Tag Archives: Antonis Samaras

When a joke is too pathetic

This is the first thought that came to mind when I saw the ‘headline’ ‘IMF has ‘criminal responsibility’ for Greek crisis‘, which was in the Guardian Live part. So, is Alexis Tsipras just too stupid to be allowed as a politician? Let’s face it, after 6 months he achieved absolutely nothing, so is my question that far out of bounds? He created decline in diplomatic bonds by accusing everyone, except the ones really responsible, which were the Greeks themselves!

Let’s take a look at some of this, for this I am taking a larger step back, back in time. You see, after the Olympics of 2004, we should have seen an influx and a positive result for Greece, which it did, but only to the smallest extent. Compared to other nations that influx was not as strong as many expected it to be. When we look at the data the OECD (at http://www.oecd.org/) has, we see that the investment in Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) was up in the year before the Olympics (that makes sense), then collapsed, only to go up steeply in 2006 and 2007, after that it goes down a lot, far below the average, guess what, after it hit a low (-26%) in 2012, suddenly there was a spike in investments, to minus 9.5% in 2013 and plus 2.7 percent in 2014. Yet, investments by whom? If we look at investment on % of GFCF by government we see that they represent 23.3% in 2013 and 20.7% in 2012. All this whilst corporate invested 34.9% in 2012 and 38.3% in 2013, households are in the basement, so the picture does not make sense (to me), when we compare this next to let’s say, the Netherlands, the picture looks even more distorted. Greece spiked its general government investment as % of GFCF far beyond the Netherlands, especially in 2009 and 2013. Greece has nowhere near that funding. Now, we see that it is just ‘% of GFCF’, yet spiking’s of 7% difference makes a lot more sense for the Netherlands than for Greece (the Dutch have dikes, harbours and plenty of assets to worry about). The Greek spending under former PM George A. Papandreou as well as spending by former PM Antonis Samaras, or should I say spending whilst they were in charge? Spending on transport equipment, other buildings and cultivated assets went up consistently, especially since 2012, whilst investment for dwellings went down from 2011 to 8% in 2014. These investment parts cannot be denied to some extent, yet the spiking implies that it is done at a moment’s notice, on the whim of emotion, lacking long term insight and stability. You only need to compare Greece to nations like the Netherlands and Sweden to see that the ‘spikes’ reflect what I would call: lacking vision and insight.

The questions only increase when you consider that Greece’s net trade never comes close to -20, -25.2 is the best they were able to achieve from 2003 onwards, and this is in billions of dollars, so as we see a decade of minus 20 billion or worse, it was -64 billion in 2008, questions should be asked, especially from the Greeks. A nation in trade deficit for ever a decade adds up to questions on WHY they were allowed onto the bond market in 2014, no one clearly asked those questions. In that light I need to add a blog (at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2014/05/11/how-the-greek-banks-secured-an-additional-hidden-e41-billion-bailout-from-european-taxpayers/), the article called ‘How the Greek Banks Secured an Additional, Hidden €41 billion Bailout from European taxpayers’, so how come that these matters are not on the front page? So as I see it, these massive indicators are shown that when it comes to ‘criminal responsibility’, Alexis Tsipras should also knock on the doors of previous PM’s and Greek political bigwigs (if they actually have any). For the simple reason that massive austerity would have been needed in 2006 onwards, how much was cut? How was this achieved? You see 2005 was already a clear indication that overhaul of property taxation, tax collection and tax evasion was a clear given, especially when you come up short by THAT much. Yet in over a decade no achievements were made and neither was anything truly done in the last 6 months.

In addition, we see the dangers of the title ‘Athens threatens to miss IMF payment‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/16/eurozone-greek-exit-athens-imf-grexit-tsipras), whatever the Eurozone braces for is an unknown to me, considering the large players downplayed the event. The quote ‘threatens to miss IMF payment‘ is also slightly misrepresented. As I see it. As I see it, Greece no longer has that much money at their disposal, I reckon the shift by using the IMF emergency funds was a clear given. There is also a ghostly silence when it comes to the bank run. No clear indication how strong that pull is, or are the banks perhaps already empty? That is not a speculation, it is the question, especially as political parties and banks are debating ‘Grexit’. The problems will only intensify when the bank runs are complete. Actually, I expect that escalations will occur a lot faster when people can no longer withdraw. There is presently no indication when it will happen, but as payments are missed, the dangers of banks no longer handing out cash (emphasis on ‘being able to’) after June 23rd is not out of the question, if the bank run continues, that date might be even before that date. It will be a new low in humanitarian economics, as retirees will no longer receive payments, how will they be able to pay, when the Greek government allowed in March for the dipping into pension funds. Depending on how many Greek bonds these pensions ended up with, when money is not coming, which is extremely realistic, the pension funds themselves will not be able to flood the monthly retirement pay out, which is due in less than 2 weeks, at that point, how will the population react?

I expect to stay away from Greece until that dust cloud settles as it will be a harsh reality for Greeks to watch tourists walk around whilst they can no longer afford to feed themselves. The escalation with refugees all over Greece (Kos being the most visible one) is not helping any. The fact that posters are appearing with texts like “I am an immigrant, I’m here to rape your children” is not helping any. You might think that they are separate issues, but they are not. You see, this fuel of hatred is hitting Greeks every day, the unrest is growing amongst both sides. The entire debt mess is hitting the Greeks, who now see that what is left would be lost to the refugees. We are all about humanitarian aid, but how many will give them your last sandwich? How many will give food to the refugees when it means that your children will not eat? You might think that this is an exaggeration, but after next week, that might not be the case. When the announcement of a default meeting is given, the banks will get overrun, people will take all their money out, they might already be starting that today, when THAT is gone, how exactly will groceries be paid for? All this, because the two players Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Vardoulakis have basically been sitting on their hands for 6 months. It is nice to see the headlines ‘No new reform proposals for Eurogroup‘ and ‘Varoufakis rules out ‘Grexit’, deal possible if Merkel takes part‘. Well, as we are seeing now, it is no longer up to Varoufakis and Tsipras. as they pushed away reforms, accused the IMF and as we see ‘Europe Struggles Toward Solution as Tsipras Rips Into Creditors‘, we have to wonder, the Greeks made these deals, a I see it, the acts of THIS administration is now killing their own options, burning the bridges behind them. At this point, as I see it. Greece can no longer state “Grexit not a possibility“, at this point, we have arrived at the stage that Greece gets notified that Greece will be ejected from the Euro, perhaps even the Eurozone. The latter part is not that likely, but in sight of the Greek acts, no longer an impossibility. Now, only 2 hours ago we see “US urges compromise after Greek PM attacks IMF” (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jun/16/greek-crisis-negotiations-deadlocked-as-time-runs-short-live-updates). Now we see “US Treasury secretary Jack Lew has telephoned Alexis Tsipras to urge him to reach a realistic compromise, urgently. In a statement, the Treasury revealed that Lew told Tsipras that the Greek people, and the global economy, would suffer if Athens can’t reach a deal with creditors

My cold war view (I miss those old days) is: “Jack, buddy boy! Did you miss certain facts? Did you consider that this is exactly what Alexis Tsipras wants all along? He is a communist! This scenario will have a massive impact on America, he is meeting Putin on Friday. Perhaps they will walk through the Hermitage on Saturday, a family outing, special tour and as they turn around the corner he gets his new golden future, if he can push Greece over the edge, massively hurting the US (please do not deny that it will not hurt the US), than he will have a nice future, he might even get the Star of Lenin on May 1st 2016. Instead of meeting with European parties, he is having another meeting with Putin. This guy met with Putin more often than the bulk of the Europeans together

This might look like my shallow view, but consider the past of Syriza, their foundations, is my view so far-fetched? He has done absolutely nothing to propel the debt situation in any positive way. Is all war not based on deception? (Source: Art of War). Look at all the photo’s the papers have, all posing moments and all presentations of the moment (which politicians tend to do), has Alexis Tsipras been anything but a petulant child? As he went on and on in the style of: ‘Just give me my cookie now!‘ (Reference to the 7.2 billion bailout). In 6 months no clear reforms, no clear mention in any direction that could have eased any kind of resolution. The icing on the cake would be if the US would now take on some of these debts too. It would be a total victory for Tsipras, he can tell the Greek population has been dealt with and he’ll be living next to the Kremlin for daily Caviar and Vodka, the new Russian superstar!

This is just my view, it is a view and there is no reliability on my view, but oddly enough, my view matches all the facts we see, so is it less or more likely? Consider yourself, when you are in deep water with your bank, would you not try to get a dialogue and understanding? Would you not plead ‘there is no money now, but as soon as some comes in, we start paying!’ of course, the bank cuts you off, but the bank realises that waiting is better than losing, especially when the client has sincere intentions. So pissing of your bank, accusing them of ‘criminal responsibilities’ and letting them pay for it all, how does that help?

When the fence between you and the tiger is gone, posturing seems pointless, even if it is the only thing left to you. So, are the Greek politicians in charge now the joke that is too pathetic?

From accusations to ‘trying to make up’ as Helena Smith of the Guardian reports, “Over in Athens the government’s spokesman has just released a statement attempting to douse tensions with EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker“. Is this part of the play, or have the members of Syriza lost direction and focus? This is the question for many, you see, accusations followed by carefully phrased corrections is about emotion, limelight and posturing, as I see it an almost empty gesture to keep a non-conversation going. In here, I mean non-conversation as a means to continue a dialogue that allows for non-actions to continue too. Will this go on for 30 hours until the upcoming near-fatal meeting to be? That will be a question to consider, because tomorrow might be the last chance before certain members meet separately to put Grexit to the vote. That last part is again just my view, but it is a distinct possibility, because the reality of Grexit has now been voiced, and the change from ‘if’ to ‘when’ Grexit commences needs a start date, Germany, France and Italy would want to keep control of that moment, just to make sure that they will not be terminally affected because of it, a consequence that is still an option!

