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Greece and the story of George and Angela

Gavin Hewitt | 09:45 UK time, Monday, 3 May 2010

Greek PM George Papandreou and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 5 Mar 10ATHENS Two leaders. They do not know each other well. They find themselves locked in a high-stakes game. They sit on opposite sides of the table. The outcome of the game is so important that the US president calls. The IMF and EU are involved, but some of the key moves will be made by George and Angela. One is George Papandreou, the Prime Minister of Greece. The other is Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor.

George has power in his blood. It's the family business. Angela has earned nothing by right. She is the analyser. She is unemotional. She watches, she listens and then decides. She is cautious by nature, unimpressed by the peacockery of male leaders. She does not like cheats.

At the outset George was open about the Greek accounts. The books had been cooked. Angela liked his candour. George began a little belt-tightening. Public sector wages were cut. He promised that this year the deficit would be reduced by 4%. It convinced a few EU officials, but not the financial markets and certainly not Angela. She wanted much more. In her corner she had the German people; they had not joined the euro to bail out cheats.

So round after round they eyed each other. As the cost of borrowing increased for Greece George played his club card. They were all in the European family together. He waved the flag of European solidarity, guessing correctly that others , particularly EU officials, would come to his side. He was after a big loan that would persuade the financial markers to back off. Angela didn't buy into this. Greece had to do more.

George grew impatient and threatened to go to the IMF. He gambled that European officials would panic; they hated the idea of outsiders being called in to put out the fires within. Angela called his bluff. Go right ahead, she said, call in the IMF.

Sometimes George played defence. His hands were tied. He pointed to unrest on the streets. The Greeks couldn't take any more austerity. The anarchists were at the gates of the finance ministry.

But Angela had her crowd too: 65% of her people would prefer Greece to leave the club altogether. Show them the door. They broke the rules.

So the two leaders stared each other down and the financial markets sniffed a stalemate. All the time the cost of financing Greek debt was rising. George was begging to be rescued. This time other eurozone countries were with him. Angela was stony-faced. The outsiders were putting the squeeze on her. Sometimes EU officials would announce deal done. Angela refused to unlock the funds and the deal evaporated.

"If you think we're going to play paymaster you're wrong" was Angela's line. She hinted at new rules, even treaty changes. The serial offenders would be kicked out. The euro officials gasped. Angela was playing the Iron Lady. A new Germany was emerging that put national interest above being "good Europeans".

This was not just the biggest crisis to have faced the euro, it hinted at deeper, more fundamental crises within the EU.

Angela just didn't buy into George's world. She suspected that once the pressure was off the Greeks would be back to their old ways. The phoney receipts. The tax evasion. The black economy. The pay-offs. The back-handers . Time and again George insisted he could not do more. The people would not accept it. Angela did not blink. She wanted a convincing programme of reform. She had grown up in former communist East Germany and knew about nations paying a price.

George, however, understood the end game was close. Greece was effectively shut out of the bond market. The moment of default was approaching. The debt could not be serviced in May. He sensed his moment. This crisis was not about Greece. It was about the euro, the single currency, the European dream. Europe feared contagion, that the debt crisis would spread. It all strengthened George's hand. The Greek economy made up only 2.6% of the eurozone's GDP, but in effect Greece was too big to fail. George had the best cards. The worse it got the greater the pressure on Angela. She had resisted a bail-out. Then her ground shifted. If Greece was to be helped then it would have to be at commercial rates. She had drawn her line, but she was in retreat.

Then a wild card put the game George's way. A ratings agency downgraded Greece's credit to junk. The Greek debt crisis had become a full-blown financial hurricane. It risked the stability of the euro and Angela's bluff was called. She had to defend the currency that Germany used. Initially Germany, as the biggest contributor, was going to lend Greece 8bn euros (£7bn). Within days Germany was in for more than 20bn euros.

The game, however, was not quite over. Angela had wanted the IMF involved. She guessed that they would insist on harsher terms in exchange for a massive rescue package. She was right. The loans will be made every quarter and Greece's books will be examined. Any back-sliding on reducing the deficit and Greece could face sanctions. Contained in the deal is an attempt to restructure the Greek economy. If Greece is to compete in the future it has to change and become more competitive. The Germans are looking for a new business culture in Greece.

So the package is harsh - harsh enough for Angela to defend it to her people. George might have got the money, he might have staved off bankruptcy, but he has to extract £26bn worth of cuts in three years. His battles will now be fought out on the streets. The IMF negotiator casually mentioned yesterday that "the need for deeper cuts could not be ruled out".

For Angela, she got the best deal she could. She has made it clear this rescue plan is not a blueprint for helping other countries that get into difficulty. Around her are people who suspect Greece won't be able to pay the money back. Despite the bail-out, it is hard to see how the Greek economy will grow. So down the road Germany will have to look again at the club it belongs to. The more the Germans are asked to bail-out others, the more they will question the club they belong to. So George won the first round. Angela and most European officials know a breathing space has been bought. That is all.

Comments

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  • 1. At 10:02am on 03 May 2010, Manneken wrote:

    Well, at least we now know how much Greece is valued at: about 0.4 times revenue will buy you a Eurozone country.

    Following the acquisition (not sure if it was hostile or not), management will be directed by the new shareholders to restructure and practice some deep cuts.

    It is the only way for Greece to become a growing business (sorry, country) again.

    All the talk of devaluation misses the point. A devaluation would have provided short term relief, at the price of no or not sufficient restructuring. Ask Argentina, once richer than most EU countries, how it works out long term.

    At least now, the new owners (the EU and the IMF as minority interest partner) can force proper restructuring.

    George really should offer a Greek beach holiday to Angela - she deserves it.

    And, as a show of solidarity, other Eurozone citizens should go to Greece on holiday. Apparently, prices are going down, and services will go up...

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  • 2. At 10:03am on 03 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    Ridiculous article. Again focused on good Germans and bad Greeks, and as if other Eurozone members do not contribute to the rescue. It is an approach on religious right-wing terms not an objective analysis of the complex situation.

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  • 3. At 10:14am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    Greece will be ok:)

    Poor Angela M.

    She has had hard time of it..looks exhausted.

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  • 4. At 10:32am on 03 May 2010, Sovjohn wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt - Your latest articles indicate that the German anti-Greece sentiments have affected you too much.

    It's a pity that you probably ignore comments made to your articles, because I find your latest articles insulting to the readers' intelligence. Above and beyond the "power-plays" that have taken place in the Greek issue in 2010, you seem to conveniently forget the impact of things on non-corrupted and non-profiteer Greek citizens.

    It's always the Germans this and the Germans that - but if you believe that reducing the pension pay (!) of people in Greece will make Ms. Merkel happier, then she's a monstrous individual.

    I believe you've been in Athens, so gather some information and try to stop appearing pro-German in all occasions. It's not a black or white situation, and many shades of gray exist in between.

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  • 5. At 10:41am on 03 May 2010, Causantin wrote:

    This is ridiculous. Germany is not giving away money to Greece, it is lending at a not insignificant profit. A greater profit, one may add, than it was making 3 months ago, before the speculative attack.

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  • 6. At 10:43am on 03 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @ Sovjohn
    Well said. Gavin, your reporting reminds me of a priest preaching the good and evil through parable if not explicitely. These are not serious articles and you go from bad to worse.

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  • 7. At 10:55am on 03 May 2010, Giorgio Montana wrote:

    Another simplistic article that shows the Boolean, nationalistic logic of the author (and his political mentors) when it comes to European affairs.

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  • 8. At 11:00am on 03 May 2010, DavCrav wrote:

    I must admit, I did find this article ridiculously one sided as well. How about this for another article:

    In the one corner you have Germany, whose pursuit of an export-driven economy and playing European middle-man has bankrupted most other Eurozone countries and made them beholden to it. In the other corner, you have Greece, relentlessly beaten by the credit markets, pushed by the EU into "infrastructure" projects it didn't need, so running up huge debts, and shackled by a currency that raised prices while not raising wages.

    And so on.

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  • 9. At 11:10am on 03 May 2010, Causantin wrote:

    Oh, and by the way, the current deal (very very unfortunately) does not contain any measures against tax evasion, bribery and corruption. Not unsurprisingly, since foreign companies were major beneficiaries of all these, and not the average Greek on a salary. But the average working Greek is called to pay, and not the top 10% of tax cheats and bribers.

    As for cheats, the cheat was the previous government, and the victim was only the Greek people. The conservatives lied in order to get re-elected, and only that. Lying to the EU would be stupid, as it would be revealed the next year, when the necessary borrowing would be due. As it was. We should naturally note that it was nobody but the new socialist government that reported the falsification to the EU.

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  • 10. At 11:19am on 03 May 2010, Wonthillian wrote:

    Yawn. There are 25 EU Member States apart from Greece and Germany where things might be happening this week. There are also other European Countries outside the EU.

    Also, the picture editor's obsession with Angela Merkel continues.....

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  • 11. At 11:23am on 03 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Well, that's the problem solved (for two, maybe three, months maximum).

    Meanwhile, c'mon guys, let's give the Greeks a break and find something positive to say about Greece:

    1. Some nice ruins.
    2. Some nice beaches.
    3. OK - if monotonous - Mediterranean food.
    4. Ouzo and retsina (I suppose)
    5. A bit of bazouki music.
    6. That Zorba dance thing....

    (Hey, I need a bit of help here before I revert to Waldorf & Statler mode).

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  • 12. At 11:28am on 03 May 2010, lochraven wrote:

    #1-8
    Thanks guys for showing me the other side of the coin.

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  • 13. At 11:37am on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I disagree with most comments so far. Gavin's article is quite good and fairly accurate. Those who complain that he is too "nationalistic" have no idea about politics and the logic of nations. There is no sympathy in international affairs.

    Also, this comment

    "In the one corner you have Germany, whose pursuit of an export-driven economy and playing European middle-man has bankrupted most other Eurozone countries and made them beholden to it. In the other corner, you have Greece, relentlessly beaten by the credit markets, pushed by the EU into "infrastructure" projects it didn't need, so running up huge debts, and shackled by a currency that raised prices while not raising wages."

    So you are blaming Germany for producing high quality products that the world likes to buy? Yeah, what a crime. Also, EU pushing Greece into infrastructure projects is plainly ridiculous. Did they need the Olympics? no. Did they make a profit from them? no. Are they rotting in Athens now without proper use? Yes.

    Please, stop bashing the Germans for being good at what they do. They aren't respected all over the world for no good reason.

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  • 14. At 11:40am on 03 May 2010, Sovjohn wrote:

    @11 Maxsceptic: You can be all sarcastic you want here...You really dont want to start picturing entire countries based on stereotypes. Other countries do have stereotypes too, you know (such as the ever-present one in Greeks never having visited the UK, that UK is a place filled with drunk people who also happen to be homosexuals and dance in the rain. The ones who have lived in the UK, as I have, know this is all untrue, but the same could be said about your arguments about "The Zorba dance", for heaven's sake).

    I'd strongly recommend against going down that route, and accepting that certain articles in the BBC as of late have been increasingly pro-German and ignore other nations' sentiments, simply put.

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  • 15. At 11:41am on 03 May 2010, busby2 wrote:

    Gavin - What a pointless article!

    What is far more interesting is that the yield on Greek bonds fell further on the news of the "rescue package". Far from rescuing the Greek economy, this rescue package could be the final straw for the economy as Greece heads for deep recession and great social unrest. And for what? To save the Euro and the bankers at the cost of the Greek people!

    The message is clear to the PIIGS: the Euro is going to make you all a lot poorer, except the bankers of course. It is also going to make the non PIIGS much poorer as they bail out the PIIGS.

    It all goes to show just what a disaster the Euro Zone is turning out to be for the people who have the misfortune to live there.

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  • 16. At 11:48am on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Busby2 - The Euro is only making you poorer if you don't reform your economies and make them competitive. With or without Euro, failure to do this will result in catastrophe. With the Euro its just faster.

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  • 17. At 11:54am on 03 May 2010, D Fear wrote:

    Mr Hewitt, your pro-Germany stance in your latest article is a clear indication that you either have not understood the situation, or you are letting your beliefs get the better of your judgement.
    This is harsh, I realise, but other commentators here are right (Sovjohn, Vassilis, just to name two).
    Germany has consistently pratcised what is known in Germany as 'Lohndumping', a hybrid word meaning roughly 'pay dumping'. It means that wages have gone down in real terms, while the cost of living has gone up. It means that more and more, people are forced into temporary, underpaid employment - and there is no minimum wage in Germany. All this, in order to keep exporting. And this has had repercussions in Southern Europe, too To more or less quote H. Flassbeck (source: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]in a common currency, this means that wages must rise in the country with a trade surplus, and more quickly than in the countries with a deficit. A country cannot clean up its state finances by saving alone; there have to be some positive inputs somewhere. If Germany were willing to reduce exports, increase imports (and thereby possibly increase domestic consumption, which has, realiter, been decreasing for years), then Greece might be able to increase exports, whilst keeping wages down. Admittedly not a pleasant outlook for either the German or the Greek citizen, but Greece is not the only problem country. France, too, is endangered, and Ireland. (Just as well that the UK is outside - it has its financial problems too.) Chances are poor, however, because Northern European members of the EU are keeping wages down - Germany especially - which may make sense nationally, but never in a common currency in a situation of this sort.
    If you are confused, Mr Hewitt, or do not find this credible, take a look at Heiner Flassbeck's open letter here: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] It is in English, so you ought to understand it. A further important document (also in English) is here: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator].
    I do hope you will do more to understand Europe in future, instead of giving us tired old points of view that would do credit to a British Eurosceptic.

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  • 18. At 11:59am on 03 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    "In the one corner you have Germany, whose pursuit of an export-driven economy and playing European middle-man has bankrupted most other Eurozone countries and made them beholden to it. In the other corner, you have Greece, relentlessly beaten by the credit markets, pushed by the EU into "infrastructure" projects it didn't need, so running up huge debts, and shackled by a currency that raised prices while not raising wages."

    I solemnly pledge to the following: I will cry an ocean for all those poor-downtrodden countries who were brutally coerced into buy German products. Now those poor, unfortunate souls drive around in Porsches and Mercedeses, which they never wanted to do in the first place!

    We Brits have to bail out Greece, too, and our economy is really suffering badly. Should we hang our heads in shame for every little item that was ever exported to Greece. I think we have to. How could we? And now wicked, wicked Germans, Brits, French and Italians dare to point out to Greece that bailing them out is turning out to be quite costly. Nasty, nasty us!

    Actually, hold on guys, who can lend me a really tiny violin?

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  • 19. At 12:07pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    A good interpretation and objective presentation of the facts !

    The road ahead is bumpy - on both sides of the pond and no doubt the usual contributions with the usual HUBRIS will appear.

    Spains´unemployment is now at 20% and America´s true figures are not far behind. Another 3 small US banks have failed this weekend and more small communities are facing financial black holes. (California not included)

    The return of stock-market volatility the past few days is an ominous sign and 4 US coastal states are facing an environmental financial and employment catastrophe.

    The British economy and deficit is also nothing to write home about and is an easier target than the Euro for the speculators because of its size.

    If Germany and its citizens decide to act in self interest, we will be just at the beginning of the roller coaster ride through the tunnel of horrors.

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  • 20. At 12:08pm on 03 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Sovjohn @14, Jeeez, I was only trying to be nice.....

    As for recent BBC articles being "pro-German" I think you are mistaken. They are not so much 'pro-German' as pro economic and social probity as opposed to chronic political and economic mismanagement and societal corruption.

    It is unfortunate for Greeks that the Germany (representing the first category) rightly resents having to cough up to pay for the follies of others.

    By the way, I've just come in soaking wet from dancing in the rain (not, however, to Mikis Theodorakis's music - that only works in the sun).

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  • 21. At 12:11pm on 03 May 2010, jestergr wrote:

    Just a note: The average greek citizen gets by on a 1.000 Euro (or less) salary, while the cost of life ( i'll spare you the details) is pretty much the same as in the UK.
    The real problem for us greeks is good old, plain, extreme stupidity while voting.

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  • 22. At 12:12pm on 03 May 2010, busby2 wrote:

    Gheryando:

    You need a combination of monetary and fiscal measures to make an economy competitive. Greece is being forced to rely on fiscal measures alone because of their membership of the Euro and the cost of this is going to put Greece inot a very severe recession which will in fact worsen the budgetary deficit!

    Trying to keep Greece in the Euro is going to end in tears!

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  • 23. At 12:13pm on 03 May 2010, Jen wrote:

    I vaguely remember some film or other I watched as a small child where Greek (may have been Roman) gods were playing a board game where the 'board' was earth and the 'pieces' humans. All for their own amusement, moves made with no thought for consequence.

    More and more it seems like governments all over are playing this same game, with ordinary people being manipulated and bearing the brunt of their decisions.

    Why haven't we heard of conditions of this bailout to ensure the ordinary Greek people suffer less than the architects of the country's demise?

    I remember Maggie Thatcher saying that Germany's next attempt at global domination would come economically. It seems those words are not as mad as they originally seemed.

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  • 24. At 12:16pm on 03 May 2010, barabou wrote:

    Germany does not help Greece,it helps German banks exposed to Greek bonds.They are just protecting German interests.Oh and the British are having such a good time seeing the EU in such a trouble..

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  • 25. At 12:19pm on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Putting a cork in a leaking hole in a dyke made out of Swiss cheese won't work. Even if it somehow manages not to leak anyway others will soon follow. In the end, the entire dyke will fail no matter how much money or effort is expended to save it. Its problem is that it is conceptually flawed to begin with.

    There has been comment after comment including by economists who should know better about the Euro not working because of the disparity of economies within the Eurozone. This is nonsense. New York's economy has little in common with the eocnomies of Iowa or Utah. California's little in common with West Virginia's. Montana's probably has more in common with neighboring Manitoba's in Canada than with Florida's. But they all use the same US dollar and it has worked for a while now...sort of.

    The Euro doesn't work because the EU is a union in name only. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." It was true about America during the Civil War when Lincoln said it and it is just as true today about the European disUnion. Money thrown down a rathole. Obama should stay out of it, it is not America's affair how Europe conducts its business. This meddling is terrible for the US which should be looking for exit strategies from Europe and going back to heeding the sage warning President Washington gave Americans about Europe in his farewell address. Europe's problems are Europe's problems, not America's. Besides we have enough of our own to deal with. Get back to your real job Mister President, fixing America's economy and protecting America's security. That's not just you day job, it's your only job. If you can't or won't stick to it, we can replace you with others who will at the next election.

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  • 26. At 12:23pm on 03 May 2010, John wrote:

    They say humour does not travel, well Gavin you have proved that beyond any doubt. Try and put it all in another context and it goes down like a ton (tonne?) of bricks!!!

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  • 27. At 12:28pm on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    busby2

    "Gheryando:

    You need a combination of monetary and fiscal measures to make an economy competitive. Greece is being forced to rely on fiscal measures alone because of their membership of the Euro and the cost of this is going to put Greece inot a very severe recession which will in fact worsen the budgetary deficit!

    Trying to keep Greece in the Euro is going to end in tears!"

    Better tears than blood...

    but to get to the point. You have none.

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  • 28. At 12:33pm on 03 May 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    I heard a loud guffaw coming from my husband's study this morning. He was as usual listening to the 'Today' programme.

    "You will never believe this, they just interviewed a Greek woman and she blames us and the rest of Europe for their predicament."

    "You should read Gavin Hewitt's excellent blog about the crisis,dear", I replied. "The Greek contributors not only whine about the injustice they claim to suffer but insult Mrs Merkel and the Germans for trying to help them."

    Maybe we should now paraphrase 'Beware of Greeks bearing gifts' to 'Beware of offering gifts to the Greeks'.

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  • 29. At 12:39pm on 03 May 2010, smroet wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt, this article is even worse than the usual fare in Bild. Representing public policy making as a contest between a couple of individuals is ... (oh well, the moderators probably won't like it if I exercise my freedom of expression here).

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  • 30. At 12:47pm on 03 May 2010, Rohit wrote:

    I do not agree that German taxpayers should pay for Greece's bailout. this is against the laws of natural justice.

    if greece has broken the rule, it should be punished. why are the german citizens being asked to pay for Greek default ??? I am of the opinion that Greece should be asked to go out of Euro, and may be Turkey can take its place.

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  • 31. At 12:57pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #25 MarcusAurellius

    ´Europe´s problems are Europe´s problems ´

    Also € 1= $1 ????

    Then it is Americas´ problem don´t you think ?

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  • 32. At 12:58pm on 03 May 2010, Makeze wrote:

    Germany has just gone through some very serious and painful reforms. Do you really think that the german taxpayer would have forgiven Merkel after she raised the VAT, raised the minimum pension age, while fending off the cry for minimum wages (thats right, there is no such thing in Germany)? Just so that Greece does not have to? There is a reason for Greeces crisis, and evil German conspirators seeking global domination might be behind it, or its just bad management. Mr. Hewitt is just pointing out the obvious.

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  • 33. At 12:59pm on 03 May 2010, busby2 wrote:

    Gheryando:

    I concluded that " Trying to keep Greece in the Euro is going to end in tears!" and you replied

    "Better tears than blood...

    but to get to the point. You have none".

    Sadly it could well end in blood depending on the amount of civil unrest and force the Greek Govt uses in demonstrations against the cuts the Greek Govt is imposing as a condition for the additional loans. Defaulting on the loans would be far less likely to cause riots in Greece as the pain would be felt by the bankers, not the people.

    The point I'm making is clear: the rescue package won't work and will make the problem more severe. Greek bond prices have fallen on the news, so the market doesn't think the rescue package will work.

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  • 34. At 1:01pm on 03 May 2010, healthytoes wrote:


    "The books had been cooked."

    And this is the problem, whether it's big business, big banks, big politicians or big influential people, all over. It's just all got out of hand and there aren't enough little guys to pay the BIG bills.

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  • 35. At 1:03pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    Uff, I say thanks god for the Greeks and their bad economy, otherwise we would have nothing to discuss about over the last few months :))

    Though I hope we stop discussing this soon so that we can see some more Russian poems for WA :))

    I think we have done this issue to death now. Poker or no poker Angela was always going to pay. Just for us here to watch the fireworks it would had been great if the Greeks didn't accept the deal and defaulted, told the banks to either lend them at 3% or kiss the money they already lend them goodbye. Ok some German, French, Irish banks would have lost lots of money but so what?

    Also to all the Germans please stop crying, you are not the only ones lending money to the Greeks, you are neither that powerful nor important yet :)) you are just part of the team, but my lord do you complain the most or what!

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  • 36. At 1:04pm on 03 May 2010, Veritus wrote:

    Angela was defending European interests, not just German interests, by trying to get Greece onto the right road. She should not have caved in.

    This is just another sadly missed opportunity and a fudge, just like the banking bailouts, that only get us all into deeper and deeper trouble.

    When an individual, or a company, join something by supplying false accounts, they are generally expelled or worse. The same should have happened to Greece to clean up the European house for now and for the future. Once properly qualified, they could have been re-amitted to euro.

    Instead, we are all forking out, unwillingly, yet again huge sums which we are unlikely to ever get back. With political consequences for Germany and for the EU. On the other hand, we have Greeks, equally unwillingly, being forced to adopt a culture that is, apparently, alien to them. This is a pure deja-vu 1970s Britain, with its doomed governmental support for "smokestack" nationalised industries and the strikers.

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  • 37. At 1:11pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    I have never been active politically and I love to commend here (and occasionally elsewhere) mostly for fun given also the time I have in this project of mine. Usually I like to reply to people but this time I will take Gavin’s article and decorticate it… for fun of course, hope Gavin does not take offense!

    GAVIN: They find themselves locked in a high-stakes game. They sit on opposite sides of the table.

    NIK: Of course. Angela sits in Berlin. Jeffrey (Giorgos is his nickname to pretend to be Greek) Papandreou sits in Washington.

    GAVIN: The outcome of the game is so important that the US president calls.

    NIK: You said it Gaving so it is not me above!

    GAVIN: The IMF and EU are involved

    NIK: IMF is involved because US citizen Papandreou pushed for it to assure US involvement in it.

    GAVIN: George has power in his blood. It's the family business.

    NIK: 3 generations of Papandreou – the British/US chosen ones… US citizens, actually the middle one half-Greek, the 3rd one ¼ Greek with globalist agenda, with belief in world government and with a known deep anti-patriotic feelings (he dislikes Greeks and Greece). His father is the main responsible behind Greece’s current woes.

    GAVIN: At the outset George was open about the Greek accounts. The books had been cooked.

    NIK: Oh! How come 5 years old kids in Greek kindergardens knew that Greece entered the eurozone with lies and not Angela or Nicolas or Gordon or Silvio?

    GAVIN: George grew impatient and threatened to go to the IMF. He gambled that European officials would panic; they hated the idea of outsiders being called in to put out the fires within. Angela called his bluff. Go right ahead, she said, call in the IMF.

    NIK: George did not grow impatient of course. He had his plan to involve the IMF all the way since the beginning and even before elections.

    GAVIN: Sometimes George played defence. His hands were tied. He pointed to unrest on the streets. The Greeks couldn't take any more austerity. The anarchists were at the gates of the finance ministry.

    NIK: As if… anarchists are the by-product of secret services and it is openly known that they are controlled by US. As groups themselves they are linked to ALL left-wing parties and PASOK has its fair share of control. Somehow PASOK managed always to pass 10 times more harsh measures against Greek people than ND party. Anarchist leading figures themselves come from “unexpected areas of society” such as sons of MPs (even the vice-president of parliament!!!), editors, judges, journalists, university professors etc. Right now the reaction of Greek people is lukewarm not to say minimal in relation to the measures tested on them.

    GAVIN: But Angela had her crowd too: 65% of her people would prefer Greece to leave the club altogether. Show them the door. They broke the rules.

    NIK: Another bunch of naïf people being manipulated. Who asked them to pay anyway? Is borrowing at 3% and lending at 5% equal to paying or making money out of thin air? Imagine that people plan to make money on Greeks and at the same time ask money from Germans too!!! The perfect scum!

    GAVIN: So the two leaders stared each other down and the financial markets sniffed a stalemate. All the time the cost of financing Greek debt was rising. George was begging to be rescued.

