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Greece - the price of salvation

Gavin Hewitt | 12:55 UK time, Sunday, 2 May 2010

Greek Finance Minister, George Papaconstantinou, 2 May 10ATHENS Greek cabinet ministers turned up for a Sunday cabinet meeting to learn the terms of their salvation. They have agreed to a rescue package of around £120bn. The country now, in effect, is a protectorate of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The Greek Finance Minister, George Papaconstantinou, said "the choice was between collapse and salvation".

The IMF and EU have set a hard bargain. In exchange for bailing Greece out they are demanding £30bn of new budget cuts over three years. This is on top of cuts already announced and this is a country already in severe recession. The economy will shrink by 4% this year.

This unprecedented rescue package is intended not just to save Greece but to prevent other eurozone countries, with large deficits, from facing similar crises.

The road to economic health will be long and rocky. It was revealed today that debt would soar to 150% of GDP. It would only start falling in 2014.

In order to reduce its deficit to 3% of GDP by 2014 Greece will have to implement deep spending cuts and tax increases. Salaries and pensions in the public sector will be frozen for three years. Annual holiday bonuses - so important for Greek income - will be capped. For higher earners they will be scrapped. There will be a 10% hike in fuel, alcohol and tobacco taxes. VAT will rise to 23%. Illegal construction will be taxed. Defence spending slashed.

The Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, said: "I want to tell Greeks very honestly that we have a big trial ahead of us."

The first test of these measures will be with Greek public opinion. A general strike is planned for Wednesday. Mr Papaconstantinou said: "The vast majority of the population is behind us because they understand that we don't want to tell people lies."

However, many public sector workers have already seen their take-home pay fall by 20%. The government has a big task in persuading the people that the choice is pain or bankruptcy.

The second big doubt is what this will do to Greek growth. The economy is already shrinking and the risk will be that these cuts will only reduce demand further, making it even more difficult for Greece to escape recession.

The funds are loaned to Greece for three years. Some will question whether the country will be able to pay back what it borrows. Some in Germany suspect the money will eventually have to be written off.

This package is not just about a financial bail-out. It is aimed at changing the Greek economy to make it more competitive. In the future it will be easier to hire and fire. Proper accounting methods will be adopted. This wholesale restructuring of the Greek economy is necessary otherwise Greece will be in the same position again in three years time. But make no mistake, it will be hard to change a culture where corruption and backhanders are rife.

One of the biggest questions relates to the European Union. This is a day of humiliation. It was never envisaged that a eurozone country would need bailing out. Today the EU had to launch one of the biggest financial rescues ever attempted. What the plan does do is to buy time and to shelter Greece from the fierce winds of the markets. What it doesn't do is to answer the questions of whether economies so fundamentally different as Greece and say Germany can be part of the same monetary union.

Comments

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  • 1. At 1:24pm on 02 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    If they had been outside the Eurozone they could have allowed their currency to float downwards as the Brits have done with theirs.

    It wouldn't solve every problem but it would be a big help.

    Spain, Ireland and Portugal should probably leave the Eurozone.

    How about: The Spanish print a new currency - the Spanish Euro or Speuro.

    All holdings in bank accounts turn into Speuros - one for one. Most of the cash is changed into Speuros. It becomes illegal to hold more than a certain number of Euros. The Speuro floats like the Pound i.e. downwards by maybe 30%

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  • 2. At 1:26pm on 02 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Austrian joke:

    Why is a virgin like a Civil Servant?

    They are both waiting for the first! (Pay day for civil servants)


    I got to be first for once!


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  • 3. At 1:35pm on 02 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    I have grave doubts about giving/lending money to a government which has shown repeatedly that it is very dodgy.

    Many years ago I was watching German TV. A German reporter was standing outside some "temporary" accommodation in Italy. He said that there had been an earthquake there fifteen years previously and that people had been put into this accommodation then. At that time, he said, a lot of money had been given to the Italian government to rehouse those people and it had still not arrived.

    I suggest that donor/lender nations should fund stuff directly e.g. that the Germans would pay the Greek border police directly and be on the ground to make sure that only the right people got paid.

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  • 4. At 1:56pm on 02 May 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

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


    "In the wealthy suburbs of Athens only 324 tax returns show ownership of a pool, satellite photos show 16,974 pools, one of many indicators of tax evasion, which costs the Greek government in the vicinity of 22 bn. Euro per year, more than half the annual deficit. ..."

    EUpris: That was a very interesting post. I think that everybody who reads any of these posts should read yours. Thank you!


    We in the UK have been paying billions for years to support this sort of rubbish. The fact that the Germans pay even more is no consolation.

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  • 5. At 2:03pm on 02 May 2010, Philippe Drevait wrote:

    It would be economic suicide for Spain, Ireland or Portugal to leave the Eurozone. The advantage of being able to devalue while out of the Eurozone is outweighed by the protection afforded by remaining inside. Spain and Portugal are still wobbling. Ireland has just emerged from recession but is vulnerable to a double-dip. If any one of the three was to leave, its new currency would be annihilated by the "markets" (i.e speculators). Why do you think Iceland wants in?

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  • 6. At 2:05pm on 02 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.

    (Margaret Thatcher)


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  • 7. At 2:09pm on 02 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @ 3. EUprisoner209456731
    This is the worry of the Greek people also.

    Gavin,
    I think you posed a good question to Papaknostantinou was. I am afraid only time will tell. Popular uprising if general is hard to be stopped by any democratic government.
    Channel 4's question was pathetic and not based on facts. Papakonstantinou is still quite popular according to polls. The most hated person(s) in Greece are former prime ministers and financial ministers not current ones. There is however widespread mistrust to political system.
    -General Importnat Plea to IMF/EU
    Since you decided to give moneys to Greece, please pay special attention how they are used, make sure that Greek government implements all the necesary changes to transform the country.

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  • 8. At 2:28pm on 02 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    EU prisoner wrote:

    "I suggest that donor/lender nations should fund stuff directly e.g. that the Germans would pay the Greek border police directly and be on the ground to make sure that only the right people got paid."






    Better yet: send German police directly on US's southern border. :)

    [former DDR border guards, preferably]

    ["HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!"]

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  • 9. At 2:29pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "One of the biggest questions relates to the European Union. This is a day of humiliation."

    I disagree. I believe it is a day of triumph for the EU and the euro. If not for the euro, dodgy countries (including my own - Italy) would go on with their wasteful ways. Not being able to revaluate actually forces them to make the structural changes that Europe needs so badly in order to remain competitive in the face of global competition.

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  • 10. At 2:32pm on 02 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #5 "Why do you think Iceland wants in"?





    Can offer volcanoes as collateral for EU loans?

    Or at least threaten to blow 'em up?

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  • 11. At 2:49pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The Germans have rolled the dice. Will they lose their shirts? It will be a long time before we find out. Will Greece really change? I seriously doubt it. Hey what happened to 40 billion? Suddenly the price tag tripled. What will happen when the rest of the little PIIGSies come knocking on the bank door? Will Germany spread more PIIGSy dust their way? And what did the German voters, taxpayers, citizens have to say about it either directly or through their "elected" representatives? NOTHING, they don't exist, they don't count, they are insignificant. After all it's not their money. The government owns the money, the people, everything and the elites who are part of the European Ego project own the German government. So much for the last figleaf of European democracy.

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  • 12. At 2:54pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MAII - you're not saying anything new for a couple of months now..

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  • 13. At 3:07pm on 02 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    The problem is Marcus that many here are interested enough in the topic to talk about it but hardly anyone even signs petitions against it such (which I did 5 minutes ago) directly on the webpage of the Bundestag. When more people would care (as they did with the announced closure of the airport in Lubeck), they'd leave no choice to the politicians.

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  • 14. At 3:08pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    What are the real numbers for the rest of Europe? How much is the real debt? How deep is the hole? Where is the real bottom of the pit? How can anyone pretend they have a democracy when the government's finances are a state secret? Why are they a state secret? To perpetuate the lie those in power have chosen to tell the voters and taxpayers. It is acknowledged that Britain's debt is far worse than the public knows. How many other Greece's are actually out there that we don't even know about yet? The answer will come as those debts come due and have to be paid back. The governments may not want to tell anyone but you can be sure the creditors who are owed the money won't hesitate for one second. Fraud, thy name is Europe.

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  • 15. At 3:15pm on 02 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    What is the IMF portion of this rescue plan? Countries both in the Euro and the IMF, will they have two payments in the end? (so to speak)

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  • 16. At 3:26pm on 02 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #6 Powermeerkat

    Tell that to American banks -- and you will be laughed out of Wall Street.

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  • 17. At 3:32pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    G and O;

    "MAII - you're not saying anything new for a couple of months now.."

    That still puts me about 399 years and 10 months behind Europe.

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  • 18. At 3:34pm on 02 May 2010, Seraphim wrote:

    Kinda interesting how you can receive additional money from the goverment in Greece:

    - Being an unmarried daugther of deceased parents in the public sector - annual costs: 550 Mio Euros for this alone

    in the public sector itelf you will get additional money for:
    - knowing how to operate a computer
    - knowing a foreign language
    - punctuality (!)
    - working on the open air for the working in the forestry

    (Source: the German equivalent to the BBC - ARD, so not a source that is any famous for making facts up at all)

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  • 19. At 3:37pm on 02 May 2010, david wrote:

    Latest (thin) volume presented to the EU Reference Library: 'Complete 2001/2010 Greek Tax Returns'.
    File under: Fiction/sub-section: Fantasy.

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  • 20. At 3:38pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MAII - Quo es/Where are you from? And whatever the answer, I doubt it.

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  • 21. At 3:41pm on 02 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    After this debacle, I´m taking my holidays in Turkey this year.

    The Greeks really know how to bite the hands that feeds them.

    Those in the Greek tourist business will double their prices and blame it on the tourists for coming , if the past few weeks of Greek logic is anything to go by.

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  • 22. At 3:48pm on 02 May 2010, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "If not for the euro, dodgy countries (including my own - Italy) would go on with their wasteful ways. Not being able to revaluate actually forces them to make the structural changes that Europe needs so badly in order to remain competitive in the face of global competition." (Gheryando, 9)

    The euro has been around since 1999, and Greece a member since (I believe) 2002. And there were fixed European exchange rates before 1999. What are the structural changes that have been made in that time, and why have they not been sufficient to prevent all this speculation about the economies of Greece, Portugal, Italy etc.?

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  • 23. At 3:56pm on 02 May 2010, john wrote:

    The Greece crisis as show our fee persons setting in in 3 glass tower in
    the USA are able to decided on the future of any country in the world and specially in the west world if any lesson need to learn is the need of the elected government to retake control over the financial world before the word democracy will disappear from all the dictionary.

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  • 24. At 4:02pm on 02 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Beg to differ.

    If the 120 billion 'rescue' and swingeing cuts to the Greek Economy are confirmed this is a terribly black day for Greek Citizens and also for every ordinary Citizen of EUrope.

    The choice was not 'Salvation or Bankruptcy'.

    The Greek PM is lying through his teeth to the Greek Citizens.

    The choice this conniving Politician & his venal Cabinet cronies made was to enforce higher taxes, rising prices & savagely lower pay to bring about penury, food queues, rising ill-health, shortages in every Social-Welfare facility, reduced Pensions as well as earlier & increased deaths on the ordinary innocent Greek Population.

    The alternative was the Greek 'big-Business/big-Government' vested interests & most especially the Ruling elite plus the Bankers, Investment Fund Managers, Company Executives, Military Commanders and all their families to start paying the Bill for their corruption & reckless disregard of the Greek State over the last 10 to 15 years.

    Of course, choice number 1 was always going to be the only decision.

    It is the same the World over: Whoever heard of the Rich paying for the Poor no matter how they got rich or how ever many crooked deals they made at the expense of the Poor!?

    Mr Hewitt, the EU... "a day of humiliation!?

    On the contrary Mr Hewitt: This will be a day of much back-slapping & clinking of the beaujolais glasses up & down the corridors of Paris-Berlin-Brussels for a job well done on behalf of their paymasters.

    Naturally in public there will ashen faces & sackcloth speeches for the 'poor Citizen' so 'hurt by these unavoidable measures'.

    A more smug and duplicitous bunch of mercenary apparatchiks has not existed since the demise of the USSR.

    As I have repeatedly commented on here: The EU is a Political construct with a framework of institutions almost exclusively concerned with the interests & servicing of 'big-Business/big-Government'.

    I defy anyone to write a contribution that can deny 'big-Business/big-Government' is protected at enormous cost to the Citizens by this deal.

    Shame on the EU-Brussels hierarchy & shame on the EU27 Political Leadership for their shameful abandonment of the Citizens. People who did nothing to create this crisis and do not deserve the years of misery that is plotted for them by Politicians who will this evening just as always take their Tax-paid vehicles to eat their Tax-paid meals at their exclusive, expensive restaurants & compliment each other on what a good day's work they've done!

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  • 25. At 4:16pm on 02 May 2010, Englishman in Strasbourg wrote:

    This is still a dip in the ocean compared with the crisis the Banks faced, and the amount they asked euro-zone taxpayers for only months ago. It's amazing how short everyone's memory seems to be.

    But - of course - it's the Bankers telling us that Greece have got it wrong! Pot, kettle anyone?

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  • 26. At 4:18pm on 02 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @Seraphim85
    Ta total pay of civil servants contains allownces. The pay without allownces (i.e. what is called salary in Greece) is usually not enough to live. The pensions are based on salaries and not on total pay (i.e. allownces do not increase the pension and this was a way that Greek Governments found to increase pay without putting more strain to pension system). There are many, diverse allownces, some very strange allownces indeed (I ve head more strange than what you quote). No Greek likes the system with allownces. However if they are cut, forget it you will have almost all civil servants unable to live (allownces could be 70% of total pay in some cases! and total pay might be quite low).
    Having said this, I personally like the incentive to have a bit more pay if you have an MSc, PhD, good knowledge of Foreign languages. An incentive for more education is desirable I think. However under current circumstances, personally I would like to see *real* carrots and sticks (perhaps more sticks) for efficiency and productivity.

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  • 27. At 4:22pm on 02 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @quietoaktree
    Apart from relaxing, have also an educational aspect in your vacation. Do not forget to visit the many sights of Greek antiquity. Parts of present day Turkey used to be Greek.

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  • 28. At 4:29pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Sara Phlegm;

    "The problem is Marcus that many here are interested enough in the topic to talk about it but hardly anyone even signs petitions against it such (which I did 5 minutes ago) directly on the webpage of the Bundestag."

    It wouldn't matter if 95% of the voters signed it. They people who really run Germany don't take orders from them. They own and control everything including you and all the money. You have nothing to say about it. Whether you know it or not, you live in a dictatorship just like everyone else in the EUSSR. The pretense that it isn't is just one more lie. In fact Europeans don't even know what real democracy is or is about. One thing that is a fact, if you want it you have to be prepared to fight and die to get it and prepared to fight and die to keep it the way Americans have. Europeans are not, they are revolted by the very thought of it. That is why they are the worst possible allies America could have. Of course fighting and dying is not popular. That is what makes the committment to it so difficult. Europeans want everything easy, done for them. That's why they have lived off of other people's efforts, product, money for these last few thousand years and why they will perish without it when it can no longer be stolen or borrowed. Right now one group of Europeans is stealing from another because they can no longer steal from the world's banks.

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  • 29. At 4:32pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    G and O;]

    "MAII - Quo es/Where are you from? And whatever the answer, I doubt it."

    Then why do you bother to ask? Why should I bother to give you an answer that you already said you won't believe? I'd ask if all Europeans are as ..... as you are but I already know the answer.

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  • 30. At 4:33pm on 02 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAII

    Re #14

    Quote, "..It is acknowledged that Britain's debt is far worse than the public knows..".

    Another of those completely erroneous statements that just negate any useful contribution You try to make!

    On the contrary: It is acknowledged across the World that the UK Government has been conspicuously upfront about the size of the Deficit facing the Citizens during the rest of the decade.

    It is one of the fundamental reasons the UK has retained its triple AAA Credit Rating & is also why it is not facing the same pressure on the Pound from Market forces & speculators as is presently dogging the EUro-zone recovery.

    What the present UK Government & the 3 main Political Parties seeking power this coming Thursday have all lamentably failed to do during the last months is to provide the British Electorate with honest, straightforward & realistically tough Economic-Fiscal restraint Policies to clear the Defecit.

    Whichever Party Leader gets into No.10 next Friday (barring 'hung Parliament' in which case its anyone's guess) the really critical Post will be at No.11 Downing Street - - whoever ends up with the poisoned chalice of Chancellor of the Exchequer - - they will be assured of only one thing, the British piublic will loathe them from the off & it will be all downhill from there!
    Coupled to that will be an inevitable push at some stage by the Markets & Currency speculators to bet against that Chancellor's policies be sufficiently robust - - I give the poor man/woman Chancellor 2 years before they are so close to a crack-up they are moved for the sake of avoiding people in white coats taking them away in a straitjacket.

    As for the EUro-zone-Greece crisis: Fraud is certainly a part of the cause - - as any American must surely recognise, it being the USA that perpetrated more than any other on its own Citizens & other nationals - - and the 120 billion rescue package announced today is another aspect of the same 'fraudulent' methods used by 'big-Business/big-Government' to load practically all of the costs of the Economic disaster onto ordinary Tax-paying People whether American, EUropean or whatever.

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  • 31. At 4:35pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "The euro has been around since 1999, and Greece a member since (I believe) 2002. And there were fixed European exchange rates before 1999. What are the structural changes that have been made in that time, and why have they not been sufficient to prevent all this speculation about the economies of Greece, Portugal, Italy etc.?"

    CornwallCoastPath - Economies change throughout. However, it was clear early on that Europe's socialist systems will at some point collapse due to an inverse population pyramid, outside competition and wasteful management of resources. It is difficult to tackle these problems for any political party because they will be hugely unpopular. Thus, the only way they had was to revaluate their currencies. Tough measures as now endured by the Greeks were off the agenda for reasons of sheer unpopularity.


    Regarding your question as to why they have not been sufficient to prevent "all this speculation", I am not sure if i can follow. Are you talking about financial speculation or conjectural speculation?

    By the way - Yes, there have been fixed currency unions in Europe. And it was clear that it was an impossible solution -> Google "Black Wednesday"

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  • 32. At 4:39pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    cbw;

    "On the contrary Mr Hewitt: This will be a day of much back-slapping & clinking of the beaujolais glasses up & down the corridors of Paris-Berlin-Brussels for a job well done"

    No cbw, not beaujolais, that is for peasants. Dom Perignon, Domaine de la Romanee' Conte', Chateau Laffitte Rothchild, and Chateau Petrus. All from the finest old vintages to celebrate the time honored tradition of European rule by the elite. Nothing less than the finest available in the world will do for them every day of their lives.

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  • 33. At 4:39pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    @quietoaktree cont.d from #27 vassilis

    Also make sure to point out that they are "Greek", as they so often (try to) claim that they are Turkish.

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  • 34. At 4:49pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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

  • 35. At 4:50pm on 02 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    This is not Papandreou's fault. He is having to deal with this situation because of developments in Greece that began a long time before he even started considering running for PM. The austerity measures are a necessary and unavoidable result of decades upon decades of wasteful spending and governments around the world facilitating the growth of a banking cartel that wields far too much power and has far too much influence on how much interest countries pay for loans.

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  • 36. At 4:53pm on 02 May 2010, stiophand wrote:

    I note no commitment to cutting tax dodging. It seems the Greek gov has given up on reducing corruption and aimed the tax increases on everyone no matter what their salary. Consumption taxes will increase cross-border smuggling and naturally cut demand/GNP. I hear rumors that the wealthy are putting their cash pools outside Greece in advance- thats loyalty. It would be helpful to hear from the general public and not just easy stories of unrest in Athens (where the journalists stay). I wonder if the German banks are contributing since they have such a large investment in greek debt (where the German citizens gain in better savings rates and in corporate profit taxes). As to Greece leaving the Euro, the endgame is still unseen. The only people who want Greece (or PIGS) to leave the euro is Londons forex traders and hedge funds. The costs of the Euro collapsing would be astronomical. I note little discussion in the square mile about the UKs own debt problems funnily enough.

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  • 37. At 5:01pm on 02 May 2010, Shady Tree wrote:

    Oh I get it now...
    When ordinary citizens refuse to pay their taxes 'en masse' then that's just wrong and must be dealt with.
    However when its the wealthy and the super rich siphoning their ill gotten 'gains' to some off shore 'haven' well that's just fine and dandy and "there's nothing we can do about that I'm afraid..."
    There's no such thing as 'democracy' there's only the tyranny of international capital and it's minions.
    Neo-liberalism is the tyranny of this age and it is the tool of choice for international capital to impose its unilateral view of the world.
    Read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein she's got these oiks well sussed!

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  • 38. At 5:16pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    cbw;

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/stephanieflanders/2010/04/a_conspiracy_of_silence.html

    "A conspiracy of silence"

    "They [the candidates and parties] may disagree in public, but privately they couldn't agree more. On the single most important issue facing the country after this election, our politicians think it's better to keep us in the dark."

    "Ever since the disastrous state of the public finances became clear, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and other experts have been talking about the need to cut borrowing drastically after the election - and the kind of tax rises and spending cuts that might be involved. The politicians have obliged with talk about "tough choices" - the Conservative shadow chancellor talked about a coming "age of austerity".'

    "But what, exactly does that mean? Which public services would need to go? How much would defence - or road-building, be squeezed? Which benefits would need to be cut or reined back? We don't know. More than halfway through this election campaign, the three largest parties have still given us only a small hint of what they would do."

    They are all lying. But why are they lying? Because they know that the real numbers are even worse than has been admitted to so far, much worse. Why will the cuts be far greater than suggested and why won't they tell you where or by how much? Because if they told you the truth you wouldn't vote for them. They are no more honest than Greece has been. It just hasn't been time to pay the piper yet but that time is coming, you can be certain of that. Sooner or later Britain will be Greece only by then Germany will be bankrupt from spreading around all the PIIGSy dust it has left. Who will bail out Britain? Hint, don't look West, we have our own problems.

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  • 39. At 5:17pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "However when its the wealthy and the super rich siphoning their ill gotten 'gains' to some off shore 'haven' well that's just fine and dandy and "there's nothing we can do about that I'm afraid..."

    Politicalgoose2 - So in your world being successful equals to being bad. I'm sure you had lots of fun smashing those windows yesterday in support of the global proletariat...

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  • 40. At 5:20pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MAII - I believe you're a fake. A troll. With an above average IQ, nevertheless. What is your opinion?

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  • 41. At 5:21pm on 02 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re4:
    """We in the UK have been paying billions for years to support this sort of rubbish. The fact that the Germans pay even more is no consolation""""

    No you don't. You have been lied. It is Greeks that pay for this rubbish all these years.

    Your countries' bankers (EU banks) give money and it is not yours in the first place. Ficticious money. Loan money that never enters Greece but goes from the banks to your corporations (and there no Greeks work but German, French, British...). Greeks however pay with real value.

    In terms of which EU citizen pays more, Greek working people are paying as a % of their salary (the only absolute measure of who pays what!) almost 2 times more than Germans and 3 times more than British.

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  • 42. At 5:22pm on 02 May 2010, Electionasap wrote:

    It dosen,t really matter that the EEC and the IMF are bailing out Greece.It is just paper money freshly printed like all the other economies are doing.They can,t send Lorry loads of Gold and Silver to Greece because they haven,t got it in the first place.The majority of the worlds economies and currencies are just bankrupt,they all owe to much money to ever repay it,so they just keep printing more paper and increasing their debts.Gold and Silver will keep rising in value showing their scarcity to mountains of worthless paper promises.Stand by for hyper inflation and bust on a major scale,the international debt bubble is bursting.

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  • 43. At 5:33pm on 02 May 2010, snake wrote:

    Why din't they just devaluate the euro ?

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  • 44. At 5:35pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    G and O

    "MAII - I believe you're a fake. A troll. With an above average IQ, nevertheless. What is your opinion?"

    Read my last ten thousand postings on BBC and you will know my opinions on a lot of things. If I typed my opinion of you, this posting would be deleted by the moderators for breaking the house rules.

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  • 45. At 5:36pm on 02 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #27 vassilis

    You are very correct, anyone wishing to see ancient Greek culture should by-pass Greece and go to Turkey.

    I went to Crete to see the famous ´Dolphin ´mosaics. With so few random fragments I reached the conclusion it was a con-game in the best of Greek tradition.

    Much like the past few weeks (or the many years before)

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  • 46. At 5:40pm on 02 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    So, is this the end of the Greek crisis now, or there is still more to come as the EU politicians are scratching their heads about how to run a common currency?

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  • 47. At 5:47pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MAII

    Not your opinion on the topic at hand but on my analysis of you.

    Quite similar to the annoying neighbor who gets off at his neighbor's family's problems, in fact. Without ever thinking about his own.

    Sad.

