest ended up in deaths.

    I have said this on the previous thread: these are not deaths during a protest. These are premeditated deaths. No working man prepares a molotof bottle to go out to the protest. The ones that do so are extremist left wing groups and these are of course no working people!!! From the few accidental (cos usually they avoid arresting them!!!) arrests, it has been statistically proven that these people too often than not are the kids of the "system": sons & daughters of politicians, judges, editors and journalists, university professors... the most corrupted part of society. They are part of the system either knowingly or uncosciously being exploited while making their "little revolt" agains their parents. These are the groups that prepare in a mass production method molotofs prior to such events. These groups are 100% guided and acting upon orders of leaders. Leaders lead the pack like the leader wolf, against a target. They hit, then they go. Police arrests are rare and when they arrive they are almost acidental (unless there is an order from within the group to get rid of a member that became too loud than what is expected - he will be the scapegoat). There is almost never any judiciary prosecution - another fact explaining why policement are not interested in arresting them. Actually low rank policemen have clearly and repeatedly stated that their orders are "beat but not arrest". That is how it goes.

    It is nothing else than a full manipulation of the protests of people out in the streets and the most certain way to delegitimise them. Usually this is done with exchange of a few molotofs, a few kicks and fists on the face, maximum a use of sticks on the policemen shields.

    But it seems now, as the protests grow. I admit myself expected less. PASOK party is well-wired inside the syndicates and manipulated nicely workers to confuse them and not protest as massively as they normally should - e.g. workers have protested in the past more massively against ND for the 10% of current measures!

    Where i was correct though is that we will see dead (refer to my past messages - I will search one to show to you...). I just did not expect them so early.

    Just think of it:

    1) Even a well made molotof lights up maximum a fire that can burn the 1 leg of a policeman, nothing much more than that.
    2) A bank to burn at this level of killing people needs to be attacked by several 10s of molotofs... a minimum of 30 molotofs.
    3) Workers that plan to go on protests never pre-prepare molotofs!!! This action de-legitimises their own protest and they know it. In fact workers always try to secure their march, not to be "infringed" by the "known unknowns", i.e. agents enterring and provoking chaos to confuse protesters and delegitimise the protest.
    4) Obviously it is the extra-left "anarchofascist" wing groups that prepare molotofs (in a mass production style). These groups are vertically guided and led by leaders having links to "agencies" (internal external you name it...). I know people that were for some time linked with such groups and I have been told about how things work there...
    5) There is no possibility of random anarchists carrying molotofs to have been found all there on the spot... a minimum of 30 molotofs can be thrown by a minimum of 15 people (as 1 maximum carried 2 bottles). These people must had empties all their arsenal there to purposefully burn the bank.
    6) Even if we assume it was a bunch of 50 molotof carrying random anarchists who got angry at the bank, it goes without saying that after the first 2-3 molotofs and the screams of the people inside mean that the rest 47-48 people throwing their molotof no matter their anger knew very well that they were about to kill these people inside. There is no case of random anarchists doing such an act - this is the work of people intentionally gathered there on the spot throwing a massive number of molotofs to have victims.

    Why so? Who ordered it? Jukka has already given the answer!!!

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  • 33. At 5:04pm on 05 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    The dead are four. One of the women killed was pregnant.

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  • 34. At 5:06pm on 05 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    I'm here in Athens where I've lived for the past 20 years,since marrying a Greek and leaving the UK,and I couldn't believe my eyes or ears when I saw what has been happening in the centre on the news!! It's not what I would have expected,although I know that people are close to cracking point not so much because of the austerity programme, but more because of the lack of justice on the side of the politicians. They want justice for all the money lost due to corruption and they want to see austerity being applied to the politicians lifestyles; you can't pass a law to provide 1.5 million euros for new laptops and mobiles for MP's and then cut a 500 euro pension in the same day! The previous governments need to be brought in and made to pay for what they have brought the country to, it's rumoured that many members of the previous government have actually left the country and are hiding in places like the US. Send them back!! If the government would only express their understanding to the people and stop pretending they are saving them from poverty and show they will take action for all the money siphoned off, perhaps by retracting the immunity law which protects those involved in the scandals so that they can be investigated before 8 years has passed.Furthermore, people need to know that this corruption has ended and that any sacrifices that are to be made will be worthwhile and not just more of the same.This is, however, not a feeling that is justified as yet by any of the actions taken by the present government so far.
    As usual one must recognise that the violent elements of today are not necessarily due to the average citizen, but more than likely the extreme elements who in all places will take advantage of situations to benefit their own causes. The Greeks I have spoken to are shocked and dismayed by todays events and we can only express our sadness for those who have lost their loved ones on this tragic day.

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  • 35. At 5:07pm on 05 May 2010, Joeblo wrote:

    The Greeks should have been celebrating instead of rioting.

    THEY GOT A BAILOUT.

    No appreciation that I can see.

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  • 36. At 5:13pm on 05 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "I was poking fun at the repetitive nature of EUPrisoners posts"

    Benefactor - I missed the joke. I do apologize.

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  • 37. At 5:15pm on 05 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    #21 Christos: good question and one that I and others are already asking here as we watch the scenes just like you on TV here in Athens! How long will they defend the government and when will they begin to slowly allow events to unfurl or even switch sides? For our sakes I hope that will never happen as who knows what will happen next!

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  • 38. At 5:19pm on 05 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    """"21. At 3:17pm on 05 May 2010, Christos wrote:
    I just wonder...
    What will happen if the average Greek policeman, who's payroll was less than 1000 euros per month, realises that he belongs to the bloated public sector and he just lost 30% of his wage while taxes go up all over?""""

    That is something I would like to see. Indeed policemen in Greece are badly paid just like so many other professional categories - but them really badly paid (and thus their indifference to the soaring criminal records...).

    Policemen also go on strike from times to times. But you should know that these policemen are a special category of civil servants and their protests are 100% controlled centrally by their direction. If they dare go against the rules, unlike other public or private employees, they risk losing their job (and these are people with no training that can find easily jobs elsewhere, let alone in those times) and if they avoid losing their jobs they still face the "damoclian sword" (sword hanging on a thin string above your head) of negative transfer (i.e. to the most remote region away from wife and kids, so if he is in Crete he will be transferred to Macedonia, if he is in Macedonia he will be tranferred to Attica and if he is in Attica he will be transferred to Epirus and if he is in Epirus he will be be transferred to Peloponesus and so on...

    ... these things are real and you should not expect people to play the mega-heros and destroy their lifes completely. They gain net 800-900 euros per month. If they go jobless they might find work after several months at 600-700 euros. Or if they are tranferred from Athens to Alexadnroupoli it is a distance of 10 hours driving (2 fill-ups + the road charges + car mileage), 20 hours by ship (to go... and 20 to return!) and 1 hour by airplane but it costs more than 100 euros so to see family every weekend it would take the 50% of salary!!! Would you do it had you been in their shoes?

    Policemen simply take orders to mostly stand immobile and protect some selected state buildings and just wait for the the protest to steam out or degenerate in the process. If protesters approach too much then engage in minor clashes, if protesters push more, then use water or tear gas. It is all simply a theatrical play.

    For policemen to break away from their binding environment they have to have the ok of their leadership. And their leadership is highly political, a part of the "system" (though much lower than what people think just like with military...). If you see them breaking away and joining the people then you should be searching of the political force that told their leaders to let things go that way - what follows then is sudden elections or in case Greece was out of EU, a short or longer period of military coup.

    In this case, the government wishes to de-legitimise the protests and also terrorise people not to come down (for fear of being hit or being implicated in murders of people...). What do you know? Aren't you old enough to know that these things have been down in the past in less critical times so guess how much now.

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  • 39. At 5:22pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    27. At 4:14pm on 05 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    "Most of this can be traced to the financial collapse caused by the banks and their get rich schemes and the governments that facilitated that process. After the banks were bailed out the governments were short of funds and had piled debt upon their citizens. What is happening in Greece will happen to some degree in every country, Greece is just the first one."

    No it is not and will not happen, stop scaremongering!

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  • 40. At 5:23pm on 05 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    The Greek Communists are blaming the Greek Fascists for the deaths.

    Nik.
    All was OK until 1990 ?

    Since (or before) the civil war, NOTHING has been OK in Greece !

    The blaming has begun, the CIA ????

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  • 41. At 5:28pm on 05 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    "The German Chancellor misread it badly and we find ourselves here."

    LOL, yes it's all her fault the Greeks ruined their own economy.

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  • 42. At 5:44pm on 05 May 2010, qmaqdk wrote:

    Gavin Hewitt profit method:

    1. Write an article stating that the EU can do nothing right and is real close to collaps. It'll happen any day now.
    2. Repeat variations of the above inspired by recent news.
    3. Profit.

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  • 43. At 5:51pm on 05 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    Actually, the more the packet is analysed the more is clear that the Greeks are not bailed out, the Greeks are paying out, the banks are bailed out. And the default will happen anyway. Futile package I think. This is no rescue.

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  • 44. At 5:53pm on 05 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Looks like New Democracy wont support the law..PASOK is by itself...such cowardice and political opportunism makes me want to throw up.

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  • 45. At 6:00pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #3
    The EU is Europe... the same way the US is America and England is the UK

    #10
    You are so wrong, you underestimate Brussels' determination
    Maybe it's back the drawing board, with the 6 founder states as the United States of Europe, new currency... Euro-Mark, ECU what ever...
    1 constitution, 1 parliament, 1 government...
    No more treaties, who wants to join, joins under the new than established rules.
    How about that!

    #30
    * VAT raise... who cares, nobody pays VAT anyway.
    * tax-collectors should be stripped off any pay anyway as they failed to collect but they might end up with a pay rise through these little brown envelops
    * military... useless anyway... who are they defending?.. the banks against the Turks?
    * judges?... we have judges?...who are they judging... the corrupt politicians... the corrupt public hospital staff... the above mentioned so called tax-collectors... or they murderer of today's killing of three bank employees
    * policemen... where are they...anyway, as long as Merkel buys them a new set of play cards they will be happy

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  • 46. At 6:11pm on 05 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #34 - bdsm

    Parliamentary immunity - to elect someone and then be unable to hold them to account at law - is indefensible in any civilised society. I am just not sure how removing it would help in the current situation.

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  • 47. At 6:16pm on 05 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    #32 Nik: well done your comment clearly states the facts that I could not express or clearly see, but now I do. Thank you. All you Greeks out there and anybody else who is presently living in Greece please keep the rest of the world informed about what is really happening here in Greece and what it's like living here, there are just so many unjustified comments being bandied around and it's affecting the lives of so many in creating even more instability.

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  • 48. At 6:28pm on 05 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To vassilis (30):

    I just have to start from the economics as I have seen so many people touch this subject...

    I noticed you talked about partial default and I have noted many others in here and elsewhere talking debt about restructuring. You and many others are essentially saying that the IMF/Eurozone plan doesn't work without decrease of debt, be it called default or debt restructuring. I think you are all wrong on this.

    The real problem of Greece is budget deficit. If Greece would default, make partial default or restructure its debts, it wouldn't get any money from the markets, and with its budget deficit, which still would be there, it would run out of money. Cutting down government spending until there is no budget deficit is the only way out of this crisis.

    Now there are many who say that cutting down public spending will decrease GDP even more, however much of that GDP is based on debt, it isn't real so to say. By cutting down government spending, preferably by laying off people and then cutting benefits to make sure that state really cuts down spending, and just doesn't move expenditure from one door into another. The result of this will be increased efficiency of government services, another result will be increased competition in work markets thus decreasing average salaries thus making Greek companies more competitive.

    Now some people may complain that this will take peoples living standards very low, however those living standards weren't ever real, they weren't earned at all, that is why the state is so indebted.

    In my opinion we, or better to say Greeks, are at the end of the game. Either the organized civil society takes charge, cuts down spending whatever it costs, puts if needed the police and military on the streets and puts out any resistance against the democratic order of the state, or the state and society will grumble down. There is nothing more, it is game over.


    To Nik (32):

    If the police don't uphold the law, then the only thing organized state can do is to call in the Martial law, cut down civil liberties until order is restored and the normal functioning and liberties of the citizens of the state can be restored.

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  • 49. At 6:43pm on 05 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    John_of_Hendon

    Re #18

    Quote, "...twice Referendumed.."!?

    Well, the wording is clumsy, but not nearly as much as the inference!

    I just would like you to explain to which "..twice.." You are referring?

    Following PM Heath signing up to the Treaty of Rome in January 1973 I was 1 of millions who Voted 'Yes' to PM Wilson's renegotiated terms of entry to the EEC in April 1975.

    Did I miss a Referendum?

    Quote, "...my guess is when the referendum goes against You.." Would that be the 2nd or 3rd in Your mind?

    Quote, "..live your lives in total isolation.. don't seek to cripple the country on the alter of your extremist nonsense.."

    Strong words!
    Compete fallacy of course, but then you are obviously 'pro-EU' and therefore it is no surprise You are as inaccurate in your number of Referenda as You are in the possible effects of a UK/England withdrawal from the EU.

    Do tell us: Exactly how are 60,000,000+ UK Citizens or the 49,000,000+ England Citizens going to be 'isolated' by a return to National sovereignty? Which Nations in the EU are going to stop trading with the 3rd largest 'market place' presently within the EU? How does not having 74 MEPs in Brussels materially affect the British Isles ability to Legislate for its Economy-Welfare Services-Education-Defence-Police-Judiciary etc.? Just how many of the millions of EUropean Tourists will stop visiting G.B. because they are offended the UK Citizens prefer to have their own Democratic systems? Come to that, how many EU Nations hotels, bars, shops etc. will be putting up notices barring dogs, smokers & Britons!?

    John_Of_Hendon You have absolutely no grounds for accusing those of us who do not support UK/England membership of the EU as 'rampant xenophobics' of the 'right-wing' variety!
    It is a grossly unjust and stereotypical view that has as much value as I were to claim Your views reveal You to be rampantly anti-British and a sycophant EU-lover!

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  • 50. At 6:55pm on 05 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @Jukka
    If I have to choose between military rule / dictatorship (almost all poor apart from some super rich) and real socialism (we are all poor but no bankers and super-rich). I choose the latter.

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  • 51. At 6:56pm on 05 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

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

  • 52. At 7:00pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #48 Jukka Rohila
    well said!!!
    default means bankruptcy... no money to pay any public salary or pension in June, neither in July, or August... goodbye the holidays.... and it's a pity because the beaches will be empty, empty of tourists.
    Today, with the strike, Heraklion is so calm, no planes in, no planes out... the tourists will go in Summer somewhere else...
    We really know how to fuxx up the left over of our economy.

    And you can burn down as many bank as you want... there is just no money... it's only virtual, in the wires of the computer systems.
    All you will find are some debt obligations / mortgages of Greek businesses and of new Greek home owners and Greek state bonds, yes the Greek banking sector too is holding a lot of Greek state debt.
    So the State defaults, the banks go bankrupt, no money for the private sector economy neither... BRAVO... very good solution.

    And please send in the military first to Heraklion to clean up the town and educate this respect-less, rotten-spoiled youth of this so called boom generation.

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  • 53. At 7:01pm on 05 May 2010, d_m wrote:

    Forgive my ignorance, but I can't find this informattion and haven't seen it either. Who is contributing money to the greek bailout, beside Germany and the IMF, and in what amounts?

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  • 54. At 7:09pm on 05 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @Jukka,
    And economically speaking have a look what it is written here from the very beginning (read carefully) on the Greek matters, without a 'haircut' (with whatever consequences for Greece and Eurozone), Greece will default anyway. There is no 'normal' way of getting through this. The plan that announced cannot work, just postpones default
    http://notayesmanseconomics.wordpress.com/

    Irrespective of the economic views there, my point of view is that the banks risked by borrowing Greece so much they have to suffer also. What is the point of investement if you are to win anyway, if there is no risk whatsoever. Bankruptcy is always an option. Of course then banks could stop lending Greece etc. and the standard of living will fall, then really Greeks will live within their means and of course suffer but at least the bankers get some of the hit and be careful when they lend money.

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  • 55. At 7:14pm on 05 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Oeichler - I am in full agreement with your comment.

    It is time for the United States of Europe...

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  • 56. At 7:25pm on 05 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    I am trying to workout why my last comment has been referred to moderators and as it was in reply to #46 to clarify why it would be a good idea to retract immunity to investigation of MPs, I can only presume it was due to me mentioning a financial scandal that has involved a prominent EU member state to illustrate my comment. Perhaps we shouldn't sully the characters of our saviours??

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  • 57. At 7:29pm on 05 May 2010, Lenispal wrote:

    15. At 2:29pm on 05 May 2010, Boilerplated wrote:
    7. At 1:28pm on 05 May 2010, Davidethics wrote:

    "Way to go Greek workers and professionals. Get your message across. You are leading the way. Watch the cowardly politicians cringe."

    Yes, I suspect that the three innocent workers and professionals who died, trapped in that bank today following the petrol-bomb attack on it will have no doubt 'cringed' in the face of the approaching fire...

    Riots are never justified.
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    I rarely take offence at HYS postings but this comment is blatently offensive in its cheap innuendo. I don't know who was responsible for these tragic deaths and would never support such action. And you, who make this offensive comment, should be aware of this from the context in which my remark was made. I was praising the Greek demonstrators and strikers for standing up for their pensions and salaries, and delivering a strong and legitimate message to the bankers and cowardly politicians who do not have the courage to face the people they claim to represent. People like you - Boilerplated - too easily and deliberately confuse the unacceptable actions of a minority with the legitimate protests of a larger movement. In this respect you follow a long tradition of apologists for the status quo. Should the authorities unleash violence against the people of Greece I will look out for your posting. But then, we know which side you are on.

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  • 58. At 7:33pm on 05 May 2010, MarEndins wrote:

    @EUprisoner209456731 (#2) The retirement age in Spain is 65 while in France it is 60. In Germany there's a gradual retirement starting at 65 and finishing at 67. Retirement age is different for men and women in the UK and Italy, 65 and 60 respectively. How does this fit with your gratuitous remark?

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  • 59. At 7:37pm on 05 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    #39 Boilerplated:

    There is a history of financial misdeeds and economic collapse facilitated by banks and stock markets.....there is not a history of it not happening, yet you are very definitive about the future. Controls on the instruments that caused the collapse have yet to be instituted, so I would think that probability is with a reoccurance. You are also confident that there will be no opposition to cuts and services when the other nations are confronted with the reality of their debt, they have yet to do this.
    If the banks and financial industry did not cause the situation maybe you could enlighten everyone as to what was the cause. I understand that some governments were borrowing to maintain programs but the debt was nothing like the current situation and the slow down in the global economy related to the financial misdeeds of the bankers. The story on the banks and financial institutions is still unfolding and each new detail points toward desception at best and collusion as a real possibility. I am not scaremongering, I am stating that the reality of the public anger assoicated with all of this has yet to have a vehicle of expression and that vehicle will arrive in the form of service cuts and higher taxes.

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  • 60. At 7:54pm on 05 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To vassilis (54):

    I have read what has been written in here and what has been written in the blog you mentioned. However, there is nothing that forces Greece to default, that is a choice. If the state cuts spending severely enough and the people accept lowering of their living standards, then Greece can take care of its debts, especially as it has been given time to restructure its economy by the IMF and Eurozone loan package.

    Actually lowering of living standards in Greece isn't optional. Take a look on what oeichler wrote in 57. If Greece defaults, it will not be only no more money for the state, it will mean total collapse of the Greek banking and financing industries as Greek banks are almost bankrupt and without government intervention they will go bust. When the banks go bust, they will take out large number of SME's and draining of credit for the rest will severely hammer down any economic production and growth.

    It is game over, there is nothing else that can be done, but cut government spending. And yes, it can be done, it has been done in many other countries, for example Baltic states just recently did it...

    "The measures that were taken by the Baltics were painful: Latvia’s program included cuts of 50 percent or more in the salaries of public-sector employees and a 40 percent reduction in hospital budgets. In addition, Estonian government made reductions on all fields in order to join the eurozone in the 1st January 2011."

    http://www.estonianfreepress.com/2010/04/austerity-will-save-the-greek-salad/

    Now if the Balts could do it, why couldn't the Greeks do it too? It only needs an yes-we-can attitude.

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  • 61. At 8:23pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    vassilis
    what is REAL socialism?

    the East Bloc tried it, look at Romania, or even the most rich country of them East-Germany.
    The leaders and their entourage had special privileges.

    You live in a dream world

    And Greece is nearly a Socialist Country anyway, the same as Portugal and Spain, all of them very young democracies (mid 1970s) with a very Socialist mentality.

    25% of all workers are in the public service... no country can afford this... it cripples the economy, it cripples the state.
    25% means that in average there is one civil servant in each Greek family and their socialist mentality (society-assisted) runs through the family, the Greek population, the Greek State...

    Instead of bank bashing, what about this...
    The banks lent recklessly money to the State, that recklessly borrowed that money to pay for the reckless demands of the union of public sector workers.

    So we have to blame the socialist driven reckless unions.
    And they cry because they were not invited at the round table with the Troika of EU, ECB and IMF. I wonder why!?

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  • 62. At 8:31pm on 05 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    Mr Hewitt is FAILING to impress BIGTIME as he keeps writing and writing and writing when 2 OTHER Colleagues have Captured Precisely both situations!!

    Now, there is really ONE BBC-article to read on Greece:
    >> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8661786.stm

    From the outside, it looks like a spendthrift country getting what it deserves in painful cuts to public spending.
    At street level, however, the anger stems from a sense of injustice. Many feel that the average citizen is now paying the price for corruption and government spending that they did not benefit from.

    "I am willing to take a cut, because we all have to. But I'm feeling more and more angry every day, because those who got us into this mess are not held responsible. Their children aren't going to suffer because of this."

    Most Greeks we spoke to acknowledged that sacrifices would have to be made, and some were in support of cuts.
    But nearly all referred to lower paid workers "carrying the can" for decades of mismanagement and political corruption, and it is this sense of injustice which is propelling people out onto the streets.

    And another ONE BBC-article to read on the BIGGER PICTURE:
    >> http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/04/rating_agencies_who_made_them.html

    All that S&P has done is to say that Greek debt is junk; but surely Greek debt can't in reality be junkier today than it was last week just because S&P says so?

    You may wonder what on earth is going on. If S&P doesn't create economic reality - which it doesn't - how can its assessment of that economic reality wreak such havoc?

    The answer is that S&P - and the two other leading credit-rating agencies, Moody's and Fitch - have been endowed with enormous authority by governments, central banks and regulators.

    They are the gods of the credit markets...

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  • 63. At 8:40pm on 05 May 2010, richard_2btrue wrote:

    At 54 Vasillis writes that lending money to Greece was a risk and that defaulting is an option. Jukka points out that that is not a good option as isolation from international finance will have severe consequences for many Greeks. Many have ponted out that the austeriy will be suffered by ordinary people not to blame for the mismanagement, but the EU, especially Germany, is sharing the burden. The 'bail out' IS a bail out because who in their right minds would lend their hard earned cash to Greece right now?? Lets hope Greeks see it this way, take the loan, change, and find some government officials or cronies to blame for the mess.

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  • 64. At 8:40pm on 05 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    Just to assist the moderators, if you need to check out the bribery fact look in the BBC website under the company mentioned and 2006-2007 when the company itself revealed slush funds for the sole purpose of gaining contracts and big heads rolled after. It's well known here and is still not fully clear as to how many Greek MPs were involved, perhaps there are a number of other things people are not aware of?

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  • 65. At 8:53pm on 05 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @59 ghostofsichuan
    "If the banks and financial industry did not cause the situation maybe you could enlighten everyone as to what was the cause. I understand that some governments were borrowing to maintain programs but the debt was nothing like the current situation and the slow down in the global economy related to the financial misdeeds of the bankers."

    Don`t feel too offended, but why post if you have not the slightest hunch of economics?
    The Greek problem ist of course a problem of debt.
    All that rubbish about the problem, without the mean mean financial institutions, wouldn`t take right now.
    Maybe it wouldn´t, true. But know what? It was bound to happen sooner or later.
    It`s the government spending more money than it earns.

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  • 66. At 8:55pm on 05 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    Re Niko, I know how things work in Greece. What I don't know is if this time is different.

    We had austerity before. What the hell, the only thing I can remember our politicians asking of us since 85, was austerity. There was always some goal though. Tighten your belts till then and everything will be better afterwards. I know they were mostly BS, but people fell for it.

    Where is the hope now? Austerity till when? And for what?

    Take your average policeman since we started with them. He was getting around 800 euros last year. The new austerity wage will be around 600 euros. Serves him right, he is lazy, corrupted and enjoys the wonderful benefits of the Greek state.

    If everything goes well, he must spend the next 3 years with 600 per month and later on, an annual raise probably near the inflation rate. It will take him about 10 years to get back to where he started. Well, where he started is not a particularly nice place to be. Ten years of inflation will reduce those 800 euros back to 600 anyway, even less.

    So, I ask again. Where is the hope? Why follow those austerity measures? So that the Greek state avoids default? To keep his job? This is not a job. This is something that takes the best hours of his day and gives him an allowance. Can you live with 600 euros a month? I dare any of you nice critics of Greece in western Europe and US, to take 600 euros and live for a month. Rent a house, pay your bills and eat at least once per day. Our cost of living is the same as yours.

    So that the Greek state avoids default?
    So that our politicians keep their jobs, none of them goes jail and some of them greeted as heroes?
    So that our elites, the ones that steal every euro that comes in the country, get to stay here and not follow their money offshore?
    So that big foreign and domestic corporations keep bribing our politicians to get lucrative contracts?
    So that the banks that lend money to that state don't loose their investment?
    And finally, so that all those that issued CDS for our debt and had every interest keeping the turmoil about Greece all those months, don't have to actually pay for those insurances?

    I don't know what comes after the default. Maybe we'll go the Argentina way, maybe we create our own way. I just know what happens if we don't default and I don't like it.

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  • 67. At 9:09pm on 05 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    @Jukka Rohila(48)

    First, what exactly is the budget deficit of Greece if you take out the interest we have to pay servicing our debt? Is it maybe, I say maybe, a budget surplus?

    And second. I've asked you before. Why all that wonderful free market job competition doesn't work even now? We have way over 10% unemployment. Aren't all those free workers enough for your model to work? Why isn't working now?


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  • 68. At 9:13pm on 05 May 2010, richard_2btrue wrote:

    Christos writes that defaulting appears better than austerity. of course anyone facing a large debt would like to walk away from it!! But what happens if I need credit in future?? My wife falls ill, my kids fall ill, my car beaks down, I lose my job and need a bridging loan? Its the same for a country. If Greece default its the people who depend on state services that will be first to suffer in a crisis, the ill, kids and old people. Its like saying 'we'll walk away from our responsibilities now and hope that we don't need any financial assistance in future, if we do, maybe the hospitals, police, schools etc etc will miraculously carry on without any cash!!'

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  • 69. At 9:28pm on 05 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    @richard_2btrue(68)

    The hospitals, police, schools etc etc belong to the state but only as buildings.

    The hospitals, police, schools etc etc are actually the people working in them. Give them something to hope for and they will continue doing their jobs.


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  • 70. At 9:35pm on 05 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Christos (69):

    10% unemployment when the whole economy is making a restructuring is a small amount. In Finland when our economy in the beginning of 90s went throe a dramatic restructuring, the official unemployment rate jumped to 20% and it stayed high for long. The unofficial unemployment rate was some what higher. So 10% is just a good start. Now what happened to those people? Some became long term unemployed, lots of people changed area of work and many people re-educated themselves, etc..

    The growth of the country was generated because A) government and public services started to work more efficiently, B) corporations started to work more efficiently, and C) resources were transferred from supporting of destruct industries to support creation of new, i.e. massive enlargement of people studying computer sciences and telecommunication.

    Thing is, decisions made today will bring their first fruits in a half a decade at earlies and any big structural reform will carry fruits of labor in any serious form after a decade. That is the time span we are talking about. If good decisions are made today, pain is suffered by the current generations, then the children of todays people can have better lives. That is a choice.

    In case of the budget deficit, even with removal of debts, there would still be budget deficit, and most importantly, there still would be the same government culture that created those debts. Real problem solving starts when the bloated public sector is taken down and overhead cut into its minimum.

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  • 71. At 9:43pm on 05 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    55. At 7:14pm on 05 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:


    "Oeichler - I am in full agreement with your comment.

    It is time for the United States of Europe..."

    EUpris: Is that against the known wishes of hundreds of millions of people or do we get a referendum this time?

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  • 72. At 9:48pm on 05 May 2010, paul wrote:

    Socialism and all its facets are in the process of killing Europe- if it hasn't killed it already. The "masses" cannot simply demand a higher standard of living while blaming all their short comings on the rich. One gets the government they deserve. If your country is horribly corrupt and you allow it to continue, then you are reaping what you have enabled. Stop relying on the government to fix your individual problems and do not depend on them to support you when your older and all the rest. There was a time when we did not think this way! It was called "Self Reliance!"

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  • 73. At 9:48pm on 05 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    @Jukka Rohila(70) I don't know much about Finland's reconstruction back in the 90s. Maybe I have to educate myself in that topic.

    Just explain something to me. How did that 20% unemployed lived for 10 years? Fed on air?

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  • 74. At 9:51pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #67 Christos
    When I buy a big villa I can't really afford and then live on my credit card and then decide to default on my mortgage payments... Yes I have suddenly a huge surplus

    You want a surplus, I'll give you a surplus
    GDP 240 Billion
    Debt 300 Billion hence 125% of GDP
    The black economy is estimated at at least 25% of GDP > 60 Billion
    which would bring the GDP to 300 Billion... oh miracle I just brought down my debt to 100%
    Furthermore, the state is making at least 50% in direct, indirect taxes and contributions on these black 60 Billion > another 30 Billion for the state.
    2009 deficit 12.5% of GDP = 30 Billion
    There it is plus minus ZERO
    Your surplus comes when George is not travelling through Europe so often for just claiming that he doesn't want money...

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  • 75. At 9:53pm on 05 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "EUpris: Is that against the known wishes of hundreds of millions of people or do we get a referendum this time?"

    I'm all for a referendum. But don't come begging to join twenty years down the road again.

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  • 76. At 9:54pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    49. At 6:43pm on 05 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    [replying to "John_of_Hendon"]

    "I just would like you to explain to which "..twice.." You are referring?"


    He wasn't suggesting that there has been two referenda, just that some would still object if there was another referendum and for the second time the pro-EU side won.

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  • 77. At 10:00pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #71 EUprisoner209456731
    I stated clearly that this idea was with the 6 founder states only
    France might have a referendum
    German constitution does not foresee a referendum except for a new constitution which would be given in this case, no idea for Italy and BeNeLux
    I think the US started with 13, who the hell had the idea to have 27 in Europe before the construction of a real union

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  • 78. At 10:03pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    55. At 7:14pm on 05 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Oeichler - I am in full agreement with your comment.

    It is time for the United States of Europe..."


    Only if one considers that the "EU" and a wider Europe cannot survive without a single currency, the only reason the EU has been dragged into this is because of the Euro - those counties within the EU not using the Euro are merely looking on from the sideline wondering which player will foul or be fouled next.

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  • 79. At 10:03pm on 05 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @41. At 5:28pm on 05 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    "The German Chancellor misread it badly and we find ourselves here."

    LOL, yes it's all her fault the Greeks ruined their own economy.

    I was not talking about Greece's troubles there, I've had enough with that, I was talking about the Euro troubles! The trouble with the Euro can be 100% attributed to Merkel.

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  • 80. At 10:04pm on 05 May 2010, richard_2btrue wrote:

    @Christos
    It might appear that defaulting now will give Greeks hope. But in reality it will not really change anything in Greece except that there will, for a while, be more government cash to keep paying the people that run all the services. Are you seriously saying that there will not be a shortage of government money again? And when that happens a Greece out of the euro will have to resort to printing money (no more loans!!)to pay the bills, its happened before, people don't work on hope, they have lives to lead and pay for care, education, entertainment, security. Printing money temporarily alleviates problems, then inflation creates even more loss and suffering. The only hope for a better life for Greece is to live in the international community, defaulting is a step into isolationism. The EU bail out is a loan when no loan should exist, its not commercial sense, but makes sense only to try to hold the EU together.

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  • 81. At 10:05pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #72 paul
    Self Reliance does not exist in the Greek language, it is against the idea of Family Clan

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  • 82. At 10:06pm on 05 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I quite enjoy reading oeichler's comments. Please remain on this blog.

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  • 83. At 10:09pm on 05 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    @oeichler(77)
    Sure, you are right.
    I generally don't disagree with your views of what is wrong in Greece.

    Just tell me, which of the measures the EU/IMF imposed at Greece solves the black economy problem? Is there a hint of a solution in there?

    Is there something to reduce corruption? Our, now, 600 euro policeman is more likely to get corrupted, just to get through the month.

    Corruption sometimes, is the result not the reason.

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  • 84. At 10:11pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    57. At 7:29pm on 05 May 2010, Davidethics wrote:

    "I was praising the Greek demonstrators and strikers for standing up for their pensions and salaries"

    One of who was responsible for the fire bombing of that bank, as I said, rioting is NEVER justified - or are you going to suggest that the Greek authorities were responsible...

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  • 85. At 10:22pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    Re comment @ #59:

    "ghostofsichuan", I was not suggesting that fiscal pain won't be felt in many countries, just that few if any will be/are in the position that Greece is because Greece has some unique problems. In the UK I'm fully expecting taxes to rise and services/benefits to fail which ever political party wins tomorrows election.

    Fiscal 'Armageddon' is not on it's way - for most...

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  • 86. At 10:33pm on 05 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    @richard_2btrue(80)

    And you get the same answer more or less with oeichler

    Those austerity measures have nothing to do with reconstructing the Greek economy. Those are measures to take more from the many to give to the few, all over again. Loan or not. Bailout or not.

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  • 87. At 10:37pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #79 ChrisArta
    If Merkel hadn't delayed the payout the Greek Government would have received the 40 billion with Brussels and French soft ball approach and backing without any conditions attached, and the money would have already been spent on new public service bonuses, such as a "Do not strike every month bonus".