    NIK: George, you mean Jeffrey Gavin. Jeffrey, not Greeks. No Greek wanted to be rescued apart the scums who lived up to today like parasites and who plan to do continue now doing it at the expense of the bulk of Greeks.


    "If you think we're going to play paymaster you're wrong" was Angela's line. She hinted at new rules, even treaty changes. The serial offenders would be kicked out. The euro officials gasped. Angela was playing the Iron Lady. A new Germany was emerging that put national interest above being "good Europeans".

    GAVIN: This was not just the biggest crisis to have faced the euro, it hinted at deeper, more fundamental crises within the EU.

    NIK: … that in a globalised world, the EU is more than ever US-dependent, much more than the Cold War!


    GAVIN: Angela just didn't buy into George's world. She suspected that once the pressure was off the Greeks would be back to their old ways. The phoney receipts. The tax evasion. The black economy. The pay-offs. The back-handers .

    NIK: … tha tis to say Germany’s best friends in Greece!!! Eh? None likes the traitor but everyone runs behind him to do business isn’t it? If Angela does not want that, she has to be prepared to cut the commands list of German corporations to significant extend. Any attempt from Greeks to investigate and clean the market will mean the annulations of huge contracts running currently, i.e. huge loss of profit, less overall earnings, less business, more unemployment in Germany etc. And that, Angela will have to explain to German people!

    GAVIN: Then a wild card put the game George's way. A ratings agency downgraded Greece's credit to junk.

    NIK: … the same agency that was givin AAA notes months earlier?? Hehe… nice one there!

    GAVIN: The Greek debt crisis had become a full-blown financial hurricane. It risked the stability of the euro and Angela's bluff was called. She had to defend the currency that Germany used. Initially Germany, as the biggest contributor, was going to lend Greece 8bn euros (£7bn). Within days Germany was in for more than 20bn euros.

    NIK: Loans. NOT money given. Loans at 5% given out of loans at 3%. German people in a few years time will have to ask a 2% increase in their salaries and go rub it in the face of Greeks (of course they won’t see any of it as it will go in the pockets of bankers!)

    GAVIN: Any back-sliding on reducing the deficit and Greece could face sanctions. Contained in the deal is an attempt to restructure the Greek economy. If Greece is to compete in the future it has to change and become more competitive. The Germans are looking for a new business culture in Greece.

    NIK: Ho ho ho! A ah ah! He he he! That is the joke of the year!!! I am extra-curious to listen to the proposals of how to make the market more competitive!!! Really!!! Extra curious!!!

    GAVIN: His battles will now be fought out on the streets. The IMF negotiator casually mentioned yesterday that "the need for deeper cuts could not be ruled out".

    NIK: It is all a front… the real battles of George are on completely different levels, far from what you imagine:
    1) how to secure the most expensive ever gas project – the one with liquefied Saoudi Arabian gas
    2) how to make state-owned the failed Greek ports instead of leasing them transferring all the costs to the state
    3) how to maintain inside Greece the immense numbers of illegal (and largely unemployed) immigrants and transform them to PASOK voters
    4) how to built religious buildings for number 3, 1 of which in Athens will cost alone 15 million

    … i.e. we cut from people’s earnings, we cut rom the state’s public costs on people and we create new expenditures on non-citizens and promote the most expensive energy source, trapping the country for years to come.

    GAVIN: For Angela, she got the best deal she could. She has made it clear this rescue plan is not a blueprint for helping other countries that get into difficulty. Around her are people who suspect Greece won't be able to pay the money back.

    NIK: Can’t it be more obvious than that!

    GAVIN: Despite the bail-out, it is hard to see how the Greek economy will grow.

    NIK: Well that is the most easy thing to see isn’t it?

    GAVIN: So down the road Germany will have to look again at the club it belongs to. The more the Germans are asked to bail-out others, the more they will question the club they belong to. So George won the first round. Angela and most European officials know a breathing space has been bought. That is all.

    NIK: Is that all Gavin? Do you have the info of Greece being kicked out of EU or not?

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  • 38. At 1:25pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Gavin, I find Malcolm’s analysis slightly a bit more on the point:

    Malcolm Brabant BBC News, Athens

    MALCOLM: Opinion polls suggest that half the population is prepared to take to the streets to oppose the measures.”””

    NIK: Yes, but as usual only the known-unknowns take it to the streets. Working people are too afraid to risk their lifes there being arrested, having a file, even going to prison. The known-unknowns are rarely arrested and if they are they are left in 1 hour without file or case.

    MALCOLM: But the Prime Minister, who has been praised by the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso for his determined leadership, insists he has the backbone to force through the austerity programme, because the country's future is at stake.

    NIK: All the pro-US will praise him of course!

    MALCOLM: He has a healthy majority in Parliament, and while some of his socialist MPs may have troubled consciences about rubber stamping the deal, emergency legislation is expected to be passed by the end of the week.

    NIK: Internal opposition in PASOK was always piece of cake, unlike in ND party.

    MALCOLM: It is the start of perhaps five or ten years of hardship.

    NIK: If it is financial it won't be harship at all. Problem is that other things are coming. Clouds are much more black than the tiny white clouds of finance.

    MALCOLM: There are fears that there will be a flight of Greece's brightest and finest who are considering emigrating to seek opportunities elsewhere.

    NIK: While that was always on throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, from the 2000 collapse of the Greek economy with the huge scum of the stock market and the end of all economic activity apart civil construction, the “finest” were out. A bulk of civil engineers followed since 2005 too. Greece will remain with “the rest”.

    MALCOLM: But amongst some young Greeks, there is also a sense that this landmark in a proud nation's history, is an opportunity to cleanse the country of its corrupt practices.

    NIK: Eee… not exactly. Those who say so are the PASOK party youth members obviously and they mainly mean of course clearing political opposition and even internal party opposition so that only the chosen ones remain to eat with bigger spoons. These are the worst of the worst, a minority of young people that are Greece's nightmare. There is no Greek young or old who believes that under current political system there can be a clearing. The vast majority of Greeks believe that corruption since the 1980s is so deep that clearing can be done only through either an EU-imposed undemocratic government or Greece getting out of EU, falling into direct dictatorship which will “hunt down” and “kill” all opponents who will largely be the current hugely corrupted ones and thus as a side effect clear things a bit – a scenario of course not that popular either since it will bring all these past traumas. Many young Greeks do hope also that this is a chance to rid also of illegal immigrants whose presence (they are a huge financial burden on state, and they always have been - only servicing the civil construction black market, i.e. the most corrupted market anyway! double loss there!) is absolutely not justified in a country under crisis and who think that either EU has to take them or they have to be forwarded in Turkey where they came from with Turkish state help & funding.

    MALCOLM: The sceptical view is that the rich and powerful will remain untouched and that society's divisions will become even more profound.

    NIK: Well that is the idea. Whatever is done right now is to reproduce the good old system that stuck.

    My point of view? We will see much worse than loss of income. That is the minimal in any country and even much less in Greece where the still strong family ties (despite the attacks of the times) are there for much of the population to hold it stable. Greeks will be attacked otherwise, not ruling out being physically attacked, including bombs, guerilla incursions and other such niceties.

    If Europeans are not prepared to gain 2% out of borrowing at 3% and giving at 5%, then I guess asking them to prepare to help physically protecting Greece from such threats is out of question eh? Ha!

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  • 39. At 1:26pm on 03 May 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    I hardly know what to write.
    For one thing, I'm glad that Angela is involved; she is sharp-witted, and as you say cautious.
    Also, as you write: "The Greek books had been cooked.", but by whom? Some of the finest, most brilliant financial minds in the world have been taken to the grinding mill over such things as low-interest derivatives & credit default swaps.
    Was Greece supposed to know?
    Was she taken in? If you think Greece was alone and stupid - just look down the road. You see those little shadows? These are the rest of the little PIIGS marching forward towards the sausage-machine.
    However, in the drama between Greece and Germany, I suspect there is far more at play - roles being enacted upon the world stage, roles so well played that Obama feels he must call to make enquiries.
    I think that Greece is a chessboard, a battleground, but more so: Greece is a TEST-CASE.
    Where goes Greece, there also go the rest of the STUPID LITTLE PIIGS.
    Angela hints at new rules, even treaty changes, but I don't believe it's so much about Euro Countries; rather, I believe it's about the low-interest derivative traders, the credit default swappers, the gamblers, the cheaters...
    This crisis (you are correct) is not all about Greece. It's an economic war between the dollar and the Euro. What The EU does NOW will mark its future - forever. If you don't think this is an economic war between the dollar and the Euro, try to answer this question: Moody downgrades Greece's credit to junk. Explain how come the United States bond market has not been downgraded to (minus) junk. Do you think the US debt is more serviceable?
    This is a game to the gamblers.
    This is life and death to Euro citizens.

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  • 40. At 1:29pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    What still amazes me though is the complete oblivion among all BBC commenters of Russia and China in all that affair.

    How come EU and US discuss 6 months an issue and Russia saying nothing?

    Is it true that Russia offered Greece loans at normal rates which would solve the issue right at its starting point? Or not?

    And if Angela did not want to "give" money to Greece, what was the problem sending them to Russia? She could blackmail the US citizen Jeffrey Papandreou to accept the Russian offer or get out of the EU altogether. What was the problem? Why it matters to EU that Greece loans at 5% from US and not at 3% from Russia?

    What is the problem here?

    Why everyone is lying?

    Why everyone hides the truth?

    Why people do not concentrate on the reality underlying this game?

    Why mama, why papa... well... so that you ask... ehehe...

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  • 41. At 1:32pm on 03 May 2010, christos wrote:

    Germany has not given away money to Greece. It has lended the money, and at a quite high rate actually. That means, that Germany, is helpinhg Greece in contributing towards the loan, but is also going to make money out of this deal (as it is making a lot more money by selling poor Greece submarines, war planes, military equipment and ammunition). This "ethical bla-bla", that "we are the good guys and the Greeks are the bad ones", and that "we are never going to bail out these lazy and corrupt buggers" - a tune which almost the whole of Europe is singing - has a lot of hypocricy in it. You're not giving away money to anybody. You've just made a good business deal. So, please leave the Greeks alone now, and tell the truth to your own people. Auf wiedersehen

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  • 42. At 1:36pm on 03 May 2010, Jeroen wrote:

    Gavin, you forget to mention that 20% of Greek debt is in German hands. Europe and the financial markets would have been more impressed by Angela if she explained to her people that, in this context, it is in Germany's interest to help Greece rather than having spent the last month sending confusing signals.

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  • 43. At 1:38pm on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Defaulting on the loans would be far less likely to cause riots in Greece as the pain would be felt by the bankers, not the people.

    The point I'm making is clear: the rescue package won't work and will make the problem more severe. Greek bond prices have fallen on the news, so the market doesn't think the rescue package will work. "

    busby2 - The pain would be felt by the bankers, sure. But Greece can forget about borrowing any more money for the future. And thats the real pain.

    You're saying that the rescue package won't work, yet you have no argument. In fact, no one has. And if you base your conclusion on the fact that a day after the deal was announced, the "mimosa-markets" priced greek bonds lower, then you have no idea.

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  • 44. At 1:42pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    33. At 12:59pm on 03 May 2010, busby2 wrote:

    "The point I'm making is clear: the rescue package won't work and will make the problem more severe. Greek bond prices have fallen on the news, so the market doesn't think the rescue package will work."

    Are we talking about the same markets here that lend money to people to buy houses they can't afford and lend money to government to build project that they can't afford or are we talking about some new much wiser markets?

    Hmmm, maybe I should rethink what is the role of the markets again???

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  • 45. At 1:45pm on 03 May 2010, VixSa wrote:

    I believe Greece should file for bankruptcy and go back to using the good old Drachma. The country's currency then would be depreciated by almost 40% which would make importing goods very expensive.
    This will drive the Greeks to use local produce, also this will help its economy by making it real cheap for other countries to buy Greek products at a cheap rate.

    P.S. Just to clarify... The Germans are not giving away the money for free... they are LENDING it.

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  • 46. At 1:46pm on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    christos wrote:

    "Germany has not given away money to Greece. It has lended the money, and at a quite high rate actually. That means, that Germany, is helpinhg Greece in contributing towards the loan, but is also going to make money out of this deal"

    "is also going to make money out of this deal" - thats your view. Analysts expect a haircut of about 30%, that is Germany will get back 70% only...so don't get ahead of yourselves. Once you pay the money back, you can claim to be righteous. Right now, you have no moral high-ground.

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  • 47. At 1:57pm on 03 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mr Hewitt: All highly melodramatic!

    Is there anyone out there who actually believes "..any back-sliding on the deal and Greece could face sanctions.."?

    Please, if the Greek Economy could cause the EUro-zone such anxst now can You imagine the disastrous uproar if after the 'deal' is signed and 3, or 6, or 9 etc. months down the line Berlin declares the Greeks are cheating again!?
    Once Greece's Leadership-Financiers have their sticky fingers in the EU-IMF over-baked rescue pie it will be able to do anything it wants including running up entirely new debts.

    Brussels is most certainly not going to expose itself again to the protracted, midnight wheeling-dealing like a bunch of squalid mafioso delegates trying to choose the new Boss of Bosses. Merkel, Sarkozy & Barroso especially are never going to admit to any 'back-sliding'. Barroso was on television this morning actually claiming the EU-IMF 'deal' was done "..in under 1 week.."! Anyone who can lie that easily after the whole negotiating process went on in full glare of publicity for the last 5 months is not going to let a little thing like Greece abusing the fine-print get in the way of declaring "EU is good! All else is bad!"

    The IMF cannot afford to rock the Fiscal boat either once the deal is udnerway: Greece is not some African nation run by a tin-pot dictator whose economy going under affects no one except an already crushed peoples - - Greece is in the EUro-zone, it is a part of the largest supra-National Economy in the World & if it fails then the dollar, rouble, yuan, pound etc. will get a hammering worse than in 2008-09.

    No, Greece's Government is home free if the 'deal' is actually done: Of course that changes nothing for the ordinary Greek Citizens - - they, as ever, will pay through the nose for their elite groups to continue to live exorbitantly - - and, as ever those Citizens will be the only ones punished for failing to 'pay' up to their local Tax systems!

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  • 48. At 2:03pm on 03 May 2010, Veritus wrote:

    "healthytoes" summed it up well:

    '"The books had been cooked."

    And this is the problem, whether it's big business, big banks, big politicians or big influential people, all over. It's just all got out of hand and there aren't enough little guys to pay the BIG bills.'

    Greece gave the world democracy. However, its current version is much inferior to the original. In ancient Greece, those in power were judged by their electorate AFTER their term of office came to an end. The electorate could impose ANY penalties it wished at that stage. Why do we all put up with this inferior shadow of a true democracy? I say it is time to restore the true democracy and maybe then the BIG bills will stop landing on us all.

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  • 49. At 2:10pm on 03 May 2010, Swissfondue wrote:

    Greece was spending much more (over 12%) than revenue. This could not go on indefinitely, especially since Euro rules require Greece to limit its deficit to 3%. Since the outlook of Greece increasing revenues is ratehr slim (close down tax loop holes, stop black market and tax evasion), the country will have to focus more on cutting costs.

    It is the same for a normal household. Banks will stop lending to you or increase your credit interest rate (because you are riskier to lend to), especially if they find out you lied to them about how much you earn and spend.

    Since Germany is asked to finance a significant part of the loan to Greece, it is right in demanding assurances the money will not be wasted.

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  • 50. At 2:16pm on 03 May 2010, Mike-1985 wrote:

    The article by Hewitt is rather pro-German but Chancellor Merkel has every right to be strict and dubious of the Greek capabilitities.
    The famous Griechenland has depended on foreign aid on many accounts in the past. After the Second World War, the was a world-wide Red Scare because of the developments by Stalin in Eastern Europe. Both Greece and Turkey were facing the potential for a strong communist regime to develop within their lands. With the $4 million in foreign aid granted under the Truman Doctrine in 1947 by the US, both Turkey and Greece were able to resist the possible takeover.
    Though, the circumstances differ greatly, Greece is once again a cause of great concern. The EU can be viewed as a highly prestigious group of countries in which the members nations must be able to reach certain criterion. These regulations, and the opnions of member nations, are keeping Turkey out as they cannot meet the fiscal requirements. Now, Greece, already a member nation, cannot meet the fiscal requirements. A quick end to the problem would be expulsion from the EU but the foreign investment and the Euro investment within Greece would make expulsion problematic. Therefore, the bail-out plan has been concieved in hopes of curing the spreading malady of the fiscal crisis. So no matter the thoughts, aid must be given for the greater good of the Euro-zone.
    Now in consideration of the German population. They have worked from under the ground up to become the strongest economy in Europe. After the reunification, the German mark underwent inflation do to the reconstruction and state of East Germany. Without much aid, Germany was able to manage its problems and, as stated before, is the strongest economy in Europe. Not to twoot Germany's horn, but the EU and the strength of the Euro does rest greatly on their shoulders. The status of the Euro depends on the unified strength of the Euro and all its members and therefore, if Germany hopes to keep a strong currency, they must aid the Greeks yet they do not have to rush in blindly.
    Moreover, Chancellor Merkel must have her own country's best in mind. Lending the money out to the Greeks must come with further regulation and cuts on the part of the Greek economy as they must be able to not only recooperate their own economy but must be able to provide a surplus in which to pay the other countries back. Not only is this a high goal but it is unlikely if the Greeks do not have sufficient strength. The Greek prime minister must severely cut down their domestic spending. Yes, the Greek citizens will and are angry but each country has had to face cuts in face of the recession. No one likes having their aesthetic pleasures taken away from them but we must sacrifice our desires for the hopes of a better future. Apparantly, the demonstrators have no conception of the future and only think about their immediate gratification as they bombard the police with fire-bombs and trash.
    The EU, with support from the IMF, must cloesly watch over the Greek economy in order to ensure a secure ands table econmic future, which currently is elluding them as Spain, Italy, and Portugal are all facing growing problems. I have seen mention of aid from the US but I personally do not believe in aid from a country that cannot get itself out of a cycle of Vietnam-like wars. Aid from the US will come with its own set of strings that will later come back to haunt europe. Brazil, a coutnry that has little outside influence from the US but instead China, is one of the top emerging 5 countries despite the US negelegence. I am not suggesting Chinese aid, but I am merely demonstrating the strength the lies within a country and the free-will that should be excersized by the EU.

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  • 51. At 2:17pm on 03 May 2010, ar wrote:

    Nice and concise article summing up the action so far. Your insufficient German bashing sure brought out all the Greek sympathizer criebabies on this blog. Their capacity to blame others for Greece's problems are astonishing. They behave like immature teens. Sort of like: "Porsche made me buy this car, there was nothing I could do about it". Yeah right, nice try!

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  • 52. At 2:23pm on 03 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100037680/greek-crisis-the-eu-faces-a-choice-between-fiscal-union-and-a-break-up-of-the-euro/

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  • 53. At 2:23pm on 03 May 2010, bbony wrote:

    "Angela and most European officials know a breathing space has been bought."

    Breathing space for what? In fact, Mrss Merkel was struggling for EU disintegration. For good old times when a state was going on its own, occasionally spotting a place on a globe in the interest, let's say, of the transfer of goods and funds. No need for community of any kind.

    Today is different. You cannot make bussiness done and afterwards just leave the place. The bussiness partners call for trade union and even monetary union as well. One-direction flow of capital is less and less possible in today's world. That is the reality Mrss Merkel is about to face after a short break. The EU is inevitable.

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  • 54. At 2:28pm on 03 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    The nature of the financial support proposed cannot be described at this point as either loan, gift, payoff, bailout etc. We'll know the correct term at payback time.

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  • 55. At 2:49pm on 03 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    I am surprised at some of the angry dismissal of Gavin's piece. I confess that I read it as somewhat tongue in cheek. Maybe it is a case of British humour not traveling well.

    However, some of the responses point out that Germany is not alone in funding the bail out and this is true. As the largest economy in the Euro zone, its contribution will be considerably larger than any other nation which not only explains the Chancellor's problems selling this deal to German public opinion but also the more upbeat reaction in France. The French no doubt would have preferred this not to have happened at all but, since it has, they will not be displeased that German exposure is considerably larger than theirs. The other side of the coin is that these are loans and not especially cheap ones so if Greece does manage its problems within the time frame and begin to service the debt, Germany will ultimate do quite nicely out of this.

    This is about perceptions. Many Greeks protesting in these columns about the cost to ordinary people ignore the fact that they live in a democracy and they elected the previous government which they are now so vehemently condemning for corruption and false accounting. The perception is that someone else was to blame and someone else should pick up the tab. The reality that the blame is collective, there is no such thing as a free lunch and the bailout is the only game in town.

    The second misconception is that the Germans are the somewhat reluctant knights in shining armour. They are no such thing. They have attached conditions and a price tag to these loans which, if the game plays out to plan will given them a healthy return on invested capital. Contrast that with last years bailouts of Hungary and Ukraine. In both cases, the IMF took the lead role because neither country is in the Euro zone and there were therefore no implications for the single currency. The only reason the Germans and others are in the driving seat this time is because of the political imperative. If they could have left the bailout to the IMF without risk to the single currency, no doubt they would have.

    Kosovo and Montenegro use the Euro although they are not in EMS and the Bosnian Convertible Mark has a fixed exchange rate following the demise of the Mark. So it is simply not the case that Greece would have to revert to the drachma were it not to have accepted the bailout. It would have dropped out of ERM and ECB control but that is all. The IMF would have bailed out Greece anyway for the same reasons Morgan Stanley or Bank of Scotland were bailed out - some institutions are just too big to fail. The lead role has little to do with economic necessity and everything to do with political symbolism. It is the Euro project they are rescuing, not Greece. The question is how many more times can it happen before the game is up.

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  • 56. At 2:52pm on 03 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "breathing space has been bought"?



    More like postponing the inevitable.

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  • 57. At 2:53pm on 03 May 2010, brazilwatcher wrote:

    Greece cannot resolve its problems by remaining in the Euro and being tied to interest & exchange rates that are outside its control. No country can survive just by making cuts that principally affect the lowest income groups. Greece needs to be able to trade its way out of difficulty, and that means being able to devalue its currency, so it can import less & export more. In it's effort to prop up the Euro, the Germans are just going to throw even more money away.

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  • 58. At 2:58pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Do I see a deliberate effort of all of you avoiding commenting Russia's offer at 3%?

    What is your problem? Lack of information or something? Ask Gavin or Malcolm, they should tell you but not in here anyway...

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  • 59. At 3:14pm on 03 May 2010, yewlodge wrote:

    I hope Im wrong but I think this "solution" will at best be temporary and risks making things worse! Helping fix the corruption and under collection of taxes etc is clearly essential but otherwise how will it help? Greece makes little of any substantial value that anyone else wants to buy. Its agriculture sector , such as it is , is inefficient and trivial as an export earner. What it needs is tourism and it has been steadily pricing itself out of the market. The "cup of coffee test" indicates That Athens is probably the most expensive capital in Europe for an ordinary tourist. Why? Essentially so many people want a "slice" out of every business, whether it be rents , "costs" for licences etc that the inevitably high final product is just poor value for the tourist compared to many other places. The bailout isn't going to fix this any time soon, only a devaluation will. Just a devaluation won't work in the long term either, until the underlying issues are fixed as well.

    This is also important for other States with similar problems ( even if rather different causes). Europe will have neither the money or the political will to bail them out too. It seems hugely unfair and inconsistent to give Greece a bailout just because they were the worst situation and got to the front of the queue first.

    And for those who read this I'm not anti any country, I'm not trying to fix the blame but I do want a permanent solution which is consistent and fair for all which also has a reasonable chance of success. The bail out alone just doesn't do it for the medium term.

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  • 60. At 3:22pm on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    threnodio_II wrote:
    "I am surprised at some of the angry dismissal of Gavin's piece. I confess that I read it as somewhat tongue in cheek. Maybe it is a case of British humour not traveling well."

    No, that wont do as an excuse. Hewitt is not making clever jokes. To make clever jokes, first you must understand the subject matter. He clearly doesn't.

    This is just poor, poor journalism from a lazy man. He is fantasizing about what might have happened, based upon casual outsiders opinions. It is useless in terms of factual content, and in terms of insight it is woeful.

    Hewitt has the world view of a second rate university undergraduate. He thinks individuals control the world with their personality. He doesn't understand how political parties work, let alone the economy of states, and he certainly doesn't care enough to go and learn.

    He hangs around the BBC, chatting to other journalists, and puts out copy that is not much more than the idle thoughts of an ignorant gossip.

    It is also clear that he doesn't read the contributions to his blog. If he did, he'd have learned something about the subject matter by now.

    I don't know Hewitt, and have no reason to dislike him. But this journalism is insulting to his readers, and it is the product of sloth.

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  • 61. At 3:36pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @58

    Nik, where did you get that information from if that is correct then that needs to be made public!

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  • 62. At 3:50pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @59,

    You are right in some way, the problem is that the Eurozone union rules must change. You can not have a union where half the members borrow at percent "x" and the other half at percent "y".

    much closer coordination of economic policy is needed, Greece will never be able to pay its debts if it doesn't export anything and it will not export anything until they build factories there to make things.

    As they are in the Euro & the EU they can not raise tarifs to in order to kick start domestic production so their only hope that companies from other countries establish manufacturing plants there, but who in their right mind estabish a manuufacturing plant there if they have to pay double the interest rate they would pay lets say in Germany. So the only solution is one single interest rate for the whole of the Eurozone, that will force/allow companies to invest and build facilities throughout the Euroyone not just in a couple of countries.

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  • 63. At 3:53pm on 03 May 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    Seriously, did anyone not see that this day would come? The euro was always a triumph of optimism over human experience.

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  • 64. At 4:00pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @DT,

    You are not wrong here

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  • 65. At 4:16pm on 03 May 2010, ioannis xinos wrote:

    Is this what we call fair reporting? Ridiculous article.

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  • 66. At 4:26pm on 03 May 2010, smroet wrote:

    #60 dt, you said it well.

    Punishing ordinary Greeks only is not much 'fun'. They will have a hard time making ends meet. It would have been better had the Greek government announced also a 'swimming pool' tax for anyone having a non-declared swimming pool (cf. the New York Times story about 16974 swimming pools in the wealthy northern suburbs in Athens vs. the 324 declared to the tax office).