As I see it, the game will change massively for France when Grexit happens, as such, France would want to champion that meeting for valid reasons of cost impact.

 

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S&M or S&H?

That is the question that should be on the minds of people everywhere! You see Self-interest and Misinformation is every bit a tool of application in the Sade-Masochistic approach that politicians use, or if we use names it would be the dialogue between Alexis Tsipras and Jean-Claude Juncker where Tsipras voices: “You wash my back, I wash yours real hard!” So as we see in the Guardian the call for ‘Sanity and Humanity‘ we must ask the clear ‘why?’ part. You see, we are now getting ‘misinformed’ by laureates and by people in the industry of high economics. They most likely want their cushy job to continue. If Greece falters that is no longer an option, because the repercussions go a lot further than Greece, even the US is now getting involved because the fallout from Greece leaving is a lot more than the people are told.

First Premise: If my thoughts were wrong, then why not let Greece out of the Euro, let it float its Drachma and slowly get back on the horse? Because virtual or not, the fallout of half a trillion whilst Italy and France are so deep in debt is a massive problem!

The names calling for this are: Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, star French economist Thomas Piketty, former Italian PM Massimo D’Alema, and America’s Jamie Galbraith. The list has more names, but you’ll have to get to the Financial Times for that.

You see, the premise of Humanity is nice (and I am all for Humanity), but when the person involved REFUSES to take decent steps towards the solution, the sanity part is to just cut them lose, but as I stated in my first premise, that is not an option, the negative consequences are scaring too many ‘profiteers’ as I see them!

The first untruth by these writers (bleeding hearts seem to be the most apt title). We see the quote: “Six months on, we are dismayed that austerity is undermining Syriza’s key reforms, on which EU leaders should surely have been collaborating with the Greek government: most notably to overcome tax evasion and corruption“. I would call this a lie of the first order! Why am I calling it that loud?

The Greek government has done close to nothing to overcome tax evasion and corruption! Which politicians from former administrations have been arrested and are investigated for squandering government funds? We saw one case of tax evasion for 1.2 million, which is 0.000028436% of the debt, it does not even cover the smallest part of the interest bill.

The next statement is: “Austerity drastically reduces revenue from tax reform, and restricts the space for change to make public administration accountable and socially efficient” the second expression of laughter! Greece has next to nothing in revenue from taxation, let alone revenue from tax reforms, in addition public administration is not holding anyone accountable, the Greek public administration is a joke no one wants to touch (let alone the Greeks), so the claim made here is nothing more than an empty sentence.

Now we get to an interesting part: “It is wrong to ask Greece to commit itself to an old programme that has demonstrably failed, been rejected by Greek voters, and which large numbers of economists (including ourselves) believe was misguided from the start“. Well, if it was misguided, then the ‘friends’ you have in Goldman Sachs and other financial pool party’s should not have borrowed them the money to begin with! There is no doubt that Syriza has a bad deal, but they wanted the bad deal! They wanted to govern at the expense of everything and everyone! New Democracy under Antonis Samaras was actually trying to sort things out. In addition, the Greek voters do not get to reject this. They voted the people in that spend the money with zero foresight or consideration of the consequences, the Greek people now get to pay for it all. You see, someone spend over 400 billion, it went somewhere. That part is due and the loans made afterwards to get things ‘rolling’ was never realistic, but the top economists were all eager to get the kickbacks that they refer to as consultancy and commission! When a bank allows for events THIS STUPID to get out of proportions, in the end, I do not deny that Tsipras and Varoufakis are playing a clever game. They are willing to let the ‘other’ players collapse. It is a ‘pay our debt or else’ approach. It is not acceptable! And I reckon it should not be tolerated on this level.

What would be acceptable, if the entire debt is paid for by banks, monitored by oversight commissions to ensure that the people (their consumers) never get any additional charges! That banks would need to come up with the money from their own profits and dividends. That I would find acceptable, but guess what? The ‘friends’ of those who signed this letter will not accept that and they will reject that in a heartbeat, so here we see Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, et al all writing about humanity, when it should be about accountability!

Now we get the half-truth in all this “Clearly a revised, longer-term agreement with the creditor institutions is necessary: otherwise default is inevitable, imposing great risks on the economies of Europe and the world, and even for the European project that the Eurozone was supposed to strengthen“, is that so?

My second premise: Yes there will be risks, but the one I see is a more total collapse when the debt is shouldered by those already in too deep. That part is not mentioned and moreover that risk has been trivialised by several players all over the Eurozone field, including by the top of the IMF and a few top players in the US too.

And I reckon that the quote “Syriza is the only hope for legitimacy in Greece” can be discarded out of hand, they actually escalated it all, in all this, as I see it, New Democracy was the true hope for Greece.

Now we get a quote that is truly a worry “Consider, on the other hand, a rapid move to a positive programme for recovery in Greece (and in the EU as a whole), using the massive financial strength of the Eurozone to promote investment, rescuing young Europeans from mass unemployment with measures that would increase employment today and growth in the future“.

My third premise: First of all, this is not the first time that approach is used, Adolf Hitler used it in 1935; how did THAT turn out? Now, let’s not go all Nazi on this and consider the issues in Spain, Italy and France? Do you have solutions for them too? How would you like to voice this in reality? That is the problem, you see, jobs come from places that have income, that have product and that is selling, that allows for hiring and paying staff! This is the entire issue, there are no jobs, because people are not buying, because after the cost of living there is not enough money to spend.

It is not a math issue that requires a Nobel price, a mere abacus, or just common sense, paper and pen could have worked that out! In addition, the prediction I made in my article ‘An Olympic steeplechase‘ on May 26th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/26/an-olympic-steeplechase/), two days later Deutche Welle publishes this “‘We’ve been receiving reports of a decline in bookings, especially from Germany’, says the tourism manager to DW“. I saw the writing on THAT wall! In addition there is “Andreadis quotes the latest statistics from the German Society for Consumer Research (GfK): Bookings in Germany have declined by 2 percent based on annual figures“, two percent does not seem that much, but in an economy where the Greek GDP is making another step towards 0 and lower, 2% is a lot. The issues with refugees isn’t helping Greece either. The British media reported that Kos, a Greek tourist attractor has become a ‘disgusting hellhole’, which would push tourism down further. Influx from both Russia and Scandinavia is down too, but at present unknown by exactly how much. It basically means that tourism will not bring the bacon to the outstanding invoices for Greece, apart from collecting the taxation on it all that is.

The final misrepresentation is “Like the Marshall plan, let it be one of hope not despair“, it is a misrepresentation, because the Marshall plan did the right thing, whilst the people did their part, the governments were in better control, within the Euro at present not one government has been holding pace with the expenditure and keeping a proper budget, which gets trivialised by those administering it and the extra spending is overstretched again and again.

My fourth premise: So this is not about Mr Marshall and his amazing achievement, this is about the Greek government actually doing something. Pushing the invoice out 30 days is not a solution. In addition to that, nearly every person and toddler can see that the 7 billion that is supposed to be freed up will after paying the civil servants their 2.2 billion in outstanding parts will not even cover all the bills until the end of the year and whilst Greek taxation is not being addressed, another interest invoice of 22 billion will be due in under 10 months. Yes, 22 billion just for the interest payment!

So as we are misdirected by some people hiding behind the fact that IMF payments have been overdue before, the issue here is that Greece is now TWO payments behind, totaling a little over 1 billion, part one due in two weeks! So as the Greeks vow not to leave the Euro, the question will soon become, do they actually have a choice in this, because when payments are not forthcoming, there must be repercussions, the one part Greeks are really good at denying.

I must of course also mention that there is debt restructuring document, which is regarded as being ‘hopeful’. The view comes from Peter Spiegel of the Financial Times and the quote is “The restructuring plan is ambitious, offering ways to reduce the amount of debt held by all four of its public-sector creditors: the European Central Bank, which holds €27bn in Greek bonds purchased starting in 2010; the International Monetary Fund, which is owed about €20bn from bailout loans; individual Eurozone member states, which banded together to make €53bn bilateral loans to Athens as part of its first bailout; and the Eurozone’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, which picks up the EU’s €144bn in the current programme“.

The fifth premise: My issue on these document is that they are ALWAYS based on too positive an outlook, which is why they usually fail. In addition, Greece will at least need another 20 billion, that is if the 7.2 billion that they are trying to get their fingers on is already in the given picture, which is not a given at present.

The quote “to get back under 60 per cent of GDP” is just insanely unrealistic. You see, to do that you need to fix expenditure by a lot, the one part the Greeks utterly refused to do, in addition, they just rehired the people they had let go, so expenses are back up too!

As Peter Spiegel (@SpiegelPeter) states: “It also involves eliminating a chunk of Greece’s bailout debt“, which is fine by me as long as the BANKS pay for that part, if it comes from Goldman Sachs’s pocket so much the better! Let’s not forget that part of this entire mess was because Goldman Sachs helped Greece mask the actual debt it had (source: Der Spiegel) on February 8th 2010! How much forward momentum did Greece achieve since then (like lowering debt)? NONE!

I will say again that this is all unfair on the Greek people, but they did elect this lot into parliament, as they elected the previous bunches, how about knocking on those doors to get at least some of those funds back (which also lowers debt)?