    Soon they start blaming Merkel also for today's three dead bank employees


    to Chris Camp
    you said another day that it was not Papandreou's fault

    And here is the problem, which Papandreou do you mean
    George the elder, the grandfather
    Andreas, the father
    or George the younger one
    One clan, 3 PMs and they are all co-responsible for this situation

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  • 88. At 10:38pm on 05 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    It seems the Greeks are good at burning and destroying things. (Especially when the clean-up bill will be paid by others).

    It would be nice to see all this effort (and financial 'loans') applied to constructive and productive activities.

    As a citizen of a country whose taxes are paying for this stupid bail-out ('stupid' as Greece should have been allowed to default and ejected from the eurozone), is this too much to ask?

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  • 89. At 10:41pm on 05 May 2010, Sovjohn wrote:

    Re: Jukka Rohila (70)

    Dear Jukka,

    You're missing the point here. Really. First of all, I am not supporting a default (but believe a 'haircut' or debt restructuring and conversion to longer-term debt would be necessary), however:

    The proposed IMF/EU plan increases the debt and believes things will be rather "rosy" in the next 3-4 years in order to reach its target. To put this into perspective, the depression / shrink % of the Greek economy in 2010 has been revised (by the EU, ECB, Greek Gov't, et al) about 3 times thus far, because things continue getting worse by the month.

    The proposed IMF/EU plan indeed does lower (in certain cases, permanently) the standards of living, wages, etc in public sector employees. However, the situation cannot be fully grasped:

    Greece (and Portugal, if I'm not mistaken) are the two countries from the Eurozone who actually fall behind on their average salary per month / per year compared to the rest of the EU. "Austerity" measures had been implemented in one way or another to the general population, in order to "achieve convergence with the EU". However, while the prices certainly surpassed EU levels, salaries stubbornly remained at much lower sums of money compared to any other Eurozone country, save Portugal.

    Average inflation here has been, and had been for years, 3-5%. As a result of that, prices have gone up in many, many everyday usage goods (milk...pasta...oil...you name it) surpassing average EU levels, when the salaries do not account for these price hikes.

    In my point of view, it's fair and expected of Greece to pay up the debts existing, of course. However, the so-called "suggested reforms" are too harsh, and too violent to complete in a mere 1-3 years period. In my point of view, 50% of the public sector worked should be fired. But you can't unleash several hundred thousands as unemployed on the streets in a matter of months. They alone can take down the government, should they wish to do so. You do it over a period of a few years.

    Time, then - the commodity Greece does not have to make reforms work. And considering that the 'unemployment benefits' here range from 77 to approximately 250 EUR per month, for a 6-12 month period, you cannot possibly believe that someone can live off that. In several other countries these kind of benefits are not so ridiculously low!

    And my final point - It is widely acknowledged, in Greece as well outside Greece, that the mentality should be "pay up or shut up". Okay. No reason not to do so, but without destroying the country in the process, because "the markets" want it to happen. I believe, nowadays, that the assaults on the Euro will continue. May has seen a market increase in CDS rates and interest rates for loan bonds of Portugal, Spain. The whole "economic terrorism" does not seem to stop dead on its tracks on Greece itself.

    And I don't know when, or where, it'll stop. I fear for UK and the GBP as well, after the Euro is weakened enough. Think about my points carefully, if you will.

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  • 90. At 10:50pm on 05 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @60. At 7:54pm on 05 May 2010, Jukka Rohila,

    Jukka I said it many times before, I'll say it again Latvia is a disaster. If that is the best example you can offer to the greeks then no wonder they are sceptical.

    The greeks would be better off outside the Euro and negotiate a loan repayment scheme that suited their needs.

    @oeichler,

    One EU parliament made up by a hardcore 6, just a dream! no benelux will go into monetary union with germany without more countres been unvolved, because they know they will become german provinces.

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  • 91. At 10:51pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #83 Christos
    and also vassilis

    I know what you mean and I was also very disappointed with the statements made on Sunday and the socially unjust measures.
    1. there are clear figures regarding the cuts and tax increase but no real announcement how the government wants to combat corruption and tax evasion.
    2. they cut all more or less at the same rate, there is no attempt for social cohesion.
    Ireland cut civil servants pay by 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% depending on pay level and minister's pay by 25%
    3. there are only vague indications regarding privatisation

    It will be a long process, it is a question of education and mentality change, for every Greek.
    Ever eaten in one of these nice small family run taverns in the rural area where you tick on a long command sheet the dishes you want to order?
    And at the end they return it to you with the amount due in big numbers!
    These is not a tax receipt...
    Every Greek is responsible for this mess by enjoying services without receipts...
    Every Greek is responsible for black economy and tax fraud...
    Every Greek...

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  • 92. At 10:54pm on 05 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    80. At 10:04pm on 05 May 2010, richard_2btrue wrote:

    "The EU bail out is a loan when no loan should exist, its not commercial sense, but makes sense only to try to hold the EU together."

    It's not a EU bail out, it's a Euro-zone bail out, it's not to hold the EU together but to hold the Euro-zone and the Euro together - although the shock waves of a suddenly failing Euro currency might shake the EU to it's foundations, the political "EU" might fail but the concept of trading area (aka the EEC) will not.

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  • 93. At 10:57pm on 05 May 2010, Sovjohn wrote:

    @88 MaxSceptic - If I am to believe OECD statistics, Greek employees work more on average than any other European nation citizens. If that's indeed true (and with all the unpaid overtime work taking place here, I'd believe the statistics), in conjunction with the abysmal pay rates existent in the private sector, compared to the rest of the Eurozone... Then I'd daresay that the average employee does spent his time in a 'constructive manner' quite much!

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  • 94. At 10:57pm on 05 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @83 Christos
    "Just tell me, which of the measures the EU/IMF imposed at Greece solves the black economy problem? Is there a hint of a solution in there?

    Is there something to reduce corruption? Our, now, 600 euro policeman is more likely to get corrupted, just to get through the month.

    Corruption sometimes, is the result not the reason."

    You are right. The EU/IMF should have told that government to make corruption illegal.
    Would have helped big time. Not.


    The only one who really can stop this is you, the people.
    The EU and the high court can only assist via supranational law.

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  • 95. At 10:59pm on 05 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #49 cool_brush_work

    The contribution of John_from_hendon appears to be a subtle critique of what many in Britain see as a continuation of typical ´football rowdyism´and false nationalism.

    From #18´s tone and eloquence I gather that he is not only older than yourself but also has seen how ineffective all British governments have been to raise the living standards of Britons since the closed markets of the ex-colonies were lost.

    When any visitor to Britain sees the prices, the first question is automatically `Where do the taxes go ´.They are NOT going towards raise the living standard.

    German wages are higher, but ALL prices are lower and the quality and price of food etc. are superior.

    Being on an Island, the average Brit believes there is no better system than the present they suffer through.
    Believe me, after 30 years of increasing living standards the informed Europeans hold a different view.

    After the election you will see and feel the similarity between Greece and Britain. Greece also had a chance and blew it !

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  • 96. At 10:59pm on 05 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    John_of_Hendon

    Re #18 & "..twice referendumed.."

    Still awaiting the explanation of 'twice'?

    Come on, You were full of high-blown principle about us lowly 'anti-EU' fellows, so don't be shy - - which 2 Referenda were You thinking of in #18?

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  • 97. At 11:06pm on 05 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Jukka_R

    Re #70

    '10% unemployment... is a small amount..'.

    I assume that would be for so long as You are not one of the unfortunate longterm ones and it is other Citizens facing a reduction in their economic-financial-social-cultural lifestyle.

    Have You spoken to former employees of Finnish Enzo-Gutzeit etc. in Varkaus, Lapeenranta, Kemi etc. in recent months?
    I just wondered if You were voicing that '10%' isn't so bad view to them & their families?

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  • 98. At 11:07pm on 05 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @87 oeichler,

    That is an outright lie and you know it.

    As far as I understand the situation, greece has been under EU supervision since Febr, so what the French & the commission were proposing was not to give money away but through that supervised program. your claim at 87 is wrong.

    Merkel through her actions has created a Euro crisis.

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  • 99. At 11:14pm on 05 May 2010, richard_2btrue wrote:

    @Christos
    If there are deep seated problems in Greek society like widespread corruption and inequality ("take from the many to give to the few") its not possible for the bail out or Andrea Merkel to sort that out directly. Only Greek political will with a peoples mandate can make that kind of society change as Jukka has nicely expained about Finland, and as good old Maggie did for the Union problem in the UK.
    Are you sure its not mainly (granted not entirely) a case of alot more money around in Greece generally over the last few years with less time spent working productively?? All those billions is an awful lot of corrupion and inequality!

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  • 100. At 11:16pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #90 ChrisArta
    Yes, in the same way as Scotland, Wales and NI are English provinces
    BeNeLux will rely on France and Italy to control Germany, the same way as 50 years ago.

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  • 101. At 11:34pm on 05 May 2010, richard_2btrue wrote:

    @Boilerplated
    Yes its a EuroZone bailout, not an EU bailout. I agree with oeichler that Greece outside the EuroZone and re-negotiate the debt is a possibility. But austerity would still be neccessary and how would Greece borrow money again with a currency in freefall. In the end to pay back, the same austerity measures would need to be taken, and the currency would have to be protected. It would be a more flexible situation but not much better in reality for Greeks.

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  • 102. At 11:37pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #98 ChrisArta
    what supervised program, they can't even supervise themselves
    For 10 years they supervised wrong numbers

    And Papandreou went around and around saying I don't want your money and the suddenly he menaced to go to the IMF and Merkel jumped on it calling the bluff, knowing that the IMF really supervises and imposes.
    She just had more balls then Papandreou.

    And BTW, the Euro was already once under a dollar at $0.80 after it was introduced at 1.17 and the world still spins. So I don't really understand all this hype that the Euro is weak.
    A stable Euro does not mean a high strong Euro, just stable
    Apart from that, I agree, Merkel might also count for a short term on a weaker Euro at this time as it is good for the German export powerhouse and frightens the Americans to death.

    There is no crisis, just a bankrupt state.
    Brussels just has to decide what they really want.
    Fund Transfers exist in every country/union via taxation and redistribution where richer regions pay for the poorer ones.
    UK and Germany South > North
    France and Italy North > South

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  • 103. At 11:41pm on 05 May 2010, David wrote:

    OK, someone cooked the books....on whose orders?

    And Nik, if a person is ambitious politically and more intelligent that way than average, he is not necessarily a criminal mind ...intelligence equals lack of ethics???? Not necessarily

    And this new guy whom you say is the US installed puppet is the one who unveiled the wrong doings ...he should have a statue made in his honor ..for having honor.

    But, take your medicine, I just had mine for neglecting my teeth all these years---mainly because

    I distrust Dentists, my own prejudice--but I tryy not to indulge in it too much as dependency on them is my future...in my mind, they are used car salesman who went to med school (emotionally)...

    no offense to anyone..."here you need this and this and this..and then I'll do a lackluster job on you," "for a real good job, you'll have to come again"....yeah right.

    Pick your battles ..they say. And I agree, No one made a stink about Irelands debt..

    MED PREJ?

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  • 104. At 11:47pm on 05 May 2010, David wrote:

    Spain,

    At 25 % percent unemployment in the USA in the 1930s there was dangers of a coup or revolution, my father who lived through that age told me.

    They didnt have term limits then..

    can you imagine Bush in office 16 more years? Easily we'd be more than in "longterm decline" we'd BE North Korea..ouch.

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  • 105. At 11:49pm on 05 May 2010, David wrote:

    PS Thank You Europeans and BBC for your free press and allowing me to express myself--in the American side, I'm ascared o' them youngins' .

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  • 106. At 11:50pm on 05 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #99 richard_2btrue
    just read through the news papers of different countries where they interview Greeks and you get the picture.
    You want your pregnant wife to have a correctly supervised pregnancy and birth in a public hospital, count between 500 and 3000 Euros in an envelop according to the service requested
    You get the picture...
    That's why Papandreou said on Sunday, the saving won't touch the health care but they look into the services and mismanagement.

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  • 107. At 11:53pm on 05 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    @oeichler(91) and DurstigerMann(94)

    “Every Greek is responsible for this mess by enjoying services without receipts...
    Every Greek is responsible for black economy and tax fraud...
    Every Greek... “

    and

    “You are right. The EU/IMF should have told that government to make corruption illegal.
    Would have helped big time. Not.


    The only one who really can stop this is you, the people.
    The EU and the high court can only assist via supranational law.”

    You may find it funny but some form of corruption are not actually illegal in Greece today. Or more precise, not punished enough. Let me explain.

    Our Mps have complete legal immunity. You a need parliamentary approval to prosecute an MP or a member of the government even for a traffic violation.

    Something like this happens in the public sector as well. If a public sector employee does something wrong in his job, then he is judged by a committee made of his coworkers and immediate supervisors. The only way to bring harsh punishment, is to bring the media on them.

    So, telling the government to make corruption illegal would really do some good.

    So oeichler, can't you realize that you are watching a result?
    The tax evasion mentality is the result. It's an “I don't pay my taxes cause they will end up into the pockets of some thief” mentality.

    It is bad mentality and it leads to a vicious loop. It must stop. It will not stop if you give people more reasons to tax evade. Catching a few thiefs and sending them to jail might do the trick.

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  • 108. At 00:04am on 06 May 2010, David wrote:

    On the American side, they had this young woman--who has come over here to be lambasted (lol)--who said she loved Obama's speech but why did he have to say the word "Gay?" She hates that word.

    The whole next page of comments--off topic,naturally--was mostly anti she (with her white gloves worn at her cotillion) was a "liberal who didnt care for the abomination of gay participation.".. That was a hoot...(sat back and enjoyed the action)... the aftermath.

    But, if you wanna see "hate" go to the American side, Mr. Mardell earns his probably higher pay. Mr. Gavin is ok, some people are just wanting higher quality/higher paid writers like Mardell. Well, hmmm, perspective...is an issue, huh.

    Let M. Hewitt get experience, first.

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  • 109. At 00:13am on 06 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Greece is "on the brink of the abyss""

    Not my words but those of President Karolos Papoulias [he] has warned, after three people died during protests over planned austerity measures.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8663734.stm

    I told you so. I told you this would happen.

    What next, Merkel's party votes to reject the bailout plan in the German Parliament Saturday night and her government falls? That'd be a fine howdeedoooooo

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  • 110. At 00:22am on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    David

    Glad to see you survived.

    Nik et al.

    The mass exodus of Greeks to the motherland EU will shortly begin !

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  • 111. At 00:42am on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #107 Christos

    I know, but it is like a cancer that is spreading through the entire Greek society. Only a harsh cure can heal it.

    And every Greek can do a little bit on their level, just ask for a receipt next time in a taverna, they won't put the the VAT on top of it, only when everybody asks for it the prices might go up a bit, but then at least all business play on the same level.

    It will be a long hard way to educate and change mentality but it is the only chance. It was the same with the recycling bins.
    But there will be always some malakes that break the rules, that exist everywhere.
    Spain, Portugal and Italy's black economy are estimated at 20% and brown envelops in Ireland are a well know expression up to the highest levels, especially in the then booming construction sector.
    Looking at these countries we recognise the so called PIIGS, so there is a link between the public financial problems, socialist mentality and black economy... even if Ireland is a bit special in this club of 5.

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  • 112. At 00:47am on 06 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    @richard_2btrue(99)

    "Are you sure its not mainly (granted not entirely) a case of alot more money around in Greece generally over the last few years with less time spent working productively?? All those billions is an awful lot of corrupion and inequality"

    A lot more money? Yes they were here. We could watch it come from the EU and end up into the pockets of few, to offshore bank accounts. For average Greeks? If I remember right, back in 2000 the minimum pay was around 580 euros (in drachmas), last year was around 700 and now goes back to 600. Lets not forget that a small bottle of water was 15 cents in 2000 and it costs 50 now. And most of workers in the private sector work for wages close to the minimum.

    Lets explain Greek productivity. I'll give you 3 groups of people and use Germans as a good role model.

    A Greek private sector worker works the same hours as a German one and usually gets payed less. So. I guess that he is more productive.

    A Greek public sector worker works way less hours than a German and usually gets payed less.
    We have a problem there. The solution imposed here is to pay him even less. I don't know, I just feel that we would have better results if we managed to make him work more hours. Like firing him if he constantly gets late at work and produce no results. If the IMF imposed an abolition of the “no firing” law in the Greek public sector, it would probably increased productivity there tenfold without even firing one of them and with no pay reductions. Careful though. That law had a very good reason when it was introduced and it must be treated carefully.

    As for the self employed/small business owners? It doesn't matter actually. If they don't work hard enough, the less they have to get by.

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  • 113. At 01:23am on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #109 MarcusAurellius

    I thought you were still contributing on the BBC´s childrens´ Blog to make your daily quota ?

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  • 114. At 01:30am on 06 May 2010, Mike-1985 wrote:

    The article does serve as a well balanced account of the on-goings within the EU and the extent to which the Greek malady has spread. The text is also valueable in its analysis on the other failing countries as well, and the potential risk of further bail-outs upon the Euro marcket.

    In my own opinion, the EU bail-out has only served to create higher tensions rather then demonstrate a semblance of unity and cooperation within the European boundaries. The inability for the Eurozone countries ot provide a formidable front against the recession is the lack of proper regulations and criterion. The Maastricht Treaty and the succeeding meetings have not matured the EU into an economic union as much as is claimed. Clearly, the ailment of one country does affect the rest, but I doubt that was the unity that the signatories hoped for.

    Hopefully, with time and therefore pain and sacrifice, the bail-out will serve to create a stronger Greece and serve as an epiphony perhaps, to which the EU will reconstruct and reform. The US national bank had been dissolved by President Jackson during the bank wars in favor of smaller state banks in order to appeal to the more populist stance. It wasnt until WWI and Wilson that the National Bank was created again.
    Maybe the EU just needs the wake-up call and will rotate about and emerge as the "super" EU and help fight off evil and cure the world....or just help the Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and the rest...whichever comes first.

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  • 115. At 01:35am on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8663734.stm

    "The protest became violent, with petrol bombs thrown at police who responded with pepper spray and tear gas.
    (...)
    But one of the protesters told the BBC it had been the fault of the police, whose "brutality" had led to the escalation.(...)"

    There we go again, always blaming the others.
    If the unions can't control their demonstrations then they should stay at home...

    Thatcher were are you... We need you

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  • 116. At 02:26am on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #91. oeichler wrote:
    "These is not a tax receipt...
    Every Greek is responsible for this mess by enjoying services without receipts...
    Every Greek is responsible for black economy and tax fraud..."

    Exactly.

    Make people understand that by not demanding an official registered receipt, THEY end up paying higher taxes.

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  • 117. At 02:41am on 06 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    Jukka,
    You just account the common scenario of common orthodoxy. Real world is more compelx. And plans should take into account reality otherwiose they are unlealistic and fail. E.g. if you have hundreds of thousands of unemployed in a democrracy government is finished. If you make an extremely austere programme with short duration due to freedom of movement in the EU the healthy forces that will work to create wealth and pay the debt flee to other countries. No growth no paying of debt. The current 'bail-out' package is unworkable for Greece in my opinion and I ve read enough unbiased economic analysis towards this end. Actually, the reaction of the markets yesterday showed exactly this. I think they will show it even more in the coming days. The markets also say 'too little too late'. Default sooner or later is inevitable unless something fundamental changes e.g. as [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] says if cold fusion is invented or something similar and monumental. What's the odds for this, close to zero, so still the odds are in favour of a Greek default despite the (badly designed) loans and the (badly designed) severe austerity. Also, the global enviironment is hostile, some level austerity soon will be everywhere, revenue from tourism will go down not up. How will Greece have positive growth as early as 2012 (according to the programme this is needed to pay debt back)? It is a bad plan with fundamentally low probabilities of success. Probably a longer plan, a different plan could work. Not this one though. Banks are greedy and want everything back instead of a good percentage. an utter default will teach them another lesson, they will get even less in the end, plus the whole Eurozone will suffer a collapse of one of its members, plus a deminos of collapses could start. This is a bad plan for everybody in the end. Read comments and dialogue in http://notayesmanseconomics.wordpress.com/. My impression is that you are young and not really expert in this type of macroeconomics.

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  • 118. At 02:57am on 06 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Austrian Radio website reports that yesterday Merkel was taslking about changes to "EU" treaties.

    But when people wanted the Lisbon Treaty changed, they were told it wasn't possible.

    It is a reminder of the worthlessness of anything coming out of the mouths of "EU"-loving politicians.

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  • 119. At 03:18am on 06 May 2010, David wrote:

    I still think a marshall plan hastily arranged (Remember? in history books?) is a good idea..for solidarity..Remember the continent took off...We could all get a loan from China and ..well there would rise China, but,

    lots of selfishness in the world today...We need a vibrant Europe..a breathing space for Club Med...this time invite Russia:)

    Gosh, ..no Im not loony..uh uh

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  • 120. At 04:31am on 06 May 2010, Norman wrote:

    I am, English, retired & live in Athens.
    All of the ordinary Greek people are horrified by the deaths in Athens. These deaths were caused by a small number of anarchists who surface at any protest & try to cause as much trouble as possible, and they frequently target banks, they will be very happy with yesterdays action.
    The so called bail-out can not succeed because there is no clear action to make the politicians, who have utterly mismanaged the economy, and the wealthy tax-evaders to pay their fair share in stabilising the Greek economy. If your pension is 500-600 Euros a month & is cut by 20% while the rich continue to evade taxes - what do you do - PROTEST. Greece can NOT save her economy wearing the straight jacket of the Euro. The EU should be working out a way for Greece (and others) to exit the Euro with dignity. It was the fault of the EU in bringing these countries into the Euro which is as much a cause of the present problem as the useless Greek politicians who have so mismanaged the economy - and who are likely to continue to do so. I should add that The EU, the Germans & the French were fully aware that the statistics used to enable Greece to qualify for their Euro-club were "fudged" (Lies to you & I.) There were also many economists who were warning that "one size fits all" was doomed to failure - but Brussels would not listen. Now we have the result of their folly - best described by a Greek word.. HUBRIS.

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  • 121. At 04:40am on 06 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Now that the EU has turned out to be exactly the opposite of what its promoters said it would be, their solution is to demand that to cure its ills even greater sacrifices be made in it's behalf. Did I say Europe is irrational? What does irrational mean anyway, nuts? How nice for Americans to know that no matter how bad things get, the competition is far worse off by being blind and lost alone in the woods.

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  • 122. At 05:53am on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    Yes, we know, MarcusAureliusII, American grapes are the size of European water melons.

    European Firms Beat American Rivals - according to Newsweek - fortunately MarcusAureliusII knows better: http://www.newsweek.com/id/236598/

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  • 123. At 06:14am on 06 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #120 - Norman

    'It was the fault of the EU in bringing these countries into the Euro . .'

    I do not recall anyone standing over Greece, Portugal etc. with a big stick forcing them to join. Indeed, it is now clear in the Greek case that some highly imaginative creative accounting was used for them to scrape in by the skin of their teeth. In the heady days when the dream of open borders and one currency were the ideal, it was the club to join.

    The problem has always been the 'one size fits all' philosophy regarding regulation which favours one economic model over another. The warning signs were there early on when Ireland's inability to vary interest rates risked overheating the economy. In that case, success was clawed from the jaws of disaster but at what cost? A service industry economy with over dependency on the real estate and banking sectors. Come the global crash, Ireland was very exposed and we all know what happened next. Ireland is weathering the storm by knuckling under living with the necessary austerity measures. Greece must do the same.

    Dropping out of the system altogether may be a short term answer. Indeed, some other Euro zone members might be quietly relieved but you still have to fund a massive deficit in a world where your bonds are rated as 'junk' at just under 16% and the only takers are ECB. Dropping out of the system will not provide the means to lessen the austerity blow unless you use quantitative easing and risk hyper inflation. Nobody in going to buy new drachmas.

    You may be right with the wisdom of hindsight that Greece should not have been allowed in in the first place but the die is cast. Stable doors and bolting horses. The medicine is very hard to take and it is going to be painful but - as I posted before - its the only game in town.

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  • 124. At 06:17am on 06 May 2010, Warren wrote:

    Like former Soviet Primier Makhail Gorbachev recently said,like Communism,Capitalism is also a failure.This economic crisis could quite easily spread to the rest of Europe and eventually to America.So the idea of a united Europe is fast proving not to be such a good idea.The best that could happen now is to dissolve both the EU and NATO where the US and Great Britain is dragging the rest of Europe in on their war against Islam.The individual countries of Europe could and should go back to formulating their own foreign and domestic policies just like in the past.

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  • 125. At 06:20am on 06 May 2010, David wrote:

    St John

    Here on bbc, it says Newsweek is for sale..will a European firm buy it?

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  • 126. At 06:26am on 06 May 2010, TeaPot562 wrote:

    Greek govt pays out more in salaries and pensions than they receive in taxes. Each year the imbalance - excess of outgo over income - gets worse. So banks & other investors don't want to buy Greek bonds, a/c fear that the Greek govt will default.
    Problem may have been caused by politicians who promised a level of salaries and pensions above what they could collect in taxes.
    USA is facing similar problem with its Social Security and a normal retirement age of 67. With excesses of last nine years (Pres. Bush II and Pres. Obama) these excesses of govt expenditures over taxes will only get worse. How can the "productive" members of a culture - farmers, miners, fishermen, factory workers - support a govt when the govt. employees and retirees are 25% (!) of the total population? Argentina went through similar problems across much of the 20th century, finally defaulted about 2000. USA is working its way toward a similar outcome, from failure to reign in federal employees who make salaries about double the equivalent professional's pay in the private sector, and continuing to ignore growing imbalance in Social security.
    At some point China & Japan will refuse to buy more US Treasury Bonds and Notes; then comes first a burst of growing inflation; and then the devaluation of US currency. And Angela Merkel & Germany won't be nearly large enough to bail out USA. Politicians promise too much; people believe them; then riot when the birds come home to roost. Sad.
    TeaPot562

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  • 127. At 06:37am on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    #102 oeichler,

    You maybe right about how they supervised the numbers for 10 years. Never the less what was proposed 1 - 2 months ago was not to hand money over to the Greeks.

    @Jukka,

    Spain has an unemployment rate of 20%, Latvia has 25% they fit your requirements as ideal places to do business, somehow it is not happening! Only this week the Spanish stock market went down, if your theory was right it should be hitting the roof because of all the oppotunities to set up shop there and produce lots of goods.

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  • 128. At 06:55am on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    This is what it's supposed to amount to:

    Greece debt and loan billions (1,000 millions)
    Debt # USD # Euro # Lending

    France # 75.0 # 55.4 # 16.8
    Germany # 45.0 # 33.2 # 22.4
    Britain # 15.0 # 11.1 # Not Eurozone
    Portugal # 10.0 # 7.2 # 2.1
    Ireland # 9.0 # 6.3 # 1.3
    Italy # 7.0 # 5.1 # 14.7
    Spain # 1.0 # 1.0 # 9.8
    Netherlands # ? # ? # 4.7
    Belgium # ? # ? # # 2.9
    Austria # ? # ? # # 2.3
    Finland # ? # ? # # 1.5
    Slovakia # ? # ? # # 0.8
    Slovenia # ? # ? # # 0.4
    Luxembourg # ? # ? # # 0.2
    IMF # 0.0 # 0.0 # 30.0
    others # 75.0 # 55.1 # 0.2
    Total # 236 # 174.2 # 110.1

    Sorry about the hash marks but as extra spaces are removed that's the best I can do to make some sort of columns.

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  • 129. At 07:04am on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    125. David wrote:
    "St John
    Here on bbc, it says Newsweek is for sale..will a European firm buy it? "

    We can swap - I get Newsweek, they get the Eifel Tower.
    (single f :)

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  • 130. At 07:06am on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    Here we have two problems:

    1) Too many state employees in Greece and their government does not have enough money to pay for all of them. I know that they can not dismiss 50% and have no trouble, but they could easily dismiss say 30% and put them on "enhanced" unemployment benefits of 50% of basic salary. That way the cut the government salary bill by 15% maybe more, as they will have to pay insurance, overtimes, benefits & allowences. If they have some many employees laying around doing nothing most likely no one would even notice that 30% has gone. Most likely the government does't even know how many state employees are there!!

    2) A design fault in the Euro, we can go about complaining about the Greeks and how they caused this crisis, however that will not solve the design fault in the Euro. So what ideas do people have to fix it? Other then the simplistic ones like "Kick the Greeks out, that will solve it", "Every one sticks to the rules, that will solve it". Neither of those two will solve it, Spain & Portugal are playing by the rules, Euro is still in trouble! How do we fix the Euro? Proposals to sacrifice Greeks one a day until the market gods are exorcised is not a good option either!

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  • 131. At 07:12am on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    124. Warren wrote:
    "... The individual countries of Europe could and should go back to formulating their own foreign and domestic policies just like in the past."

    Like before WWI & WWII ?

    NATO and - to an unknown extent - EU (not the Eurozone) have kept things a bit too quiet lately, we are getting fat and need some exercise :)

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  • 132. At 07:15am on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    Hindsight is good - why can't we get it 10 or 12 years earlier than we do? :)

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  • 133. At 07:22am on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    130. ChrisArta wrote:
    "2) A design fault in the Euro ..."

    The main fault is that they forgot the old saying: "Confidence is good - auditing the account is better".

    It is rather sobering to observe, that in 2009 only Finland, Luxembourg, Estonia, Sweden and Denmark (the latter 2 of not even in the Eurozone and Estonia not a member, only a de facto user) had a deficit below the 3 percent required for participation in the Euro zone.

    This is to be seen on a background of an average of 6.8 percent of GDP deficit in the EU.

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  • 134. At 07:44am on 06 May 2010, David wrote:

    The average person does not go into debt more every year, do they?

    Only, do we do that, with our govt budget..its we who pay this in taxes and go into debt ..

    We should demand a balanced budget..how..only by attempting can we find out how.

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  • 135. At 07:50am on 06 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    Gavin,
    What is missing in all those articles you wrote as a "Saga of the Greece fiscal crisis" and its negative consequences for the stability of the single currency and for the economy of the euro zone coutries is just a simple REPORT of the positive impact of the mere existence of the EURO for boosting the investments within the whole EU area, for the strengthening of the economic/fiscal relations between the member sountries, for the strengthening of the European Union itself.
    Shall we surrender so quickly thus cancelling all those excellent achievements that were gained through the collective efforts and sacrifices of millions and millions of europeans?
    Shall we fall apart just because of the irresponsible beheavior of several cabinets that have succedded each other in Athens since 1999?
    Shall we go back to all those years of separation, of mistrust and of wars that brought misfortunes, pain and misery to millions of europeans?
    Shall we abandon the precept of our founding fathers?
    Nobody cares?

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  • 136. At 08:09am on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

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

  • 137. At 08:23am on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @133. At 07:22am on 06 May 2010, St_John

    Yes so true!!

    What is even sadder is that the Eurozone as a whole has power, but in its current form it looks like a joke! Only yesterday they were making announcement about grow, etc. and talked about it as it was one thing. Talk does not match reality, you make a presentation to the world claiming how the Eurozone this and the Eurozone that, but as soon as the world asks well good how are you dealing with Greece? Ahhhh, well they are on their own, what about the Spanish? Ahhhh, they are on their own, what about the Irish? Ahhhh, they are on their own!! What about...?? They are on their own, lets talk about the Eurozone how we are all in this together!! and how wonderful we are, because we know on our own we don't count for much in the world of today. You see the problem is that the talk does not match reality that is the problem with the Euro, the world can see beyond powerpoint presentations and has questions that ccan not be answered by we are all in it together, they want to see the Eurozone is all in it together.

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  • 138. At 08:28am on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

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

  • 139. At 08:37am on 06 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @120 Norman
    Your argument seems to be convincing. However, I doubt that the Germans, the French and the EU officials were really fully aware about the false statistics that helped Greece to be admitted to the euro zone. The Greeks highly ranked officials /not the ordinary Greeks/ are the people to blame.
    I join you in your concern that the Greek authorities will not be able to apply in details and in due time all those restrictions they solely declare right now in order to be given the first portion of credits. I am Bulgarian and I know well our Balkan mentality which can be expressed just in four words: promise, postpone and live…
    What I see as a really plausible measure is to exclude quickly Greece from the euro zone and to assist it as long as it is necessary to recover.
    Regards from neighbour Sofia

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  • 140. At 09:00am on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    ChrisArta

    a basic problem is that when the Stability Pact was designed i 1996, Germany demanded *automatic* and heavy fines for overstepping any of the two limits of public debt and deficit.

    Automatic fines also mean auditing by Eurostat or a special auditing body, that's the only way it could become automatic.

    Everybody else were against it and so it was dropped and left to the politicians to fine themselves - good joke. As early as 2002 to 2005 both France and Germany were out of line without any fines.

    I feel very sorry for our Greek cousins, because this is going to be extremely unpleasant - check conditions in Chile 15-20 years ago to see how bad - the only comfort, however meager that may be now at the beginning of 6 or 7 years of hardship, is that the austerity measures in Chile led it to be the strongest and most stable economy in South America today - it can be done.

    Corruption "the small purse" is as rampant in Chile as in Greece, but Chile learned a severe lesson, never again to let public debt grow out of control.

    Had the German proposal been accepted, Greece would have been caught redhanded early, fined and stopped long before conditions went as bad as they now are - but that's history, can't be redone.

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  • 141. At 09:04am on 06 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Quietoaktree
    Re #95

    UK 'prices'!

    You have got to be kidding!?

    Outisde of the London effect the average price of many goods in Britain is lower than two-thirds of EU Nations: From food to televisions, to cars and clothes take a proper look at and compare the UK price of a standard chicken, samsung, toyota, pair of trainers... to that in Germany, Sweden, Austria, Holland, Italy etc.

    There is simply no way things are more expensive in the UK!