    Here is an alternative view on the situation, expressed some time ago by a German opposition leader.

    Question asked to SPD President Sigmar Gabriel in Bild, March 5, 2010: What should Merkel say to Papandreou ? (who came to Berlin for a visit). Answer: ... She should tell him: you take care of your debts and save hard - and we stop the gamblers on the stock exchanges and the banks that want to destroy Europe the second time.

    So where is Merkel with her effort on this score ? The only thing she achieved in the last two months was to destroy sympathy for Germany and the European project. The anti-EU people here may be grateful for this, but the real problem (financial markets using unstable financial instruments to make money and needing taxpayer bails-out when things blow up) is only partly addressed in the US Senate (Carl Levin's committee), and we don't hear about a similar effort in Europe.

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  • 67. At 4:33pm on 03 May 2010, fani papachristou wrote:

    As everybody who has been following how greek economy is doing should now, the past years a series of big bribery scandals have appeared involving very "prestigious" German companies, such as SIEMENS, Mercedes Benz, MAN etc,. Germans have been spending vast amounts of euros to "buy" contracts with the greek state. The german law and tax system had special provisions for PROTECTING german companies that were consistnetly bribing abroad to get more "customers" to the german markets.So the statement that Germany is looking for a new business culture in Greece is outragious, if not hilarious, knowing the deeply corrupted ways of german "business".The greek emlpoyees of SIEMENS in Greece were rescued and saved by the german Justice. Of course Greece is not the only country who had "benefited" of the ethics of "german" greasy way of doing business. Corruption in Germany is a taboo, nobody acknowleged its existence. In a few words: they bribe to get their products sold and yes, this costs money to the whole eurozone, then they discover figures have been cooked.

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  • 68. At 4:53pm on 03 May 2010, Anthony wrote:

    Im shocked that this writer is the BBCs European Editor with such obvious bias, if this is the best the BBC can do God help journalism.
    I also think its a bit pathetic lots of English people attacking Greeks in blogs that Greeks dont read.. if they did you might get a true picture of what has been going on.

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  • 69. At 5:02pm on 03 May 2010, Dan Allen wrote:

    It is pretty ridiculous article since Greece borrowed at interest of 5.9% on 10 year notes in February. Nothing changed in the Greek financial situation since then. But in Merkel's stance, the amrket perceived something it hadn't considered before. The euro could collapse. And Merkel's dithering suddenly lead to a Greek bond collapse.

    Then you consider that perhaps the easy way out for the Greeks is a LACK of a loan, and an immediate default. You don't think Papandreou would actually prefer that? He had that leverage as a trump card. The only reason he's going along with this, and forcing austerity measures, is because he doesn't want German and French banks to collapse, which would heap even more moral opprobrium on Greece. Let's be real, Hewitt.

    Finally, Papandreou being candid about the Greek books is an absolute joke. That framing serves him in allowing him to blame the previous gov't. That's a joke. His party is just as responsible. Greece has been showing the same debt to GDP for over a decade now, it has been at 115% in 2004! He's trying to deflect onto the previous gov't in order to pass changes in Greece.

    The statistics canard also deflects two other things. One, as the French FM said yesterday, Greece is not like Portugal and others because Greece lied about stats. So, the Greek lie narrative is a guardrail against contagion. Two, it deflects the question, why in the world were German and French banks lending 80% of its debt to a country running a 100% debt to GDP? This is a more interesting question because the answer is easy to deflect with, "WE didn't know, Greece lied." In truth, however, Greek debt is much more a problem of Greek elites fleecing the country (under the knowing eye of European banks, corporations, and even politicians) by assuming Greek toxic bank debt (tens of billions after dabbling in Wall Street derivatives), in buying arms from European manufacturers in exchange for bribes (4.8% of Greek GDP to buying arms, 2.3% to servicing them with parts/technicians), and a host of other boondoggles that would make you spin your head. Instead, you hear about Greek stat lies, but if you go to the Eurostat report on Greek statistics dated January 8, 2010, you'll find that the fudged Greek stats were all predictive and sent early in the year, while Eurostat together with the Greek finance ministers conducted reviews at the end of each year to establish the actual greek economic statistics, and those numbers mesh with what we know today precisely because Greece was already running huge deficits and debt to GDPs all through the decade. If this weren't true, then Greece would owe 600 billion and not the 300 billion it currently owes.

    This is a giant kabuki dance and Hewitt has misread it. We'll revisit in a couple years when the new Greek government, elected by a frustrated Greek electorate, comes to the table and dictates new terms to the IMF and Angela. And then the leverage that George dared not use--"we won't pay"--will be employed.

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  • 70. At 5:04pm on 03 May 2010, Baris wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt, don't worry about the people who are complaining about how the Germans produce high quality products and how some people put a gun to their head to buy them (on credit!!!!) - it was a good article.

    I mean, calling Greece a third-world country would do injustice to the truly poor and unfortunate countries out there like Chad who has been battling droughts for generations. What an amazing sense of entitlement and no will to be adult enough to assume the consequences of one's actions. I have read comments by citizens of Greece blaming their woes on the Germans, the IMF, NATO, the Turks, the bankers, the politicians, the recently arrived immigrants to Greece like the Albanians and the Africans, the tax collectors, the funny-looking green men zooming around in their saucers - but not themselves.

    If I may ask an HONEST question to citizens of that country: have YOU, personally, evaded taxes, given a bribe, said nothing when someone ELSE was giving/taking a bribe in your life? And if yes (assuming, you know), how many times? You see, that's the responsible party: the man in the mirror - not the IMF or Merkel or the aliens or the Turks or the Macedonians or I don't know what...

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  • 71. At 5:05pm on 03 May 2010, paul wrote:

    Come on people- we're Europeans! Surely we can find a way to blame it all on the Americans!

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  • 72. At 5:07pm on 03 May 2010, Dan Allen wrote:

    Those of you who say the euro is done and not good structurally always leave the ECB out of the analysis. If the ECB were an actual reserve bank that operated like other reserve banks do, it could instantly take control of monetary policy and keep the euro together. It could even buy Greek loans at yields of 26% (cheap) and make a killing. looser monetary policy increases inflation, and everyone talks about the dangerous history of that in a country like Germany, but aren't we saying here that the behavior of Germany in WW2 is revisited upon the uncompetitive European countries that can't rely on flexible monetary policy? What ever happened to moral hazard?

    I know well that the ECB is prevented from doing anything, but it seems to me that the EU could be viable--even with divergent economies--if there were an exchange made. The ECB would be unshackled and the EU were allowed a greater view and regulation into each nation's economy.

    That's how you maintain a single currency in a divergent array of countries.

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  • 73. At 5:11pm on 03 May 2010, busby2 wrote:

    Post 44. At 1:42pm on 03 May 2010, ChrisArta wrote:
    in reply to post 33 from Busby"

    "Are we talking about the same markets here that lend money to people to buy houses they can't afford and lend money to government to build project that they can't afford or are we talking about some new much wiser markets?

    Hmmm, maybe I should rethink what is the role of the markets again??"

    It is interesting to note that in the last few months before Northern Rock crashed, the share price of Northern Rock had fallen significantly whereas at the same time the share price of Barclays remained quite steady. Northern Rock's business model and prospects were therefore in doubt before the crash - the problem was that the Regulator, the Bank of England and the Government all seemed unaware of the danger! The Govt was ultimately responsible for letting the housing market overheat and not putting a stop to reckless lending. In other words the Govt failed to read the market and take action before it was too late by drawing in bank lending in the housing market.

    This package of loans does not mean that Greece will be okay, even if the austerity package is implemented. It does not solve the problem of Greece having an overvalued currency and the package of cuts will further deepen the severe recession they are experiencing. If this is a 'cure' for the troubles of the Greek economy, is it any wonder that the markets aren't impressed and that many Greeks would prefer their country to default?

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  • 74. At 5:13pm on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "knowing the deeply corrupted ways of german "business"

    fani - they bribed you Greeks because YOU respond to it. German efficiency at its best :)

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  • 75. At 5:13pm on 03 May 2010, Baris wrote:

    And the most amazing exemple is the one about the Greek civil servants (you know, the hard-working poor class who will be the so-called "victim" of an austerity package) getting a BONUS for knowing how to use a computer and coming to work on time. My 6 year-old niece knows how to use a computer and knows how to read a clock. Maybe I should ask my boss at the next meeting if we could get bonuses for knowing how to use a keyboard, or knowing how to park a car, or being able to put our pants on correctly.

    "And dear members of the jury, here in Exhibit A we have a first-class banana republic"...

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  • 76. At 5:21pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    Ohh come on guys lets take it easy on Gavin, One never knows what's going to happen with the election. A couple of tabloit type stories here could land him a nice job with Sky if things get a bit tough at the BBC post election :)))

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  • 77. At 5:29pm on 03 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    What I find extra-amusing is all those people who are allergically intolerant to any signs of gratitutde to Brits, Dutch, Germans, French and Italians who are bailing them out. Tirelessly, they repeat again and again and again that the successful economies are only "lending" them money and that they are "profiting" from it.

    ROFL

    As if any German, Brit, Italian, Dutch or French person is ever going to get back any of that money...

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  • 78. At 5:32pm on 03 May 2010, Skarp wrote:

    Whatever you may think of the article, I liked it, it is written interestingly - as a poker game. Personally, I think it's quite appauling that we strive for a common currency and not all play by the same rules. It shows that some countries take EU more seriously than others.
    Whatever way you look, no country is safe and I wonder what solidarity with the Greeks will bring to us. When we go to Greece for vacations we are cash cows, overpaying for everything, people are rude.

    As for the Germans in the front in the article. Who pays for the EU? Export driven Germany uses many providers of semi-products from other countries ...

    I think that the rules should be harsher for any EURO zone member state. If you do not comply - you're out. Secondly, if a country is not playing according to the rules - cut the structural funds. Kick them out! Let's take things seriously. We have to, as we have to think of pensions, growth, demography ...

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  • 79. At 5:36pm on 03 May 2010, Dan Allen wrote:

    Chris Camp,

    Don't bail the Greeks out. No really, don't give them any money.

    They will then thank you for it.

    But you probably don't even realize what I am talking about.

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  • 80. At 5:38pm on 03 May 2010, Dan Allen wrote:

    Baris, Where are your facts? It's all innuendo and anecdotes.

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  • 81. At 5:41pm on 03 May 2010, cg wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 82. At 5:47pm on 03 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    In the bigger picture, Greece is irrelevant*.

    The main issue is that the euro - a political construct - was established on foundations of sand.

    The preposterous idea that a currency could be shared between the likes of Germany and the Netherlands on the one hand, and Greece and Portugal on the other, was fundamentally flawed - as anyone without yellow stars in their eyes could see right from the start of this ill-fated 'project'.

    The silver cloud is, of course, the imminent collapse of the eurozone and a reversal of the curse of "ever closer union".


    *Note to Nik, et al: Saying that Greece is 'irrelevant' is not, in this instance, an insult.

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  • 83. At 5:50pm on 03 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Ian

    Re #68

    In case it had escaped your notice: This is the BBC European Editor Blog site - - i.e. it is about European affairs - - Greece being a European country & Mr Hewitt's Article being entitled 'Greece and the story of George and Angela', sort of gives a clue as to WHY people from Britain (& elsewhere) are writing about 'Greece & Greeks'!

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  • 84. At 5:54pm on 03 May 2010, ptsa wrote:

    At 5:04pm on 03 May 2010, Baris wrote:

    If I may ask an HONEST question to citizens of that country:

    have YOU, personally, evaded taxes - No, even if I wanted to I cannot, my income tax is already deducted when I get my monthly pay.

    given a bribe - No, never had to.

    said nothing when someone ELSE was giving/taking a bribe in your life? - Well, I am only 25 so I haven't been around much but haven't noticed anything happening in front of me. I also work in the private sector, no bribes there, excluding Siemens anyway.



    75. At 5:13pm on 03 May 2010, Baris wrote:

    And the most amazing exemple is the one about the Greek civil servants (you know, the hard-working poor class who will be the so-called "victim" of an austerity package) getting a BONUS for knowing how to use a computer and coming to work on time. My 6 year-old niece knows how to use a computer and knows how to read a clock. Maybe I should ask my boss at the next meeting if we could get bonuses for knowing how to use a keyboard, or knowing how to park a car, or being able to put our pants on correctly.

    "And dear members of the jury, here in Exhibit A we have a first-class banana republic"...

    ---

    Please, I know what you mean. I have been living in this country since birth, only away for 4 years for university and only during the current crisis I heard about these things. Being a private sector employee, as I already mentioned, I had no contact with what is happening in the public sector. I only knew about the bad service it provides to citizens like me, the bureaucracy and the "permanency" of the public sector staff that I found too outrageous, but it was always something politicians from any spectrum dared not to touch for fear of political damage.

    So, I asked a friend that (actually) works in the public sector to explain the above as well as others (bonuses for carrying envelopes). What I was told is that, every time public sector employees asked for raises (they rarely get anything above inflation rate), the government would "invent" those bogus benefits and bonuses so that they could increase the employees income without increasing the actual salary amount.
    It may sound stupid (it does to me) but according to some it is better, because the government can cut bonuses and benefits at any time (like now), but the actual salary cannot be reduced according to constitution. The bad thing is that for many, these bogus bonuses were like 50% of their total income, which is now lost. I wouldn't mind it for high incomers but for the lowest pay scales its going to be a shock

    It is a funny thing, because such idiotic bonuses also exist for MPs and employees of the Parliament. And, although they have mostly been scrapping benefits all around, they have done nothing to reduce their incomes. In addition, they also get "Bonuses" for taking part in Parliament committees, and, lately, bookings for such committees has tripled, and nobody says a thing.

    I was also reading today that KKE (Communist Party) has made a formal suggestion to scrap MPs pensions that they get after 8 years of service. Instead, their service would just contribute to their pension fund that they had before getting elected. That is maybe the only sane thing KKE has suggested for decades, though I doubt it will ever be implemented.

    The Germans and other EU countries had a real chance at pressing for measures that would actually reduce tax evasion and corruption but the only thing I see being implemented is the last bullet to the Greek "economy". As a Greek I am very disappointed, and you should know its not only foreigners that are speechless by the situation and all the corruption around and all the bogus bonuses that we hear about. I for one, have never voted for anyone, feeling that nobody actually can clean this house called Greece. And, with perfect timing, I will be leaving Greece for a secondment with my company that I had in the works for months now. It is only a temporary transfer but I hope I never have to come back, except maybe for a few days here and now as a tourist, to enjoy the sun and the beach.

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  • 85. At 5:55pm on 03 May 2010, RAZAK ABBAS wrote:

    If you enjoy cooking your books and expect to continue in your merry ways, good for you. But don't expect me or others to bail you out even at a "not insignificant" interest rate. Greece should not be too big to fail notwithstanding the moral and economic hazards posed here.It is what it is. Profligacy has a way of catching up with everybody, individuals and countries alike. The present arrangements appear to be just a bandage. It may not be sufficient to hold the water in the end. By the way, how about the same situations operating presently with Spain, Ireland and Portugal? How are those going to be dealt with?

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  • 86. At 6:06pm on 03 May 2010, MarEndins wrote:

    Does anyone here realise that Germany has a population of 81 million? That is a third more than the population of UK, France or Italy, and nearly twice the population of Poland or Spain. It is just normal that they pay the largest share of the bail-out.

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  • 87. At 6:09pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    70. At 5:04pm on 03 May 2010, Baris wrote:
    75. At 5:13pm on 03 May 2010, Baris wrote:

    Passport please!

    1) The possibilities of you being an EU-citizen are anyway low
    2) The possibilities of you being born in an EU-country are even lower...
    3) The possibilities of you being born in an EU-country and your parents too are almost non-existing... unless of course you lost your love one warm Greek summer to some local.

    These 3 months we have seen this sad phenomenon of some Balkan people - 20 years now surviving total collapse thanx to Greece's aid - biting the hand that fed them, taking a new even more saddening turn. Money is over now, search for new hands to feed you.

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  • 88. At 6:12pm on 03 May 2010, DeneilTopan wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt's concern for Germany is amazing. He seems to care more about their "plight" than the Germans do themselves. He has also counseled the Greeks, on the one hand, to leave the Euro so that they can solve their problem by printing more Drachmas, and, on the other hand, has bashed them for precisely such "easy way out" attitudes. What about the UK's situation, Mr. Hewitt? They seem to have deficits almost identical to Greece's. Oh, silly me: Unlike the Greeks and like the banana republics of old, the UK can "monetize" its problem, use "quantitative easing", etc. In other words, it can print more money instead of tightening the belt like the Greeks will have to do. Now, let's sit back and watch what happens to the Pound over the next couple of years...

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  • 89. At 6:13pm on 03 May 2010, Mike Dixon Londoner in Spain wrote:

    Here is a view from Spain.

    Spain and France have much interest in common and are working very closely together. France is contributing 16.8 billion, Spain is contributing 9.8 billion, a total of 26.6 billion, substantially more than Germany's 22.4 billion.

    France is geographically the largest country in Western Europe 547,000 km2, Spain second with 505,000 km2, Germany has an area of 357,000 km2. Germany has a population of about 82 million, while the combined French-Spanish population is about 110 million.

    This grouping is very important at the present time as Spain hold the rotating Presidency of the European Community with the following clearly stated agenda.

    First priority: The full implementation of the Treaty [of Lisbon].

    Secondly: Pressing ahead with an Economic Unions as provided for under the Treaty of Maastricht.

    You may be sure that Spain, with the active support of France (together with Italy, went they con be persuaded not to play "the five sided comedian") will shape these implementations to suite Latin Interests.

    I might just reminded my British friends that they are signatories to both treaties and if they should forget this fact of life, I'm sure the next residents of number 10 and number 11 Downing Street will be getting little visits to remind them!

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  • 90. At 6:14pm on 03 May 2010, ptsa wrote:

    80. At 5:38pm on 03 May 2010, Dan Allen wrote:

    Baris, Where are your facts? It's all innuendo and anecdotes.

    ----

    As I said in my post above, such anecdotes are not entirely false. But, they don't represent a significant percentage of the Greek workers, not even a significant percentage of the public sector workers. But, such anecdotes (that even make Greeks furious, yes we are not apathetic!) make excellent material for anti-Greek journalism a-la Bild.



    * 77. At 5:29pm on 03 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    What I find extra-amusing is all those people who are allergically intolerant to any signs of gratitutde to Brits, Dutch, Germans, French and Italians who are bailing them out. Tirelessly, they repeat again and again and again that the successful economies are only "lending" them money and that they are "profiting" from it.

    ROFL

    As if any German, Brit, Italian, Dutch or French person is ever going to get back any of that money...


    ---------

    Well, as other posters said, until we Greeks have to pay back, it is neither a bail-out nor a loan. As a Greek myself, I don't really see how this helps re-vitalize the economy or cause significant yet necessary structural changes in this country. The only thing the Germans, Dutch and French etc are paying for is the security of the Euro and the investors who are waiting for their interest payments (including their precious banks that they will have to bail out if they don't bail out Greece). The ordinary Greek will never see a penny in his/her pocket from that money, why should I be thanking anyone at this point if I don't see results from it? And, correct me if my assumption is wrong, but, if it wasn't for all the Greek debt in foreign (EU) hands, no country would even bother with all that, so please do not try to underestimate my intelligence by telling me this is all coz anyone gives a crap about Greeks. Just reading the international news and blogs like this proves it.

    Again, I have never voted for any of the crooks governing us the past decades but they have been borrowing money in my name as well. Your politicians are lending (or whatever) money to greeks without your conscent. I, as well as many other greeks have the right to be equally pissed of as you. If there was ever a referendum about it, most greeks would vote no to the bailout. Its not that we are ungreatful, we just see who that money is actually helping pay off and what we are getting instead of prosperity (cuts, austerity measures, and a big chance that nothing will have changed three years from now). Representative democracy?? Ha! Same all around Europe, same same but different.



    78. At 5:32pm on 03 May 2010, Skarp wrote:

    When we go to Greece for vacations we are cash cows, overpaying for everything, people are rude.

    ---

    When I book for my holidays in Greece, I always speak in English and try to appear as a foreigner. People take more advantage of Greeks than foreigners regarding prices (well, except cabs). And rude people are everywhere, I've seen them in Spain, Germany, UK, France, Czech Republic.


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  • 91. At 6:20pm on 03 May 2010, pename wrote:

    Very good summary, putting things in the right perspective.

    I am really puzzled with the reactions of my countrymen (Greeks). I see really nothing hostile or pro-German about it, it's very well balanced.

    Let's calm down, guys, don't recon enemies everywhere (Don Greexote syndrome?)

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  • 92. At 6:36pm on 03 May 2010, Dan Allen wrote:

    Pename, I'm not a Greek and I was hostile to it because it lacks accuracy, for the reasons I mentioned above. (I'm an American here by the way, and I'm angered at suggestions that Americans are to blame).

    (I'm joking.)

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  • 93. At 6:38pm on 03 May 2010, Dan Allen wrote:

    One more thing: there are no enemies everywhere. The enemy is one. The neoliberal cabal that makes countries assume gambling and bribery debts of the rich and then blames that debt on the peasantry for lavish pensions and luxury lifestyle.

    I see plenty of rubes on the bbc site have bought it hook-line-sinker.

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  • 94. At 6:40pm on 03 May 2010, Anthony wrote:

    re 83 Cool brush work

    Im aware of the topic of the article. Im referring to the writers tendency to be pro German and the, what can only be called bullying of Greece in these blogs.. why is that suddenly acceptable? easy when they are not reading..
    Im not Greek but I live in Greece and Im simply amazed by the ridiculous things people are saying about what goes on here.. so much bitterness, and there is no UK money in this bail out..

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  • 95. At 6:51pm on 03 May 2010, Joseph wrote:

    Surely, anyone can see this whole bailout deal is about protecting German/French/etc. banks and bondholders that are exposed to goodness knows how many billions of Greek debt.

    If they didn't do it and Greece defaulted, the banking systems of Germany and France (and others) would be wiped out overnight. No wonder they fear 'the markets' not buying that this bailout will do the job - and contagion spreading - they don't have a way of printing any more money to bail out the next PIIGS or the next one. The laugh is that Ireland actually has to borrow the 1.3bn it has to put up to fund this deal. It is a deck of cards alright.

    The banks (and other bondholders) hold huge sway over politicians and will have been threatening all sorts of dire consequences if default were to happen. The real game of poker here is not between George and Angela but between the bondholders and the Greek people.

    What if the bondholders are bluffing? What if the Greeks did default and all that really happened, once the dust had settled, was that the mega-rich bondholders were the ones that lost their money? It would be like that moment in the Wizard Of Oz when they pulled back the curtain and the great big nasty wizard just turned out to be some little guy with a few gizmos.

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  • 96. At 7:00pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #90 ptsa

    Similar to many societies, Greece has its own nationalistic problems that are transferred from generation to generation. Whether this is problems with Turkey, the civil war, the military dictatorship etc. or how Greece sees itself in this modern world.

    Reality is hard to face (ask Brits ) but the self Delusion of Grandeur and importance (in this world) is the real cause of the Greek tragedy.

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  • 97. At 7:16pm on 03 May 2010, george wrote:

    all this talk about Greece being in the financial situation its in and no mention of the biggest culprit in this whole situation, the EU! since the euro was implemented as the currency of all members of the EU no one had any problem with Greece spending its way into the trouble its in now.I agree with the comments that it was the previous governments fault that things are this bad in the country but tell me this all European countries get there books checked out every year and even if the books where cooked like the author of this article states how did it take almost 10 years for them to realize it?. They let it happen so the euro could become the strongest currency in the world surpassing the American $. So before the author and people blame the Greek people who do have a role to play in the crisis affecting them a bigger question should be asked, why did the EU who must have some of the best accountants in the world not notice the discrepancies that are so obvious now? and that is what we should be focusing on not Germany bailing out Greece because Germany has a part to play in what happened to Greece

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  • 98. At 7:18pm on 03 May 2010, SS wrote:

    CAPITALISM TO THE RESCUE!!

    If only true capitalist rules, insisting on "intellectual" property rights were to apply! The Germans and indeed all Europeans would still be paying the Greeks and their heirs for copying and plagiarizing their philosophy lo' so many years; german philosophical rights, not so much.

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  • 99. At 7:35pm on 03 May 2010, ptsa wrote:

    96. At 7:00pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #90 ptsa

    Similar to many societies, Greece has its own nationalistic problems that are transferred from generation to generation. Whether this is problems with Turkey, the civil war, the military dictatorship etc. or how Greece sees itself in this modern world.

    Reality is hard to face (ask Brits ) but the self Delusion of Grandeur and importance (in this world) is the real cause of the Greek tragedy.
    ---

    I don't see how any of what you said is relevant to what I said. I am not a very nationalistic person. For me Greece is nothing more than a small pawn in a big chessboard that has no importance to the rest of the world. This is why I believe no other nation is just pouring money here out of true sympathy, not even pity! Prove me wrong that all this is only to benefit the Euro and the fragile economies in the EMU and has nothing to do with what happens to Greeks. We were lied to as much as the rest of Europe and we were promised a better way of life and more prosperity for our nation through EMU membership. We got none of the above and we should pissed off. It has nothing to do with Delusion of Grandeur as you put it.

    Just don't make me feel obligated to be grateful for this "bail-out" cause I will never be. Not because I am a nationalist (not once did I say that we as greeks are better than others) but allow me to be insulted with all the tabloid-style comments I read recently. There is nothing wrong with trying to hold to any pride left. Do you think all of a sudden people need to be ashamed of being Greek because of the constant mis-management of our country?

    I know everyone wants to make us pay, as if, even with the economic mis-management we enjoyed a lavish lifestyle and now we have to pay or something. For us, things just got from bad to even worse.

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  • 100. At 7:47pm on 03 May 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    There are cultural and political difference in the Northern and Southern EU. Just because they all wear suits does not mean they share the same world view. Greece has many issues, this is just the biggest. If you look at international loans to Latin American countries in the past decades you will find many unpaid, refinanced, etc. Only now, for some, thirty years later, are they addressing these loans. I think this is more about EU ego and the German view of good government than about the loans. I am not being critical of the German view of good governments as they have been very responsible in financing and economic development.