 

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An Olympic steeplechase

Greece is at it again (or still might be a better word)! Let’s turn back the clock a mere month! On April 28th we get the following news (via several sources): “Greece has decided to pull Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis back from bailout negotiations, a move it describes as ‘clipping Varoufakis’ wings’ and ‘reining him in’ after three months of debt talks failed to produce an agreement”.

That move made perfect sense, several people (including me) saw him in some rock star presentation which was good for his ego and not too good for the Greek people. Of course, reining in does not mean ‘keeping him quiet‘, which I would not do (for the shear entertainment value alone), but also because he is the selected spokesperson of the Greek economy. So when we see the news in the Guardian a few hours ago stating: “Greek bond weaken after Varoufakis blames creditors“, my first thought was ‘can’t the man shut up?’

The quote given is “The problem is simple: Greece’s creditors insist on even greater austerity for this year and beyond – an approach that would impede recovery, obstruct growth, worsen the debt-deflationary cycle, and, in the end, erode Greeks’ willingness and ability to see through the reform agenda that the country so desperately needs. Our government cannot – and will not – accept a cure that has proven itself over five long years to be worse than the disease

In my own view I state that he squandered 95% of the time he had with posturing, he forfeited the game buy thinking that Greece is too big to be ‘Grexitted’. Guess what Yanis! The Dutch SNS bank thought that very same notion! It did not pan out too well for them either!

Now we get the second quote, this one from Dimitris Stratoulis. He states “If we decide that there is no money left for the IMF, we have repeatedly said that our priority is to pay salaries, pensions, health, and education”. To be honest, I cannot completely oppose that! Although my priority should state Pension, Salary and Health, with a question mark to what salaries are to be paid, but I understand that the people should normally go first. I do not oppose this! Yet Syriza has been playing what I regard to be a pissing contest with people who did not need to play that game and had no interesting in playing that game. There is additional evidence. Perhaps you remember the case of Leonidas Bobolas, who got arrested in April 2015 for 1.2 million in tax evasion? That short term theatrical play just as the ‘negotiations’ were going on. I reported it in my blog on April 27th in the article ‘Finding inspiration‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/04/27/finding-inspiration/).

How many arrests since then?

The news is awfully quiet around it. There has also been zero visibility on praising Kostas Vaxevanis on his findings and his reports. It seems to me that the members of Syriza have absolutely no intent of doing anything constructive at all towards their creditors. So when we see the statements “Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has apparently pledged that Greece will meet its €305m repayment to the International Monetary Fund” by Yanis Varoufakis as well as “Tsipras instructed officials to act speedily as his government sought to defuse tensions saying it would do its best to honour its debts – even if it failed to reveal how, exactly, it would find the money to pay €1.6bn in loans to the International Monetary Fund next month” (Helena Smith, the Guardian).

Yet these two parts are already ignoring the 750 million pushed forward because the invoice of May 12th was not ‘paid’! It was settled using the IMF emergency funds, which means that this money is also due. In addition on May 12th, 16th and 19th are the amounts of 348, 581 and 348 million due. That is just the IMF, the maturing bonds as well as the ECB have not been taking into account in this matter. In addition, more bailouts are already known to be needed, so as Varoufakis is boasting, threatening and claiming, I notice that many are ignoring the observation some made “the creditors’ insistence on even more austerity, even at the expense of the reform agenda that our government is eager to pursue“. This is at the heart of the matter, because Greece is facing a 22 billion annual interest invoice, which it has no way of paying. A fact many are simply ignoring. So as non-actual payment of three quarters of a billion were made, we must wonder where that comes from. Let’s not forget that on June 12th 3.6 billion in T-bills mature!

Another non-reality comes from that same Guardian when we see: “Traders are also blaming Klaus Regling, the head of the European Stability Mechanism, for today’s euro selloff“, which is specified in “There is little time left… That’s why we’re working day and night for an agreement. Without an agreement with the creditors, Greece will not get any new loans. Then there’s a threat of insolvency. There are a lot of risks contained in that”, which is a reality I have pleaded for, for some time now. The funny part is that the New Democracy HAD it for the most sorted and the Greek people were suffering, no one denies that! Yet the courts have not made any attempt to hold previous administrations accountable, the tax evasion schemes had one trial so far and 1.2 million does not go far.

There is one final part that is an additional danger. It is not reported on, because in all honesty, the actual danger is not known yet. But did you consider how tourism will do this year? How many thousands of tourists will consider avoiding Greece (the Germans being a first nation that comes to mind)? You see, no matter how we regard the Germans, they for the most had jobs, had incomes and will desire a warm vacation. The Greek approach will work out nicely for Spain, Portugal and Italy I reckon, but with the acts of alienation Greece is cutting itself in the fingers. In addition, the dangers of drying ‘wells’, like the fear of empty ATM’s and other means not operational give added fear to the tourist population. Even though Crete should remain reasonably safe, the reality is that no part of Greece might be safe if clear progress is not booked within 2 weeks. I do hope that it will not pan out to be too bad for Crete, Stavros Arnaoutakis has been an active fighter for the prosperity of Crete for a long time and it was his birthday yesterday, so: “Happy belated birthday Stavros!” He was born in Archanes, due South of Iraklion. You might wonder why I bring this up. I will repeat the issue I voiced well over a year ago. It is becoming more and more visible that the power of Crete might reside in its independence. Crete has a founded tourist base, it has a functioning harbour for commerce and functioning airports for commercial ends too. This independence would not break their Union with Greece, but unlike the independence of Scotland, Greece has a much better chance to setup its independence at present, without too many nasty negative sides. Whatever options Syriza is currently destroying, Crete could set up a working base of minimal credit and continue for now. It will be hard, no one will deny that, but if Crete can sway a few services towards the Cretan island, it would for the better part be decently self-reliant.

This is a much better position than the position Greece had in the past, which team Tsipras/Varoufakis efficiently destroyed as I personally see it.

I also believe that the dedication Stavros Arnaoutakis has shown for a strong Crete could go a long way with whatever creditor conversation might be needed. As Crete moves straight into the Drachma, which would then be called the Cretan Drachma, would start to build on a future for both social enhancements (within Crete) as well as built on the decent foundations that Cretan housing has as well as a shift towards a services oriented future. Consider the mild climate Crete offers with water views all around that island, how long until 2-3 retirement villages would rake in jobs, commerce and income from retirees who would like their last few years in decent sunshine?

It is not enough to warrant full independence, but it is a start, if only to make the reliance on tourism 10%-20% smaller. Consider call centres that could work in that time zone and the better weather conditions. Before too long, students from all over Europe will seek a call centre all day and party all night vacation. I admit it is not the business call that matters here, but good commerce is where you built it!

Now, this might not be a great idea (perhaps not even a good idea), but I am trying to find a solution! I hope that there will be options for the Greek people, because Syriza is quickly and as I see it possibly intentional discarding whatever solution is left for the Greek people. If you doubt this, then consider the following facts:

* Less than an hour ago, I see in the Guardian, the following release: “Mujtaba Rahman, analyst at Eurasia Group, reckons that Greece will probably reach a deal with the Eurozone in time” (I am not convinced), in addition we see “We continue to believe Tsipras will lose around 5-10 lawmakers from his coalition when the package is presented to parliament (potentially attached to a vote of confidence). But we suspect he will lose less than 12 MP’s allowing him to keep his parliamentary majority“. As I see it, this should be about protecting the Greek people, now we see the cold reality (not an invalid one) that this seems to be more about playing with votes and keeping a ‘parliamentary majority‘!

This is why I felt that Antonis Samaras was the better option. He was trying to find solutions, not be ‘the popular guy’! You think Antonis Samaras was making friends when he was in office? No! He inherited a 400 billion invoice (very rough estimate) with no way to pay for it. With floating the credit ceiling and pushing non actions, Tsipras in his short time (with of course support by Varoufakis) has added close to 20% to that total debt. Now, in all honesty, he did not cause that 20% directly, but by sitting on his hands and playing theatrics he has not helped resolve any of it.

But we must also adhere to reality. The following we get from Bloomberg if Greece misses a payment: “A missed payment date starts the clock ticking. Two weeks after the initial due date and a cable from Washington urging immediate payment, the fund sends another cable stressing the “seriousness of the failure to meet obligations” and again urges prompt settlement. Two weeks after that, the managing director informs the Executive Board that an obligation is overdue. For Greece, that’s when the serious consequences kick in. These are known as cross-default and cross-acceleration“. This is a true reality, yet is that per payment?

Consider that this happen on June 5th and we get to June 19th? At that point two T-bills will have matured for the total amount of 5.2 billion, the second one of 1.6 billion on the 19th itself. When the 5th is missed, what will the markets do then? In addition, on June 19th a total of 910 million will be due too (16th and 19th of June IMF payments). In addition, what will happen to the interest levels when the two week term passes?

No one denies that the payment pressure is too unreal, but the Greek government themselves was cause to all of this (not Syriza)! That is at the heart of the ignored facts (read: unmentioned). These facts are exactly why Crete should consider protecting the Cretan population if at all possible. In addition, the separation could give additional credit to the Greeks on Crete and it might (not a guarantee) instil a lesser negative impact on tourism, which would be a massive plus. A few extra options could be set up there, but that would be up to Stavros Arnaoutakis and his peers to decide.

So how will we see this steeplechase unfold?

The ‘die hard’ positive proclaimers are singing the same song again and again, the doomsayers are hammering on what cannot be and both are interestingly avoiding key issues. Whether they feel repetitive on them is beside the point. I try to remain on the fence (which is hard with Syriza), yet I do try to find solutions. Will they be useful? Not for me to decide, but at least as a non-Greek, I might be one of the few trying to find a non-exploitative solution, which puts me ethically, morally and spiritually ahead of the pack.