    As for J_of_Hendon 'subtle' and being 'older' than me! I no more idea than You!?
    I'm 61, I have seen incredible development of the British Isles & continental Europe after the scourge of WW2. Undoubtedly the formation of the EC (Common Market) from the mid-50s has made a significant contribution to peace & stability that extended to cross-border links in Trade, Tariffs etc. All highly useful and long may it last: Of course those developments to some extent were inevitable given the extremely low base-start following the war - - progression & development were bound to occur - - the pan-EUropean link-up assisted, but was not definitive in that Economic-Fiscal rise from the ashes though it probably increased the pace.

    However, the 'Politically' motivated "ever closer union" that has Brussels with supreme Law-making/Judicial/Financial authority & power over 500 million Citizens is another matter entirely. It is almost entirely directed in all key trans-National decisions (see Greek crisis) from the triple axis-of-ill-intent in Paris-Brussels-Berlin. IMO the EU post Maastricht is an anti-Democratic entity whose various institutions are in the main responsive to the profit-making motives of 'big-Business/big-Government' including wholesale exploitation of the ordinary Citizens. The EU has never had the support of the EUropean or British Citizens - - on the contrary, since Maastricht there has been a marked decline in Citizen participation - - and it is unresponsive and ineffective in representation of the People.

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  • 142. At 09:05am on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    #135 generalissimo,

    Try again

    You expect too much if you think you will get something like that :))

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  • 143. At 09:05am on 06 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #139 - generalissimo

    The problem with that solution is that, by excluding them from the Euro zone, you effectively make Greece a bottomless pit and default would be the inevitable result. Who, apart from ECB, is going to buy up junk bonds at 16%? Nobody.

    If they do drop out, the only safety net is IMF and their terms will be just as tough if not tougher than the joint Euro zone/IMF deal.

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  • 144. At 09:25am on 06 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    40. At 5:23pm on 05 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    """The Greek Communists are blaming the Greek Fascists for the deaths."""

    Quietoaktree, the self-acclaimed detractor. Well quietoaktree time to learn how things move.

    In the most anti-fascist country in Europe (pretty much the only that resisted in WWII to such an extent), Greek fascist organisation are organised by the Greek secret services for political manipulation. It is not me that say so, it is an ex-member of H.A., the most well known organisation of them. He clearly said that:

    1) Both fascist organisation & extreme left wing organisations are the one and the same thing on the 2 extremes of the political spectrum having a common control center that is up to the Greek but also foreign "agencies"
    2) The "agencies" are not directly controlled by the whatever government necessarily.
    3) Their main role is to recruit and file "extreme" people
    4) They are ordered to go down on protests and infiltrate provoking violence and chaos to delegitimise protests
    5) Police monitors their action and often such organisation leaders are actually in contact with police undercover representatives for the guidance of their little armies.
    5) They are ordered to clash between themselves (right-left wing)
    6) Police never makes arrest, and if they make arrests these people are let free in a matter of hours.
    7) If some "sheep" inside these organisations start get suspicious and defy leadership becoming too autonomous, in the next clash, there will be some violent beating of an "opponent", even a death and the responsibility will be thrown on the "black sheep" who will be arrested and imprisoned, thus got rid.

    Fascists rarely protest for salaries.

    """"Nik. All was OK until 1990 ?""""

    Why did you mention 1990? All was not OK till 1990, but all was better till 1990, in fact all was better till 1980. It is in the 1980s that the game was completely lost for the country. At the end of the first PASOK 8-years government, Greece was weaker geopolitically, poorer, more regressive, with less production, with immensely more corruption, more isolated and all that in the golden era of thick EEC packets which PASOK managed to spend on its own people. The following ND government in 1991-1993 did nothing else than continue the same song, while things simply exploded under the Simitis 8 years period, 1996-2004.

    But for EU, everything was OK. Everything was OK in 1989, in 1993 AND IN 2001!!!!

    """"Since (or before) the civil war, NOTHING has been OK in Greece !""""

    Eeee... since 1204 A.D. NOTHING has been OK in Greece.

    """The blaming has begun, the CIA ????"""

    You gave merely a name to it. I do not. It is of no use. Here, I give the explanation. People, even those that lost their job, do not wake up one morning and say "hey, I am going to protest and make 3-4 molotofs and throw them in a bank to kill innocent people". Either you want to understand it or not. I am not demonising anyone here apart the bitter reality. I am explaining how things are. This is the reality and this is the world we live. Why would you think that all these events are the result of random violence? Do you think that the murders by "policemen" in W.Germany in the 1960s were random murders of mad policemen? Or the May 1968 events were random student protests to protest against the harsh conditions of life in France (at a time France was at its best!!!!)?

    Either you want to believe it or not I have aged (now retired) acquintances in the Greek anti-terrorist police (low ranks). They have pretty much described me all the above. Specially interesting was the case of November 17, a weird misty leftish terrorist group whose action was in complete phase difference with the Greek reality which hit targets that made not a lot of sense for the people while some of the killings where people that the Greek public opinion simply ignored (like CIA agents, British agents... etc. - one cannot have information on these people, you have to get them from somewhere!!!). The organisation was founded in post-dictatorial Greece and its first hit was the murder of a CIA agent in 1978. Apparently some of the organisation's members were KNOWN as early as 1979 by antiterrorist police and by 1981 they knew both leadership and members BUT they had orders from above NOT to intervene. Each time Americans enterred to collaborate against terrorism, actually files disappeared and the service lost information and was in a worse position than before.... how about that? In early 90s, some common policement had fallen on one of the terrorists and had trapped him in a building, so instantly the anti-terrorist force arrived (i.e. the terrorist phoned his chief and the chief phoned the police of course), and thus the terrorist (Savvas Ksiros), escaped - the police declared the case a fiasco, to explain it to the people. Finally, in 2003, 1 year before Olympics, a bomb burst in the hands of Ksiros (20 years successful terrorist, he did not learn how to make bombs???? eh???) and thus they arrested a number of them (not all). Yet one of them (Koufontinas) was identified by journalists as seen going in and out of the EYP (National Information Agency) and they had thought he was a paid agent back then!!!
    That is how it goes dear.

    Check out in what world you live quietoaktree. You are sleeping. Time to wake up.


    PS: Dario Fo: "The random death of an anarchist", a funny comedy written in Italy of the 70s (shaken by extremist groups, protests, murders etc.) showing at least at 50% the truth about all these organisations (only that what it says for the fake "leftish" groups is identical for the "rightish" groups.

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  • 145. At 09:43am on 06 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re139: Hi, Generalissimo.

    Well...

    1) Greek political leadership has lead consistently the situation where it is today. Thus they are the masterminds and they have been very competent in their job.
    2) Even kindergarden kids knew Greece cooked its books. Simitis was the biggest crook ever, bigger than Papandreou in these terms. Why would anyone dare think "Europeans did not know"? What Greece had to show as an economy so as to support these false numbers? Simple logic. Europeans played the game all along as it suited them - they were making money out of Greece getting indebted, so yes, why not?
    3) The Greek people are fully responsible. And not so much for having voted for these people (see in the last thread my explanation on each election since 1975... there is a timeline...), because they had voted the 2 politican parties (under supposedly completely different leaderships) them for precise promises and let down each time, let alone the 2000 elections (and perhaps this one, 2009) having been largely rigged (Simitis had given the passoport to some 100,000 illegal immigrants including common law criminals like Russian Salonik and won elections with a differnece of 30,000 votes...). No not so much for the elections themselves - there is there a huge propaganda machine.

    People have have gone down on protests for their professional sectors' little interests which is 100% OK with me, BUT they have NEVER protested altogether for the lack of justice, for corruption, for the punishment of robbers, for the punishment of people responsible for the bad state of state governance, for the punishment of Simitis' election huge fraud which cancelled democracy altogether, for the punishment of fraudulent privitisations of beneficial state companies, for tighter tax controls, for transparency, for... for... for ...

    So yes people ARE responsible in that sense. Do they deserve what happens now? Well the 30% would deserve it, but as things are in life it will be again the 70% of "sakers" who will pay the price: the 30% (and especially this ruling 1%, those who have long spread their accounts between Switzerland and Cayman islands) will continue to have bright days, crisis or no crisis. This EU aid and the measures that Jeffrrey take are actually leading to a recycling of the existing system.

    I will remind you again that the critical measures taken by the government ARE NOT the worst that hangs above the peoples' heads. There are "other" things that Jeffrey has been on all this time of the crisis which will affect much more the peoples' lifes. Jeffrey was imposed to deconstruct and sell out. He is by no means dealing with this crisis - he is fuelling this crisis since the beginning.

    Oh and something else... we will see more dead one way or another.

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  • 146. At 10:01am on 06 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ChrisArta & #127

    According to J_R a nuclear war is also 'winnable', so don't go expecting too much on the 'theory' side, though 'hitting the roof' is the least of the possibilities in a nuclear war!

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  • 147. At 10:23am on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @CBW,

    That is the problem with those statement based in theory!

    In theory communism is a wonderful system, in reality it didn't work out that well!

    In theory the markets get it right and regulation should take a step back, in reality it didn't work out that well!

    So we need to look at ways to ensure a fairness and avoid similar disasters in the future.

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  • 148. At 10:35am on 06 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Nik Re #144

    Though it is very rare I must admit: I'm with Quietoaktree's #40.

    Your often repeated & wholly unsubstantiated allegations that it is all a plot against Greece by the USA, the UK, CIA, Turkey, Germany, uncle Tom Cobley, a devil woman living at No.666...

    Honestly, I cannot imagine contributions that in the main are less likely to persuade or cajole other EUropean Citizens to support their National Governments in any feeling of sympathy, or understanding, much less a willingness to assist in Greece's plight.

    My criticism of Your posts is written as someone who has consistently complained in these Blogs that the Greek Citizen is being forced to foot-the-bill for the greed-driven excesses & corruption of 'big-Business/big-Government' & its lackeys the EU-Brussels' apparatchiks-
    However, Your constant refrain of 'they've all got it in for the Greeks' is frankly ludicrous - - despite Your claims in previous posts - - Greece is not now and indeed post-1945 has never been the 'geo-political' centre of the planet earth that You ascribe to it.

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  • 149. At 10:42am on 06 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re140: St_John... yes it can be done. Chile has done it. Some other countries too have passed such crises. But there is a difference:

    Chile has had some support from US, Britain etc. as a means to balance out Argentina in exactly the same way Colombia has support to balance out countries like Venezuela. Here in the Balkan region the story is different. I will not go into details. But Greece's position is much worse. One the one hand its debt is much bigger than Argentina's or Chile's and its production capacity much smaller (something that could happen only since Greece was inside the EU, thus its leadership could swim in a pool of prêt-à-porter loans). On the other hand, Greece is isolated geopolitically, it has absolutely none to count on matters which are not strictly financial (but which direct financial matters). EU will intervene only in the strictly banko-financial issues, nothing else. It won't support the energy provision of the country (condamned to extremely expensive energy provisions). It won't support the extraction of oil (for which Greece is threatened with war and complete loss of sovereignty) of the country which alone (with no other change!) could turn things upside down. Greece cannot 1) extract its ressources 2) deploy a meaningful energy policy 3) set-up strategic deals 4) enter in the maritime traderoute game, the only way this country ever made any money.

    Greece will remain an importing nation. It will remain indebted and people will work (and already have worked) for the debt. It is no Chile, it is not even Argentina.

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  • 150. At 10:46am on 06 May 2010, Lenispal wrote:

    84. At 10:11pm on 05 May 2010, Boilerplated wrote:
    57. At 7:29pm on 05 May 2010, Davidethics wrote:

    "I was praising the Greek demonstrators and strikers for standing up for their pensions and salaries"

    One of who was responsible for the fire bombing of that bank, as I said, rioting is NEVER justified - or are you going to suggest that the Greek authorities were responsible...

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

    And so Boilerplated you know that the crime was committed by the demonstrators and strikers. You must have a reliable source. Have you considered agent provocateurs? Their function is to give people like you an opportunity to discredit legitimate protest. In fact one might say that your arguments lend support for such practices, which have been widespread throughout European history. Then, it might be the work of a variety of extremists with murderous intentions. I don't have the facts, as you appear to. A piece of advice: argue your point but don't let your prejudices get in the way.

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  • 151. At 10:47am on 06 May 2010, johnstuart wrote:

    Let me get this straight. After years of growth funded by borrowing, and a borrowing culture we are now having to actually pay, so the EU saves Greece from its self-inflicted burden and some people are saying this is a bad thing?

    The UK not in the eurozone will need to save itself, but from what i see all the major parties are unwilling to admit the basic fact, we need to raise taxes and we need to do it fast. VAT to 19+ % raise income tax.

    We should pay for what we have, and if we can't afford it now, save until we can.

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  • 152. At 11:01am on 06 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re150: Davidethnics... man you are 100% right to have suspicions of provocateurs. If you really knew well Greece like me you would had not have it as a possibility but you would treat it a certainty. One has only to analyse how many molotofs it takes to burn a building like a bank so quickly and kill 3 relatively young and healthy people. 1 molotof puts a little fire that can lit the 1 leg of a policeman. There had to be thrown in there 20-30 bottles to create such a damage in so little time. Normal protesters do not do that - very few if any random protesters would ever carry molotofs anyway. Now, Greece has a long tradition of extremist groups acting on orders enterring and degenerating street protests into riots. It is an age old tested and successful strategy.

    Re151: John, Greece is a special case in its details, but in the larger picture, it is a message to other countries to speed up and change their direction.

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  • 153. At 11:16am on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    The banking employees are striking --- protesting the deaths of their colleagues.

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  • 154. At 11:19am on 06 May 2010, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #118. At 02:57am on 06 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "Austrian Radio website reports that yesterday Merkel was taslking about changes to "EU" treaties.

    But when people wanted the Lisbon Treaty changed, they were told it wasn't possible.

    It is a reminder of the worthlessness of anything coming out of the mouths of "EU"-loving politicians."


    EUp, sorry but you haven't a clue about the LT, you rant against it all the time but you obviously have no understanding of it.

    The LT made the process of such treaty changes far simpler, the LT could not be changed in the way treaties can now because the LT was being implemented under the old rules. You can't hatch a chicken unless you fist have an egg in other words...

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  • 155. At 11:40am on 06 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    'Greek End Game'
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/greek-end-game/

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  • 156. At 11:42am on 06 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The European mind asserts itself. The first instinct is to point accusing fingers at whose fault it is. The second is why each of them should not be the ones to pay for the bail out. In all these blogs in all these threads how many Europeans have actually even suggested a program that would strengthen the Greek economy so that it could eventually pay back the money it owes and become self sufficient. Not even one that I can remember. All they say is that most Greeks should be even poorer as a whole than they already are while the wealthiest of them should remain unaccountable for the taxes they never paid.

    But those Olympic games venues are still there, a monument to the stupidity of ego over prudence, of temporary gratification and self glorification over the creation of real wealth. They stand like one of the countless mausoleums that dot Europe as a reminder to how grandiose public works paid for with the vast wealth of entire nations diverted by mindless leaders who cannot be stopped was imposed instead of what could have been productive enterprises still earning money produced from the same wealth. Each of Europe's monuments a lost opportunity, its history of envy and hatred are the litany of countless wars that destroyed whatever wealth was created down through the centuries. The only thing standing in the way of another war is the expensive pax Americana imposed these last 65 years that many Americans like me want to exit and a crumbling despotic regime where a state monopoly in effect drove itself bankrupt through corruption. Europe never really changes, it's the same now as it was when I lived it 35 years ago, the same as it was 200, 500, 1000 years ago.

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  • 157. At 11:55am on 06 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    Germans made money by the consumption of the Greeks, these money came from loans from German Banks (some 45B) which took the risk of lending Greece. Thus, there has been a move of wealth in Germany with naive Greece as intermediary and now they send the bill to Greece. I know the simplisifications in the argument but I believe that fundamentally it holds some truth.
    Default and whatever happens happens. I do not want these banks to see any cent/penny of my money. Current system is a bad deal for people.

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  • 158. At 11:57am on 06 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    MAII says many unpleasant truths.

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  • 159. At 12:26pm on 06 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Deutche Welle had an interesting piece on its radio program "Inside Europe" this week in which it explained the segretation of Roma children in public schools in Hungary. Most Roma children are forced to attend schools where they are the only ethnic group or in some cases where the only non Roma are from socially disadvantaged groups. The program specifically focused on Budapest District 8 where apologists for the system denied what is clearly a de-facto system of systematic segregation where Roma children are excluded from the best schools which Hungarians send their children to, schools which give them a great advantage in getting the best jobs and pursuing the best careers. The Roma children are therefore programmed from an early age to a life of alienation and failure. Then the accusing finger is pointed at them in what is becoming a rising tide of Hungarian fascism and you hear the usual stereotypes. It is easy for Europeans to try to ignore the connection to the stereotypes about the Greeks and to people all over Europe and how they really see each other, not the anecdotal exceptions we hear in the media and from denialists. It's one of the many factors that programs all of Europe to head down the same road as Greece. Greece is not merely the harbinger of the downfall of the Euro but of the EU and Europe as a whole. It's a construct Rube Goldberg could have been proud of.

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  • 160. At 12:34pm on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @Vassilis,

    All that is history now, the best one can hope for is that the Greeks will take to court a few people so that the populations -that will have to pay the debts now- stays happy and pays the debts.

    Going back over and over it doesn't help anyone. How can the Euro rules change to prevent that from happening again in the future that's where the focus should be.

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  • 161. At 12:43pm on 06 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #156 - MarcusAureliusII

    Well at least nobody has been mad enough to try turning a whole damned mountain into a tacky bit of second rate art. And wasn't that woman with the torch a present from France?

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  • 162. At 12:47pm on 06 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    v;

    "MAII says many unpleasant truths."

    That is why the words of a single American can make so many Europeans so angry. And that is another truth about Europeans, they don't want to hear the truth about their societies, don't want to face them, don't want to be told about them especially by an American. And most of all they do not want to hear how Americans faced the same truths and dealt with them sometimes successfully. They would rather not learn than take a lesson from an outsider that might be valuable to them. It is the hubris of their own self proclaimed superiority. This is why I say they are pigheaded and stupid.

    One lesson Americans learned that Europeans don't understand is that the assimilation of newcomers into society and the end of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, race, sex, and physical handicap is not only important because it is just but because its ends the waste of something far more valuable than mere money, the waste of human capital. Money can be replaced easily enough, you can just print it. Human capital is value that is unique to each individual that can never be replaced. That is why driving it away or constraining it to isolation and defeat is probably the worst of all crimes a society can inflict on itself.

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  • 163. At 12:56pm on 06 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #156 - MarcusAureliusII

    To which I would add that you once admitted that you have never been to DC. Well I suggest you go. A more excessive monument to self angrandisement you will not find outside the Kremlin or the Forbidden City.

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  • 164. At 1:03pm on 06 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    Any truth in the rumour that the mods have been lent to the nation for the day to help count votes and the result is expected in October?

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  • 165. At 1:56pm on 06 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    UKIP candidate Nigel Farage injured in plane crash:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/northamptonshire/8664260.stm

    UKIP's Ex-leader is injured in a plane crash.

    Polish "EU"-critical President killed in plane crash.

    Prominent Austria anti-"EU" politician Joerg Haider killed in a car crash.


    I do not claim that there is an "EU"-friendly death squad targeting opponents of the "EU".

    Neither do I claim that there is not.

    Given the disgusting behaviour of supporters of the "EU" in ramming the Lisbon Treaty down the unwilling throats of hundreds of millions of Europeans, I would not be surprised if there was.



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  • 166. At 2:11pm on 06 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    excuse me threnodio Kremlin is an awful useful place you won't compare with other hills

    I don't know what Mavrelius has over there in his landscape detail :o)))))))))))))))

    but our small place, fenced around by excellent medieval wall, with intermittent watch towers - is packed with useful things

    First of all it has the clock, big round, with hands, that chimes, and tells the time. It is so called "signals of exact time, beep beep beep, broadcasted by all radio stations at 6 am. "Moscow time 6 am good morn, country."

    Then, how would you know when is the New Year, to drink champaign, unless it is not the boom boom boom - the 12th strike of the Kremlin clock. ?

    (I doubt White House is handy with the New Years and Good mornings)

    Then, it is the treasury building inside with diamonds and royal crowns, for tourists to stare at (to stare at all that Bolsheviks hasn't stolen, that is). Still, heaps of glistening things on black velvet left.

    Then, inside the Kremlin wall is also a huge concert hall, "Kremlevsky Concert Hall". For a couple thousand people and rock concerts and classical music concerts and opera singers and what not. So, in the evenings Kremlin is for concert goers.

    Then, there are heaps of attractions for tourists groups, the big cannon that never fired once, the big church bell that was too heavy to put up ever :o))))) and lots of other funny things to take pictures with. Crowds and crowds are wandering around.

    Then there are old tsar's quarters, Ivan the Terrible quarters and whose only not, and the Red Porch from which tsar Peter was thrown out to the interested crowd at the age of 5, to prove that there is the tsar, alive.
    and other historical attractions.

    In this mess in his yellow and white building sits Russia's President, that's Medvedev's place of work, where he is supposed to sit daily and stare from above on the tourists below and to the Red Square beyond the wall. (he is inside the wall). Together with him goes to work every day the "President Admin."
    At least, we know where to find our President on a daily basis and where are his windows. (approximately :o)

    To complicate matters further, inside the Kremlin wall are also ancient cathedrals, one is a functioning church of the Patriarchate, the rest are museums with frescoes

    Plus inside one cathedral there are tomb stones of all Russia's royal gals, wives and sisters of various tsars - from the 12th century onwards - without exception.

    (now, Washington definitely has none such :o)

    Overall, it's a Babylonian concentration of things btw 13th century wives and rock concert goers, plus some priests praying, plus the Pres. going to work back and forward, a very intense concentration of things old and new.

    To say nothing of excellnet ruby stars on the watch towers on the wall perimeter, that light to enovironments at noght and make it again good for picture taking.

    By the way today photographers complained that "all the best places on the wall are taken by snipers!" :o)))))))))))) - there was the V-day parade rehearsal No one hundred this morn. at 10 am

    There'll be such a consentration of countries' heads in 2 days in the parade in the Red Square, that security snipers took their positions in advance :o))))) it seems - and photographers complain high and low that they are pushed off their best favourite spots on the wall.
    (you can walk the wall, stroll along)

    Anyway already saw the bear black hats :o))))) of the British troops

    and the airplanes in the air flying as a number: 65


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  • 167. At 2:30pm on 06 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    @ 165 - the moment you moved into conspiracy theory territory, you showed how laughably irrational the anti-EU movement is.

    And putting the neo-Nazi Jorg Haider in the same box as Lech Kaczinski is just a gratuitous insult to the Polish people.

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  • 168. At 2:32pm on 06 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The Roots of Violence: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles”

    Mahatma Gandhi

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  • 169. At 2:46pm on 06 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #156

    "In all these blogs in all these threads how many Europeans have actually even suggested a program that would strengthen the Greek economy so that it could eventually pay back the money it owes and become self sufficient"

    How can individual people on a blog possibly answer that question? You are the one with the superiority complex, living in the paradise on Earth that is the U.S. and the brain the size of a million Europeans....you tell us mate.

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  • 170. At 2:50pm on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @165. At 1:56pm on 06 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731,

    Either that or they judge things badly!

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  • 171. At 2:54pm on 06 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    Just to clarify my comment that was removed (#51) there was nothing shocking or obscene about it, I merely mentioned 1 scandal that has come to light in Greece that has involved corruption of MPs by a large European company and I cannot understand why this should be removed. It was a comment of a few lines and was in reply to a question about why lifting immunity to MPs would help in the present situation. It would help as the people of Greece would be able to see justice carried out and feel that the austerity measures would be fair and worthwhile going through with if the political system was purged and politicians could be held accountable for their actions. That is it in a nutshell, not too offensive really and I hope to get a clear reply to my comment being removed so that I will not waste my time in the future.

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  • 172. At 3:01pm on 06 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #162

    "MAII says many unpleasant truths."

    That is why the words of a single American can make so many Europeans so angry"

    Nope, its not what you say its the derogatory,insulting way you say it and the fact that you are gleefully dancing on the graves (metaphorically and (now) literally) of European people. Stick to the facts and leave the pitiful insults to one side and you might not get such short shrift.

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  • 173. At 3:02pm on 06 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #165

    Sorry ElmerFudd you've been knocked off the top spot. Worst post ever. Grats.

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  • 174. At 3:04pm on 06 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #81 oeichler:

    "#72 paul
    Self Reliance does not exist in the Greek language, it is against the idea of Family Clan"




    How 'bout rousfeti?

    [A perfectly Greek equivalent of bakshish]

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  • 175. At 3:09pm on 06 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    So those who murdered those bank clerks in Athens were who?

    I've noticed they've marched under red banners.

    Not exacly anarchist; more like Communist.

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  • 176. At 3:10pm on 06 May 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    @ 162.

    Of course where not going to take advice off of Americans, your all stupid and fat.

    Look at you, trying to convince us that Sarah Palin, the Ku Klux Klan, the Black Panthers and Nation of Islam don't exist. That America is a place where all colours and creeds hold hands and sing the national anthem with a smile on their face and hope in their hearts.

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  • 177. At 3:10pm on 06 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @157 vassilis

    "Germans made money by the consumption of the Greeks, these money came from loans from German Banks (some 45B) which took the risk of lending Greece. Thus, there has been a move of wealth in Germany with naive Greece as intermediary and now they send the bill to Greece. I know the simplisifications in the argument but I believe that fundamentally it holds some truth.
    Default and whatever happens happens. I do not want these banks to see any cent/penny of my money. Current system is a bad deal for people."

    Just think about this: I show you a lolipop and tell you that it costs 10$, but you only have 3$. But don`t worry, I offer you a loan of about 7$ so you can buy that delicius lolipop.
    If you know that you won`t be able to pay that money back (at least entirely), do you still take my offer?

    There are no ulterior motives.
    Germans don`t follow an agenda.
    Maybe some bankers are greedy and need to be taught a lesson, but it`s still not them forcing you to borrow money, it`s you asking them to lend you money!

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  • 178. At 3:14pm on 06 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    Anyone who wants to read about the reference I made can look at this link which I myself found with very little effort and cannot be seen as defamatory, merely factual.
    www.assetrecovery.org/kc/node/2395fa7f-5428-11de-bacd-a7d8a60b2a36.0;jsessionid=BE1408360A096B3E5AA1B32ECFE3E495

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  • 179. At 3:23pm on 06 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Not so long ago 1 euro =1.5 US$


    Merely a couple of weeks ago 1 euro = 1.3 US$

    As I write: 1 euro to 1.25 U.S. dollars


    I'm betting (and investing) assuming 1 euro will equall 1 U.S.$ soon.

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  • 180. At 3:26pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Lambs to the slaughter --- Brits and Greeks ?

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  • 181. At 3:27pm on 06 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #167 Chirs Camp: And putting the neo-Nazi Jorg Haider in the same box as Lech Kaczinski is just a gratuitous insult to the Polish people.







    If anybody was interested in killing pres. Lech Kaczynski and most prominent parliamentarians from his twin brother's party (PiS) it was not Brussels.

    And not Europeans.


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  • 182. At 3:41pm on 06 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    97. cool_brush_work

    A recession is when you loose you job. A depression is when I loose my job. I am in a depression.

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  • 183. At 3:47pm on 06 May 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

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

  • 184. At 4:07pm on 06 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @179 powermeerkat
    "I'm betting (and investing) assuming 1 euro will equall 1 U.S.$ soon."

    Don`t come here crying when reality hits you hard =)
    The Euro was overrated at 1,50$, but it won`t fall below 1,20.
    And there is a nice double-digit inflation coming for the US$

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  • 185. At 4:16pm on 06 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @162 MAII

    "One lesson Americans learned that Europeans don't understand is that the assimilation of newcomers into society and the end of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, race, sex, and physical handicap is not only important because it is just but because its ends the waste of something far more valuable than mere money, the waste of human capital. Money can be replaced easily enough, you can just print it. Human capital is value that is unique to each individual that can never be replaced. That is why driving it away or constraining it to isolation and defeat is probably the worst of all crimes a society can inflict on itself. "

    You just don`t have an overbloated welfare state that supports immigrants who are unwilling to learn the language and stuff. They are forced to work.

    It has nothing to do with your society realizing something that nobody else could so far.
    You are a hyocrite who is in denial of what your own country has done so far.

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  • 186. At 4:34pm on 06 May 2010, KennethM wrote:

    I agree with #10 Boilerplated.

    I think it is time to look at setting up a new trading bloc in Europe rather than trying to pick out the rubble from what’s left of the eu.

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  • 187. At 4:39pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #179 Powermeerkat

    1.25 ???

    Has just been under 1.27, don´t exaggerate, Yet !

    The next is the Pound, but I´m not sure against what at the moment --- Any intelligent ideas ?

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  • 188. At 4:46pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #182 Mauddib

    I have twice gone through your situation --- My sympathies, it is not easy !

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  • 189. At 4:51pm on 06 May 2010, cping500 wrote:

    well take a bet quietoaktree. that's what Goldman Sachs is doing for sure... best make it both ways... It's called a 'bankers ramp' and GS are probably I you suggest betting down. Sell to day and buy tomorrow!!! Follow the Chinese Central Bank the best in the world.

    You could have got in it relatively safely a month or two ago via the currency mutuals

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  • 190. At 4:52pm on 06 May 2010, cping500 wrote:

    I wonder how many Euroskeptics a betting against currency?

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  • 191. At 5:15pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #189 cping500

    Good idea, but I´m sure my bank has no Remimbi accounts. I can loose my own money all by myself without expert assistance (funds)

    Keep on suggesting !

    I am no Eurosceptic, but waiting for America and Japan to buy Euros, when the export pain becomes unbearable for them.

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  • 192. At 5:21pm on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    179. powermeerkat wrote:
    "Not so long ago 1 euro =1.5 US$"

    Don't forget that not so long before that 1 euro = 0.73 US$

    Exchange rates are on a rollercoaster, always have been.

    Greece is 2.6% of Eurozone economy - where will the US$ move to if/when California goes bankrupt?

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  • 193. At 5:33pm on 06 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    @179 powermeerkat
    "I'm betting (and investing) assuming 1 euro will equall 1 U.S.$ soon."

    Don`t come here crying when reality hits you hard =)
    The Euro was overrated at 1,50$, but it won`t fall below 1,20.
    And there is a nice double-digit inflation coming for the US$.






    Not really.

    However I may be wrong, and a year from now, there may be no euro at all, so there'll be nothing to compare.


    Now, would you like to bet on Chinese yuan versus US$? :)

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  • 194. At 5:39pm on 06 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #191 am no Eurosceptic, but waiting for America and Japan to buy Euros, when the export pain becomes unbearable for them.






    What export?

    Most cheap goods are imported from PRC (which doesn't trade in euros).

    Better ones - from S. Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

    Imported oil is priced in $$$.

    So what's this critically important export?

    German beer and French cheeses? :)

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  • 195. At 5:42pm on 06 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    rE: "where will the US$ move to if/when California goes bankrupt?"





    U.S. does not have to move anywhere.


    AND IT'S DEMISE HAS BEEN PREDICTED FOR 200 YEARS. :-)))

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  • 196. At 5:45pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #192 St_john

    If the Euro falls further, German industry will really take off.

    The Brits on this blog are in for a very bad shock after the election.

    Latest calculations show the US to be in Greek situation within 10 years unless they accept more taxes. I think California is an internal matter, unemployment affects all America and may be more important.

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  • 197. At 5:46pm on 06 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Christos (73) and cool_brush_work (97) and vassilis (117):

    Between 1990-1993, the Finnish GDP decreased 13%, official unemployment rate increased from 3,5% to 18,9%, making almost half a million unemployed out of the 5 million people. I saw that all. In a small industrial town near which I lived, the shipyard went bust, paper mill and sawmill closed down, subcontractors and local SME's went bust or downsized, construction companies went bust, etc.. In short, everything was going bust or downsizing!

    Remember, this wasn't just my town, it was the whole country doing the same. Media was filled with bad news, some culture persons were declaring that it was the end of the welfare state and this was the mark of the economic decline that would continue for decades. Now all the politicians tried to explain that everything was under control, that things were going to become better, while in the same time telling that if we don't do what we have to, if we don't sacrifice, then it is game over, the country is bankrupt and the IMF comes and takes over.

    But what about the people you might ask? ...Friends parents were loosing their businesses and houses, people going totally broke and being indebted for the rest of their lives, people drinking their sorrows away, families surviving with bare minimum, families braking up and people taking their lives... And you know what, the depression didn't end up after economic growth had returned, all the sickness, all the hurt where still there, and many people still today carry the scares of the depression.

    90s depression was much worser and more severe than the 30s depression in Finland, that tells something.

    The point that I'm making is that, yes, it is possible to make a turn, even if the depression is severe and the societal problems are exploding. I have seen it happen before and there is no reason that it couldn't happen again in some other country.


    To Sovjohn (89):

    Your main point essentially is that it is too dangerous to put huge numbers of people out of jobs in too short time. However is that so? I already mentioned the Finnish example, Spain too now has unemployment of 20% and things are still calm and stable. Why wouldn't they be in Greece too?


    To ChrisArta (90) and (127):

    Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are all good examples on that severe cuts and measures can be taken, if there is just political will. However doing this is just the first step, the next step is to get the most out of the situation, fix what is broken and concentrate on what is working. If they make right choices they will rebound with higher economic growth, just like both Finland and Sweden did after the 90s severe depression.

    In case of local stock markets in countries with high unemployment, the thing you miss is that there is uncertainty about the future. Nobody knows which company will survive, which industries will survive and more essentially which companies and industries will be the next growth drivers. When the situation clears, then there will be recovery, however the size of recovery depends largely on does the state make right moves or not.


    To vassilis (117):

    The fundamental change that the markets are expecting Greece to have before they can change their opinion about the country and the situation in there is the change of attitude in the Greek society. When the people and their leaders will give up, and make the hard and painful changes to the Greek state, and really cut down, then the markets will turn around as there is something to back the word.