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  • 48. At 5:51pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Elect a sap;

    "It dosen,t really matter that the EEC and the IMF are bailing out Greece.It is just paper money..."

    Money is only worth what people think it can buy. How many Euros, Dollars, Yen and how much is out there that can be bought with them. Right now there is a massive redistribution of wealth going on within Europe. It is moving from those who can produce wealth like Germany to those who can't like Greece. The money is not going to help Greece become able to produce its own wealth, it is going to pay off debts incurred in the past because it couldn't. This is not an investment into something that will appreciate by growing in value or producing something that will multiply value, nor is it a bridge loan to get a society through temporary hard times. This debt is the long term result of completely irresponsible mismanagement of money and economy. There is no reason to believe it will change significantly and certainly not to the degree that will be necessary to pay it back. What is worse is that it opens the door to entitlement of others in exactly the same predicament who will make exactly the same argument about the dire consequences for Europe and the Euro if they are not also bailed out. Only they will argue that their case is not the same as Greece's and that their request has more merit. As the crisis spreads and deepens when more debt comes due, the Germans will feel pressure to double down on their debt just like someone who has bought a failing stock feels compelled to buy more when it falls to make up for the losses by the expected profits on the new purchase. This is invariably a failing strategy and every professional gambler knows when to fold 'em, knows when to walk away, knows when to run. This is Germany's first step down the slippery slope to its own economic collapse. The other Euroland economies are already a lost cause. You can chalk up one less compeitior to the US for the long term, not that it was really in America's league ever.

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  • 49. At 6:04pm on 02 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #42 Electionasap

    True, Nixon and America were furious when De Gaulle wanted to exchange his dollars for gold.

    It could be worse, I have heard that in America they accept plastic in exchange for dollars.

    Maybe MarcusAurellius can verify this strange behavioral phenomena ?

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  • 50. At 6:05pm on 02 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Wonderful! Fantastic! Marvelous! Greece is saved! The Euro is saved! Europe is saved!...........




    .... I give it 2, 3 month maximum.

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  • 51. At 6:07pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    G and O

    I'm curious, do you have any arguments to refute my postings or is it just that you don't like them? Perhaps that is where your problem lies, that you don't like them and can't refute them. That's why I'm here, to give you opinions you won't hear normally from Europeans or even from Americans.

    I'm glad you admitted my IQ is above average. I posted in the past that I am smarter than a million Europeans and those who responded scoffed at the idea. Now I'll prove it. Just take any 500 Europeans at random. Surely with my higher than average IQ I must be smarter than at least one of them. Even if you found one group where I wasn't, surely you'd find another group where I was smarter than at least 2 out of 500. As there are 500 million Europeans in the EU alone, therefore I am smarter than a million Europeans, probably smarter than a lot more. I'm sure even Europeans learn enough math to see how obvious that is. You Europeans are so easy to beat it almost hurts when I laugh about it. Here's a thought, I might be smarter than all 500 million of them....combined :-D

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  • 52. At 6:14pm on 02 May 2010, SEJ016 wrote:

    In the end, it comes down to years of irresponsible borrowing, funded by irresponsible lenders to provide an unrealistic and unaffordable lifestyle.

    Inevitably, the bubble has burst...it's payback time!

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  • 53. At 6:15pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Artiste;

    "So, is this the end of the Greek crisis now, or there is still more to come..."

    No, just the end of one chapter. It gets increasingly exciting from here as the plot thickens. If the Greek government begins to impliment the cutbacks it promised as a condition for the loans, the country will go out on strike and will not come back until the government relents. If it doesn't impliment the cutbacks or it makes concessions to workers and others in violation of what it promised, the lenders will be up in arms and hell will break out from that direction. (Who knows, there could be social instability in lender nations like Germany as those who were opposed to the loans are proven right.) In a chapter after that it will become clear that Greece will not be able to pay in the timetable agreed to. They will want to renegotiate. In the interim, other PIIGS will come begging with their hands out as well. There may also be some surprise chapters whose plots we haven't guessed or seen yet. This promises to be a thrill a minute.

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  • 54. At 6:20pm on 02 May 2010, Slavko wrote:

    I will repeat one more time, somebody ha aksed...why they don't devalue Euro?
    MAII see you borrowing Kenny Rogers lyrics ;) btw, decided to keep my greenbacks, and so far that decision has made me happy...but for the future, who knows?

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  • 55. At 6:22pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    G and O

    "Quite similar to the annoying neighbor who gets off at his neighbor's family's problems, in fact. Without ever thinking about his own."

    Are you annoyed? Hmmm, how surprising it would bother you. I didn't hear Europeans sound annoyed when there was a decade of relentless America bashing going on over there. Funny how painful it is when the shoe is on the other foot. Ain't payback a.....? And all from just one single solitary American. Just imagine what an army of us could do.

    This blog is about Europe. If you want to discuss America's problems I'm sure there is plenty to talk about on Mark Mardell's blog site. But be warned, there are other Americans there and they may not be as friendly or forgiving of Europeans as I am :-D

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  • 56. At 6:25pm on 02 May 2010, Joeblo wrote:

    The same trap was sprung on the Europeans.

    Under the guise of "imminent doom", a rescue package is cobbled together for someone who doesn't deserve it.

    Fear of failure?

    I have serious doubts that the "rescue package " is in fact going to do it.

    Who is administering it?

    The Greeks?

    OH BOY!

    Who is monitoring it?

    The IMF?

    What can they do if they find shenanigans (and if they do it will be to late)?

    I said it before.

    Greece should do exactly what the US did with the Swiss banks.

    If you moved money to avoid the taxes, you have a "grace period" to make it right before the roof caves in on you.

    Greece will be back with hat in hand, you can bet on that.

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  • 57. At 6:28pm on 02 May 2010, Joeblo wrote:

    When you say "it's just paper money", it is even less then that!

    Look up what a FIAT is (not the car co) and it will scare the crap out of you.

    It is MONOPOLY money that the US and Europe have created.

    Based on nothing.

    How much intrinsic value does a broken promise have?

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  • 58. At 6:33pm on 02 May 2010, Electionasap wrote:

    Quite true Marcus,"Bad money drives out good" the virus spreads.The Politicians are desperate to have everyone in the markets believe that the crisis is sorted whereas in reality more money has been printed to put a sticking plaster on the open wound (one of several that will appear)which unless amputated will gradually consume the whole body.Don,t think America is in the clear,its the biggest Debtor of them all and all its debts and false promises are coming home sooner than the think.The only way to reduce the debts is hyper inflation which will result in new money for old,security and stability will become a forgotten time.Greece will be forgotten,it is a symptom not the cause.

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  • 59. At 6:37pm on 02 May 2010, famousimpressario wrote:

    You have two types of Greeks. One who thinks the world owes them a living and the other who thinks the world owes them a living. It is this entitlement culture that will always hold back this country. These people really do believe that money grows on trees.

    Solutions to the Greek problem:

    A massive tax clampdown on evasion on all sections of society
    A massive reduction in welfare entitlement
    A massive reduction in public sector employment
    A massive relaxation of labour laws
    A massive cut in corporation and labour taxes to revitalise private sector wealth creation
    A ban on all images of Karl Marx and other communist lackeys with beards and berets
    The dilution of the socialistic culture that infects Greek economy
    A dilution of union power and leverage
    A new regulatory body that uncovers corruption in both the official and private arena



    in short a Thatcherite revolution.

    The Greeks will thank us one day

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  • 60. At 6:38pm on 02 May 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #51 MarcusAurellius

    Try me --again and again and again and again etc. --- to infinity.

    Your amateurism is an insult to America and those who have died for this freedom and you misuse.

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  • 61. At 6:40pm on 02 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAOO

    Re #38

    Precisely MAII!

    Don't You even read Your own references!?

    The 'size' of the UK Debt IS known: It is the methods to be applied to REDUCING the Debt that are unknown!

    No, nobody is "..lying.." (at least, no more than usual) in the UK Government - - to repeat - - the statistics have been verified by the National Audit Office, the EUropean Bank & by whizz-kid experts in the Stock Exchanges of New York & London (Yes! I know, they were certainly on the ball the last decade, weren't they!? But, we all have to start from somewhere & if You can produce any new Figures contradicting the Official UK ones go ahead). So, no, there is not a chance unless hell really does freeze over of the UK becoming a Greece case dependent on Germany's & IMF largesse: Those days are long gone as any one with even rudimentary understanding of Fiscal reality would know (oh well, lets You off the hook).

    However, do agree with you - - Dom Perignon rather than Beaujolais for the EU Politicos/apparatchiks & fat-cat 'big-Business/big-Government' Execs is most probably their celebratory tipple tonight as they toast the Greek Citizens' plight and the manner in which they have yet again stitched-up & dumped all over EUropean Citizenry without once through the whole affair even bothering to REFER to them!

    EU-Brussels Democratic Government: An object lesson in brevity - - quiet you lowly swine, can't you see we are busy!

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  • 62. At 6:40pm on 02 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    @ "a decade of relentless America bashing going on over there"

    well, we've certainly learnt our lesson, haven't we? A decade of "relentless America-bashing" earned us MarcusAureliusII's wrath and hundeds upon hundreds of petty, attention-seeking penalty posts. It's a terrible yet just punishment. Will we ever recover from this? Who knows...

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  • 63. At 6:41pm on 02 May 2010, Shady Tree wrote:

    39. Gheryando
    And in your world anyone who dares speak up for the 'global proletariat' is a defacto criminal? I've never broke the law in my life you cheeky so and so! Also my hair IS trimmed and I DO HAVE A JOB (for now anyway until 'call me Dave' and his right wing pals from the City have their way...)
    That's another feature of the out of touch financial oligarchs - they enjoy criminalizing anyone that dares to be less fabulously 'rich' than them who criticizes their behaviour and system. They appear to think they're beyond reproach!
    Meanwhile we've just seen many 'rich' and 'successful' corporate entities behave criminally enough to trash their OWN profit oriented system after decades of greed and avarice! Now they want to shift the cost onto innocent people whose only crime is to not be wealthy enough to manipulate their countries political system in their own favour!
    I've no problem with people being successful and I'm fortunate to have been successful in my own life (there are other ways to be successful in life that don't involve profit motives would you believe?). However the manipulation of this current version of extreme globalized capitalism (or is that corporate monopoly?) to subvert democracy and justice is wrong and is leading 6 billion people into a very dark future if not challenged.

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  • 64. At 6:42pm on 02 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Nik

    Re #41

    Stop it!

    Your Greekness is giving me hiccups!

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  • 65. At 6:46pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    MAII


    Ok. I get it now. Its a mental exercise for you. You simply love to be controversial. Its not the substance of the debate but rather the debate itself. You are a biker (Harley Davidson, isn't it?) on a street mostly used by motorists.

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  • 66. At 6:49pm on 02 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    I had a look at some fiscal number predictions for Greece in Greek media. I think they are optimistic. Positive growth rate in 2012. I have not seen measures in this direction so far, just words. I think some type of haircut is inevitable. When Merkel asks (voluntarily) banks to help the situation, what is this? another way of saying please accept a haircut. I think that this will be a parallel process. I do not think that further cuts are possible and EU/IMF cannot accept a failure with so much at stake. My prediction is that current cuts will create an ugly situation, a lot of suffering but not a popular uprising. However, further cuts won't be tolerated.

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  • 67. At 6:53pm on 02 May 2010, ptsa wrote:

    There were things that the politicians (all MPs) could have done to show people that everyone in this country is equal and cuts are going to be made across the board:

    *Make same cuts to MPs' salaries. (I know they won't be able to afford 3-4 cars and new real estate every year).

    *Adjust pensions for MPs. (They get full pension and quite a sum after serving 8 years)

    *Make cuts in the 13th 14th 15th 16th salary that all staff in the Parliament gets.

    *Open bank accounts (incl. in Cyprus and Switzerland) so that the wealthy also pay their FAIR share.

    Was any of the above implemented? NOPE!

    So now we will keep having strikes and riots and both domestic and EU politicians will be wondering why. All that was needed was a sign of goodwill from the government. But, as the common workers of society we don't even deserve that. Just seeing "Mr" Papakonstantinou weeping on TV for the loss of OUR income (and not his or his court's) is as far as it goes.

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  • 68. At 6:55pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    famousimpresario - well said!

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  • 69. At 7:03pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Elect a sap;

    "Don,t think America is in the clear,its the biggest Debtor of them all and all its debts and false promises are coming home sooner than the think.The only way to reduce the debts is hyper inflation which will result in new money for old,security and stability will become a forgotten time.Greece will be forgotten,it is a symptom not the cause."

    As I previously said, I'm counting on it. If you are an income earner and not on a fixed income, don't hold long or medium term bonds or mortgages, you are in great shape during inflation as your income will go up allowing you to pay prior debt with cheaper easier to acquire money. The false promises that were implied were the rates of return on US Treasury bonds such as those held by China, about 800 billion. Doesn't seem that bad in light of 120 billion Euros to fix Greece alone. I don't think we will have social instability here in the US though. Not as the result of inflation. That just doesn't happen here. That is why the US is the ultimate haven for money. When all else fails the US will still be there. If it isn't, nothing else will be either or that at least has been the thinking.

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  • 70. At 7:06pm on 02 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    Wow, HomerJ , 14 posts (1 in 5 of the whole blog) and not a single worthwhile contribution amongst the lot. That takes a certain kind of talent I guess. Its like you decided to lift all your doozies from the other blogs from the last 2 months and plonk them ALL into this one without adding anything new or worthwhile. #51 defines the term "Epic Fail". But I shouldnt be too surprised, it just reinforces the research which puts the average IQ of Americans joint 19th in the World, bettered by 14 European nations.

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  • 71. At 7:06pm on 02 May 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    Maybe somebody could take the time to compile a table for Homer Simpson (aka our MarcusAurelius) along the lines of a Chinese restaurant menue. For instance it could read as follows:
    No 1 Europe is doomed
    No 2 America the all powerful
    No 3 The whole world is corrupt (except America)
    etc up to about 20 or so.
    Then every time Homer feels a spell on the keyboard coming on and wasting valuable time, ours and his, he could just type in say No 15 and we would all know instantly what he was referring to without having to read through his diatribes in case there are any interesting nuggest of wisdom hidden in his usual morass of bilge.
    Anyone out there who would oblige?

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  • 72. At 7:08pm on 02 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    "59. At 6:37pm on 02 May 2010, famousimpressario
    Thanks for your kind words. What about an old-fashioned dictatorship backed by US and UK? Who wants democracy after all if it is good for the markets. What? This has happened before? you do not know? yes, 1967-74 and really did a world of good to Greek society.

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  • 73. At 7:09pm on 02 May 2010, Angela wrote:

    I am not Greek but I live in Greece and after reading some of the comments here I felt compelled to respond.

    Some of you have this opinion that Greeks are lazy and freeloaders. I would like to point out that Greeks work some of the longest hours in the European Union. Yet they get 650 Euros monthly as a minimum wage even if they have a bachelor's degree. Many work 10 - 13 hours a day with no expectation of over time. I personally know someone who has been working for 10 years at the same company as a computer programmer and he receives 1500 Euros. This is not a random case but quite the opposite. A great salary in Greece is a measly 2000 Euros a month. Why though is this considered a great salary? Because it can cover a person's basic needs and leave a bit to save and go out a few times a month. I assure you not many Greeks make such a salary. A Greek household usually makes a salary of 2000 Euros or more when there are two people working. However, with two people, costs double and not much cash remains after bills are paid. Add a child or two into the mix and things get really rough. This is one of the main reasons that Greeks do not have lots of children in general. They simply cannot afford it and unlike many countries where citizens can expect plentiful assistance from their government when they have children, Greeks can look forward to about 100 Euros a year of assistance. It is simply laughable.

    Yes Greeks are corrupt but many of them do it because htey have no choice. This is not their fault but that of the public servants but then again a large part of that blame falls on the government. Let me give you an example, doctors in Greece are seriously underpaid and overworked so they try to make extra money by charging patients who need surgeries or other assistance such as pregnant women. When a woman goes to the public hospital to give birth, she knows her doctor beforehand and he has already told her how much he will expect to deliver the baby, this price can run from 500 - 2500 Euros depending on where she gives birth. What is a woman supposed to do in such a case? Refuse to give birth? Complain? Who to? The government knows what has been going on for all these years and have done nothing while the Greek people suffer. Basically if you want to get something done in the Greek public sector you are much more likely to get it done quickly if you know someone or you pay someone. Again I say the government knows this and have done nothing. What are the people to do? In Greece if you call a plumber or electrician or someone to fix something in you home, they will tell you the price is this amount but without a receipt, I will give you a lower price. For many cash strapped Greeks, the lower price is the best option. When someone makes 650 Euros a month and has to pay 300 Euros in rent, 35 Euros to publicly commute to and from work, 20 Euros minimum in building fees, 100 Euros in food, 20 - 40 Euros for a landline, 20 for a mobile, 10 -15 for water, 20 - 80 for Electricity not to mention any other personal items they might need, they are pretty hard pressed not to try to find a cheaper solution to live. The average Greek person doesn't aim to have the world at their feet but they would like to be able to pay their bills and have a little bit of money left over to save, go out to eat or go out for a coffee a few times a month.

    It is easy to sit in your country and try to pass blame on the Greek people but unless you live here and see the day to day life, you cannot judge. That however doesn't mean that you can't judge the Greek politicans because they are the ones that have brought this country to it's knees. There are two main political parties in Greece, PASOK and Nea Democratia and none of the two is useful. They both blame each other for whatever crisis the country is in and hope that the people will not see through their veil of deceit.

    They took the money of the pensioners and played it in the stock market and now tell them that they have no money to pay their pensions and that they will take away some of their benefits. There are people here who receive 500 Euros a month in pension. Thank God their benefits will still be available to them as they already get little money as it is. They talk about taking away the extra money Greeks receive at Easter, Summer and Christmas. This might seem like a luxury to outsiders but considering Greek employers do not give raises this money is usually critical for a Greek family. My husband has been working in the same company for four years and only once has he received a raise and that was for 120 Euros. Due to these ridiculously low wages many Greeks live in extended family household and many move out when they are in their 30's. This is simply because they cannot afford to do otherwise.

    I am in serious doubt that the money from the bailout will help the Greek people because the measures that are going to be introduced in my opinion will cripple the Greek people. They are already suffering, barely scraping by month by month and with the hike in taxes, it will be worse and unfortunately instead of curbing corruption, it will just make the average person think of more creative ways to avoid paying taxes or find a cheaper way of paying for a service. I don't agree with it but I can understand it.

    The people that the government should go after is that minority group of wealthy people who are the biggest avoiders of taxes. They build their villas and mansions illegally but are fined a few thousands, they employ and exploit illegal immigrants and they get the best accountants who can show them how is the best way to write off their hummers and BMWs.

    So when you are sitting their watching or reading the news ask yourself, what if my government was lying to me about the finances of my country? What if they were telling you that the economy has no problems for years and then suddenly they say that the country is on the brink of bancruptcy? What if they say we know it's the fault of our politicians but we want to start over new? What if they say we know it's not your fault but for the better of the country you will have to suffer some extremely hard years? What will you do? Will you be angry? Will you protest? Will you look at you child or children and wonder how you will take care of them? Will you look at your parents and wonder if they have enough to eat now that their pension benefits are being cut? Will you worry about your pension? Will you want someone to be held accountable? Or will you leave everything in their trusting hands and accept whatever they say?

    While you are thinking about this and deciding what action you would have taken, the Greek people have no choice and are forced to accept the latter option no matter if they choose to exercise their rights for the former options.

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  • 74. At 7:12pm on 02 May 2010, BH2o wrote:

    Sadly, if the people of Greece cannot comprehend the severity of their situation and come to terms with it they may soon find themselves excluded from the EU/Euro entirely. The amount of corruption which exists in Greece today is simply staggering. So far, Greece's accounting standards and practices have failed to truly divulge their true expenditures, debt. Greek's unions blatant refusal to recognize the need for austerity measures at this very crucial point in their country's economic survival makes it appear they will likely drag their economy even further into the abyss. Without Greece's concrete commitment to austerity measures I can't imagine how and why EU member States would pour further funds into this black hole.

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  • 75. At 7:13pm on 02 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    MarvelousApriliousII,

    I just hope we learned from that little crisis that you can not run a single currency with all its benefits, but without any obligations!

    I will not stop been amazed about the stupidity of the designers of the Euro.

    Also I don't get it what is it with the Germans, if there is anyone that should be doing the complaining here, that should be the rest of us outside the Eurozone that have to contribute through the IMF to rescue a Euro member. With all the screaming that I hear around here from the Germans one would get the impression that its them alone that contribute and no one else.

    The one thing that is for sure is that their banks will benefit from the rest of us lending money to Greece so that they don't default on their loans to German banks! Please give me a break!!

    I though it was us Brits that complaining the most about everything, but it looks like the Germans take the cake!

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  • 76. At 7:15pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    CC;

    Check out this week's edition of BBC's program "One Planet." Suddenly now that President Bush is no longer around, global warming could hardly matter less to British voters. It's way down near the bottom of the list of their concerns. I'll bet it's the same all over Europe. On top of their list of concerns is their economy, immigration, crime, and about eighty other things. Now why do you suppose something that was so important as the end of the world by climate change three years ago no longer matters? What a bunch of lying hypocrites Europeans are. And OOOOOOOH how jealous of America's overwhelming superiority too. Tough.

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  • 77. At 7:19pm on 02 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    @59. At 6:37pm on 02 May 2010, famousimpressario,

    You forgot to advise them that they should make sure their train run on time! And they should get dressed in black shirts!

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  • 78. At 7:21pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    PoliticalGoose2 - point taken. You seem to be common-sensical after all. I agree with much of what you wrote in your most recent post.

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  • 79. At 7:22pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "However, further cuts won't be tolerated"

    Vassile, you don't need cuts. You need a better enforcement of the current rules. No more tax evasion. That would spare you from any cuts.

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  • 80. At 7:29pm on 02 May 2010, Joeblo wrote:

    You say,"While you are thinking about this and deciding what action you would have taken, the Greek people have no choice and are forced to accept the latter option no matter if they choose to exercise their rights for the former options."

    So everyone else in the EU is supposed to pay for this?

    Welcome to economic socialism and you didn't even get to vote for it.

    They should have suspended Greece from the EU and told them to clean up their act.

    This is a "head fake" as it is referred to.

    The bad news is not over for the EU and now that "bailouts" are going to be the precedent, expect more.

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  • 81. At 7:30pm on 02 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Mr Hewitt;
    It is indeed not a day of humiliation to the EU. On the contrary.
    It must be your British nationalism...

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  • 82. At 7:30pm on 02 May 2010, lordjohnbloggs wrote:

    I think the Germans have already written off the cost of the loan,as they probably will not get the money back. It looks like Greece will not get rid of corruption and bad management any time soon.
    What choice have the Germans got though? Hand over the money,or see the Euro collapse,taking all the EURO money countries down with it.
    Being British,I am glad we are not in the Euro.Long live the GBP-well,as long as next year or later this year maybe! Then the UK will be in a similar state to Greece,unable to pay our debts back,after the economy has been destroyed by the criminal bankers,who still get bonuses for life! They should get prison for life!

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  • 83. At 7:32pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The day Greece can pay back 120 billion pounds sterling in its equivalent at today's value will probably be the day hell freezes over. It will not be in my lifetime nor probably in the lifetime of anyone posting here today. The austerity cuts will probably crash what's left of its miserable economy. You don't cut government spending short of very careful consideration of its impact in a depression, that is exactly the wrong move. That is what the Fed and Hoover administration did at the onset of the great depression, they tightened things up when they should have loosened them. The austerity imposed by the EU and IMF are a death blow. What Greece needs to do is attact foreign investment if that is even possible in today's world. It can't do that by increasing taxes, reducing government services, allowing corruption to continue, raising the cost of living, provoking social unrest, and driving away capable workers who will find better employment elsewhere. Whatever chances Greece had to become a surplus economy are gone. It was really just a question of which way Europe chooses to die. Looks like it will by by ice. The models Greece should have looked to were South Korea and Taiwan. Euronomics and Eurocracy is death to real economy.

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  • 84. At 7:33pm on 02 May 2010, ptsa wrote:

    Angela, what a great post,

    as I said in mine, it is again the ordinary people that will pay for the sins of the few (politicians, wealthy elite), who will not even be touched by the new measures.

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  • 85. At 7:39pm on 02 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @73. Angela
    Very good and frank post Angela. It explains (but not necessarily justifies) certain attitudes. And also gives the proper perspective on the chronic problems and why Greeks do feel now doubly screwed by both their government and external forces. Personally, I accuse our politicians more than anybody else and I get quite agitated at the bigoted and holier-than-thou posts I read here which accuse simple Greek workers for all the wrong reasons.

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  • 86. At 7:40pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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

  • 87. At 7:40pm on 02 May 2010, frenchderek wrote:

    Gavin:can you - or perhaps one of your brighter readers of this blog help, please.