 

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I told you so!

OK, not the best title, but it is time to throw a little hardship onto the fire. Now, the next part will be one you might not agree with, especially if you’re an economist, yet, so far, my prediction have been spot on and there is a lot more to come.

First there is the answer to those who either revoiced or proclaimed that Greece still had plenty of time, in addition, we now see the how the inactions of Tsipras is now showing to be the death of his fellow Greeks. The message that is only hours old “It’s official, Greek cash reserves are running dry” The quote gives us “In a move that puts Greece’s credit crunch into perspective, prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ government has revealed that it has just over €600m euro in cash reserves. A presidential degree allowing the state to sequester the funds of public bodies has seen €64.5m being transferred from local authorities to the Central Bank of Greece, said a government statement released this morning“, in addition we get “The statement’s timing – hours after Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’ alarming warning that the country could go bust “in a couple of weeks” – is clearly aimed at focusing minds as EU finance ministers meet in Brussels” and last there is “described by the leading economist Mohammed El Erian today as potentially “devastating for Greece’s long-suffering population.””. That part I stated weeks ago, but several people disagreed. It would never get that far. Now we see it! It has come that far! In addition the 600 million part implies (implies not fact) that the loans can no longer be honoured. Now we see the first clear consequence of the Status Quo push I opposed all along.

Now we get to the utter incompetent politicians, better known as Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis. The quote “Media and analysts in Greece this morning believe it is almost inevitable that a deal will now be put to public vote” means that these two are going to hide behind a referendum, In my mind, the actual response should be ‘If Syriza actually loves its nation, it will abdicate today and returns power to New Democracy and the seat of power returns to Antonis Samaras’. I believe that such a change, with additional austerity would give Greece a chance to remain in existence. This had also been my view all along and is now voiced by Costas Karagounis (at http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/05/11/new-democracy-the-greek-government-has-put-the-party-above-national-interests/). This will not be an easy sell.

The only way that this works is to do two steps that the Greek rich will not like.

  1. All tax settlements from December 2014 are to be declared null and void in Greek Parliament.
  2. All tax evaders to be prosecuted with late fines set at 20%.

2b. the accounts of any listed tax evaders are to be frozen through the Palace of Justice in The Hague and to be monitored as payment is properly made to the Greek treasury.

Now for the other parts, this is the one that will cost the IMF, however, they can now consider an option where the payments will become an option.

  1. All loans are to be reset with the total amount set at 1% interest and all bonds are to be matured immediately and added to the debt, also at 1%.
  2. Greece is prohibited from entering the bonds market until 2040, in addition, they are not allowed any more bond actions until 75% of the debt has been repaid (whichever date comes last).

 

Now we get to the future of Greece, for that to work a harsh change will be needed if Greece is not to become extinct (again).

  1. Every municipality is now under austerity for balanced budgets, which means that services would cease unless there is money coming into the city. Debts are no longer allowed to be passed on, in every municipality the mayor and the local treasurer are liable for prosecution and mandatory prison terms if they fail. It seems to me that wasting funds should be stopped at the source.

You see, some will see my steps as ‘too extreme’, but when we get the quote: ““there is almost no-one who believes that negotiations over a [long-term] deal will end in June. Everyone is saying journalists should be prepared to work right the way through the summer and ensure they are around in June, July, early August.”” This implies that Tsipras is still playing the ‘let’s delay it all game‘. This is given added weight, but the following statement from Wolfgang Schäuble: “12-May-2015 11:21:47 – GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER SCHAEUBLE SAYS IMPROVEMENT IN GREEK TALKS CLIMATE NOT MATCHED BY SUBSTANCE“. Which was a clear reported issue in February 2015, so in one quarter the Greek team had not learned anything at all. This was not a ‘pissing’ content, this is a situation where two politicians are playing with the very existence and livelihood of millions of Greeks. You see, when it all stops the Greek retirees are literally left with nothing.

So as the EU finance clambake ended with no progress for Greece, we see a small message at the end. The message is: “They also hope to reach agreement on a new scheme, the European fund for strategic investments (EFSI), by June – so it can begin investing in private projects this summer“. Can anyone tell me where that money is coming from? Another trillion euro’s? I have no idea how much is involved, yet with the EU at large out of cash, who will fund those investments?

Yet, the trouble for Greece is not even close to over, it only deepens, that part was shown less than two hours ago, when we got the following from Twitter source: @enikos_en

The Social Security Foundation (IKA), Greece’s largest pension fund, has decided to take short term loans worth €360 million in order to pay June’s pensions to its members, financial site enikonomia.gr reports. The decision was made Monday by IKA’s governing board. The loan is comprised of €150 million in repos from a private bank, using Greek Treasury bonds that IKA owns as collateral, and the rest from cash reserves of three other funds, including €100 million from the Public Power Corporation (PPC) employees’ insurance fund” (source: the Guardian).

Now we get to the issue I had less than two weeks ago, I predicted this to some extent, get loans to pay for loans. This situation is so much more dangerous when you analyse the information, which should get you the following:

  1. IKA takes a loan to pay members.
  2. It is using Greek Treasury bonds it holds in collateral (Which the Greek government cannot pay as it seems).
  3. Consider the previous statement, if payments are not met those bonds will get value $0.00, in addition, we saw that Greece has 600 million left and this Friday 1.4 billion in Greek bonds mature. So, how is this going anywhere else but to a really bad place?
  4. The loan drained the PPC insurance fund.

So these facts imply that IKA will have no more payment options in a month, whilst the loans could claim chunks of whatever IKA had as a foundation, which could now give added dangers to the PPC getting hit. Can anyone else see the dangers here? You see, if IKA had so many reserves left, the Greek government would not be out on a limb claiming it only had 600 million left. It seems that when we see a full list of everyone’s money in the Greek bonds, we will see a few names that had been quiet, then what?

So as we see no results from Ecofin, we should wonder what will happen this Friday. One set of 1.4 billion in Greek bonds matured on May 8th, the press has remained awfully silent there. I cannot find any actual news on what happened, there are mentions that the debts will be rolled over with new bonds, but that is also a clear misrepresentation. Many of the old bonds were at 6%, now the rollover, will mean that the new set will represent 1.6 billion, more important, if bonds are usually set to a 1% commission, who did all this and where EXACTLY did that 16 million go? That is quick money, but for whom? A fan/friend of the Varoufakis rock band? I actually have no idea, so perhaps someone else knows.

Any finally we see that ‘rock star’ (Varoufakis) back on the microphone stating “From the perspective [of timing], we are talking about the next couple of weeks” regarding the liquidity. Well, that is not the case, because the bills due before Friday, in addition another 1.4 billion bond, that 600 million will have melted like snow in the sun. As payments are now an issue on several levels form a multitude of places, this weekend could start the end of Greece in a very real way, which is only hitting harder as the ECB has raised the Greek ceiling again, now by an additional 1.1 billion. Giving the Greeks now a total minus cap of 80 billion, put that on top of the 300 plus debt they already have and we see the makings of a new level of approaching disaster.

Are you, the reader still thinking that my approach was extreme?

Now consider the 750 million due today. Greek repaid it, but it did so by using money which was already at the IMF, so basically, they extended their death line by one month. Yet in the Guardian it was stated as: “Greece moved to banish fears it was on the brink of insolvency and default on Monday, ordering the repayment of €750m (£535m) in IMF loans hours before they were due“, that news came on May 11th. However, the Financial Times gave us “Greece took the unusual step of raiding its holdings of the International Monetary Fund’s de facto currency to make a €750m payment to the fund on Tuesday, in another sign of the country’s increasingly desperate cash crunch” (at

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ddb97ae8-f899-11e4-be00-00144feab7de.html#axzz3ZzefGf2r), so the consequence here is that any bond action will be a lot more expensive and under these conditions, the Greek debt goes up by something approaching another billion.

There is now another question, are the releasers of information guilty of manipulating the markets? The markets released pressure because of the initial news and panicked when the ‘true’ facts came out. Moreover, this gives us more clarity that Greece is still all about misrepresentation, an issue the creditors might find alarming on several levels. We cannot truly condone the way Greece went about paying the amount, but this game of extensions, deferment and delays has been made for too long, whilst we see from various sources that the reformation essential to the survival of Greece is being made, in addition, staff that had been fired earlier is now rehired, which means that the governments costs are going up again, no real income is reaching Greece. Add all this up and Greece seems to be working itself into a deeper hole with every passing minute.

The Greek people deserved better!

 

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The money kept rolling in

This is the thought I am having right now, the song from Evita, sung by Antonio ‘the desperado’ Banderas. It is happening now, hidden off the tracks and hidden in a mere 5 words in an article of 869 words. The words ‘the ECB raised the ceiling’ is heart here, just as Greece is about to forfeit, they get 2 billion. The ceiling raised and the rest gets to pay for the unacceptable behaviour of Syriza (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/06/greek-debt-default-avoided-after-200m-payment-to-imf).

So as we see messages on deadlocks, why do we allow for this status quo to go on?

So consider the events for next week where when we consider “The International Monetary Fund confirmed it had received the repayment, allowing the debt-stricken country’s rescue package to remain in place until next week when another €750m is due to the Washington-based organisation“, so 2 billion frees up because a mere 10% of the new added debt ceiling has been received. How is this even conceivable? This does offer the thought that the new debt ceiling will cover the next 750M debt payment too?

Will we see theatrics as they make payment as Greece states how they were able to manage the payment? I wonder how that goes over with voting Britain today as they too will feel the additional payments towards Greece. It might be a mere 200 euro’s for every Greek, but it is not the first payment and this comes whilst Greece still has to mature 2.8 billion in T-bills. Where will that money come from?