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  • 198. At 5:56pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #194 powermerkat

    I appear to have overestimated someones intelligence ????

    Please explain.

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  • 199. At 6:16pm on 06 May 2010, d_m wrote:

    St_John #128 wrote:
    This is what it's supposed to amount to:

    If this post is in response to my question about the bailout and the amounts each EU country was contributing, then thank you for the information.

    I've looked for this and just couldn't find it. Apparently I just never asked the right question.



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  • 200. At 6:17pm on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    Can anybody explain why the Americans always have to remind us a very well known fact that we did not send "la creme de la creme" over to the new continent!?

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  • 201. At 6:25pm on 06 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    #194 powermerkat

    I appear to have overestimated someones intelligence ????







    No, merely euro's ability to survive in the long run.

    [remember: Portugal, Spain and Ireland are next. :)]

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  • 202. At 6:36pm on 06 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    As a thought experiment, perhaps we should consider what the world would be like with no sovereign debt.

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  • 203. At 6:37pm on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #197. At 5:46pm on 06 May 2010, Jukka Rohila

    tell them about the success story of Nokia

    you need a "yes we can do it" mentality, maybe the Americans could lend us Obama.


    #157 vassilis

    look around your place
    Peugeot 207, Miele washing machine, LG fridge, Samsung television, Nokia mobile, Apple iPod...
    Do you have anything Greek? Oh yes, olive oil...
    Do you know how much olive oil we need to export to finance all the above goodies...

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  • 204. At 6:46pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #201 powermeerkat

    Are you related to Marcus?

    Thanks for the explanation, I will not make that mistake again.

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  • 205. At 6:46pm on 06 May 2010, d_m wrote:

    RE PMK 195:

    I think he meant exports from the US and Japan to Europe.

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  • 206. At 7:06pm on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    In case anyone is interested in the fluff, which was the basis for Greece's entry into the Eurozone, here it is:

    Government budgetary situation 03 May 2000

    According to the latest available figures, the government deficit was reduced from 10.2% of GDP in 1995 to 1.6% of GDP in 1999, below the 3% reference value.

    According to the 1999 update of the Greek convergence programme, budgetary consolidation is expected to reduce the deficit further to 0.2 % of GDP in 2001 and to achieve a surplus of 0.2 % of GDP in 2002.

    The government debt reached its peak level in 1996 at 111.3% of GDP and has since declined at a steady annual pace to 104.4% of GDP in 1999; the debt ratio is expected to continue declining and to fall below 100% of GDP in 2001.
    Greece fulfils the criterion on the government budgetary position.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/00/422&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

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  • 207. At 7:17pm on 06 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    202. d_t

    I don't think citizens would stand for balanced budgets by the government. Look at Greece now. I understand the resentment of the Greeks of their leaders but in the end we get what we demand.

    Take my country USA for example. We let the politicians buy our votes buy accepting money which comes from our pockets. Now what kinda sense does that make? If they can't buy enough votes with the money we give them then it borrows more money which eventually comes from our same pockets. Now what kinda sense does that make?

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  • 208. At 7:18pm on 06 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    And official EU Greek data as of 2009 (pages 229-30).

    "Total expenditure in turn, is estimated to decrease by about ¼ of a percentage point of GDP in 2009, ..."
    "The general government deficit reached 5% of GDP in 2008"
    "Under no-policy-change assumption, the Commission services' project the 2010 deficit at 5¾% of GDP."

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    The report must have been written by The White Lady - head under arm.

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  • 209. At 7:57pm on 06 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 142 ChrisArta
    The sentence "promise, postpone and live" is not my favourate one. /I am a dealer and I make my best to win the sympathy & the confidence of the customers./
    I was refering to some polticians here in the Balkans who still can't understand that the club of the rich has got rules they should obey.

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  • 210. At 7:59pm on 06 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @203. At 6:37pm on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:
    @197. At 5:46pm on 06 May 2010, Jukka Rohila

    Fundamentally and personally, I don't disagree with many of what you say, I just don't see this hapenning in Greece due to internal (known problems, mentality etc.) and external (world crisis heating Greece badly, less tourism) circumstances. It will take long time and there is no time. If Greece does not want to default has to invent cold fusion soon. The programme says positive growth in 2012. Difficult, if not impossible for a country where all growth was borrowed consumption. If yo uask me how I see Greece in 30, 50 years I would say that I am optimist but for shorter time scales not really.

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  • 211. At 8:00pm on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    And now Romania...

    Public sector wages will be cut by 25% and all salaries, including the minimum one, will be affected. Jobless benefits and pensions will be slashed by 15%.

    "The state sector is like a fat man of 200 kg sitting on the back of a 50 kg little man who is the real economy."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10101468.stm

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  • 212. At 8:03pm on 06 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 142
    Sorry for the mistake. I am not a politician to compain for further strengthening/development of the complex integration processes within the EU. I just tried to fancy what would happen if the union fell apart...

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  • 213. At 8:09pm on 06 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 143 Threnodio II
    The joint effort of EU/IMF is the correct solution provided Greece regularly pays back its creditors.

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  • 214. At 8:18pm on 06 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    #197 Your comments are heartening and give hope to the possibility that where there's a will there's a way and due to that I have sent your comments on to a very popular satirical TV site on Greek TV in the hope that they can give encouragement to the people here, in particular the youth who need hope for their futures. No-one says it will be easy, but goodwill may turn this whole mess around for the Greek people and others who find their economies in crisis. I even sent it to Mr Papandreou's contact point with other comments in the hope that he can see the need to really make changes to the political system and try to get the political parties to be accountable for their actions. It may seem simplistic and naive to others to do this, but only by constant reminders will those in charge be made to listen. No more passive acceptance, but no need for violence either.

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  • 215. At 8:22pm on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    Where are our US friends?
    Are they trying to save their Dow Jones the Greeks just crashed so nicely.
    What a small powerful country...

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  • 216. At 8:30pm on 06 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The banks were loaning Greece money all along and apparently made no efforts to require a different level of fiscal responsbility. Now they come to collect. As we have seen, the banks spent a decade funding things without any real collateral. Greece asked and were given...politicians always delay unpopular decisions.
    The US exports 20% of its products to the EU...the American cheerleaders need to understand that this will impact them as well. It seems the EU bashers have no problem with the socialist act of bailing out the banks as done in the US, auto industry as well. They have provided a wonderful example of political corruption and how congress and previous administration was bought by the banking industry which is the root cause of all of this, but that would require taking responsibility for one's actions and there is no history in the US for that..

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  • 217. At 8:38pm on 06 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    Just flicked through the news to see what's been happening for the past few hours and see that the US stock market took a plunge due to worry over European debt!! What a joke! They are so determined to undermine any chance of success in Europe and unity that they are worried now that Greece managed to get the austerity measures passed and so things may actually settle down and eventually succeed! United Europe with strong economic borders and closed markets to the US, they think we are as simpleminded as them! Every action they take is so obvious that a child can see it coming. They are trying to panic the markets into dropping bonds etc and create more financial instability and this is tacitly approved by the US government by allowing them to play these games. But we're wise to their games and should stop them whilst we can. Economic boycotts!

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  • 218. At 8:45pm on 06 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    You may be interested to know that when the austerity measures were passed today not only were 3 government ministers excluded due to their non support, but so was a very prominent Conservative MP who supported the measures and was excluded from the party too. This is interesting as there are rumours that she could be starting a new middle ground party, perhaps the Lib Democrats of Greece? Who knows but political changes are brewing here.

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  • 219. At 8:56pm on 06 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    It just hit me, it's a new type of war! Economic and psychological warfare which has battered the people of Europe for 2 years now and with our "friends" the Americans, who when it comes down to it are looking after their own in this period of economic strife. I had not realised until now that we are actually at war and that is why we all feel so bad, but the enemy has been disguised in many forms.

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  • 220. At 9:10pm on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:

    #218
    good old Dora Bakojannis, ex-Mayor of Athens

    Her revenge of not becoming the new leader of her party

    But what Greece needs is new blood in politics, not always these family clans, especially not from Crete...

    For the non-Greeks here to understand:
    Bakoyannis was born in Athens in 1954 to a Greek political family. She is the eldest of four children of the veteran Greek politician Constantine Mitsotakis, former Prime Minister of Greece and former leader of country's main centre-right political party New Democracy, and Marika Mitsotakis (née Giannoukou). Her family originates from Chania, Crete, and has a long tradition in the politics of Greece. Besides her father and herself, other members of the family were also prominent politicians such as her grandfather Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his brother Aristomenis Mitsotakis, while her brother Kyriakos Mitsotakis is currently a member of the Hellenic Parliament as well. She is also a great-granddaughter of Eleftherios Venizelos' sister.

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  • 221. At 9:30pm on 06 May 2010, David wrote:

    BTW, Threnodio,

    Thank you for saying I should be allowed to continue to write my "rubbis"..NOT YOUR WORDS.

    But, the DC Mall is beautiful

    1. Its for the average person

    2. It is lined with about 10 or more world (louvre) class museums and galleries and is not a monument to greatness.

    3. You are mistaken in its tackiness..its about as tacky as the Grand Canyon.

    4. It is mostly populated with international tourists, excited by at least the NASA space museum where one can see "relics" such as an Apollo capsule and go inside..not to mention the African American and Asian art and culture museums lining

    5. A beautiful long green strip which also holds memorials

    6. Tit for Tat insults BEGS comparison to Europes Versailles museum a BEAUTIFUL though built on the backs of a French "slave for wages" regime.

    You scored ..big time.

    f you want to insult an insulter go for an appropriate personal critique kind of insult, so you dont insult Russians too, nuff said

    *Still, thank you for defending my right to free speech.:) I glowed (and laughed at the attempt of Mathiasons brave picking on me approach to silencing others THRU me-what courage) if quietly.

    David

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  • 222. At 9:32pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Was that the Dow that went through the floor???

    Now wish the Euro drops further --- be careful what you wish !!!!!!

    This game is called GLOBALIZATION or have you forgotten????

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  • 223. At 9:43pm on 06 May 2010, David wrote:

    MaudDib,

    There is one place who is hiring--where I work, the IRS.

    unfortunately, because of much poor people skills management (they promote from within) it has a highish turnover rate--I can, sadly, go with the flow--be discreetly kiss ass--(not proud)

    hehe, it was named as one of the better places to work, because of its good benefits.

    Otherwise, my condolences.

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  • 224. At 9:50pm on 06 May 2010, David wrote:

    BDSM

    Paranoia will destroy ya

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  • 225. At 9:54pm on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @197. At 5:46pm on 06 May 2010, Jukka Rohila,

    you are making a very confusing argument there, one the one hand you tell me high unemployment is good because the free market gods will have enough matterial to perform miracles! On the other hand you tell me the government must make the right choises, either let the government made its choises or let the all knowing markets make the choises. Again using Finland as an example is a bit ridiculous in the current context, Finland then had its own currency to play with so I guess that yes although Finland made adjustment it made those adjustments with a floating currency not a fixed value currency. Also as a casual observer of both countries I'd say there is no comparison between the natural resources of Finland & those of Greece (I leave Nokia out of the equation altogether to make it easier)

    About Latvia, Estonia & Lithuania, you use them as good examples on that severe cuts and measures can be taken, if there is just political will!! Yes they are very good examples of how to drive people to total poverty and to create a huge wealth gap between the rich and the poor!! It is very good example to show what a country has to do to reach 25% unemployment with the sole purpose of it so that banks and the rich can get richer without any concern for nearly half the population.

    For people that have no clue that there is an alternative to free market nonsens, all they have to do is visit Latvia and its neighbor Belarus! They both left the Soviet Union at around the same time, they followed different development paths one with the wonder Jukka's sweet and wonderful free market path and now have the biggest gap between rich and poor in the EU and the other a government regulated approach to development it has next to no unemployments its cities are clean and litter free, its citizens go and celebrate, Riga looks like a gohst city with a lot of beggers in the old town and Mink is full of live with people working in caffees, restaurants, street cleaner etc.

    Most likely if you look at productivity number then Latvia perhaps comes out better, but people are not numbers (EUPrisoner!!!) and the people of Belarus are better off.

    So to you Greeks don't let you government fool you that there is no other way! there is, ok reduce your public servants etc. but do it in a controled fashion not in a slush and burn fashion (burn is a bit of a sore point for you right now, but any how)

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  • 226. At 10:00pm on 06 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    #224 Thank you David for your sincere concern, but I won't take your advice too seriously considering that you've already stated that you are an American citizen and work for the IRS! Why would you want anybody to take me seriously!? Be afraid, the Europeans were slow to pick up on you, but we won't let this go on for much longer. We can be a strong entity and we can work together!!

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  • 227. At 10:01pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    oops my #222 is having problems !

    #141 cool_brush_ work

    UK prices --- I find your alteration of reality somewhat insulting to those of the contributors who know both the UK prices and European prices. The deliberate posting of false information is not desired.





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  • 228. At 10:01pm on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @David,

    Please keep posting whatever you feel like posting, even though I don't comment on your posts I still read them (well most of them any how!) and your thoughts come across as some that cares, so what if someone doesn't like your writing style? I read your post, I read webAlice posts, etc.

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  • 229. At 10:10pm on 06 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @DT,

    I've been thinking about it DT and it will be a great place, it is not scary at all!

    What scare me is that we live in a world with sovereign debt and when you tell people, it is a nonsense set up, it doesn't have to be as it is today they don't grasp it how else can it work.

    Most people in this blog believe the ECB the Bank of England or the Fed creates the money. If you tell them they are wrong its the private banks that create money through debt they issue, they'll tell you, that you are wrong without knowing anything about it. OK those three institutions create and print some money (if nothing else, so that it is shown on TV) but the vast majority of money is create by private banks out of thin air!

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  • 230. At 10:39pm on 06 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #223 David

    Keep posting.

    I was honestly worried --- waiting for you returning from the dentist.

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  • 231. At 10:56pm on 06 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Quietoaktree

    Re #227

    It does not concern me in the least what You find 'insulting'. I shall continue to write my views & You are entitled to make Your's known. End of.

    I can only write as I find: I was in Belgium only a few days ago (volcanic ash delayed my return to Finland - - yet another highly expensive EUro-zone Nation!) and had time to spare - - what I found was prices in many goods from clothing to foodstuffs were higher than in the UK, though lower than Finland.

    Similarly, in February I drove from Finland to England via the 6 intervening nations - - Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium & France - - the first 4 of those all had 95 Petrol at a higher price than the UK - - it was mine & my wife''s observation the price of foodstuffs, clothing, electrical goods in shops were also generally higher in Sweden, Denmark, Germany & Netherlands than when we shopped in the UK.

    That's not 'false information': I am not in the habit of lying - - You may be experiencing that common 'pro-EU' transient state of mind - - the one where 'REALITY' is on the ground experience of those who have it & Brussels' fantasy is for those who don't have expwerience but wishful thinking by the bucket-load!

    That written above is the reality of my recent shopping experiences in continental EUrope.

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  • 232. At 11:06pm on 06 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    Yo David

    I was downsized. Given employment opportunity else where, etc. etc. However I had spent 40 years in manufacturing. Started working at nine as a paper boy. I just decided I didn't want to work anymore. Now I just enjoy life.........PEACE

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  • 233. At 11:22pm on 06 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    MAII
    Where are you? I hope you did not get a heart attack or something from this slump of 9% in Wall Street. I understand that developments in Greece and EU do not help you to stay away from popcorn, pizzas and bear. You should eat more healthy foods at your age.
    It will be very funny indeed if a Greek default generates a financial carnage in your beloved country. The butterfly effect... interesting spectacle to accompany my moussaka dinner.

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  • 234. At 11:43pm on 06 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Nonsense Offramp;

    ""MAII says many unpleasant truths."

    That is why the words of a single American can make so many Europeans so angry"

    Nope, its not what you say its the derogatory,insulting way you say it and the fact that you are gleefully dancing on the graves (metaphorically and (now) literally) of European people. Stick to the facts and leave the pitiful insults to one side and you might not get such short shrift."

    If I did that and took the moral high ground, Europeans would accuse me of being haughty by acting like I'm better than they are. I'll stick to the insults down in the gutter with everyone else.

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  • 235. At 11:58pm on 06 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    The United Kingdom 'political elite/establishment' should be hanging their heads in collective SHAME this evening.

    Not only do the bounders in Parliament cheat the Tax-paying Electorate on 'expense claims' now, assisted by the so-called Local Government Civil Service officials and the various Party Workers they cheat the Tax-paying Electorate out of their RIGHT TO VOTE!

    Apparently across the Nation there are hundreds & thousands of Citizens entitled to Vote who have been denied the right to do so because they were still in a queue to Vote when the CONSTITUENCY POLLING Doors shut at 10pm!
    This is a scandal that exceeds the 'expenses' etc.: A humiliation for the UK as the oldest form of 'democracy'.
    Surely a Legal challenge is going to emerge to the overall General Election Result if as it seems from reports large numbers of UK Citizens have been willfully DISENFRANCHISED by jobs-worth Election officials who have ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT TO PREVENT ELIGIBLE CITIZENS FROM VOTING!?

    I can hear the derision of EUrope already: And frankly, QUITE RIGHT TOO!

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  • 236. At 00:28am on 07 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    nonsense offramp;

    ""In all these blogs in all these threads how many Europeans have actually even suggested a program that would strengthen the Greek economy so that it could eventually pay back the money it owes and become self sufficient"

    How can individual people on a blog possibly answer that question?"

    Ooops, I forgot who I was talking to. Europeans are far better at stealing, consuming, and destroying wealth than they are at creating it. Pardon me for suggesting it. Go back to Greece bashing if it makes you feel good.

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  • 237. At 00:34am on 07 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    MudDib;

    "A recession is when you loose you job. A depression is when I loose my job. I am in a depression."

    From what you've told us that's the least of your problems. You're in a confusion.

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  • 238. At 00:52am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    Also, if someone wants to insult the USA say "the Grand Canyon is just a Big Hole," or say "The Niagara Falls are only impressive on the Canadian side" loololololol

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  • 239. At 00:58am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    Well Quiet Oak Tree,

    I had a sadist dentist who denied me oxycodone after pulling my gum away from the jaw bone and smoothing the bone after plucking the remaining root tips which were hurting me then he denied me oxycodone--I dont even like em long term MAKE U CRAZY...sorry for grossness.

    But I complained to the dentist and he complied. And I'm going back to work tomorrow (faith for management) on hard drugs.

    So thanks, QOT for the concern...appreciated and I like Threnodio And Marcus tho I've been insulted by the latter many ..many times, hehe

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  • 240. At 01:03am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    I think DT is thinking ....artificial growing of economy on the backs of taxpayers...loans create money which creates money which creates money--1000 becomes a 100,000 dollars...

    Maybe? no?

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  • 241. At 01:04am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    Also, it can lead to inflation?

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  • 242. At 01:10am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    Remember, bdsm

    you are only likely to meet rich American boors with nothing beter to do for the summer and

    our government is usually america this america that with no concern for others ...it seems. i guess what is good for america may NOT be good for the world.

    hehe...tho jobs are a nice gift :) if they are union protected. (not)
    look at the pay...andd remember union carbide..ohhhh despair

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  • 243. At 01:14am on 07 May 2010, d_m wrote:

    #226 bdsm:

    That's pretty funny. Europeans working together. Which century are you referring to?

    My apologies to Europeans, my comment is directed to bdsm who is altogether too smug for me to let his comment pass without a reply.

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  • 244. At 01:14am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    And Im all for Germany, India, Japan to lead the world---great alternative..sorry, Greece..tho Turkey um a smile and EU integration COULD lead to pacification of that part of the world,

    tho the schengen area for them might not be a good idea lol..at first

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  • 245. At 01:15am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    ok thru for nowww

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  • 246. At 01:18am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    I say I should give out my Amazon.com password (50s of free quality films of all etnicities) for world peace, but Amazon might freak:) and punish me..hehe

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  • 247. At 01:32am on 07 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "MudDib;
    "A recession is when you loose you job. A depression is when I loose my job. I am in a depression."
    From what you've told us that's the least of your problems. You're in a confusion. "

    Whereas you, Marcus, are graced, and have your character enhanced, with myriad absolute certainties.

    Kicking a fellow when he is down is reasonably uninspiring behaviour.

    My sympathies, for what they are worth, are extended towards you, MaudDib. At least you can be proud that you worked in manufacturing. There is a lot to be said for 40 years working in a real industry, doing something that actually enriches the rest of your community.

    Good luck resizing yourself!

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  • 248. At 01:35am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    BDSM,

    Just the parochial ones in EU prob, BD.

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  • 249. At 01:45am on 07 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #231 Cool_brush_work

    I still beg to differ. Apart from the banal --restaurants, beer, cigs, food, sex, petrol, etc I still question your observational capabilities.

    I know both the UK and Germany very well. If you had omitted Germany in your list I would not be questioning your statements vehemently.

    I do admit that your only traveling through those countries, the level of salaries and living costs are not immediately apparent. However in Germany it should have been, if you or you wife were interested in real comparisons.

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  • 250. At 01:45am on 07 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    complain about this comment

    225. At 9:54pm on 06 May 2010, ChrisArta wrote:

    " ...

    Most likely if you look at productivity number then Latvia perhaps comes out better, but people are not numbers (EUPrisoner!!!) and the people of Belarus are better off. ..."

    EUprisoner: Does not compute. Please explain what you mean, Earthling.

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  • 251. At 01:51am on 07 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #237 MarcusAurellius

    I would say that delusions are far worse than confusion, especially if caused by Adolfii Fascistii --Don´t you think ?

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  • 252. At 02:31am on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    Re. my #208. link removed

    You can find a link to the report (.pdf) here:
    http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/publication_summary15289_en.htm

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  • 253. At 02:50am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    BTW,

    BP Oil has spent so much money on this cleanup that if it is cleaned up, there will barely be a BP Oil left...and they drilled it for Americans, so hope for BP's success, Americans.

    And Bush's first mistake was in his fascist type idea that whether more people voted for Gore or not, he was the winner and gosh durn it, get out of his way. (reminds me of other dictators nullifying results of an election)

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  • 254. At 02:54am on 07 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

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

  • 255. At 03:20am on 07 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    Let me try this again.

    Dear Marcus:
    We all recognize that you are smarter than a gazillion of the rest of us. If you get a few things right doesn't mean that everything you say is right. As for me and my house what you say has no bearing on anything. I will be here long after you are gone and so will Europe.

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  • 256. At 04:14am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    no one is awake for uk election results?

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  • 257. At 05:32am on 07 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    David wrote:
    "I think DT is thinking ....artificial growing of economy on the backs of taxpayers...loans create money which creates money which creates money--1000 becomes a 100,000 dollars...
    Maybe? no?"

    Not really, no. You are talking about fractional reserve banking. I was postulating the concept of sovereign debt.

    MaudDib wrote:
    "202. d_t
    I don't think citizens would stand for balanced budgets by the government. Look at Greece now. I understand the resentment of the Greeks of their leaders but in the end we get what we demand.
    Take my country USA for example. We let the politicians buy our votes buy accepting money which comes from our pockets. Now what kinda sense does that make? If they can't buy enough votes with the money we give them then it borrows more money which eventually comes from our same pockets. Now what kinda sense does that make?"

    This is better thinking. MaudDib has the concept alright, but notice how he can't articulate any faith in it. He starts by saying the mantra "We get the government we demand.", but then makes the rather contradictory argument that the government he has demanded makes absolutely no sense to him, because they are buying his vote with his own money, and indeed borrowing money in his name to buy his vote.

    So MaudDib gets the absurdity of the situation, and he understands that he is being fleeced by the system, but he is nevertheless convinced that he is asking for this type of governmental system. Like a good communist worker in the soviet union, he takes part in elections and believes he is therefore responsible for the result, because he believes he lives in a democracy.

    ChrisArta wrote:
    "@DT,
    I've been thinking about it DT and it will be a great place, it is not scary at all!
    What scare me is that we live in a world with sovereign debt and when you tell people, it is a nonsense set up, it doesn't have to be as it is today they don't grasp it how else can it work.
    Most people in this blog believe the ECB the Bank of England or the Fed creates the money. If you tell them they are wrong its the private banks that create money through debt they issue, they'll tell you, that you are wrong without knowing anything about it. "

    Chris wins the prize for self awareness. Unlike Mauddib, he understands that it is inertia, not reason, which allows the current system of sovereign debt to endure.

    But none of these comments really address the issue I was hoping to raise in the collective mind of this blog.

    What I was trying to elicit was understanding, or even a suspicion, that through sovereign debt the concept of the nation state becomes a mere mechanism of business interests, and that the tax system is nothing more than a means of transferring wealth from one class to another.

    I use the wood "class" deliberately here. I could have said "sector", or something with fewer marxist overtones. But I use the word class because I suspect that this is the word the bankers would use. I am beginning to suspect that the bankers are still fighting a marxist class war, long after most socialists have given it up as foolishness.

    One of the reasons I despise communism is that it is based upon the hateful idea that history is the history of class struggle. This was Marx's grand idea: that people have always been fighting a class war, and that rich people are all evil people, and that poor people are inherently good.

    I hate that idea because it is so clearly untrue, in my own experience, but more so because it offers no hope to the world, and has created unimaginable suffering. If one believes that humanity is destined to fight amongst itself in perpetual war, one projects that belief upon the world and spends ones life causing misery by fighting battles that destroy other peoples lives. And that, in a nutshell, is the history of marxism. Misery and hate, propagated under the banner of the wise man marx, who believed in class war as a kind of holy doctrine.

    But when I look at the modern system of sovereign debt, I cannot help but wonder at the people who sponsor the system. Without a doubt, the shareholders of corporations, especially investment corporations, sponsor the system of elite representation. But unlike the feudal aristocrats of pre industrial societies, the modern feudal lords do not live amongst their people. They do not fight as warriors for power. They do not believe, one hopes, that they are born to rule through divine right.

    So why do the owners of corporations behave in such a massively predatory manner against the electorate of the system they control through sponsorship?

    That question fascinates me, and I have come to believe that the answer is ironic and sad. Having spoken at length with quite a few shareholders of investment corporations, and having known quite a few politicians, some intimately, I am forced to conclude that the marxist doctrine of class war has become part of the corporate elite's world view. The marxists may have started the concept of class war, but it is now the bankers who perpetuate it.

    I believe the bankers fear the masses, because they fear class war. And in response, they protect themselves and then strike back at the "enemy", the common people.

    My rational for this believe is the origins of the corporation itself, and indeed of the modern world of international bond markets.

    Corporations became the dominant form of business model because the socialist a the beginning of the 20th century brought in massive inheritance taxes that effectively appropriated (stole) the wealth of very wealthy families. In defense of their property, bankers and other wealthy folks incorporated, and structured their wealth so that when they died inheritance taxes would not destroy their families place in society.

    And the international bond market, and the institution of sovereign debt, was likewise an evolution in political behaviour that owes its origins to self defense, in the minds of the wealthy families. As Napoleon ravaged Europe and took whatever he could to make war for the sake of glory and for the sake of something to do, English bankers, representing the aristocracy of Europe not yet impoverished by Napoleon, used the institution of sovereign debt to raise the political will, and the financial means, the defeat him.

    But in the modern world, the pendulum of political power has swung back in favour of order and property, and the revolutionary classes and blood thirsty marxists have largely disappeared, sobered and disillusioned with the soviet experiment and a practical taste of marxist dictatorships.

    Now it is the bankers who cannot give up the idea of class war, and they still use the power of sovereign debt to control and confound the citizens of the western world.

    Perhaps living in Switzerland has made me optimistic with regard to the danger the unwashed masses pose to bankers, but I can't help feeling that sovereign debt, like marxism, is a relic of a barbaric and miserable past. It was a foil against marxist dictatorship, but it is also a foil against the free market, and real democracy.

    I know some jews, really decent and kind hearted individuals who honour their families, who argue that when the world is smart enough to understand that sovereign debt is people borrowing from themselves, and thus enslaving their children out of greed, THEN the world will be ready for enlightened political structures such as direct democracy. And, the argument goes, not beforehand.

    I suppose I can see the merit in that argument. I haven't been able to win that argument, anyway. As long as socialists and fascists are greedy and dishonest enough to enter a crooked political system and lie to the public about whom, they serve, and as long as the public allow them to rule in their name, then I suppose there is a very real and present danger from marxist dictatorship. And thus perhaps we need the institution of sovereign debt to prevent atrocities.

    But at some point, I fear the spectre of class war, and the miseries of marxist dictatorship, becomes likely precisely BECAUSE of the institution of sovereign debt. The desperately sad example of those poor people in the bank in Greece is what I am talking about here.

    Anyway, that is my grand speech on this topic for today. Sorry if I have been patronizing and preachy.

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  • 258. At 06:52am on 07 May 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #6 Cool_Brush_Work

    Well Said !!!

    The Eurozone "Saving Greece" has nothing to do with saving Greece at all !

    The whole exercise is about saving the Euro and the EU ; both of which are under severe threat of Colapse .

    I think the severe austerity measures being forced onto Greece will be unworkable . Any thinking person in their unbiased right mind , should think so too . The austerity measures seem to cover government spending , like cutting wages and perks of public sector workers , cutting state pensions , etc. etc. which will hurt the lowest levels of society . Rich people will already have salted their money away abroad ; others will simply leave and go to work in other countries . What about MPs salaries being cut and the better off paying their taxes .
    I suspect that the upper echelons will take avoiding action and only the basic workers will be made to suffer . It is simply a play for time , so the Euro doesn't fail today .

    The Euro to a large extent contributes to Greece's situation ,not being able to devalue . In fact I cannot see how the Euro creates stability . Consider also the plight of Italy , Spain , Portugal and Ireland ; having to contribute to bailing out Greece could easily put them in the same situation .

    Angela Merkel may have supported the bail out , in the interests of saving the Euro and the EU ; but she will get stick in forthcoming elections .The German people who have been made to give up the German Mark are now being forced to make huge finacial sacrifices to save the Euro .

    The EU is run by self seeking , inward looking , incompetent people , who have made huge errors and miscalculation , who can't keep their accounts in order , that are not signed off for years , who created the Euro .

    I still believe that Greece should default and return to the Drachma ; indeed that may be what will eventually happen . I believe that "Back to the Wall" Greek people will more likely make an effort to mend their ways and get themselves out of trouble . Might not the Russians and the Chinese make them an offer they can't refuse ?

    Are we Eurosceptics unexpectedly beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel ? Could this be the beginning of the end for the Euro and the failure of the EU in its present form ?

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  • 259. At 07:16am on 07 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @241. At 01:04am on 07 May 2010, David

    It doesn't have to lead to inflation, if you break inflation down, you will find out that it translates into loss of wealth. Now if a government that realy creates its own money notices that there is too much money circulating in the system and wealth will be lost, it can tax that excess money away from the people and use it at an appropriate time to build railroads, ports, invest in R&D.

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  • 260. At 07:55am on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    257. democracythreat wrote:
    "I suppose I can see the merit in that argument. I haven't been able to win that argument, anyway. As long as socialists and fascists are greedy and dishonest enough to enter a crooked political system and lie to the public about whom, they serve, and as long as the public allow them to rule in their name, then I suppose there is a very real and present danger from marxist dictatorship. And thus perhaps we need the institution of sovereign debt to prevent atrocities."

    It seems to me you overlook the simple fact, that the great majority of people are afraid of, hates really, to make decisions for themselves, as decision means responsibility for failure.

    Most people seem to prefer living like well fed slaves, rather than take (actual, not just vocated) responsibility.

    Someone Else did it!

    It is my impression that this is the reason why so many prefer a de facto autoritarian rule in the form of representative democracy - elected aristocracy, as Rousseau called it - to direct democracy, and invent strange reasons as to why direct democracy won't work, is to complicated, etc.

    You did mention greed, though :)

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  • 261. At 08:24am on 07 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Quietoaktree

    Re #249

    "..vehemently.." or otherwise, I will leave You to the pricing of "..banal 'sex'..": Perhaps that is affecting Your "..observational capabilities.."! (TeeHeeee)

    I'm afraid my remarks on Germany stand: Prices in Germany by my exerience and those of my many Belge relatives are significantly higher in the 'banal' goods that in fact are those most used by ordinary people. To suggest cars, computers etc. are cheaper in Germany is really stretching the point. I can neither explain nor understand how You could be 'familiar' with UK & yet find Germany cheaper when it patently is not the case.

    Anyway, that is as far as I can go on this issue as I don't care to get involved in a 'lowest bid' debate for which neither of us has genuine evidence.

    I discount almost all EU Statistical evidence as being highly questionable - - the EUro-zone/Greek debacle exposing how weak is Brussels' bookwork and indeed the paucity of reliable EU accountancy methods.
    I would go so far as to say that my doubts inc. the EU Central Bank: It has presided over the EUro-zone since its inception and therefore is also 'accountable' for the illusory claims of balanced-books/3% debt etc. that allowed EUro-zone members to enter it breaking the Fiscal rules from the start. Among those Nations, and may still be for all the worth of EU Fiscal probity, were the 'axis-of-ill-intent' France-Germany, plus Italy as well as Greece.

    It does seem to me it is far more likely You and I have better house-keeping methods and sounder Banking principles than those Nations and therefore I would also have to inc. the UK, Eire, Baltic Sates (bar Finland - - a very tightly drawn, but effective Economy) & as for Esat EUrope members of the 'zone', well, less said the better about their probity in Financial terms!

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  • 262. At 08:34am on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #258. Huaimek wrote:
    "The austerity measures seem to cover government spending , like cutting wages ... etc. etc. which will hurt the lowest levels of society ."

    and

    "Angela Merkel ...; but she will get stick in forthcoming elections ."

    Somewhat contradictionary, isn't it? unless you see Merkel as a member of the lowest levels of society. Like you say, she is going to pay deerly for this.


    Re. Greece we are talking about 2.6% of the entire Eurozone economy, 1/38.

    Remember the size of the bank bailout in the Eurozone?