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  • 101. At 8:25pm on 03 May 2010, Ellin wrote:

    EU leaders will rue the day they did not advantage of the Greek crisis to turf the Greeks out of the Eurozone and, if possible, out of the EU too. Of two things I am reasonably certain: Greeks will never reform and Greeks will never repay their debts. The consequences of that are anybody's guess.

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  • 102. At 8:35pm on 03 May 2010, Richard Hauck wrote:

    This article is really refreshing because it is written in a very creative style which makes it so easy to understand the journalist's insights, and is fun and interesting to read. It shows politicians as REAL human beings! (imagine!). I'm going to use it with my students who get "bored" with the news (but I've nothing against the conventional styled news articles--there is room for all styles of writing here). Thank you! Richard : )

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  • 103. At 8:49pm on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    here are comments from greeks, they are the total opposite of all those Greeks who post here and complain:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8657989.stm

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  • 104. At 8:52pm on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MikeE-BCN from (e)spain...

    I did not get the point of your statement...

    What are you trying to say?

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  • 105. At 8:53pm on 03 May 2010, politis wrote:

    This article is one of the worse I have ever read. European journalists are keep on writing without knowing the subject, just because the subject sells for 5 months now.

    Here is my answer to your remarks:

    Your comment:
    ''The books had been cooked''

    THE TRUTH
    During the period 1998-2004, Greece used the accounting standards valid at the time in EU. All EU countries used the same standards. Among others in these standards, big defense contracts were accounted in the country's budget at the date of delivery. The new conservative government of 2004 requested from EU not to use this rule, so that the same contracts would be accounted at the date of their order, charging the country's budgets prior to 2004. This had 2 effects (a) Greece accounts would then show that the country did not meet the Eurozone criteria, although they were met in the first place (b) allow more spending in the country's budgets after 2004.
    So, this idiot conservative Greek government did not hide any debt, they just transferred it in the past, at the allowance of EU, Germany etc. who wanted Greece to borrow more and buy more from them.
    Concerning this year, the debt boomed into 13,7% although predicted 4-6% at the beginning of the year because of the crisis. As simple as that, call it bad prediction or bad government. It is not cooking.


    Your comment:
    ''The Germans are looking for a new business culture in Greece''

    THE TRUTH
    What business culture would exactly look for? The business culture that promises a good finalized product and uses the money to deliver a prototype? The business culture of selling 2-3 times higher than should be by bribing? The business culture that guarantees a country to borrow in cheap and buy our cars, our tanks, our submarines, our ships, our airplanes. And let their neighbors ask for more, more land, more sea, more history. These idiots will buy more of our products. And then cut their throat, stop the cash flow. Make them cheap and buy their assets at good price.

    Note: By the way, Greek asset plundering apart from the known suspects, seems to be a sport of some Britons. For more info in the sport of Greek-property trespassing please visit the turkish-occupied part of cyprus.

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  • 106. At 8:56pm on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Everyone also please remember that this is a BLOG. Blog articles aren't news articles but rather the opinion of the writer. So don't accuse Gavin. He is allowed to have an opinion. He's human, after all.

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  • 107. At 9:30pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    #89. At 6:13pm on 03 May 2010, MikeE-BCN

    Very well said!

    I would call it fair journalism if Gavin didn't just select German unhappines and reported what the rest of the Eurozone countries thought about it!

    I've been writing for over a week now that I had enough of German complains. We haven't heard anything about the countries that will finance the 85% - 90% of the loan!

    To all the Greeks here, don't stress about the negative comments, stress more about how screwed you'll be after 4 - 5 of austerity. This is an idiot's rescue plan.

    Anyhow try to pay your debts, don't borrow again and pass a law that any product other than food is a luxury item and hit it with a 50% tax. Cars hit them with 30% green house gas tax. Your trade deficit will improve overnight and you will start making things yourselves instead of importing. Or you can stick with the current stupid plan of paying interest to import things.

    @78. At 5:32pm on 03 May 2010, Skarp

    I've been to Greece on holiday also, I din't find any rude people there, at least no one as rude as you or perhaps they are not as simple as you.

    How do you imagine they run up such huge debts? Simply by overcharging tourists and paying too litle for our not overpriced goods that we sell to them? Grow up and think for yourself instead of repeating lines you read in newspapers.

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  • 108. At 9:33pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @103. At 8:49pm on 03 May 2010, Gheryando,

    my guess is that he is trying to say that the EU is not just Germany, there is more to it that Germany! But you wouldn't know it from this blog.

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  • 109. At 9:39pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #99 ptsa

    Previous blogs have been overwhelmed with Greek nationalistic sentiments and I also missed any real critique of the Greek society from you. Veiled half responsibility and the continuing blaming of others is only a continuation of the Delusions of Grandeur and in no way faces the facts of Greek self delusion since WW11.

    We have been bombarded by the contributions of Nik et. al. over the past few weeks with few acknowledgements that Greece has ever been responsible for any thing it has ever done , without bringing in the total responsibility of other if it went badly wrong.

    From the Turks, the Nazis, capitalists ,Communists --- and from across your society eventually to you, who again wash your hands of the mess. ´Same all around Europe, same but different.´is your Greek answer.

    My experience with Greece and its society is now approaching 40 years and my conclusion is that with this (one of many) debacle whether Greece can be considered as a functional state and will it ever by itself achieve that recognition.

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  • 110. At 9:45pm on 03 May 2010, lochraven wrote:

    It seems that the EU is a bad marriage; time for a divorce.








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  • 111. At 9:54pm on 03 May 2010, Veritus wrote:

    Those here who believe that lending to Greece right now at 5% is an excellent business have an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is by buying the Greek bonds.

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  • 112. At 10:01pm on 03 May 2010, clevergirl1978 wrote:

    ...and why aren't doctors, teachers and firemen EXEMPT from public pay cuts???? i don't mention the police as they do little of nothing in this country...

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  • 113. At 10:05pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    96. At 7:00pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    #90 ptsa
    """Similar to many societies, Greece has its own nationalistic problems that are transferred from generation to generation. Whether this is problems with Turkey, the civil war, the military dictatorship etc. or how Greece sees itself in this modern world. Reality is hard to face (ask Brits ) but the self Delusion of Grandeur and importance (in this world) is the real cause of the Greek tragedy."""

    I could day whatever man whatever. But here when you say something you have to prove it like I do (with OECD stats. with official EU stats presented in BCC own links etc.). So:

    1) What nationalist problem has Greece transferred from generation to generation? Their aggression during the Trojan War or something?
    Please enlighten me!

    2) How do Greeks see themselves in the modern world?

    Greeks on average are much more educated than people in your country, if you disagree with the statement at leat accept they are better on average in maths. They know the numbers, they know their numbers in terms of the world population they know how the world is bigger than them - something that your country has not realised yet and indeed suffers from grandeur-complex yet it has a smaller mouth than what it should to swallow the world in one spoonfull.
    So how Greeks view themselves? Where is their grandeur you mention?

    quietoaktree... why don't you come out and state exactly what is your exact problem with Greece? Chris Camp for example has said it clearly, he has some British-Turkish ancestry and as such he is naturaly positioned against Greece on all fronts, no matter if he tries to see things a bit more subjectively. Ok, we cannot expect any better, at least it is honest from his part to have clarified this. We will have his viewpoint too, no problem, but we will pressure him to be base what he says with facts.

    But what is your point exactly here? I have seen you on a long series of messages but you say nothing particular other than random collections of phrases.

    So what are you up to? Is it that any Greek here accused "others" like US, Turkey or the aliens as directly related in Greece's financial problem? Can you point one?

    If you can't, then change point-line. Do not attribute your words to others' as-if said by them.

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  • 114. At 10:17pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @quietoaktree,

    It looks to me that you can not seperate your feeling from facts.

    What makes the Greeks less functional than the Koreans, the Japanese or us here in the UK in your opinion?

    What gives the right to bankers to make stupid investments without any risk?

    I've been to Greece on holiday many times, I've never seen anything too strange that would make me think that country was disfunctional or in any way different to my own country!

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  • 115. At 10:22pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    112. At 10:01pm on 03 May 2010, clevergirl1978 wrote:

    ...and why aren't doctors, teachers and firemen EXEMPT from public pay cuts???? i don't mention the police as they do little of nothing in this country...

    What are you trying to tell us that Doctors, teachers & firemen actually do something? Wake up, check international statistics to find out that Greek maths and science is at the bottom of the table!

    To all Greeks you do need to make some changes!

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  • 116. At 10:28pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #113 nik

    My both contributions stand-- with no alterations ( as yet ) necessary.

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  • 117. At 10:28pm on 03 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @110,

    The EU is the best thing that happen to Europe for many 1000s of years. Just like a marriage it just needs more cometment and perhaps some therapy!

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  • 118. At 10:57pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #114 ChrisArta

    Obviously you have NOT used your travels to learn about the societies you visit---I do.

    In fact that has ALWAYS been the main reason for my travels.

    You will be surprised how much is to be learned with honest friendliness and the proper questions if the truth about a society is your aim.

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  • 119. At 11:09pm on 03 May 2010, konstantina wrote:

    * 70 Baris wrote: I have read comments by citizens of Greece blaming their woes on the Germans, the IMF, NATO, the Turks, the bankers, the politicians, the recently arrived immigrants to Greece like the Albanians and the Africans, the tax collectors, the funny-looking green men zooming around in their saucers - but not themselves. If I may ask an HONEST question to citizens of that country: have YOU, personally, evaded taxes, given a bribe, said nothing when someone ELSE was giving/taking a bribe in your life?

    * 87 Nik replied: Passport please! 1) The possibilities of you being an EU-citizen are anyway low 2) The possibilities of you being born in an EU-country are even lower... 3) The possibilities of you being born in an EU-country and your parents too are almost non-existing... unless of course you lost your love one warm Greek summer to some local.
    These 3 months we have seen this sad phenomenon of some Balkan people - 20 years now surviving total collapse thanx to Greece's aid - biting the hand that fed them, taking a new even more saddening turn. Money is over now, search for new hands to feed you.

    * Konstantina is now writing :) Nic, why did you not answer Baris' question and instead made these racist and totally irrelevant comments? Do you think if a person is not from the EU, he/she cannot criticise?

    I totally agree with Baris, and find a disturbingly high number of greeks i meet seriously deluded with nationalism, racism, and self-importance (the nation-self). Why do you think you are the centre of the world (your character almost reminds me of the old (but sweeter than you) guy in my big fat greek wedding, who claims the root of all words is greek.)? Why do you live in the past? (e.g. Germans do not owe you anything cos ancient people in your land were brilliant. you clearly arent today.) and Why wont you just accept that there is a collective cultural problem in greece with political corruption, overspending, and deal with it?

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  • 120. At 11:12pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 121. At 11:13pm on 03 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @quietoaktree
    You have obviously an enquiring mind and you can see beneath the surface. I am sure that you will have a wonderful time in Turkey this summer and you will enrich your experiences of other cultures and societies. I somehow have a suspicion that you will come with great lessons for us Greeks. Without a doubt we would have been much better under the Ottoman empire. We should have never revolted. Actually more recently, perhaps we should have never allowed the Germans to leave with our gold (never given back and not even a thank you) after the occupation. We pay for our grave mistakes.

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  • 122. At 11:13pm on 03 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    We in America have learned this one principle. No good deed goes unpunished. So, do what you do it's alright by me.

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  • 123. At 11:34pm on 03 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    @ ALL spending time on ... quietoaktree:

    WHY are you STILL spending time with this guy? PLANET 'quietoaktree' IS OBVIOUSLY BIASED and ... on another DIMENSION!! ;-DD

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  • 124. At 11:34pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #120 and #121

    As I have previously said --- no alterations (as yet) are necessary.

    Your contributions only support---- thank you.

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  • 125. At 11:39pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    You ask me to tell you what did Greeks do wrong? And you expect me to tell you what? That they worked less? It is a lie. That the bulk of the Greek citizens enjoyed EU money? It is a lie. That the Greek citizens lived off other Europeans' money? It is a lie. I have said the heart of the issue:

    1) Treacherous political system installed by Britain in 1945 inflicting a horrible civil war in which British had paid both sides and whose results permeat still the Greek society more than the genocide of Greeks in Minor Asia in 1922 or even the more recent Cyprus issue. British influence was inherited by US as it was. No single government or dictatorship went up or down (!) without the prior knowledge of US since 1950! 4-5 families monopolised the political system using forcefull and often downright illegal methods while a onsortium of 15-20 business families rule really the country from behind like an unamed mafia.

    From there on: since 1975:

    2) Political system based on ND & PASOK parties cultivated consciously corruption as a means of controlling people. People simply were chosen on their corruption performace. Honest but also corrupt-wanna-turn-honest politicians were taken out by party proscription or ridiculisation, downgrading and thus losing the next elections or... more rarely in worst cases by more violent means including murder at extreme cases (accidents, medical cases, use of artificial terrorist groups like 17N organised by foreign links etc.). On the social side, corruption is spread consciously like a virus as a means of controlling the electorate. The electorate is not won, it is bought. The means are not money, it is something worse: something that Greeks cannot refuse: a promise on the future of people's kids (the good old "I'll sort out your kid in a nice position"). For the more rich, it is sorting out their businesses with lucrative contracts which will benaturally badly managed that way. The lack of linear social progress will push a large number of professional groups - i.e. pretty much all those that could avoid the direct control - into tax evasion in exactly the same way that in every single country in the world drivers will pass the 130km/hr limit if they know there is no radar and if they know the possibility of a police setting a mobile radar the time they are passing is extremely small. The state which is responsible for containing does nothing sort of pushing people even more into that behaviour as it keep people "employed" and the "system" going. The holes are covered with loans.

    3) PASOK governement of 1981-1989 went on to disindustrialise the country driving successful private companies to failure, taking out workers to the streets with force with no reason, kicking out Japanese investors (just like Russians and Chinese are kicked out now by yet another Papandreou). It replaced earnings with loans and started the hand outs in 1984 to get re-elected. In the same time EEC parcels started arriving disorienting completely both the upset agricultural sector as well as the small-medium production becoming yet another tool for the govenrment to buy a stable number of votes. All that while in 10 years the country's production base had been chopped out almost completely and the country became officially the most importing nation in Europe replacing productive jobs with cafe-jobs, representative-jobs, middle-jobs etc.

    4) The 1989-90 was a neutral ecoumenic government that did nothing other than organise elections. People though that a crisis like the current would arrive to make the country pay back the huge loans that Papandreou had taken in the 1980s. But no, back then EEC was all confident about Greece going the right way!!!

    5) In 1990-93 the ND government only made the issues worse enlarging the debt. It fell for wanting to privitise - after EU pressure - telecoms and electricity, the most lucrative and overperforming state companies.

    6) In 1994-2004 another PASOK full decade. PASOK started with privitisation of telecoms and electricity!!!! (the reason the other government fell!!!! told you, PASOK is the system itself!!!!). Now these companies are underperfoming, people pay more the country loses money abroad, money which were all at 100% recycled in the country. PASOK continued the complete disindustrialisation of the country apart the construction sector which met new heights with the Egnatia project and the Olympics exploiting the influx of illegal Albanian and later other immigrants. Unemployment soared. Wages remained stagnant. Greece to survive took more and more loans to embark on more and more pharaonic projects. EU rode consciously that crazy train and Germans were the driver s(last vote on Olympics remember? Fiestas for development!) and French the first mechanics (baroc bridge of Rio-Antirio...) etc.

    7) In 2000 the scum of the stock market: whole bunches of Greeks are downgraded one whole social class down! From there on the bubble erupts. Things go off... the 2004 fiesta is down already in a bad climate (only that the usual joyful attitude of Greeks to pretend they have a good time while they have a bad time convinced the world to have the best ever Olympics there so far - i.e. more and more unseen costs there unknown...).

    8) 2004-2007, ND government went up to fight the amazing (mostly PASOK born) corruption, they are doing nothing of that, they are simply continuing trying to get some for themselves and understanding how the system goes, they even continue on the same financial scandals like PASOK - see Siemens for example!!! Out of their inability to take any meaningful measure on any sector internally they seek external solutions from another angle with changing partners and searching accords with Russians and Chinese. By 2006 Greece becomes the black sheep of EU which does not sees positevely this approach and even more for US which resents it downrightly. The accord for Southstream and the leasing Chinese are the break point:

    from there on starts the direct attack against Greece:
    1) US pushed for election of Papandreou in PASOK party (till 2006 considered the least suitable by PASOK people!!!)
    2) summer fires of 2007 priot to elections of late 2007, 45 people die (an unseen event - all a set up of course...) ND moves fowarded the date in an unexpected twist (probably expecting worse)
    3) throughout 2008 strikes and protests followign Karamanlis' signature for SouthstreaM. Things culminate in the murder by a sniper (as all evidence shows now - and not by the policeman accused) of a teenager which leads to a week of unseen social unrest since dictatorship. The ND government enters 2009 almost collapsed, the 80% PASOK controlled press bombards people of the corruption scandals of ND and its inability to govern, ND party can do nothing much than survive till the point to declare sudden elections in October 2009. This time Papandreou wins easily as people were fed up with the lack of government believing the promises of Papandreou of increase of basic salaries and moving into real development and other such amazing promises that I have to list you here.

    3 days after election Papandreou canceles the 100% of what said and pretends to falling from the sky with the economics (he did not know, but he measured it in 3 days!...) thus kickstarting the current crisis that still occupies the headlines for so many months.

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  • 126. At 11:39pm on 03 May 2010, RationalThinker wrote:

    An old English saying puts it aptly, 'Beggars can't be choosers'. I would say that the Greeks still got a decent hand. So, take the help offered, shut up and help yourselves.

    I also agree with one of the posts. Why are only Germans being cast as the villains? You can't blame the Germans for bringing the Greeks to grief. It's their money and they have all right to ask all uncomfortable questions, the foremost being to know how will they be repaid. Are the other countries in the Euro Zone opening the floodgates to help a 'brother' in need?

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  • 127. At 11:44pm on 03 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

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

  • 128. At 11:48pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    124. At 11:34pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    #120 and #121

    As I have previously said --- no alterations (as yet) are necessary.

    Your contributions only support---- thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    I.e.? What is your viewpoint? Cos you express absolutely none here so far.

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  • 129. At 11:49pm on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    wow...konstantina..

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  • 130. At 11:53pm on 03 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    I have met Greeks and have listened to them for hours over Retsina and Metaxa and their analysis of Greek society.

    I have also met Greeks and have listened to them for hours over Retsina and Metaxa and their analysis of Greek society-- and they are similar to most of the contributors on this blog .

    I not only believe the former, my conclusions are identical.

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  • 131. At 11:59pm on 03 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    @ 130, quietoaktree wrote:
    ...
    I not only believe the former, my conclusions are identical.

    >> And conclusions on You ARE ... STEREOTYPICAL just as Yourself (how Pathetic to be stereotypical) ... and Clueless if not ... SUSPICIOUSLY BIASED ... hmmmmm ... nevermind, KEEP getting EXPOSED ... Goodnite!

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  • 132. At 00:06am on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #128 and other Greek contributors.

    Click on QUIETOAKTREE and you will have all information posted by me on the topic of Greece.

    I do not write books to discuss.

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  • 133. At 00:14am on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    * Konstantina is now writing :) Nic, why did you not answer Baris' question and instead made these racist and totally irrelevant comments? Do you think if a person is not from the EU, he/she cannot criticise?

    Dear Konstantina, Baris message was highly offensive and downright racist against Greeks. But above all it was yet another gebbelist attempt to attribute to us things that none of us ever said (despite we have repeated so again and again and made it crystal clear like I did so many times including above).

    Since I myself have no particular positive of negative feelings for random countries in the world be it Peru, Bahrein or Solomon islands, I did the only logical guess: that Baris has personal vendettas against Greeks. Now either a Greek stole his wallet or his wife either he comes from a culture that resents Greeks be it a Turk, a FYROMian or an Albanian. What is racist in this guess? I asked him. He does not need to reply but he has to explain why he is aggressive.

    """I totally agree with Baris,"""

    You totally agree because you are a Turk and that makes you subjective like him.


    """"... and find a disturbingly high number of greeks i meet seriously deluded with nationalism, racism, and self-importance (the nation-self).""""

    Typical. For you it is 100% normal that 1000s of people have been murdered out in the open streets of your own city for their origins (1955... and not only...) and still are murdered for wanting to speak freely (Hrant Dink? One of the so many....) and you find 100% natural in Turkey having a law that imprisons people that let alone dare talk about the genocides Turks perpetrated.

    And you call Greeks nationalists? Quite a nerve there Konstantina.

    """"Why do you think you are the centre of the world (your character almost reminds me of the old (but sweeter than you) guy in my big fat greek wedding, who claims the root of all words is greek.)?""""

    Stereotypes, whatever... but no you are not racist Konstantina.

    If we are not the center of the world Konstantina what are you doing here? Trying to prove we are the center of the world?

    Explain your inner reasons to be here and commenting. Do you go to Vanuatu forums to comment? Perhaps to Namimbia's forums? Perhaps you commented Dubai's latest financial problems?
    You are a Turk, a non EU citizen and this issue is not at all of your concern.

    """Why do you live in the past?""""

    """"(e.g. Germans do not owe you anything cos ancient people in your land were brilliant. you clearly arent today.)""""

    Who said this Konstantina? It is only you saying the above and trying to attribute it to us Greeks. You are disgracefully lying there.

    """"and Why wont you just accept that there is a collective cultural problem in greece with political corruption, overspending, and deal with it?""""

    Because we want to cut and burn the root-cause, not to just slash a side-effect, Konstantina.

    Corruption in Greece like elsewhere has been cultivated consciously by the ruling parties to re-produce the system itself over a long period of time and has become systemic.

    You speak about corruption as if it is the a choice of people. You have the choice of how to drive your car - e.g. running only up to the limit of 130km/hr. Yet I have driven in almost every country in Europe (have done the round of Europe) and know that in the absence of automatic radar controls and in the knowledge of a low risk of having surprise police controls about the 30% of drivers drive at a cruise speed of 150km.

    For what? Arriving 5 minutes earlier? For the pleasure of it? Now, what if these people could ensure their kid's better treatment in hospital and the doctor could ensure a better salary for himself and his family... if the risk of getting caught and being punished is almost non-existing? Fault of patient and doctor? Or the justice system? But the justice system will judge accordingly to the laws made by politics those who are arrested by police and controls who are controlled by politics. If political leaders want to cultivate corruption, judges will judge only those who are chosen as scapegoats. Hardly a recipe for success!

    Anyone wants to hit corruption? How? By spreading leaflets to people and doing advertishments on tv on correct behaviour? In what world you live?

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  • 134. At 00:17am on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

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

  • 135. At 00:24am on 04 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    Let us all become what 'quietoaktree' Wishes us to Become ... we belive in 1 god, Quietoaktree ... as Other (non-Greek) people have told you more than once in other blogs, for a 'quiet' whatever, you are creating a Lot of Worthless noise ... back to your planet now ... we have to go to work in the morning.

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  • 136. At 00:27am on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

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

  • 137. At 00:32am on 04 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    @ 'quiet' oak tree (or Bush or Green or or ...):

    KEEP being SUSPICIOUSLY SELECTIVE in what you read and comment from others, KEEP getting EXPOSED :-D ... DO KEEP IT UP!!

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  • 138. At 00:46am on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Tassos

    We can´t even trust that you are going to bed ????

    I could go on for hours, but out of consideration for your next few days of demonstrations and riots, I really think you need your beauty sleep !

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  • 139. At 00:53am on 04 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    138, quietoaktree wrote:

    Tassos

    We can´t even trust that you are going to bed ????

    >> Go count your cash in your CAVE ... normal people have to Work and not Live on blogs ... chop chop now ... God bless usa, Remember alamo, Viva la Big Mac ...

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  • 140. At 01:33am on 04 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Marcus wrote:

    "Montana's probably has more in common with neighboring Manitoba's in Canada than with Florida's. ..."

    __________

    Manitoba and Montana are not neighbours, actually.

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  • 141. At 01:36am on 04 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    117. At 10:28pm on 03 May 2010, ChrisArta wrote:

    @110,

    The EU is the best thing that happen to Europe for many 1000s of years. Just like a marriage it just needs more cometment ...

    ____________

    Cometment?

    Sort of like "to the moon Alice,"?

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  • 142. At 01:39am on 04 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Read the thread; suddenly (for myself :o) agreed couple of times with Dan Allen.

    Amd once with MaudDib (we will learn far later on what it was - a loan a bailout a... a....)

    MaudDib, I remembered :o) - someone said - "If you don't understand what's happening; like - "What on Earth were they talking about?!"
    - rest assured it was about money. :o)))

    May be it works the other way around:
    If you don't understand a discussion about money - rest assured - it was not about money.
    ? :o)

    Hello, David. I don't have much to say.

    Hello, threnodio - of course.

    Nik, glad to see you are holding on. As David says "Just imagine Alice - your neughbours!" :o))))

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  • 143. At 01:41am on 04 May 2010, Malka wrote:

    I think its funny that people think this article is pro-german. i dont think it is. Germany isnt perfect but its financially responsible compared to most euro nations. So why should germany bail out anyone. Germany isnt the only country to contribute but it gets the largest share. If i was a german i would refuse to give greece or any other of the euro nations a penny. If they cant handle their finances then they should not be part of the EURO!

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  • 144. At 02:03am on 04 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    67. At 4:33pm on 03 May 2010, fani papachristou wrote:

    As everybody who has been following how greek economy is doing should now, the past years a series of big bribery scandals have appeared involving very "prestigious" German companies, such as SIEMENS, Mercedes Benz, MAN etc,. Germans have been spending vast amounts of euros to "buy" contracts with the greek state. The german law and tax system had special provisions for PROTECTING german companies that were consistnetly bribing abroad to get more "customers" to the german markets.

    ____________


    Oh, Lord, Germans built me a Mercedes Benz,
    They made us own Porsches, compelled us, again,
    Worked hard all our lives to buy trains from Siemens,
    Oh Lord, don't let them force on me, a Mercedes Benz.

    Oh, Lord, won't you save me from colour TV?
    That big Telefunken is capturing me.
    The Germans deliver each day until three,
    So oh Lord, please save me from color TV.