An additional quote to consider is “many issues remained unresolved between Greece and its lenders, and agreement at next Monday’s meeting of Eurozone finance ministers was now not possible“, this came from Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem. It is all food for thought, just as you think that people grow brains, we get confronted with Syriza. Is it too offensive to phrase it that way? If you think so, then consider that no clear headway has been made since Alexis Tsipras was elected, they want concessions but are unwilling to make any steps in the ‘right’ direction. In addition, we see the quote “The Greek government had hoped to reach a deal that would have released €7.2bn in vital bailout funds, in exchange for economic reforms“, yet as clearly shown, the Greeks have not made one step into a clear direction of reforms, this all comes to blows soon enough when the money is released and we see additional non-steps of reform and a game of massive delays and referendums. So why are we enabling this game to continue?

There is also the other side of this, there is a disingenuous voice (as I see it) from Jeroen Dijsselbloem who said: “Since the last Euro group quite a bit of progress has been made“. If that is so, then there were true reform reports to feed the hungry Journalists, none of that happened! This all reeks again of a scenario of managed bad news, with a not so unlikely view that Greece will not give in and they still end up with 7.2 billion, another quester of payments until the true bailout of 30 billion will hit the EEC at large, but that will be AFTER the UK elections, the one behemoth in all this that is fed up with non-accountability and the dangers of UKIP is just too frightening to both the EEC and the ECB.

As Greek is now swayed by second World War hero Manolis Glezos, who is very much on the referendum horse, we see the quote “the government being coerced into an agreement that “exceeded the limits” of its own anti-austerity mandate“, which is fair enough, but then you do not get the 7.2 billion in funds and you are not entitled to the 2 billion debt ceiling raise, all elements of concession, whilst Greece is far too willing to let it all collapse.

In all this one view I have is most clear of all, when this collapses, whatever concession made since January 1st will fall to banks, banks alone and their bonus payments and their liquidity. It must not be allowed to charge its customers or any third party for their own failings! Guess what, this will never happen because the political branches need certain fat cats to provide their comfortable after-political life and we all know that bankers at large tend to be sore losers at best.

Now we get to the title, because what you read was a mere introduction.

These are to parts of the song. Even though the song is an implied artistic view, but is that the whole truth of it? It seems that more and more that the Greek officials listened to the song and thought it to be a good idea.

When the money keeps rolling in, you don’t ask how (We know, it was borrowed)
Think of all the people guaranteed a good time now (an imaginary situation as the money is now due)
Eva’s called the hungry to her, open up the doors
Never been a fund like the foundation Eva Peron (here it is Greece and the previous PM’s squandering)

And the money kept rolling out in all directions (when was a clear keeping of books requested)
To the poor, to the weak, to the destitute of all complexions (and made public to the Greek population?)
Now cynics claim a little of the cash has gone astray (which is exactly what was the point)
But that’s not the point my friends (that is the ‘excuse’ Goldman Sachs gave us)
When the money keeps rolling out you don’t keep books (again a Goldman Sachs proverb regarding the accuracy)
You can tell you’ve done well by the happy grateful looks (how happy are the Greeks now?)
Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way (no, they are the reality of outstanding debt)
Never been a lady loved as much as Eva Peron (in this case Lady Fortuna)

All this now gets me to an old Myth, I forgot the details, but it was about Tyche (me thinks).

Tyche meets a kind beggar and she gives him the option of wealth, offering the beggar as many coins as he can carry, but with one rule, if any coin falls to the ground, all coins will turn to dust. The beggar asks for more and more and more, then Tyche states: ‘Be careful beggar, you are now a wealthy man, consider what you have’. He asks for more and he gets 3 more coins and one falls to the ground, the gold turns to dust and Tyche vanishes. The beggar looks at his empty lap contemplating greed.

This is how I see Greece at present, it wanted more and more, now it can no longer continue, yet in this case it is getting assistance in misrepresentation. That view is supported when we suddenly see a downgrade of economic growth from 2.5% to 0.5% and to keep themselves in the game (the supporters) a forecast for 2016 from 3.6% to 2.9%. I have an issue here as any forecast for Greece over 1% is nothing less than a small miracle. More important, if Greece cannot properly revive its tourism and to be honest, one of its biggest flocks were the Germans, we can safely say that they will not feel to welcome in Greece, so thanks Tsipras for screwing up that part of your economy too. (Was that too direct?)

Here we have the issues, Greece is getting ‘support’ from people who have their OWN agenda’s, none of those are beneficial to Greece and in all this the current ‘rulers’ will not clean up their act or make correct headway. I understand their part (the Greek side), I truly do, but the Greek people would have been served best under Antonis Samaras and with every concession Syriza makes, it shows how the Samaras solution had been the best all along. In addition Germans would have felt reasonably safe to go on vacation there and in addition there would be additional Germans considering a little retirement home. Most of that went out of the window when Syriza jumped on the WW2 horse.

Now time is a dangerous factor, whatever happens today will happen on the down-low, because any ammunition for UKIP will be the stuff of nightmares for both the EEC and the ECB! So we will see less outspoken news on Greece as it will change a hung parliament to an anti-EEC parliament. Which, by the way is still beneficial for the ECB as they can do whatever they like in regards to handing out unaccountable billions when they can use a Labour-Green coalition to waste even more resources, then what?

This is the nightmare I cannot predict, because the next wave will be detrimental to the health of Greece, Italy, the UK and France. This will come to blow next year because the push for National Front will be overwhelming, at this point the UK would have lost its options as parliament would have softly agreed on bills that will hinder the growth of the UK, a dangerous scenario I would never sign up for.

I hope the voting masses of the UK can agree on this dangerous part!

 

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What’s the matter?

That is the question I asked myself. Greece is in worsening shape, we see certain news as it happens and I noticed how certain ‘facts’ are now missing in the news articles I have been reading. In other news we have the UK election as it is going towards the final day before the people in the UK will decide on who they trust to give them a better life and now we get news that Isis decided to mess with Texas. So here on the day when the Dutch celebrate that the Germans were defeated and the Netherlands became a free nations once again, we see these issues come to blow more and more.

Miss Representation

Yes, she has image, she is the vision we desire and we all stare at her cleavage, complete with two boobies, one named ‘slush fund milk’, the other one we name ‘the party’s choice’, both giving ‘as implied’ the consumer the honey of equality. Now we get the real deal, if we bring the breast to our mouth, will we taste honey? Or will we perhaps the taste be more of the same, more of what is bland, non-nourishing and will never satisfy.

The first issue is Greece and the representation it is receiving. The first part we see in the article ‘Greece vows to pay debts as it awaits handout from international creditors‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/04/eurozone-enjoys-production-boost-but-greece-and-france-dip). In here we see the following quote: “Greece has vowed to honour heavy debt repayments over the coming weeks but says it is counting on international creditors to release billions of euros in rescue funds before the end of the month“. Now, let’s be frank, no lie is told here, but the direct fact is not that payment is due, but that the first payment was due May 1st and is due to the fact that it was a public day, payment was rescheduled to be due May 6th, the first payment of 200 million will be due in 24 hours. So why is that not clearly voiced? Before the end of the month another 760 million will be due, making the total slightly south of 1 billion. The second article ‘Greek debts: what does it owe? When will the money run out?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/24/greek-debts-what-does-it-owe-when-will-the-money-run-out), states almost the same. Yet this one shows a little more, even more than I bargained for.

You see, there we see May 1st an IMF interest loan payment (now due May 6th) and May 12th we see the part that 760 million is due. The part that was unknown to me is also the part that is not loudly voiced to EEC nations, because this knowledge will influence the voters (as I personally see it). You see, the missing part that is not voiced in many sources is the small fact that two T-bill batches mature, the first one on May 8th and the second one on May 15th, each worth 1.4 billion.

Now we get the part I voiced over and over in the past, that the consequences of bonds are high and the Greek people are about to learn this the hard way. You see, when a T-bill matures, it becomes a nice piece of paper, one that has value. You see, at the beginning, you are offered a paper that offers a percentage, so you buy it for $918.10 and when the bond matures a year later (if you got one for 1 year), you get $1000. A nice 10%. So, before the end of May, Greece will have to make two payments, one for 960 million, and one for 2.8 billion. Greece is out of options, out of money and the quick 5 billion they sold in 2014 to get a quick cash option is now starting to come back. Billions are needed and the Greek treasuries are about to learn that not only could it never afford to play the Syriza game via Alexis Tsipras, the assurances we see in the papers left right and centre is now showing to be hollow and not realistic. Greece is about to seek another deal and one more and then likely some more. Greece is awaiting 7.6 billion in aid, yet where will it go? Before the end of May Greece needs 4.7 billion and in addition before the end of June, Greece needs to come up with an additional 6.8 billion, the 7.6 billion will not even cover the bills. Greece is about to make a call that will hit the financial district and small investors alike, the Greeks are facing a hel we do not wish on anyone and for the most, as I see it, the only people who are allowed any consideration are the wealthy power players that depend on continuation of the status quo. How can this ever go to a better place?

Here you see why I whacked Syriza again and again. The rock star game we saw by Yanis Varoufakis is the killer here. Alexis Tsipras did not act when he should have done this and the non-austerity approach was a non-solution from day one. Why do I feel that I am the only one seeing this, or at least the only one clearly voicing this, because the UK elections, when the voters learn that Greece is about to desire up to 30 billion before the end of the year, so that it can pay the outstanding bills. It is status quo, but in the end, there is the direct risk that almost none of these funds will help, aid or support the Greek people, who I genuinely feel for, does Syriza? My issue still remains what it was from day one, the Greek had the freedom to choose, but I believe that they chose poorly. Now you have no reason to take my word on this, but Antonis Samaras has a degree in economics and an additional MBA from Harvard, which gives him a financial view that I lack, even though my numbers gave a clear view as an analyst regarding the dangers Greece had, I saw this in 2013, it was already clear that the dangerous waters for Greece were icy cold and deadly deep.