    The cheapest way out would be to pay the modest 119.3 billion intra-Euro debt over 3-4 years and tell the rest of the creditors to go get a buzz cut (thus giving them a lesson of not to speculate against weak Euro countries - we got ours, you loose yours), kick Greece out and reorganise the Euro to tight auditing.

    The best way out is to show willingness to defend a member state, at the same time teaching the rest of the Eurozone members that overspending cost dearly in austerity measures, and let the Euro drop 10-15% against the US$ thus gaining a competition advantage for the world's largest economy, Eurozone+EMU.

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  • 263. At 09:01am on 07 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    David and dm sorry to disappoint you but I am no political anarchist nor am I a civil servant money grabber. I am a middle-aged housewife who has been university educated, worked in education and has made the decision to give up my opportunity for more material possessions and to put personal development to the side in order to support my family emotionally. I have watched from the sidelines what happens around me and by stepping out of the rat race have been able to look at things in a calm and detached way. I live in Greece having left the UK to marry and worked hard here doing 3 jobs to make a living like the one I left behind. My husband and I met at 10.30 pm every night and worked weekends too. This was not to get more than we needed, but to enable us to leave his family home and eventually have a family. We succeeded in 8 years and he is educated to Phd level. We could have done it faster if we had been prepared to loan money and live beyond our means, but this country and its more traditional ways has taught me a valuable lesson that that is not a way to live. We live a simple life considering my husband's job and position in the private sector, however it is enough.
    Until recently I have been prepared to let the world continue with its exploitation and deception knowing that I will have little influence and refusing to be involved in political stances as they are just games. I saw what was happening here in Greece and elsewhere and as long as the country was self-harming itself then I saw nothing could be said until the people themselves made a stance. Now however it is not a matter of self-inflication as countries are being attacked externally and with the sole aim of filling the pockets of those who already have more than they need whilst putting the vulnerable at risk of extreme poverty. Anti-american I am not, nor any other country, as long as they behave in a civilised and caring way, but the past few years has seen constant attack on the euro and countries that use it with the need to reduce its strength against other countries' currency. Is it necessary for the dollar always to be the strong currency? If we all have such a problem why don't we have a common currency for the western world so we don't need to go through this economic warfare again and again and allow entry to less developed countries as they develop economies that can fairly compete in the western markets. This way there is the hope that we can all feel strong and trade fairly according to what we can offer. Greece is not a poor country, but it is politically young and many have taken advantage of this, it was aided by those who were willing to lend such risky loans both to the state and the individual in order to earn more.I don't even believe it is all American citizens behind this as they just as manipulated as the rest of us, in fact those doing all this are multi nationaled more than likely and their nationality is business and profit. I just want to encourage those who are not part of that to stand up for all and say we do not accept it anymore. Once again I'll be accused of wanting Utopia!! I know!

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  • 264. At 09:15am on 07 May 2010, Pavel wrote:

    As a whole, the EU is complex and has many factors that, brought together, become divided into centripetal and centrifugal tendencies. In order for these two opposite tendencies to allow to maintain the whole as a dynamic unity, they must balance each other; if one of them is supressed, the opposite one can destroy the integrity of the whole.
    If Europeans new better each other and their common history, there would be more mutual confidence and trust and more responsibility with concern to the policies implemeted regionally; as a result, the EU would be much more sustainable, its politicians would be wiser, more honest, more trustable and less bribable.
    In the recent decades Europeans enjoyed a high level of prosperity, if compared with Asia, without military conflicts or serious tensions, so that some might think that it was so always and will be so always. If to draw another comparison with Asia, in its long history Europe more times and more often was devastated by wars the most disastrous of which were the WWI and the WWII.
    There is a great difference between the real EU and the EU portrayed as some kind of paradise that in reality does not exist. The earthly Paradise is what Adam and Eve were expelled from by God, and for humans the way to it was banned forever. That kind of happiness that was promised by Jesus Christ is certain only for saints and for many others is a matter of question.

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  • 265. At 09:26am on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #261. cool_brush_work wrote:

    "I discount almost all EU Statistical evidence as being highly questionable - - the EUro-zone/Greek debacle exposing how weak is Brussels' bookwork and indeed the paucity of reliable EU accountancy methods."

    You shouldn't - Eurostat told about a big white Greek elephant in the room years ago but the politicians claimed they didn't see any.


    Avoid the official EU press releases and go straight to
    http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home

    and read e.g. the 2004 Report by Eurostat on the revision of the Greek government deficit and debt figures (in .pdf) - link at
    http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/product_details/publication?p_product_code=GREECE

    The accounts for 1997, 1998 and 1999

    Following the work of Eurostat during the last years, the recent exchange of correspondence (appendix I), and the final constructive discussion on the 10th November 2004 meeting, Eurostat and the Greek authorities came to the following conclusions:

    - The deficit figures for the period 1997-1999 are of the following magnitude
    1997: 6,6 % of GDP instead of 4,0 %;
    1998: 4,3 % of GDP instead of 2,5 %;
    1999: 3,4 % of GDP instead of 1,8 %

    - The debt figures for the period 1997-1999 are of the following magnitude:
    1997: 114,0 % of GDP instead of 108,2 %;
    1998: 112,4 % of GDP instead of 105,8 %;
    1999: 112,3 % of GDP instead of 105,2 %

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  • 266. At 09:36am on 07 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @261. At 08:24am on 07 May 2010, cool_brush_work

    I don't wish to get involved in the price of things either. However due to work and personal travel I have a very good knowledge of prices in Germany & the UK and I can assure you, that you are correct to say goods in Germany in general are more expensive than in the UK.

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  • 267. At 09:47am on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    UK election

    326 seats to win

    Conser 290 seats - lacking 36 for majority but only 35 not declared yet
    Labour 247 seats - also ran
    LibDem 51 seats - pt. lost 6

    = hung parliament

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  • 268. At 09:50am on 07 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    215. At 8:22pm on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:
    """"Where are our US friends?…..Are they trying to save their Dow Jones the Greeks just crashed so nicely. What a small powerful country...""""

    => When such a ridiculously small country monopolises the interest for more than 2-3 days (here we talk 6 months now!) there is nothing normal in it. The game is bigger and is not just financial. My tongue has gone blue saying this 1000 times. We have to be prepared for the worst scenario.

    219. At 8:56pm on 06 May 2010, bdsm wrote:
    """"It just hit me, it's a new type of war!….""""

    => Do not say that word that much, it brings bad luck. A real war is a possibility that has not been excluded for EU countries and the weakest link in that perspective is Greece. If Greece does not behave it WILL BE attacked militarily, conventionally or assymetrically. For such a case Greece has to build new solid friendships to bring the geopolitical balance back to an equilibrium.

    244. At 01:14am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:
    “”””And Im all for Germany, India, Japan to lead the world---great alternative..sorry, Greece..tho Turkey um a smile and EU integration COULD lead to pacification of that part of the world,
    tho the schengen area for them might not be a good idea lol..at first””””

    => David, peace in the region does not depend on Europe, let alone the Balkan countries themselves but on the US-Russia game.

    229. At 10:10pm on 06 May 2010, ChrisArta wrote:
    """"...but the vast majority of money is create by private banks out of thin air!""""

    People think this is capitalism and blah blah. No it is nothing new, people just need something for their exchanges and there “some” smart ones produce “trust”, “credit”, “value” call it whatever. It is the same old story. In late 7th century Lydians (people of central Minor Asia) became the first known nation to cut money, i.e. gold and silver and copper metal pieces stamped with an official stamp declaring their weight – this was to save people time and effort weighting every time their metal. Greeks soon followed as well as other nations. In less than 200 years, the first “money out of thin air appeared” with Athenians declaring that their stamp had more value than the stamp of Chalkidians or Corinthians and so they produced a gold coin weighting 200grams but carrying a stamp equivalent to 300grams and demanded from the world to treat it as equivalent to say an Eretrian gold coin of 300grams!!! I.e. all they had to do is to buy by barter exchange Eretrian gold coins, melt them and produce Athenian coins then move around the Mediterranean and buy with these. Ever wondered why Athens made what it made in the 5th “golden century”? Well at the end, their system backlashed as Persians who had 300 times the economy of Athenians (and who were obviously on the same system) lent Spartans gold to pay the Rhodians (the usual treacherous little island) built ships and make war against them. It always ends up with war doesn’t it?

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  • 269. At 10:23am on 07 May 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    '267. At 09:47am on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:
    UK election

    326 seats to win

    Conser 290 seats - lacking 36 for majority but only 35 not declared yet
    Labour 247 seats - also ran
    LibDem 51 seats - pt. lost 6

    = hung parliament'

    How many are they predicting for the anti EU (not just Eurosceptic)
    parties as a matter of interest?

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  • 270. At 10:26am on 07 May 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    OK,so I think I already know the answer to my 269, but it would also be interesting to know what they got in terms of 'popular' vote.

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  • 271. At 10:31am on 07 May 2010, Nik wrote:

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

  • 272. At 11:16am on 07 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @270,

    Not much in terms of "popular" vote so far either, the 1 vote they were going to get fell off the sky yesterday morning :)))

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  • 273. At 11:17am on 07 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    236. At 00:28am on 07 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    """"……In all these blogs in all these threads how many Europeans have actually even suggested a program that would strengthen the Greek economy so that it could eventually pay back the money it owes and become self sufficient ….""""

    => Well there is always me! I have repeatedly proposed general guidelines. Who listens?

    210. At 7:59pm on 06 May 2010, vassilis wrote:
    “”””…Fundamentally and personally, I don't disagree with many of what you say, I just don't see this hapenning in Greece due to internal (known problems, mentality etc.) and external (world crisis heating Greece badly, less tourism) circumstances. It will take long time and there is no time….””””

    => Vassilis, the most fundamendal step to improve the economy is to open new prisons dedicated to financial/political corruption crime. And even better if letting Greek citizens to work volunteer as guards, provided they are provided with wips to place the prisoners in order...

    203. At 6:37pm on 06 May 2010, oeichler wrote:
    """"Peugeot 207, Miele washing machine, LG fridge, Samsung television, Nokia mobile, Apple iPod...Do you have anything Greek? Oh yes, olive oil... Do you know how much olive oil we need to export to finance all the above goodies...""""

    => Greeks can be 100% productive. Back in the 1980s the shortlived (since the PASOK party did not want it there!!!!!) NISSAN assembly factory, despite being situated in a country with few local suppliers and with relative little industrial tradition, was declared the most productive NISSAN factory in the world, a proof of course of the genious of Japanese leadership (lots of Greek consulting there - since Japanese and Greeks have the exact opposite mentalities) but also of the Greek worker who if motivated can be extremely productive.

    Howevever the idea of Greeks producing iphones and such is simply out of space. 99 out of 100 thingies to produce an iphone need to be imported. And Greece has no US-like army to move around the continents making wars to ensure better prices for its raw materials / basic parts imports. Thus forget about Greece producing industrial thingies. And it is for this reason that Greeks' overconsumption habits (cultivated by the local market and even governmental policies), have to change. They have to kill this "representative" (local importing offices of foreign companies) mentality that kills the country. If they want to show off (and Greeks, in personal life, unfortunately need to show off to tell you they are happy and are doing fine even when they are sad & poor), they should do it with their houses not their cars or whatever other stupid gadgets.

    There are standard ways to change the economy in Greece and this is NOT its own production of gadgets and NOT its own agriculture, one of the least productive in Europe (in this dry and largely non fertile lands) apart 2-3 native products (olive oil, feta cheese etc.) which despite their contribution certainly cannot make the difference. Tourism is also NOT the answer though a valuable contribution.

    The key is one: ships Ships SHIPS. We have forgotten out age old tradition. This is the only main way Greeks ever made money! Ok, it is known that Greek owners if lumped together form still the biggest (I think) fleet in the world. BUT their ships are sailing under a 1000 flags. A Greek ship magnate will order his ship from a Chinese or Korean shipyard, will man it with a Greek captain, a Ukrainian first mechanic and 20 Philipino sailors then put it under Liberian flag (Liberia, country in Africa with low taxation for ships for those who did not get it) and will move Chinese goods from Shanghai to San Franscisco or oil from Kuweit to Rotterdam. Greece never enters in the picture. How could Greece gain back these people while inviting others too?

    By restarting the Black-sea-Meditteranean-sea age old trade, the main trade that made Greece rich. There are 3 basic trades that Greeks can do: 1) gas trade 2) agricultural trade 3) steel trade let alone any other type of trade imports from west to these countries.***

    And trust me the whole affair of this Greek crisis is NOT unrelated to the efforts by Russians to re-start this trade. More later on.


    *** Is it accidental that there is not a single major European investment in Greece in that direction? On the contrary, European action aimed at preventing Greece from going there (remember all that EU reaction to the pre-accords with the Russians?). Apparently no European was ever interested in letting Greece develop, they see the bigger image, and that is not letting a part of the economic epicenter of Europe move to the east.
    *** Is it accidental that Jefrrey currently does all his best to avoid such a trade scenario?
    *** Now you know why Greece is condemned to at best case mediocrity, at most usual a constant sluggish economy prone to crises. I was a kid in the 1980s, since I can remember, the country is in constant "recession" and "in need of measures".

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  • 274. At 11:18am on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #196. quietoaktree wrote:

    "If the Euro falls further, German industry will really take off.
    The Brits on this blog are in for a very bad shock after the election."

    Agree unconditionally on both counts.

    Re. the UK, I wonder if the Conservatives are smart enough to dump government on Labour - whoever "wins" is going to loose.

    They are, however, probably to self centred to realize this - it usually is me, myself and I.

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  • 275. At 11:30am on 07 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "Kicking a fellow when he is down is reasonably uninspiring behaviour."

    It ain't cricket :-)

    David;

    You never should have told your dentist you work for the IRS...or made an appointment so soon after April 15. I'll bet he was thinking about his tax return every second you were there...and maybe an upcoming audit???

    acorn brain;

    "I would say that delusions are far worse than confusion"

    You speak with the assurance of someone who has had first hand experience....with both.

    MudDib;

    "As for me and my house what you say has no bearing on anything. I will be here long after you are gone and so will Europe."

    An assumption on your part that may have no basis in fact. For example, for all you know this very evening you could get hit by a truck. And for all you know, this very evening Europe could get hit by a truck. Britain just did :-)





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  • 276. At 11:44am on 07 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Speaking about confusion and delusion, right now Britain's political house is in a state of both. There is the confusion over who will be the next prime minister, what kind of government it will be, which party or parties will rule. The electorate hung Parliament yesterday and judging from their performance and behavior they deserved it.

    Those Brits who criticized America's election 10 years ago with the hanging chads should consider that they are no better off today than America was then. As for the reports of some people in Florida being denied access to the polls, there were more than a few reports of British voters who did not get a chance to vote because there weren't a sufficient number of ballot papers and because so many people turned out to vote that the election workers were overwhelmed and closed the doors at exactly ten PM denying those waiting outside on the long lines their rights. So much for British "democracy" being any better than America's and its just one of countless examples of European hypocricy based on a history it would rather forget.

    As for the confusion there is Nick Clegg who walked on water in the debates but got none of the votes he expected. Of course he says the election system is broken and doesn't represent the will of the people, he and his party got wiped out. In truth it not only represented the will of the people but in his case their won't as well. And speaking of European and British hypocricy, all those accusations that American politics is dominated by only two major political parties...goes double for Britain. For Clegg it's a year of "No You Can't."

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  • 277. At 11:58am on 07 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    UKIP were denied the opportunity to take part in the "leaders" debate. They were the second largest party at the "EU" elections. The election was unfair or that reason alone.

    The voting system is unfair.

    I demand a change in the voting system.

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  • 278. At 12:01pm on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    270. Wonthillian wrote:
    "OK,so I think I already know the answer to my 269, but it would also be interesting to know what they got in terms of 'popular' vote. "

    bbc front page - read all about it.

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  • 279. At 12:17pm on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    I have always found the UK voting system "interesting".

    This time e.g.:

    Alliance Party 42,325 votes and 1 seat

    UK Independence Party 874,171 votes and NO seats

    Labour 8,312,660 votes and 251 seats

    Liberal Democrats 6,495,080 votes and 52 seats

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  • 280. At 12:20pm on 07 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    C-SPAN broadcast BBC's coverage of the election last night and I watched it for serveral hours. I found it rather boring. For one thing there was a lot of time wasted covering the formal announcement of every districts's results for each candidate. Instead they could have done what the Americans do, waited until they were announced and then just reported it. What took two or three minutes or more each time could have been said in seconds leaving much more time for analysis which was rather sparse. They are getting a little more "Americanized though" which seems to be the triend in the UK such as with the debates. They had something like CNN's "telestrator" but it was turned vertically and didn't always work. Then there was this goofy thing with this one guy walking around on what may have been a virtual map on the floor, one of Scotland and another of Wales. They had these little colored patches on the map indicating who won what. They made a big deal about graphics showing some kind of meter each time the votes came in indicating a swing from one party to the other compared to the previous election but at times it was too complex such as where the three major parties all shifted significantly so they used bar graphs instead. There are no partial tallies during the process so each district doesn't report until all the votes are counted. It is surprising that it takes so long. Perhaps if they spent more money on hiring election workers and less money on swimming pools and dog manicures for MPs they would not only get the process done faster, everyone who wanted to vote would get an opportunity.

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  • 281. At 12:26pm on 07 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "Kicking a fellow when he is down is reasonably uninspiring behaviour."

    That's the best time. When he's down he can't kick you back. If he isn't down, knock him down first, then kick him. Isn't that how America's prime mortgage policy and what is happening to Europe worked out even if it wasn't intended that way? If it had been, I don't think it would have worked nearly as well as it has.

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  • 282. At 12:38pm on 07 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    '...

    "Nationally we have to wait for the full results to come out, but I believe it is already clear that the Labour government has lost its mandate to govern our country," Mr Cameron said after winning his seat. ...'

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8666737.stm


    If he is entitled to say that Labour have lost their mandate, I am entitled to say the the "EU" has no mandate

    With the Conservatives on 36.1% , what makes him think he has a mandate?

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  • 283. At 12:57pm on 07 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    MudDib;

    "Dear Marcus:
    We all recognize that you are smarter than a gazillion of the rest of us."

    You can die happily now with the satisfaction of knowing that you have been right if even only once in your life. But then there's always the fact that even a broken clock is right twice a day so maybe it's just a matter of luck on your part.

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  • 284. At 12:58pm on 07 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    TO GHERYANDO!

    It's Mother's day in Austria in two days time!

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  • 285. At 12:59pm on 07 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    St John

    Re #265
    Quote, "..EUrostat told about a great big white Greek elephant in the room.."

    And the result of all that known Greek Fiscal dodginess?

    Nothing!

    Your commendation of EUrostat is noted, but its impact was nil, zero, utterly ineffectual...

    The EU-Brussels elite, the ECB and the EUro-zone members chose to go on their unsubstantiated & reckless Fiscal way until a World Recession caught them all out.

    It is not ordinary Citizens like myself that are causing the juddering disbelief in the 'Market' place & Stock Exchanges - - its the fact that those in key positions at Banks, Investment Companies etc. now know that nothing the EU-Brussels says on the Financial side can be relied on to be accurate!
    Just look at the last 5 months: Every 4 or so weeks the EU announced it had a 'rescue package'/'solved' the Greek deficit crisis - - it was total nonsense each time - - the Leaders of EUrope's Financial regulation were guilty of gross duplicitous misconduct over the last decade.
    This is compounded by the last 5 months when the plain, unpalatable truth is those in charge of the EU coffers lied to the World.

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  • 286. At 12:59pm on 07 May 2010, d_m wrote:

    #263 bdsm:

    A thoughtful post. Prefer this one, it's easier to respond to. For what it's worth, I hadn't made any assumptions about you or your politics or your nationality.

    I can tell you that I don't take any pleasure in Greece's pain. Or Europe's for that matter. A failed Greece, or Europe, will hurt all of us. But whatever happens, the US is not the sole responsible party. We didn't do this. You can blame the banks and financial institutions, the speculators, but in the end it doesn't matter. We will still have the problem and we will still have to deal with it. And blaming someone else for everything bad that happens to us simply postpones the day of reckoning when we are finally forced to take responsibility for our own problems and our own failings and begin to deal with them.

    The world is neither a good place nor a bad place. It's simply indifferent. Some people exploit while others donate to charity.

    As far as currencies go, and I'm no expert, you don't normally get to pick whether you are a reserve currency or not. International markets pick the currencies they trust and use those. The euro is considered a reserve currency just like the the dollar. For a couple of hundred years, 1800's through 1900's, the British Pound was considered the world's reserve currency. Some people speculate in currency as do some governments. It's just the way it is. Consider this, you have a valuable painting for sale and I come to your house to buy it. What currency would you accept for payment? The US dollar, the North Korean won, or the Nigerian naira.

    The US dollar isn't always the strongest currnecy. Not too long ago, you could buy one and a half dollars for every one euro you had. As for a single western currency, I don't think it's possible. Consider, if you will, how difficult it is for Europe to make the euro work.

    I doubt you'll agree with me, but you can't, it seems to me, borrow money and then condemn those who lend it to you for getting you into trouble. If you shouldn't be borrowing money because it's going to get you into trouble, it's your responsibility to know that not theirs. What the lender needs to know is whether or not he believes you can pay back the loan. Once the lender decides you are a bad risk, he'll stop lending you money.

    Yes, I think you are looking for a utopia. You won't find it. It's not in our nature.










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  • 287. At 1:03pm on 07 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @277. At 11:58am on 07 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731,

    I'd like to add my demand for that also!

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  • 288. At 1:16pm on 07 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    To David!

    I am not nasty to homosexuals, but I do object to the stealing of the word "gay".

    I have just spoken to a gent at UKIP. His name is Mr. Gay. I met a lady who's first name is Gaye. The is a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film "The Gay Divorcee".

    Please could you find another word?

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  • 289. At 1:43pm on 07 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    279. At 12:17pm on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:
    I have always found the UK voting system "interesting".
    This time e.g.:
    Alliance Party 42,325 votes and 1 seat
    UK Independence Party 874,171 votes and NO seats
    Labour 8,312,660 votes and 251 seats
    Liberal Democrats 6,495,080 votes and 52 seats
    ----------------------------------------------------

    Indeed it is interesting. But it is not a British peculiarity. It happens everywhere. It is simply the result of the representation of territories in the parliament. Libs took most of their votes in the big cities but then the majorities there were Cons and Labs so they gain much fewer seats. The Alliance Party must have taken concentrated votes in some forgotten region so they managed to get one seat by representing that region while the UKIP party got most of their votes spread over many regions and thus did not manage to present a concetration of votes to gain a seat in the Parliament.

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  • 290. At 1:50pm on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #282. EUprisoner209456731 wrote:
    "With the Conservatives on 36.1% , what makes him think he has a mandate?"

    Two+ million more votes?

    Con 10,472,688
    Labo 8,448,380

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  • 291. At 1:58pm on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #285. cool_brush_work wrote:
    "St John
    Re #265 "..EUrostat told about a great big white Greek elephant in the room.."

    And the result of all that known Greek Fiscal dodginess? Nothing!

    Your commendation of EUrostat is noted, but its impact was nil, zero, utterly ineffectual..."

    What do you expect Eurostat (European Union Statistical department) to do?

    Grab their indelible violet pens and with their accounting books as shields mount an attack on the politicians, who decide what to do with the data Eurostat supply them with?

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  • 292. At 2:01pm on 07 May 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    I'd agree with 277 and 287 that a fairer voting system is needed, which of course might benefit some of the fringe parties, but its worth noting that the combined popular vote of the three anti-EU parties (BNP , UKIP and English Democrats)was only just over 5%.

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  • 293. At 2:33pm on 07 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re286: What you say about countries being responsible for taking loans is linearly alright but for this reason not the reality. The reality is that there is no country in the world which did a referendum before taking a loan while I am not informed of any politician having ever promised during his pre-election campaign to take a nice big loan - just tell me what would be the reaction of people in that imaginary case?

    Anyway, further more, even if we imagine that all these countries were ruled by leaders independent of the international (bankoinvesting) scene, the reality is that if your neighbour gets loans and thus moves on his people to built industries and buys materials and provisiosn etc. What do you do? You remain the poor relative in your region? Or your dive too in the loan market? Think well you answer. Almost all international banking institutions (even those of China!) are interdependent and they derive from 2-3 major ones, let alone the private company called US Federal Reserve which since the begining of the 20th century is the real source of fictional money that funded... the 20th century out of thin air!

    Legally any country can claim that the loans it took were "trust sold" and trust can have just any value, even zero. No country can really be imposed to pay its loans. As investors fool countries, countries may answer back. Only that there is a complication there: you will have to face the backlash which always comes in form of war, one way or another.

    You cannot avoid loan-slavery. ALL countries are into it. It is the way of the world' international and largely un-national ruling clasess to rule the planet, either we like it or not. The global government IS here with us for a long time (at least since the US and French revolutions) and going against will mean war and total destruction, political and financial isolation etc...

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  • 294. At 3:23pm on 07 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    # 286 d-m. The point I am not clearly making is that people and countries have been lent money beyond their means by those who knew that it would be difficult to pay and so amassing more debt and eventually not paying at all, individuals would lose any assets they had to default; what a country would do I have no idea. You have to admit lending 300billion to Greece is asking for trouble! Who okayed it and encouraged it? Those friendly financial institutions that's who, but on whose authority!? Furthermore, the people of Greece themselves were not all aware of the borrowing going on nor the scale of corruption and I would advise all to not paint every Greek with the same brush as should not be done to any population of a country, dangerous territory and a place I find myself in moments of frustration.
    I remember a long period of time before the crisis set in when our phone rang incessantly with offers of loans and credit cards and it would take a strong person to resist the ease by which borrowing money is presented if you were in need. Luckily we were neither in need nor did we wish to live beyond our means despite the fact that we have a good income for Greece. We are even lucky enough that if push comes to shove we can leave and continue elsewhere, with the attitude that self respect is better than a life full of possessions not worthy of the sacrifice.Others though who do not have that luxury and must continue and live in the chaos, what can they do other than fight the corruption or accept their fate? I hope we can all find a responsible way to get through this and come to our senses about what life is truly about.
    I am really only speaking out for the weak and the vulnerable who live out there in various countries, not just Greece! These financial games will create more poverty for many and greater riches for the few. The suffering of the developing world is enough to cope with and something that we should be hoping to eradicate, do we really need to take a step backwards and create more in a place that should be beyond that now.
    More Utopia, but I cannot get my head round the fact that no-one even wants to attempt to achieve it!

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  • 295. At 3:48pm on 07 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Wonthillian

    Re: #All the UK 'anti-EU' votes cast contributions

    I am unsure why this should be such an issue for either 'anti' or 'pro' EU.
    The UK General Election was never about membership of the EU, the Lisbon Treaty etc.

    It is a pan-National Election in which unsurprisingly 'national' issues of immediate concern to the pan-union-populations have and always do take precedent.
    Whilst I believe it is correct to claim the EU is an issue in many people's minds it is far from being a priority compared to education, health services, Afghanistan, taxation and each of the 4 Union Nation's relative assertions of 'political' independence.

    Clearly most UK Citizens are also aware the FPTP system and the demographic set-up of Constituencies negates a vote for an 'anti' or 'pro' EU Candidate in most instances. Thus UKIP etc. figure in 5th, 6th... position in the Poll results etc. whilst a Green Party & an Alliance Party Candidate can find themselves elected to Westminster by a freak of % Voter Turnout!

    PR would undoubtedly give a greater spread of 'political' representation & presumably Nick Clegg & his LibDems will be making that case with Cameron & Brown this weekend. However, even with PR it is still highly unlikely that more than a rump of UKIP etc. would find themselves in Parliament.

    Whereas, a specific UK Referendum on Membership of the EU or withdrawing ratification of the Lisbon Treaty would concentrate the minds and I believe lead to some very interesting & close outcomes one way or the other across the 4 Union Nations.
    IMO & just for the sake of it: I would hazard a guess Scotland & Northern Ireland would find majorities in favour of Membership/Lisbon whilst England & Wales majorities would support Withdrawal/De-ratification.

    Who knows!? Certainly not me: Although if Clegg manages to have PR sorted as the price of Coalition before the next General Election then those Referenda may be within 5 years. In which case, IMO look out EU-Brussels, the gravy-train exploitation of the British Isles is shortly going to hit some very serious buffers!

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  • 296. At 3:51pm on 07 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @ MAII

    "hose Brits who criticized America's election 10 years ago with the hanging chads should consider that they are no better off today than America was then. As for the reports of some people in Florida being denied access to the polls, there were more than a few reports of British voters who did not get a chance to vote because there weren't a sufficient number of ballot papers and because so many people turned out to vote that the election workers were overwhelmed and closed the doors at exactly ten PM denying those waiting outside on the long lines their rights. So much for British "democracy" being any better than America's and its just one of countless examples of European hypocricy based on a history it would rather forget."

    Where and how do "Europeans" think that the American democracy is worse?
    In Germany for example, there is no government anymore which could rule without a coalition. And to give your claim credit, there is still a not insignificant number of people claiming that this is a good thing.
    But more and more people realize that it is not, because no party can realize anything significant anymore.

    I recently began realizig that real democracy and welfare states are all nothing more but a pipe dream.
    The way our mediate democracies work is half-assed. People have no real say, they just elect people who promise something, yet those people don`t do what`s necessary. They rather give away unaffordable presents in order to be reelected. All European democracies and even the USA suffer from this problem.

    Meanwhile people look at China, criticize its politcal system, yet everybody is dazzled at how fast that economy is growing.

    And everybody seems to forget the political systems in Europe during the golden era before WWI or what made the USA great.
    It was liberty and freedom, low regulations and a slim, efficient government.

    Long story short: it`s not America vs Europe, we are all in the same boat. I don´t even know why you think that a lot of Europeans dislike the USA. That was kind of "cool" in the 90, it`s long over.

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  • 297. At 3:59pm on 07 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 233 Vassilis
    "The butterfly effect... interesting spectacle to accompany my moussaka dinner."
    I don't think Markus knows the Balkan kitchen friend. We all know the coke, the McDonald menu thanks to the American entrepreneurship, but many Americans still have no idea where Montenegro is, or say, what kind of people live in Cypros, etc.
    My wife /she's Russian/ finally managed to cook the moussaka I would prefer to eat with red wine and green salad...

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  • 298. At 4:09pm on 07 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ChrisArta (225):

    States are one part of the market. Think state as an co-operative, it works for the benefit of its members and its members are part of its workforce. What makes states differ from ordinary corporations is that they compete and work in a more higher level than corporations, in short their core competencies are very different: another one is restricted into a certain geographic area and is specialized on getting most out of its members, the another one is free of geographic restrictions and is specialized on producing something or service as efficiently as possible for the benefit of their owners. For the market to work, both of these parties have to concentrate on their own competencies and be as efficient as they can be, when they do so, prosperity follows.

    Now going back to the example of Finland, yes, there was no internal devaluation, we had an external devaluation, and guess what, that was a mistake. 15% of all private loans were in foreign currency, when the external value of our currency was devalued, for most private individuals and corporations it became impossible to make their payments and they went into bankruptcy, thus deepening the recession. Now if instead we would have had internal devaluation, in general lowering of all wages by 5-10%, there would be no need for external devaluation. Now like I said, we didn't have that internal devaluation, we had external, and because of that we ended having more companies going bankrupt, having more people unemployed, having more personal bankruptcies ending into a situation where one of the major banks went bust and others had to be rescued. Devaluing of a currency is bad thing to do.

    In case of natural resources, what difference between Greece and Finland? Yes, we have our forests but they have sunshine all year around. In the beginning of 90s most of our production and wealth came from forest and machine building industries, after the depression, information technology grew rapidly to be the third leg of the Finnish economy.

    Now going back on Baltic states, and especially on comparison between Latvia and Belarus. The fact of the matter is that Latvia out produces Belarus, 11,607USd vs. 5,166USd. As Latvia is a democracy, mind you Belarus isn't, it is the internal matter of Latvians to decide on how they are going to share the production, on what kind of society they will have. You also forget one crucial thing, Belarus is propped up by Russia: Russia sells oil and gas to Belarus with deeply discounted prices and pays too good money to transit gas via it. Remove the Russian money, and Belarus turns into a very state in a very bad state.

    But lets jump to Greece...


    Also to vassilis (210):

    The key to the economic recovery is creative destruction...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_destruction

    For example, Greece has 4,4 Physicians per 1000 persons, while in here we only have 2,6. Now our health care system isn't the best in the world, but it gives care when and if you need it. And of course ratio of doctors doesn't straight away correlate for good health-care, France has the best health-care in the world and they manage with 3,37 doctors per 1000. So in short, you can downsize approx 41% of doctors from public health care, you can also downsize student placements from universities.

    Now what then? Well, there are lots of unemployed doctors, what can happen is unemployed doctors are employed or become self employed by...

    Health-care tourism
    Medical technology
    Biomedical research

    Of course government setting up re-education and entrepreneurial programs to assist unemployed to have new skills and some of them to become new entrepreneurs and investing some money to capital funds investing to start-ups wouldn't hurt this development.

    Either way, there are opportunities in this whole mess.

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  • 299. At 4:27pm on 07 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 145 Nik
    “People have have gone down on protests for their professional sectors' little interests which is 100% OK with me, BUT they have NEVER protested altogether for the lack of justice, for corruption, for the punishment of robbers, for the punishment of people responsible for the bad state of state governance, for the punishment of Simitis' election huge fraud which cancelled democracy altogether, for the punishment of fraudulent privitisations of beneficial state companies, for tighter tax controls, for transparency, for... for... for ...”
    Nikolay, first of all I thank you for the detailed comments. What you say is true not only for the Greek electoral system. It’s virtually the same way in Bulgaria. The people, in their crushing majority, believe in miracles, as if the next eloquent politician would be able to bring them down the moon along with all the good things one can fancy. In a way, the electorate should share the responsibility of the wrong politicians, but as you know, the rich people /behind the scene/ who tell the PM how to cheat when communicating with the Brussels’ authorities never fail to avoid the burden of the responsibility and always manage /trough fiscal combinations, legal support, etc./ to escape pure and innocent like lambs.... It's the elactorate, the ordinary people who really pay the bill!
    This a how each democracy works, in the US, in Greece, in Bulgaria, etc…

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  • 300. At 4:28pm on 07 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #280

    Sorry you didnt like the election coverage Elmer, but i do like your idea to Americanize it a bit more. In Inverness we could have Hannah Montana doing her "how to get a 14 year old to look like a hooker" show, or cheerleaders in Wigan and marching bands in Henley. Or maybe, we could get Janet Jackson to whip her norks out if Rochdale went BNP. I know, monster truck racing round Epsom. Nope, its true, the election was dull. What we needed was some good'ol gross electoral fraud to pep things up a little.