    Oh Lord, I'm no Zorba at night on the town.
    I just want to pay taxes, Lord, don't let me down.
    Prove that you love me, let me skip the next round,
    Oh Lord, don't you buy me a night on the town.

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  • 145. At 02:38am on 04 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @Malka
    Let's put some issues in its proper context. Bailing out a country is illegal under the Eurozone rules. Germany gives a profitable loan to Greece to protect the Euro and Germany's interests. If this is a bail out, it won't work because the constitutional court in Germany will prohibit it. Furthermore, who told you that Greeks want to be bailed out? they don't, they would have actually prefered to default (and abandon Euro, whatever). From public discussions in the Greek TV of members of governement, it has become apparent that we have been forbidden to default (does not surprise me). Logically, there are three options: loans, bailing out and default. There is no other option (apart from total physical extermination but I assume you do not suggest such drastic action). What do you suggest? bailing out is illegal, default will destroy Euro sp forbidden (This is what Germans think, Greeks do not care any more). There is only the option of loans. It took Merkel quite some time to figure this out and in the meantime it made the total cost of rescue/loans (but not bail out) higher. I do recognise that Greek governemnets behaved irresponsibly and Greece deserves to be thrown out of Euro but everybody says is impossible. So, if you think about it Germans behaved irresponsibly to delay and protract and make more expensive the only solution that *they* find acceptable.

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  • 146. At 03:46am on 04 May 2010, Malka wrote:

    ok well i never said that greece wanted to be bailed out. but as far as i can see it is a bailout. cause greece will not be able to pay back 110 billion euros. So germany is basically giving greece 25 billion euros with no guarantee of getting it back. and most analysts say that greece wont be able to pay it back.( not my opinion) plus germany now also has to worry about spain and portugal running and asking for help. I just dont understand why germany as the biggest economy and population in the euro is so underrepresented but when countries need money germany pays the most. i have nothing against greece or greek people. but the comments the greek prime minister made about germany's past were completely unnecessary especially when you want someones help. anyways my point is i understand why germans are reluctant to be the eurozones ATM machine.

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  • 147. At 06:02am on 04 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    Here I go now that I'm awake:)

    @Quiteoaktree - I observe people and learn a lot about them from my travels, however unlike you, when I judge somehing I do it objectively not emotionaly. That may be where our differences lay.

    @Interestedforeigner - If that works for EU why not?:)

    @Malka,
    Very interesting to observe how you tried to pass you personal opinion as a fact, here we have it:

    Personal opinion
    "but as far as i can see it is a bailout. cause greece will not be able to pay back 110 billion euros."

    Now it is a fact:
    "So germany is basically giving greece 25 billion euros with no guarantee of getting it back."

    The real fact is that as the IMF is involved, I would expect that they will NOT turn around and hand over to Greece 125bl Euro and leave them alone. I expect the loan will be given to them in instalments, and for an instalment to be handed over to them certain criteria agreed with the lenders must be met.

    So there are a lot of guarantees that they will get their money back.

    @WebAlice - I also had enough of this money, money, money topics of the last few months. But I'm still here trying to make sure people stay factual and don't get too emotional

    @Nik - Do you have any info regarding your claim about the Russians wanting to lend money to Greece at 3% or was that some emotional thought also like the ones quiteoaktree dishes out?

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  • 148. At 06:41am on 04 May 2010, RebelJim wrote:

    Greeks always, plays victim, when they are the villains.
    If EU doesn’t help us, we have got a big friend.
    Once again, Greeks claim their beloved Russian Communist brothers are ready and willing to help. (Blackmail)
    Go a head and make my day (EU).
    I forgot; please don’t forget to fill the EU and NATO resignation forms.
    One thing for sure, you will not be missed.

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  • 149. At 06:49am on 04 May 2010, KeepTheChange wrote:

    While there is a lot of arguing here about who is too much pro-German and too much anti-Greece, the German export industry is in overdrive. When people waste too much of precious time on arguing, they don't have enough time left to help their economy and produce something useful.

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  • 150. At 06:52am on 04 May 2010, Malka wrote:

    @ChrisArta

    its not my opinion its what ive heard analysts say. they say greece will get installments but i dont see how that makes it easier to pay back. the money does come with criteria but they dont include paying back the eurozone countries. the criteria are things like reducing the deficit and letting the european commission check greece's paperwork to make sure they are doing all those things. so its not my opinion i simply said what i have heard from people in the news and i made that clear in my last comment too but you chose to ignore that part.

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  • 151. At 07:01am on 04 May 2010, RebelJim wrote:

    Greeks being Greeks, they will always blame others for their misdeeds.
    They have been doing it for thousands of years.
    I am yet to see a Greek to accept responsibility for their wrong doing.
    Now, Greeks are exposed for their dishonesty, they don’t like it. Greece should have been punished not reworded with a bailout.

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  • 152. At 07:25am on 04 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Haha Uwe, your comment made my day

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  • 153. At 08:04am on 04 May 2010, RebelJim wrote:

    Please don’t call me a liar, dishonest or a thief, or criticize how I do things.
    I am Greek.

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  • 154. At 08:34am on 04 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @RebelJim,

    Is that a fact? It looks like you are just inventing "Greek myths" here to push upon us your point of view?

    The only fact that I have available to me is their prime minister saying that they can only blame themselves and also as the blog entry says be the first to admit their deficit was higher than reported.

    Such high drama RebelJim, you are such a Greek!

    @Malka - So it is not your opinion that the Greek government will not pay their loans back? I thought that is what you were writing above. As for analysts that was in brackets as a comment not as a fact. Even so, were those analysts you heard saying the Greek government will pay back, the same ones that were telling banks to buy Greek bonds 1 - 2 years ago or different ones?

    Could it be that the markets and the analysts got it all wrong, they made a huge mess of it and now its up to governments to clean up their mess once again.

    The financial markets are a huge failure, public ignorance is their only hope! Judging by the comments here, they have lots of hope!

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  • 155. At 08:42am on 04 May 2010, David wrote:

    Really,

    Uwe, some truth here....this is like a cafe or local place to sit around because one is retired and argue til red in the face but to have enjoyed all the banter and "information" gathered ...more about the people than the subject.

    For me, my teeth were just pulled -- oooops personal -- and one part of my mouth got infected and NOW AFTER GOING TO THE DENTIST TOMORROW

    I HAVE TO WORK 8 HOURS AT MY JOB WHICH IM GRATEFUL FOR ...in light of all this misery and torture explained.

    But, thank you all, for a wonderful discussion of many different perspectives. All and everyone,

    Have a nice sleep:)

    David

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  • 156. At 08:54am on 04 May 2010, David wrote:

    Remember in a few years, Greece can just revisit the loan and ask for changes --- lower payments...longer time to pay it off..or is this not a real loan ....

    I am not going to the IMF subject...

    Nik is right about one thing, surely, the truly powerful have the power to write the official record of events. Whether it is truth...don't know but am thankful for what I have...now at This moment.

    I do learn things by coming here ..as an American....more than I can repay.

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  • 157. At 09:09am on 04 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @Malka
    Personally I am persuaded that there is no way that Greece can pay back absolutely everything. A partial default is mathematically inevitable. No country has managed to change its economy around at such a short time. It is just that Germans do not accept the inevitable, I don't think they are very rational and have illusions of grandeur for their EU empire and prohibit some sort of default which will be inevitable. The Euro under current rules will become a disaster for Eurozone members. http://notayesmanseconomics.wordpress.com/

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  • 158. At 09:10am on 04 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Interestedforeigner @144.

    Thanks. And I can just hear Janis Joplin singing it....

    Tethered together like twp lumps of deadweight, Greece and the EU remind me of the title to another Joplin song: Ball and Chain.

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  • 159. At 09:28am on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    I would wish if some of the Greek contributors ask their fathers ( or grandfathers) how life was under the Drachma and the home-made inflation rate at the time. It is obvious that book-cooking was the only way to leave the Drachma and pass the cost on to others. Free money with subsidies and infrastructure projects
    was Manna from Heaven and no belt- tightening was necessary.

    For those who suggest default instead of paying-up, look at Argentina. They have much more export possibilities than Greece but still they must pay at least 20% interest on their loans 10 years after their default, other countries in the area pay 5% with far better chances of re-paying than Greece .

    Stop complaining and pay-up for once !

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  • 160. At 09:36am on 04 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    Gavin,
    Your covering of the Greece crisis and the challenges the euro zone faces now are going to become a kind of “Saga of the European Union of the 21 century”.
    You did not save a moment for the last two months to make it clear how corrupt were the previous Greek governments and how reluctant was the present right wing German government to make additional fiscal contributions to Greece. In the mean time, your assistants published the portrait of Frau Merkel at least twenty times here, as if she were the omnipresent symbol of the present trouble the euro and the euro zone are living in to-day.
    But you did not stop there. You started analyzing, first the frictions between Germany and France over the volume of the financial help for Greece; next, you openly declared the German stance as “nationalist”, i.e. not European, not enough comprehensive with the evident fraud that was inherent to the Greek and to other member states governments, and finally, with the present article, you closed the whole debate by presenting the main lender (Angela) and the main applicant (George) on some kind of puppet show stage, where Gordon Brown and the euro zone outsiders are privileged to assist to just as guests who have nothing in common with the European Union…
    Maybe, personally you have good reasons to be satisfied of what is going on in the mainland. Maybe some Brits are satisfied too. I am not. Your stance, no matter how impartial it pretends to be, is nothing else than just another proof of the old saying: “The Islands and the rest…”
    I wonder how Jean Monnet, Conrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Morris Schumann and the other founding fathers would comment your reports if they were still alive…
    Sofia, May 5th 2010

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  • 161. At 09:51am on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Some news from Kathemerini.

    1. The 13th and 14th monthly pension payments will be withdrawn ONLY if the pension is over €2500/ month.

    2.In north Athens only 324 of the 16,974 private swimming pools are registered for tax purposes.

    3. Many of the well payed doctors in well-to-do areas claim to earn less than € 10,000/ year.

    No wonder Greeks are complaining ????

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  • 162. At 10:11am on 04 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    European governments are screaming about bank reform in the aftermath of the disaster that resulted from lending large sums of money to people who couldn't possibly pay it back yet that is exactly what they have just done again knowingly and within full view of the entire world. Just one more example of European hypocricy. Of course it was in a good cause, to save the Euro and the EU, the greater good. So was giving money to people to buy houses they couldn't afford by granting them huge mortgages they couldn't possibly pay back. Well it feels good for awhile as the recipients of the money temporarily enjoy not doing without. Only when the bill comes due and hasn't been paid is there a gnashing of teeth. The subsidies of poor EU countries by rich ones for the greater good is exactly the same process as the subprime mortgage crisis. The failure to perform a thorough audit and make a dispassionate realisitic assessment of whether it is a good credit risk before the loans were granted not just this time but every time was the same mistake whether in the mortgage crisis or this EU financial debacle. Of course in both cases the loans were being committed to with someone's money other than those who made the decision to lend it. And still the EU and Euro have its staunch supporters. Anyone think there's anybody left on this planet with an IQ over 11 that still supports subprime mortgages to the indigent to buy houses?

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  • 163. At 10:31am on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #162 MarcusAurellius

    It appears the main difference between America and Europe, is that Europe attempts to put the lives of its citizens together after catastrophes.

    Is that what you tried , but failed to say ?

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  • 164. At 10:46am on 04 May 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #162. MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Anyone think there's anybody left on this planet with an IQ over 11 that still supports subprime mortgages to the indigent to buy houses?"

    Hi Barbarian...

    Yes - bankers!

    Finance, as you well know, is a game of pass the parcel. The whole basis of the 'fiscal stimulus' packages on both side of the Atlantic is to uphold this lie. (And this is what is wrong with it!)

    The fiscal stimulus (false-Keynesian expansion support - I believe it will be called in later years) is to prop up the un-propable. On neither side of the Atlantic have the lessons of economic been understood in relation to the need to de-leverage the excess private loans BEFORE spending money to expand the economy. What has happened is that Bernanke/King have chosen to prop up the broke banks WITHOUT any attempt to fix the structural private debt problems.

    Is this the situation in Greece? Well, countries can sort themselves out, given the will, but sub-prime defaulters cannot. Greece has chosen not to default, but take the German shilling. Now the Germans need to buy from Greece (i.e. go on holiday!) to make sure their investment performs. Trade is the solution to Greece's problem. It is now also the solution to ensuring that the German investment in Greece works too.

    (Putting a brave face on it) It may be that overseas companies will see Greece as a good place to build up their manufacturing businesses, as there may well be a ample supply of well educated workers, and Greece is in close proximity to several growing markets? (This is what tends to happen when a educated country suffers economic stress.) The key is for the Greek government to facilitate this transition, much like the Irish government did earlier. One of the keys will be that the price of the assets (land etc.) needed to create these new business do drop in actual terms as the currency will not be devalued (as it has been in the UK (by 25 percent!))

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  • 165. At 11:01am on 04 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    acorn for a brain;

    No peabrain, what I said was that Europe doesn't learn from mistakes, other people's or its own.

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  • 166. At 11:08am on 04 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    John from Helldom in Britain;

    You don't get it but I am hardly surprised having read so much of your dribble. There is almost no credit available even for sound business loans that would have had no problems in the past. That is why the recovery has been so slow. The stimulus package was for government financed projects that haven't worked. Those so called shovel ready projects are still sitting on the shelves. You don't just turn them on like a switch. It doesn't work that way at least not here.

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  • 167. At 11:10am on 04 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @162,

    Half right, half wrong! Transfer of funds from rich EU states to poorer ones is not the same as the subprime mortgage crises, it is most likely closer to your richers states contributing to your fed government and receiving less from it.

    However your other part about lending money to people that can't pay it back it the right part.

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  • 168. At 11:10am on 04 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    160. At 09:36am on 04 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    "...

    I wonder how Jean Monnet, Conrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Morris Schumann and the other founding fathers would comment your reports if they were still alive…
    Sofia, May 5th 2010"

    EUpris:

    I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them what I think of the sick rubbish that has been imposed on the peoples of Britain and Europe.

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  • 169. At 11:22am on 04 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    160. At 09:36am on 04 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    " ...

    I wonder how Jean Monnet, Conrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Morris Schumann and the other founding fathers would comment your reports if they were still alive…
    Sofia, May 5th 2010"

    EUpris: How would they comment?

    Would they listen? or were they just as disgustingly arrogant as Heath, Blair, Brown, Milliband, Mandelson, Kinnock, Merkel, Sarkozy, Barroso, van Rumpoy, Aston, Santer, Kohl, Delors etc. ?

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  • 170. At 11:33am on 04 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    160. At 09:36am on 04 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:
    " ...

    I wonder how Jean Monnet, Conrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Morris Schumann and the other founding fathers would comment your reports if they were still alive…
    Sofia, May 5th 2010"

    EUpris: I wish Heath was still alive so that he could be put on trial for treason. I would hope that in open court a lot of his treachery, conspiring, manipulation and lies would be exposed resulting in yet more conspirators being put on trial and much of the sickness which is at the heart of the "European Project" being exposed to the world.

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  • 171. At 11:39am on 04 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    160. At 09:36am on 04 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    " ...

    I wonder how Jean Monnet, Conrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Morris Schumann and the other founding fathers would comment your reports if they were still alive…
    Sofia, May 5th 2010"

    Upris:

    I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them what I think about fascist policing on the continent.

    I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them hat I think about the greater tendency to corruption on the continent.

    I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them how the "EU" reminds me of Catholic Europe before the Reformation.

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  • 172. At 11:53am on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #171 EUPrisoner

    Don´t you mean it reminds you of the continuing scandals of the Greek Orthodox church in present day Greece?

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  • 173. At 12:01pm on 04 May 2010, konstantina wrote:

    Nic -i see..thanx for your reply. just a quick note though. yes i am turkish (ehem..not a turk, there is an ethnic but non-important difference..a sizeable number of my ancestors are greeks actually, hence the name konstantina)but that does not make me partial. in another thread i told you that i believe greeks and turkish are similar cos we react the same to this situation. blaming others, becoming nationalists. and tassos there is a diference between loving your country and being a nationalist. when u do not give a chance to Baris simply cos he is not Europena (in an assumption u made) is simply racist. i love the turkish (and greek) culture, customs etc. but this love shouldnt be blind guys. we have problems with corruption. you cannot simply say 'those were politicians and we didnt do anything'. u elected those politicians. the same in turkey. in our case it hurts to see these pea brain religious fanatics governing us but we elected them...perhaps at some point in your lives you maybe did or witnessed a small corruption. this escalates in a collective way and results over time in these situations. and tassos, no need to bring up usual but irrelevant suspects like genocides. i know the weaknesses of my country, i accept most of the historical and current atrocities and believe in change. but the difference is that many greeks dont -in a very spoiled manner.i really speak in an objective manner now. many greeks i meet in my small world(not a majority but still many) are too much nationalist. they believe they are superior for some reason. superior than albanians, that other country u want to rename, and also think germans/brits etc. are barbarians.i am just curious as to why a land that has been so brilliant in the past is stuck in these old fashioned views today?

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  • 174. At 12:09pm on 04 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @164
    Further to your expression "false-Keynesian expansion support -" I would allow myself to comment that the old Keynesian approach to curb the crisis circle by boosting the consumption of the first necessities had little to do with the uncontrolled lending of government funds (no matter whether they are national or EU funds/. To that matter, I would agree that the poor system of controlling the EU investments is in the hearth of the fiscal failure not only in Greece but also in other member states of the euro zone.
    (Being neighbours of the Greeks, we know many of the tricks some of their entrepreneurs would make use of, say, for illegal appropriating of the EU agricultural funds. For instance, they would manufacture and “plant” carton imitations of olives trees just before the helicopter, carrying EU officials, would overfly their lands for inspection, etc.)
    I would agree also that the broke banks should not be assisted if there are enough proofs that they are broke because of lending credits that are never paid back.
    (Old Keynes had nothing to do with it. His intentions were good.)
    Sofia, april 4th 2010

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  • 175. At 12:09pm on 04 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    160. At 09:36am on 04 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    " ...
    I wonder how Jean Monnet, Conrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Morris Schumann and the other founding fathers would comment your reports if they were still alive…
    Sofia, May 5th 2010"

    EUpris: I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them what I think about "open borders" in the "EU".

    There have recently been a series of ram raids in Austria. The perpetrators were based in a Baltic state (Latvia?).

    Open borders benefit criminals hugely and are of no benefit to the ordinary, decent person.

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  • 176. At 12:11pm on 04 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:



    To Americans who want the UK to love Big Brother "EU"!

    Try opening your border with Mexico and see how you like what happens!

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  • 177. At 12:26pm on 04 May 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #166. Maximus Barbarius wrote:

    (after its usual insult!) "There is almost no credit available even for sound business loans that would have had no problems in the past. That is why the recovery has been so slow."

    The market 'knows' that sound business are unsound(!) would be a reasonable interpretation of the facts. The Banks have been 'told' that 'they are too big to fail' but their real balance sheets are so full of holes they can't lend. So they react in the only way that the market lets them, by withdrawing loans from everyone who could possibly pay them back - classic debt deflation.

    There is no recovery because debt deflation has not gone anywhere far enough yet! - is another reasonable and logical interpretation of the facts. (See Irving Fisher's overview of the 1930s)

    Greece has been given a life line and this needs to be treated as an opportunity to trade its way out of the problem. What better way that for the Germans to go on holiday to Greece, or perhaps set up manufacturing plants.

    (Barbarian - you are increasingly isolated on the east coast and removed from the real World!)

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  • 178. At 12:52pm on 04 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @175 EP
    "Open borders benefit criminals hugely and are of no benefit to the ordinary, decent person."
    Open borders benefit also ordinary, decent person to find jobs within the EU space. You may consult Gordon Brown about it. He will confirm, provided he wins the elections.

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  • 179. At 12:56pm on 04 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    EUGefangener: "Try opening your border with Mexico and see how you like what happens!"

    Thats quite an exaggeration, wouldn't you say? I agree that immigration from poor countries should be stricty monitored (including Bulgaria and Romania) but most other countries in the EU do not have such gaping differences. In that case, there should be no more immigrants from southern Italy to Northern Italy or Eastern Germany to Western Germany.

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  • 180. At 12:58pm on 04 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    Try opening your border with Mexico and see how you like what happens!

    That border is effectively open. There is and will be massive influx from Mexico. And? What's so terrible about that? America profits, the Mexicans get a shot at the great American Dream and the Americas see vast cultural exchange the kind of which we in Europe can only dream of.

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  • 181. At 1:01pm on 04 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    @ 173, konstantina wrote:

    and tassos there is a diference between loving your country and being a nationalist ...

    >> DEFINE 'nationalist' and RELATE it with what I've said ... CAN YOU??

    we have problems with corruption. you cannot simply say 'those were politicians and we didnt do anything'. u elected those politicians.

    >> VERY TRUE, and this is why Greeks (especially older generations) will Wake Up in the near future ... I expect there will be much much less 'getting away with murder = Treason in this case' in the next Greek elections, especially after having Lived for a couple of years under the new measures/taxes etc (or at least I hope so!!!!) - BUT do not forget that once one party has been elected the people do NOT have much power any more for the next 4 years or so, they are just 'watchers' (unless a 'revolution' of some sort takes place)

    and tassos, no need to bring up usual but irrelevant suspects like genocides...many greeks i meet in my small world(not a majority but still many) are too much nationalist. they believe they are superior for some reason... am just curious as to why a land that has been so brilliant in the past is stuck in these old fashioned views today?

    >> I know of NO ONE Greek who believes we are 'superior' in the manner you are referring!! BUT Whether You or our western 'Civilized' nevertheless unfortunately 'pathetically Stereotypical although having traveled extensively' EU 'friends' such as germans and british (mainly/not only) Like it or NOT, we Greeks DO have a great past/history/culture to present and we DO like to protect it at any cost ... IF you call that 'nationalist' then YES I am SO Very much THAT!!

    Finally, regarding 'old fashioned views today', please DO tell me WHO SETS THE TRENDS/'FASHION' about ideas? The Germans? The EU? The USA? Turkey? WHO??? Because FREEDOM of Thinking does not know of ANY Forced Trends or Ideas!!!

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  • 182. At 1:24pm on 04 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @177. At 12:26pm on 04 May 2010, John_from_Hendon,

    Very valid point!

    ----

    Alternative plan to Euro-crisis:

    I just realised that Greece the US & us (UK) don't need too much industry we just need a few good printers to print and issue government bonds!! Then other people buy the bonds and we buy their goods!

    The US has got down to a fine art, now Greece with its rescue is getting the act! I suggest we also try to get a slice of this income earning opportunity. The Germans, Finns, etc. go right ahead and make as many useless gadgets as possible we will keep buying them as long as they buy our government bonds. Every one is happy!!! I need to find my local Euro MP and propose that plan to him/her!

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  • 183. At 2:31pm on 04 May 2010, Pawel M wrote:

    Dear Mr Hewitt,
    I really like your blog and try to read every post, but the topic is really getting a little old. How many more articles do you reckon you'll be able to produce repeating the same things over and over? The euro is flawed, Greece cooked the books, Germany is a scapegoat, austerity can halt recovery - every post repeats the same phrases. I think we all get it by now - the Greek crisis is important. It doesn't mean its the only thing going on in Europe. How about an article on Hungary or Poland? Just to liven things up a bit. If nothing else, you could write about the coming Eurovision Song Contest. Anything, please. Just no more Greece!
    Paul

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  • 184. At 2:45pm on 04 May 2010, Thumper3181 wrote:

    163. At 10:31am on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:"It appears the main difference between America and Europe, is that Europe attempts to put the lives of its citizens together after catastrophes."

    So that is why the EU is "lending" Greece money on terms that will devastate their standard of living for years to come.

    180. At 12:58pm on 04 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:"What's so terrible about that? America profits, the Mexicans get a shot at the great American Dream and the Americas see vast cultural exchange the kind of which we in Europe can only dream of."

    Only to a point. A country that cannot control its borders is not a sovereign nation. A country that cannot control its borders opens itself up to unchecked immigration resulting in not only admitting the law abiding but the lawless as well. The US did very well in the 20th century with controlled immigration. We got all of Europe's desirables. We get Latin America's desirable now but we also get some people who we would rather not have here as well.

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  • 185. At 3:35pm on 04 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    EUpris

    Re #275

    While aware that stereotyping is never of benefit I can relate a little of my experience during my recent volcanic-ash enforced 10 day sojourn in Brussels.

    During that short time the newspapers, tv news daily mentioned & the talk among my relations was of an ongoing spate of armed robberies of Jewellery, Tobacconist & exclusive shops & armed resistance to Belge Police: Each time the robberies, stabbings & shootings were attributed to 'arab'/'turkish' gangs - - apparently no such 'foreign' gangs (must explain this was French-Flemish terminology, not mine) could be recalled until the 'Open Borders' came about - - there seemed to be growing scepticism about how this policy was being 'governed' and alongside it an anti-foreigner (as well as their own dual-Belge persona) stance among the indigenous 'white' Belge and I believe the recent Belgian Parliament legislation banning the Bhurka can partly be seen in this context.

    To redress to some extent the above passage of racial profiling: It was also my experience in those 10 days that my 'arab/turkish/morrocan' neighbours in houses on my street were as friendly as ever; those working in shops, cafes, restaurants, internet cafe etc. were as industrious as always and in buses, trams & public parks people of all races, creed etc. were exceedingly pleasant.

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  • 186. At 3:42pm on 04 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MaxSceptic

    Re #158

    Ball and Chain - - Janis Joplin - - 8.01 minutes of the deepest devilment the Human voice & spirit can evoke about the plight of life!

    The full-blown 'live' version from Woodstock just sends a buzz to the soul!

    Ah, where did it all go? If You are anything like me, mostly around the waist-line & off the hair-line!

    Triple Cheers for giving me that memory.

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  • 187. At 4:17pm on 04 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @145 vassilis

    "There is only the option of loans. It took Merkel quite some time to figure this out and in the meantime it made the total cost of rescue/loans (but not bail out) higher. I do recognise that Greek governemnets behaved irresponsibly and Greece deserves to be thrown out of Euro but everybody says is impossible. So, if you think about it Germans behaved irresponsibly to delay and protract and make more expensive the only solution that *they* find acceptable. "

    I won`t deny the fact that the EU flat out ignored the storm building up in Greece. They let this corrupt country into the ECC and waste money in the most irresponsible way - everything overshadowed by the main European players struggling themselves to keep the SGP of Maastricht.