    My understanding is that previous Greek government Ministers have consistently produced fraudulent figures to the EU (and, presumably to their own electorate)? If this proves to be a reasonable charge against them, why should they not be tried for (criminal?) fraud - either in the Greek courts or, preferably, in an EU court?

    And, before anyone leaps in, I'm aware that it has proved easy to ensure that some Greek judges show leniency in high-profile cases (especially, it is said, when their bank accounts are "eased" a little....).

    So, serious question: are trials for fraud possible?

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  • 88. At 7:46pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Chris Arta - so you wouldnt complain if the state being bailed out wasn't a eurozone member? give me a break!

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  • 89. At 7:46pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Maggie McGuire;

    The former head of Enron went to prison. The head of Worldcom will spend the rest of his life in prison. So will Bernie Madoff. Even Martha Stewart spent time in prison. So have many others you never heard of and there are plenty more to come. The people who run Goldman Sachs and other large American banks may wind up in prison, the DOJ is investigating them this very minute. How many European criminals of comparable prominence are in prison? Which ones on your side of the pond have been prosecuted? Until they are, how about accepting the incontrovertable fact that you have as crooked and corrupt a society as any that exists on this planet? That is why your society is not only broke but doomed. In Europe, major crime does pay every time, the bigger it is the more it pays.

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  • 90. At 7:47pm on 02 May 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    55 Homer Simpson writes:

    "This blog is about Europe. If you want to discuss America's problems I'm sure there is plenty to talk about on Mark Mardell's blog site. But be warned, there are other Americans there and they may not be as friendly or forgiving of Europeans as I am."

    It's not the "friendly or forgiving" that we mind about Mark Mardell's blog site but the shere boredom, banality and WORTHINESS of the contributons. I expect that's the reason why Homer visits us instead.

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  • 91. At 7:48pm on 02 May 2010, Bambouin from Planet L wrote:

    One issue that seems to be missing or overlooked here (as in nearly all other coverage of the current crisis in Greece) is the question of responsibility and accountability.

    Normally, these sorts of things go unpunished in Greece, yet I would have thought that the outside parties would have demanded someone be held accountable, and suitably punished, if not for taking on the debt, then at least for fudging the figures for so long. Is the former government not responsible for this? The former Finance Minister and his inner circle? If not them, then who? It would be nice to see, for once, high level wrong-doers in Greece held accountable for their actions.

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  • 92. At 7:56pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    As the crisis in Europe deepens, as the debts become so unwieldy, so unmanagable, so obviously unable to be repaid, there will be a flight to quality. Not a trickle but a flood. First in the stock and bond markets where money moves literally at the speed of light and then a flood of people. It's happened before when Europe faced social unrest, it will happen again. For example there are 50,000 illegal aliens from Ireland alone in the US right now. America had better enlarge its embassies and consulates in Europe. There will be lines out into the streets looking for applications for work permits and residency visas. Only this time they will be competing with people from all over the world in much larger numbers than in the past. Canada is the next best bet, then Australia. Best to get your application in early, we only accept a limited number each year.

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  • 93. At 7:56pm on 02 May 2010, Ben wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII - I'd second cool_brush_work in that you don't know what you are talking about when it comes to the British election!

    Where I disagree with him is that at the start of the campaign the Conservative party came out and said tough spending cuts would be required. They then dropped in the polls and learnt the lesson that the British have to be treated like children. Labour already knew this and so promised further spending, even though this is a total lie.

    People have to earn their freedom every single day. Most Brits just want to watch TV and woudn't even notice if Faschists took over unless it was also a sub-plot on one of our many soap operas. They have no interest in free speach.

    Also, please let's not go down the conspiracy route. I used to read Naomi Klein when I was younger then at some point I became able to think for myself and grew up. How do you think they all meet up? In some big room like in Austin Powers? This isn't a conspiracy. It's a confluence of vested intrests. Clever people who don't have strong scruples seperately exploit a poorly constructed legal system put together by priviledged but quite average persons of a certain class. Simultaneously, lazy people, goaded on by rampant advertising, over-spent during an extended period of loose credit. That's all, no big meetings in a room to exploit the poor.

    The only hint of conspiracy is in fact the BBC has left-leaning coverage of the election because they know if the Conservatives get in they are going to cut BBC spending more than any other party. Hence the BBC has pushed the Liberals quite hard over the last fortnight as they see Labour are a lost cause and the BBC are the last chance saloon.

    ps my last comment will probably mean this never gets printed ;-)

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  • 94. At 8:07pm on 02 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #76

    Listening to BBC World Service podcasts now are we dear? I thought you hated the BBC , but now you use the "random and unscientific" musings of a BBC podcaster who asked 5 passers-by their opinions to prove that all Europeans are lying hypocrites. I am actually cringing with embarrassment on your behalf.

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  • 95. At 8:08pm on 02 May 2010, cirvine11 wrote:

    I understand the logical reasons for the conditions of the loans. However, part of me feels very uneasy about this idea of bullying nations into making fundamental changes to their way of life. Yes-I understand the fundamentals of economics... and yes, I understand Greece "asked" for the loan. However, the fact remains-Greece will now change their way of life under duress. Is this the new "united Europe"? Is every EU nation supposed to look and act like a proper Northern European country like Germany? Logic is now dictated from the north. I'm uneasy.

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  • 96. At 8:11pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Funny how nobody talks about France contributing to the bailout. How much are they kicking in? Or have people just come to expect that France only takes, never gives. Generousity to strangers is not exactly the popular view of the usual French character.

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  • 97. At 8:15pm on 02 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    According to Radio 4 News this afternoon, Greece has 'agreed to' the Euro zone/IMF rescue package. How very gracious of them - but they have a point. We should not kid ourselves that the Euro zone members are bailing out Greece at all. They are bailing out the single currency. It is as simple as that.

    While I sympathise with those who are posting here about the plight of the ordinary Greeks who will have to bear the pain of the austerity measures because of failings of, as ptsa puts it at #84, 'politicians, wealthy elite', it has to be said that they really have very little choice. The lenders are right to put strict conditions on the facility and, if the Greek people and especially public sector workers take to the streets and cause social disruption, they will simply be aggravating the pain.

    There is another point to consider as well. The stronger economies of the Euro area have a vested interest in ensuring that a message of toughness goes out. Spain has this week already been downgraded by Standard and Poors and posted a 20% unemployment figure. Portugal and Ireland have both rightly said that their problems, unlike those of Greece, are nothing to do with dodgy accounting. Nevertheless, the chances that one or more will need help of some sort cannot be ruled out. We have seen how Merkel has had to struggle with public opinion in Germany. Will they really tolerate another bail out?

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  • 98. At 8:20pm on 02 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    Greece will not be able to pay back the money. We are just going to have to accept that now. The givernments should force the banks to get a haircut and the rest of the money that governments loaned should be described euphemistically as an act of "European Solidarity"... lol we Europeans are a society of total clowns...

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  • 99. At 8:20pm on 02 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #86

    "Encyclopedia Britanica eventually (remember when that was once British?)"

    Err no, seeing as it hasnt been published in Britain since 1901.

    "Beginning with the 11th edition, the Britannica shortened and simplified articles to broaden its North American market" - I must say that made me laugh, talking about chimpanzees and IQ.

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  • 100. At 8:27pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    You think they tell you the truth cbw? Then what is the right number here? Until the other day it was 40 billion Euros or something of that order. Now according to this blog it is 120 billion pounds.

    "ATHENS Greek cabinet ministers turned up for a Sunday cabinet meeting to learn the terms of their salvation. They have agreed to a rescue package of around £120bn."

    But in BBC's article it is 95 billion pounds.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8656649.stm

    "Eurozone members and the IMF have agreed a 110bn-euro (£95bn; $146.2bn) three-year bail-out package to rescue Greece's embattled economy."

    So what's the story, what's the right number? How long will it be right for? If I wait an hour will it change again? Is there a right number? What odds are the bookies in London giving that before it's over it will be $150 billion pounds? 200 billion pounds? In the words of the late Senator Dirkson; "a billion here, a billion there, before you know it, it adds up to real money." Or perhaps it is so large that a 25 billion pound discrepency is within the roundoff error.

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  • 101. At 8:30pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Once again the KGBBC didn't like my response to Maggie McGuire. I pointed out all of the prominent wealthy powerful crooks who wound up in prison in America, the CEO of Enron, the CEO of Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, Martha Stewart and others. And I pointed out that the DOJ is investigating Goldman Sachs for criminal violations and some of their execs and others bankers could wind up in prison too. I asked where the comparable prosecutions in the EU were. Corruption thy name is Europe.

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  • 102. At 8:31pm on 02 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @84 ptsa
    "as I said in mine, it is again the ordinary people that will pay for the sins of the few (politicians, wealthy elite), who will not even be touched by the new measures."

    So those ordinary people didn`t have a choice by vote?
    Give me a break. Hard working people are angry and rightly so, but still they were never prepared to cut back by voting a government willing to actually change something.

    The government in Greece is cutting back its expenses and that`s really about the only thing it should do, next to reducing bureaucracy.
    It`s not far enough as they should also fight corruption and tax evasion big time - but even there I have read articles that indicates a growing awareness.

    It is a good thing that they can`t devalue their currency, because that would lead to a far worse recession in the future.
    Could Greece devalue the own currency it would be a lot more risky to lend them money.

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  • 103. At 8:31pm on 02 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #87 - frenchderek

    The European Court of Justice has no powers to try individuals for criminal offenses and this remains a function of the individual national legal systems although, naturally, there are robust extradition arrangements and co-operation on evidence gathering. I have no idea how Greek law stands but my question is whether there is any point. We are, after all, talking about a 120 billion bail out. You may secure convictions but you will never get that kind of money back.

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  • 104. At 8:32pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I just knew The Battle of New Orleans in 1814 wasn't the end of it with Britain. Now British Petroleum has returned for revenge on America's Gulf Coast. I see no satisfactory remedy short of war.

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  • 105. At 8:39pm on 02 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @87. At 7:40pm on 02 May 2010, frenchderek
    Your point is very pertinent. I think I am expressing all Greeks when I say that we want them tried. However, it will show you an idea of the crooks that they govern us if you learn that our politicians have passed a law some time ago that all crimes of politicians do not count (do not know the english legal term, statute of limitations or something) after the elections. You have elections and you cnnot try them for whatever they have done. Nice work. Thus, it has to be European courts I am afraid.

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  • 106. At 8:42pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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

  • 107. At 8:47pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Threnodious;

    "We should not kid ourselves that the Euro zone members are bailing out Greece at all. They are bailing out the single currency. It is as simple as that."

    Finally something out of you that makes sense. Yes that is correct, they are bailing out the Europe because that for Germany is bailing out itself...or is it? This is just the first downpayment on the first chasm. When it is all over I'll bet a trillion dollars will be a long forgotten memory. And so will the liquidity of anything left in Euroland.

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  • 108. At 8:56pm on 02 May 2010, RebelJim wrote:

    I am not suprised Greece financial problems.
    since austerity cuts:
    '
    * 250 euros extra at Easter

    * 250 euros extra for vacations

    * 500 euros extra at Christmas
    I wonder what was it before the cuts.

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  • 109. At 8:57pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Once again the KGBBC didn't like my response to Maggie McGuire. I pointed out all of the prominent wealthy powerful crooks who wound up in prison in America, the CEO of Enron, the CEO of Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, Martha Stewart and others. And I pointed out that the DOJ is investigating Goldman Sachs for criminal violations and some of their execs and others bankers could wind up in prison too. I asked where the comparable prosecutions in the EU were. Corruption thy name is Europe."

    Maybe because we dont have any globally serious corruption. Unlike fraudulent America.

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  • 110. At 8:59pm on 02 May 2010, Wise Owl wrote:

    Mmm - all very worrying and a true reflection of the problems of Europe.

    It is clear that the European survival instinct is very strong and that the French, in particular, are desperate to save the Euro and the concept behind it. But be in no doubt, and I'm not the first in HYS to record this, it is only a matter of time before Greece is driven out of the Euro. No doubt Portugal, Spain and Ireland and being targeted by the financial centres in London, Germany and Paris - because, after all, the bottom-line is what counts - not either any national or indeed European ideal. We can be sure that these same bankers will have a go at their countries financial stability, should the opportunity arise, so watch out London and Paris.

    The real issue, is who is planning for the failure of Greece? What are the contingencies? Where does Europe go from here or will the Greek failure result in an individual states focusing upon National survival? if so, then the Euro and European dream will be dead - beaten not by democracy (something denied to the UK electorate) but by financial imperatives and the desire to make a fast and short-term buck.

    The basis for this situation rather points to Europe's Finance Ministers (FM) - and, in the case of UK, Gordon (No more Boom or Bust, Prudence is my middle name, Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics) BROWN. He and his European FM buddies should carry the blame, but instead, no doubt, they will all enjoy healthy, index-linked pensions that insulate them from the crisis.

    Who said that Governments and their Ministers should be accountable - ITS ALL A TRAVESTY of NATURAL JUSTICE. Look at that scoundrel BLAIR and how he enriches himself by feeding from the trough of financial corruption and failure.

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  • 111. At 9:06pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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

  • 112. At 9:13pm on 02 May 2010, Richardthesage wrote:

    To the people of Greece

    Your Country invented democracy, now is the moment to show Brussels what democracy means. They would persuade you that you have to sacrifice all your future livelihoods for their great project... you do not have to.

    Greece can and should rescehdule its debt on a huge scale.This will be uncomfortable for the bankers and the Euro, it will spread the problem more quickly elsewhere, but that is coming anyway, act for yourselves now Greece. because it is clear tonight that no-one else will....good luck

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  • 113. At 9:14pm on 02 May 2010, nonvegetarian wrote:

    Those who took decisions in Greece, like in many other countires, have been misled by the chorus of bankers who lied in unison about the risks of the investment products and strategies at their disposal. Doctors, teachers, unversities, soldiers, etc., have not done anything wrong yet they will have to pay to maintain the lifestyle of the money handlers. I think that the anger and frustration expressed at the Greece bailout is misdirected.

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  • 114. At 9:15pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    G and O

    "Maybe because we dont have any globally serious corruption. Unlike fraudulent America."

    So you admit that the financial catastrophe in Europe was not even partly the result of criminal fraud but was due entirely to stupidity on a scale so massive it was unprecedented in our lifetime. Okay, I'll buy that theory. Sounds plausible to me.

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  • 115. At 9:17pm on 02 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #101

    The US likes to think its number 1 at everything right? Well, you've certainly got the top spot for serious fraud absolutely nailed.

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  • 116. At 9:25pm on 02 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    @RebelJim
    As we have said many a time the Greek annual pay came in 14 installements instead of the usual 14 in Anglosaxon countries (I believe that there are other countries in the continent that they have 13.5 or 14 installements instead of 14, e.g. if I remember correctly the Netherlands). The total amount is what it matters and Greek salaries are a fraction of the European average (around 50% I think) only Portugal is lower in Eurozone. So now there has been a 20-30 in some case 35% reduction in the salaries of public workers.

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  • 117. At 9:31pm on 02 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #111

    I suggest you get your facts straight buddy, I have never and will never make a complaint about anyones posts. You can call me a chimpanzee all day long as far as I care, if thats the depths you wish to plummet far be it from me to deprive the rest of the posters from witnessing it.

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  • 118. At 9:46pm on 02 May 2010, ptsa wrote:

    91. At 7:48pm on 02 May 2010, Bambouin from Planet L wrote:

    One issue that seems to be missing or overlooked here (as in nearly all other coverage of the current crisis in Greece) is the question of responsibility and accountability.

    Normally, these sorts of things go unpunished in Greece, yet I would have thought that the outside parties would have demanded someone be held accountable, and suitably punished, if not for taking on the debt, then at least for fudging the figures for so long. Is the former government not responsible for this? The former Finance Minister and his inner circle? If not them, then who? It would be nice to see, for once, high level wrong-doers in Greece held accountable for their actions.

    ---

    Them held accountable?? All they have been doing is going around news outlets like BBC et al and giving their analysis and advise on the current situation....




    @84 ptsa
    "as I said in mine, it is again the ordinary people that will pay for the sins of the few (politicians, wealthy elite), who will not even be touched by the new measures."

    So those ordinary people didn`t have a choice by vote?
    Give me a break. Hard working people are angry and rightly so, but still they were never prepared to cut back by voting a government willing to actually change something.

    The government in Greece is cutting back its expenses and that`s really about the only thing it should do, next to reducing bureaucracy.
    It`s not far enough as they should also fight corruption and tax evasion big time - but even there I have read articles that indicates a growing awareness.

    It is a good thing that they can`t devalue their currency, because that would lead to a far worse recession in the future.
    Could Greece devalue the own currency it would be a lot more risky to lend them money.
    --

    Please check my post #67 and why I think people will not accept these changes. Then consider that we have been going back and forth with 2 parties in Greece that always made promises and eventually dag a deeper hole. Thats what we have, 2 parties actually capable of forming a government (like the US with REP and DEM)




    108. At 8:56pm on 02 May 2010, RebelJim wrote:

    I am not suprised Greece financial problems.
    since austerity cuts:
    '
    * 250 euros extra at Easter

    * 250 euros extra for vacations

    * 500 euros extra at Christmas
    I wonder what was it before the cuts.

    ---
    For the last time, just because we got 2 extra salaries (1 xmas, 1/2 summer, 1/2 easter) does not mean it was a "bonus" and we got extra money. It is all a matter of installments (ie. take annual income, divide it by 14 instead of 12, and pay accordingly). Get it? So, an annual income of 11,000 euros is still a shitty income, no matter in how many pieces you get it. The new measures didn't abolish a silly "bonus", they were effectively cutting our income by almost 20%. Why oh why is it THAT hard to understand? Other countries in the EU have exactly the same pay structure.

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  • 119. At 9:48pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    nonsense offramp;

    "The US likes to think its number 1 at everything right? Well, you've certainly got the top spot for serious fraud absolutely nailed."

    Just look at our president and compare his performance during his first 15 months in office to his campaign promises. He's got a 100% track record, he lied about every one of them. Perhaps that's why Europeans like him so much. He's someone they can identify with. Yes, just thinking back on all those glorious promises about the bright future Europe would have with the EU and the Euro. Their echoes haven't even completely died out yet. Judged on performace alone he could have passed for a European at that.

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  • 120. At 9:48pm on 02 May 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    104. At 8:32pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    I just knew The Battle of New Orleans in 1814 wasn't the end of it with Britain. Now British Petroleum has returned for revenge on America's Gulf Coast. I see no satisfactory remedy short of war.


    What are you going to do? Send a 100,000 of these over here and try and sink the whole damn island?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8655651.stm

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  • 121. At 10:02pm on 02 May 2010, ali wrote:

    How much are the French paying in all of this?

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  • 122. At 10:07pm on 02 May 2010, SpareACopperGuv wrote:

    I have this memory that says the EU was Europe's attempt to build cross-border ties that would put an end to the endemic state of war that seemed to have submerged western Europe since the middle ages. Laudable. I'm sure the populace of Europe thought it laudable too; at the time.

    But in my experience I have seen increasing cross-border impatience created as well. Rather like a marriage of a son of one country to a daughter of another - works at that level, but when both sets of parents are forced to live together in the same house, it starts to go wrong. An external attempt to harmonise, actually produces a need to express our own individuality and to relish our own national heritage.

    Whoever in the EU thought they could bind these disparate nations together with a common currency, was a visionary or an idiot. And history is littered with well-meaning folk who are remembered, often randomly, as one or the other.

    I see we are still aiming for visionary on this one. Perhaps the real visionary thing now would be to see how we could dismantle this edifice with as little damage as possible?

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  • 123. At 10:09pm on 02 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Gheryando wrote, responding to marcus:
    ""Once again the KGBBC didn't like my response to Maggie McGuire. I pointed out all of the prominent wealthy powerful crooks who wound up in prison in America, the CEO of Enron, the CEO of Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, Martha Stewart and others. And I pointed out that the DOJ is investigating Goldman Sachs for criminal violations and some of their execs and others bankers could wind up in prison too. I asked where the comparable prosecutions in the EU were. Corruption thy name is Europe."

    Maybe because we dont have any globally serious corruption. Unlike fraudulent America."

    You what?

    As marcus rightly replied, we have a choice between massive, unprecedented stupidity or fraud.

    Or both.

    Now Marcus is making a very good point. America does prosecute rich people who commit fraud. He listed a whole bunch of them who have been prosecuted in the past few years.

    He asked where the comparable list is for Europe. It is a fine question.

    I think you dodged this question deliberately, cherry-o. I just don't believe you are seriously suggesting Europeans are somehow holier than their financial brethren over the pond.

    I mean, you're not suggesting that, are you?

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  • 124. At 10:11pm on 02 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    commonsense_expressway wrote:
    "What are you going to do? Send a 100,000 of these over here and try and sink the whole damn island?"

    Could work, could work.

    You're earning your handle, commonsense. I like the cut of your jib.

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  • 125. At 10:16pm on 02 May 2010, Erlindur wrote:

    Displaced fear, eh?
    I know my friend...
    Good luck. We are in this together, whether we like it or not.

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  • 126. At 10:23pm on 02 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Threnodio II

    Thank goodness You are back!

    Welcome, welcome - - of course Your 'pro-EU' views are most unsatisfactory, but it is good to have a rational mind contributing.

    Cheers.

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  • 127. At 10:31pm on 02 May 2010, Dempster wrote:

    The creation of money as debt is the route cause of all Greek and for that matter the UK’s ills.

    Nothing has been solved and nothing ever will be, until the creation of money as debt is controlled by the electorate.

    One day, we will look back at the Greece episode as the tip of the iceberg.

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  • 128. At 10:41pm on 02 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Ben

    Re #93

    "..most Brits.."

    There being 60,000,000 Britons in the UK can You explain how You know 'most' as aged 60+ I've yet to really know more than about 100!?

    Or, were You making a huge, sweeping, unsubstantiated and insulting generalisation, e.g "..wouldn't notice if fascists took over.. unless sub-plot of our many soap operas.."?
    Although incredibly popular and syndicated around the World despite the ballyhoo in the UK the Soaps have a combined audience of approx 20% of the population - - that's 40,000,000 that don't watch.

    Whereas, it will be about 65% to 70% who will Vote in the UK this coming Thursday & 'Fascism' I am willing to bet any money You like will definitely not be their choice as the Majority of British Citizens express their views in a Democratic process!

    Now, if You had written about Spurs stuffing ManC this Wednesday I'd have understood your 'soap' reference!
    To any puzzled foreign contributors, don't worry, nothing about Greece etc., just parochial stirring.

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  • 129. At 10:43pm on 02 May 2010, Electionasap wrote:

    I don,t think many people are really getting the fact that money is becoming worthless because its just being created out of thin air.Whether its Greece or anywhere else,the bottom line is Gold and Silver prices are being manipulated by Governments and Banks who are getting weaker all the time trying to keep the Status Quo.As more people wake up to the fact that those scraps of paper in their pockets are just a promise and not a certainty they will rush to change them for visible and physical wealth that can,t be manipulated or devalued.If coinage had to have its value in metal in the coin,Gold would be over $8,000.00 an ounce.Gold is rising because the the people who control the financial system can,t afford to keep it low any more without further destroying the token financial system they created.The more cash they create,the more debt they create and the more cash they have to print to service that debt and so and so on.America is powerful because its Empire is not visible it is the Global financial system and if it keeps going as it is it will implode.Just before the Gulf war Iraq had plans to start selling oil in Euro,s rather than Dollars.In 1930,s Germany workers got paid every hour sometimes into a wheelbarrow and spent paper cash there and then because if left longer it would be worth nothing.Hyper-inflation is on its way you have been warned.

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  • 130. At 11:07pm on 02 May 2010, Dimitri wrote:

    For the austerity measures to work, Greek people need to trust their government.

    Those who have been fudging their accounts need to be held accountable. They need to be publicly named and shamed, so hopefully no one will vote them back into government. This isn't one party, it's all of them. Perhaps, following a similar route to the UK publishing MP's spending may be a good deterrent.

    In order to actually collect any tax, collectors need to be put under close supervision. These guys extort money out of businesses whether they pay their tax or not, i know this from first hand experience. They need to stop them from taking bribes from tax dodgers and also from legitimate businesses.

    To stop taking bribes from tax dodgers, a "mystery shopper" setup may help identify which ones are corrupt. A few examples will be made of and it will deter others from following the same path.

    They also need to open channels for legit businesses to report corruption. Complaints need to be dealt with immediately, because these guys can effectively cripple a small accounts department if they don't get what they want.

    Tax collection agencies need to be brought into the technological era. It is to my understanding that these guys are still working in paper so processing companies and individuals is slow and ineffective. Effective data collection services will make comparing peoples incomes against their expenses a breeze.

    Many government officials, politicians and large businesses will stand in the way of reform. The Greek government has a history of allowing individuals to put a spanner in the works for the sake of their own interests. I believe public opinion (and thus votes) will be in their favour when dealing with these cases.