My article ‘Are we getting played?‘ from May 18th 2014 shows my view that allowing the Greek bonds back on the market was a really bad idea, now we see that this view was a decent reality. Here we are, looking at a game that is being played with Greece and the Greek people in the middle, austerity is not the great idea, but it is the only solution. It should be clear that there is no short term solution, austerity will remain around for close to two generations, the debt will take no less than 4 generations to become manageable, but only with a restructured Greece, it is not a nice picture to watch, it will be an entirely different Greece, there should be no doubt here.

This now links to the UK and its elections too. You see, the news as is, is that the voters need to realise that it needs to support an EEC nation that will need another 30 billion, with no guarantee that this is the end of that. The economy is in a slump and too many nations are feeling the slowness of the economy that is unlikely to return to the ‘old’ days.

The news is given in the article ‘Ignore the Tories: the figures show the recovery is veering off course‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/03/ignore-the-tories-figures-show-recovery-veering-off-course) but in a way that gives me pause. The quote “Economists are divided about the causes of this so-called “productivity puzzle”. It’s unclear whether it’s caused by a lack of investment, poor education and training, or the fact that our labour market is so flexible that it’s cheaper for firms to ramp up output by hiring short-term, low-skilled staff than to buy in new technologies and equipment” is at the heart of all of this. You see, these economists are not just setting a bad example, they seem to leave out several elements, they know to also be at the heart of all of this and the picture that follows is incomplete.

You the reader will know some of the elements, you live these elements and some economists getting the fat checks have not been at the heart of it all. Consider the following, when did you buy anything else than food lately? Anything else than the weekly needs? When did you buy a TV, when did you buy a car or any luxury items that are produced in the UK? The UK is better off than most other European nations, I see where the people in the Netherlands and Belgium have a little cash, but most people are lowering their debt, all over Europe people do the same thing, they are not buying to the extent they were, they replace only the essentials and they buy cheap. This is why Aldi and Lidl are so successful. The evidence is all over the place, yet we see “Confidence is certainly higher than it was five years ago, but aside from notable successes such as the car industry, there is little sign of a radical shift in the shape of the economy. Manufacturing output has been growing, but remains below its pre-crisis peak“, which makes perfect sense. The view of these economists is: “But deficit reduction is not the only purpose of economic policy: they also set themselves the aim of building a more sustainable model for growth. Here too, they have largely failed“, is that so?

You see, to grow an economy, people must buy, they are not buying and they carefully consider each purchase. This is the ignored part, in addition other nations ‘might’ seem to push forward, but consider one final part, when you buy your equine burgers, is that what it states on the packaging? Perhaps you were hoping for cow?

This is at the heart of those making sales in places. Quality is at the heart and the quality of life has been under attack for some time now, an issue many economists ignore too. Should you wonder about that then take a gander towards Texas! The only hilarious part there is that ISIS attacked the one state where the population is better armed then the police, the defence department and the military reserves. How does this reflect on the other elements? Believe it or not but there are real economic consequences to terrorism, especially when it is done on US grounds. As the US economy is already slumping, this could add negatively to it all. Yet it must be stated here the one line that has direct bearing “No evidence Islamic State had actual hand in attack in which two men opened fired outside centre exhibiting Muhammad cartoons“. So, I am not doubting the statement. It is not that far-fetched that those acting out for personal reasons are very willing to get linked to a larger group, for both defence and to propagate their own ego. This all matters, if you do not believe it to be true, you should decide to watch Kung Fu Hustle. A movie well worth watching (it is hilarious). So is it a good idea to relate ISIS to a comedy? Well, when you start acting out in Texas, that call is not the wildest one to make. You see, there is a dark side here. When we consider the words from Tim Clemente, who stated “Former FBI agent Tim Clemente said the gunmen may have plotted the attack without direction from ISIS“, the danger becomes, if that is true, who else has gone the loopy tunes? Is it not weird that a place, dedicated to freedom of speech, is giving a way to the freedom of speech to people who are dedicated to remove freedom of speech? This is not at the heart of it all, what is the heart of the matter is that if this is happening in the United States, is the danger of lone wolf (sympathiser) actions in the United Kingdom so far out of realm of possibilities? Now consider the statement by British Labour “A Labour government will control immigration with fair rules“, now consider that Italy received over 200,000 refugees with no way to get it all processed. How many will arrive into the UK?

Be cautious here, I am NOT stating that these people are terrorists, yet the danger that a terrorist would try to enter Europe this way is not that far a stretch. Statistically speaking, if only 0.1% came in, than we will see that Italy, after that, the EEC and the UK will have to deal with 200 extremists, 200 people inflating actions. Now the truth is that there is no evidence that 0.1% is extremist, but today’s life of dangers and consequence is a numbers game and the numbers are against us all. Even though I could advise Andrew Parke (the man that the people at MI-5 call ‘Big Boss’) on how to clean his ship, I must also add that Andrew is very up to date on how to do that, he does not need me. Yet the political elements ignoring the intelligence issues are all positioned to blow it all on spending’s towards an economy, they ignored the elements that could drive an economy even further down.

Three elements all linked towards a change that impacts the UK economy and the British way of life, yet none of them were linked to the UK on their own. Here is what’s at play! Too many events are too intertwined and too misrepresented to ignore, yet those who trivialise the elements are not the ones paying the bills when their ‘prognoses’ goes pear shaped, it is a game we can no longer afford to be played.

 

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The Trans European Crash

It is a work of power, but not from any one station. The Germans would call it a Kraftwerk, but this is not an express as envisioned by Florian Schneider or Ralf Hütter. No it is a subtle hidden crash, pushed by those who need the status quo, not the fallout before they leave with a huge golden handshake.

You see, people forget how things are interconnected. We forget too often that the machine is based on values that are virtual and on foundations that are a generation old, we all forget that!

It is now 2 days ago that we see an article (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/apr/30/markets-await-eurozone-inflation-as-greece-takes-on-brussels-live-updates), the title ‘Eurozone edges out of deflation – as it happened‘ is not informative, it all seems like a collected pile of lose facts, are they connected?

They are to some extent, but not in the view people have. Let me enlighten you!

The Greek government was struggling on Thursday to complete payments to more than 2m pensioners after claiming that a “technical hitch” delayed an earlier disbursement“. I will not attack that. We all have our doubts, but we need to consider that technology glitches, it always does so at the moment it hurts the user the most. Yet the response ““Normally I only withdraw half the money at the end of the month but today I’m taking it all” said Sotiria Zlatini” gives us pause, the expected bank run is coming and this might not be the bank run, but Greeks all over Greece fear that the bank run will happen whilst some pension money is still in their bank accounts. This gives a view of 2 million pensioners holding on to their money for dear life. You see, a small element is that at this very moment that this is written the Greek government was due to pay 200 million. Had that payment been made?

If an ‘extension’ has been granted, you can be sure that this will upset the Conservatives with David Cameron and it will fuel UKIP with Nigel Farage. Two non-related entities, yet they are all connected through other strings. Yet, the news we hear from Reuters is “Greece’s next payment to the International Monetary Fund, totalling some 200 million euros in interest payments, is due May 6 because of the May Day holiday in Greece, an IMF spokesman said on Thursday“, so, because of one day, they get an additional 5 days. Do I now have your attention regarding the ‘Status Quo’? Still, the ‘technical glitch’ the Greek bank has could be for real, but now consider the 2,000,000 accounts that will withdraw all funds, how short will the Greeks be to make payment? Yet, another part of the Guardian already informs us of a third bailout negotiation, something we knew, but the timing is so auspicious, we will see if the Greeks made payment before the €7.2bn (£5.2bn) in funds are released. Perhaps a third party deal through an investment bank will see the 200 million released on May 5th, for perhaps a mere 243,546,576 dollars? Any takers at Goldman Sachs perhaps? I am not sure if that will happen, I am merely speculating!

You see, this goes a little further, it is not just the message of “Eurozone inflation picked up in April to 0%, from -0.1% in March. It brings to an end a four-month run of deflation“, which I got from Eurostat. You see, which of the 28 Euro players have rounded up their numbers? Likely more than one, so was the inflation 0%, or was it perhaps -0.048%? It is in the margins that we see the game being played, but playing it all from the margins is a dangerous game, because trimming the fat always leaves us with one player that takes the smallest slice of beef, now we are bleeding and one player goes ‘Oops!’.

We get the next piece from Germany. The statement “The number of people out of work in Germany dropped by 8,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in April, to 2.792m. A bigger fall of about 15,000 had been expected“. I have two issues with this. the first being that these 8,000 mean 7.5 million a month less drainage on the German Treasury Coffers. These people now have a job, which is good for all parties, which means they will get extra groceries, perhaps treat themselves to a slice of cake to celebrate, which every person should do if they get themselves a job. It is the second part, the prediction ‘A bigger fall of about 15,000 had been expected‘, why? What data precipitated that thought?

You see, the people doing the forecasting as a whole have not been doing that great a job. They failed on multiple levels for years, mainly because of ‘unexpected’ conditions.