    Where you are wrong is that Germany behaved irresponsibly.
    The opposite is true and it is sad that so many people don`t seem to realize this. Actually I think that Germany wasn`t strict enough.
    Sadly, too many politicians in Europe still think that you can just take a bunch of money and solve problems. No changes needed.
    But if you give money to someone wo failed and don`t strictly force him to change something you are going to set sail for fail again.

    The short term costs don`t even matter if you count them against the long term costs of a bailout without any changes imposed.

    Why did countries like France rush to the help?
    Well, let me tell you there is a reason why the German economy is far better off than France`s.



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  • 188. At 4:20pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    The latest suggestions from Germany is that Euro countries should be allowed (?) to default in an orderly manner. It appears that Germany is listening to its public before State elections.

    It is also an admission that no one can help Greece with its debt over the long time and a warning to other irresponsible ´Big Time Spenders´


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  • 189. At 4:29pm on 04 May 2010, Carlos Collaco wrote:

    Well done Gavin.
    As far as I am concerned this is another of your thoughtful insights to the Greek financial crisis in the larger setting of Eurozone and the European Union.
    For the time being - following every step of the path footed down to get to this point - it would seem that the can has been successfully kicked forward.
    Greece - the government and society at large - has been given three years of financial predictability.
    No small gain for a country that willfully wreaked so much havoc over many years thinking it might get away with it endlessly.
    Deceiving itself and deceiving others as well.

    My criticism is directly proportional to the notion of what an organised State should be, whose roots lie firmly in that land.
    Greece also gave the Old Continent its name millennia ago and is the proud birthplace of Western civilization.
    I am still unsure whether or not this may have been an argument traded at closed-door negotiations to favour the country's entry to Eurozone...
    May be not.
    Greece was so unprepared back then that the sudden turnaround left me nagging to this day.
    Well, hardly 9 years on - in the aftermath of a major financial meltdown started in the US and deep recession - everything came to the fore.
    No matter what backstage deals made as the 2000's dawned, it is crystal-clear Greece should not have been taken on board.
    Irrelevant point now but one that should be carefully looked into by the ECB, the European Commission and Council and political leaderships across Europe.
    There are still 11 EU countries outside Eurozone.Joining is not enticing at the moment but the future will take care of itself.
    The EU could use some broad-minded teaching from current woes.

    I wish Greece a great future in the knowledge that an adjustment within its society and its governance is long overdue.
    There was never a time so ripe for such changes to occur.
    Politicians call them reforms.
    Greece's massive budget overrun - shared by many other countries to different levels no doubt - is a consequence and a symptom of many unresolved problems built up over years of loose ways.

    Its growth prospects are now shattered - so are those of many other countries across the EU - but there was always a Greek twist to things that made it so special.

    The IMF - the single biggest contributor to the bail-out - and the remaining 15 Eurozone States - from Germany to Malta - have every right to expect Greece to rise up to its obligations.
    The challenge is financial as much as it is cultural.

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  • 190. At 4:31pm on 04 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @165 MAII

    "No peabrain, what I said was that Europe doesn't learn from mistakes, other people's or its own."

    That`s an innate ability of about 99% politicians worldwide though.
    And, obviously, getting reelected is the main goal.

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  • 191. At 5:03pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    MarcusAurellius

    Today is the anniversary of the Kent State University murders of unarmed protesters against the Vietnam war in our Great (?) country.

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  • 192. At 5:10pm on 04 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @188. At 4:20pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree,

    It is an admission that the current banking szstem is rubbish and it needs to change.

    Only one or two Eurozone countries meet the Eurozone criteria. The banking system is rubbish, it allows the banks to create money out of thin air and then lend it to countries at a profit! In theory any bank can borrow money from the ECB at 1% and lend it to Greece, Portugal, Germany, etc. at 6%, 5%, 3% where is the logic in that?

    The system needs to change to one that countries create the money and banks lend only money they have in their vaults not money they create out of thin air.

    A simple change to the banking rules as mentioned above will solve all of our problem and will ensure that money is lend only when there is a chance that you get it back.

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  • 193. At 5:43pm on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    145. At 02:38am on 04 May 2010, vassilis in his excellent post wrote:

    1) Logically, there are three options: loans, bailing out and default.*

    2) ….who told you that Greeks want to be bailed out? they don't, they would have actually prefered to default (and abandon Euro, whatever).

    3) From public discussions in the Greek TV of members of governement, it has become apparent that we have been forbidden to default (does not surprise me).

    4) There is only the option of loans. It took Merkel quite some time to figure this out and in the meantime it made the total cost of rescue/loans (but not bail out) higher.

    5) So, if you think about it Germans behaved irresponsibly to delay and protract and make more expensive the only solution that *they* find acceptable.

    Vassilis man, told you the summary. So end all that about bailing out, giving Greece money and other such naïf suggestions that are there only to portray Greeks as villains of Europe. Greeks have been villains only to themselves living in a virtual reality in which they were eating from their own flesh while allowing other bigger vultures to eat too. In relation to Germans, Greeks have been actually one of the best clients. In relation to all other EU citizens, Greeks have been the most hard working;

    There is nothing much that other EU citizens can tell Greeks but it is Greeks themselves that they have to think it seriously about which road to follow from there on.

    *3 options yes but there are other directions out there which have been kept hidden both inside Greece as well as in Europe. 1) Russian offer = extremely attracive, 2) Chinese offer = quite attractice too.

    Ideally Greece should default on loans found to had been taken illegally - in practice chose the western banks Greece wants to keep friends and the ones it does not care and repay only the former, thus reducing in half the debt, then get Russian loans at 3% rate to repay the other banks thus maintaining some balance between west and east (i.e. telling the west that it won't be out but from there on Greece will speak with the east too), then it should start doing business with Russians, go on with the gas pipeline and bring in the country cheap and stable-provisioned energy, lease Russians some ports and rebuilt (or better built new onew) with Russian loans the shipyards of Greece and do strategic accords with Ukrainians for byuing steel there. With energy prices down and steel prices kept at minimum, shipyard production should be of affordable price enough to attract enough Greek owners who curently buy their ships in China, attracted by the possibility of having constructed ships that exactly match their needs (one that has worked in a shipyard might know how ships are made). Greek ship owners internationally own more than the 15% of ships globally. Half of that commerce if re-enters Greece you understand what impact it can do. Greeks can take up again the agricultural commerce between Ukraine (the field of Europe) and western Europe, they can become the middle men between Russian energy exports and the Mediterranean and so on. That is how Greece historically made money. Greece does not have ressourcesx of its own (or so they tell us) apart the oil in the Aegean (lots of it) which if it extracts US threatens with total war for their own reasons. In fact, if the US really wants the oil for themselves (which I doubt honestly, they do not care for the oil quantities themsleves but about other games), they are welcomed to drill it and share it with us at 50%-50% no problem we are here to play with all players that want to play on equal-profit basis.

    Vassilis. I will tell you one thing and if you understand it you understand it: what Greece has to do really is to provide Russians too one military base. And not in Thasos as they asked (for a ""commercial""" one) since then Americans might try to devide our country but on the very same island of Crete. Americans in Souda in the west, Russians in Sitia. Like that. Next to each other. And whoever pays more gets the biggest lollypop.

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  • 194. At 5:48pm on 04 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    187. At 4:17pm on 04 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:
    'Why did countries like France rush to the help?
    Well, let me tell you there is a reason why the German economy is far better off than France`s.'
    Obviously if you help others you will lose some of your money. If you help no-one and you just accumulate wealth on your own you will become very rich. This is almost a tautology. Actually, I have found that poorer people are also more generous (perhaps that's why they are poorer in the first place). If I had a choice I would have prefered to be poor and generous than rich and stingy. It is more human and I prefer to be human than rich.


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  • 195. At 5:54pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #165 Marcus Aurellius

    Do you mean

    ´Our leaders are the greatest men,
    And we elect them again and again´?
    (Pete Seeger)

    Logically I must aree with #190 Durstigermann

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  • 196. At 5:57pm on 04 May 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    I have to ask, how much of this all really was arguing between Germany and Greece after all?

    I ask this because our own finance minister, Jyrki Katainen, today told the Finnish press that all along during this crisis, he and the Finnish government had maintained that assistance to Greece should be done only via and according to the IMF. He commented that in process he had taken lots of heat from most of other member states. Only at the end, other member states too started to take the same position as they saw it as the best option.

    Now I'm not saying that the solution for the Greek finance crisis was hanging because of Mr. Katainen and the Finnish government, I'm just pointing out that there other views and opinions early on. This wasn't just Germany and Greece arguing on what to do, there were 14 other member states too which had to be taken into consideration.

    That said, I would argue that questions should be asked on medias role on this whole crisis. For media, for journalists and editors, telling the story of thrifty Greeks and prudent Germans having a conflict is lot easier than telling the whole story of multiple conflicts and multiple participants.

    For example here in Finland questions are asked on why are we assisting central European countries to bail out their banks out of the Greek crisis? ...Of course it is the benefit of everybody that Greece doesn't default, that they restructure their economy and the functioning of the state, but still...

    Anyway, point being, while media may have made this Germany vs. Greece, it should be remembered that this only what the media paints, not necessarily what it really was.

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  • 197. At 6:12pm on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

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

  • 198. At 6:36pm on 04 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    All this talk about a Chinese or Russian credit at minus 64 percent or whatever really amuses me. If those were real offers worth considering, then the Greeks would have long since taken the Russians and Chinese up on them.

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  • 199. At 6:37pm on 04 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    191. At 5:03pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    "MarcusAurellius

    Today is the anniversary of the Kent State University murders of unarmed protesters against the Vietnam war in our Great (?) country."

    EUpris: Every country gets it wrong some times. Many get it a lot more wrong than the USA or the UK. There are other countries in which if you posted such a comment about that country, you would never see another sunrise.


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  • 200. At 6:39pm on 04 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @194 vassilis
    "Obviously if you help others you will lose some of your money. If you help no-one and you just accumulate wealth on your own you will become very rich. This is almost a tautology. Actually, I have found that poorer people are also more generous (perhaps that's why they are poorer in the first place). If I had a choice I would have prefered to be poor and generous than rich and stingy. It is more human and I prefer to be human than rich."

    That wasn`t my point. The point was that people or nations who throw money out of the window without a plan are bound to fail financially.

    It`s not about being generous or not, but about wasting money.
    If you are indepted yourself, and rest assured no country within the EU isn`t, and give money to someone else for free, you might be considered generous. But you are still stupid.
    At the same time you are not more human, but acting irresponsibly towards those who actually lend YOU THEIR money.


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  • 201. At 6:53pm on 04 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    cool_brush_work @186,

    Glad to have been of help.

    On a topical note [sic], fans of Joe Jackson may recall his Acropolis Now instrumental track from the album Blaze of Glory.

    A good one for smashing the crockery.

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  • 202. At 7:02pm on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Since it is high-time we refer to some hard facts let us see:

    OECD site:

    http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx

    OECD 2008
    ------------------------------------
    Let us see the list of European (EU-eurozone, EU-non eurozone & non-Eu countries)

    Greece 2120
    Czech Republic 1992
    Hungary 1988
    Poland 1969
    Iceland 1807
    Italy 1802
    Slovak Republic 1769
    Portugal 1745
    Finland 1728
    United Kingdom 1653
    Switzerland 1643
    Austria 1631
    Spain 1627
    Sweden 1625
    Denmark 1610
    Ireland 1601
    Belgium 1568
    Luxembourg 1555
    France 1542
    Germany 1432
    Norway 1422
    Netherlands 1389
    ------------------------------------
    And some non-European countries:

    Korea 2316
    Turkey 1918
    Mexico 1893
    United States 1792
    Japan 1772
    New Zealand 1753
    Australia 1721
    Canada 1727
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now what can I say? "Corrupted people" seems to work much more cos it is fun. I mean they can buy their Mercedes for free from the Germans but because they are bored, they seem to like to spend most of their time at work. What can I say?

    Greece internationally in this list is surpassed only by Korea one of the most industrialised countries in the world!!!

    Greece, hardest working country in Europe at 2120 hours annually, is followed by a... panting second Czeck Republic 128 hours behind (i.e. the equivalent of Czecks working 40 minutes less than Greeks per working day!!!).

    Now the first eurozone country is, who else?, Italy: at 1802... 318 hours difference!!! Then Portugal!!!! Ohhhh...!!!! PIGS working harder and Greece by far the hardest of all? Surprise surprise.

    And where is Germany? 1432?

    Eee... does any of you knows good maths? Cos I might be Greek, good at maths, but lost all count here!!! 2120-1432 = 688 hours annual difference!!! I.e. on average for every working day Greeks work more than 3,5 hours more than Germans!!!!

    It takes more than nerves to fall on the Greeks and tell them to work harder and to have their salaries cut.

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

    But Let us move to see other stuff:

    Let us see some Euro-statistics presented in the following BBC link:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8036097.stm#start

    Lets to EU spending:

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Greece indeed figures out high in list of
    1) Agriculture
    2) Regional Aid

    Observation:
    But Agricultural Aid is not aid. It is just money given in exchange of tearing down all import taxes that naturally any country would have in absence of EU.
    Regional Aid is largely a smart way of manipulating "development" of Greece (like other coutries) in directions that benefit the large EU countries like Germany or France.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On other 4 categories Greece seems to get roughly about the size of the country/population/economy:

    3)Administration
    4)Research & Innovation
    5)Education

    Observation:
    So much said for EU citizens paying Greek bureaucracy, all debunked right here.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And in the following 2 critical categories, Greece seems to get much less than what it should:

    1) Crime & Border control
    2) Foreign Aid

    Observation:
    Fantastically these two aids are supposed to be given to countries having external borders. Greece was the ONLY country that bordered with 4 out of 4 and since 2002 with 3 out of 4 neighbours being non-EU, yet it received and receives nothing of that. Border control? Even Denmark gets more than Greece and I wonder what for? Trying to defend itself by the infiltration of German Talibans? Or trying to cope with the Swedish hungry illegal immigrants? Or perhaps Norwegian F-16 enter its airspace everyday? Greece is technically refused any serious aid there where it has most of the need being in the most hot area of the EU, and being the only EU country that is threatened with war by 1 country as is politically attacked by another 2. This is just a reflection of how EU sees Greece.

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


    1) Net contribution by population (i.e. net contribution devided by population):

    Impressive. Greek citizens seem to have double benefited than say Portuguese. So what does that tell us. Nothing much more other than the fact that Greece receives a lot for agriculture in a country which has by far the least productive land to cultivate and a population that is still to a large % linked to agriculture (even if people do often a second job). Regional aid can possibly be a real aid but most often ends up as described above it is spent in projects that involve a lot foreign companies from countries that run the EU (namely, Germany and France) and thus the money are recycled back leaving little more than often unnecessary projects that cannot be exploited as well as lots of state loans to pay back.

    2) Net contribition:
    Repeat as in 1.

    3) Total payments:

    Little Greece is 8th country. Just look all the other countries above it and all the others below it. It seems that Greece pays what it has to pay and it pays it in relation to its population and not its economy (unlike other countries like Poland for example - of course Poland is a recent entry so it will certainly rise in future).

    But things become 100% clear in this:

    4) Total payments vs % of income:

    Here what can we say? Suddenly you see for the first time the contribution of rich countries falling down and that of poorer countries rising up with Greece proudly on the top.

    which means that:

    GREEKS ARE CURRENTLY TAXED BY EU MORE THAN ANY OTHER EU COUNTRY:
    Greek citizens pay almost double the tax of UK citizens
    Greek citizens pay 50% more than German citizens

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

    RESULT:

    Greece enterred the German-run EU so that its citizens work 40% more than Germans, pay 50% more than Germans out of their salaries, tear down the import taxes killing most of internal production with no hope of finding anything to sell to others all that for what?

    1) Agricultural aid: a means of sutaining agriulture in the absence of import taxes but also a means of controlling agriculture too (as countries are not able to cultivate what they want)
    2) Regional Aid: aid given for development projects only that the projects are chosen by EU centrally (i?e. larger countries) in a way that gives more importance to the needs of larger German and French corporations having increased command lists rather than the real development needs in Greece (or other countries). Not to mention that the countries like Greece are forced to embark on dubious projects at a 50-50% funding rate on initial budget so that we end up paying on real final budget more than 150% of what was initially thought, thus getting more indebted and all that to find ourselfs with projects that are not exploitable, i.e. losing on all accounts.

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

    Default, here now.
    Out of EU here now.

    The only reason Greece was in the EU was for geopolitical protection. EU clearly never provided such. It is time to see elsewhere.

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  • 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.

    And they have a good point, which has been sadly missed by our intrepid reporter, Mr Hewitt.

    If you have a look at the "austerity measures" put forward by the same political parties who engineered the debt and cooked the books, it is curious how many of them hit the poorest greeks right where it hurts, and how few of them affect wealthy greeks or people on high incomes.

    For example, pensioners and lowly teachers are being hit extremely hard. People on 500 a month are being smashed. Not just with direct cuts, but with rising taxes on things they buy. VAT is going up, as are taxes on alcohol and tobacco.

    But we do not see a new tax on financial professionals. Why not?

    Why don;t we see a flat 25% tax on capital assets for everyone who made a profit from government contracts in Greece over the past twenty years?

    Think about that. All it does is take back some of the money that was borrowed when it ought not have been.

    A straight out capital asset tax of 25% on every company which received contracts from the greek state over the past twenty five years. Make it cumulative, so 1% for each year a company received contracts.

    That would not hurt the poor and the needy, and it would hit the people who profited from the debt frenzy. It would effectively be taking back precisely the same money which ought not have been borrowed.

    And if the corporate sector has a problem with that, well they are the ones who sponsored the politicians who cooked the books and made ridiculous loans the country couldn't afford.

    But a tax on capital assets for those who profited from the debt will never happen. Never in a million years. Why?

    Because you'd be taxing every law firm and every brokering house at 25% of their capital wealth. Why? Because big law firms and big investment banks broker government debt, and every year they make millions and millions of euros in profits from government contracts.

    And every year, they sponsor all the politicians from all the major parties, and every year they get their pet representatives to pass bills that give them even greater profits from public spending and public debt.

    This blog is not much to read because so many small minds are quick to talk about Mr Germany and Ms Greece and Mrs France, and Hewitt doesn't help by putting forward a high school level commentary about the personalities involved in the big theatrical experience of government.

    But even so, there is enough here for anyone who is honest and not entirely dim to start asking why these debts must be repaid the way they are being repaid. Or indeed, at all.

    It is abundantly clear that the measures being proscribed will cripple the greek economy for the foreseeable future and create great hardship for the poorest people in greece. It is also clear that the elite and mega wealthy who sponsor politicians and who engineered the debt in the first place are going to get off with no losses. Indeed, the mega wealthy will be paid their profits, their PRIVATE PROFITS, in full, despite breaking the fundamental rule of money lending in the market: due diligence on the lender.

    A few people on this blog have suggested that "loans must be repaid", which is nothing more than a euphemism for "the business of the state is to use force and the power of the law to ensure that the wealthy get their hands on taxation revenue".

    Loans do not have to be repaid. Loans are not sacred. In a free market in a civilized society, the role of the law is to ensure that bad loans are written off after bankruptcy proceedings have been finalized.

    Only in a draconian, feudal, caste based society is the role of the law to squeeze every drop of money from the poorest citizens so that the mega wealthy elite can profit from stupidity.

    Nobody has made the case, and nobody can, that these loans were sensible or properly researched by those who lent the money.

    Yet we have quite a few people who think that poor greeks must suffer so that these idiotic loans can be repaid with full interest.

    What is that?

    What is that worldview, at the end of the day?

    I put it to all of you that anyone who thinks these loans ought to be repaid believes that the elite of europe deserve to be enriched with the tax revenue of the states, regardless of how stupid their decisions in the market have been.

    In short, such people believe in feudalism, and the ownership of the state by the aristocracy.

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  • 204. At 7:34pm on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

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

  • 205. At 8:01pm on 04 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @Jukka,

    Yes please I'd like to know what other countries think about it also not just Germany!!

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  • 206. At 8:18pm on 04 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    I'm really sick of all this and don't care what the Greeks do or don't do as long as they don't take any British taxpayer-funded 'loans' or handouts.

    (And Nik: enough with the reams of 'history'. Nobody in their right mind is reading your overlong posts anymore).

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  • 207. At 8:39pm on 04 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    DemocThreat

    Re #203

    Now why would the rich consider giving a Euro/Drachma of their money to assist Greece out of its difficulties when it is the same story in every one of the EU27?

    As You remarked earlier: One of the few things MAII ever wrote that made any sense is that across the UK & EUrope NOBODY among those whose greed-driven, contemptible and contemptuous Financial actions brought so much misery to so many hundreds of millions has even been detained for questioning never mind actually tried & punished for their criminal avariciousness.

    Personally my hope is that the Greek People rise up and smash the whole rotten ediface: Perhaps with that extreme example other EU Nations will follow and 'big-Business/big-Government' will finally be obliged to render unto Citizens what is owed them. I.e. a swingeing 75% Tax on every b###ard earning 1+ millions who cannot produce proper, legal Tax returns for the entire last decade.

    Yes, I know... Fat-cat chance!

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  • 208. At 9:33pm on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re203: Excellent post DemocracyThreat

    Re:206. At 8:18pm on 04 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:
    """I'm really sick of all this and don't care what the Greeks do or don't do as long as they don't take any British taxpayer-funded 'loans' or handouts."""

    For the 1000th time: none asked your money.

    """(And Nik: enough with the reams of 'history'. Nobody in their right mind is reading your overlong posts anymore)."""

    Yes, I know history. In fact it is you and others that brings the discussion there each time you have no point to discuss. Please show to me the last message I spoke of history? It is some 100 messages back and it is reply to yet another vicious vendetta-comment by irrelevant people often non-EU, non-european. We ignore it but general knowledge means that if you ignore, you implicitly accept and thus it is only legitimate to corner these vicious statements and reply. One can only see that

    Going back to you specifically I cannot miss the fact that for the last comments I commented singlehandedly on point, responding to other Greeks, explaining why Greece should default, and showing the situation of Greece inside the EU, having its people working the longest to give the biggest % of their salary only to receive aid packages that do not offer real development but on the opposite are a way of containing it.

    I never asked you and I would not expect you to say a thank you to Greeks for having funded out of their long hours of work and huge % of contribution out of their tragically small salaries, to the EU budget.

    But I cannot let you say whatever on top. Now if you really want to add some real comments, I propose you to go back to my over-long posts:

    no125: the brief storyline of the evolution of Greece in EU
    no202: the hard fact for Greece as EU member

    Note that I am not politically against EU. But since the early 90s it has really taken a wrong turn becoming simply a means of reshuffling the wealth for the benefit of international (and not even the European ones!!!), bankoinvesting institutions instead of becoming a loose union of countries sharing some common commercial interests especially in terms of energy provision as well as having their own defense strategy replacing their membership in NATO, thus reducing thei budgets to a minimum while increasing their security level. You have to note that Greeks, initially wary of their entry in the EU, they enterred for the latter, i.e. geopolitical protection.

    What I am arguing is that since Greece's geopolitical position deteriorated, it worths not continuing playing the game for EU suffering on top a bad economy. It can reduce ties, default, get loans from elsewhere (Russia, China) and become a neutral meeting point of pretty much everybody Americans, Europeans, Russians, Chinese and Indians, a meeting point that Europe lacks desperately (as almost all coutnries are EU-US aligned). It could be a losing recipe but would it mean losing more than what we lose now? Note that Greece's financial issue right now is actually not even the most grave problem of the country! Greece is not Argentina! It is its sovereignty and the physical security of its people what is at stake.

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  • 209. At 9:43pm on 04 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    Neither China nor Russia will ever be interested in giving Greece any loans. A "meeting point"? What is that? Every country in Europe does business wth America, India China and Russia. The alignment with the US does not impair that in any way.

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  • 210. At 9:47pm on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re207:

    """..... Personally my hope is that the Greek People rise up and smash the whole rotten ediface"""

    You have no idea how manipulated is the society in Greece. People will rise only if they are told too by the system itself!!! Forget about rebel-Greek attitudes. They lied to you. We had dictatorship for 6 years and not even a single stone was thrown against a state car, then people (the left wing) took it to the streets when the Americans decided to change dictator. in 16,17,18 of November, they rioted, the ex-US-chosen dictator fell, being arrested by the new US-chosen dictator and then for the following 8 months there was not a single riot - why, had dictatorship fallen? No, because people will take it to the streets only if they are told to. Greeks are like that. They are manipulated. For Greeks to take it to the streets their physical integrity has to be attacked, i.e. they will react not simply 1 hour before catastrophe but actually 1 hour after catastrohe.

    Note that the system has already taken its measures. They know things are now stuck. They know that PASOK and ND have came to a point of no-return and that people cannot anymore vote for them. We will see evolutions. The system prepares its renewal. We might have even new parties. BUT only after Jeffrey Papandreou has finished what he does right now (i.e. selling the coutry's future but also the country physically).

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  • 211. At 9:47pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Nik

    You forgot to mention GREEKS delivered the statistics, ALL OF THEM !!!!!

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  • 212. At 10:05pm on 04 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    ...and now are we all ready to watch Portugal play poker with Merkel?

    If the Euroyone idiots don't sort out the Euro processes and make it into a real union - i.e. one for and all for one -, the Euro will colapse and I'll see my dream of the UK join the Euro come true!!

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  • 213. At 10:29pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Nik.

    Stop flogging a dead horse!

    No European or American likes this situation and you can bet the little guy in America watching his pension fund take another nose-dive today , his unemployment insurance at an end and his house gone may already be in a worse situation than most Greeks will ever be.

    I think Latvia would be an example of what is to come for Greece. If I am not mistaken their finances are also controlled by the IMF.

    The average American, European, Brit and Greek do not have a bright future, Capitalism has failed to regulate itself and its fanatical believers will either plead innocence or insanity as Rome or the Parthenon burn.

    Just see yourself as another episode in Greek history and rest in peace.