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  • 131. At 11:09pm on 02 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "You what?"
    Yeah, America has the biggest fraudsters, controlling all the moneylaundering banks that spur corrupt politicians to throw money at them. AMERICA IS THE FRAUDSTER NOT GREECE. The Greeks invented democracy. The Americans invented (and used) nucular weapons. MarcusAurelius thinks we are corrupt! His former colony is not independent. it is dependent on the corrupt elite. It is pluto-crook-a-capicracy!!!

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  • 132. At 11:10pm on 02 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Ali

    Re #121

    The words 'diddly' & 'squat' should suffice to answer.

    However, others may point to claims of 6 billion EUro from Paris - - take with intensive lashings of salt - - the money is almost entirely Germany's, but Chancellor Merkel has to find a way past her Citizens & saving Sarkozy's impecunious blushes at the same time.

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  • 133. At 11:26pm on 02 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "I just don't believe you are seriously suggesting Europeans are somehow holier than their financial brethren over the pond."

    Europeans always thought they were holier than anyone else. That's how they justified the divine right of kings, that's how they justified their barbaric imperial empires, that's how they justified their wars of ethnic superiority.

    They thought their politicians were holier than ours. Then the MP scandal broke in the UK. We prosecute crooked politicians. It happens all the time. Look at what is happening right now to the former Governor of Illinois who tried to sell Obama's Senate seat after Obama was elected president and it was vacant. Where is the prosecution of Europe's crooked politicians?

    And Catholic Priests who sexually molest children. Only American Catholic priests sexually molest childern. Some are in prison having been prosecuted by the district attorneys. There is even talk in Wisconsin of indicting the Pope for having participated in a cover up of a priest sexually molesting children. Only now we find the same thing happened all over Europe and probably all over the world. Tell me of even one priest in Europe who has been prosecuted by civil authorities. I don't think you can find even one. Ireland is practically a theocracy on a par with Iran.

    Oligarchy thy name is Europe. Europe America's equal? Not now, not ever, not by a million miles, not in a million years. It is made from entirely different stuff. And that stuff Europe is made of is now ablaze with no way to put it out. A spectre is haunting Europe, it is the spectre of total civil war. The EU was the fuel, the Euro was the match, the aftermath of corruption the spark that lit the match.

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  • 134. At 11:32pm on 02 May 2010, David wrote:

    Marcus, you are smarter than a million dumb Europeans but that leaves out the other 399 million Europeans, gosh, thought even a big dumb hick like you would figure that calculation out...but no.

    And Gheryando was being actually witty, you dumb thing :)

    No offenese)

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  • 135. At 11:36pm on 02 May 2010, clevergirl1978 wrote:

    ...and those government workers from the tax office who come to our island, Paros, to check that we all make receipts in our shops...where have they been staying???
    at Yria Resort....one of the most expensive luxury hotels on the island...a basic room in June is 561 eu a night...

    As always, who will pay for this fiasco? The people.
    Raising the VAT to 23% will kill any hopes of getting out of our recession.
    Greece relies on tourism;the tourism board in Greece is yet another inefficient,useless bureauocratic agency. I have lived in Greece for over 10 years and the attitude has always been ridiculously lassez-faire, that is, no one wants to be bothered about anything...there's no sense of community, no respect for the environment, it's every man for himself. Greece is a Balakan country, ask any well educated Greek and they will agree.

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  • 136. At 11:46pm on 02 May 2010, castalla wrote:

    @MAII

    "And all from just one single solitary American. Just imagine what an army of us could do."

    ... err ... invade small countries like Grenada, support death-squads in Latin America ... mutilate the English language, produce the trashiest TV in the world, and bore the rest of us into a stupour by endlessly shouting about the American Way?

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  • 137. At 11:47pm on 02 May 2010, clevergirl1978 wrote:

    How about property taxes in Greece, there was no mention of how a raise in property taxes could benefit the country. Papandreou probably doesn't want to alienate his constituents...Property taxes are almost non existent here. The Prime Minister, who spent a great deal of time in the US is trying to implement the same IRS type of agency here in Greece. He should have taken note of how property taxes can benefit school systems- another Greek tragedy- children in Greece must attend a private after school program (paid by their parents) since the education system is so archaic and inefficient. Social programs in Greece are few, it has always amazed me how this country entered the EU, however, with the help of Goldman-Sachs, I suppose it wasn't difficult.
    And where is Mr. Karamarlis through all this???

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  • 138. At 11:52pm on 02 May 2010, Lucky wrote:

    And all in all, the real modification that is needed is yet again skipped completely and silenced into oblivion.

    Where is the complete re-haul of the Greek tax and payment enforcement system to promote honesty and actual paying of taxes? This alone would bring far more money then austerity measures as math provided by BBC among other sources clearly shows.
    Ah yes, this would hit the wealthy more then the poor. Can't have that.

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  • 139. At 00:02am on 03 May 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    #20 "MAII - Quo es/Where are you from? "

    He's from noo york. Last week 25 noo yorkers walked past a dying man who had been stabbed whilst coming to the aid of a mugging victim.

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  • 140. At 00:04am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    castrata;

    "and bore the rest of us into a stupour by endlessly shouting about the American Way?"

    Oh is that your explanation of how all of you got to be in a stupor? Well then here I thought it was drugs, alcohol, genetic, or some other thing. I guess that explains it. So if we keep it up, you will all stay this way? Good, I'll let my Senator know. We'll do our best to prevent you from coming to full consciousness. I think finding out what reality is all about would kill you and is not in your best interest anyway especially just now. Dream on.

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  • 141. At 00:08am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Gheryando wrote:
    ""You what?"
    Yeah, America has the biggest fraudsters, controlling all the moneylaundering banks that spur corrupt politicians to throw money at them. AMERICA IS THE FRAUDSTER NOT GREECE. The Greeks invented democracy. The Americans invented (and used) nucular weapons. MarcusAurelius thinks we are corrupt! His former colony is not independent. it is dependent on the corrupt elite. It is pluto-crook-a-capicracy!!!"

    In the months to come, I will tell other members of this blog that I was there when cherry-o's mind finally snapped.

    In any case, I was not arguing that America is a wonderful place, nor that is better than Europe.

    I was asking if you seriously believe the lack of public prosecutions of elite politicians and bankers in Europe, for fraud and corruption, is due to Europe having such a divine standard of behaviour amongst the elite.

    That was what you appeared to be saying. Now your statement seems to be that Europe is good because America is bad. I'm less than impressed.

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  • 142. At 00:13am on 03 May 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    #133 "Europeans always thought they were holier than anyone else. That's how they justified the divine right of kings, that's how they justified their barbaric imperial empires, that's how they justified their wars of ethnic superiority."


    america; a country built upon the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population and the kidnapping and enslavement of six million Africans. I wonder if any of them were born on the 4th of July.

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  • 143. At 00:17am on 03 May 2010, shogunmei wrote:

    @ famousimpresario

    You have two types of Brits. One who thinks they own the world and the other who thinks they own the world.

    Apparently time has stopped on the "island", or u guys live in a parallel universe. Greece was allowed/pushed to borrow big time, so that the lenders can control them. It is a modern warfare. Having socialists at helm 80% of the time since 1981, the results were expected .

    UK is a useless country, which lost its industry to former adversaries and subordinates (i.e. Jaguar, Land Rover, Rolls Royce etc) and plays now second fiddle to Goldman Sachs and the other "players"

    Make yourself a favour and shut up please

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  • 144. At 00:19am on 03 May 2010, BH2o wrote:

    @ Gheryando:

    Terms such as 'KGBBC' undermine your point - I'm sure you can find other legitimate vocabulary to support your arguments.

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

    The issue at hand is with Greece's infinite corruption stands to put the entire world through yet another economic catastrophe. Those too at fault are the global banking sector who seek instant gratification/short term gains using their false synthetic accounting practices and corrupt ratings systems. They will surely be our ultimate demise if we do not achieve REAL global financial regulation.

    I for one can see absolutely no benefit as to bailing out Greece. As with the concept ' Too Big to Fail ' - Let Greece fall and any other country which has cheated so on its balance sheets. It will be a lesson not soon forgotten by those who do not play by the rules. The rest of us must live within our means - So should governments. Greece should be excommunicated from the EU as well as the IMF for its inexcusable deeds.

    There's no benefit, long or short to be gained through artificial intervention with its inconceivable costs which will NEVER rein in the potential damage to the Euro; the domino effect will simply be set into place by servicing Greece's never ending/unknown debt and expenses.

    Cut one's losses while one can - Greece's debt will never be paid back and I for one am unwilling to play at this unwinnable table.

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  • 145. At 00:20am on 03 May 2010, CamT66 wrote:

    #100 MarcusAureliusII

    You think they tell you the truth cbw? Then what is the right number here? Until the other day it was 40 billion Euros or something of that order. Now according to this blog it is 120 billion pounds.

    "ATHENS Greek cabinet ministers turned up for a Sunday cabinet meeting to learn the terms of their salvation. They have agreed to a rescue package of around £120bn."

    But in BBC's article it is 95 billion pounds.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8656649.stm

    "Eurozone members and the IMF have agreed a 110bn-euro (£95bn; $146.2bn) three-year bail-out package to rescue Greece's embattled economy."

    So what's the story, what's the right number? How long will it be right for? If I wait an hour will it change again? Is there a right number? What odds are the bookies in London giving that before it's over it will be $150 billion pounds? 200 billion pounds? In the words of the late Senator Dirkson; "a billion here, a billion there, before you know it, it adds up to real money." Or perhaps it is so large that a 25 billion pound discrepency is within the roundoff error.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The package is indeed for €110bn (£95bn) over three years, payable in lots of instalments. The figure of €40bn was the figure being quoted for the loan likely to be needed for one year, 2010. Indeed this figure is now put to about €35.

    By the way, irrespective of how superior the US may or may not be, it did play a substantial role in the current debacle which triggered underlying problems (such as Greece's) to come to the fore. The way the banking system simply built effectively a Ponzi scheme on the back of the mortgage market is scandalous to say the least. Equal blame of course to all those European banks who were so greedy and invested on effectively junk assets. At the centre of it were the well-know US rating agencies who AAA-rated all the various CDOs and now are central to downgrading the debt of various European countries.

    There are crooks on both sides of the Atlantic. The difference is that European crooks take advantage of the lack of strict regulation, where as American crooks have to invest a lot of time to escape the complex regulatory net which the US government tries to create. Yet despite the lawsuits and trials and convictions, Enron, WorldCom, Lehman Bros, and so many more still happened. Indeed a lot of IQ has gone into all of this - it had to fill the void left by the absence of any scruples.

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  • 146. At 00:22am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "Europeans always thought they were holier than anyone else. That's how they justified the divine right of kings, that's how they justified their barbaric imperial empires, that's how they justified their wars of ethnic superiority. "

    Well, it might be said that the USA setting up military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan is routinely justified by the amazing claim that without the leadership of the gloriously superior US professionals the local people will descend into anarchy and exhibit depravity of beasts.

    I mean, if it is not ethnic superiority that justifies US troops hanging around central Asia, what is it?

    And yes, I know that is just fuzz and puff for the armchair weirdos from the bible belt, so that they get an extra bit of nationalistic buzz when saluting the flag. I understand the real reasons the US troops are in central asia and Iraq.

    But my point is that americans believe, and are told by the official media, that they are there to help the poor inferior locals achieve "democracy". And presumably enlightenment as well.

    It was the same with Europe. European empires were created for precisely the same reasons the US empire has been created. Economic greed and concentrated power allowed systems of representation to use soldiers and sailors, paid for by the tax revenue of the state, in the service of private fortunes built on trade.

    Cherry-o is now claiming that the USA is evil, and that the EU is therefore pure and good.

    Do you, Marcus, wish to now bring further disrepute upon this fine blog *cough*, by claiming that in fact the US is pure and good?

    If there has ever been a more debilitating disease of the mind than nationalism, I don't know of it.

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  • 147. At 00:22am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Hero-in Habit;

    "He's from noo york. Last week 25 noo yorkers walked past a dying man who had been stabbed whilst coming to the aid of a mugging victim."

    Did he have an English accent? That might explain it.....(sometimes it is very hard to understand what they are saying. Too bad he didn't have someone to translate his words into nooo yawkese. Then he might have gotten help.) Wouldn't have mattered anyway...if he didn't have medical insurance. The hospitals won't treat them. Shoulda minded his own business.

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  • 148. At 00:22am on 03 May 2010, castalla wrote:

    @MAII

    Is that the best reply uou can come up with? Do contact your Senator - if he isn't too busy filing the pork-barrel, or isn't otherwise engaged in other dubious extra-curricular activities, you might get a response.

    Meanwhile, enjoy your American Dream, because that's what it is ... a dream.

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  • 149. At 00:22am on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 150. At 00:23am on 03 May 2010, realist1990 wrote:

    @MAII

    "Tell me of even one priest in Europe who has been prosecuted by civil authorities"

    Fr Michael Molloy, Donal Collins, both tried convicted and sentenced in Ireland. Also, if you believe that Ireland is a theocracy I suggest to visit one of the many churches in the country on a sunday and see for yourself how empty they are. Or maybe read the details of the Murphy report which investigated the cover up of sexual abuses by priests, hardly the work of country under the rule of religion.

    To all those complaining about the bail-out of Greece, while the way it is being handled leaves a lot to be desired if your country was the one in such a dire situation I doubt you would be so quick to scorn the attempt to help.

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  • 151. At 00:25am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "That was what you appeared to be saying. Now your statement seems to be that Europe is good because America is bad. I'm less than impressed."

    I'm very impressed. It's the only argument Europeans have to present when the inferiority of Europe to America is pointed out to them. That is why they have to use it over and over again.

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  • 152. At 00:29am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    look dt, the same argument two seconds later from Hero-in Habit;

    "america; a country built upon the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population and the kidnapping and enslavement of six million Africans. I wonder if any of them were born on the 4th of July."

    That's the European answer all the time, Europe is good because America is bad. It's the best they can do, it's all they can do.

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  • 153. At 00:33am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "Well, it might be said that the USA setting up military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan is routinely justified by the amazing claim that without the leadership of the gloriously superior US professionals the local people will descend into anarchy and exhibit depravity of beasts."

    And what do you call wounding a dog or a child, leaving it in the middle of a road with a bomb booby trapped under it so that when someone comes to help like say and American soldier they detonate the bomb killing both of them? I don't know of any beast that is so depraved.

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  • 154. At 00:33am on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    BH2o - what are you talking about?

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  • 155. At 00:38am on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    @ #73: Thank you Angela for expressing the thoughts of most Greeks.

    It'd be great if everyone here would read your post first, before they'd reply. But I'm not that optimistic.

    Thanks again,

    some Greek guy.

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  • 156. At 00:41am on 03 May 2010, AmbroseBierce wrote:

    I would like to add some comments.

    First, Greeks and their former governments are responsible for their current situation. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement if they enforce a tax-paying system.

    Second, countries like Ireland, Portugal and Spain are not to be blamed for negligent spending prior to the crisis. Some of their deficit figures were better than those of France and Germany, even though it is true that speedy growth led to less mature or balanced industrial sectors. For Ireland, Portugal and Spain, as well as for the UK, deficits are the consequence (and not the cause!)of the crisis.

    Third, someone should explain the Germans the great benefits they have obtained from the Euro. Forcing Italy, France, Spain or Greece to abandon their weak currencies (lira, francs, pesetas, or dracmas) and to adopt the Euro, they have heavily penalized these countries' exports, with Germany gaining competitiviness at their expenses. Germans deserve a lot of credit for many things, but their complaints here are just not fair.

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  • 157. At 00:41am on 03 May 2010, BH2o wrote:

    ATTENTION: Take your trolling elsewhere.

    All of you who are taking part in the aforementioned juvenile pissing match, which is completely off topic, you're interfering with OUR legitimate intercourse on the topic.

    Please, take it elsewhere or stay on topic.

    A formal complaint has been filed with the moderator.

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  • 158. At 00:41am on 03 May 2010, keefee wrote:

    As with all agreements, the devil is in the detail.
    Obviously Greece will not get all of the money on one large cheque later this week. If this happened a large sense of relief would set in and they would run out and spend most of it immediately.
    In reality they will get enough for their impending loan repayment on 19 May.
    By then the haggling amongst the other Euro countries over details and compliance will be in full swing and the speculators will have turned their attention to Portugal.
    When the tax increases, especially on tobacco and alcohol take effect, Greece will become increasingly unattrctive as a holiday destination (How much?), and tourist revenue will fall.
    With regards to the bailout total, this means that the rest of us will become that much poorer due to increased taxation and the devaluation caused by printing more money because we do not actually have any spare money in the bank at the moment.
    Now that the PIGS have become the PIS (+UK) the next bailout will need to be much bigger and the cry will be heard "Hang on, if this goes on, there won't be any left for us".
    Interesting times ahead, time has been bought, but how much?

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  • 159. At 00:42am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Gheryando wrote:
    "dt - your comment made me crack. It was my attempt at imitating both EUpris+MAII. Since you thought I went cockoo, it obviously worked."

    Glad to hear you're OK. We have enough rampant insanity on this blog without losing more folks to the condition.

    But you are still dodging the issue like a pig at a pig catching contest.

    Stand your ground, sir. Address the issue.

    Why is it that Europe seems incapable of prosecuting corrupt politicians and fraudulent bankers?

    Is it because they are all pure as the driven snow, or does Europe have some sort of residual cultural inability to treat elites as part of the criminal classes?

    I'm not attacking Europe here for the sake of being right or righteous, but rather trying to fathom this issue of what constitutes "crime". I've been having extensive debates with other lawyers over this issue in recent days, as the goldman sachs case has brought the topic into relief.

    My position is that the rule of law requires all to be equal before the law. That is what it means. When some individuals are above the law, then you have the rule of those individuals, not law. Instead of looking to the law to know what to do, you ignore the law and look to the individuals who make the law as they see fit.

    I'd seriously argue that this sort of "follow the leader" corruption is what caused the financial crisis in the first place.

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  • 160. At 00:42am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "But my point is that americans believe, and are told by the official media, that they are there to help the poor inferior locals achieve "democracy". And presumably enlightenment as well."

    Wrong again dt. Americans are told and believe we fight them there now so that we won't have to fight them here later. It works best that way. Better to trash Baghdad than Baltimore. Better Kabul tha Kansas City. A terrorist tried to set off a bomb today in Times Square in the heart of New York City. Any suggestion that there is no real threat looming out there is a dangerous delusion. The US government doesn't buy it and neither do most Americans. Americans will fight any way they have to to defend their freedom and if they rest of the world doesn't like it well that is just too bad for them. There is nothing they can do about it anyway. Now let's talk about that British oil spill off the Gulf Coast. What is the proper response to that assault on America?

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  • 161. At 00:44am on 03 May 2010, Electionasap wrote:

    Fact is America,s power is ebbing fast,long ago the decision to produce abroad and borrow to keep the show on the road and all those chickens will come home to roost.China is the one to be careful of,when the time is right they will stab America in its financial back.If a society is judged on anything it should be judged on how it treats its poor and if I were poor I,d rather be poor in Europe than the USA.Europe may have problems but it has Culture,History and a track record of innovation when required,our people haven,t failed,our leaders have.The sooner we close our borders to cheap foreign imports,sack the EU and start to believe and create goods again the better.US power has largely been gained in 2 world wars in which in both they turned up late as usual,leaving there unravaged industries with a clear playing field,however America cannot be saved from itself,absolute power and arrogance corrupts and the soul of USA was sold long ago.

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  • 162. At 00:47am on 03 May 2010, buymespresso wrote:

    "The vast majority of the population is behind us because they understand that we don't want to tell people lies."

    ...they also understand that we do anyway.

    "What it doesn't do is to answer the questions of whether economies so fundamentally different as Greece and say Germany can be part of the same monetary union."

    LOL - what a silly question. Of course it answers that. This whole fiasco is the answer. And the answer is NO.

    Looks like Greece is the Zimbabwe of Europe.

    PS: How much did hosting the 2004 Olympics help push Greece into this quagmire? If it contributed in any way, it means Montreal is no longer the city with the worst Olympic economic legacy.

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  • 163. At 00:55am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "And what do you call wounding a dog or a child, leaving it in the middle of a road with a bomb booby trapped under it so that when someone comes to help like say and American soldier they detonate the bomb killing both of them? I don't know of any beast that is so depraved."

    I'd call that propaganda, Marcus. Truth is the first casualty in any war, and people are people are people.

    Iraqi's don't use their own children as bait, and you should be absolutely ashamed of yourself for suggesting they do, unless you saw the act with your own eyes. And in this case, it seems clearly impossible for anyone to have seen such a series of actions. It's pure wishful fantasy. You want to believe the Iraqi's are subhuman, because that justifies treating them as such.

    We saw the same thing in the death camps. German guard working in the camps frequently spoke of the outrageous atrocities jews committed upon their own children. They sacrificed them to their gods on alter on stone, they sold them to evil perverts for money, they formed secret organizations to sell the poor jews children and the rich jews kept the money. All that sort of outrageous, ridiculous fantasy was absolutely commonplace in the SS and the camps.

    Why? Because it serves a purpose. You dehumanize your victim to make yourself feel better about inhumane actions towards them.

    And the irony of your comments, given the context of the current debate, is extremely acute.

    cherry-o has been on the ropes for arguing that A is good because B is bad, and you've been celebrating the fact as though it indites the entire European continent.

    But now you try to justify US military aggression because the Iraqi's are evil people.

    The words you speak, Marcus, so shall ye hear.

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  • 164. At 00:57am on 03 May 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    dt wrote:

    "Gheryando wrote:
    "dt - your comment made me crack. It was my attempt at imitating both EUpris+MAII. Since you thought I went cockoo, it obviously worked."

    Glad to hear you're OK. We have enough rampant insanity on this blog without losing more folks to the condition.

    But you are still dodging the issue like a pig at a pig catching contest.

    Stand your ground, sir. Address the issue.

    Why is it that Europe seems incapable of prosecuting corrupt politicians and fraudulent bankers?"

    There never was an issue, since the issue was merely an exercise in imitating styles. However, if you require an answer let this be mine: I do not know whether Europe is anyhow more or less capable of prosecuting corrupt politicians as any other place. In fact, I believe we are actually quite good at it. (Especially in Italy) However, it seems that our politicians are even better at dodging it. (Especially in Italy).

    btw - I think BH2o referred this very comment of mine that you quoted to the moderators because he feels that we are "off-topic".

    Rofl.

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  • 165. At 00:58am on 03 May 2010, cynical175 wrote:

    Why is everybody getting so uptight about Greece? It is not that they have done anything that they have not done before. Graft, corruption and bribary are endemid in the mediteranian and accepted as being the norm.

    But nobody has the balls to throw them for lions because that might open the door to take a good look at them selfs

    Then again historically nothing has changed. And remember knight and royalty are nothing more than the most successful robbor barons of their day.

    Wall Street and Greece are just an example of recent times.

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  • 166. At 01:00am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    BH2o wrote:
    "All of you who are taking part in the aforementioned juvenile pissing match, which is completely off topic, you're interfering with OUR legitimate intercourse on the topic.

    Please, take it elsewhere or stay on topic.

    A formal complaint has been filed with the moderator."

    You can imagine the distress at the prospect.

    But I did go back and I read your post again.

    I'm with cherry-o on this one. What are you trying to say, BH2O?

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  • 167. At 01:00am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    T66;

    "By the way, irrespective of how superior the US may or may not be, it did play a substantial role in the current debacle which triggered underlying problems (such as Greece's) to come to the fore. The way the banking system simply built effectively a Ponzi scheme on the back of the mortgage market is scandalous to say the least."

    An economic nuclear explosion that leveled the entire financial system around the world. No corner was left unscathed. Directly or indirectly everyone was affected. Nobody could have planned it more effectively. And to think it happened entirely by serendipity. The underlying cause was good intentions, the paving stones in the road to hell. The government including Congress and Presidents going back to the first President Bush wanted every American to realize the American dream of owning their own home whether they could afford it or not. And many who couldn't bought very expensive ones. Among the architects of this idea who were the underlying culprits were Presidents Clinton, BushI Bush II, Greenspan, Bernanke, Paulson, Franks, Dodd, and many more. There is enough blame to go around to all branches of government and both major political parties. In the financial markets greed triumphed over fear and common sense was shoved aside for delusions of profits, even more in Europe than in the US. American banks were leveraged 10:1 while many European banks were leveraged 20, 30, even 40:1. Oh were they going to get rich quick and easily. Where are the prosecutions?

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  • 168. At 01:01am on 03 May 2010, castalla wrote:

    @MAII

    "Now let's talk about that British oil spill off the Gulf Coast."

    Or isn't it American? Transocean rig operators - http://www.deepwater.com/fw/main/Our-Management-7.html

    By the way, have you ever lived, worked or even travelled outside the USA? Or are all your opinions derived from Fox News?