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  • 301. At 5:03pm on 07 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #297

    "My wife /she's Russian/ finally managed to cook the moussaka I would prefer to eat with red wine and green salad..."

    What? Send her back. I hear some of the websites will exchange if you tell them she lied about being able to cook.

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  • 302. At 5:04pm on 07 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    EUpris

    It's Mother's Day in Finland too this Sunday.

    I've told my wife so long as the coffee & pylla breakfast is on the table by 9a.m. she can have a good lie in.

    I think she was touched: At least it seems that way cos she went into another room & I heard snuffles... Honestly, it takes so little to make the little lady happy!

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  • 303. At 5:09pm on 07 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @296. At 3:51pm on 07 May 2010, DurstigerMann

    What pre WWI period exactly?

    Chinese growth is such not because of its wonderful political system but because through out nonsense low tarifs we made them the factory of the world.

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  • 304. At 5:40pm on 07 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @298. At 4:09pm on 07 May 2010, Jukka Rohila,

    Several things wrong with your assesment of Latvia Vs Belarus point I was making:

    a) Latvia has the highest gap in EU between rich and poor, so the $11K Vs $5K is not correct
    b) What you can buy for $5K is Belarus is as much if not more than what $11k can buy you in Latvia
    c) Latvia has beggers in the street (don't give me the its their right to be beggers) Belarus does not have beggers in the streets.

    Also just take a ferry ride across the water to Tallin if you wish to observe some Estonian beggers there. Estonia is the EU success story ready to join the Euro next year!!! that is a laugh :)))

    Now not for once did I say that societies should not change and people fired. But it has to be done in an organised fashion not throw 20% of the people in the streets in one go.

    In Greece the biggets problem I can see is that they don't produce anything, as Nik mentioned somewhere above. Greece needs help to restructure and produce things to export. That can not be achieved overnights with cutting the public sector.

    I put to you that even if they had zero public sector debt & deficit, they still don't produce a thing!! They would still have a crisis! They need help to produce something, their shiping is great, but they need to build their own ships, they need to build their own cars, either that or they can as an alternative go back to using donkeys to get around (it will make for nice tourist pictures!) if they don't start making things they will still have a crisis, because they will borrow from German banks to buy german cars, from a German auto dealer that will send the money back to the german car maker, most likely that money would not even catch a glimpse of the Greek sun!

    Firing doctors and closing their schools sends them backwards not forwards!

    Nik if you are reading this tell me if you have any numbers what is the Greek import/export situation?

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  • 305. At 6:32pm on 07 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @303 ChrisArta

    During the decades prior to WWI, Europe saw a time of unprecedented stability, peace and enormous economic growth. The standard of living (e.g. hygene) went up dramatically. There was almost zero unemployment and almost no national debt. That`s why some historians call it "golden era", a rather common term in history, I admit.
    It is a mistake how students newadays are only taught about Bismarck, the balance of power in Europe and how it could only lead to WWI, but not much about the real political systems, economies, trade and so on.



    The Chinese growth surely is at least partially caused be low tarifs.
    What most people in the west don`t get, however, is how a country can see such enormous growth without democracy, rule of law and social security networks. All while a lot of Chinese seem to be quite content with the situation.
    True, I`d go as far as to say that rule of law and a significant decrease in corruption would even enhance that growth.
    So some points criticized in western public opinion are indeed valid.
    But what people completely miss is how that central government can control China much more efficiently than any form of democracy could. How politicians, on a national level at least, don`t need to be reelected and how this positively effects decisions.
    How people in China can much more easily open businesses. The list goes on.
    And most of all, how overbloated, overregulated governments and states in Europe and America kill off all forms of dynamic development we can see in Asia right now.



    Europe and America didn`t get rich by means of bureaucracy.
    But this bureaucracy is strangulating and suffocating us.

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  • 306. At 7:06pm on 07 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    304. ChrisArta wrote:
    "... what is the Greek import/export situation?"

    Greece import
    $64.27 billion (2009 est.)
    $93.91 billion (2008 est.)

    Greece export
    $21.37 billion (2009 est.)
    $29.14 billion (2008 est.)

    CIA World factbook

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  • 307. At 7:54pm on 07 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To St_John (306):

    We should also count...

    $19.8 billion from tourism
    http://tvnz.co.nz/travel-news/greek-tourism-braced-revenue-drop-3431121

    $2.0 billion from shipping
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/05/27/business/rough-going-for-greek-merchant-fleet.html


    To DurstigerMann (305):

    It is easier to grow when you start from the bottom. Let us remember that the PRC GDP per capita was 3678USd. To get into that figure you only need cheap labor, foreign capital and knowhow and lax legislation, however if a country wants to grow into much higher figures, it will become much more harder and harder. For example in Europe, USA and Japan logistics and production are groined almost to an end, there is little left for improvement.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita

    We also should count out that lax legislation causes lots of harm, for example environmental problems can at worst scenario eat much of the economic growth and endemic corruption in some point starts to interfere seriously on markets optimizing production.

    China isn't an example to the west, the only way for us to better us is to just optimize, rationalize and cut any overhead away. In these activities having a transparent democracy and rule of law society with strict and precise legislation is an asset.

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  • 308. At 8:26pm on 07 May 2010, d_m wrote:

    # 286 d-m.
    ---------------------------------you
    The point I am not clearly making is that people and countries have been lent money beyond their means by those who knew that it would be difficult to pay and so amassing more debt and eventually not paying at all, individuals would lose any assets they had to default; what a country would do I have no idea.
    --------------------------------me
    Another way to look at this is that people and governments have borrowed money they knew would be difficult to repay. I think this is a more accurate reflection of what happens. People go to banks to borrow (or some other money lender), governments issue government backed securities. So, in the case of Greece, say, the government needs money to fund its operations, (all governments do) so it issues government bonds, wherein it offers to pay a certain amount interest for a certain amount of time for the use of the money it is borrowing. At the end of the term of the bond, which can run form six months to several decades, the government agrees to pay off the note. So who buys bonds? Well, people do, businesses, banks, mutual fund companies, and other governments. The problem that arises is that if a country's finances are perceived to be in a bad way, those who purchase that country's bonds will demand a premium for loaning them money. So, a country with sound finances and a good credit rating will be able to borrow money at 3 or 4 percent, where a country with questionable finances may have to pay 6, 7, or 8 percent or more. Or, maybe no one will loan them money.
    -------------------------------------you
    You have to admit lending 300billion to Greece is asking for trouble! Who okayed it and encouraged it? Those friendly financial institutions that's who, but on whose authority!?
    -----------------------------------------me
    No. The Greek government encouraged it. They need cash, like most governments, to fund their ongoing operations: salaries, power bills, maintenance on vehicles and facilities, and so on. The borrowing was Okayed by the Greek government, that is, on the authority of the Greek government. It's one of the functions of government. They issue bonds and people and institutions and other governments buy them (well, as long as they are perceived to be creditworthy). That's why it's important to elect good leaders.
    ------------------------------------------you
    Furthermore, the people of Greece themselves were not all aware of the borrowing going on nor the scale of corruption and I would advise all to not paint every Greek with the same brush as should not be done to any population of a country, dangerous territory and a place I find myself in moments of frustration.
    -----------------------------------------me
    This is a good example of why we need to pay attention to what our government is doing and why we need to elect the best leaders we can. I'm certainly willing to not paint all Greeks with the same brush. But you need to put that brush aside too and realize that Greece did this to itself. And I'm not claiming any superiority here; not on by behalf nor on that of my government. I'm pretty confident no one can claim the moral high ground here.
    -------------------------------------you

    I remember a long period of time before the crisis set in when our phone rang incessantly with offers of loans and credit cards and it would take a strong person to resist the ease by which borrowing money is presented if you were in need. Luckily we were neither in need nor did we wish to live beyond our means despite the fact that we have a good income for Greece. We are even lucky enough that if push comes to shove we can leave and continue elsewhere, with the attitude that self respect is better than a life full of possessions not worthy of the sacrifice. Others though who do not have that luxury and must continue and live in the chaos, what can they do other than fight the corruption or accept their fate? I hope we can all find a responsible way to get through this and come to our senses about what life is truly about.
    -------------------------------me
    Credit cards aren't inherently bad. They are a good tool if used responsibly and a nightmare if not. Everybody knows they shouldn't spend money they don't have. And if they do, they're going to get into trouble. And they know that too.
    -----------------------------------you

    I am really only speaking out for the weak and the vulnerable who live out there in various countries, not just Greece! These financial games will create more poverty for many and greater riches for the few. The suffering of the developing world is enough to cope with and something that we should be hoping to eradicate, do we really need to take a step backwards and create more in a place that should be beyond that now.
    --------------------------------me
    These really aren't games. Finance is serious business. Unfortunately, too many people don't take it seriously. And too many people don't bother to understand their relationship to it.
    I agree that poverty and suffering are terrible things, but for now they are a fact of life. They are problems I don't know how to solve.
    -----------------------------you
    More Utopia, but I cannot get my head round the fact that no-one even wants to attempt to achieve it!
    -----------------------me
    It is, unfortunately, not a realistic goal. It's just not in our genes. At least, not right now.
    Good luck in Greece.


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  • 309. At 8:33pm on 07 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    China isn`t an important example for the western world, yes. A more legitimate examples would be Taiwan.
    This country sports a relatively young democracy and still has a few minor problems with corruption and bureaucracy.

    Do not misunderstand me when I say that the democratization in Taiwan, economically, has done more harm than good so far.
    It is young and problems were to be expected.
    But the so-called Taiwan Miracle happend under the dictatorship of the KMT. The government had learned from past mistakes on mainland China and layed out the way to go without possible interferance of insterest groups or the need to be reelected.
    The people of Taiwan worked hard to achieve the economical success and prosperity their children can enjoy today.


    It doesn`t come as a surprise that government regulation and interference as well as taxes are low, yet Taiwan has a high savings rate and vast foreign reserves as well as low public debt.

    I lived there, great country and hard working people.

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  • 310. At 8:36pm on 07 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    I forgot to mention, that Taiwan has a very low inflation rate (I think it`s around 0,25-0,28) and an umemployment of below 3%.

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  • 311. At 9:12pm on 07 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Jukka and Chris Arta.

    Yes, White-Russia (Belo- ones) is of course propped up by Russia, in this Jukks is right.

    But on the other hand - Russia dumps these "propps" - or at least used to - to lots of other ex. It didn't do anyone else any good. The surplus simply stolen and no one saw the results.

    It is not enough to get something of Russia - it also takes one - to use that extra bit sensibly.

    Besides, Belarus negotiates like mad. They watched with a hawk's eye any small changes in our common tariffs or taxes or imports-exports deals, fought, to have the balance. Just try to ban one Belorussian yougurt from the market - there'll be shout up to the skies.

    They are skilful, even if it only concerns how to manage the ? sudden luck, I would say.

    They've got military command style I would say - but they survived the consequances of perestroyka best of all 15 countries around incl. us.
    No shock and awe :o)))))) And I don't think they are going to die out early from the effects of all the past turbulance. No turbulance in Belarus.
    Don't now how about the future - but in the past 20 years they definitely ? how to say, passed through the waves, steady course, through the rollers.

    Simply, the surplus - stolen. Belorussia made use of it and makes.try to getsomething of Russia FOC

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  • 312. At 9:20pm on 07 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    St. John

    "
    Alliance Party 42,325 votes and 1 seat

    UK Independence Party 874,171 votes and NO seats

    Labour 8,312,660 votes and 251 seats

    Liberal Democrats 6,495,080 votes and 52 seats
    "

    ?

    Well, OK. I guess it's hopeless to explain this to me. :o)

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  • 313. At 9:29pm on 07 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ChrisArta (304):

    A) Latvia out produces Belarus, how that production is shared inside a country is another mater. Eventually Latvia because of economic growth will produce so much that even the poorest members of it have higher income than most persons in Belarus.

    B) Actually you will get a lot less out of your money in Belarus because there is less competition, in retailing this shows easily in overblown prices, and there is less that can be bought.

    C) Belarus isn't a free country, it is a authoritarian police state. The reason why you don't see beggars or other ills on being a poor state is because all these elements are cleaned out from the sight by the police.

    In case of Estonia, it is more ahead even today than it was 10 years ago let alone 20 years ago when it was freed from the Soviet Union. The infrastructure and the society is in a totally different level than in Belarus. Again, there are income disparities, but that again is the own choice of Estonians, they are a democracy and the society and how it works is the product of this freedom.

    But lets get back to Greece and lets start from doctors...

    If the health care can be run with 59% of current doctors then that 41% is over-head that needs to be cut down. Now should it be done in a year or in a longer term is open, but the cut must be made. Same too with education, if there are too many doctors then educational positions must be cut. You see, education doesn't make anything more important by itself, education only makes itself valuable by producing added value. And also, we must treat everybody equally, people with vocational education usually have to re-educate themselves at least one time in their professional life, academics shouldn't get a opt-out from this need to re-educate if necessary.

    Now if we jump to the whole economy, the problem of isn't that it isn't producing. Greece produces lots of services, for example tourism and shipping, however those industries will never ever produce as much as high tech manufacturing and services industries as their productions and results of research and development can be easily scaled up.

    Anyway, just jumping into manufacturing isn't the answer. Manufacturing is highly competitive area. Lets put some examples...

    Shipbuilding is dying industry in Europe, Koreans and Chinese have out bid us in building freight ships, we can only compete in building luxury cruise ships, and this is in only few areas in Europe where there are highly efficient and capable subcontractor and supply chain networks.

    Building of cars is also very hard business and the continued success of German automakers rely on them contracting most of the actual production to subcontracts and suppliers all around Europe, and even still, they are too small to fare well in global competition.

    ...Best idea to fare well in global competition is to just be as efficient as possible in those industries that one already has and then continue from there to develop new industries either relying to industries already in existence or trying to jump-start new industries from zero. To be able to start new industries, a state must have very good finances to be able to fund it enough long, for example Finnish state tried to jump start biotechnology industry in here in the beginning of 00s, but mostly failed. Singapore also invested to biotechnology, and they are getting some results as they didn't give up, but they have also burned lots of money.

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  • 314. At 9:41pm on 07 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Anyway, the meaningful part for Russia we understood. British TV Sky News said Gordon Brown is not coming to the V-day parade in the Red Square :o(

    I don't know, is this election a good excuse?
    He couldn't , like, have tried to win it ?

    After all, it's already called "the parade of parades", the 65th, and, likely, not many veterans will live to the 70th anniversary.
    So nearly the last big, with war veterans in.

    How do allies dare to lose elections or whatever - practically 2 days before?!

    About Obama I understand, he is simply scared. It is going to be the most dangerous place on Earth on May 9th.

    Red Square is small. 350 metres , or something. The condensation of armament on it will out-do all safety reasons ever heard of during best moments of the Cold War :o))))))))))),

    plus the 120 airplanes passing through above. Low. Slow. So that all could have a good look.
    Now these long-leg heavy bombarders, or "Sushka"-s (bisquits) (SU),
    Mig (Moment) - are not built to fly either low, or slow.
    To say the min :o)))))))))))))))))

    Fingers crossed and all. Jesus Christ. It has always been scary with 20 playing above, for the first time it'll be a 120 dance.

    Well, in consolation we are getting Milliband I think instead.

    And Turkmenistan, at the last moment, managed to pull through their 1 horse. They wanted badly, cultivate horses these past 5 thousand years, a trade-mark. Absolutely don't see themsleves in a parade without a live horse.

    Poor horse! Between C-400 and Topol and I don't know what!

    They intrigued by claiming it's great grand son etc. of Zhukov's White horse, "Kumir" (Idol).
    So, like, "Russians, you can not - not to let into the victory parade the great grand relative of Zhukov's Idol."

    Total lies, Zhukov's was not Turkmen, and not white, just light grey.

    Well, at least Milliband won't ask for something fancy. ?

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  • 315. At 9:59pm on 07 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To WebAliceinwonderland (311):

    True, many ex-Soviet states are propped by Russia, and that is bad. However my pointing finger doesn't accuse Russia doing wrong in here, but the states that are demanding to be propped up.

    What the economic aid does to these states is to allow them to keep up the inefficient economic structures and infrastructure. For example Ukraine has largely inefficient and wasteful usage of energy, it is much easier to pressure Russia to pay more for transit than to fix real problems and up the efficiency of the infrastructure, or put a market price for the consumers so that they wont waste energy.

    The day Kremlin gets enough of propping Belarus, the country will be crushed under the global competition as it is the only way to get money to the country. That day will take the country back to the situation in the beginning of 90s, in essence day zero.

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  • 316. At 10:22pm on 07 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    #308 d-m. Thank you for spending the time to clarify. I can't say I'm happy, I am in fact disheartened and exhausted with the non-stop thinking and battling to awaken the consciences of my fellow man. It can't be achieved you and many others keep telling me and so I have to give up and accept the fact that we must live in this nightmare life. I have no vote here, I cannot say what should happen and the politicians that are here are all that is on offer anyway. Anyway it seems to be a problem everywhere and is sickening to know that the misery of suffering and poverty all over is something that we willingly allow to occur and encourage through our need to create more wealth. Good luck to you all.

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  • 317. At 10:34pm on 07 May 2010, d_m wrote:

    294 bdsm:

    I responded to your post, but mislabeled it. So, see post #308. Sorry. Getting senile I think.

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  • 318. At 10:49pm on 07 May 2010, d_m wrote:

    #316 bdsm:

    It is disheartening, I agree. But you can do something. You can do small things that make a big difference. My wife and I, for example, donate money every month to the local food bank. I don't know if you have food banks where you are, but here people who are in need of help can go to a food bank and get a weeks worth of groceries, no charge and no questions asked. A completely non-judgemental experience. Just food for their family. If you don't have a food bank in your area, maybe you could start one. Last year we took vegetables from our garden to the food bank in another town near us. I thik we must have taken 600 pounds of fresh vegetables to that food bank.

    It's not much, but it helps and it's appreciated.

    I volunteer at local school helping students learn to read.

    You know there is always something you can do to help others and you seldom have to go very far to do it.

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  • 319. At 11:10pm on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    I think because of you and other Russians, Web Alice, Russia is appreciated and is also of course fascinating. Its a Post Cold War effect ....intriguing exotic Russia Europe/Asia.

    Bless you for being there to read about. The Ukraine seems to be more than half Russophile. They have to be of course to have gas. But still, very exotic, thou art.:)

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  • 320. At 11:14pm on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    Also, if China got democracy and law, they would first have to pardon all the people from the Cultural Revolution and other murderous periods...they think its better to have one regime throughout time I guess.

    If no pardons, there would be wholesale prosecutions and people whom actually advanced the economy would be jailed.

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  • 321. At 11:16pm on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    Marcus,

    Do you think the BP spill was the last straw for the Labour Govt or just a blip?

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  • 322. At 11:19pm on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    Maybe those Big TVs are detrimental to all our savings....who really needs big screen HD televisions that bad that we all go broke and these house they are building what a joke ...you should see them...entrylevel equals 200,000 dollars ...

    uh uhhhh

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  • 323. At 11:22pm on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    Marcus,

    My jaw is purple bruised, swollen and my stitches are unraveling...and IIII have to be nice to get further treatment

    (you should see the other guy he is rich(er)

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  • 324. At 11:29pm on 07 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #318 and #316

    It´s heartening to know not all are blind.

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  • 325. At 11:31pm on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

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

  • 326. At 11:43pm on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    Maybe Prince Harry's idea to go to the front line in an attack helicopter is a bad idea because he could go down in friendly fire by confused American military.

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  • 327. At 00:09am on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Dear poor David what have those doctors done to you dentists one word you were alright before.

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  • 328. At 00:12am on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    David, "Russia is intriguing" LOL.
    ________________________


    "There are no wonders in this world.



    (exception: Russia)"

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

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  • 329. At 00:31am on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Jukka, surely if you break everything you have ground zero.
    "To break - not to build!" as the saying goes

    Still, you are habitually cruel to people. 20 years of normal life - it is something. I wish I had. Belorussia was lucky. I understand by your rules they had to have oligarchs stealing all there were, state blasting out free education and health service, police becoming greedy unprincipled monsters after buck, people losing roof over their heads and state not providing for them, narcotics in-corporated into ordinary life via traffic from Afghanistan (because police is after buck. (It's capitalism. It is allowed to be greedy on top of morals. There aren't any morals left. Which morals anymore? If you are after money as new announced life principle. For this is how the change was understood by 99.9% of ex-USSR-ians.) and other fun, so to say.

    Jukka it is sadistic to plunge into capitalism people who have no tradition of controlling their governments. Their bosses will rob and fleece them, all who ever gets to power. You can't, so suddenly. There is no will or desire amongst ex-USSR-ians to control their respective governments. They'd rather die. Which exactly all were busy with :o)

    In the absence of system of checks and controls - neither any tradition ever in this respect - how can you expect people to control their governments. People won't stand up near them, like, ugh. Effectively allowing "the tops" to do all they please (which they were busy with :o)))), exactly) And then population is at the mercy of hand-outs of kind oligarchs when they are in the mood.

    Belorussia may start from ground zero - but after 20 years of quiet life they are better fit. Simply, physically. They are healthy. They are not nervous - and haven't been through shocks. They don't die out - keep the same quantity. There are live and healthy people there - which is not a bad start. They kept agriculture, can feed themselves. Not so silly achievements. Much healthier place than Russia is. No vices. You can't import their narcotics - their policemen are not for sale. And give me a break with those un-noticeable street beggars that Belorussian police is taking off the streets. Life is cheap there. Housing is guarnateed by the state. There is no unemployment. How can you become a hobo in Belorussia is beyond me :o)))))))))))))

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  • 330. At 00:34am on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Jukks, they don't have oligarchs. Their "bat'ka" (daddy, in Belorussian) is fleecing all the ones who show the signs of wealth :o)))))

    In all the truth - Belorussia has only one danger - that their bat'ka who keeps the system in hard gloves will evapourate or retire or whatever.
    Then they will plunge down like a stone like everyone else around.

    For they are also ex-USSSRians. They don't know how to control their goverenments. Nil understanding.

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  • 331. At 01:54am on 08 May 2010, David wrote:

    Gay is an yuk word for us type humans..true..perhaps non hetero is better..we are a lil bit different.

    Gay sounds as if wit and happy pills are prevalent..maybe we should be called silly people

    NNNNOOOOOOOTTTT

    non st8?

    never st8 ahead, only gaily forward..old joke.

    this is moderation fodder so a joke...

    It was Thanksgiving Holiday,

    I had decided to "come out"

    So, I said, "Mom please hand the green beans to a gay man"

    So, she handed them to my father.

    fun only no offense.

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  • 332. At 06:04am on 08 May 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #274St_John

    In your comment on my earlier post ,258?, I do not see how you have so wrongly interpreted two far away statements .

    In the above post I agree with you regarding who forms a government in Britain , now with a hung parliament .
    I have written a post in the UK section saying that David Cameron should stand aside and let Gordon Brown and Labour who got Britain into such a mess , get together with the Lib/Dems to take the drastic unpopular measures . before long their would be another election , when the Conservatives might hope to gain .

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  • 333. At 06:07am on 08 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

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

  • 334. At 06:31am on 08 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    #318. Yes, I can help out in my local community and I do try to help through charitable groups in the wider world, but in the ensuing economic climate I foresee that less and less will be able to give charitably due to both funds and timebecoming less in their need to fulfill their own needs. Money will be tight and time too as employees have their rights slowly stripped away and so must work longer and harder with no guarantee of a pension to retire on and savings at risk in banks. Not only that, it is so assumptive that charity is a desirable thing, the people given to should have the right to a minimum standard of life in a world that there is such great surplus in.I will continue helping where I can and when I can, but my hope was to help more and to move to a fairer world. I think that these comments of mine will come to an end as comments such as David's and others are so caustic and disturbing that I feel ill when reading them. I wonder at people's ability to think in this way.

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  • 335. At 07:47am on 08 May 2010, David wrote:

    BDSM,

    oops my situation..not so bad, therefore, I apologize to you

    times are depressing ..but i was being flippant..I wasn't thinking of your feelings

    laetely,
    before this I wasnt commenting much

    We are all in this together..and your opinions count BDSM

    I apologize, Ive been to a dentist and pain pills can be bad for compassionate communication, so did you know I love Greece and dont want to see that country go down..only up, my best to you:)

    Dont go, please.

    My comments will be more edited from now on..God Bless Greece:)

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  • 336. At 07:50am on 08 May 2010, David wrote:

    You've been here a short time..dont flee from caustic comments..they are more likely insensitive comments..I will keep my comments more circumspect.

    Fight not flight:)

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  • 337. At 08:09am on 08 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    Thank you, David. I shouldn't admit to it, but I watched my family sleep last night and then looked out to the world as it slept and then wept for all that has happened and all that will happen. I just want better not more. If I feel like this, how do others feel who have less and cannot see hope?

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  • 338. At 08:14am on 08 May 2010, bdsm wrote:

    PS. Sorry that you've been in pain and hope that that's the end of it? Should really have been thoughtful enough to say that in the previous comment!

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  • 339. At 08:18am on 08 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @Jukka Rohila,

    The Belarus helped by russia argument is nonsense!!!

    Latvia is helped by the EU, the difference is that because of free market the EU money does not end up in Latvia, just the debt.

    As for the beggers, there aren't any because people have jobs! The beggers in riga are there not to show off their freedom of expression, but because they are unemployed and hungry!

    Give up worshiping the gods of free market and look at the world around you with a critcal eye

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  • 340. At 08:35am on 08 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ChrisArta (339):

    Russia, Belarus oil tiff resolved — for now
    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/russia-belarus/100128/lukashenko-russia-gas-dispute

    "Russia exported more than 20 million tons of oil to Belarus annually, which under the two nations’ customs union, was subject to only one-third of the usual export tax.

    Belarus used about 6 million tons domestically. The rest it processed at its two oil refineries and exported to Ukraine and western Europe, charging the usual export tariff and pocketing the difference."

    This is exactly the same way how Soviet Union assisted Soviet block countries in central and eastern Europe.

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  • 341. At 08:51am on 08 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 330 AliceInWonderLand
    Dearest Alice,
    Being all the time engaged in continuous chats about the Greeks fiscal crisis, about its negative consequences for the strength of the single currency and the eventual impact on the efficiency of the monetary union, we clean forgot the 65th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe.
    I take the opportunity to express my sympathy and solidarity with you, with all your relatives and friends, with all the Russians whose memory about about the sacrifices and the exploits of the millions and millions of people inhabiting the USSR during the WW2 is still alive.
    I think of you at this very moment and shall watch with interest the celebration of the Victory day on the first TV channel of the Russian Federation/.
    I congratulate you on the occasion of the Victory day celebration, and, I embrace you darling with all the strength I have.

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  • 342. At 08:53am on 08 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ChrisArta (339):

    Latvia gets a net benefit of approximately 403e per capita every year during the five year budgetary period of 2007-2013. That money is used largely on infrastructure and structural advancement programs, not used for general welfare.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eu_budget

    Latvian state isn't that indebted, nor are its citizens, their problem is that much of their debt is denominated in foreign currency, thus there is no option of external devaluation as it would bankrupt the whole country.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_external_debt

    In case of comparison between Belarus vs. Latvia, again, lets remove Russian economic assistance from Belarus and open it up to the global competition and you have the whole economy crashing and burning.

    Granted, there are social problems in Latvia and almost in every other developing eastern European country, but that is the price of development. The promise of development is that in future these states can produce so much more that they can secure the lives of all their citizens. However there is a price for that too, if you want to keep up a welfare state, you have to be extremely efficient and cut any overhead that you have. For example Nordic countries didn't become rich welfare states because they rested on their laurels, they first worked to be competitive in world markets, then moved to build up the welfare state and maintain them by being as efficient as possible.

    And no, I'm not worshiping the gods of free markets, I'm just pointing out that there is no free lunch. If you want wealth, prosperity and general welfare for everybody, then you have to work hard and be very efficient, that is just how the world is.

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  • 343. At 09:20am on 08 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ChrisArta (339):

    In addition of my earlier comment...

    Russian oil tax per metric ton is 283,80USd. Russia selling oil to Belarus with 1/3 of export tax means that Belarus gets a net benefit of 189.2USd. As Belarus import 20 million tons of oil from Russia, the total net benefit counting for 3784 million USd, that is 392USd per capita.

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/oil-export-tax-faces-hike/403815.html

    Then of course in addition to oil, Russia sells gas to Belarus with severely discounted price, the total benefit of that becomes close to the benefit that Belarus gets from oil.

    The country is seriously propped up by Russia, that is a fact.

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  • 344. At 11:25am on 08 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @Jukka,

    We both agree that if Belarus follows the Latvian development path it will have as many poor as Latvia. I don't disagree with you on that point one little bit. So telling that 'if' Belarus does what Latvia did, its citizens will suffer does not come as surprise to me.

    That is exactly why I'm saying there are better ways to develop and provide for your citizens than the harsh free markets approach that the EU preach.

    They preach that, because it suits them, it opens up a country to their companies to sell their products with no chance for that country to develop its own industries to employ its people. The EU does not help those countries build anything useful for its Economy. Telling me that Russia's agreement with Belarus helps Belarus add value to a product and export it thus the money stay in Belarus, is not a good argument against the development Belarus follows. Your argument that the EU only provides assistance to Latvia to build projects that Western companies can build on their behalf and keep the profits with Latvia keeping the debts is not very convincing as it been very beneficial for Latvia.


    "Latvian state isn't that indebted, nor are its citizens, their problem is that much of their debt is denominated in foreign currency, thus there is no option of external devaluation as it would bankrupt the whole country."
    What kind of crazy thoughts are those?

    Latvians are indebted beyond anything they can even dream of repaying!!! You think they cut salaries by 50% because they don't have debts to pay?? They cut salaries, closed hospitals to save money to pay debts!

    Its citizens will never be able to pay their house loans to foreign banks, when their government sujested they only pay the banks the amount of money their houses are woth now, not when they took the loand the banks through their governments (Denmark, Sweeden) made sure the government droped that idea fast and thus morgeged the country for the next 30 - 50 years to Danish & Swedish banks. So any money Latvia produces in the next 30 - 50 years is headed straight to Denmark & Sweeden to be used to develop those countries in the mean time the poor and unemployed in Riga will keep begging tourists from Denmark & Sweeden for some spare cash, and I'm sure they will think how lucky they are to enjoy the benefits of "creative destruction" thanks to the free markets economics their government follows on the advice of the EU

    Finland, Sweeden, Norway have huge natural resources and small populations so they have the base to develop products to take over the world.

    Other countries including us here in the UK do not have those resources, so protecting local production is the only way to cope unfortunately the politicians have been dream walking towards complete disaster because they believe in colourful powerpoint presentation given to them by free market analysts and rating agencies, instead of opening their eyes and thinking for themselves.

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  • 345. At 11:52am on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Yes, Jukka, I think we should all the three of us agree (and on behalf of other two - Latvia and Belarus) - that local production is important.

    Jukks I know, you think - only one product should win - the most competitive in the world one. And that one, the most advanced, should be sold ww, while the rest should shut up with their inferior productions.

    I am not an economist and can't explain only gut feeling there is some trap in this approach don't now where.
    It's in ideal free world free of politics, tariffs, and distances (btw - simple distances to deliver that World product No 1) - that this approach doesn't work as brilliantly as it theoretically ought to.

    A Russian saying says:

    "Beyond the sea - a "telushka" (female young cow) - costs "polushka" (one half a rouble) - yes but - a whole rouble - the transfer (cost)!
    "Telushka-polushka da rubl - perevoz!"

    And tariffs, and politics, and I don't know what - imfluence the transit costs of that one young female cow :o(

    :o))))))

    It is handy to have something handy produced in-house.
    You can't run like an idiot every time to the world supermarket.

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  • 346. At 11:59am on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And, would be interesting - how much Belarus owes?

    Never heard they are indebted to Russia, as minimum.
    To the opposite :o))))), Lukashenko is always of the opinion that Russia owes him :o)))))), on some tariffs cross-checking for years, or whatever.

    When they get short of cash he always starts re-calculating old tariffs by new moneys :o)))) or something.

    And where are the money the EU helped the Baltics. It is very well you write - Latvia - in future - will be sponsored EU 410 euro per head, and this monies will go for infrustructural projects. This is good, I mea, finally, and all.

    That's in future, but - the previous 20 years?
    What have they built or done for themselves, their own, on the EU money?
    What is there to look at?

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  • 347. At 12:04pm on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Eventually of course Belarus will stop with Lukashenko - but desirably - by that time - they know how to control governments and have a taste for it.
    Then they will be absolutely fine. They are in a good location strategically, big country, for not many people, own agriculture - if they don't sell it up - they'll be fine and will be able to incorporate into whatever - bigger EU, bigger Russia, bigger EuroRussia, separate trading own country. They are not a worrisome place for others to worry about.
    Are used to live modestly, not to borrow, they are not spolied. And hopefully won't be. To be honest - we consider them own people - I mean - relatives - why shouldn't they have oil and gas?
    What's the point if we don't give it to them and then our oligarchs build a couple of more of yachts with submarines or something else fancy?

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  • 348. At 12:08pm on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And anyway Jukks I think your dreams of streamlining Belarus to more relying on own means will come true a little bit :o)))) - when we have North and South streams built.
    They are a transit country still and so far, the only reliable one, we can't allow ourselves for Belarus to plunge into mess and troubles.