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  • 214. At 10:42pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #212 Chris Arta

    Your comment reminds me of a financial caricature where those at the stern of their private yacht are yelling ´We´re rising, the stock market is rising, hurrah! hurrah ´ as the yacht sinks bow first, into the deep.

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  • 215. At 10:52pm on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re:211. At 9:47pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    Nik
    You forgot to mention GREEKS delivered the statistics, ALL OF THEM !!!!!
    ----------------------------------
    Indeed!!!!

    There is this one thing I recognise to you quietoaktree, you have some sense of humour!!! Ehehehehehehehe

    Only that these statistics are NOT given by the average Greek citizens but by the Greek state which has any interest not to show that Greeks work so much and give these % of their salaries to EU when they are up to slashing salaries and imposing further taxes. Afterall ruling Greek parties know that Greek citizens have started becoming inquisitive and they tend to search these figures.

    Look, these are the facts. This is not any approach to play the victim as some have accused here - one day they call us lazy and money-takers, then we show the facts, they they call us self-acclaimed victims. If you have known the country, you know that its development has been quite a weird one and an exception rather than the average. When I see the numbers there is nothing in there that seems strange to me. I have my own ones who live in Greece and I know what they do. One is working full 8 hours per day in a private sector job, 2 to 3 hours per day in a public sector job and on top he recently started an irrelevant small business of his hoping to complete his income. Yet if you meet him you will understand nothing of all that as it is a habbit of Greeks not to show so much their difficulties to others, what you will see is a well-maintained man who ssemingly has a nice life. Behind, this man is working 8+2+anything from 2 to 4 hours...i.e. on average 12 hours per day, let alone the weekends (most of them he is occupied with his business). All that for what? He wishes to increase his 1300 euros (the first 2 jobs!), to nearly 2000 euros net*, if he is lucky enough and if he calculated well his business (he is university graduate, unrelated to business, it does not matter...). A salary that a non

    It goes withoutsaying that the average 800 euros per month won't be declared as revenue because they come from a ... 3rd job, so they will be choppped really badly by the tax system, only the 2 other jobs are taxed. For the same reason, the man that rented him space for his machines will probably not declare this type of rent.

    It is difficult to tell him that he is a criminal tax-evader and responsible for Greece's downfall. This man should had been able to work 8 hours and get a 1800-2000 euros net salary and live happily with it. But no, it seems that he cannot do so. Thus he is forced to do take up a second and even now a third job. Incredible.

    That is what the OECD boards reflect quietoaktree. It is this reality.

    And as DemocracyThreat said, the measures we have heard so far by Jeffrey are aiming such guys. Not the ones that robbed and keep robbing the state, thus all these people. Did you see in any of these measures any measure regarding the judiciary system? The tax control? No, nothing like that. In fact 20 years back we had more efforts in that directions like a measure called "From where you have it" = fiscal control initiated in the case of people presenting to have more than what their earnings justify... which failed in practice since the government had not given the control means for it to work properly! No surprise as it was a publicuty stand: the "system" will never control the "system" itself, talking about the wolf guarding the sheep case. So yes, right now we have even less of such tax control measures - almost all of them are about taxes and salary slashes => to be honest even myself was amazed, really I would expect Jeffrey at least to keep the appearences and declare 1-2 valid measures against tax-evasion, fraudulent behaviour, bribes etc. But no, nothing like that. Most funny is that if the Greek state could hunt down the fraudulent activity at a rate of 30-40% (i.e. even letting a 60% untouched), that would be enough to make the economy jump up visibly... but now, it is not even a priority for Jeffrey.

    I will say it again and again: corruption exists in various forms in various countries. In Greece however, corruption has been technically cultivated by the ruling political class as a means of control and as such it will never be attacked directly. A notable exception is during Papadopoulos dictatorship that lasted 6 years, when corruption arguably was at an ever low level - and this is not in defense of Papadopoulos (there are particular reasons in relation to his government for this low-level corruption) which of course proves that Greeks are not genetically-wired or something towards coruption but are acting accordingly to what they find. Just like any other people.

    It is like the 130km/hr limit on most European highways. Who of you really respect it when you know there is no automatic radar nearby and the possibility of a police road control is really small (and you can of course afford to pay with no remorse)? I do not, but then I guess... I am Greek ins't it? Hehe!

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  • 216. At 11:05pm on 04 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    ... indeed it feels like flogging a dead horse. But I still do believe it is good to present the picture in details. The more people know the better and that is not so much for Greeks for which is really too late (it was already late 20 years back...) but for other people who have not yet come to that.

    Quietoaktree you have to note though that Greeks are not so much afraid of the financial misery. They live in a small mountainous, islandic country which due to its particular society and the family links they can absorb and survive such financial drawbacks and sometimes even bounce back quite quickly. There are other things that make Greeks worry on top of their dire financial situation (and that is why you see so often the discussion here moving to the political/international/geopolitical). I am telling you this, and I put my signature on that, we will see much more grave evolutions in Greece, what had been till 1990 one of the most homogeneous and stable societies in Europe. The attack on Europe and euro via Greece is indeed financial. However, the attack on Greece is geopolitical. If finance was the problem, we should have this crisis 20 years back (1989-90 period of the all-parties nominal government following the disastrous 1981-89 PASOK government) and if not then certainly 10 years back prior to the Olympics, or if nobody wanted to hit Greece then, certainly in 2005, right after the Olympics (and many expected the hit then). However, the hit came only after the ND government (an equally corrupted one, by the way) decided to sign a project or two with the Russians and Chinese. Note that this crisis started 3 days after the election of Jeffrey-led PASOK in unprogrammed elections which means that it was all pre-calculated since provoking the crisis with an ND government would not cause the damage wanted since there was the risk the ND asking Russian loans and solving the issue there. In reality investors do not want their money back. They expect "other" concessions, in this case of Greece. We have to keep our eyes open.

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  • 217. At 11:20pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #215 Nik

    The horse is DEAD !

    And we both accept that ANY statistics coming out of Greece should be taken with a rather large pinch of salt.

    For that reason, your mental gymnastics using any statistics from Greek statistic gatherers (public employees ?), do not impress.

    For all we know (and suspect) no statistic collection ever took place and having you as the only source is equally unacceptable.


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  • 218. At 11:42pm on 04 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #216 Nik

    `what had been until 1990 one of the most homogenous and stable societies in Europe

    I suggest you read our previous discussions. I do object.

    As I have said, my first visit to Greece was almost 40 years ago. Probably (?) before you were born.

    So please do not use you dreams of Greece as a basis for discussion even if you are older.

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  • 219. At 00:40am on 05 May 2010, Max wrote:

    Hi
    As a german, reading one blog about blame it on the germans i just thought to myself ' sure just for a change!'.I am really surprised about all those greek comments about how its all germany's fault, how corrupt and bad we are. While extensive claim have been made against certain German companies,it should be noted that Germany is not the only country doing these sort of things. That people have the nerve the lecture us germans about how we are going to contributed to greece rescue is just unbelievable.
    I find it sad that the greek people are busy strking all day, blaming others while there country is going down.
    I don't really understand all those history arguments about WW2 and how much we have to thank greece for stealing their gold. while this might be true, i can not see the relevance of that to the current disscussion.

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  • 220. At 00:48am on 05 May 2010, Joeblo wrote:

    Told ya so.

    The Greek bailout was a head fake for the markets so the big boys could exit.

    Reality set in and now the markets are reacting as they should.

    Greece hasn't even been given the money and the speculation is what they gonna do next WHEN GREECE FAILS.

    Here is a good one:

    Who is gonna be in charge of keeping track of all the billions of Euros being loaned to Greece?

    Hint: the Greeks

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  • 221. At 01:48am on 05 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    I wouldn't pretend to be an economist. When I hear micro and macro I think of pasta. Will someone tell me how a country can pay off a large dept as compared to it's GDP by shrinking its economy. The effects of the financial package will certainly cause Greece, if not others, to go into recession. No way around it. Don't you think the financial markets know this. That's why the cost of Greek debt keeps going the wrong way. What is the answer? Like I said. I ain't no economist.

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  • 222. At 02:21am on 05 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    You can answer your first question pretty easily:
    By earning more than you spend.
    The GDP does not represent the annual budget of a country and actually it doesn`t take into account a lot of important factors for this issue as well.[There are also different ways of calculating it]

    So, while GDP is an indicator, it doesn`t necessarily give you an exact figure of how good or bad off that country is.

    I am not too sure what you mean with "shrinking the economy" since government spendings != economy.
    The austerity measures mostly hit government employees.
    Whether we will see the economy dontract due to increased income tax and VAT, I don`t know. Personally, I don`t think that it will have as big an impact as others believe.


    As for the Greek debt, do you mean bonds?
    They mostly got more expensive, because the financial markets losttrust in Greece to actually pay back.


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  • 223. At 02:27am on 05 May 2010, VictorAngryMan wrote:

    Time for the Greeks to get real.

    No good protesting on the streets and jumping up and down stamping their feet - the country is bust and their generous state-funded public sector final salary pensions at age 50 are totally unaffordable so have to stop.

    Sounds familiar???

    The same needs to happen in the UK and hopefully will as soon after May 6th as possible if the Conservatives get in.

    If not, well, we'll just lumber on sleepwalking our way into total bankruptcy under Nu Labour.

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  • 224. At 03:48am on 05 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Viennese newspaper, Wiener Kurier reports Austrian politicians in Kaernten receiving "EU"-subsidies. (Tuesday 04 May 2010)

    Brothers Kurt and Uwe Scheuch reportedly together received 82,716 Euros in agricultural subsidies in 2009. Uwe Scheuch is a member of the regional government of Kaernten.

    President of the regional parliament, Josef Lobnig got 11,940 Euros from the "EU". OeVP regional parliamentarians: Ferdinand Huetter got 26,970 Euros. Stephan Tauschitz got 11,961 Euros.

    EUpris: Do politicians elsewhere in the "EU" get "subsidies" from the "EU". What about judges?

    Why?

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  • 225. At 03:58am on 05 May 2010, David wrote:

    MaudDib

    I took finance in college and am glad I never tried it as a major...accting was boring, but finances was counter intuitive. I was so confused, but (because of teacher) got an A.

    But, economics is charts and reading them and making charts .....cant remember much... hehe

    I think tho the person who said buy less than you make and save is right .....supposedly before you pay bills youre supposed to pay yourself by saving....that IS hard. Esp for an American.

    I hate stocks and bonds (learning it or the subject) but economics is interesting...but depressing if ur poor...I bet (poor being abject poverty as I am only hand to mouth--after savings but it took me yrs to get ...Here)



    But, I do know that getting toooo much in debt is not good. And they tell people here that you are supposed to be a house worth 3 times your yearly income...its all smoke and mirrors. The future always is inflation and this has confused us greatly. Oh ohhhhhh

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  • 226. At 05:20am on 05 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 227. At 05:26am on 05 May 2010, smroet wrote:

    @EUpris #224

    Just type "Queen EU subsidy" in a web browser, and you'll find reports about Queen Elizabeth netting about half a million Euro in 2008. This is the CAP for you. Your Austrian politicians are doing pretty poorly compared to the British royalty.

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  • 228. At 07:24am on 05 May 2010, RebelJim wrote:

    Helping Greece with that huge loans and debts is wrong, it will not work.
    Greece should have give the EURO, print own currency, buy back its debts, balance its budget, regulate its money supply and reform the banking system and tell the IMF to go to hell.

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  • 229. At 07:30am on 05 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 191 quietoaktree
    "Today is the anniversary of the Kent State University murders of unarmed protesters against the Vietnam war in our Great (?) country."
    I thank you for having remembered me of that event that choked both America and the civilized world. A film was shot on that occasion....a good movie.
    I congratulate you also for having reminded MarcusAurelius of it, because you are just another American unlike all of us humble fellow bloggers of old Europe Marcus has been deliberately insulted and humiliated for all those years by posting only negative assessments for everything we did in the past, for everything that concerns our common history and culture...

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  • 230. At 07:41am on 05 May 2010, David wrote:

    I would like to say...perhaps it IS time for more attention paid to the UK election.

    Poor Greece and poor Germany ..this is turning into a voyeuristic exercise...if we come back in 3 months time (news is not voyeurism is it?)

    Maybe we can see what has happened to Greece. Give it some breathing room.

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  • 231. At 07:45am on 05 May 2010, David wrote:

    The riots of Chicago were bad too, Generalissimo. The Police went wild.

    I don't think Chicago ever recovered....

    Thanks for the concern about Kent State...innocents shot for demonstrating--the Republicans horribly exposed.

    Its too bad someone can't come up with a Marshal Plan for Greece--free money on condition of investment and change in some laws there. That is what is lacking a foreign aid plan. But with other countries worse off...

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  • 232. At 07:57am on 05 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @171 EP
    “I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them what I think about fascist policing on the continent.

    I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them hat I think about the greater tendency to corruption on the continent.

    I wish they were still alive so that I could tell them how the "EU" reminds me of Catholic Europe before the Reformation.”
    Your stance is purely moral. I avow I am impressed by the right and honest approach you make use of when assessing the negative sides of the European democracies.
    But, speaking sincerely, can you give me another example of some still existing /not virtual!/ successful democracy on our globe?
    I have lived all my active life under an unjust and authoritarian regime, and I can tell you that compared to the present society here, it does look even more horrible, unjust and corrupt.
    Maybe you are not in a position to understand what I am posting here, maybe you have good personal reasons to believe that old Europe, or at least that part of it which is united under the banner of the UE is the most corrupt, the most unjust and the nastiest area of the world. However, I wonder where we could settle ourselves /being decent, intelligent, and responsible people/ outside of Europe? Well, we could settle in America or, say in Canada, like many of us already did. But the conditions and the standards of living there are very similar to the conditions/standards of Europe. I can not see another decent place, except for Europe and North America, where we could feel fine. Maybe I am wrong. I shall appreciate your comments.
    Sofia, May 5th 2010

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  • 233. At 08:12am on 05 May 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    Reading these posts I get the impression of a sigh of relief , that everything is sorted out and Greece will be saved no matter what .

    Reading other articles I am not so sure that anything is finalised to bail out Greece at all . The German Government , perhaps Lawcourts and the other Euro member states , have not as yet committed themselves , beyond retraction of the terms offered .

    As we see from the news , the people of Greece are not going to readily accept the austerity measures being thrust upon them . Hence the EU and IMF deal might not ever come to fruition .

    The EU and Eurozone have really no interest in saving a member state , Greece . the object of the operation is solely to save the credibility of the Euro and the EU .

    Do I see the End is nigh ?

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  • 234. At 08:28am on 05 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 231 David
    Thanks for the comments. You are very responsive /as always/ to every post here that would touch some highly moral or highly amoral assessment which would fly among us, I mean in our virtual brotherhood here...
    Thanks again

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  • 235. At 08:43am on 05 May 2010, Deadlylampshade wrote:

    #227 smroet

    "Just type "Queen EU subsidy" in a web browser, and you'll find reports about Queen Elizabeth netting about half a million Euro in 2008. This is the CAP for you. Your Austrian politicians are doing pretty poorly compared to the British royalty."

    And whilst you are at it, do the same with Galina Dimitrova Peicheva-Miteva who apparently received Euro700k from the CAP. Or perhaps you could look up the Swedish Accordian club who got Euro 59585, or the Danish Billiards club Euro 31515 or the Dutch Ice skating club who got Euro 162444 or the Dutch Amateur Football club that got Euro 354567. I could go on but maybe just go to EuroObserver site and save a bit of time. All very noble "agricultural" causes I am sure.

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  • 236. At 08:54am on 05 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #9. Causantin wrote:

    "Oh, and by the way, the current deal (very very unfortunately) does not contain any measures against tax evasion, bribery and corruption. Not unsurprisingly, since foreign companies were major beneficiaries of all these, and not the average Greek on a salary. But the average working Greek is called to pay, and not the top 10% of tax cheats and bribers.

    As for cheats, the cheat was the previous government, and the victim was only the Greek people. The conservatives lied in order to get re-elected, and only that."


    This is what you - YOU, the Greeks - have to change if you want to improve the situation in the long run.

    According to several economists there were clear indications that Greece were forging its data at least as far back as 2001. The deficits looked cooked, far below the difference between income and spending.

    By 2004 the EU commenced its first investigation into Greece’s deficit because Eurostat could prove, that Greece had faked its figures.

    However, Karamanlis took over from the socialist government in 2004, not 2001.

    Do you claim that the conservative did it all in 2004?

    Or was it Somebody Else who did it?

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  • 237. At 09:13am on 05 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    It seems as if *some* of the Greek posters have forgotten that throughout the 1990s Greece was doing all it could to join the coming Eurozone, because membership would give Greece low interest credit as one of the rich boys in the zone.

    The French president Mitterrand was very much against, as he thought - and clearly stated - that Greece wasn't ready yet, and public opinion in Germany was also strongly against an early Greek membership.

    In the end Greece reached its goal - they got the low interest credits and they wasted them.

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  • 238. At 09:19am on 05 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re FYROMIANs


    There's no such nationality.


    However there are MACEDONIANS, from a country of Macedonia.


    Which is doing finqncially much better than a certain sore excuse for a country I wouldn't even care to mention.

    [Some people south of Macedonia are clearly sick in their heads.

    With hatred. Just as they are vis-avis-Turks (Pavlovian reaction?)]

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  • 239. At 09:26am on 05 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #237

    There were also countries opposed to the EU membership for half a speck of a itsy-bitsy island off Syria's coast [Cyprus].

    Bu nobody wanted to upset Greeks who were aggressively pushing for it.

    So now you have it :-)
    [Timeo Danaes..etc., etc.]

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  • 240. At 09:35am on 05 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #17. just_another_observer wrote:
    "Northern European members of the EU are keeping wages down"

    Can we see some proof, please?

    The average 2008/2009 annual income in Euros was as follows (average of IMF, World Bank and CIA Factbook):

    Finland 23,240
    Germany 23,270
    Denmark 24,280
    Sweden 24,640

    Keeping wages down?

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  • 241. At 09:44am on 05 May 2010, David wrote:

    Generalissimo

    My life lately is stressful-health--mundane but often repeating situations--Ive largely engineered a low stress decent wage life) to read others ideas and perceptions takes the focus off my banal life.

    Sometimes, I sense anger and denial but strangely there are no biographies.. just "voices" and a sense of the intellectual and some shared interests.

    Some vent anonymously but others are putting themselves out there ..like WA. She is like a journal of life, while others posts are revisited chapters of history.

    A nice getaway, this is. Rubbish? Not to me.

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  • 242. At 09:51am on 05 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @ 238
    "With hatred. Just as they are vis-avis-Turks (Pavlovian reaction?)]"
    Now I am sure.You come from the former USSR. Cheers Yankee, and thank the BBC stuff for having given you the opportunity to boast of your new nationality...

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  • 243. At 10:00am on 05 May 2010, David wrote:

    St. John

    Is that GDP per capita or wages? In Euros or dollars?..Must be Euros.

    And what are the PPP ratings? That is necessary for perspective.

    Debt/annual income ratios per person would be interesting too.

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  • 244. At 10:22am on 05 May 2010, Jakob Bertel wrote:

    Well, I'd say at least the EU works - and fixes the crisis in some way! Whether this is better than the past IMF rescue campaigns for countreis in trouble, e.g. in South America, will be proven by time only.
    At least, the Euro zone will have cheaper exports... securing jobs. Not bad either!

    In my personal opinion as a taxpayer in the EU, I really hope that they'll make better security deals this time (remember how Iceland showed the middle finger to all creditors?). I personally wouldn't mind to get a share in a nice appartment on Santorini in case the Greeks should not pay back their bonds in 20 years....

    JK

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  • 245. At 10:35am on 05 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    243. At 10:00am on 05 May 2010, David wrote:
    "St. John
    Is that GDP per capita or wages? In Euros or dollars?..Must be Euros. "

    Average Wages per capita calculated as PPP in Euros.

    I read the other day that the Danish average wage in figures as of March 2010 is around DKK 220,000 or Euro 29,500.

    Not exactly keeping wages down.

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  • 246. At 10:40am on 05 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #95. Joseph wrote:
    "Surely, anyone can see this whole bailout deal is about protecting German/French/etc. banks and bondholders that are exposed to goodness knows how many billions of Greek debt.

    If they didn't do it and Greece defaulted, the banking systems of Germany and France (and others) would be wiped out overnight."

    In the long run and considering the risk involved it would probably be cheaper to bail the banks out afterwards, at least for Germany.

    Greece owes to:

    France: 55.4 billions (1000 millions) of Euros
    Germany: 33.3 billions (1000 millions) of Euros

    Contributions to the Greek bail-out:

    France: 16.8 billions (1000 millions) of Euros
    Germany: 22.4 billions (1000 millions) of Euros - two thirds of the Greek debt to Germany as a whole, banks, industries, ...

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  • 247. At 10:57am on 05 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    #97. george wrote:

    "all this talk about Greece being in the financial situation its in and no mention of the biggest culprit in this whole situation, the EU! since the euro was implemented as the currency of all members of the EU ..."

    It wasn't.

    Only 16 of 27 EU countries are in the Eurozone.


    george: "So before the author and people blame the Greek people who do have a role to play in the crisis affecting them a bigger question should be asked, why did the EU who must have some of the best accountants in the world not notice the discrepancies that are so obvious now? and that is what we should be focusing on not Germany bailing out Greece because Germany has a part to play in what happened to Greece."

    Certainly, Germany forced Greece to spend more than it earned. The Greeks just couldn't help it.

    It was known at least as early as 2001 that Greek economy wasn't was it ought to be, but the Greeks pledged to clean up and show responsibility.

    Being stupid, the rest of the union treated Greece as an adult, not an irresponsible child.

    If you read the comment from your countrymen, you'll notice that many of them have a realistic approach to who caused the problems.

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  • 248. At 11:12am on 05 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    99. ptsa wrote:
    " ... Do you think all of a sudden people need to be ashamed of being Greek because of the constant mis-management of our country?"

    Why should you be either proud or ashamed of being born a Greek? - not your choice, really.

    You might discuss with your friends and neighbours what to do about the mismanagement and get a grassroot movement going.

    In parts of Northern Europe the road from a situation not much different from yours (huge deficit, huge and growing public debt, high inflation) was protest parties running for parliament and scaring the established politicians to improve performance, because their friends were ousted at elections.

    I have no idea whether a similar approach will work in Greece, but you might think it over.

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  • 249. At 11:41am on 05 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @St_John
    Good points.

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  • 250. At 11:42am on 05 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The next chapter is beginning. The Greeks have gone out on strike and have shut the country down.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8661385.stm

    Somewhere I read that economists expect Greece's economy to contract by 3% this year. They could be wrong. If this keeps up or is repeated periodically it could contract by a lot more. The problem with forclosing on a debt when the debtor is bankrupt is that you can't squeeze blood out of a rock. They can't give you what they don't have. The bailout created a new dilemma. If the "austerity measures" are implimented, there will be social upheaval and chaos in Greece. And if they aren't, there could be social upheaval and chaos in Germany or at least political upheaval for knowingly having made what is cleary a very bad loan going into it with German taxpayer money to rescue French and German banks. So which of it is it to be. We'll see how these European geniuses sort it all out in the next chapter called, "which shell is the pea under?" or "who draws the short straw?" I put my money on a new scheme which will ease but not eliminate the restrictions, give some emergency "gifts" to Greece, and change the terms of payback. This will be expected to buy more time by which Greece will be prosperous again. And the sun will rise in the west that day. Yes, as I said, when hell freezes over, that's when the lenders see their money back.

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  • 251. At 11:44am on 05 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    acorn brain;

    "MarcusAurellius

    Today is the anniversary of the Kent State University murders of unarmed protesters against the Vietnam war in our Great (?) country."

    There have been so many atrocities in this world acorn brain that If I wanted to, I could be celebrating another one of them every day of the year. Frankly I don't have the time or inclination. I'm too busy watching the news keeping track of the latest new ones.

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  • 252. At 11:52am on 05 May 2010, generalissimo wrote:

    @241 David
    The blog certainly is very interesting given the scope of the discussed topics and the large number of individuals posting here who come from many countries and whose cultures are very different.
    Alice is unique of course. She's Russian by birth and soul, a very poetic, sensible, intelligent and educated creature. She successfully promoted herself here even among people who had prejudices for her native Russia, a fact I assess as a success both for Alice and Russia.
    The remaining part of the bloggers is with secular education and that circumstance helps them to be well introduced and welcome here. There are of course people of extremist ideas, but I think they constitute a minority. /The bans for publishing their posts do not happen every day.../
    Have a good time David...and thanks again for your attention.

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  • 253. At 1:24pm on 05 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re328. At 09:19am on 05 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    239. At 09:26am on 05 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Ouaou! Perhaps the most racist comments ever made here! You really have a vendetta with Greeks. You also use "Syria" in a derogatory manner as if being close to Syria makes you less European. Calling Greeks racist by nature (the comments about Pavlov), calling Cyprus itsi-bitsi... whatever. Go elsewhere to spill out your slur.

    And above all, do not try once again to change issue. We have already done that repeatedly, we have answered your slur and there was no answer back cos a slur is a slur. So take it elsewhere. Here you come back only if you have something to say.

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  • 254. At 1:34pm on 05 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    @ 238, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re FYROMIANs
    ...There's no such nationality.
    ... However there are MACEDONIANS, from a country of Macedonia.
    ...
    [Some people south of Macedonia are clearly sick in their heads.


    >> Dear meeeerkat, THANK YOU for Exposing yourself on your Origins and Beliefs!! Apparently you have NO CONNECTION to History!!

    KEEP it up, KEEP getting Exposed!! (and btw try to break down etymologically the Meaning of MA-KE-DO-NIA .. .you'd have to speak pretty good dam GREEK :).

    We live unfortunately in an era where Anyone can claim Anything WITHOUT ANY PROOF or even worse ... PUNISHMENT - but in this particular case it is the 'Courtesy' of the TRAITOR 'Greek' politicians of the last ~35years+ that have Allowed this ILL-EDUCATED bunch of people (have a look at their wanna-be bank notes and maps shown at their ''schools'') to claim GREEK HISTORY with RIDICULOUS arguments that are Against Common Sense and Intelligence. But that 'name Dispute' is Only the front, the reality of SKOPJE/VARDASKA (as their REAL/PROPER ORIGIN IS, NOT Even 'Fyrom') and its political backing by USA of course Derives from the ... BIGGEST Military Base of the USA in the EU region which is Situated in ... you guessed it, SKOPJE!!