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  • 169. At 01:04am on 03 May 2010, harisd wrote:

    #76 and countless others.

    Marcus Aurelius II
    you are constantly negative, cynical, incredibly rude, ignorant and arrogant.
    Like some kind of Bond villain with his finger on a WMD he personally invented and placed at the foundations of the European Union you seem to derive enormous pleasure from the destruction of others.
    What drives people like you is a mystery.
    Were you not hugged enough as a baby?

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  • 170. At 01:08am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    marcus wrote:
    "Now let's talk about that British oil spill off the Gulf Coast. What is the proper response to that assault on America?"

    At the risk of enraging BH2O, and of entering into a conversation without the slightest shred of dignity, I can only suggest one course of action.

    As the USA has primary jurisdiction of American citizens, and as the USA seeks to lead by example, I can only suggest that the USA must isolate every US shareholder of the BP corporation and put them on trial for treason. Send them to GITMO, I say.

    That will show the rest of the world that the USA means business, Marcus. After all, if you fellows don't go after your own criminals before going after foreign criminals, doesn't that simply tell the rest of the world that US chest thumping is a hollow and puerile show of emotion?

    But I concede the point about fighting wars overseas instead of at home. Makes perfect sense. If I had to fight a war, because I couldn't imagine not having enemies, then I guess I'd want to fight wars overseas as well.

    But I am struck by the fear that drives the American psyche. Has there ever been a greater bunch of fearful folks than the US public? The possibility of one car bomb in a nation of 300 million folks and the whole lot of them think death is caressing their necks with his icy hand.

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  • 171. At 01:11am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "I'd call that propaganda, Marcus. Truth is the first casualty in any war, and people are people are people."

    Oh really dt? Then you deny that they also would set off a bomb and wait for rescuers like medics to arrive and then set off another one to kill the rescuers. You say that doesn't happen? It's one of their favorite tactics. Why do you think Israeli border guards don't allow Palestinian ambulances to move freely anymore? Because the terrorists used them as cover to smuggle weapons and suicide bombers. Remember the story of about three years ago where the Palestinian woman who was badly scalded in her kitchen was treated by Israeli doctors in a heroic effort to save her paid them a visit sometime later after her recovery and was fortunately stopped before she could get there with her suicide bomb to blow them and the hospital up? They teach small children to play suicide bomber and indoctrinate them in hatred and violence as soon as they are old enough to talk. That is what you are defending. You are supposed to be a civilize and educated man. How can you make that claim now?

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  • 172. At 01:14am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    harisd wrote:
    "#76 and countless others.
    Marcus Aurelius II
    you are constantly negative, cynical, incredibly rude, ignorant and arrogant."

    Marcus is alright. He never complains when other do their thing, and he makes a better argument than most when the spirit moves him.

    Words are just words, and behaviour is a more important indicator of character than words will ever be.

    Tell me when Marcus tries to silence others, then I'll talk about his character.

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  • 173. At 01:15am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    H2O and other molecules;

    If you want to discuss pissing and intercourse please take your perversions to some other site, preferably one where they discuss such things. The discussion here is about European politics and economics. You are disgusting.

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  • 174. At 01:22am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "As the USA has primary jurisdiction of American citizens, and as the USA seeks to lead by example, I can only suggest that the USA must isolate every US shareholder of the BP corporation and put them on trial for treason. Send them to GITMO, I say."

    Sounds good to me. Do the same for shareholders of Toyota too. Meanwhile there is far more to be done in response. I'll leave it to the military at the Pentagon to figure out what. Right now boats and planes are attacking the wrong targets it seems to me, they are focused on the gulf of Mexico.

    dt in a way you are lucky. Although you live in a frozen wasteland in winter with nothing but yodelers slapping their knees in liederhosen to amuse you when you aren't on the internet, watching tv, sliding down the side of a mountain on two slats or dunking bread in melted cheese, and watching cows and sheep graze in summer, you are not likely to be attacked by terrorists. After all, one does not attack the place where the banks hide one's money no matter what their political, religious, racial, or ethnic stripe. If a terrorist's money isn't safe in a Swiss bank in Zurich then where would it be safe, you tell me?

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  • 175. At 01:24am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    marcus wrote:
    "They teach small children to play suicide bomber and indoctrinate them in hatred and violence as soon as they are old enough to talk. That is what you are defending. You are supposed to be a civilize and educated man. How can you make that claim now?"

    Calm down, and don't tell me what or who I am defending. I'll defend anybodies dignity and human rights, even someone crazy and miserable and mean enough to become a suicide bomber.

    Once you stop looking for the good in people you're staring into the abyss. And it will look right back at you.

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  • 176. At 01:25am on 03 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    163. d_t

    "Truth is the first casualty in any war, and people are people are people."

    If "people are people are people". What is the impetus for them act any other way? In a secular society the law comes from "the people" of some sort or the other. Isn't it like a dog chasing its tail?

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  • 177. At 01:31am on 03 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    172. d_t

    I agree. The Marcus giveth and the Marcus taketh away (or receiveth, depending on version being used).

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  • 178. At 01:33am on 03 May 2010, realist1990 wrote:

    # 172

    thank you for reminding everyone, what is a blog for but to argue on the merits and demerits of any situation?

    also Marcus if you truly hate europe as much as you seem, why use a latin name? just curious, no malice intended

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  • 179. At 01:35am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    dt;

    "Calm down, and don't tell me what or who I am defending. I'll defend anybodies dignity and human rights, even someone crazy and miserable and mean enough to become a suicide bomber."

    Yes I forgot for a moment you are a lawyer, you'd defend anyone.

    "Words are just words, and behaviour is a more important indicator of character than words will ever be."

    And just how far would you go to defend a suicide bomber as you claim you would? If he were incarcerated in a prison, GITMO for example, would you fight to set him free so that he could kill some innocent people? Would you fight to free Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? What does that say about your character? Better not visit New York City. If you are lying stabbed on the street and anyone recognizes you, they will just pass you by. BTW, you been defending Moslems' right to put minarets on their Mosques in Switzerland or is that not in your character?

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  • 180. At 01:52am on 03 May 2010, busby2 wrote:

    MAII was absolutely right in post 53.

    ""No, just the end of one chapter. It gets increasingly exciting from here as the plot thickens. If the Greek government begins to impliment the cutbacks it promised as a condition for the loans, the country will go out on strike and will not come back until the government relents. If it doesn't impliment the cutbacks or it makes concessions to workers and others in violation of what it promised, the lenders will be up in arms and hell will break out from that direction. (Who knows, there could be social instability in lender nations like Germany as those who were opposed to the loans are proven right.) In a chapter after that it will become clear that Greece will not be able to pay in the timetable agreed to. They will want to renegotiate. In the interim, other PIIGS will come begging with their hands out as well. There may also be some surprise chapters whose plots we haven't guessed or seen yet. This promises to be a thrill a minute.""

    Marcus didn't mention that the cuts will also send Greece into a sharp recession without making the economy more competitive.

    This isn't a rescue package as it will simply make things far worse for Greece if they try and implement the austerity measures. They should default and come out of the Euro. As it is, I forsee an even nastier crisis for the Euro when Greece fails to deliver and the other PIIGS also need massive help to stay in the Euro.

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  • 181. At 02:01am on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    156. At 00:41am on 03 May 2010, AmbroseBierce wrote:
    """""I would like to add some comments.
    First, Greeks and their former governments are responsible for their current situation. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement if they enforce a tax-paying system."""""

    Like the 90% of western Europeans you have absolutely no idea how politics are going in these little countries that countries like Britain and now US see as insignificant colonies. The 100% of political parties above (and often below) the 1% of total electorate are all infiltrated and controlled. In fact all major ones are founded by "own" people and funded by the same centers. Ok nothing new since that happens in big countries too. Problem is that in small countries these centers are not within the country and thus do not have aligned interests with the country necessarily. In cases like South Korea or Taiwan it seems to work rather ok, in cases like Greece it is the exact opposite: these people are placed there to maintain the order via disorder, the law via the illegal, the constitution via the uncostitutional, the justice via corruption.

    Corruption in Greece has been indeed endemic but till 1975 it had not permeated all levels and things could be still reversed. In fact in dictatorship during to the repression, there is a general consensus (and nothing like junta-nostalgia here...) that corruption levels were to an ever-low. It was the post-1975 and mainly the 1980s deconstruction of the Greek state and society by Jeffrey's father Andreas Papandreou that exploded corruption, spread like a plague to all levels. Even a rough look can tell you that this was technically cultivated. A corrupted society tolerates more a corrupted government and a corrupted government does the work of the funders behind much better than a less corrupted one. It is pure mathematics.

    Now accusing Greek people for having tolerated that is like accusing the French people for having been convinced by Napoleon to go invade Russia or something. What do people know? How people can react? And why do you think that Greeks did not react? Problem is that when you go to elections you have to see what is their choice now and then... all these 35 years.

    LAOS = populist party, as-if patriotic but rather is paid by the "same circles", represents some logical ideas but in reality it ridicules them as well as the feelings of people
    ND = center-right wing party funded by the "same circles"
    PASOK = center-left wing party, funded by the "same circles"
    SUNASPISMOS = socialist-like ex-communist party, funded by the "same cirles"
    KKE = communist party, funded by the "same circles"

    and from there were some
    EPEN = democratic party of pro-junta remnants (dissolved in the 1980s)
    DHANA = dissidents from ND (1986)
    POLAN = dissidents from ND (1993)
    DIKI = dissidents from PASOK (1996)
    etc.

    ... and then an endless number of extremely small leftish and rightish parties including ridiculities such as the "party of Greek hunters" (party to promote hunting etc.), or lately the "Greek Ecologists", practically a well-set NGO representing foreign industrial interests (attacking project 1 (the mosquito...) and tolerating project 2 (the camel...)....

    Frankly, for 35 years there is absolutely NO CHOICE. There was never a choice.

    Greece is a country where you vote for a government whose congratulation letter by US has been written 4-5 months in advance of the declaration of the election date!!! And in 1 copy, and to 1 party. You know what I mean and it cannot get more explicit.

    Now go to mes73 and read, Angela (health to her and family), has summed it up dramatically but 100% accurately.

    I have repeatedly presented the hard facts with numbers - how much Greeks work, how much they contribute from their salaries to the EU and how much really the get back as this famous "aid" and what has been this famous "aid" but none wants to listen. The fairytale of hardworking Germans bailing out the lazy bouzouki playing Greeks is more popular it seems no matter if Greeks work more than Germans and contribute to the EU as % from their (amazingly small) salaries almost 2ice as Germans.

    Put it good to your head:

    1) No matter the huge corruption and the malfunction of the state and market and economy, the issue of Greece was never a fiscal deficit. The issue is the geopolitical deficit.
    => to understand this go check back the main reason on which Greece decided to join the EU following what other event.

    2) The coming onslaught on Greek salaries is the least of problems for Greeks right now. What is happening on other levels is much more dark and much more menacing - it might have repercussions to social order and might cost the lifes of even 1000s of Greeks
    => refer to which issues is Jeffrey Papandreou currently trying to "close" and why now in the middle of a crisis?
    => refer to jugoslavisaion-ottomanisation of all of Balkans

    We will live to see worse says.

    Since all the above seem to you uncomprehensible I'll make some of my worst predictions for the coming 5 years:

    I do not rule out Greece being thrown out of EU
    I do not rule out Greece being attacked from the inside with 1000s of victims
    I do not rule out Greece being attacked militarily
    I do not rule out Greece losing up to 1/3 of its land

    Some people are already jumping on their seats with happyness (see Turks, Albanians & FYROMians), others are turning around their seats nervously (Bulgarians), other are simply shaking their heads with desperation (Serbians). Unless you realise this, the battle is there. Pro-US muslim fanatiscism vs. Greek-slavic pro-Russian orthodoxy. Battle of civilisations, favourite US lollypop since early 90s.

    Right now Greece is the battle point you have to realise this. No small country consumes so much of the time of bigger countries if there is not a clash there. And the financial clash always is underlying, when it comes public the issue is never financial but of a larger scope, geopolitical.

    Greece is yet another clash-point between US and Russia just like Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Bulgaria & Kirgisia lately and so on etc.

    PS:
    130. At 11:07pm on 02 May 2010, Dimitri wrote:
    """For the austerity measures to work, Greek people need to trust their government."""

    Of course Dimitri of course. He plans to cut minimum the 15% of salaries and bring people to complete poverty while he announces the legitimisation of illegal immigrants who found thesselves "accidentally" in the country and who in goot times worked part-time, in the bad ones now will be all lining up for unemployment benefits... all that while building a huge mosque in Athens spending minimum 15 million euros on that.

    """For the austerity measures to work, Greek people need to trust their government."""
    """For the austerity measures to work, Greek people need to trust their government."""
    """For the austerity measures to work, Greek people need to trust their government."""
    """For the austerity measures to work, Greek people need to trust their government."""


    I have to repeat this to understand it better!

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  • 182. At 02:02am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Marcus, you failed to read what I wrote properly.

    I wrote "I'll defend anybodies dignity and human rights".

    And I stand by that. No matter who the human being, no matter what their crime, I will defend their human rights and dignity.

    That does not mean I will defend anything else. I will never try to have a child murderer or dangerous person set free when they pose a danger to others due to insanity (and I have a very broad definition of insanity).

    I am not some shrinking violet who will not shoot a dog if it is in pain and has no prospect of recovery.

    But human rights and dignity go all the way to the gallows. Even if someone is to be executed, let the conduct of the state and of all who participate uphold the prisoners dignity and human rights. They should not be tortured or ridiculed, and insane people should not be brutalized for the vengeful satisfaction of interested parties.

    Now as it happens, I'm against capital punishment. That is based on the fact that the law can take a life, but it can't give it back, and the law makes mistakes. So even though I think some criminals would be better off dead, and even though I think society ought not pay to support the lives of certain criminals, I must object to capital punishment because it fails to protect against mistakes in the justice system, and make the possibility of judicial murder a reality.

    So it is not a question of defending people so that they go free. Just because you defend a persons human rights, that does not mean you will argue their case for "not guilty" when they seem to be so.

    It is the same principle as with free speech. One may not agree with everything another says, but a decent human being defends the other's right to say it against all opposition.

    Some things are more important than the individuals concerned, and the humanity of the law is one of them. I'm saying it is a reality, but it is something to work towards.

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  • 183. At 02:02am on 03 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    We have an area off the east coast of US, actually in the western portion of the North Atlantic. Accordingly a disproportionate number of planes and ships have been lost in that area. The most noteworthy was the lost of 6 airplanes in 1945. Five were on a training mission just flying around and another one that was lost after being sent to look for the five.

    All kind of theories. UFOs, giant sea monsters, magnetic fields. As of yet no one has blamed the CIA as for as I know. You know sometimes it just boils down to shit happens.

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  • 184. At 02:05am on 03 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    Wups........sorry dH2O

    Wrong blog.

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  • 185. At 02:07am on 03 May 2010, Jen wrote:

    I find this whole situation with Greece incredibly sad.

    They survived the 2nd world war occupation with true grit and dignity, and treated allies with kindness.

    During the 'volcanic ash' episode I read many accounts from stranded British tourists of how the Greek people brought them food and while they were stuck. I didn't read of ordinary citizens charging tourists for such generosity in the unprecedented occasion.

    Such kindness for strangers is rare invour modern world-look how many hapless tourists were victims of what can only be called profiteering?

    Frankly, Britain should donate their EU membership monies to the Greek people, making sure it bypasses the rich and the government. The money will be better spent in families on low incomes. It's got to be better than Greece being controlled by Germany, France and the IMF. If their government wants money, get it all back from the elite class who have robbed the country dry.

    Giving our EU monies to Greece is the least we can do for the decent way our tourists were treated. A way of saying thankyou to the right people.

    This bailout business stinks of a takeover by Germany and France. No wonder ordinary Greek people are so angry.

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  • 186. At 02:08am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    "BTW, you been defending Moslems' right to put minarets on their Mosques in Switzerland or is that not in your character?"

    Yes, I did.

    But I was in two minds on that issue.

    I also defended the Swiss voters rights to make law by democratic procedure, and I questioned whether religious rights had any place being considered as human rights.

    But in this case, I was very much hoping the muslims would not be stigmatized and that the Swiss voters would let the issue pass, because I felt the issue was a cruel and useless impingement on the dignity of people in the muslim community.

    So I am switching back and forth on that issue, and either way I feel I'm wrong.

    I guess I think Muslims should be able to argue their right to have minarets, and seek a new referendum, but that Swiss laws must be respected because there is not a legitimate human rights issue at stake.

    Is that a slither worthy of a reptile, do you think?

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  • 187. At 02:10am on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    You are blatantly mistaken if you think Jeffrey has announced a cuts programme. In fact there are 10s of measures of Jeffrey were he explodes the deficit.

    He plans to add initially a 200,000 unemployed people in the list of people taking unemployment benefits other 200,000 will soon follow. He has nationalised the Greek ports all-in-one to avoid their sale - not even in Eastern Europe was there any such plan!!! The state will be paying that baroque plan. The leasing of almost redundant ports to Chinese (i.e. money for nothing) has been rejected. He signed for bringing in one of the most expensive gas in the neighbourhood, Saoudi gas annulating the pre-accord for brining in the cheapest gas in the world, Russian one.

    And that is only the beginning. You cannot imagine what else this man is up to. At the end of his "service", Greece will be more indebted and totally deconstructed. No hope.

    To all Greek guys. Guys there is no hope. Live with it and do your best. Forget about "come backs", what will happen in the next 10 years has been decided already in late 80s (Davos meetings etc.).

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  • 188. At 02:20am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    MaudDib wrote:
    "163. d_t
    "Truth is the first casualty in any war, and people are people are people."

    If "people are people are people". What is the impetus for them act any other way? In a secular society the law comes from "the people" of some sort or the other. Isn't it like a dog chasing its tail? "

    Yes, i think it is rather like a dog chasing its own tail. I think that's a great analogy for the pitiful cycle of violence and hatred that grips so many unfortunate human beings.

    And that is precisely why I think we must keep looking for the good in people, even when we can't see any, and why we must defend their inherent dignity and fundamental rights. Not because individual's need saving, but because the set of human beings needs to set itself aspirations worth achieving.

    By looking beyond what people are, and focusing on what they might be if treated well and educated, perhaps we can break the cycle of hatred and stop chasing our own tails.

    We're not going to bomb each other into peace and understanding, that is certain.

    Anyway, when rational people speak of what is sacred to them, it is generally the higher aspirations of the law which, in early times, were considered absurd and pathetic. Habeous corpus, sexually equality, free speech, the rule of law, and end to capital punishment: all these things were at one time nothing more than esoteric ideas waiting for an idle mind to fashion into an absurd proposition.

    And yet most people would not hesitate to cite them as the reason we are superior, as a people, to animals and savages. We understand and enjoy the established kindness in our philosophy and law, so I think we ought not sit in judgement on the legal and philosophical kindness that has yet to embrace our pitiful species.

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  • 189. At 02:34am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    But, MaudDib,

    Look at whom you are speaking to. Trying to reason with someone with written argument..... or letting them see themselves as they appear....is really, really, really difficult.

    Its better to watch this as if one were at a tennis match. here, there, here, there, insult, better insult, insult of other's insult, its just pure fun fun fun...I guess...but hey these people may well be in their later years and are having real fun...so we might as well let them be...for their fun:)

    Actually, in some ways its very entertaining (more so than going to a library) or Amazon.com or ..other..type websites (since you are intelligent Im guessing)

    Or maybe Im ..sick...ly. Not likely. :)

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  • 190. At 02:36am on 03 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    busby2 wrote:
    "Marcus didn't mention that the cuts will also send Greece into a sharp recession without making the economy more competitive.

    This isn't a rescue package as it will simply make things far worse for Greece if they try and implement the austerity measures. They should default and come out of the Euro."

    Getting back to this tired old topic, I agree with busby2 on this crucial point.

    What both the rescue package and the austerity measures will do is to ensure the money lenders get their profits for loans that ought never have been made. The money lenders are being rewarded regardless of their failure to due due diligence on the loan particulars.

    And let us make no mistake: there is no intention to "help the greek people". Only the money lenders.

    If you think that is harsh, go read some history of the IMF. Read about the countries it has "helped". Read about the poverty and the sickness and the mass suffering, and the economic ruin for the vast majority of people.

    The IMF, and indeed the political parties of Europe who rule the Euro, have the primary aim of making sure the creditors get paid their profits. If anybody thinks they won't make greeks suffer and trash the greek economy in the long term in order to achieve that singular objective, that person is lost in a land of fantasy.

    It doesn't matter to the bankers if greeks suffer and the greek economy is crippled. So what? As long as they get their profits, they will always find other governments to lend to.

    If there was a serious intention to "help the greek people", then we would see justice in this case.

    And justice does not mean the greek people get a free ride. Not by any stretch. The greek state obviously can't keep spending money it doesn't have.

    But justice requires that the bankers take a bath here, and that those who loaned the money lose their investment.

    As long as that is not on the table, you can be sure of what we are all watching. We are watching the true face of the EU, indeed of the party system: tax revenue as the rightful property of private shareholders of investment companies.

    The old nobility, reborn in new clothes, come to harvest wealth from the people they own as property. And do they care if they destroy the people's standard of living and the economic power of their own back yard as they do so?

    Well, did they ever?

    Is that not why the wealthiest parts of the world like their democracy and rule of law? Because it brings them out of the dark ages?

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  • 191. At 02:48am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    As for Democracy Threat, he often makes Tooo Much Sense...that is why I dislike his posts...I get depressed afterward hehe..

    But, maybe that is MY problem, not his. At least his insults are accessible and not about my intrinsic problems ...um.. imagined...by some here who (or whom?) do write.

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  • 192. At 02:53am on 03 May 2010, chrys wrote:

    16000 pools in the wealthy suburbs of Athens according to satellite photos. 330 on tax returns for the same geographic area. Therein lies the problem.

    It is a sad day when the world goes against all normal logic and decides to help out a dishonest nation.

    As a Greek_american, I hold dear the value of hard work, honesty, and self sufficiency. I believe I speak for many Greek-Americans in saying I am disappointed in our ethnic brothers there in Europe for their collective shameless conduct.

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  • 193. At 03:03am on 03 May 2010, harisd wrote:

    #172 "Tell me when Marcus tries to silence others, then I'll talk about his character."

    I am not trying to silence him, just calling a spade a spade, that's all.
    As for the holier than thou tone, perhaps the fact that the subject of all this discussion is real people should not escape your attention.
    Still, if you would defend suicide bombers because you judge their motives to be true, I am not surprised you find it justified to defame entire populations for the sake of defending your argument.

    #173 "The discussion here is about European politics and economics. You are disgusting."
    What about history, the basis for politics and economics?
    Would you like to discuss this? Or is it too sore a subject for that young nation of yours?

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  • 194. At 03:26am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    Marcus is sane I think, but his arguments are full of holes, but he'll stick to it/ them out of obstinancy not hatred. Just..... why think anew?

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  • 195. At 03:28am on 03 May 2010, barabou wrote:

    73:
    the most serious and important post in this conversation.

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  • 196. At 03:35am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    busby #180

    "Marcus didn't mention that the cuts will also send Greece into a sharp recession without making the economy more competitive."

    Yes I did, I predicted Greece's economy will collapse in another posting. This is what I said in posting #83;

    "The day Greece can pay back 120 billion pounds sterling in its equivalent at today's value will probably be the day hell freezes over. It will not be in my lifetime nor probably in the lifetime of anyone posting here today. The austerity cuts will probably crash what's left of its miserable economy. You don't cut government spending short of very careful consideration of its impact in a depression, that is exactly the wrong move. That is what the Fed and Hoover administration did at the onset of the great depression, they tightened things up when they should have loosened them. The austerity imposed by the EU and IMF are a death blow. What Greece needs to do is attact foreign investment if that is even possible in today's world. It can't do that by increasing taxes, reducing government services, allowing corruption to continue, raising the cost of living, provoking social unrest, and driving away capable workers who will find better employment elsewhere. Whatever chances Greece had to become a surplus economy are gone. It was really just a question of which way Europe chooses to die. Looks like it will by by ice. The models Greece should have looked to were South Korea and Taiwan. Euronomics and Eurocracy is death to real economy."

    Transitioning an economy from one that is unproductive to one that is productive and can pay back a huge loan is very difficult and takes a long time even in the best of times. Countries like South Korea and Taiwan took decades and the road was bumpy. China took a long time once it started to change. Vietnam is just beginning. Without oil and gas to export, Russia would still be the basket case it was in the 1990s as it still produces just about nothing grown or manufactured that most people wouldn't buy in preference somewhere else if they could get it (nations buy its junky inferior military equipment because they can't get superior American equipment.) In difficult times like this the problems are compounded manyfold. Greece will default eventually and nothing can stop it. Next time the bill to rescue it will be even higher and those who loaned it money this time even more reluctant to make the same mistake yet again.