    The key to changes is "gradually". You can't cut them off Russian help overnight and arrange shocking perestroyka. Their Lukashenko is surely thinking about future North and South streams and allighning his fiscal plans accordingly, he is not a fool.

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  • 349. At 12:11pm on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I think, for one thing, we were going to build them a nuclear power station, for them to have something own, when transit money become less negotiable.

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  • 350. At 12:22pm on 08 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ChrisArta (344):

    Countries that aren't part of the global economy and want to join it, have no other choice than to let foreign companies and foreign competition on their market. The reason is that their homegrown industries and companies, sheltered from the global competition, are too inefficient and uncompetitive against global competition. Remember, international companies have enormous economies of scale, optimized organization and division of work on a global level, it is impossible for any country to anymore grow homegrown industries sheltered from the global competition. The only way a country can grow homegrown industries is just to pump and burn money, however that isn't very economical.

    In case of Latvia and other developing economies, you paint the picture too grim. These countries in normal times out grow more developed countries, when the economic growth rebounds their economic growth will easily pay up the capital that they have loaned...

    "Nordea said today in its Economic Outlook that it expects Estonia's economy to grow 1.2% in 2010 and 4% in 2011 on stronger exports and euro zone entry."
    http://live.balticbusinessnews.com/article/2010/05/04/Nordea_raises_Estonia_s_economic_growth_outlook

    In case of huge natural resources, could you again clarify what natural resources you are talking about? Yes, Norway has oil and gas, but both Finland and Sweden besides having lots of forests are otherwise poor in case of natural resources and their agriculture sector suffers from having severe weather conditions. The reason why both Sweden and Finland became industrialized countries was to have foreign entrepreneurs and capital to come and work in both countries, this was especially true in Finland. The reason why both countries became rich and stayed rich was because neither of them nationalized foreign capital or companies and both engaged to global trade.

    In case of UK and other countries, the main mistake in your thought is not to recognize that humans are the most important natural resource. In global competition countries that invest to their population and squeeze out every drop of work from their population are successful countries. What UK and other western countries have to do is to invest into high-tech and high-tech services to keep their productivity and addition of value higher than those countries that are coming behind. There is no ration to compete on industries and activities that are commodity, most of manufacturing includes to this category.

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  • 351. At 12:57pm on 08 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To WebAliceinwonderland (345):

    I would agree on that production is important, to be exact, efficient production of valuable goods and services.

    The gut feeling that you have about free competition and global markets is that it is a never ending rat race. To be at your current place, you have to run faster and faster just to keep your place, to progress you need go even faster. The cost of material wellbeing is more or less psychological and mental exhaustion. For example some people here in Finland don't describe our society as welfare/wellbeing society, but as unwell-being society because of the attitude that both people and the society have adopted to make the society and the economy work in this global world.

    Then again, I like nice things and easy life. I rather enjoy being able to dream about buying a Cartier watch, and knowing the fact that I'm able to do so. I just have no reason to congratulate myself on doing something really well, on earning it. So in that sense I have no complaints about the rat race.

    Now going back to Belarus and other ex-Soviet republics, the fact is that Russia is sending almost to all of them money and resources. Only countries that have cut their cord to Russia, like Baltics and ex-eastern European communist countries that are now EU members aren't indebted to Russia. While of course sharing is caring, I would argue that the money would do more good in Russia than in these places. Now Kremlin does what Kremlin does with the money it has, but there is just no economic sense.

    And as you mentioned North and South stream. I would put serious questions marks on are they going to build North stream at all. Originally the funding for North stream was planned to come mainly from private western investors. After the economic downturn, after declining oil and gas production in Russia, future creation of common European energy markets, and possibility of Poland starting to produce sizable amounts of gas to European markets, there just isn't economic sense on building North stream, even if Belarus and Ukraine take severe cuts. Actually, building North stream would make economic sense if Russia would cut economic assistance to both Belarus and Ukraine completely.

    Oh, and about Poland and gas...
    "Thanks to shale gas, over the past two decades the U.S. has drastically reduced its reliance on imported gas and in fact became a gas exporter. Geological research shows that a similar U-turn is possible in Poland, which may have enough shale gas to satisfy all of its gas demand for decades — or more."

    http://blogs.wsj.com/new-europe/2010/04/08/us-giants-bet-on-shale-gas-in-poland/tab/article/

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  • 352. At 2:48pm on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "Only countries that have cut their cord to Russia, like Baltics and ex-eastern European communist countries that are now EU members aren't indebted to Russia. While of course sharing is caring, I would argue that the money would do more good in Russia than in these places. Now Kremlin does what Kremlin does with the money it has, but there is just no economic sense."

    Jukka, would be interesting to compare how much debt by now, 20 yrs later, have the ones who were dependent on Russia and the ones who were dependent on the EU.
    I think will be difficult to compare, different population q-ties with all, different life-styles during those 20 yrs, different composition of national incomes (what comes from gasterbeiting in the EU or Russia and is sent home, what is achieved within local borders, etc etc)

    However I have a general feeling (non-economic) that to Russia those folks are , in the result, indebted far less, than other ones are by now indebted to the EU.

    a./ because EU sponosrship provided richer life standard (I hope :o))))
    than Russian sponsorship provided to her ex. I mean, simply more money was given by the EU. ?

    b./ We are kinder.

    :o)))))))))))))))))))))))
    yes, un-scientific parameter, I know. But still, for Russia the "ex" are in the status of "own people runaway":o))))), and for the EU - the new acquisitions are in the status of "new friends". Or, say, "old friends, re-acquired :o)" If there was ever time when richer and more Westwards countries viewed more Eastwards countries as old friends. ?

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  • 353. At 3:04pm on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    It also so much depends on local mind-set! Ways and habits, and approaches.

    One can't help noticing the difference when you dump a comaparative amount of money on, say, Ukraine and Belarus.

    Personally, of course I can think of better use of money Russia allocated around her borders in the past 20 years. LOL! to put it softly :o(
    ______________

    A joke.
    Putin comes home bare feet and in worn out clothes, his wife wonders what has happened.
    - Just signed a 44 bln dollar deal with Ukraine, our fleet stays where it were but that's not the point! I am thinking, if we may be, sponosor Antarctida penquins a little bit - what a swell navy base it will make in the future!
    :o)
    ________________

    "As a swap for Sebastopol bay rent Russia gave Ukraine a 30% gas discount for 25 yrs.
    Germany says that for 50% off the tag for 25 years they might find Russians an even better military base - in Berlin. :o))))))))))))

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  • 354. At 7:42pm on 08 May 2010, David wrote:

    I have an idea, WA,

    Take the Ukraine part that is Russian, (ie thru negotiations)

    Let the other part (the no's) join with poland:)

    Then you'll have your Crimea forever and ever and I can go touristing there:)

    Meet you in Crimea beach resort, howsomeever, you and all over fun bloggers, we'll meet Jukks and give him sun sea and women (unless hes married)

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  • 355. At 8:09pm on 08 May 2010, David wrote:

    There goes Russia being the hero (of our times)

    what the USA has done to You -- if we pull out of Afghanistan???????

    We are good at that

    remember vietnam ..they got very macho after our defeat..giving China a bloody nose..sorry for our laxness

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  • 356. At 9:06pm on 08 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @Jukka,
    I mean that all three of them have huge mining potential & huge timber resources, they can produce as much paper as they like or use it to build ready made furniture.

    Regarding Estonia yes they will join the Euro, but at what cost? As if joining the Euro will make the beggars better off! It will make the 20% of the population that have money better off, for the 80% that by next year will have been unemployed for 3 years, will not make the smallest difference.

    I'm not painting the picture too grim, I'm painting a true picture, I can't brush away reality so that I can tell a better story about "creative destruction". The reality is, if you walk around in the streets of Riga and you look like a tourist you will be asked for money by lots of people! I did not have that experience in Minsk.

    About us in the west keeping ahead of the games through high tech. That is also a dream that will be deflated very soon. The only way we can maintain a respectable standard of living is to protect our local markets and our local industries to provide employment for our people. If you think that high tech will save you or us, please think again. the simple fact is that China will over take us and before you realise it. They file more patent application that we do, they will build their own airplanes soon and India the Philippines, Vietnam & China will produce software at prices that you in Finland and us here in the UK can't even dream as possible let alone achieve.

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  • 357. At 10:11pm on 08 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @352. At 2:48pm on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland,

    Don't stress you are right!

    You don't need to be an economist to see that free market is total nonsense. There is no such thing as free market anyhow. If there were free markets there would not be a need for companies, people would make their goods and sell them. When companies say free market they mean, give us free access to all your resources at a price we want to pay and we will let you work at our supermarkets as check-out personnel!

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  • 358. At 10:19pm on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    David, one of the most enjoyable places in Crimea is Koktebel' bay.
    But about that - some time other.
    ________________

    I keep forgetting how to post a photo somewhere on the web, but I tried. The question is - can anyone see it but me? :o)))

    The Victory Day

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/webalice/4590071456/

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  • 359. At 10:40pm on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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

  • 360. At 11:09pm on 08 May 2010, Chris wrote:


    @358. At 10:19pm on 08 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland,

    Yes that worked ok :)

    Black & White only though! Ohhh, no if they had free market, it would had been in color :))

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  • 361. At 00:32am on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    ChrisArta, thank you :o), I was not sure.

    @359; I see, a compromise :o)). Congratulations with the Victory Day, moderators!

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  • 362. At 01:46am on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Now, it's V-Day; let's remember the heroes.


    1. Bul'ba (potato, Ukrainian)

    Potato ran 10km, during the Battle for Moscow, and delivered the orders, from troops to other troops. On snow, in freezing weather, and she had 9 bullets in when she arrived.

    2. Dik. The most money-saving dog in the Russia's history.
    During the breaking of the ring around Leningrad, he sniffed a 2,500 (two thousand five hundred) kilo bomb - ONE hour before explosion - in the basement of the Pavlovsk Palace.

    Pavlovsk Palace - is tsar Paul I "dacha"/ summer residence, a jewel in the ring of royal residences around St. Petersburg. Of the top three (Catherine Palace, Pavlovsk, Peterhof) - the other two were less lucky, and had to be built up back, from basement up.

    Between 1943 and 1945 Dik had deactivated 10,500 devices. Ten thousand five hundred.

    Nick name - "Red Army dog".

    Pride of the first batallion of sapper dogs.

    3. Dina. She sent off the rails a nazi train in Belarus, of 10 cars. The report in the archives still boasts :o) "There were no losses on our side" (August 19, 1943)

    Dina let an enemy patrol pass and only after carried the pack that had slipped down from her back to the railway line. A detachable harness. And then she went away.

    4. Rex. Under shelling, swam the Dnieper river - across! three times within 1 day, to deliver important military documents.

    5. Dzhulbars. Does anyone here happen to live in Prague, Vienna; in Hungary of Romania?
    This sniffer fellow saved dozens of architectural masterpieces in these places. Talent in detecting explosives with his sense of smell.

    Additionally, Dzhulbars was able to do wooden casings. Able to discover such a mine at a depth of 1.5 metres. Human metal detectors couldn't find booby traps, and these were much used in industrial buildings.

    On June 24, 1945, there was the first Victory Parade in Moscow. Troops, returning fro Europe, were throwing nazi banners onto the Red Square cobbles. Zhukov on his white horse taking the parade, etc. Of marching troops of all kinds - there was a set representing the dogs in the war.
    A detachment of dog-handlers with their pets marched the square.

    One dog in the party was carried onto the parade - and carried through the Red Square, in overcoat, on hands - so injured he didn't walk anymore.
    That was Dzhulbars.

    (The later time explanation was added that "Stalin's OWN, overcoat".
    But far rather it was not.)

    Lieutenant-General Lelushenko, 14 March 1942: "During the offensive in December, in conditions of total absence of roads and freezing temperatures communications with other army detachments was only provided by dogs and it proved reliable. We need more."

    Ilya Ehrenbourg, a writer, a journalist during the war: "I met a lot of intrepid dogs. A Shetland sheep dog would find a wounded man and lay down next to him, he would have a special casket with food and vodka. A canine medic that found a live soldier would nuzzle his face to revive him and say "I am with you". A startling ability of these dogs to understand whether a man is dead or only wounded."

    Sledge dogs were carrying away wounded soldiers and also for bringing ammunition.
    Military-History Museum of Artillery, Engineering and Signal corps says that animals combined transferred 6,000 tons of ammunition and 3,500 tons of other loads.
    Their records show that the majority of the dogs served as messengers.
    During the Great Patriotic War dogs delivered over 200,000 reports and laid 12,000 km of cable.
    "Six messenger dogs did the work of ten ordinary messengers, with 3 to 4 times faster speed of delivery."

    Many dogs gave their lives for Victory. Nazi dreaded the Red Army dogs who carried mines to the tanks.
    There were cases when dogs turned back whole enemy detachments.

    Sniffer dogs played a critical role in the clean-up. The sniffers discovered - combined - MORE THAN FOUR MILLION enemy charges and land mines.
    Take hat off.
    That's 300 cities and towns where Russian sniffer dogs were employed.
    Praque, Budapest, Warsaw, Kiev and Odessa among them.
    15,000 km 2 combed.

    In the first 2 war years 168 individual detachments, battalions and regiments worked on dog handling exclusively; dogs were donated by ordinary people, home dogs - trained in speial schools and then sent to the front, according to the ability. Some carried Red ross band to be recognisable, others - ah.

    Russian dogs helped to save lives of 700,000 wounded soldiers.

    On the food ration in the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War stood 60,000 dogs.

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  • 363. At 02:00am on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I've read so many remembrancies, in different places, mantioning howpeople were giving their dogs to the army. Disaster. Like, a teenager boy would clasp at his one, and still will give away. Or someone would think about his fellow "You are really stupid :o( ((((( They won't be able to teach you anything. You will end up a live bomb.
    aaaaah

    I can't imagine, honestly. To me it seems I'd rather myself become a live bomb, then giving the dog to the army. Even that army asked and pleaded, especially interested in the big strong ones, to pull sledges.
    And in collies. And - oh - in what not.

    But then people also went to the front, you would yourself go, and your dog will go, I mean, one didn't exclude the other - who of the two to become a live bomb. Both could end up very well.

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  • 364. At 02:05am on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I know when Moscow was evacuated, there was panic in the beginning, by ships leaving to the East, from the River Station - but then rumour passed that Stalin stayed in, and panic stopped.
    Anyway, it began, and muscovites who witnessed the departure from the River Station, by ships, via the Moscow Sea and along the Canal - they said dogs were not taken on board, and families were leaving them behind, having brought with to the River Station.
    And at one moment it downed on one dog they are left, it got transmitted somehow - and there started such a combined dog howl on the pier, that total disaster. :o(

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  • 365. At 02:51am on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Anyway, on the lighter news :o)

    There is a congregation of Polar Convoys today in St. Petersburg, there was also a dinner I think, hosted by the British Consulate. It is like a survivers meeting' , Russia invites over steadlily, while there is who to invite.
    After the anniversary tomorrow they'll be flying to Murmansk and then to Arkhangelsk and then back respective countries.
    A British man was interviewed today, he said he was 17 back then, and didn't understand the seriousness of the deliveries back then. He is 87, was on HMS Suffolk in 1942.
    And that he still didn't - until today, when they were laying wreaths at the Piskarevskoye cemetery in St.Petersburg, a field, where lie 1 million siege of Leningrad victims. That now it penetrated, like, through.

    There is also a US Navy ship, arrived for the parade tomorrow. Big handsome, parked opposite Hermitage, in the Neva river embankment.
    They hosted a party today for the Convoy people as well.

    Anatoly Livshitz, a Russian who served on 23 convoys, was also interviewed today by all , as he saw how HMS Edinburgh with 4,570kg of gold bullion was sunk, torpedoed by a German submarine. Two submarines.
    That was a part of the payment for the supplies from us, and that ship never made it through, back to the allies.

    We are full of events. Outdoor cinema-s, well, simply big screens, show war time films for a week already. All the theatre premiere's and plays are on the theme. I bought today a newspaper because there was the St. George ribbon put into it, as an addition, and these ribbons are deficit :o)

    That's ribbon olour orange and black, stripes, normally attahed to Order of St. George, and The St. George Cross - awards for courage.
    Order is for senior ranks, and the Cross has always been for ordinary people. Soldiers, that is. Anyway this one - for courage - is very valued, has always been in Russia (not that war only), and there is a public sponsorship, like, movement - all carry St. George ribbons on the V-day.

    That is, those who are lucky to get one :o)))))

    They are distributed, FOC, but there are far less than Russia'spopulation, many many times lesss :o), and all want them.

    (Our St. Petersburg are the best :o) Not paint print on syntheti, but colours weaved in :o)

    That's not the first year we are into these ribbons, to tie as a bow, as a decoration, on May 9th.

    Mum got herself a ribbon today at the post office :o), lucky.

    There are exhibitions of family photos. Concerts of war times' songs all over (we are rich with songs of that period). Even I can sing about 20-30 most popular ones by heart.

    Schools write compositions type "What I know about that war", kindergartens invite veterans to talk to the children, so that they'll be able to remember, later on. All stage plays, improvised concerts, children draw pictures, and what not. All museums run special exhibitions from their funds - who is rih with something. Some have posters, others - radio of that time, and, like, according museum specialisation, Post Museum - war time letter stamps, and all.

    There hasn't been a single newspaper without 3-4 inserts of pages of letters from the front-line, long time ago - sent home, and now - published back, as memoirs.
    This is whole first decade of May.

    Of pratical things - though we all think it is practial :o), all that we are doing :o) - veterans and nazi concentration camps inmates and "blokadniki" (under blockage/siege of Leningrad people) - across Russia - have FOC transport until 12th of May. In the cities - between 3 and 12th of May; between the cities or abroad - only 2 trips - one way and return. Airlines sponsor.
    Telephone companies give FOC telephone time, so that people could call their regiment old friends in other cities, at least, once a year, and chat.

    There are traditional meeting places, in the country, for various regiments' veterans.
    Many meet by the Bolshoy theatre in Moscow on May 9th.

    Vetrans are left so little, every year their number is shrinking. Muscovites who go to Bolshoy theatre doors say it's scary to watch the number diminishing, year to year.

    Tomorrow for the first time Iam afraid noone will walk the Nevsky prospect, but all veterans will be moved by open cars.

    Last year the veterans still walked the Nevsky prospekt in St. Petersburg.
    That's a must for us here, whole city goes to stand on the sides and cheer, they close the prospekt for traffic, and only veterans walk it.
    I always attend, like everyone.

    Morning military parade I normally oversleep :o), and veterans - real ones, not the modern army - is at human time :o), at 5 pm down-town.

    oj willclose up the update I will over sleep otherwise the Red Square parade and that one for achange I wanted to see tomorrow. :o)

    And then go to the veterans ?" parade"? walk? anyway they walk and all give them flowers, at 5pm.

    There isn't a best day to be in Russia than May 9th.

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  • 366. At 05:51am on 09 May 2010, David wrote:

    WA,

    If only I could remember the artist, but in the late 70s a male singer here sang a song about Stalingrad, it was so epic and sad...

    If I ever remember I'll tell you about it. We do know so little ...these days...our youth are well not le creme de la creme of the worlds youth, im ascared.

    David

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  • 367. At 08:56am on 09 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    This day, 60th years ago, Schuman Declaration was given...

    "Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries. With this aim in view, the French Government proposes that action be taken immediately on one limited but decisive point.

    It proposes that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe. The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schuman_Declaration

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  • 368. At 09:57am on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Well, well :o)

    Not bad, Britain :o).

    How do they see the way, black bear hats so low on the eyes?
    I was afraid for them, on the cobbles after all, of the square.
    :o)))))) 100% they walked blind !!! Very festive, red fronts, beautiful.

    American ones had short boots and wide white belts, very white, glistening. Unusual view here, very distinctly different uniform. Sporty, springy step, like as if jumping a bit.

    English ones were very serious, solemn walk.
    Americans' the first man was smiling :o))))))))))

    Mum says France was the most elegant troops. In impeccable clean march, must have been trained to absolute perfection, the line the movements
    - splendid.

    Poland opted for uniforms times WW Two, and to my looks were very well -looking boys, I mean, clearly, the best-looking ones were chosen.

    Inredible, how in one go through the square, they all basially do the same - but different characters and army styles are seen.

    The Allieswere in the historial part of the parade, together with USSR troops of different countries. Turkmenistan did have their white horse, dancing! The Turkmen pres. was shown by the TV close up :o))))) he was all himself standing and dancing :o))))) worried for how it will be!
    Melted out in happy smile; the horse didn't fail, in spite of all the cobbles and sounds and crowds.:o))))

    Turkmenistan president wrote 1 book.:o) In his life :o)))
    And it is called "Akhalketinets (horse type) - Pride and Glory of Ours"
    :o)))))
    They are high, and dry horses, white.

    Azerbajan marched first, it's in alphabetical order, after them - Armenia, Belarus, etc etc. Ukraine, Kazakstan.

    Of USSR we had 5 predators missing :o)))))
    Three Baltics, Georgiaand -Uzbekistan - of all places?!

    Political lay-out for years ahead was laid today in the Red Square.
    Russia is VERY attentive to who came to take part - and who not - on the 65th anniversary.

    Hurray to Angela Merkel!!! The only decent European politician :o), honestly, hat off. Brown, Sarkozy and Berlusconi cancelled the last minute. Ugh.

    She was in the front two seats, cool, Angela and Putin. Well, that was our two, war, to the large extent.
    You can't have the 65th anniversary of nazi defeat without Russia and Germany.

    Medvedev was taking the parade, did a VERY good speech.
    And there was his address - the main meaning - waw was the main driving force of the historical process, forthe previous ab 2 thousand years. And only after the 2nd WW the humanity began despising war, like means of ? solving things. War as a notion - became discredited, in the world.
    Opinion re how good" oruseful" it is - changed opposite.

    The parade was quick :o(
    Just 1 hr 15 minutes. Credit to the organisers, they didn't torture folks for hours :o))))
    And only impeccable organisation and by second training the prev. week allowed to process through the Red Square so much of everything, how to say, in this time.

    From first banners, to Commander greeting all troops, one by one, stopping by every unit in his car Congratulate you with the 65th anniversary ...(Hurrau! Hurray! Hurray! :o)))) as a reply) - to all the countries march, to all Russia's key military academies (cadets) march- 14 academies - to metal things :o) -quick drive through, 14 types ofvarious ? armament as well - to the air part - above - the airplanes:o))) Woosh wooosh wooosh some fireworks and colours of the banner left behind :o)

    And then military orchestra-s of different countries - in one huge orchestra combined - played Ode to Joy- clearly Russia's hello to Europe, and our Den' Pobedy/ Day of Victory song.

    Generalissimo! Sante! Bulgaria is there now, and Greece, and Serbia,and Slovakia I think-the presidents retreated to Kremlin,we are told -for theformal reception - but we all understand - to have a glass now, after the parade!:o))))))

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  • 369. At 11:55am on 09 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    WebAlice

    Re #368 & "...in one go through the square.."

    Well, of course the France Army would look the best, smartest & most practised of marchers: It is so many years since the France Army did anything except practise marching & polishing their boots no one can be bothered to think of it as a military except on the tops of celebratory cakes!

    To be fair to Mr Brown - - he is only for the moment a Prime Minister - - he really cannot represent the UK except on the British Isles, so could not go to Red Square without causing trouble in the UK!

    Yes, it was highly appropriate Merkel & Putin seated side-by-side: As you say it was almost an exclusive 'east' war & very different from in the 'west'. I'm unsure all 'east' Europe would agree with us.
    Nevertheless, Poland did a very good thing to be there and show that the relationship is moving slowly (as they marched) forward: Surely an event that will symbolically mark rapprochment after so many years.

    Personal note for my late father: It was grandfathers of the tall men who wore those big, black, fur, head-dress & redcoats on the parade ground who in 1940 on the Dunkirk beaches assisted my 'short' dad to stay afloat in the water until rescued - - he never forgot them - - neither do any of us in G.B. who like Russians & Americans know & respect the full cost of celebrating Victory in Europe.

    We shall remember them.

    Cheers WebAlice.

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  • 370. At 12:05pm on 09 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    J_R

    Re #367

    You are aware Schumann made the proposal precisely because of the significance of the Date.

    You are aware Schumann always spoke of 'economic' union & never supported or intended for 'political' union except insofar as it was condusive to the, 'coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France & Germany'.

    That is, Schumann wanted France & Germany to learn to live together in economic harmony that would enable political equality; for he, like so many recognised after 100 disastrous years, it was these 2 Nations and no others that were the central cause of all Europe's strife and agonies.

    A 'political' EUropean Union of 15, 21, 27, 28, 29, 30... was never in Schumann's mind nor intended by the Treaty of Rome following the European Iron & Steel Community agreement.

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  • 371. At 12:07pm on 09 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    David

    Re #366

    Are You thinking of Billy Joel singing, "Children of Leningrad" that became a world hit on his tour of the USSR?

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  • 372. At 12:53pm on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    cool_brush :o))), I knew what I am calling when I was writing of the French troops "the most elegant" :o))))))))

    Still, we were choosy inviting - we asked for the same French regiment from which pilots went to fight together with Russians, making up the so-called "Esquadrilla Normandia-Neman" (unknown regiment on your side but remembered warmly here, as they were flying with us).
    Tiny but real.

    American regiment is the same who met with the Red Army on Elbe.

    I didn't know, thank you, of that British division participating in saving in Dunkirk; we here are told that's the ones who were liberating France at the end of the war.
    Well, may be more explanations re the history of that regiment will come later in the day, as celebrations un-roll. Still a lot to take place today.
    And a yet another glass for the British Allies is a must :o)

    Of Brown - I still think the best thing he could do for the country still is to be here today.

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  • 373. At 1:01pm on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Of Angela and Vova :o))), it was funny, he was clearly explaining her the kinds of troops passing by their nose, like, "here go Navy, that's borderline guards' academy, that's Engineering cadet school", etc.

    There was a camera on them when he clearly stuck in his German :o))), lost for words - when The Extraordinary Happenings Ministry cadet school was marching :o)))))
    He must have been showing "earthquakes and floods", by gestures :o)))

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  • 374. At 1:07pm on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    cool_brush, :o))))

    We will write it in the annals of the history :o)

    Nobody ever before - did the march - on those cobbles - blind.

    :o)))))

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  • 375. At 1:21pm on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    oj! Sorry! I mixed up Americans and French when watching in the morning!
    It's French - with the white belts, and in short boots!
    aj jai iaj, shame on me!

    Then, cool-brush - Americans were deemed as "the most elegant" in our household, by fact.

    It's then the French who had the front man smiling, and went in springy, sporty step.

    That's what happens when foreigns come (to a Russian party :o))))) visit - once in 65 years - we don't know the uniforms!

    oj oj oj

    Oh well. At least, the British - our household recognised right!

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  • 376. At 1:23pm on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    OK, I am off to the veterans' parade.
    Leave the floor tosomebody else, temporarily :o)

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  • 377. At 2:01pm on 09 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To cool_brush_work (370):

    "The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe"

    You did note that part of being the "first step in the federation of Europe"?

    Will you now claim that federation of Europe is not a political process ending into a political entity?

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  • 378. At 4:50pm on 09 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Have you looked up euro's current exchange rates?

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  • 379. At 5:16pm on 09 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    365. At 02:51am on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "There are exhibitions of family photos. Concerts of war times' songs all over (we are rich with songs of that period). Even I can sing about 20-30 most popular ones by heart."
    ____________

    Would you be able to provide a list of the names of those songs? The singers? Are there good collections of recordings that can be obtained from, e.g., Amazon?

    Alternatively, if you can post a link with the names of the songs and their singers in Cyrllic, that would be helpful, too [[moderators take note: If web Alice posts a link to songs in Cyrillic, please don't eliminate the link just because it isn't in English ]]

    Here's a (very) short list of music, or performers, popular at the time here:

    Lili Marlene
    You'll Get Used to It
    White Cliffs of Dover
    Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree
    When I'm Cleaning Windows

    Glenn Miller
    Artie Shaw
    Benny Goodman
    Duke Ellington
    Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey

    There were many, many more.

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  • 380. At 5:24pm on 09 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    372. At 12:53pm on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "Of Brown - I still think the best thing he could do for the country still is to be here today."

    ____________

    Or maybe not.

    Gordon Brown already has the charming good looks of a Soviet Politburo member from the Brezhnev era.

    Just imagine the fun the tabloid press would have with photos of Comrade Brown seated in the reviewing stand on top of Lenin's Tomb, taking the salute of a Red Army march past...

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  • 381. At 5:37pm on 09 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    365. At 02:51am on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "Vetrans are left so little, every year their number is shrinking. Muscovites who go to Bolshoy theatre doors say it's scary to watch the number diminishing, year to year."

    "Last year the veterans still walked the Nevsky prospekt in St. Petersburg. That's a must for us here, whole city goes to stand on the sides and cheer, they close the prospekt for traffic, and only veterans walk it. I always attend, like everyone."

    "There isn't a best day to be in Russia than May 9th."

    ____________


    Thank you so much for that posting.
    VE Day is not celebrated here the way it is marked in Russia.
    Our veterans are also dying, and soon our link to, and our collective memory of, that time will be lost.

    I really enjoyed your comments.

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  • 382. At 5:39pm on 09 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To powermeerkat (378):

    Yes, but have you seen this?

    http://fx.sauder.ubc.ca/cgi/fxplot?b=EUR&c=USD&rd=*&fd=1&fm=1&fy=1999&ld=9&lm=5&ly=2010&y=daily&q=volume&f=png&a=lin&m=0&x=

    Exchange rates go up and down, no worry about there.

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  • 383. At 5:43pm on 09 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    THE BIG PICTURE ... Admite the 'Greek' prime minister recently:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFSapBTHxrU&feature=player_embedded

    And also:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/04/rating_agencies_who_made_them.html

    but surely Greek debt can't in reality be junkier today than it was last
    week just because S&P says so?

    You may wonder what on earth is going on...leading credit-rating
    agencies, Moody's and Fitch - have been endowed with enormous authority
    by governments, central banks and regulators.

    They are the gods of the credit markets...

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37037022/ns/world_news-europe/
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8661786.stm

    However, their patience is finite. If they see the money from extra
    taxes being wasted, if they feel that politicians are still cutting
    deals to help themselves to public funds, if tax dodgers are left
    untouched, then their anger will erupt as well. And nobody will be able
    to tell them they have nothing to protest about. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 384. At 6:40pm on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Interestedforeigner,

    - Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me! anyone else but me,anyone else but me da da da ? no? no? no? - Don't sit under the apple tree
    till I come mar-ching home...

    (I stand. at the gate. and the song that I sing
    is of moon-light)
    :o)))))

    I just returned home. Wait a bit. for songs. :o)
    But don't ! etc. :o))))

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  • 385. At 7:09pm on 09 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @367 Jukka Rohila
    I was still in the primary school, aged 9, when my late father (a scolar in history) explained to the whole family on Christmas of 1957, that the French and the Germans were no longer enemies and that a new economic union was emerging in (West) Europe. He was member of the socialist party ever since 1938, but his knowledge in economy and history were large enough to appreciate the evident advantages of that union. Later he became a member of the communist party, a fact that did not change his convictions that the division of Europe was not the best choice for all the nations inhabiting the old continent.
    Robert Schumann is believed to be the patriarch of the EU. But without the pragmatic policy and the solidarity of the West Germany democratic leaders /such as Conrad Adenauer, etc./ Robert Schumann, Jean Monnet and the other French would never succeed in elaborating the chart of the Coal & Steel Community in 1950.
    It was on this day, May 9th 1950, that is to say exactly five years after the Victory Day, that Robert Schumann made his proposal for the inauguration of the Coal & Steel Community. Ever since, May 9th is declared to be the Day of Europe.
    Unfortunately, we, the peoples behind the iron curtain were not well informed about the those important events that were taking place in France, in Germany, in Luxemburg, in Italy, in the Nederland’s and in Belgium. It took the time of one generation to understand the importance of the European integration, a process that has no alternative...
    Cheers Jukka, you won my sympathy...
    I think the Victory day was a prelude to the day of Europe...
    Sofia, may 9th 2010

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  • 386. At 7:16pm on 09 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "Gordon Brown already has the charming good looks of a Soviet Politburo member from the Brezhnev era.

    Just imagine the fun the tabloid press would have with photos of Comrade Brown seated in the reviewing stand on top of Lenin's Tomb, taking the salute of a Red Army march past... "

    I was thinking the same; wrote in the other thread couple of days ago that "Obama and Brown are missing the chance of their life, to trample on the Lenin's mummie a-la Politburo a little bit :o)))))

    Seriously, nobody does, these 20 yrs. Mausoleum is draped up for all events, to make it look as invisible as possible :o))) (with Lenin's mausoleums), say, camouflaged.

    All are on the ground level, normal front row seats. Medvedev they perched up a little bit on something, for the address, but then he was taking the parade, Upper Commander (theoretically). Purely symbolically.

    But by Constitution only he can declare war or close it up, still.

    I understand Gordon Brown currently is going nowhere from 10 Downing street but, still, pity. Tabloids would have had incredible fun, no doubt - but for British-Russian future relations one can't do, in principle, better - any thing - than being here today.

    We were inviting the first time, it took quite some time, say, 20 yrs :o))) , for Russians to carefully invite NATO in :o))))
    (in small q-ty, just about 400-500, to be on the safe side :o))))

    But the main thing, you know, the status - Allies.

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  • 387. At 7:40pm on 09 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @368 AliceInWonderLand
    Under the magnificent music of the overture to the Ruslan & Lyudmila opera of Glinka, I enjoy the pleasure of contemplating the night panorama of Moscow flooded by the artificial fire. The picture is really fantastic. Moscow is becoming the omnipresent image of the Victory day even for the new generations…
    I love you Alice.