    SKOPJE/VARDASKA should feel free to ADD US-stars in their anyway-fake flag!! By doing so at least they will have some True Symbol of WHO they represent!!!

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  • 255. At 2:58pm on 05 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    And is it accidental that every time we come with more and more points (see my messages above) poeple like meercat will instantly refuse to commment and change discussion to issues that have nothing to do with finance, attacking the Greek nation its culture in the most racist manner? What kind of sick minds are these? These are weird times Tasos. Even a - what it seems mundane - financial issue has become a point to attack racially. See how much poison "some" are ready to spill over what? Loans to bankers? Only sick minds can do that.

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  • 256. At 3:02pm on 05 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Hello all, and MaudDib, David, Generalissimo - of course.
    (sorry being away at the Polish Kachinsky airplane blog)

    Niks, are they still discussing you? :o)
    You mean, you haven't spent those billions - yet?! :o)))))))))))
    I was away for a whole week, and I thought ... :o))))))))))

    Sorry, joking. Mean your Papa? andrew ?, etc.

    Let's look at it try to find something positive. Well. Well.

    So, a lot of money has been imposed on you, for a long term,
    comes together in a package, accompanied with guaranteed friendship, warm feelings bordering adoration - from many a EU neighbour ordinary folk, whose countries participate in the resque pack.

    :o)))))))))

    As St.John wrote above, instead of bailing out own banks to the same amount, to short cut the problem, these countries decided to bail out you.

    Niks, all love you way too very much and won't let go. I know you miss Russian in-put but what can we do, you are the apple of the EU eye currently, and, like, how can we stand in between two parties in love.
    Un-godly.

    It'll be a total classic love triangle.

    I still think cheer up; if this love affair won't produce the expected result (I wish I knew what it is) - you still have Russia's offer I vaguely think, as a bac up for a rainy day.

    Because the rainy day is not now but when you have the EU elsewhere pack spent. It only seems to you it is rainy now (it is summer; check the meteo page).

    :o)))))))))

    Provided we still have the dough by that time :o)))), of course :o))))

    But actualyy now it is more or less alright; oil that old monster prices are up - temporarily.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU - dear British Petroleum. Where the world is going to - once in a century Britain comes benefitial for Russia. (This must be this century time).

    Some green groups cheered up, about US planned exploitation of own sea-shores for oil. Or gas? Something. They have opened them recently, after keeping in store for a long time, as a reserve. But now BP very timely had a hole somewhere or something, and the matter will be discussed again.
    I am sure it will still be discussed to the end of - "let's do it".

    But then the analysists calculated it a little bit around, and remembered the first 4-5 years of work is total expenses over revenue, or something, during which time the price will go up, and after the US example it usually goes up in the world elsewhere.

    So Nik what I mean spend the billions quick, if you still be interested to get some coins from Russian direction - it better be within nearest 4 to 5 years :o))))))))))))



    (Sorry have been away at the Polish airplane blog)

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  • 257. At 3:17pm on 05 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    (a curious development in Polish-Russian relations, news from the other universe - is that Poles started touristic tours to the place of Kachinsky airplane crash.

    Eager to find out what it is - as there is still info vacuum, neither investigation committee haven't said any thing to the public yet.

    So the Polish joined the amateur Sherlock Holmes club, 2 buses and a train so far arrived to Smolensk. A trip is 300 dollars, plus Belorussian and Russian visas! The travel agency who started it has ALL packages sold till July 27th - in one week.

    Old military Russian aerodrome is decorated with various Poles with candles sitting matter-of-factly on the runway or wandering around (not much of a problem yet, as it is 2 planes a week on average), the first two tourist groups have already excavated from the crash site a lot of evidence and complain high and low that the crash site is not guarded by anybody.

    They found a shoe sole, some boots, a LOT airlines plastic bag - lots of purses - and 100-zloty banknotes in the ground (33 US dollars each! after all) - and continue digging around.

    A complaint was lodged type "let's guard the place forever!" to diplomatic corps.
    To which Russian side is replying , type "if we will guard all catastrophical sites in Russia for ever, as you demand :o)))))))))

    In other words - Poles continue and continue coming to Smolesnk with persistence, I'd say, worthy another application. Smolensk city put beton slabs, like a road, for them to walk around and btw aerodrome Far Beacon and Low Bacon - so that they won't drown in spring mud.

    Military aerodrome is getting nervous because all want some memorabilia.

    In other words the story continues we'll see.

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  • 258. At 3:35pm on 05 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Anyway back to our issue:

    We have now the first 3 dead people due to the protests, 3 bank employees who did not manage escape the smoke of the fire lit by molotof bottles thrown by "protesters" on them.

    Now go back to what I had said in my past messages. We WILL have dead people but then even me did not expect them so soon.

    A molotof bomb can light up a small fire which most often is not enough to do any more damage than light up a small fire on a policeman's leg. For arriving in this killings, there had to be throwin at aleast 25-30 molotofs inside the bank. OR, these molotofs thrown had to be of super-size (i.e. carried on a wheelchair, thrown with a catapult!). Normally since the first molotof thrown the employees and clients should had run to the fire exit (from the back side of the building). They were not a crowd, there should not be a songestion problem. Thus it seems they were surprised and overwhelmed (as pictures also see). Protesters are not so well organised to do such an attack to trap people inside and kill them. And protesters do not hold molotof bombs of course, apart extreme left wing groups. But extreme left wing groups simply are political organisatoin with shadow hierarchy that links up to secret services (like in so many other countries). If they do an act like that, it means they have pre-planned it. Now who would profit from such a move? There are various cases but the strongest is the government (and I imply not necessarily on order from Jeffrey or something but "circles" behind): this is not a murder of a protester from police but a murder of 3 people (and attempted murder on many more) by protesters. Hence, it is a very effective way to de-legitimise the protests and to discourage people taking to the street protesting.

    I do not rule out random anarchists throwing molotofs but the probabilities of this are low. Far-lef (like far-right) groups are known to be well organised, acting on plan and knowing very well what they do. These people empties an arsenal of molotofs to kill. A random protesters cannot do that.

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  • 259. At 4:13pm on 05 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    WA, your comment of the "timely" accident in Louisiana moves more or less in the same direction as my messages in the corresponding thread, i.e. that it is way too timely to had been accidental. If anything, I might surprise those British friends here who consider me rather anti-British (while I am only anti-anglosaxonogeopolitics, thus not to do with the citizens of the country themselves), saying that I have a complete trust in the engineering prowess of British especially in the oil sector where they have long decades of experience, especially in this kind of drilling via cord.

    To me, at first sight it is sabotage and BP are called to pay the price on top. Afterall it is easy in US to throw the responsibility to bad British: their Cambridgeoxfordian accent makes them ideal bad guys on tv!

    So - and since I do not rule out the small possibility of this being an accident - I wait impatiently to what explanation they will give this time....*

    ... note that I am an engineer and while not worked directly in strictly technical issues of the oil & gaz sector, I have worked in the sector in engineering-managerial issues and have a general maybe but quite sound understanding of these extraction systems.

    PS: for a start I would advice BP to visit nearby US navy submarine stations and check out for any old rusty sub with impact marks on its metal body... Ok, ok I am joking... don't take this literally... take it as a joke (just like the timely coincidence thingie... hehe!)

    But in case of Greece what can I say. 3 people dead? For what? For having been to work (their democratic right to work and not go on strike). Really weird. What kind of protest was that? A planned one? Cos if it was a planned, why the bank was open since it is known that extremists (=agents) always enter the ranks of the protesters. And who among the working people protesting make molotofs in their houses? Well none. It is the extra-left anarchofascist groups, groups as much controlled by services as the extra-right ones. The attack on the bank was premeditated and well planned. There had to be several 10s of molotofs to create such a fire to kill people before they could get to the fire exit. It is all done to 1) accuse all protesters of being guilty 2) terrorise protesters not to come down for more protests.

    You will see... most probably there will be no arrests despite being quite easy to do so. Killers are the "system" itself, its army.

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  • 260. At 4:24pm on 05 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    "you still have Russia's offer I vaguely think"

    ...an offer which had been a piece of fanciful wishful thinking all along and a figment of the imagination in the first place. If China or Russia had come forward with an offer more advantageous for the Greek economy than the European solution, then the Greeks would have grabbed it with both hands.

    They did not, because dreams just aren't accepted as legal tender in most banks.

    The Europeans would have been happy if the Chinese or the Russians had bailed the Greek out with a 3 percent interest rate credit. But Russia cannot afford it and it is not in Russia's interest to bail Greece out. Putin may be a washed-up KGB goon but he has not gone completely insane yet. And China knows that even a hugely successful economy cannot afford throwing good money after bad.

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  • 261. At 5:26pm on 05 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    Nik, how can you write such nonsense about Molotov cocktails.

    As part of my military training I have been hit several times by Molotov cocktails and if you are standing near a wall and the cocktail hits the wall close to you, you are soaked in burning gasoline.

    If you are wearing ordinary clothes instead of combat gear and unless you have been trained to extinguish the fire or somebody is ready with a fire extinguisher you may well burn to death.

    Any psycopath may have thrown them, you don't need a conspiracy theory to explain the deaths.

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  • 262. At 5:32pm on 05 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    - and Nik, re your #259. "And who among the working people protesting make molotofs in their houses?"

    Any idiot can make a Molotov cocktail, it's almost as easy as falling down the stairs and it takes less than a minute.

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  • 263. At 6:25pm on 05 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re445. (of "Explaining German angst over Greece" thread)
    10:15pm on 04 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    I said:
    - GREEKS ARE CURRENTLY TAXED BY EU MORE THAN ANY OTHER EU COUNTRY:
    - Greek citizens pay almost double the tax of UK citizens
    - Greek citizens pay 50% more than German citizens"
    - The above mean that Greece enterred the German-run EU so that its citizens work 40% more than Germans, pay 50% more than Germans out of their salaries, tear down the import taxes killing most of internal production with no hope of finding anything to sell to others all that for what?"

    To which DurstigerMann replied:
    1=> Percentages mean nothing in this context.
    2=> Your wages are lower, you pay less.
    3=> Your working time means jack shit. What counts is productivity, efficiency, innovation, etc.
    4=> Now here comes the funny part about democracy: you voted for the people who brought you in! You, the Greek people. Nobody else.
    5=> Not the wealthier Eu-nations are at fault that Greece can`t offer much of value, its own shortcoming.
    6=> Nobody forced your nation to run such an overbloated welfare state.
    It was you, the greek people, who decided on it.
    7=> And if you say that your government is corrupt and most greek hate it, why do you still elect them and let them run business instead of taking care of it yourselves?
    8=> Stop blaming others. The other nations have their own problems, they don`t need others telling them their poor story of how unfair they are treatet by them.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    DurstigerMann first of all thanks for your well-though reply. And as such I will try to reply to your points point by point:

    1) What you say is the equivalent of supporting a tax system where the one who earns 28,000 gross per year is taxed at 32% (taxes & social security) and the one who earns 128,000 gross per year is taxed 12% (taxes & social security)... perhaps we should give the latter some tax-refunds too!
    2) Wages are lower thus people should even pay even less in % of their salaries than others! At least, they should pay the same. Not more!!! Not 50% and 100% more! What else do you want me to say here!
    3) You are right there. Productivity in Greece is extremely low. However the statistics are there to say that one can accuse Greeks of low productivity NOT of being lazy and avoiding hard work.
    5) None accused any other country directly. The desindustrialisation was operated by Greek governments.... bribed by international corporations of course. Sorry, the one goes with the other. Why EEC reacted negatively when Japan wanted to invest in Greece in the 1980s? Why EU reacted negatively in the 2006-2007 pre-accords of Greece with Russia and China? Ok, Greeks should follow their own plan, ok accept that but how? And with what leadership? Show to Greeks 1 valid leader and they will vote for him to do so. There isn't. They have NO choice but to re-cycle the "system".
    6) First of all Greece does not have an extended welfare state. It never had. It simply had some weird measures provided in place of a welfare state so as to be given on will and according to political motives so as to ensure voters. Greeks had not asked directly for a welfare state! It has been mainly the syndicates driven by political motives related to parties themselves. Now it is difficult to see how an employee benefiting from an irrational and unfair measure would react against it! Would you?
    Well of course NOW he IS responsible for not having done that!!! No doubt on that!

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  • 264. At 6:53pm on 05 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    (...continuation)
    4, 7, 8)
    Linearly you are 100% right, no you are 1000% right. And it is not about democracy at all. Under any regime, people have ALWAYS the responsibility, don't you know that? The difference with democracy is actually that the reaction against a well set "democratic" political system is more difficult than the one against a dictatorship. Do not let yourself confused with the above. I am with you on that. The people HAVE the main responsibility. They have been led by syndicate-fathers to protest in the past for their own little professional gains, whether right or not, they have been led to protest for ridiculous things, young people have been dragged via ridiculous reasoons (e.g. to find a girlfriend!!!) to protest for unimaginably irrelevant reasons that I dare not even refer to here...... and till now I have not seen a single protest organised by people to ask more tax controls, full punishment of financial criminals, more tansparency in state affairs, more commitment of a voted government to its pre-election promises.
    Why it has not happaned? Well DurstigerMann, try do yourself a portest. Try organise it and see how many you will gather. Protests are always centrally organised and methodically controlled by the "system" (that is not necessarily the govenrment but the underlying power, the real). People cannot telephone themselves and go out in the street just like that. It never worked that way in antiquity, never in middle ages, nor in the Renaissance not in the American or French revolution and nor in the Red Revolution. NEVER. The citizens' protest is merely to vote "the other party" in elections but that is what the system has anyway orchestrated: "if you vote blank it is like voting for the current corrupt government". From there on you have the endless army of unemployed, destitute people lining up outside the political offices begging for a job or any other facility - blame them for voting their benefactor.

    That IS the essence of democracy. You think it is only in Greece?
    Is it only in Greece where people voted a party for bringing 1, 2, 3 measures only to find out them doing the opposite?

    - In 1975 people voted Karamanlis (the uncle) and his ND party to bring back stability and progress and above all to solve the Cyprus issue ang get Greece out of NATO altogether. He brought stability but sold the Cyprus issue completely (a national treason) while he started deconstructing the state and he only retired from the military part of NATO remaining in the political part of NATO (i.e. worst decision!!!!).
    - In 1981 people voted Papandreou (the father) to get Greece OUT of NATO kicking out US bases and OUT of EEC!!! Papandreou not only did not do that but while playing the anti-American (himself a US citizen and a US-agent) did all actions to return Greece in the military part of NATO, maintaining US bases and keeping Greece in the EEC while spending all aid packets in "social" benefits = gifts to the "green guardians" (green is the colour of the PASOK party).
    - In 1990 people voted Mitsotakis (the father) to tidy up the horrible mess that Papandreou made in the 1980s in full knowledge that he would take some harsh measures, however Mitsotakis not only continued corruption but took more loans and wanted to privitise hugely beneficial state companies like electricity and telecoms prior to those losing ones (unacceptable by people) so he fell due to street protests followed by a movement of the current ND leader, Samaras.
    - In 1993 people voted again for Papandreou (knowing he would not govern being in his last days) ONLY to get rid of the misery of Mitsotakis since PASOK people promised to reverse ALL unacceptable privitisation laws
    - After 2 years of almost non-government in 1996 the new PASOK leader Simitis, a man known as the only good manager of the 1980s (who tried to tidy up economics but placed aside by Papandreou) is voted to tidy up things. Instead Simitis privitised in the worst manner electricity and telecoms, gives rise to new financial-mafia families (need names?) to fund his propaganda, owning by now the 80% of press, passing anti-popular laws in the moonlight and people found by surprise, commiting treason of the 1996 war between Greece & Turkey (Turkey had invaded with 12 commandos on a Greek island...), spending billions of drachmas on fiestas like the 1997 International Classic Sports Games, commanding pharaonic projects of dubious utility (like the bridge of Rio-Antirrio) and going on with the Olympics (Germans last vote!!!)... all that WITHOUT asking the Greek people, finally pushing down the bank interests so low that it forced even common people to move their money to investing only to lose them 2 years later in late 1999 early 2000 in one of the biggest stock market scums Europe saw post-WWII.
    - In 2000 elections PASOK party cheated in elections and all other parties shut up. As simple as that. Take it as it is: PASOK ruled from 2000 to 2004 having overruled Greek elections! A dictatorship. Financial problems exploded, more loans, more stupid projects to have command lists to Germans and still this huge propaganda machine behind to support Mr. Simitis as a great leader.
    - In 2004 people vote Karamanlis (the nephew) in hope to bring some cleaning and order. Karamanlis does nothign much of that, other than giving great speeches - already his environment starts "eating".
    - In 2007 "circles" push for elections, creating a "Dantes' hell" scenario with summer fires and dead people, huge protests in the streets etc. all that to move people vote for PASOK and Jeffrey Papandreou (the son, grandson) - yer Greek people are not fooled this time and vote again for ND in a desperate effort to give time to Karamanlis realise his promises... only to be fooled, since Karamanlis does absolutely nothing other than watch his underlings dance around even participating in the same scandals with PASOK MPs (like Siemens!!! The Germans unite them obviously!).
    - That was it, when after months of protests and even deaths of people in the streets, "sudden" elections are called, people vote to get rid of ND, what do they vote? Well PASOK of course. However, be ware here... even these elections are suspicious as the % that PASOK took is not justified linearly. None ever counted how is it possible to have more voters in a country whose population is decreasing... and while ND too is the "system", PASOK is known to be the main "system", the one that runs the state mechanism even when ND rules (PASOK is US supported, ND is more loose in that aspect: in 2004-2009 it became too Russo-phile...).

    ... so yes mate, there is no question it is the people's responsibility and they have none to blame apart themselves! I really do not argue with that. I only present you the real world.
    Take it as it is. The Greek society is sick. Very sick. A huge 30% of people rules benefiting from the hard work or the unemployment of the 70% rest. It is an interclass (i.e. not a rich vs. poor division, no...) and that is why contrary to other countries you see corruption on all levels (while in Germany where there is huge corruption too, you do not see it but only in the upper levels where rarely anytihng is disclosed).

    The cure is known but it is not of any point analysing it here. People here have no deep understanding of how exactly Greece is sick, and how it found itself in that situation. They think superficially, "corruption", "bad management", "welfare state", "lack of productivity" and they do not realise that the people that have governed Greece have been extremely intelligent people and very capable in their work only that... their allegiances were to their funding partners (masters), NOT to the Greek people that voted them - and who with their vote took the major part of responsibility.

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  • 265. At 8:44pm on 05 May 2010, Max wrote:

    Three dead, shame on the protestores!I can not believe that we are giving money to these people.
    Nick i find most of what you post hypocritical.

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  • 266. At 10:27pm on 05 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Nik,

    Your attempts to defend the indefensible are worthy of utter contempt.

    The truth is very simple: Violent protesters murdered innocent people.

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  • 267. At 11:20pm on 05 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    How can you even consider trying to justify this? The people who died have got nothing to do with the financial crisis. Do they really deserve having their horrible deaths justified through one of your byzantine conspiracy theories?

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  • 268. At 01:26am on 06 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I don't quite get it - why Nik has to be shut up - on the occasion of protesters killing people with Molotov cocktail.

    Clearly it's a radical group of protesters - can be both - genuine or sponsored action - nevermind - who has "promised" to the German and British public (above) - there won't be violence in Greece?

    Taking high brow stand - THIS - will never happen in MY country - WE - will always accep a radical turn in our fortunes - GRACEFULLY - is nothing but hopes and wishful thinking.

    It is a misfortune, to have country in this state.
    Nik didn't throw Molotov's cocktails, for one thing. Busy here.
    He DID NOT wish it to happen. He likes it even less than you are - because that's his country. He can't fix it.
    You think it's right time to plug him up?

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

    Yes, Nik didnt kill them...and perhaps we do need to focus less on tear gas and watercannons and more on..non violent forms of stopping violent protests.

    Don't they have research going on to perfect liquid foam--which solidifies--use on people? The militaries all need more people friendly non violent weaponry for.situations...instead of ...say drones..

    A rain of pleasure gas ..sounds like Barbarella

    But, until someone is willing to make sacrifices for other peoples , ie Marshall Plans, or build open mindedness with ...oh forget it, I can't think of anything my mouth hurts--dentistry sucks..

    But, let me tell you Nik is much more harmless and fun to read than UFO theorists..no offense Nik or any

    UFO theorists, I just don't think are fun for getting "into"

    WHEN IS THE CIA GOING TO DECLASSIFY ALL COLD WAR DOCUMENTATION? NATIONAL SECURITY MY .. BUTT!!! BLUSH , BUT TRUE WE PAID FOR IT I WANT TO SEE THEM NOWWW 30 BN A YR W NO PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE EVER?

    LETS HAVE A HIPPY 60S REMEMBRANCE DAY AND SPEND IT READING IN THE PARK...OH WELL SHUTTING UP :o)))))

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  • 270. At 10:49am on 06 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    265,266,267... Guys... your indignation comes for free. If you want to think it is protesters that did the murders feel free to believe it. You from your own countries perhaps you think to know better than us who have been born and lived in this country.

    All I say, is that these murders are the work of an organised extremist group and as such they were organised and conducted according to plan as ordered. Who is behind it should be quite clear from your own reactions, these are actions designed to bring to people inside Greece (and as a side-effect you outside) such reactions. After these deaths there will be fewer people out in the streets and the protests will be monopolised by organised extremist groups and it will be the usual show of such groups against police, one of the usual and people will just watch.

    It is an old game, nothing knew. If you are not prepare to see the reality it is your own issue. Do not attack me personally as-if I do not show respect to the deaths of innocent people. I do give the best respect ever showing WHO is the real murderer behind.

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  • 271. At 11:00am on 06 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    Apparently NOT many people in here have EVER been in a big or average protest (I haven't been in more than 2 myself, 1 of which in London 2003 amongst 1.000.000 anti-war march protesters ... was just visiting London back then by luck)!!!!

    There are many frequent protests happening in Greece for as long as I remember - which I find actually a Very Positive thing vs. having people doing Sofa/Couch 'revolution' ... HOWEVER ...

    Whoever HAS BEEN present EVER in such a protest/march WILL know that a bunch of 20-30 anarchists (most probably always on a mission!! aiming to give a 'bad name' to the cause of the peaceful protesters) can Very Easily RUIN the protest cause for ALL the rest ... and trust me, those 20-30 are NOT looking at all like the rest of the peaceful protesters ... and they are NOT LIKELY to be confronted by normal people shouting for their rights!!

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  • 272. At 2:55pm on 06 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #270 #271

    Absolutely correct. You can guarantee that any protest will be hijacked by some anarchist or anti-capitalist rent-a-mob looking to fight with the police or destroy banks or whatever. It happens in the UK everytime there's a protest in London, whatever the cause. I'm not defending the murders, dont get me wrong, but i highly doubt they were carried out by ordinary Greeks protesting to save their jobs, public services and incomes.

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  • 273. At 4:10pm on 06 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    I agree. Some people thorwing molotof cocktails doesn`t equate to a riot or all protesters kiling those 3 or 4 people.
    Autonomous protest-hijackers are like a disease nowadays.

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  • 274. At 02:37am on 07 May 2010, hellenic 1 wrote:

    Greece is the canary in the mine.Collapse of the Euro is imminent,perhaps even collapse of the EU. I expect the Euro to trade at near or below parity with the US dollar by Christmas.The death of those people in Athens is an act that should be condemned.With the US economy faltering,despite the Obama administrations suspect figures of recovery,i do not think there is another engine for growth in the world.Greece and the USA with their huge debts are like Thelma and Louise...we know how that story ended.

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  • 275. At 04:45am on 07 May 2010, David wrote:

    We have the will to leave unlike you, Hellenic enjoy

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  • 276. At 06:49am on 07 May 2010, Pavel wrote:

    Plutocracy - this is how the Greek system of government must be called. And this system have been in existence for many decades if not to say - centuries. It deserves no respect, no trust, no confidence. It is simply disgusting.
    Angela was not right when she gave in. She knows how to keep Germans in hands by mother-like treatment, but that does not work with some others. Everything had been prepared by them in such a way as to make Angela to face the seeming inevitabity of the bad consequences to the euro, the inevitability revealed by the rating agency's report, so that the last moment, when there seemed to be no other alternative, brought the deal.
    If Churchill was alive, I guess, Greece would receave no bailout; and even more, he would force it to pay reparations to the Great Britain and the EU for breaching the confidence of investors and all nations.

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  • 277. At 11:32am on 07 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re276: If Churchill was alive Pavel, Britain would come to "aid" Greece, and next month Greece would be attacked militarily by a neighbour, as it usually happened when British were around. Either you know it or not, Churchhill had been one of the biggest enemies of Greece as a state and of Greeks as a nation but that will take long here to analyse. Just think of it, Britain is a maritime nation, Greece is one, Churchill had been a prime representative of the former, at the end there is no case where two maritime nations will collaborate: the bigger will attack one way or another the smaller. British did it mostly by allying to Greeks. There has been nothing more catastrophic for Greeks than to be allied to British (and that does not mean they had better ally with Germany - the neutral way is always the way to go for Greece).

    PLutocracy is the right word, and exactly describes the situaiton in Greece only that the local plutocrats are more resembling villageois mafias, public servants of bigger plutocrats of the international, the ones anyway who gave rise to them. There is no single Greek plutocrat that can trace his financial rise due to the whatever business he started in Greece. ALL of them are linked to the international and as such they are the representatives of the international (= anciently mainly British, since 1950s mainly US) interests in the area. Local industrialists are like pariahs and are actually often found on the 70% being exploited by the ruling 30% which revolves around a 0,01% of ruling plutocrat families who are the basis for the whole political construction of the country.

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  • 278. At 3:16pm on 07 May 2010, Bora wrote:

    113-Nik: "So what are you up to? Is it that any Greek here accused "others" like US, Turkey or the aliens as directly related in Greece's financial problem? Can you point one?"

    What? That's all You do lol

    Irony police! Arrest this man!

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  • 279. At 9:15pm on 07 May 2010, Tasos wrote:

    Intelligence police, please take care of Borat...

    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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