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  • 197. At 03:45am on 03 May 2010, cHARLIE888 wrote:

    Establishing a common currency without a common langauge to allow labor moibility was a falacy form day one of the Euro.
    In half A lifeline I have earned US dollars at practically one to one with the pound (1980's)and we saw it close to 2 to one recently.
    That is a huge natural economic felibility which allows economies to adjust and recover from economic missteps.
    The EU has thrown an economic barbed wire fence (Look at the EU flag) around the Eurozone countries. That now allows Germany, mainly to impose the hardship entirely on the working class of Greece whilst protecting their own workers. This is instead of the natural spreading of pain that occurs with exchange rate changes. (Hint Banks, big businesses and richer countries suffer as well as ordinarly people when the exchange rate changes).
    It may be too late for the PIGS of Europe to escape the German / Franco barbed wire but raise a glass to the Churchillian spirit that once again kept the UK out of the camp.
    Maybe Ireland could adopt Sterling as an escape route?
    Any maybe a "latin" euro for southern europe?

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

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

  • 199. At 03:48am on 03 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    95. At 8:08pm on 02 May 2010, cirvine11 wrote:

    "I understand the logical reasons for the conditions of the loans. However, part of me feels very uneasy about this idea of bullying nations into making fundamental changes to their way of life. Yes-I understand the fundamentals of economics... and yes, I understand Greece "asked" for the loan. However, the fact remains-Greece will now change their way of life under duress. Is this the new "united Europe"? Is every EU nation supposed to look and act like a proper Northern European country like Germany? Logic is now dictated from the north. I'm uneasy."

    ____________

    Cirvine11: Google the name "Tommy Douglas".

    Douglas was a social democrat. One of his great rules was not to borrow money from the banks - because if the government became beholden to the banks it would loose all its freedom of action to form policy.

    So, in his time the rule was that they would have as much Socialism as they could afford, without borrowing, and not a penny more.

    It was extremely wise policy.

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

    Greece has made terrible financial mistakes, for many, many years. Angela's post at 73 bears reading.

    But now you speak of "bullying" and "duress", and "logic dictated from the north."

    Nonsense.
    Greeks made their own choices.
    They were bad choices.

    Successive governments of Greece chose the policies that have landed Greece (and everyone who lent money to Greece) in hot water.

    Are German, or French, or Dutch voters responsible for putting those governments in office?

    Are German, or French, or Dutch voters responsible for those policies?

    If Greek voters made those mistakes, then why should Germans voters, or French voters, or Dutch voters be blamed?

    Why should German voters, or French voters, or Dutch voters have to pick up the pieces?

    Greek voters put those governments in office.

    Maybe Greece needs to overhaul its civic institutions?

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  • 200. At 03:49am on 03 May 2010, lucidite wrote:

    Some of you appear to think that, having borrowed money, you have no obligation to pay it back. While I acknowledge that those who lend money should do so at their own risk, the immediate consequence of defaulting is that nobody else will lend you money except on the most stringent terms.

    Being a member of the EU gives Greece some breathing space but does not get it off the hook. If that space is not used to institute sound financial management there will be no future support. One way or another Greece will have to learn to live within its means.

    Going on strike is an understandable means of protest but, through lost production, has exactly the opposite effect to what is required.

    Brown's never-never children will suffer likewise though hopefully not to the same extent.

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  • 201. At 04:02am on 03 May 2010, cHARLIE888 wrote:

    In reply to comment #73.
    All of what you say may be true but I believe that as a relatively free country and a vibrant people, the greek people could handle all that.
    It is the huge lie of pretenting that the Greek economy and culture is part of the same economy as the Germans or the Dutch that has led us to this humilitation for all Greeks.
    If it were not for the Euro, I would not be overly concerned about Greece's financial misbehavior and Greeks would have a right to tell me to mind my own business.
    By joining the Euro Greece gave me the right to judge Greece's behavior and to seek to sanction them through EU institutions.

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

    127. At 10:31pm on 02 May 2010, Dempster wrote:

    "The creation of money as debt is the route cause of all Greek and for that matter the UK’s ills.

    Nothing has been solved and nothing ever will be, until the creation of money as debt is controlled by the electorate."

    ____________

    There is a lot of truth in this.

    The thing is, representative government is full of all sorts of market failure problems. The temptation to bribe voters with borrowed money is almost irresistible in most western democracies, and it can be done so easily by the legislatures. So we place mortgages against the lives of future voters.

    The barriers to entry for new political parties tend to be very high, and there is typically no mechanism by which voters can, directly, intervene to stop the horsetrading and log-rolling of coalition politics. When you add that to a culture of corruption, tax evasion, and impunity from prosecution ...

    (I was going to make a comment about New Jersey, but we'll just leave it for now.)

    The country that has handled this problem best, it seems to me, is Switzerland. There are lessons to be learned from that.

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  • 203. At 04:09am on 03 May 2010, SilentSam wrote:

    Gavin,

    I am a 68 year old retired electrical engineer and a U.S. citizen. I'm fascinated by the economic ignorance of governments and citizens. The current crisis in Greece is a prime example of this.

    I've read a great deal about this crisis, but this article is one of the most informative and insightful articles I've read.

    We in the U.S. suffer from the same shortsightedness that the Greeks do. Hopefully we can learn from their experience, but I have strong doubts.

    Thank you and keep up the good work.

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  • 204. At 04:14am on 03 May 2010, Conor O Neill wrote:

    To put it simply, the Euro was a political rather than an economic invention. This is the reason why we are seeing this crisis unfold now. The economic concept of a currency union taking in former Deutschmarks and Drachmas is quite dubious.

    However if there is some merit to the whole thing is that it is forcing, however unwelcome it may be reforms on many European nations. Let's look at some of them. One weak example is Germany. With the beginning of the Euro, Germany had been locked into a currency union with nations which at the time were cheaper regions to produce and manufacture (however many have lost that advantage since). While Hartz IV reforms were mainly to reform the German economy overall they were also a means to make the country more competitive in a currency union.

    If Greece was not part of the Euro it would devalue in a vain attempt to rectify somewhat the situation. In general terms this is the lazy man's way out. You opt to avoid the inevitable, which is fundamental reform of the entire structure of the economy. Greece does not have that option anymore, it must now take the medicine for the malaise it has built up itself over decades. It's like a doctor says the pills will not prevent a heart attack and it is finally time for a complete lifestyle change. If you want to survive then you must make the lifestyle change. Greece is backed up against the wall, it has no other option, the pill of devalutation is no longer available to them and ultimately the lifestyle change reform would herald would help it survive.

    It is time for Greece to reform. It would have delayed this continuously if it was outside the Euro, which it did do prior to EMU. Now it is in the Eurozone and must make the hard decisions. It may take a generation but ultimately it could greatly benefit future Greeks. In that respect I think membership of the Euro is being beneficial for Greece, even if Greece does not realize it. Now it could all collapse but there is a lot of pressure on Greece, so we shall see. I will be optimistic. Latvia went through a similar situation. While there was noticeable civil strife at first, a somewhat quiet resolution has uncomfortably taken over, with people saying this is necessary. It's currency peg to the Euro survived. This must be commended quite a bit as devaluation was technically an option for Latvia but it chose reform over devaluation.

    Other nations will have to do it, including Portugal, Italy and Spain. Spain will, I hope have to end it's grossly discriminatory employment laws which have created massive youth unemployment.

    In relation to people talking about the United States. The budget deficit there is incredibly high too and is not far off Greece's. However most of it is due to the necessary stimulus package. Furthermore the United States is in a unique position and is allowed to have massive deficits, if it wishes somewhat because of the dollar's reserve currency status.

    Britain maybe lucky not being in the Eurozone and can do what Greece would love to do, let it's currency intentionally or unintentionally deflate. While it is admirable that all political parties have grasped the need to make cutbacks, we shall see how far they go. Greece has its back against the wall, caged in by the Euro and basically has no other choice but to take the medicine, the whole dose, with the IMF and EU holding its mouth open and keeping its nostrils closed. Britain could just plod along and inefficiently try to implement cutbacks and reform or do a bad job at it and just delay the inevitable, which Greece has done for so long. We shall see.

    I personally am dubious about the Euro in it's economic grounding. It all sounds so nice having one currency for so many nations. However it was a political concept, part of the dream of some select European politicians. However it has brought some welcome and unwelcome benefits. Just like a dream it may not come out as planned or work out the way it should. However one can adapt and make it work. I will give the Euro the benefit of the doubt now. The politicians are waking up to the full implications of Euro membership. It is time to quickly learn lessons from the situation and make amends to parts of the program. However membership is forcing on the Greeks much needed structural economic reforms rather than delaying an inevitable that would have occured regardless of Euro membership. We shall see how it pans out but if it is successful, and it is still 50/50 if it does, the Euro should be commended for that.

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  • 205. At 04:18am on 03 May 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    169. At 01:04am on 03 May 2010, harisd wrote:

    #76 and countless others.

    Marcus Aurelius II
    you are constantly negative, cynical, incredibly rude, ignorant and arrogant.
    Like some kind of Bond villain with his finger on a WMD he personally invented and placed at the foundations of the European Union you seem to derive enormous pleasure from the destruction of others.
    What drives people like you is a mystery.
    Were you not hugged enough as a baby?

    ____________

    He lives in New Jersey. What do you expect?




    Harisd, you need to read Marcus' posts with a better sense of humour.
    After a while you will begin to understand that they are often extremely funny, and include a fair bit of self parody. Granted, the humour is sometimes pretty dark.

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  • 206. At 04:21am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Socialist Europe should be very pleased with this deal. The redistribution of wealth has begun in ernest. Only the most myopic could imagine that this is actually a loan. Now the precedent is set. From here on out it will be a lot easier. I expect the other PIIGSies to have their forms filled out, signed, and submitted by 9:30 AM local time in Brussels tomorrow morning. The firt tranche for the five combined should be around a trillion dollars I'd guess. After that the smaller newer members will likely line up to try to feed at the same trough. Why should Latvia for example be penalized for not being part of the Euro? Isn't this supposed to be a "union?" What kind of union discriminates against some members based on what currency they use? BTW, when will the UK government adopt the Euro? I presume it will be prudent to wait until after the election. After all it is less than a week away. What a snoozer of a campaign though, always is.

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  • 207. At 04:27am on 03 May 2010, BeppeSapone wrote:

    It seems obvious that the Greeks don't want a German-style economy. They don't want to adopt the German work ethic. So why use German taxpayers' money to paper over the cracks ? The ceiling is on its way down.
    Everybody should just get out of the way.

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  • 208. At 04:28am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    IF, think of me as being as unCanadian as you can get. BTW, next time Canada looks like it's about to break up, skip the petitions for statehood, apply for accession to the EU instead. Ay?

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  • 209. At 04:49am on 03 May 2010, MaudDib wrote:

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

  • 210. At 05:11am on 03 May 2010, VancouverBob wrote:

    Marcus Aurelius II:
    Do you never sleep?

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  • 211. At 05:12am on 03 May 2010, VancouverBob wrote:

    Marcus Aurelius II:
    Do you never sleep?

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  • 212. At 05:16am on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    @ #207.

    If our politicians adopt the German work ethic Phil, which they *still* haven't, I am sure that most of the Greeks would do the same.

    But on the other hand, you might argue, every Greek politician once upon a time used to be one of the common Greek people. So its a vicious circle. The politicians who used to be "simple" citizens can't adopt the German work ethic because they haven't learned how ! Since they once were just citizens and they never had honest politicians to convince them by their paradigm that its necessary and viable...But I think that's not the case.

    This would be true if our political system was a true Democracy and not an aristocracy. You can easily check out that most of our latest (last 30 years) PM's come from two big families, and that's it. Papandreou, Karamanlis.

    As for the rest of the politicians, since now, they used to be famous Lawyers (professional liars), Economics Professors and Medical Doctors. Most likely people from the upper class.

    I ask you to tell me now please, if these people can walk in everyday man's shoes. I guess they can't. And thus they'll never be able to convince the common folk that they "should be ethical" since they, the most privileged citizens of the state are not !

    But then *why* are they being elected ? Beats me. Schizophrenia is a mental disease that could be describe roughly what's happening in our mind. Having a huge history can be a curse as well if one can't figure how to handle it. And I still haven't got the best knowledge of my history to have a good answer to this basic question.


    The above shown lack of dexterity in the use of English is inexcusable.
    I'm sorry for this torment I probably have put you through.

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  • 213. At 05:20am on 03 May 2010, cHARLIE888 wrote:

    @ Interested Foreigner.
    Yes That is exactly the foreseeable consequence of chain ganging different econimies with a common currency. It is the logical reasoning behind why the UK stayed out of the EURO folly. Now this has happened, hopefully no further countries will be foolish enough to join.
    How to rescue those trapped in this falsehood is still a big challenge. One way would be to go back to Margaret Thatchers's proposal at the time which was to keep national currencies AND add a EURO. The Euro could be useful tool for those parts of the economy which are truly pan europe but retain the sovereignty of the individual countries where needed.

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  • 214. At 05:26am on 03 May 2010, cynical175 wrote:

    Reading #73 i can understand her frustration.

    BUT like your Italians neighbours you keep electing the same crooks.

    Like Berlusconi (sorry about the mis-spelling) a perfect example of what to dislike about politicians. Yet they keep electing him. So Greece , yes I have pitty for you.

    But the ball is in your court to change the government for the better. And that applies to all your elected officials. From town major to president. If he can not do the job right fire the bum, doesn't matter wheter he is a friend, relative or stranger.

    So do something about it. Untill that has been done stop complaining.
    You are not the only ones in the world that got a rough deal.

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  • 215. At 05:31am on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    @ 171:

    Nik, you very well know that Greeks never had it well with their governments.
    And I'm sure that this surely isn't going to change.

    Especially now.

    Trust none, especially traitors. Either the government or our co citizens...

    Every one is guilty. Everyone. For our silence, for our phony big fat lives with someone else's money(bank-money, Father-money, etc). For living on the edge, without worrying for tomorrow. Besides, who cares for tomorrow...Live and let die.

    Unfortunately, things have it, along with those who are to blame (~80% of the now aged from 20 to 60) the rest will pay the price as well.

    Keep walking...

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  • 216. At 05:35am on 03 May 2010, cHARLIE888 wrote:

    @ MArcus Aurelius.
    The Norwegian North Sea contians many dozens of similar drilling rigs in far more hazardous conditions than the gulf of Mexico. They have never had such an accident. One reason is the use of ship mounted back up control procedures so that the well can be controlled even if the rig were to blow up. These are expensive and they were to be incorporated in US offshore safety standard but were taken out under pressure from the Oil industry lobby.
    Safety really can come high on the priority list in democracies but not so much in the balance of power in the United Corporations of America.
    Such a power is part of the US consitution as interpreted by the Supreme court which define moeny as equivalent to speech (since 1970's) and corporations equivalent to people (2010) in political campaign funding. The US Highest legal suthority has thus decided that the US constitution (second Amendment) defines democracy as one dollar one vote.
    One result is the Oil spill now flavoring the gulf's oysters.

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  • 217. At 05:46am on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    A well known persona from Greece once said:

    "Greece is the country which allows you to vote at the age of 18, but you have to be 23 to enter a casino..."

    And I comment: Reason is long gone from its birthplace...

    The people with whom we've been sharing the same language passed on everything to the rest of the globe, and we kept nothing. That's why we have to get out of this country to understand what Greece really was and then find out who we truly are.

    I wish this to every fellow Greek. Know yourself (Γνώθι σαυτόν).

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  • 218. At 06:08am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    I think its nice that the Greeks will now become a modern day nation, buffed up to take on its worst enemies after this.

    Look on the bright side. (sorry not a joke)

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  • 219. At 06:17am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    Sorry bout the above, but truth is truth ...what doesnt kill you makes you stronger...oh maybe that is philosophy ...opinion....

    Pray or hope for Greece's good future:)

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

    oh WA wrote something on the russian-american blog thread:)

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  • 221. At 06:30am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    Nik,

    you are what is called indegafatible {spelling maybe incorrect--someone correct me quick]--means nothing can get you down or depressed... so keep on posting ....it is what you do well:)

    Regale us,

    Regards

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  • 222. At 06:37am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    Perhaps, Japan and Germany should rule the world together--now that they WERE defeated in WW2 which had to be done.

    Peace thru savings, boring lives, but when in ones room using ingenious gadgets to read books or watch movies...

    But peoples with long memories should be ....avoided (lolol..as if)

    I do think, there are some countries who are good for the world--nations who have experienced peace and assertiveness thru competence and charm ...hmmmmmm

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  • 223. At 06:40am on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    @ 218,219

    David, some say its better to see the glass half-full. And others argue for the opposite.

    I think that the glass is. And quantum mechanically speaking, if it was a subatomic particle, with two possible states the first being "half-full" and the second "half-empty", before you'd look the glass it would be both half-full and half-empty.

    Once you'd look at it, it would settle down to one of these possibilities.

    My far fetched point is that it might be better to see the bright side, but in parallel to keep in mind which is the dark reality as well. Our mind/views should not get too much light, because we might go blind, but not too much darkness either, because we'll probably get lost and none will ever see us again.
    Balance is the key to everything.

    Time will tell if this change is for good or bad...

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  • 224. At 06:45am on 03 May 2010, Cleo wrote:

    So many great comments! Its an intense situation and the money is obviously needed.. unfortunately, as precedents have shown, money is not always spent wisely. Hopefully the donors can ensure an adequate implementation of sustainable aid...

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  • 225. At 06:51am on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    @221

    David,

    its indefatigable, from in+de+fatigue

    God bless Google.

    Good morning !

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  • 226. At 06:51am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    Excellent post, Mastoras

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  • 227. At 06:52am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    signing off ..monday coming finally bedtime in good ol USA

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  • 228. At 07:32am on 03 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    Marcus,

    I have no idea how the Gulf of Mexico thing came into the Euroblog but it is far to early to allocate blame. Unfortunately, BP were tarnished by the Alaska episode some years back and, yes, as the operators of the rig, they have a clear obligation to expedite control of the spillage and minimising damage.

    Ultimate legal liability and moral blame for that matter could very well lie elsewhere - the lessees of the rig (Transocean) or the designers or installers of the safety shut off equipment. As an engineer, I would have expected you to understand that. The class action brought by the Louisiana fishermen is a protective measure and also names other parties. Scapegoating BP at this stage is hardly fair and one wonders, if the operators had been an American corporation, there would have been such a queue from the President downwards to jump on the BP's case.

    Could it be that the only thing of which they are really guilty is being European?

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  • 229. At 07:46am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    could beeeee:)

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  • 230. At 07:50am on 03 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #227 David,
    Hopefully you are not joining the group of Americans posting a tsunami of messages here. I propose BBC to ration every contributor. It would also cut some of the rubbish off.

    One of your messages reminds of something: The picture presented here on this blog, is limited, very selective and therefore one-sided. Exactly like the picture you get of USA if you have your information from television and movies only.
    The German-speaking culture has made an impact on the world that is also very perceptible in USA, beginning with Gutenberg, going over Luther, and ending with a long list of epoch-making discoveries in science (of nature).

    In Europe the influence in the philosophical area is very rich, and is only surpassed by the ancient Greeks. It is number one in classical music, which also has been noticed by the group of enlightened Americans found in coastal areas. In the political area Germany has had a leading role in creating socialist ideas about society, which has been transferred into the wealth fare society in a number of European countries, but you have to see behind the shadow of Nazism to detect it. Finally I should perhaps mention that we don’t drink much of the white wine from the Mosel area here. Most of it is being exported to the USA.

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  • 231. At 08:12am on 03 May 2010, RebelJim wrote:

    This is the biggest mistake Germany and EU has made. Rewarding cheating and dishonesty will be the downfall of Euro. This is not the end of Greek Euro problem but it is just the beginning of the problems of Euro.
    How about, an investigation of last administration? Who was lying to their teeth? Where is the missing Billions?
    What is Greeks are planning to with those crooks of last Government?
    If Greeks are not preparing to do anything about it, ECHR should get involved, and bring those to justice.

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  • 232. At 08:50am on 03 May 2010, Embattle wrote:

    The whole Euro zone is to blame to some extent, they never should of allowed Greece in with such silly benefits that the people are entitled to since this would always be the outcome eventually.

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  • 233. At 08:51am on 03 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    Why are so many of you playing the blame game? The corruption, where it exists, in endemic and systemic. Anyone who has lived and worked in central Europe will know this. It is no good getting high and mighty about the rich and powerful milking the system if you are still prepared to carry a large banknote in your driving license just in case you get picked up for drinking and driving. It is meaningless if you still have to cross your surgeon's palm with gold in order to get a timely operation.

    It is doubly meaningless in the context of a 120 billion black hole. As I posted earlier, you may secure convictions but you will never get the money back. The unfortunate thing about the austerity measures is they will drive a lot of activity back into the black economy when people are struggling to make ends meet. This is counter productive but inevitable.

    And before my fellow Brits get too much on their high horses, they might care to reflect that on of the few things the competing parties in this election agree is that they simply do not know the size of 'the black hole in the public finances'. For all the accusations leveled at Greek accounting methods, at least they have been able to put a price on it.

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  • 234. At 09:18am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    Have you READ any of my posts ever? Mathiason?..They sre generally pro Germany.

    You seem defensive... about what? And I only post on weekends..so peace to you....

    Maybe you'd like me to leave ...not subtle ....tho????

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  • 235. At 09:24am on 03 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    BH2o@157 wrote:

    "ATTENTION: Take your trolling elsewhere.

    All of you who are taking part in the aforementioned juvenile pissing match, which is completely off topic, you're interfering with OUR legitimate intercourse on the topic.

    Please, take it elsewhere or stay on topic.

    A formal complaint has been filed with the moderator."


    And who appointed you High Censorious Panjandrum?

    Anyone who 'files complaints with the moderator' is an enemy of free speech. If you don't like what people have to say the either argue back or ignore them.

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  • 236. At 09:24am on 03 May 2010, David wrote:

    or r u using me to defend ur nation.

    That is ok.. but the "rubbish" word?...hmmm dont jump to easily ..drawn conclusions..pls

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  • 237. At 09:28am on 03 May 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    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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  • 238. At 09:36am on 03 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    I will certainly send Nana Moushouri to some of you out there!

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  • 239. At 09:40am on 03 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #234 David
    You misread the address. My message distinguishes you from a couple of your compatriots...... but no reason to go further into it.

    I am not at all defensive, on the contrary. Nothing is easier than to deliver a destroying criticism of USA, which is of course also the underlying text of quite a few messages here, only in a blog concerning Europe I don't see any reason to spend time with the subject.

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  • 240. At 09:53am on 03 May 2010, vassilis wrote:

    'Europe's Web of Debt' http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/02/weekinreview/02marsh.html?ref=global-home

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  • 241. At 10:06am on 03 May 2010, ontheupupup wrote:

    @MAII post160
    you seem to be under the impression that BP is a wholly british company?
    facts: 40% british owned, 39% us owned, 21% rest of the world.
    US interest are looked after by an US board, so if your looking to blame britain then best check facts and look closer to home!
    plus the fact that this drilling is only needed to feed US/CHINA over consumption, and OBAMA until a few days ago was pushing for more offshore drilling.

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  • 242. At 10:07am on 03 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #230

    Quote, "..I propose BBC to ration every contributor. It would also cut some of the rubbish off..."

    Ah the ever present 'democratic' values & credentials of the 'pro-EU' yet again displayed in plain sight!

    Let's guess: Mathiasen isn't contributing 'rubbish'. Oh no, Mathiasen is merely condemning & suggesting curtailing Free Speech/Free Expression - - that of course isn't 'rubbish' - - that's plain 'anti-Democratic'.

    Same goes for BH2o & his, "..take your trolling elsewhere.."!

    I'm with you MaxS - - these would-be intelligentsia with their superiority complex - - if they don't like contributions they can ignore or respond.
    Of course there occasional pieces of a Comment that may deserve referral - - Free Expression doesn't give open-house on insult & very bad taste - - but, the Moderators will decide (as they did in a recent complaint of mine about 1 sentence on child murderers & disagreed with me).

    Overall, everyone's Contribution should be published whether Mathiasen, BH2o deem it off topic or rubbish for they certainly have no room to point at others judging from their published comments.

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  • 243. At 10:11am on 03 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #239 - Mathiasen

    It probably has a lot to do with another frequent flier from the other side of the pond constantly telling us - all Europeans that is - that we are bunch of duplicitous morons who could not run a booze up in a brewery.

    After all, who in their right mind would drink Löwenbrau when you can get Miller Light. Prost.

    David, you keep exercising your right to free speech and - Max - people who skulk off to the moderators 'coz the other boys knock him about in the playground isn't really worth the trouble, is he? And it's high time those Greeks put a roof on that temple thingy.

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  • 244. At 10:18am on 03 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #242. cool_brush_work
    Are you telling me that you have read all the rubbish that has been published here by a couple of Americans, and that you are delighted by reading this? Well, it is your time.