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  • 388. At 01:57am on 10 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Generalissimo, how can you love both me and Europe?
    Men

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  • 389. At 01:58am on 10 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Cheshire smile

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  • 390. At 02:28am on 10 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Interestedforeigner,
    I apologise, I am a little bit un-fit to classify songs right now :o)))

    We were "classifying" them all exactly till now, for a very long time, with Poles. In the virtual Russian hospitality party, at the Smolensk city blog. (ab late Polish president crash in our Smolensk)

    Poles went to see us in Moscow on the Victory Day, and this time decided :o))) to risk acting President, Prime Minister and Head of their (kind of) Parliament - combined. :o)))))))

    We've got whole 3 tonight in our greedy bear paws :o)))), and are contemplating ... :o))))

    Anyway, the today's discussions of what on Earth could have happened with the Kachinsky plane (in air) were interrupted by Victory day events, and the bloggers ended up exchanging you tube songs, intermittent with "and don't forget to drink for" :o)))))

    Some Poles are very funny.

    One was invited over (on the blog) to visit Tomsk and he wrote "And why not to have a Magadan address as well; just in case"

    Or, he would write "Shame on you, Russians! You don't want to see our archeologist group excavating the crash site - And there used to be good times, when Russians were welcoming Poles, with bread and salt, provided FOC ttransportation :o)))) - what's the name of that black KGB wagon?
    :o))))))

    But that's an advanced funny Polish, or a song-singing hearty Polish.

    Many Poles who come to the blog still ask Russians "why KGB shot down all the Kachinsky airplane catastrophe surviving passengers."

    To which Russians in the blog reply that "not all; one pilot climbed up a tree, hid himself in branches, and sat there 4 days until he fell down, from hunger. Then he was of course finished off:o))))))))))))))))))))))

    The Poles are also very curious about yellow plastic buckets, instead of aluminum lamp shades, used in one spot in the aerodrome, and what had happened to the aluminum ones.
    To which Rusians standardly reply it is nano-technology buckets, that :o))))

    and all.

    We've used up many songs, I am falling down from the chair :o)

    With the songs, overall situation is it is hard to pin-point the lyrics' author or the composer.
    I am sure most had one, or the other. Are not purely "folk" music, times WW2.

    However in good old USSR times nobody heard of the "authorship rights", and songs were grabatised into ground use (the good ones) immediately after first performance, and there was this notion that all is people's, everyone's, no private property save god on intellectual property.

    So people ever after sing them as their own, people's songs, and we haven't observed composers ever complaining, about radio playing them, TV making movies with them, concerts taking place, with all those war time songs sang by everyone. Difference can be a Philharmonic society , with a full orchestra, and an opera voice - singing those tunes.
    To the amateur singing, at a party. Or a modern concert - done by rock stars - singing those war songs!
    All have taste for them, millions of people sang them after creation, and many traces of what it was originally - and was it ever? are lost.

    Besides, there is a common understanding, that you can't make money on the notions of war, and, like, it'll be a shame - to ever demand something for yourself, when one's song is sang by hundreds of other performers.

    The general attitude is the songs are everyone's - as the war was everyone's
    ____________
    It is far from the chair to the floor; I'll make up for it tomorrow, if you don't mind

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  • 391. At 03:43am on 10 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    390. At 02:28am on 10 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "I apologise, I am a little bit un-fit to classify songs right now :o)))
    We were "classifying" them all exactly till now, for a very long time, with Poles."

    "We've used up many songs, I am falling down from the chair :o)"

    "The general attitude is the songs are everyone's - as the war was everyone's"

    "It is far from the chair to the floor; I'll make up for it tomorrow, if you don't mind."

    ____________

    "It is far from the chair to the floor..."

    No further explanation is required.
    I gather you were perhaps using the Stolichnaya system of music classification?

    I'll look forward to singing those songs tomorrow. Thanks.


    Perhaps you know this one:

    Bless 'em all,
    Bless 'em all.
    The long and the short and the tall,

    Bless all those Sergeants and WO1's,
    Bless all those Corporals and their blinkin' sons,
    Cos' were saying goodbye to 'em all.
    And back to their Billets they crawl,
    You'll get no promotion this side of the ocean,
    So cheer up my lads bless 'em all.

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  • 392. At 04:32am on 10 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 388 AliceInWonderLand
    "Generalissimo, how can you love both me and Europe?"
    It's simple, at least for three reasons:
    1. In 1878 Russia liberated Bulgaria from the Turkish yoke.
    2. The Victory day was a prelude to the Day of Europe.
    3. Europe is our common home.
    Regards

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  • 393. At 05:06am on 10 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @388 AliceInWonderLand
    In addition to my previous post, and risking appearing a little bit inadequate, evening naïve, I can assure you, that your pure emotional, sometimes extreme patriotism resulted in rolling in one your fragile creature and your mother Russia…

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  • 394. At 08:56am on 10 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @388 AliceInWonderLand
    You need maybe some additional explanation darling.
    What makes you so attractive here is your stance about Russia and everything that concerns Russia. You are so eager to make us believe that Russia is a normal country /like all the rest of Europe/ that, at times, the people here fail to understand you. The remaining part of the bloggers /with a few exceptions, like MarcusAurelius/ wouldn’t give a s…. if the rulers of their countries are mistaken over such or such issue. They openly criticize what they believe to be a wrong achievement of their politicians, much to the satisfaction of the BBC experts, who fathom /almost free of charge/, the public opinion in Europe and all over the world. As a result, you appear to be an exception, and, that fact, combined with the natural curiosity about that mysterious (semi-European, semi-Asian Russia) makes you an attractive blogger who won the sympathy even of those who have prejudices about your country. If I can put in a few words, all the people here, except for you, are individuals who present their OWN views on each topic Gavin Hewitt launches here for discussion, while, at the same time, you plead for a cause that seems to be the right one only in your own imagination… I am sorry if I have hurt your feelings darling.
    I take the opportunity to express my satisfaction over the excellent organization of the military parade on the Red Square. The event is historical. Does it mean that Russia is going to change for good?

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  • 395. At 09:50am on 10 May 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    '378. At 4:50pm on 09 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    Have you looked up euro's current exchange rates?'

    Yes, the Euro is worth 1.30 dollars as opposed to 1.18 at the Euro launch date in 1999.

    And your point is???

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  • 396. At 11:02am on 10 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    That merely couple of months ago it was roughly US$1.5 to 1 euro.


    Please, repeat the question in 6 months. :)

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  • 397. At 11:05am on 10 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "by the early 1950s, when the project was completed, the Cold War was in full flow. As a result, the building was renamed Bevin Court, honouring Britain's firmly anti-communist Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin.

    "I still write my address as Lenin Court instead of Bevin Court. Letters are delivered anyway because of the postcode," says local resident Craig Ford.

    An avowed left-winger, Mr Ford has repeatedly proposed that the building be renamed after Lenin, and that a Lenin memorial built in a square nearby be reinstalled.

    The memorial, also designed by Lubetkin, marked the site of Lenin's lodgings at Holford Square and was erected in 1942." [BBC]


    Now that should make EUSSR leaders and posters from "new Russia" happy. :)

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  • 398. At 11:42am on 10 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re304:

    I have briefly found this on the FITA site stating statistics of the World Bank. Whoever trusts them anyway...:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    2004 15739 47360 -31621 33085 14020 19065 -12556
    2005 17631 51900 -34269 33914 14742 19172 -15097
    2006 20300 64585 -44285 35762 16367 19395 -24890
    2007 23991 81041 -57050 43080 20270 22810 -34240
    2008 29163 94209 -65046 50473 24903 25570 -39476

    Where:
    1 Year
    2 Exports of goods
    3 Imports of goods
    4 Exports/Imports of goods
    5 Exports of services
    6 Imports of services
    7 Exports/Imports of services
    8 Exports / Imports
    All foreign trade indicators measured in millions USD

    While it is true that the import/export gap is driven by consumer products which by the way Greece never produced, I really do ignore where this doubling of imports of goods is attributed as I cannot imagine the internal market after the stock market crash being able to import at double rates even including all those tax evaders there. There is no doubt that the gap is widening as Greece's production baseline is getting thinner and thinner, that is no secret, but more development is needed. The service positive numbers is no heartening either since an important part of it - I guess - thanx to tourism and all related commerce, thus it is no sign of any particular strength of the service sector. Had the maritime commerce been more present there, the positive gap would had been huge.

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  • 399. At 11:48am on 10 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re397:
    """Now that should make EUSSR leaders and posters from "new Russia" happy."""

    Lenin was not Russian. He begun a revolution which finally led to the death of 50,000,000 Russian citizens, most of them ethnic Russians. Apart convinced communists, there is not necessarily any huge love of Russians to Lenin. If people nowadays are treating the USSR in a positive light, that is mainly the result of treating it in a "not so negative light" for the grace of integrating it as a part of later Russian history. At the end, it was not Stalin but the Russian people who turned the tables in the battle of Volgograd (known more as battle of Stalingrad...) who were motivated by the danger of loss of their fatherland rather than any defeat of the communist regime which in their majority they despised.



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  • 400. At 1:16pm on 10 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #399


    It seems that no Russian leader was Russian: they were German, Tartar, Georgian, Ukrainian, Jewish, whatever. Anything but Russian, of course.



    Question: Why then, in the most recent plebiscite (AD 2009) RUSSIANS from the RUSSIAN Federation have selected Joseph Stalin as "one of greatest RUSSIAN leaders" in the history of THEIR country?

    And keep erecting NEW monuments for him? (e.g. in Leningrad Oblast)


    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 401. At 2:38pm on 10 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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

  • 402. At 2:40pm on 10 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    On one thing, though, I compliment your reasoning - there is no "new Russia", one and the same.

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  • 403. At 2:56pm on 10 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @398. At 11:42am on 10 May 2010, Nik,

    Thank you Nik!

    That is what I'm trying to tell Jukka etc. Without any doubt Greece has to reduce its public servants, however even if it didn't have one single public servant it would still have to do something in the development side of things. In order to be more self suficient, that is an area that in my eys at least Belarus did well, its development path is one of self suficiency. Unlike Greece, Latvia that sold their industries and production to western companies and now all they are, is customers to buy on credit.

    The EU gave credit to those nations in order for them to buy goods/services from German & French companies. It did not give them any assistance to develop their own technologies and companies that could compete with existing member industries!

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  • 404. At 3:13pm on 10 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re400: Good question there, but easily explained. There was a huge dilemma in post-USSR Russia as to how treat its 1917-1990 history, which by the way is its most recent history with the bulk of its citizens being born and raised then!!!

    There were 2 main story lines (and many variations inbetween):

    1) Treat USSR as an imbed in Russian history
    2) Treat USSR as an integral part of Russian history

    According to the first, communist revolution would be described as the result of international mechanisms and machinations against the Russian people (and it was the reality of course) which resulted in the death of 10s of millions of Russians next to millions of other nations part of the Russian Empire. According to that view, Russians would instantly distance themselves to all crimes commited under the communist regime. However according to that point of view, Russians would have to distance themselves from key issues like the victory of WWII, the space exploration and other huge achievements which afterall were the feat of Russian people, not communnists.

    Hence, after a hesitation that lasted more or less 10 years, in the early Putin years, a (somehow watered) 2nd approach was chosen:

    USSR was to be viewed as an integral part of Russian history and its achievements as the achievements of Russian people while the hideous crimes commited as the result of harsh communist leadership as dictated by the political necessities of the time for which Russians will have to half-assume at some point if asked by others (like Polish had asked), by always on a case to case basis. This approach came more at the Putin-ish policy of accepting free market conditions in a state-controlled economy in which the USSR "patriarhical" model had an input to play.

    Thus modern Russians while knowing about Stalin's huge crimes against them, prefer to view him as the leading fugure of the Russian struggle against German Nazi barbarism, a kind of 20th century Alexander Nevsky. When they vote Stalin as first, it is in the honour of Russian people they do it, not in the honour of Stalin himself necessarily (which only communist fossils do really do in that way).

    I find it this kinf of national propaganda both "totally usefull" for modern Russia as well as totally "totally destructive" as it hides the reality behind the bolshevic revolution and the real identity of its leadersship.

    As for Russian leaders, in USSR, few if any were really Russians, that is a fact - in pre-USSR era following the marriages of local leadership, the first Russian leaders were Slavo-Vickings (the well known Varrangians), then Slavo-Greeks as Russians became christianised by Byzantines, then Russians for most of it till Great Peter and from there one their lineage became increasingly Germanised through adopting the bad (and downright barbaric and primitive) habit of intermarrying royalties among Europeans. Intermarriage with Germanic royalties is seen by Russians as a reason of the increasing weakness of Russia to impose its interests to Britain.

    Note that Russia has always been an Empire. A multi-ethnic Empire. Not a nation-state. Since the beggining and continuing to our days. Ethnic Russians are simply the driving motor of the state but from there one, a large number of people of different origins played and still play their role.

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  • 405. At 3:13pm on 10 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I mean, I am not interested in "easy solutions". And won't accept any "black holes" in our history, interruptions.
    Which interruptions, clocks were not stopped and set on again. Not that anyone remembers. 70 yrs is a flick of a time in our thousand years plus history, there were other interesting times, rest assured - LOL!

    ________________________

    Again, as in your golden years,
    Three worn out horse breech-bands are tumbling on the ground,

    And spokes, intircately painted,
    Are drowning in the unsteady rut.


    Rossia. Damn, dear darling Russia!
    Your greyish, beggar-poor huts
    Your songs - sang standing in the high wind blowing -
    For me -
    like tears of the first love.

    I do not know - how to pity you?
    And carry my cross (with utmost care).

    - Do what you want! Give away - to any new charmer -
    Your bandit beauty :o)

    He might allure you, and fool you
    - You shall not perish out of it.

    And only a worry - will cloud
    Your beatuful face.

    So what. (sigh :o)
    For you it'll be - one trouble more.
    By one more tear - the river shall more noisy be.

    Meanwhile - you're the same.
    Field and forest.
    And intricately decorated head-scarf - worn down - to the very eye-brows.

    And all Impossible - in this country - gets Posssible!
    The far-away heavy road - is suddenly becoming light!

    When there will chancily glance at you :o), from the road dust cloud,
    - a momenarily girl's look - from under that scarf :o)

    When there is trembling, singing, from a distance
    the ages-old song of the post-man.

    Alexander Block, 1890.

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  • 406. At 3:26pm on 10 May 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    '396. At 11:02am on 10 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    That merely couple of months ago it was roughly US$1.5 to 1 euro.


    Please, repeat the question in 6 months. :)'

    Will do.

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  • 407. At 3:37pm on 10 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    An experience shows that FSB plants don't last long in this blog.

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  • 408. At 5:46pm on 10 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Nik wrote:

    "Note that Russia has always been an Empire. A multi-ethnic Empire. Not a nation-state. Since the beggining and continuing to our days."






    And that's the problem. Not even so much for Russia's neighbours, as for Russians themselves.

    Take for instant Caucasus... The growing threat of terrorism within Russia proper would not have materialized had it not been for repeated brutal military interventions in Chechnya, subjugation of Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardyno-Balkaria, etc., in the most recent past.

    [Not that antagonizing Georgians will increase internal security in RF]


    Even more importantly: Manchurians have never reconciled themselves to the continued occupation of their ancient homeland.

    And, since nobody ever defeated demography China won't even have to fight to get current Primorski and Khabarovski Kray back; the area is depopulating as it is and a massive influx of Chinese to the area will almost guarantee that it will find itself under de facto (if not de iure) Beijing's control in 20-25 years tops. [been that, seen that]


    Similarly Japanese have never reconciled themselves to the loss of Sakhalin and some of its Kuril Islands.

    Had Moscow reliquished control of those lands it would have received a massive influx of both money and modern technology from Japan years ago.

    [and God only knows, Russia's Far East badly needs both]

    But so far, Moscow's chauvinism has been prevailing over rationality.

    Now, you tell me: have those imperial tendencies benefitted Russians in any way? And if so - how?

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  • 409. At 6:35pm on 10 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Interestedforeigner,
    I don't know from what to begin. This is like "explain me Shakespeare in two words" :o)
    Well, easier, and we shall overcome one day.
    ___________________________

    For general orientation, as I still need to do some things in the day-light :o)
    ___________________________


    1. Temnaya Noch' / Dark Night

    2. Shalandy, polnye kefali / Flat bottom boats of fishermen boats, full of kefal (Black Sea type fish)

    3. Baron von der Pshik ("pshik", a sound, when you pour cold water onto a burning ? frying pan - pffff - a cloud - and none. :o) Gone :o)))

    4. James Kennedy (pride of the Englsih fleet - James Kennedy)(jazz)

    5. Utomlennoye Solntse (Tired, exhausted Sun) (a tango)

    6. Svyashennaya Wayna (Sacred War) (call to stand up and fight. written overnight on 23rd June 1941, 2 days post-war beginning, and performed at the Belorussian r/w station, for volunteers leaving by to the front line) (kind of hymn here, of the Great Patriotic War)

    7. Tri Tankista (Three Tankers). "Three tankers, three merry friends - crew - of the muilitary machine!"
    In fact, 1939 song, build-up of war, on our conflicts in the borderline. With Japanese who settled down in China.

    Excellent energising song, say, for dish-washing or other boring home tasks.

    8. Sinen'ky skromny platochek (Bluish, modest head scarf)

    A bullet-toss-er song. A bullet-toss? Machine-gun.

    9. V lesy prifrontovom (In pre-frontline forest) (waltz)

    10. Smuglyanka-moldovanka (dark-skinned Moldovian girl) (partisan-favourite song) (happy energetic)

    11. Dorogi (Roads) "Ouch, those roads! Dust and fog".

    12. Korrespondentskaya Zastol'naya (War correspondent at-a-table song)
    Journalists complaining about own life.

    13. Zhuravli (Cranes) On the soldiers, who don't return back.
    One of the very best.

    14. Solovjiee (Nightingales). "Nightingales, nightingales, do not disturb the chaps. Let the boys sleep just a little bit more."

    15. V Zemlyanke (In the dug-out earthen hut). "Bushes rustled, whispered me about you, in the snow-white fields under Moscow"
    "To you - it is far, and to death - 4 steps". :o(

    16. Katiusha

    17. Vragi sozhgli rodnuju hatu (Enemies burned up native hut)
    :o(


    18. Na bezimyannoy vysote (On un-named height)

    "(it took place) by the un-known village... On the no-name Height...." :o(

    19. Na solnechnoy polyanochke (On sunny little meadow)
    "...there, a dark-eyed girl, - drove me mad" :o)

    - "when you'll be back with an order, or a medal - then we'll continue the talk!" :o)

    20. Davaj zakurim! (Let's have a smoke)

    21. Do svidanija, mal'chiki (Good-bye, boys)

    22. Dorozhka frontovaya (Little road of the front) Cheerful. Driver's song.

    23. Zhdi menya (Wait for me) "Wait for me - and I'll be back. Only - wait very much!" :o) oj, in fact it's a verse

    24. Kazaki (Cossacks) "There - are riding, riding, riding our kazaki"

    "There go to Berlin-city - our kazaki!"

    25. Lubimy gorod (beloved city)

    25. Na vs'iu ostavshujusya zhizn' (For all our remaining life)

    "For all our remaining life - remember brotherhood of front-line
    As a Will - holy. For all still remaining to us, life."

    26. Nam nuzhna odna pobeda (We Need One Victory)

    ...for we need - only one victory.
    Only one - for all. And we won't care for the price!


    27. On ne vernulsya is boya (He Didn't Return From the Beat/Battle)

    Why is everything wrong? All seems usual , as always been. Same sky - again - blu. Same forest. Same air. And even - the water/river is the same! Only my friend - he didn't come back from the yesterday's fighting.

    28. Pesenka o pehote. (Little Song about infantry)

    Forgive the infantry. That it happens to be so silly.
    We're always leaving - when outdoors is raging Spring. :o(

    29. Pesenka o soldatskikh sapogah (Little song about soldier boots)

    30. Proschayte, skalistye gory! (Farewell, Rocky Mountains)

    31. Slychayny Val's (Chancy Waltz)

    "and there lie on my palm - your un-known hand" "I have heard a waltz melody, and glanced into your party just for a sec."

    32. Schtrafnye Batallyony (Fine? Punishment? Batallions)

    (prizon convicts sent to the front-line. In attack.)

    33. Posledny Boy (The last Battle)

    "The last battle - is the most tricky.
    And I - home, to Russia, I want
    I so long - haven't seen my mum" :o(

    34. Belorussija (Belorussia)
    (partisan song as well)

    35. Beri shinel' - poshli domoy! (Pick-up overcoat - let's go home!)

    36. Den' Pobedy (Day of Victory)

    37. Na Bratskih Mogilah (On Brotherly Graves) common graves

    38. Oshibka (Mistake) "We are buried - some place under Narva"

    39. Hotyat-li russkie wayny (Do Russians want war?)

    40. Esli b ne bylo wayny (If There Wasn't War)

    41. Pomni Waynu (Remember the War)

    42. Maya Maskva (my Moscow)

    43. Ne plach', devchonka! (Don't cry, girl!)

    44. Ya Yak - Istrebitel' (I am - Yak the Destroyer)

    45. Uhodim Pod Vody (We Go under Water) Submariner song

    46. Bymazhny Soldat (Paper Soldier)

    "You never trust him with your Important secrets
    And why is so? It is so , because - soldiers are spendable/made of paper". :o(

    ___________

    Approximately, so.

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  • 410. At 10:20pm on 10 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Good.
    Now, that you have an idea of the tunes. Very simple.

    1. Temnya Noch' / Dark Night

    It was film done in war begining, and song of it became popular at once.
    Singing: Mark Bernes. He was the first one who sang it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDGLFLKa5o4&NR=1


    13. Zhuravli / The Cranes

    Don't know who is singing. The verse was written by Rasul Gamzatov, a soldier from Caucasus.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB1J7JBszys

    14. James Kennedy

    Most know only 5-6 pieces of it and the refrain of course.
    Now, this clip below is extreme deficit and a rarity -
    it contains the whole song.

    I will teach you: :o)

    On the ship the capitan - James Kennedy
    Pride of the English fleet - James Kennedy
    Aren't they all in love with you - James Kennedy?
    Girls of the country are whispering - Jimmy! Jimmy!

    Refrain:
    Only at sea.
    Only at sea.
    This ia absolutely so
    This is absolutely
    Only at sea
    Only at sea
    Can a sea-man happy be!

    Called our James his Admiral: James Kennedy
    You aren't a coward as I heard : James Kennedy
    Important cargo is entrusted to you, James Kennedy
    To the USSR carry to friends - Jimmy -Jimmy!

    Stormy at sea, and foggy quite - James Kennedy
    But is brave our capitan - James Kennedy
    Through the storm he leads his ship - James Kennedy
    But in the tempest he still sings - James Kennedy!

    Presently, - a German periscope! - James Kennedy
    And he shouts - Machine, stop! James Kennedy
    Very target-ly? frits-es? beats James Kennedy
    The German shouts already from the sea-bottom: James! Kennedy! :o)))))))))

    Then he hears on top a nasty howl - James Kennedy
    Messershmidt over the head! - James Kennedy
    But in this case the case is simple :o) - James Kennedy
    The German is being done :o) - James Kennedy

    He's been wounded twice - but he has come - James Kennedy
    Cargo brought to Soviet port - James Kennedy
    - How you were bravely fighting, Sir! James Kennedy
    - I am a British officer. James Kennedy.

    Ready to the way back - James Kennedy
    Friend of Soviet sea-men - James Kennedy
    All are wishing him a safe return home! James Kennedy!
    Never forget this - James Kennedy.

    Thus, under the shower of enemy bullets - James Kennedy
    Goes - Murmansk - Liverpool - James Kennedy
    And this British Officer - James Kennedy
    Now was awarded a USSR order as well! James Kennedy

    :o))))))

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W66OOj5ihE4&playnext_from=TL&videos=mqTLH2P5_L0

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  • 411. At 11:45pm on 10 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Thank you Web Alice.

    We have a big Russian community here. If it can't be found on You Tube or Amazon, people here will know where copies of this music can be found so I can hear what it sounds like.

    Thank you, again.

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  • 412. At 00:47am on 11 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    While I am waiting for your post 411 to transfer :o),
    - here is Smulgianka-Moldovanka to you, the dark-skinned Moldovian girl, in two formats.

    People's song, no author. Partisan song.

    :o)

    Once, in the morning, at the dawn
    I glanced over the fence, to the neighbours' garden
    There a dark-skinned, Moldovian gal :o) - was collecting grapes

    I am blushing, I am getting pale in the face, I want to tell her, so!
    "Let's go to the river bank, meet clear transparent sun-rises together!" :o)

    Refrain: Oh, curly! Maple tree, cut-out leaves
    There, by the maple tree - we shall be parting, you and me
    Maple tree green, and maple tree curly, and all-out curly, this maple tree!

    (quite silly, in fact :o))). Just, a refrain.)

    But the Moldovian goody-goody girl :o) was answering the boy thus:
    "We are putting together a partisan-Moldovan group
    Tomorrow in the morning partisans are going to leave their homes
    A road is waiting for me! To the partisans, to the deep deep forest."

    Refrain.

    tra la la. They parted.
    Then Smuglianka-Moldovanka went off away from me, by the path to the forest
    I have found in this an offence - that she didn't invite me with
    About my Smuglianka-Moldovanka I was thinking much at nights :o(
    :o))))))
    - Then! Again! I met my girl
    In the forest, with a partisan group!



    tra la la. - Hello, darling! My sweet-heart, very dear and mine!
    Oh maple tree - curly curly maple tree! etc.

    Happy end. :o)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Epm6FP54Cec&feature=related

    and the same 60 years later

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q7V6O7VCtQ&playnext_from=TL&videos=mdvpPa2HnUM


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  • 413. At 04:07am on 11 May 2010, David wrote:

    You are the reason people write poetry/songs..FOR YOUR DEEP PLEASURE.

    WA

    hAVE ONE FOR YOU MORE ABOUT ME..LOST LOVE..IDEALISTIC NOT FOR ONE PERSON

    It has a long pretty piano introduction, so nice.



    In the wee small hours of the morning

    when the whole wide world is fast asleep

    You lay and think about the man

    and never even think of counting sheep

    When your heart has learned its lesson

    You'd be his if only he/she would call

    In the wee small hours of the morning

    thats the time you miss him/her most

    Most

    of all

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  • 414. At 09:36am on 11 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 405 WA
    Blok's my favorate Russian poet. ("Neznakomka", russ. "The stranger", is the best portrait of the young St.Petersbourgoise I have ever read).
    Regards

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  • 415. At 8:56pm on 11 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Interestedforeigner,
    sure. If you have some Russians around, everyone will sing you. Without youtube, LOL.

    Younger generations may have a problem with "Baron fon der Pshik" :o).
    In which case you give a hint it's
    "In Capetown port, with cocoa on board, Zhanette was fixing up her takelage" /masts and rigging :o)

    Anyway, you've got now an order list :o)

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  • 416. At 9:38pm on 11 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

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

  • 417. At 12:05pm on 12 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Had 3 postings removed in 3 days.

    359 - for toasting with Generalissimo for the victory. Used a French word. Can't repeat again for obvious reason. Hint: it looks similar to the English word "Saint".
    Generalissimo, in future I will toast with you using "Saint!"

    401 - for trying to offend powermeerkat (BBC classified it as trying to offend). The offensive word was "lazy".
    Having read powermeerkat's 407, I think he complained to the BBC that he is not lazy, and that I am offending him.

    I apologise powermeerkat. You are very hard-working.

    And, finally, 416 - which I tend to classify as fair :o))))), I think moderators simply decided in this case - enough is enough :o))))), with the Russian songs.

    On account - who said Russian victory comes easy? It doesn't.
    So all is normal. :o)))))))))

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  • 418. At 2:23pm on 12 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 418 AliceInWonderLand
    Thanks Alice. If you prefer to chat with me on other blogs,
    I guess, there are two possibilities,
    1)Either you name here some Russian blog of your choice,
    2)Either we meet on the "Figaro" blogs in French. My nickname there is "francophone". There are plenty of Russians there, however I would rather chat with you on some Russian blog you may name here. Note I know French since the age of 2. All my family speaks excellent French according to the local traditions /just like in the Russian Empire of before 1917/.
    /this is not an offence to the BBC stuff. We might chat here as well from time to time. I just wonder how the Russian youngsters would comment what is going on in Russia and in Europe/
    Just tell me if you are ready darling...
    Regards

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  • 419. At 3:24pm on 12 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @417 WA
    Thank you Alice, it seems you enjoy the full liberty of chatting with many English speaking bloggers here from the four corners of the globe. You are a lucky girl. I just wanted to join some interesting Russian blog out of pure curiosity. Just name it and I will go there alone. You are not at all engaged to meet me there. Just write the blog name and adress. Thanks

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  • 420. At 5:18pm on 12 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    generalissimo, I don't know French :o(.

    I studied it only 2 months in Paris in a Catholic monastery and the eneterprise left zero effect on me. Nil. :o))))))))

    I guess I am like Mavrelius, in this respect :o))))), naturally resistent :o))))

    Some twist of genetics or I don't know what.
    Can be simply un-human morning classes that I don't recignise blind as time of the day fit for any thing but happy snoring :o)

    But clearly not only that - even a sleepy student might acquire a phrase or two in 2 months' classes' time. ? Even the most hopeless one.
    One word, at least?

    Of Russian blogs to meet - I am not a blogger overall, don't know places, well, know where to read what others write, many, but did not register.

    At the moment I can think only of the Smolensk city blog, where I am registered, but it is focused on the catastrophe and the Polish-Russian relations.

    Not that a narrow subject definition stopped me ever :o). In fact at nights it is very wonderful there, their moderators don't work at nights, but come up to work in the morning - and clean up all the off-topic that got accummulated during the night before.

    Simple system, that allows many hearty exchanges on all subjects possible
    to take place night-time on that blog, with contributors in Russian, Polish, English and now we got some Germans - all simply write in own tongues and then translate themselves by google under, doubling the message.
    Or simply leave it in a native tongue - for others to google translate and figure out what they wanted to say.

    In the morning come moderators, clean the place :o)))), making it look technical again. Very decent and scientific :o))))
    Until the next evening.

    Politics stays if it were originally printable :o)))))
    And also songs and pictures that moderators like personally :o))))

    May be let's meet there. The Smolensk blog is forever, by all looks. Investigation committees of both countries still don't release any factual info, and when they will - by this point - no one will believe it :o)))) whatever it will be :o))))) and will safely keep discussing for a year longer, finding defects in the official story of the
    order of events leading to the crash.


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  • 421. At 07:20am on 13 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 420 WA
    OK for the Smolenks blog. Shall apprecaite to give me here the adress and your nickname there. I shall be waiting for you there under my present nickname.

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  • 422. At 2:11pm on 13 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Generalissimo you know I can't give a link here to non-English language site. You will have to google smolensk ws - will open a google list, of sites, various forums and blogs on the site Smolensk ws -
    choose from the google list of options the one that says (in Russian)

    In Smolensk fell airplane . Smolensk forum

    There are many forums, on different subjects, discussed in that Smolensk ws forum, you certainly need the one titled "In Smolensk fell an airplane"

    You don't want Katyn' discussion, help with medications required, "How I built a house in 3 weeks for 130,000 roubles myself alone" and "a cat is stuck in the tree - help!"

    You need "In Smolensk fell an airplane" part of the Main Forum.

    There will be an option for you for registration in the upper right hand corner.
    As to my nick name there is only one Alice, and you can see below there always who is switched on on the forum currently. It gives nick-names and, like "and 286 guests".

    Welcome. There are real Russians that you were eager to see, and I wish you do, because you wrote I am a total imagination like a mirage in a desert :o))))), and my views are also unique like of a mirage hallucinating about a mirage :o))))) - you will see we are quite real.
    Nipage 796 of this "In Smolensk fell an airplane" goes now, it's the

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  • 423. At 9:37pm on 13 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 422 WA
    I am already there, on page 796, with my comments. The pleasure of chatting in Russian is fantastic.

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  • 424. At 03:24am on 14 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 422 WA
    I have to correct the previous information. The page number is 801.
    Regards and thank you again...

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  • 425. At 11:00am on 18 May 2010, Pompeyuna wrote:

    Hahaha, it's lovely.

    So Mr. Byrne leaves on Mr.Laws' desk a note "I'm afraid to tell you there is no money". Hahaha, "sic transit gloria mundi" my dear British fella...
    So, tell me, which is the original acronym you will come up with now? Let's work on some etymological study of your glorious "PIGS" acronym:
    1) PIGS stood originally for Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain.
    2) PIIGS: It was then expanded to provide cover for Italy, suffering as well from different episodes of "macroeconomics gastroenteritis".
    3) All the while, the glorious United Kingdom of Great Britain and bla, bla, bla unleashing its City boys & girls without (knowingly) letting it be known that "Oh dear" they were suffering form pretty much the same symptoms. Hahaha, so...
    4) Clearly without the possibility of stretching any more your accronym without running the risk of rendering it meaningless, you brilliant minds MUST come up with something new, especially bearing in mind that there are new ingredients (read countries) in the "paella". In here a few suggestions:
    5) Already, two of the "new" members of the group (France and UK), that are and will continue tightening their belts, give birth to a very, very interesting acronym...you got it, right?
    6) Ok, so far we've got the PIIGS and the XXX (otherwise Mr. Moderator here blocks me, hahaha
    7) Come on, help me out here!!! Any more interesting ideas...?

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  • 426. At 11:02am on 18 May 2010, Pompeyuna wrote:

    Sorry, so where were we at?

    Ah, yes!

    "XXX"! there are some PIIGS coming!!!

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  • 427. At 11:56am on 21 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    """3) All the while, the glorious United Kingdom of Great Britain and bla, bla, bla unleashing its City boys & girls without (knowingly) letting it be known that "Oh dear" they were suffering form pretty much the same symptoms. Hahaha, so..."""

    Look, if we add Great Britain too from the back door, i.e. as Britain Great! then we have Britain Italy Great Portugal Ireland Greece Spain... i.e. BIG PIGS.

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