Now we get to Spain, where we see the quote “It shows that reforms work, it should help reduce unemployment much further and thus political fragility and it serves as a shining example to Greeks of what their country could have if its government finally returns to the path of virtue“, which is nice, but in this case, the given quote from Christian Schulz, economist at German bank Berenberg is one we also need to take caution with. I would like to claim this as a mere fact, because my ego would like to see Tsipras and Varoufakis cut down to size (am I too honest?). They played a very dangerous game on behalf of people who cannot afford to lose as they have nothing left, yet in my view Antonis Samaras had the right path. It was a painful path for all Greeks, but it was slowly getting Greece back. Now the Greeks face fears they never faced before. This is however not about Greece, this is about Spain. In my view Spain had nowhere left to go but up, or die. At 23%, one in four does not have a job, those with jobs work many long hours to keep their job, many products are still not getting sold because many people cannot afford it, so Spain is getting back on board, but ever so slowly and let’s face it, beating a 0.3% prediction, making 0.5% is not great, but it seems that exceeding predictions gets to be rewarded. The reality is that 0.5% is 2.5% below the currency inflation, so we have nothing to celebrate. When Spain loses even 2% unemployed persons, as they get a job, then we can make a cautious cheer. That moment is nowhere near at present. So why the optimism?

Now consider other elements, consumer spending is falling in France, Italy and a few other places. The economy slowed down in a massive way this quarter, even though in some places unemployment figures look better. The Netherlands now has the lowest unemployment rates compared to other numbers for a long period of time. Yet, the news came with the image of a lovely Dutch girl with impressive cleavage buying a backpack, which does not sway from the blow that the American economy is getting and that affects the Eurozone too.

So here we have the initial part, some EEC nations are now getting a little positivity (most less than 1%), which is better than zero or minus, but it still is a long way from serious movement away from dark times, they are still overhead for the largest extent.

Will you stand by the view that the economy is getting better? I say that this Trans European Crash is still moving along towards the assets of all citizens there. You see, every month I am wrong, it will not be because of the premise, but because some people were allowed to push forward the status quo. In the case of Greece that will be another €7.2bn, with additional funds for bailout three and four. Whomever considers that there will be no bailout four, so you better wizen up fast! Greece has almost 316 billion in debts, it will need another 7.2 to make payments now and then we will see the need for no less than 10 billion more and who knows how much for bailout number 4, which becomes a lot more important now that we see that the Greek government is out of cash. So as the Greeks are not defaulting, Europe gets the added pressure of 17-30 billion before the end of 2016 (likely no later than Q1 2016). So the Greek debt will go beyond 200% of GDP. So when you read these miracle messages of suddenly growing from 0.6% to 2.9% I worry, because someone is again getting creative with the numbers and not with the actual GDP. If the Greek GDP is doing so well, how come we see zero messages on how manufacturing is up by a lot, how unemployment numbers are down, as I see it this is a number ‘fixing’ game where Greece is kept on the edge of the Abyss in virtual representation, whilst in reality Greece took three steps forward over the edge! But those who need the Status Quo, those who invested and want their money, or give their losses to someone else are giving us a skewed picture.

This is what UKIP has been up in arms about. I can tell you now that the picture is a lot more complex than I give it, but I believe that I am right, I believe that several announcers are painting us something that is not there, that is even without the laughingly bizarre article in Forbes by Panos Mourdoukoutas on how ‘Greece’s Net Debt Is 18% of GDP, Not 175%‘, which sounds fine in theory (he uses net debt, not total debt), but why is all that taxation not collected? I see the article nothing more than the article of a Greek having a go at the Germans (oh, how original), yet in this light we also see Reuters stating ‘Ratings agencies say no default if Greece misses ECB, IMF payments‘ (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/01/us-greece-default-ratings-idUSKBN0NM3N420150501). This is partially true as I reported earlier, because missing a payment is only the track to the Grexit and Default, but not the immediate consequence.

Now we get to the jewel in that article, which links to all other parts “The only potential impact Allen & Overy’s Yannis Manuelides saw from any missed payments was that they could technically give the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) the option to demand immediate repayment of one of its big Greek loans. But as the EFSF is government controlled, that seems highly unlikely and it would most likely waive that option“. This is the crux, those in charge will put pressure on the EFSF to get time to settle things, which means the EFSF will not act immediately, because the governments want to make sure that there is no other option to get their money, so everything gets pushed forward. Yet not paying should have an impact on several linked numbers and it could hit Italy and France, this is the true nightmare, Greece is pushing to get both Italy and France on the edge, because that will unlock the big blocks of cash, from which Greece would ‘benefit’, in that regard we could see that Greece gets reduced to a mere slave labour nation, but that is just me stating the obvious.

This is partially the issue I feared coming. One small nation of less than 10 million gets to push the rest around because no one is muzzling the people who are not playing the game according to the rules, as many politicians are not held to account, Tsipras and Varoufakis worked under the premise, if they need not, then neither do we, which is not that ludicrous a thought, but Greece is the only one approaching 200% of GDP, giving pause to the incorrectness of their train of thought.

Station Crash

This is the point where the brilliance of ‘Kling Klang’ studios is shown, the repetitive background of the Trans Europe Express shows the status quo of the finance world, like a monotonous train engine, it is pushing the Greek situation and as we lose the ‘n’ of finance, we get that Greece becomes the debtors fiancé, a shattered relationship (perhaps battered might be the better word) that has no good ending in sight. In all this, I look again towards the Album of Kraftwerk and the brilliance how it relates here. Europe endless gives me the lyrics ‘Life is timeless’, or in this case the European’s time is lifeless. So as we watch the economists admiring themselves in the Hall of Mirrors, we see a shift, one that is NOT BECAUSE of Greece (lets remain fair here) but as they were allowed to continue, we see a shift of people now less and less willing to see Europe continue. When we see stories on how some families in UK sometimes have less than one meal a day, where Spain is in so much hardship the people are bleeding, but now Spain moves forward, in all this Greece sees itself above the law of normalcy and this will soon come to blows. Germany need only to step back and not interfere. So as Varoufakis states that Grexit advocates are ‘anti-European’, we see additional resentment towards Greece, not from the powers, l but from the voting population at large. In that form at present, National Front is still making headway in France, which spells really bad for the Eurozone. Spain becomes a second player, if it goes on like this, slowly making headway, additional fuel against Tsipras is won, yet if it goes the other way, several players will need to pull out if they wish to avoid getting hit by the debts of both Greece and Spain. You see, when one goes, the banks will want to offload the debts as fast as possible, preferably in the last hour before defaulting, leaving who owns it a mess no one will survive, which means they will try to get governments to sign long term agreements for the debts. Will it work? That is uncertain, the fact that most players desire status quo, means that it is not impossible, in the end the debt goes to millions of taxpayers, that might survive, the banks ending up with this bill will topple and go under. This is where we are!

Greece (possibly with Spain) will push France and Italy, they will push whatever is left!

Now we get to the banks and the Greek bank run, this was nicely stated in the Reuters article I mentioned earlier. Here we see “They would be more likely to default on their T-bills (than the ECB) the only problem is that they are then defaulting mostly on their own banks… and in any case a distressed exchange on T-bills would definitely be classed as a default“, this is the fear I had, yet I did not think it would go that fast, because this act leaves the Greek population without any money and this means that the Greek solution could only work outside of the Euro, super inflating a Drachma, paying people pieces of paper that had no real value, a new kind of monopoly where everyone gets cash and no cause for it is needed. Here we see the faltering logic in it, partially the logic on my side too. It can only work if Grexit is forced, which some places do not want (they want their investment) and the inflated Drachma means that retirement funds have no value whatsoever, not even the printed money that is handed for it. A virtual mess of real money and no assets. It is a currency that goes nowhere, a funding from nothing that cannot be, because any product that needs importation will not be affordable. Basically that new Drachma would be even less stable then the old shekel, a worrying thought.

Now we get the UKIP charter in a new light. UKIP will close the borders and will proclaim the European Union to be null and void in the light of the Union Jack, the only Union that England will recognise. After that Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium et al will have no alternative left to them, just because Greece would not play ball. The UKIP view is the worrying one, because the electorates that were once an ‘outside chance to win‘ could grow beyond contender, Greece got them there, by playing the rock star game, the British people are now angry, because many of them are getting by on too little whilst team Tsipras/Varoufakis kept playing the ‘we do not care game’ loudly and squandering, it opposes the UK standard of normalcy. They will often spend money, but fess up to it and pay it back, Greece leaves the impression that paying back is not a given, which has been illuminated more than once by Yanis Varoufakis.

Yet, Europe is more than Greece and Greece is less than 5% of that entire mess, which is not voiced that often. Because at GDP, the debt of Greece seems phenomenal, but the debt Italy holds is massive, it is only because Italy does have its products to bring abroad, it has additional tourism and it has almost 60 million people is why Italy does not seem to be in as much danger. But at 130% of GDP, Italy is in trouble, the debt of Greece, if defaulted could push Italy pretty much over the Abyss too. This is the danger Europe faces as Italian Liga Nord could do worse damage to Europe, especially as it does not like the place Greece is pushing them. The Italian debt at 2.6Trillion Euro’s is nothing to be sneered at. Their debt is growing at almost 4000 Euro a second. To deal with the interest, every Italian would have to pay an additional 2,000 Euro a year. This was the danger all along, where Greece is, Italy soon will be and after that France will follow, that is the Trans Europe Crash we will face. This is why Nigel Farage wants to bail out before that bill comes, which is fair enough. If the European governments had changed their irresponsible views 5 years ago, there would be an improved path and Greece would have more time and no one would worry, but that is not the case. The train is approaching station eleven and time is no longer a luxury.