    I will not even bother to explain to you what edited media are. They are censored, you know. And finally you of course didn't bother to distinguish between exclusion and limitation.
    Cool_brush_work: You are free to use all the time you wish to read whatever you like.
    Have a good day.

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  • 245. At 10:19am on 03 May 2010, allmyfault wrote:

    Greek bail-out?
    Sorry, read German & French Bank bail-out.

    What a disaster.
    The second * action in a new class war.

    Where will we all end up?

    * First was the TARP bail-out in the USA.

    And if you think UK is any different to Greece, you'd better read the terms and conditions of the IMF/Euro deal against the Greek middle and working classes. Cos it is heading your way too.

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  • 246. At 10:29am on 03 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    108. At 8:56pm on 02 May 2010, RebelJim wrote:

    "I am not suprised Greece financial problems.
    since austerity cuts:
    '
    * 250 euros extra at Easter ..."

    It's really simple.

    You can divide a years salary in 12 and get paid by the month, or in 26 and get paid every forthnight, or divide it in 14 or 15 or 16 and get paid some of it at Easter, Christmas, Mothers Day.

    Your annual salary will still be the same.

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  • 247. At 10:36am on 03 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    113. At 9:14pm on 02 May 2010, nonvegetarian wrote:

    "Those who took decisions in Greece, like in many other countires, have been misled by the chorus of bankers who lied in unison about the risks of the investment products and strategies at their disposal"

    Please!

    The politicians did it with their eyes wide open.
    Buying votes indirectly by spending money you don't have is a game, which has been played since the invention of representative democracy.

    Apres moi, la deluge.

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  • 248. At 11:04am on 03 May 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #24 - Mathiasen

    If what you were arguing for certain posters here to stay more on topic, exercise a little editorial judgment before putting finger to keyboard and engage brain before driving the computer, I tend to agree. Where we part company is in the idea that moderators should do this for them. Moderation is protect us from inflammatory and offensive claptrap. If they exceed that brief, they are no longer moderators, merely censors.

    I am absolutely with cool-brush-work, maxsceptic and David on this one.

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  • 249. At 11:53am on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re247: Hehehe... St_John('s ambulance?)!


    """Please! The politicians did it with their eyes wide open."""

    Hehehe... I think nonvegetarian is a vegetarian on a campaign to reversely discredit the anti-vegetarians' anti-vegetarian propaganda of vegeterianism leading to slower human intellectual development in kids (as proven by science by the way...).

    Of course politicians in Greece (and elsewhere) knew perfectly what they were doing. In fact people also knew. Greeks were wary back in the late 80s and early 90s about all the loans that Papandreou father had taken.

    """Buying votes indirectly by spending money you don't have is a game, which has been played since the invention of representative democracy."""

    That is Greece. PASOK party is the all-times champion, ND party follows panting 2-3 kilometers back. Right now as we speak the Greek PM Jeffrey Papandreou is on a huge project of buying more than 200,000 votes (in reality more than 400,000...).

    """Apres moi, la deluge."""

    When father Papandreou was asked:
    1- Why do we take so many loans?
    2- Why do we spend loan money like there is no tomorrow?
    3- Why we spend loan money here and there on populist measures?
    4- Why we get loans to fund no real develoment (i.e. in reality party gifts to party people...)?"
    5- When will we pay for all that?

    he had replied:

    1- Why not?
    2- Why not? There is no tomorrow anyway.
    3- To get voted.
    4- To get voted.
    5- Honestly, I do not care. That will be in the future but I will be dead by then, thus not here to deal with the mess, thus not my problem now.

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

    Now 4 out of the 5 answers are answers Papandreou gave with his political actions. However 1 out of 5 answers is a real statement he made in a private statement of a friendly to him journalist in some political-social event....

    Guess which one of the 5 was....

    Well you guessed right: No5!

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  • 250. At 11:56am on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Marcus Aurelius II
    you are constantly negative, cynical, incredibly rude, ignorant and arrogant.
    Like some kind of Bond villain with his finger on a WMD he personally invented and placed at the foundations of the European Union you seem to derive enormous pleasure from the destruction of others.
    What drives people like you is a mystery.
    Were you not hugged enough as a baby?"

    What drives people like me is that we like being right especially in the face of people who are wrong because they don't know the facts, can't put them together and come up with the correct explanation, don't like the conclusion they compellingly lead to or just plain out and out lie. And we also enjoy throwing the truth in the face of the others as it plays out in the real world.

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  • 251. At 12:04pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re246: The 13th and 14th salaries were given in the past... I do not remember when exactly right not, I think in the late 70s or early 80s but it might be more old. Doesn't matter... in anyway, they were given instead of giving direct increases to salaries to balance the huge downfall of the drachma.

    Picture this: the drachma falls 20% (usual fall all those years - back in late 60s you used 10cents to buy bread, in late 80s after huge downgrades it was 50 drachmas and late 90s 150 or 200 drachmas)

    ... so syndicates ask a 20% increase in salaries to stabilise the fall, they finally get a 15% increase and then they tell them that this will be in the form of 2 aditional salaries, 1 given just before Christmass, 1 just before Easter.

    1) Means to boost consumption and thus the market in holiday period.
    2) Means to upkeep the 15% of salaries for 6 months, enormous! Imagine when you transfer money internationally the receiver bank keeps frozen your money for 1-2 days to play them in the stock market (oh they do so, secretly, almost...!) - aren't you mad at them? Imagine 15% of your salary being held for 6 months!!!
    3) Means to have the 15% of real salary being given as a... gift that can be lifted anytime a crisis gives the justification.

    The 13th & 14th salary scheme was a devious, evil concoction to exploit and fool people. Syndicates should fought against it but then everyone knows what syndicates also stand for... so why would you really expect them to do so.

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  • 252. At 12:06pm on 03 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threodious;

    "I have no idea how the Gulf of Mexico thing came into the Euroblog but it is far to early to allocate blame."

    Is it still premature now that the President of the United States has said it too? Where the blame lies is obvious. Where Europeans lie is also obvious. The answer to that is everywhere and every time the truth is not to their liking.

    "Unfortunately, BP were tarnished by the Alaska episode some years back"

    Wrong as usual threnodious. BP is tarnished with what is by far the worst safety record in the oil industry in the United States with many serious safety rules infractions, accidents, and deaths to its credit. In the most litigious society in the world where corporate executives do get prosecuted and go to prison for their crimes as I pointed out above, when the cost is tallied up for the damage done and BP is forced to pay up for all of it as President Obama promised, it will be as broke as Greece. It will no longer exist as a corporate entity, it's as good as finished already. The only remaining question is which of its executives will be prosecuted and what prison terms will be requested by the prosecutors. You can be certain that the criminal investigation for negligence has started already. Contrary to popular belief, in the United States profits and greed do not always win out over the consequential damage inflicted by such indifference. Corporate executives don't learn or ignore that fact at their own peril.

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  • 253. At 12:29pm on 03 May 2010, castalla wrote:

    "Contrary to popular belief, in the United States profits and greed do not always win out over the consequential damage inflicted by such indifference. Corporate executives don't learn or ignore that fact at their own peril."

    Unless you're Dow Chemical and run a plant in a place in a far-off land called India.

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  • 254. At 12:37pm on 03 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #244

    I'll take that as a 'yes' You do consider Your contributions as being eminently more worthy than others!
    As for my 'time' & what I do with it - - well let me just reciprocate the unasked for advice - - don't explain 'edited media' as I've no time to read rubbish - - Oh wait! Mathiasen is writing so it can't be rub...

    Good day to You.

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  • 255. At 12:52pm on 03 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAII

    Re #252

    Careful now, we don't want You getting all upset about the State of Louisiana drowning in oil... a greasy shade of Hurricane Katrina when it last drowned according to You!

    As for BP & its UK-EUropean connections I think You had better take another look at its Board of Directors & Management structure: It is a British based 'Global' Company with senior Executives from across the World as well as a multiplicity of Investors on Wall Street etc. Any litigation will 'cost' USA Pension & Investment fund-holders alongside the rest of the World.

    Do try to keep some sense of perspective: When a 'multi-national' company like BP makes as big a mess as seems likely in this case then the environment, the indigenous species, the human inhabitants and all those with 'money' or 'jobs' (American jobs too) are adversely affected.

    Quite how even You can rejoice in such multi-faceted misery is beyond most of us understanding!?
    Then again, quite how only You could become excited & duped enough to relate to the BP 'oil' issue as if it somehow is indicative of the EUropean Union and the Greek Economic crisis is also something too foolish for consideration by anyone, but You!

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  • 256. At 1:08pm on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    @237:

    I can assume you have nothing to do with science. Otherwise you would recognize words of Greek origin everywhere (philosophy, mathematics, physics, astronomy, theorem, axiom, hypothesis, Cosmos, mechanics,...should I really go on?).

    I will not advocate further the well known opinion that since the world owes to the (Ancient) Greeks *everything* the sharing and respect should pass to the next generations as well. This doesn't seem to me logical.

    On the other hand, one cannot forget Thodorakis, Xatzidakis, Elytis, Seferis, Kazantzakis, Caratheodory, Christodoulou, and many Greeks that excel or have excelled internationally, and are/have been not widely known but only from their peers.

    You can keep in your mind the idea(ιδέα) "Hellas" side by side with souvlaki and the "Zorba" dance, if this pleases you.

    This tells a lot about the boundaries of your perception.

    Keep up the good work. You make my replies much easier...

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  • 257. At 1:09pm on 03 May 2010, ontheupupup wrote:

    @cool-brush-work
    i totally agree
    ive explained that as well but they only listen to what they think they know, rather than facts.
    BP is 39% US owned, run by a US board, so the blame can only fall on the US, didnt they learn anything from the last disaster MAII keeps banging on about. shame on them! they are the biggest users of oil but dont seem to like it drilled on there doorstep.

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  • 258. At 1:18pm on 03 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    allmyfault

    Re #245

    Sorry, I'm a bit confused by your comment.

    Are You claiming the UK is going to have to have a rescue package similar to that of Greece?

    If so, the EU can close-up shop now! There is no way the EU Nations could possibly fund a rescue package of sufficient size for the UK which is Net 2nd largest contributor to the EU!

    I think You maybe mixing up the Economic situations: The UK has not for a decade 'double-accounted' its books, fiddled its Tax-returns, & of course has not been lying to other Governments, Banks, Investment firms, and its own Citizens in order to remain a member of the EUro-zone.
    That is the Greek economic situation.

    The UK has however, the largest Deficit in its Fiscal History & as a proportion of the GDP every Citizen of the UK owes hundreds of pounds.
    The UK will have to endure very severe cut-backs in Public Spending over the next 4 to 5 years: Social hardship will be experienced by many more Citizens than at any time since the drastic Thatcherite policies of the early 1980s.

    Similar to Greece the UK Citizens are going to be made to pay the full price for an Economic debacle that was none of their making.
    Also like Greece the fat-cat Politicians, Bankers, Investment Executives etc. whose intensely uncaring & greed-driven activities in the last decade brought about this dire situation face no legal challenge and will continue to take their bonus payments, make multi-million fortunes, exploit every Tax loop-hole to pay less tax than people on 40,000 Pound p.a., buy-up land & property whilst vehemently complaining that an unemployed, single mother of 3 children Claiming 120 Pound Social Benefits should go to prison for not paying the TV License!

    Well, I mean, it isn't right, is it!?

    I leave You to conclude which of the above 'isn't right'.

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  • 259. At 2:03pm on 03 May 2010, Thumper3181 wrote:

    Mathiasen, who are you to judge what is rubbish and what is not? Trying to muzzle speech that is distasteful to you is so European. In regard to post 230, shall we add Adolf Hitler, genocide, communism and two world wars to Germany's accomplishments? Shall we add colonialism, mercantilism, religious persecution and megalomania to European world accomplishments. Too easily you Europeans forget that most of the world problems that the US now has to contend with have roots in your colonial past.

    So sorry, your thoughtless postings just brought another "ignorant" American out of the wood work.

    So to keep on post let me say this. As an American I don't really give a hairy rats whisker what happens to Greece. In fact I don't even know where Greece is and you know what? As an American, I don't have to. What happens in Greece will have little or no impact on my life. Can the same be said for you Mathiasen? That said lets assign blame where blame is due. Greek politicians eager for votes caused the problem. Germans have made the problem worse by waiting so long to bail them out. The French had the good sense to keep their mouths shut because they knew the ones to lose the most on a Greek default where French and German banks. Why didnt the high and mighty Germans grasp this simple fact?

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  • 260. At 2:17pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @274 St_John
    "113. At 9:14pm on 02 May 2010, nonvegetarian wrote:

    "Those who took decisions in Greece, like in many other countires, have been misled by the chorus of bankers who lied in unison about the risks of the investment products and strategies at their disposal"

    Please!

    The politicians did it with their eyes wide open.
    Buying votes indirectly by spending money you don't have is a game, which has been played since the invention of representative democracy.

    Apres moi, la deluge."

    I agree.
    The banks got carried away.
    But it wer politicians who bailed them out which they shouldn`t have done. We were told that they were "too big to fail" which is a load of bull. Only our nations are too big to fail.
    People need to learn again that if you invest money, you could lose it.

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  • 261. At 3:04pm on 03 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    1Euro=1$US would be a disaster for U.S.?


    PHHLEASE! :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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  • 262. At 3:20pm on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    @ 259.

    Well said.

    You might not know where Greece is, but
    you seem to be able to think as a free citizen would. With reason.

    Thus *you* and anyone with a similar way of thinking *is* what once
    used to be called Greek.

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  • 263. At 3:21pm on 03 May 2010, castalla wrote:

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

  • 264. At 3:58pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @261 powermeerkat

    "1Euro=1$US would be a disaster for U.S.?


    PHHLEASE! :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))"

    I don`t know which posting you are referring to, but rest assured this will not happen.
    The dollar can`t get strong, while the FED is keeping interest rates low by printing new money.
    The ECB isn`t doing that and therefore you won`t see the Euro decline to dollar value. It`s far more likely that even the BP will decline to a 1:1 exchange rate with the Euro.

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  • 265. At 4:05pm on 03 May 2010, castalla wrote:

    @Thumper3181

    Utter rubbish - no coherent content whatsoever.

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  • 266. At 4:06pm on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re260: Politicians who? The ones pre-selected? Ok...

    The game in Greece was lost since the death of Metaxas, one of the very few politicians that dared open a rather independent policy. You know how he died? .... Medical error.

    Now go back all these 50 years to see how many politicians from the 10 most prominent parties (in reality we speak of max. 5 parties at any time with always only 2 parties above the 15% line - usually bipolarly at 40-40%) were taken out by being (in series of inverse frequency):

    1) openly murdered
    2) died of car and plane accidents
    3) died of medical errors
    4) died of cancer
    5) imprisoned for political beliefs
    6) imprisoned for scandals
    7) fired on spot by their parties
    8) ridiculed and taken aside by their own parties
    9) lost support and taken aside inside their parties
    10) never promoted by their parties in the first place

    ... as you see I refer only to endo-party politics as soneone arriving from nowhere like Zoro will never get even a single radio emmision let alone being referred in a newspaper or a tv channel. The only chance is someone that at least initially got known via known political parties. Is it possible?

    You have to realise that in Greece (like any other country) there is a whole system of hatching eggs. Politicians. Go into the universities. I have done it (I studied in UK) and it is a shocking experience, you will not believe what you see and hear, especially the amount of cynicism - it is all about a very small minority of party members (usually "sons" and "daughters") having the connections with academics and parties, ruling over a close circle of "friends" who benefit from them (even passing exams and such, or changing schools and locations, finding the most lucrative jobs later on in the public or private sector etc.) as well as wider circle of power, the loose supporters but all thes never passing the 30% of the student population - the rest remaining passive just like what happens in society.

    1) Now if any egg has not hatched properly and someone jumps more than he should and in places he should not, then he is certainly not promoted. Young people who are remarked for their honesty will not be promoted but will remain in the lowest party ranks, the carriers - it is an easy task to do and it is done by sending young members to do dodgy things (for profit of course). Those who accept, move on.

    2) Now if a guy does the dogy part, moves to a second level and changes his mind, he is simply out. None will ever notice anyway.

    3) If he moves on and gets a bit known and goes to elections that means he is from now on more closely monitored as he starts appearing on (local first, national later) media too. If he dares step out of the line he is instantly brought to his position by means of the gebbelist "ridiculisation".

    4) If 3 is difficult to apply or ineffective he will be provoked to speak against the party and fired for "diverging views" with justifications of "preserving party unity, letting a different voice take its course, promoting democracy, etc.".

    5) If 4 is not applicable because the politician is quite well known and has created a certain stir-up, he will be mingled to a scandal real or even imaginary - this is the most usual case of ridding people. He has to be imprisoned, even 1-2 weeks, to tarnish his name, and it is enough. People will ask why wasn't he imprisoned more.

    6) But if no scandal is there, in case there is a general political upheaval, he can be judged and even imprisoned for his beliefs.

    7) When peaceful measures are not enough, more violent ones take place. Poisoning drugs causing rapid-evolving cancer for example are a well known action taken quite often.

    8) When rapidity is important medical errors are all time classic and act as a lesson to other wannabe-Zoros.

    9) When rapidity is of outmost importance, accidents are all time classic and act as a lesson to other wannabe-Zoros.

    10) When there is the need to just take him out and teach a lesson to all Zoros and all poor Mexicans alike, direct murder is the case.


    Now, In Greece (like many other countries) ALL the above methodologies of dealing with dissidents has been and is enforced.

    An example of no10 has been EDA-affiliated MP Lambrakis in 1963.
    An example of no8 has been autocratic president Metaxas (in 1940).
    An example of no7 has been late archibishop Christodoulos (in 2007).
    An example of no2 has been ext. affairs minister Kranidiotis (in 1996)
    and so on... I can really make the list long.

    What is intersting is that you have a wide collection not only of right wing and left wing people but also of judges, doctors, university professors - and here one has to note the notable case of professor of philosophy Liantinis (one of the rare few who are not anarchist-communist anti-Greek / he was a dedicated classicist) who, no matter if being ok up to the last day, he dissapeared leaving a vague letter to his daughter saying that "he retires for protesting for all the things that his generation has done and which will cause great harm in the coming generations"...
    Now bad tongues say that the death of ex-PM's Karamanlis mother (ok, of some age of course) was not so natural and it explains why Karamanlis had stated "I am tired" and seemed to paralyse by tha time, and bad rumours have it that even his own (young of course) wife has now cancer - all that as an answer to his quite inexplicable (for a right wing) pro-Russian stance in the 2004-2007 period and as a warning to all other Greek politicians not to stray. I cannot verify that of course but anyway it is has long been established that the 2008 killing of the teenager was a set up and that riots had been technically organised as a reply to the failed fires of 2007 (that killed 50 people, an unheard catastrophe in Greece!) which aimed at the early 2008 elections but Karamanlis called them in late 2007. All that not saying that Karamlanlis and his government were any less corrupted but their popularity among certain circles went bottom low much earlier than it went in the media and later in elections...

    So DurstigerMann, you know how it goes. There is no way out. No easy way out if anything.

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  • 267. At 4:12pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @269 Thumper

    "So to keep on post let me say this. As an American I don't really give a hairy rats whisker what happens to Greece. In fact I don't even know where Greece is and you know what? As an American, I don't have to. What happens in Greece will have little or no impact on my life. Can the same be said for you Mathiasen? That said lets assign blame where blame is due. Greek politicians eager for votes caused the problem. Germans have made the problem worse by waiting so long to bail them out. The French had the good sense to keep their mouths shut because they knew the ones to lose the most on a Greek default where French and German banks. Why didnt the high and mighty Germans grasp this simple fact?"

    No, you see, this is why your country is in such a bad shape and you are facing a hyperinflation in the upcoming years.
    Too many people are talking about the EU waiting for too long blablabla.
    You guys need a good glimpse at reality. Bailouts don`t work. Moving citizens money or even borrowed money as fast as possible to prevent an "economic catastrophy" is, in itself, the real catastrophy.

    Now what would a quick bailout have meant? Just giving the Greek government the money without actually demanding anything? Is that considered a sound financial policy now?
    We don`t give money just like that and that`s why Europe still has money and the USA don`t.
    Look, your American dream doesn`t work. Credit expansion doesn`t work.
    Your quick bailouts in 2008 will bounce back at you before you know it.
    You criticize the countries actually still lending money while your country only borrows money from all around the world.
    Way to go.


    As an American who says he doesn`t give a rats ass about Europe, you should stop posting on stuff you don`t have a clue about and start worrying about your own country.

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  • 268. At 4:47pm on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    @267

    "As an American who says he doesn`t give a rats ass about Europe, you should stop posting on stuff you don`t have a clue about and start worrying about your own country."

    Even though he claims to know nothing of Greece (or Europe), he sure does know *much* more than most of the Europeans who usually remember of Greece for three reasons, and only during the summer:

    Sea, Sun, Sex

    EU is just a big joke. Wasn't ever meant to become a union in the sense of USA,
    because there is too much history we have to forget to become one.

    But people don't forget...Remember this.

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  • 269. At 5:07pm on 03 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #259. At 2:03pm on 03 May 2010, Thumper3181
    You wrote: “Mathiasen, who are you to judge what is rubbish and what is not?”

    Well, actually I proposed that BBC limits the number of contributions from each individual. BBC has not asked me to do the job, and really I don’t expect them to.

    To Americans with too much time is this my suggestion is: Instead of writing obvious nonsense in this blog, you should start to solve some problems in your own country. There are a few to deal with.

    I understand you don’t know where Greece is. In that case we don’t have to discuss it. For my part I keep coming back to Greece because as a European I have my cultural and philosophical roots there.
    Those, who are interested, are free to read and endlessly reread blog-contributions from Americans telling us that the Euro will disappear. I just don’t intend to use my time on it.

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  • 270. At 6:20pm on 03 May 2010, Islandhopper1 wrote:

    Thumper,
    There is quiet a number of Americans on here with quiet a variety of viewpoints on Europe. Some are more concious of the fact that it is different part of the world and that Europeans have a different mentality.
    Stay around for a while and you may become enriched..:)))))

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  • 271. At 6:25pm on 03 May 2010, Thumper3181 wrote:

    The shame here is that this “bailout” will not work. It will enrich European banks and cause great hardship to ordinary Greeks. The economic hardships will sow anger, hatred, and xenophobia. It will make conditions favorable for a nationalist dictatorship. Hmmm, wonder where that happened before?

    265. At 4:05pm on 03 May 2010, castalla wrote: “Utter rubbish - no coherent content whatsoever.”

    My reply – Care to elaborate or you just disagree because what I wrote is not to your liking?

    267. At 4:12pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote: “No, you see, this is why your country is in such a bad shape and you are facing a hyperinflation in the upcoming years. Bailouts don`t work.”

    The TARP money is being paid back with interest. The US is selling it’s Citibank stake for profit. GM made money and is paying back the government early. Banks a healthy again, balance sheets are good. Jobs are picking up. In exchange for foreign goods we give you slips of paper that says we will pay you back someday. IOW you work for us. Since the US is still the preeminent military and economic power with a majority of the worlds gold supply either owned or (IMF) under it’s direct control Obama still has a printing press in the basement. Hyperinflation is a pipe dream.

    267. At 4:12pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:” Look, your American dream doesn`t work. Credit expansion doesn`t work.”

    Lets see. Got laid off last winter. Back to work by March. Refinanced at a lower rate the mortgage. Despite being laid off made more money in 2009 than any other year. Two large cars, two vacations this year, 2000 sq ft house. Two kids, a horse, a dog and a cat. No debt. Oh you don’t hear much about people like me because they don’t make good headlines but I assure you where I live there are people in the same economic condition as far as the eye can see. The American dream is very much alive and kicking. It just doesn’t make good press and it doesn’t fit into the comfortable European view of the world.

    Maybe you should learn a little about the real US before you start making remarks about it.

    268. At 4:47pm on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:” Sea, Sun, Sex”

    Greece. Bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, Turkey and Eastern Europe. The cross roads of the world and the cradle of democracy. Homer, Socrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Plato, Archimedes…etc.

    Sea, Sun, Sex gave me the incentive to find out more.

    Poor Mathiasen. So typically German.

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  • 272. At 7:41pm on 03 May 2010, mastoras wrote:

    @271:

    In two words, Greece gave birth to Art and Science.
    But my intention was not speak for the antiquity. Not even what modern
    Greeks have been creating the last two centuries (check #256 for some examples).

    I just wanted to point out my opinion -prove me wrong- that many of the people that are against the ethic and attitude of modern Greek society
    see only what they want to see, which is far from the truth.

    And that's why I reffered to the 70's popular motto
    "Greece = Sea Sun Sex".

    Good night, and good luck. To all of us.

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  • 273. At 8:28pm on 03 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Berlin,
    In an interview in German television tonight chancellor Merkel said that Germany will propose changes of the EU treaty system. She wants new rules in the financial field (spending), and new sanctions for countries that violate the rules of stability. Issues are voting rights and subsidies from Bruxelles.

    Standard & Poors could not have chosen a more disastrous day, when it Monday placed Greek bonds in the junk category. The chancellor is angry at this and proposes a European rating institute, which should be based on the principle that the social market economy is the foundation of European economy - contrary to the American, of course. The aim is to reduce the influence of American rating institutes on the interest rates of European nations.

    Finally, the German government prepares new legislation for banking in Germany, and it will work for changes internationally. In this question it can count on president Obama. If this is also the case in London is another matter.

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  • 274. At 9:15pm on 03 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #273

    Whichever UK Political Party gets in to No.10 on Thursday there is not a snowball's chance in hell of that new Government approving any new initiatives by the EU for amending Treaties.
    Even Clegg's Lib-Dem Party has stated it is against reopening treaties that have only just got the Statute book unless a Referendum is offered to the British Citizens.

    As none of the 3 UK Political Parties dare risk a Refrendum because it is very likely (though I'm far from certain) to end in a UK Vote for withdrawal and/or refusal to accept new EU measures of any kind the EU & Chancellor Merkel can forget it: It isn't going to happen as Finance is still an area under Lisbon where QMV does not apply.

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  • 275. At 9:49pm on 03 May 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #274. At 9:15pm on 03 May 2010, cool_brush_work
    "there is not a snowball's chance in hell of that new Government approving any new initiatives by the EU for amending Treaties."
    Well, maybe we should save your message. You might have to eat your words.

    Everybody knows London's position. Germany will put its weight behind the chancellor's position and the argument will be: Look what happend in Greece. Germany will not accept a repetition. London will have to explain, why Berlin and the rest of the Euro zone should accept a repetition.

    Notice also the trans-atlantic thread too (rating institute). We will see changes here too.
    I will have to withdraw from this discussion, but I guarantee it will re-emerge.

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  • 276. At 11:05pm on 03 May 2010, Tom Elliott wrote:

    Hi Gavin-
    well done to you and the BBC news team for presenting the facts on the weekend's developments better than your mainstream newspaper rivals. However, can you please tell us the figures in euros as well as sterling? The deal is being done in euros, not sterling, and I prefer to follow this in euros to so the vagaries of currency movement dont complicate the story. The £120bn package over 3 years will be something different next week in sterling terms. I'm sure your readers can cope with seeing the real figure alongside the sterling amount!
    Tom Elliott

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  • 277. At 11:09pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @271 Thumper
    "The TARP money is being paid back with interest. The US is selling it’s Citibank stake for profit. GM made money and is paying back the government early. Banks a healthy again, balance sheets are good. Jobs are picking up. In exchange for foreign goods we give you slips of paper that says we will pay you back someday. IOW you work for us. Since the US is still the preeminent military and economic power with a majority of the worlds gold supply either owned or (IMF) under it’s direct control Obama still has a printing press in the basement. Hyperinflation is a pipe dream. "

    Did the FED change its policy recently? Don`t think so.
    Your banks are not healthy again, because the system didn`t change even slightly.
    And you name it: you give foreign lenders slips of paper and promise to pay back someday. But you won`t and you are fully aware of that.
    You lack domestic production and have a huge trade deficit, how could you pay back.
    The USA are not an economic power anymore, they are living off other nation`s money.

    "Lets see. Got laid off last winter. Back to work by March. Refinanced at a lower rate the mortgage. Despite being laid off made more money in 2009 than any other year. Two large cars, two vacations this year, 2000 sq ft house. Two kids, a horse, a dog and a cat. No debt. Oh you don’t hear much about people like me because they don’t make good headlines but I assure you where I live there are people in the same economic condition as far as the eye can see. The American dream is very much alive and kicking. It just doesn’t make good press and it doesn’t fit into the comfortable European view of the world."

    You got a mortgage and are saying that you have no debt? How on earth does this work?
    Anyway, of course not everyone in the USA is poor, i never said that.
    Doesn`t change the fact that your country is broke and devaluation of the dollar (or even hyperinflation) will hit people like you, the middle-class, hard.

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  • 278. At 03:24am on 04 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    249. At 11:53am on 03 May 2010, Nik wrote:
    Re247: "Hehehe... St_John('s ambulance?)!"

    Nope! I am the guy who had the revelation - the beast and all that stuff.

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  • 279. At 04:18am on 04 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    260. At 2:17pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:
    "The banks got carried away.
    But it wer politicians who bailed them out which they shouldn`t have done. We were told that they were "too big to fail" which is a load of bull. Only our nations are too big to fail."

    I very much doubt the banks got carried away.
    They were greedy beyond measure, yes, but carried away?

    The CEOs and CFOs were well aware that a state cannot let more than one or possibly two of its big banks go bankrupt or there will be a run on all banks, including the healthy ones, leading to another 1929 disaster.

    The saying is "there is no such thing as a free lunch", but there ARE such things as free insurances 'cause the common tax payers are the fall guys.

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  • 280. At 04:27am on 04 May 2010, St_John wrote:

    Considering the size of the Greek economy in comparison to the entire EU economy and considering the enormity of the bank bail-out, I cannot but wonder if in a few years time most of us won't say "Yes there was a bump on the road right after the bank crisis, wasn't there? Latvia, was it? or Slovakia? or somewhere? - but nothing compared to the present whatever_crisis".

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  • 281. At 05:56am on 04 May 2010, Thumper3181 wrote:

    277. At 11:09pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote: "Did the FED change its policy recently? Don`t think so. Your banks are not healthy again, because the system didn`t change even slightly."

    Just a sample of first quarter earnings: JP Morgan 3.3B, Citigroup 4.4B, Bank of America 2.4B, Wells Fargo 2.4B, NY Community Bankcorp 126M. The banks are doing fine. The TARP funds are being repaid with interest, banks will not make the same type of deals like credit default swaps for the foreseeable future. Banks have adjusted to the new mark to market accounting rules. Clearly you really don't know what caused the banking problem last year do you.

    277. At 11:09pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:"you give foreign lenders slips of paper and promise to pay back someday. But you won`t and you are fully aware of that."

    The US government has never missed a payment on any of its notes that it has ever sold. The low interest rates charged and the continued demand for treasury notes by foreigners indicates the smart money knows that US T Bills are probably the safest investment vehicle on the planet. How you came up with they wont be paid back is beyond me.

    277. At 11:09pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:
    You lack domestic production and have a huge trade deficit, how could you pay back. The USA are not an economic power anymore, they are living off other nation`s money.

    Where to start. US GDP is far larger than any other nation. US per capita GDP is greater than far greater than any other medium to large country. The US still produces more goods than any other country. The US is still either the largest or second largest exporter in the world by value of goods sold. Us manufacturing capacity and production has increased and is greater now than in 2002. The trade deficit is a function of national wealth not poverty.

    277. At 11:09pm on 03 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:"You got a mortgage and are saying that you have no debt? How on earth does this work?
    Anyway, of course not everyone in the USA is poor, i never said that.
    Doesn`t change the fact that your country is broke and devaluation of the dollar (or even hyperinflation) will hit people like you, the middle-class, hard."

    . I should have said consumer debt. There is nothing wrong with carrying debt on an appreciating asset. My home is still worth much more now than when I bought it 13 years ago. Rest assured housing prices will rebound and it will be worth even more when I pay off the mortgage and sell it. I used my situation to point out to you that the American dream is alive and well. I did come from humble beginnings and there are 10s of millions more people like me over here. Obama can print all the money he wants. Last I looked the dollar was the world reserve currency and the US owns or controls almost 3 times more gold than the next largest holder.

    Broke. Hyper inflation. Only in your dreams.


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  • 282. At 07:13am on 04 May 2010, funniinnit wrote:

    The price for Greece is to be consumed by the bankers that Himmler himself called for, a european government.

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  • 283. At 07:59am on 04 May 2010, David wrote:

    Mathiason,

    lets move on. I can't think of ANYTHING to say....whew.

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  • 284. At 10:18am on 04 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    cbw

    If it's war you want, it's war you'll get. I expected the attack to be around Boston or the Chesapeake, I never figured on Louisiana. Iran has Hamas and Hezbollah, Britain has BP and EADS. I've got my musket at the ready, my powder horn is filled, the powder is dry, and I've got more than enough musket balls to do my fair share. We're ready for ya Nigel. You'll get another taste of our Yankee mettle. Apparently you've forgotten the last time and need a reminder.

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  • 285. At 10:42am on 04 May 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    You know something BBC, in our society here in America you can call people a lot of names but the one you can't call them because that is the most insulting and gets them antriest of all is stupid. But not only is BBC stupid, it has no sense of humor whatsoever. I think that is even worse than being called stupid. I don't think the entire brain trust of BBC combined has the IQ of a potted geranium.

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  • 286. At 2:57pm on 04 May 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @281 Thumper
    "Banks have adjusted to the new mark to market accounting rules. Clearly you really don't know what caused the banking problem last year do you."

    No, you don`t what caused the crisis, but that`s not my problem.
    Fortunately, there are actually people in your country who know what`s going on.


    "The US government has never missed a payment on any of its notes that it has ever sold. The low interest rates charged and the continued demand for treasury notes by foreigners indicates the smart money knows that US T Bills are probably the safest investment vehicle on the planet. How you came up with they wont be paid back is beyond me."

    Yes, right now you are paying back. The USA are borrowing money to pay back the loans that already exist. That`s called credit expansion.
    It is beyond me how you can think that such a system works or that the US T Bills are a safe investment.
    Tell me a few good reasons why people should invest their money in them. Please.

    "Where to start. US GDP is far larger than any other nation. US per capita GDP is greater than far greater than any other medium to large country. The US still produces more goods than any other country. The US is still either the largest or second largest exporter in the world by value of goods sold. Us manufacturing capacity and production has increased and is greater now than in 2002. The trade deficit is a function of national wealth not poverty."

    GDP doesn`t necessarily reflect this problem, since GDP takes into account consumption and public consumption.
    And I am not saying that you aren`t producing anything, I am talking about a rate.
    And as long as your import rate is far higher than the export rate, your public debt is increasing and the dollar is losing value, you`re gonna go broke.

    "I should have said consumer debt. There is nothing wrong with carrying debt on an appreciating asset. My home is still worth much more now than when I bought it 13 years ago. Rest assured housing prices will rebound and it will be worth even more when I pay off the mortgage and sell it. I used my situation to point out to you that the American dream is alive and well. I did come from humble beginnings and there are 10s of millions more people like me over here. Obama can print all the money he wants. Last I looked the dollar was the world reserve currency and the US owns or controls almost 3 times more gold than the next largest holder."

    There really is nothing wrong with it, as long as you handle your money responsibly.
    When you talk about housing prices, do you actually mean the land or the building? Because a normal house increasing in value is, to my knowledge, unheard of.

    And no, Obama can`t print all the money he wants. Thats economics 101.
    That policy is one of the main causes of the mortgage crisis.
    And if most loans weren`t paid in us-dollar, this policy would have fallen apart a long time ago. Greece could have never done that.

    Peter Schiff was laughed at on US-Television. He was called an idiot, koon, you name it.
    Yet, even though he was completely correct in forscasting the 2 crisis of the last decade, people still don`t listen to him and continue believing in their pipe dream of credit expansion.


    "Broke. Hyper inflation. Only in your dreams."

    Am I exaggerating? Maybe.
    Honestly I don`t know whether the USA will rush into a hyperinflation or just a strong inflation.
    But there is no doubt in my mind that your government only delayed a big recession by throwing out tons of money.
    In fact I`m thinking about betting on this.


    And just to make this clear:
    My government isn`t acting a lot better, I would have never bailed out a single bank. If I was to bailout someone, I would give the money to those very tax-payers for whose protection the banks got bailed out (we were told, what a big lie).
    Bailouts diametrically contradict the Austrian School of Economics, which promotes innovation by renewal.

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  • 287. At 3:12pm on 04 May 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MAII

    Well, unsure who you are representing as the ranks line-up!?

    In 1776-83 & 1812 there were no 'Yanks/Yankees'; that term came in quite a lot later.

    Still, I must warn You sir I am in no mood to parley any further: Therefore, as You are exhibiting that insupportable language of the brigand rebel colonist I shall dally only a shortwhile to accomodate You! I trust You will stand and fight unlike the disgracefully ungentleman-like guerrilla hit-and-run tactics of Your ancestors. When You have received the sound thrashing You so richly deserve kindly leave the field in as much order as may be mustered in the face of defeat!

    Now, let me find my trusty British Baker Rifle & Light Dragoon Sword: Then Sir, we shall make short work of You!

    Hurrah! Advance the Coldstreams!

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  • 288. At 4:23pm on 04 May 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    90. At 7:47pm on 02 May 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    "This blog is about Europe. If you want to discuss America's problems I'm sure there is plenty to talk about on Mark Mardell's blog site. But be warned, there are other Americans there and they may not be as friendly or forgiving of Europeans as I am."

    ________________________________________

    Well, bless your little cotton socks, Maggie!
    You stay right where you are, so you can continue to be friendly & forgiving for the rest of us morons over on Mark M. blog. ok?

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  • 289. At 7:36pm on 04 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Now the wise men at the commission are attacking the ratings agencies for daring to have an opinion that does not conform with the fantasies of the wise men at the commission.

    I mean, just how ridiculous can these people be?

    The wise men at the commission were the people.... EXACTLY and PRECISELY the people who said it was a fine and wonderful idea to:

    1. Bring greece into the Euro.
    2. Believe their books without checking them.
    3. Lend them heaps of money.
    4. Keep lending them heaps of money.

    And now these same people are attacking ratings firms for having an opinion that matches the economic fundamentals of the debt situation as it stands right now.

    They have no shame. It goes without saying that they have no credibility. If they had any credibility whatsoever, Europe would not be in the mess we are in.

    But the commission is stark raving mad as well as ignorant and stupid. They have just been found out as the biggest fools and financial half wits money can buy, and they still have the temerity to attack the ratings agencies.

    So WHAT if the ratings agencies are wrong, or even biased? So what? We don't have to listen to them. They don't make the law.

    Unlike the commission. The EU is a hideous joke.

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  • 290. At 7:41pm on 04 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "We're ready for ya Nigel. You'll get another taste of our Yankee mettle. Apparently you've forgotten the last time and need a reminder."

    The "last time" was the time the aristocracy of Europe bought out your system of representation and created the federal reserve system.

    Ever since, you and your shower of brainwashed hooligan flag grabbers have been dancing to the tune of oligarchy, inflation taxation and public debt.

    You are living in the past, marcus, in the days of the greenback and a free America. These days the USA is just another broke state servicing a debt it doesn't need so that those who sponsor the state can squeeze the citizen for everything he has, and leave his children begging for welfare and dreaming of a socialist state.

    Ask Obama. He'll tell ya.

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  • 291. At 8:14pm on 04 May 2010, losing wrote:

    I recall the former Quebec (a Canadian province) premier Rene Levesque estimated for every one day the teacher union went on strike, the province would save about .06% of salary by not paying the strikers salary. He allowed the strike to go on for 60 days just to gain back the 3% (and then some) of the wage hike the civil servants demanded. The teacher union and the civil services in general in the province had not had a strike for a long time.

    I say if the government employees wanted to strike, STRIKE BABY STRIKE!

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  • 292. At 9:55pm on 04 May 2010, David wrote:

    Here,

    How is this for a "destroying comment? Germany is the most American of nations ...except they have a different culture, but otherwise is there another powerful financial nation who knows more about its own sins than America?

    Yes, Germany is that nation. It in many ways is (sorry some bloggers) the nation to be ones rolemodel. I myself admire Merkel and her responsible Germans who know their past and are coming to terms.

    As for Greece have some compassion for your and our ancestor who gave more than anyone to the modern Western world--India, China, Muslim empire--more to the world at large--are also big contributors.

    Sorry for this destroying insult....Mr. Mathiason.

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  • 293. At 10:49pm on 04 May 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    284 and 287 - LOL! :o))))
    Very classy.

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  • 294. At 11:02pm on 04 May 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Mathiasen wrote:
    "Standard & Poors could not have chosen a more disastrous day, when it Monday placed Greek bonds in the junk category. The chancellor is angry at this and proposes a European rating institute, which should be based on the principle that the social market economy is the foundation of European economy - contrary to the American, of course. The aim is to reduce the influence of American rating institutes on the interest rates of European nations."

    Um,.... how?

    Leave aside for a minute the mind blowing implication that what we really need is governments WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MASSIVE DEBTS dictating who can say what about ratings on that debt.

    That is about as insane a concept as has ever been thought out aloud, but let us leave that to one side just for a minute.

    Tell me about the "how". Tell me exactly what Merkel and her band of merry financial engineers are going to do, in practical terms, to stop the free market of the world listening to ratings agencies which make their money by providing impartial advice to a market which is free to listen OR NOT, as each market player sees fit.

    How?

    Invade the USA and shoot the folks at the ratings agencies? Lock them up?

    Convince the US government that the right to free speech is a dangerous misery that threatens the financial welfare of europe, and that in future all American journalists and commentators will first check with the united political parties of Europe before making statements in the American press?

    Seriously, I am unable to understand the "how" of these statements. Just how exactly do these people think they are going to stop the market talking about what things are worth? How does the german government think it can stop people talking about whatever they want to talk about?

    It is..... INSANE. Not stupid. I've seen stupid. I've tried once or twice, too, and goodness me I have seen it wearing all different sorts of clothes and hats, and with different perfumes. This is not stupid.

    This is INSANE. These people in the german government seriously ... I mean, they go in front of cameras and say this stuff... they seriously go around thinking they can somehow dictate to the market what it will say about their economic performance.

    Because let us be clear, these government officials making these grand statements are not innocent third parties. Oh no. They may want to appear as though they are saving the babies and the lost kittens from the evils of the market, but in fact it is precisely their own financial acumen which is being rated by these agencies.

    When a ratings agency says Greek bonds are junk, they are saying greek politicians are junk. They are saying "Don't buy greek debt and do not, under any circumstances, listen to these clowns in the greek political parties. Because THEY CREATED THE JUNK."

    So having dealt with the "how", and the "who", let us turn to the "why".

    Why would a politician believe it is their place to tell independent ratings companies what they can and can't say about a government financial situation?

    What sort of person is that, politically speaking? Do they believe in free speech? Do they believe government should be able to dictate to the market, in terms of what it hears and what it says?

    This is why I am so massively depressed about europe. It would be one thing if we were ruled by an elite made up of free marketeers who believed in everyone for themselves and devil take the hindmost.

    But we're not. We are ruled by a miserable class of dictator feudal lords who want anything at all except a free market. They don't want a free market, or free speech. They want to dictate terms to a silent populace and use the power of the state to channel tax revenue into their private fortunes.

    Europe is not in the grip of rampant capitalism. We've devolved far beyond that happy outcome. We stuck in the dark ages, where aristocratic lords think they are born to rule, and that the state is their private property, and the citizens their human livestock.

    Europes' bankers believe they are the state.

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  • 295. At 04:48am on 05 May 2010, David wrote:

    What are your thoughts and feelings on China, Demo Threat? They are so integral to the USA economic health. -- China ..oh and your thoughts.

    I think Mathiason was feeling bullyish -- im not perfect either -- and he thought to take it out on me...yuk..to insult me maybe insult my mother lol.

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  • 296. At 05:11am on 05 May 2010, smroet wrote:

    @dt #294

    Sorry, but the (American) rating agencies have been found wanting in the subprime crisis. See the documentation on Senator Carl Levin's website here and here. Why do you think that German government circles are not aware of these US Senate hearings?

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  • 297. At 05:25am on 05 May 2010, Chris Camp wrote:

    "listening to ratings agencies which make their money by providing impartial advice"

    "Impartial advice"?

    Rating agencies like Standard and Poor's were shown several times over to be financial invested in banks with huge contingency insurances. In other words, they profited from the Greek bankruptcy. The "free market" is just a cliché word. There is no such thing. Every kind of market or financing system is organised in some way or other and has to observe the rules that were set up for it.

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  • 298. At 07:31am on 05 May 2010, torikoos wrote:

    I am all in favour of a EU with a single currency, the idea is good. However the rate of expansion has been far too quick, and the number 'magic' done by several countries to meet the joining criteria should be better investigated, and also the general 'mentality' of it's people and governments.
    Greece has always had a severe problem with corruption and tax evasion. I don't know why the euro countries thought it was a good idea to have them join while these issues were not tackled first. I fear that in many cases as this, the choice has been more a political one, than a sound economic one (which was the basis of the 'European monetary union 'introduction in the first place). I fear more countries will follow at this rate...

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  • 299. At 07:37am on 05 May 2010, Greg wrote:

    Yes and it's exactly the same for capitalism.

    powermeerkat wrote:
    The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.(Margaret Thatcher)

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  • 300. At 08:25am on 05 May 2010, Appleski wrote:

    The trouble with global capitalism is eventually you run out of other peoples money - and you've also screwed the planet.

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  • 301. At 09:06am on 05 May 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #299

    Greg claims Yes and it's exactly the same for capitalism.

    [powermeerkat wrote:
    The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.(Margaret Thatcher)]




    CAPITALISM CAN AT LEAST CREATE CAPITAL; SOCIALISM - ONLY UNTOLD MISERY.

    [and of course, also "Das Kapital" ;)]



    BTW. How can anybody expect to bail-out Greece when nobody knows what Greek deficit REALLY is?

    [no, it's not 12%; no, it's not 13%; no it's not 14%; no it's not 15%...]

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  • 302. At 1:27pm on 05 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re:301:
    """BTW. How can anybody expect to bail-out Greece when nobody knows what Greek deficit REALLY is?
    [no, it's not 12%; no, it's not 13%; no it's not 14%; no it's not 15%...]"""

    Well, this ambiguity is the very essence of capitalism. Sometime you might find out if you start reading more about it.

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  • 303. At 00:15am on 06 May 2010, David wrote:

    BTW, I have no real ptoblem with powermeercat's and Marcus's contributions ..powermeercat is actually more effective with selective insults, while Marcus goes all the way.

    But, they don't run the EU or the EURO, do they? It's Sarkovsky, Merkel, Brown and Papand um something that do.

    They--P&M--don't much run the USA "party wise" anymore either..not for years to come Yahaha ..evil laugh

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  • 304. At 04:05am on 07 May 2010, Nick Wolf wrote:

    The corruption and failure to pay taxes clearly points out the basket case which is the economy of Greece. These people should never have been allowed into the Euro zone because of their national failure to pay their taxes.

    Note carefully, the Portuguese are not too far behind; the Spanish have a 20% unemployment rate, but worse will be when Italy's economy implodes

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  • 305. At 07:37am on 07 May 2010, Pavel wrote:

    With God's help everything can happen if it is good, and Greece can become prosperous and strong, for example, like Japan, which at the beginning of the 20th century was a poor, feudal state, but very quickly became industrialised. However, Japan did so without bailouts, and this is a great difference. To say the truth, Greece is in a worse situation than Japan was at that time because its state debt is going to rise hugely.
    If the economic conditions in Greece does not start to change dramatically since the present moment, I suppose in a several year's time or, maybe, even much earlier, we will read articles with the headings like "The time is running out for Greece" or "The last signal from the EU and the IMF". To me it is evident from what has happened that the IMF and the EU are very likely to become losers in this game, in which they got involved.

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  • 306. At 1:16pm on 07 May 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re305: Pavel, Japan is a nation of millions of habitants, a traditional power in the region, one of the few places in the world that was powerful enough (despite its inner strife) to resist colonialisation and of course it enjoyed huge European support as a means of balancing out Russia and China - without that support do not think that Japanese - no matter their ingenuity - in their relatively ressouceless islands would really do a lot better than other countries in the region.

    Every country is indeed unique, but still there are parallelisms that can be made. Greece however is really unique. Due to a number of reasons. It is on the corner of 3 contintinents and the country that connects Asia to Europe, Black Sea and the Russian inland to the Mediterranean sea. It is largely mountainous at a rate of more than 60% and a relatively small % of its lands are cultivatable, still most of them are of low fertility. It has 3000 islands out of which 200 of decent size out of which 100 are habitated (i.e. have buildings on them...), but only about 30 islans are of a noteable size as most others are just rocks.

    Build a road and it will cost you 4 and 5 times more than in France or Germany. Build an aerport and let me see you first find the place to built it, let alone the cost!!!! Connect 100 tiny islands with electricity and water and do that with "capitalist market terms" and let me see you go bankrupt...

    ... you understand that this is a particular country which... out of its own (really, its own?) choice ended up having the 3ple (I think) debt than a coutnry like Argentina which is 25 times the size and 4 times the population... so if Argentina had so much trouble, guess how much in trouble is Greece today.

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  • 307. At 03:43am on 10 May 2010, Nantasarn wrote:

    The Greek financial crisis is a case in point of the would be next single currency countries or urozone and now being helped to solve the crisis by 16 counties in EU. If it were succeeded, it should be a good example for other regions which are facing the similar problems.

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