The moment we dread is coming, yet in all honesty, how hard it will hit is not known. We only know that all in Europe will suffer, those who will survive decently are those without debt, the rest will suffer for many years to come. So are you still happy you let things slide or are you ready to pass the Accountability Act? In that act, those who created the mess do not get to push it forward, they either resolve it or become liable. It is in my humble opinion the only way to get governmental budgets properly addressed.

But that might just be my view on this.

 

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This is not Sparta!

You might not realise it, but many of us have a Greek side in us. The gamers are all about ‘This is Sparta!’ as they slay their opponents Gerard Butler style (a Scotsman no less) in Diablo 3, more than a few of them would also consider becoming the consort of Lena Headey (Queen Gorgo), a woman who might be twice their age, but still looks better than the average 25 year old photo model. Some with a more academic approach will be confronted with the Socratic Method as they get through another Uni class. Some will love it, some will hate it. It seems there are no people in the middle ground here. Doctors still recite the Hippocratic Oath and we could argue that Prudence which comes from Phronesis, a Greek word, which got introduced by some old Greek with a beard. I remember the speech, this old guy suddenly making a speech, roughly 334BC, I was watching the Panathenaic Games and suddenly he starts deliberating (at himself) in a most bombastic voice. The man starts ‘ranting’ about something called Nicomachean Ethics, nice, but not while ‘I am watching a game!’ Someone told me his name was Aristotle. I reckon the fab never caught on. Let’s face it, public speakers and the virtue of practical thought, it will never catch on, I reckon. Guess what! It has been 2345 years and I was right! Take this Tsipras fellow, as I see it, he continues a long line of public speakers void of practical wisdom.

That we see in ‘Greece financial crisis: EU offers funds in return for urgent reforms‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/mar/20/greece-financial-crisis-eu-offers-funds-in-return-for-urgent-reforms). You see, this Alexis Tsipras has been in office almost 2 months now and as we can read in the article, he has nothing to show for it. He was supposed to show reform, he now has 10 days and the photo as printed shows away hiding his mouth behind his first. Is it agony, frustration, defiance? Is it all just theatre? The BBC with ‘Greece to draft new reform plan within days – EU leaders‘ (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31963952), which shows a ‘smiling’ Tsipras with the quote “Greece has agreed to come up with a new reform plan within days to secure the additional bailout funds required to prevent bankruptcy“, read those words carefully. It does not state, ‘will finalise’, or ‘will complete the current draft’, it states ‘to come up with a new reform plan’. So when we see the quote “I think that all the sides confirmed their intention to try to do their best to overcome the difficulties of the Greek economy as soon as possible“, I feel slightly miffed. You see Tsipras is all about the blame game. In one part, he has every right to be so, because the mess was not initially of his making. He did get into the elections as he saw he could ‘play’ the voters and now it is crunch time, he cannot deliver, because whatever defiant act he will attempt will cost the people of Greece dearly. As I see it, he’ll end up doing exactly what Antonis Samaras was doing, I wonder if that constitutes election fraud? Promising something, not doing it and doing what the opposition was doing all along. As I saw it (yes, a personal view), Antonis Samaras was a fine politician trying to decently play a really crappy hand that he got dealt. You see, in this regard, none of them have done anything  about holding to response the previous administrations that tailored the deal, that spend money an entire next generation did not have, not to mention the artful tax dodgers, none of that was as I see it done! I reckon that Tsipras would only have to arrest Kostas Vaxevanis to show that he is no better than any of the other previously elected politicians.

You see my emotion here is because I love Greece (Specifically Crete), I feel pain as I see that it is driven into the ground by elected officials, it is largely done so through inactions, which makes it even worse. It is sloth in its most profound form, not just spiritual and emotional apathy, it is done through additional decisive inaction. A form of treason of the worst kind. Almost like the captain of a ship who now INTENTIONALLY goes towards an iceberg expecting the iceberg to get out of the way. It reminds me of an advertisement where the captain of a cruiser (USS Montana) who decided to play chicken with a lighthouse (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYsdUgEgJrY), yet in this case it is not a person being handed ‘incomplete’ or ‘incorrect’ information. In this case we all know the object in front of the good ship Hellenic Republic and its captain(s) have not taken the measures they should have. This is how the news is reading to me. What should have been done is a list of continuing meetings non-stop with all parties. The Greeks were given a play, theatre of a mediocre level and soon they will not be left with any options. As I personally see it, politics of its very worst kind.

All this now reflects in a bad way, especially if we take the word of the NOS (Dutch News). Here we see “‘De verwachting was dat het goed zou komen’, zegt de Rabobank-econoom. ‘Maar het probleem is dat de Grieken steeds hun beloftes breken. Ze proberen steeds opnieuw over de voorwaarden te onderhandelen’” “‘The expectations were that everything would be fine’ said the Rabobank economist, ‘but the problem is that the Greeks break their promises and then try to renegotiate their deal again and again’{translated}” as well as “We zijn wel gewend van de Europese politiek dat oplossingen pas gevonden worden als we bijna in de afgrond stappen” “We are used that European politics will find a solution as we are about to step into the abyss {translated}”.

This all directly reflects back to the days of the SNS-bank debacle ‘too big to fail‘. It seems that Tsipras is taking the ‘let’s take this over the abyss, so I can blame someone else‘ approach. Not the most subtle path of the blame game, but a blame game tactic none the less. When did we see any serious step to address reform from Greece? It seems to me that the ‘let’s be nice one more time to Greece‘ is counted upon, yet no clear and decisive act from the Greek elected officials is coming. So as the possible mark of bankrupt is looming no more than 2 weeks away, did the Greek population consider that if the government is out of money, how much money is actually available at a bank? When the run on the bank starts, how quickly are those coffers empty and where will the people get cash to pay for the average need like food, water and electricity?

That part seems not addressed in any way!

Actually it is (at http://www.afr.com/news/world/greek-coffers-running-on-empty-bring-accident-threat-closer-20150320-1m3nym), the Australian Financial Review is not the only Financial Review paper, so there will be more, but for the most, we see little about this little part: “While Mr Tsipras isn’t saying what’s left in the bank, he acknowledges Greece is facing ‘liquidity pressure’. The country’s cash shortfall is projected to hit 3.5 billion euros in March“. So even if that part might be ‘virtual’ to some extent, how much money is actually available to banks? That part might be seen when we consider “The Bank of Greece has plugged cash shortfalls by tapping the reserves of other public sector entities, including pension funds, hospitals, and universities“, as well as “The Bank of Greece and the European Central Bank won’t report official cash outflows for January until the end of the month. But sources in the Greek banking sector have told Greek newspapers that as much as 25 billion euros (US $28.4 billion) have left Greek banks since the end of December“, which comes from http://www.cnbc.com/id/102439432. So in two weeks, how will things get paid for?

That is a question Greeks (the population at large) should be asking, because when the money is gone, how will they address the bills with the cash of their savings whilst the banks had pushed them in possible other none profit making endeavours? At least, if things really collapse, we can always opt ‘at least it was due to a radical left vision’, in the past (read 70’s), the radical left visions gave way in Italy to Brigate Rosse and in Germany to the Rote Armee Fraktion. Their economy was never this desperate, so I wonder what the Greeks will come up with, I am however sure that it will be blamed on the Germans (again).

In my view, I wonder, was I correct two years ago? Could an independent Crete have created at least a partial economic growth? Would Crete have been better off in a state of independence? I do not proclaim to have the evidence, but I feel that my feeling back then was spot on. Now the rest of Greece could drag down this island against their will.

It seems very unfair, but then in the politics of Tsipras (and that of politicians at large), fairness never had anything to do with it.

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Dante’s Greek tragedy

There are two issues currently in play, one is a local one that gives all kinds of ‘human rights’ vibes and I will get to that in the next instance. This one is all about Greece. There are more than two views. The first view is the one we see in the Guardian. The title “’Talk less and do more’, Greek PM urges finance minister Yanis Varoufakis” (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/08/talk-less-and-do-more-greek-pm-urges-finance-minister-yanis-varoufakis), seems apt, but the Greek PM needs to realise that he wanted a rock star, the visibility, the game. Did he forget that he needs to SHOW results? Guess what, I reckon that he did just that, because after the victory speech, when he needs to get the ball going, the Greek people might start to catch on that the only decent path Alexis Tsipras has is the one that Antonis Samaras had been on in the first place. The second story comes from the BBC called “Greece told to ‘stop wasting time’ over debt deal” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31793145), the two important quotes are “European creditors want to approve a detailed list of reforms before they release any loans to Greece” and “But, so far, Greece has only outlined a broad range of intended changes“.

This links back to the event where a ‘rock star’ is the Greek governments CFO.

The Dutch news (NOS) gives us “Grieken uiterlijk woensdag in gesprek met trojka”, meaning that the Greeks will talk to troika (IMF, EEC and the ECB) within the next 48 hours. Here is as I see it, where the ‘rock star’ will have to ‘earn’ his keep. You see, whatever deal the current government wants to achieve, if they do not make actual commitments, the money ends, Grexit becomes a reality and the Greek way of life will be the first civilisation that became extinct twice. It’s a whole new world!

Still, we must all realise and accept that Grexit is an extreme, one that bankers on a global level are trying to prevent as the consequences for many players will become the realisation that the Dutch SNS bank faced. When the idea ‘too big to fail‘ is replaced with ‘screw that, you’re done!‘ we see another mesh of consequences.

There is another side to all this. If we look at several sources, in this case the quote comes from Al Jazeera we see: “Varoufakis said in an interview to Italy’s Corriere de la Sera newspaper that if the creditors do not eventually approve the reforms, his government could call new elections or a referendum“, which get us to the wasting time part. You see, reforms were ALWAYS at the centre of it all and as such, from the moment they got elected, it was up to Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis to lock themselves up in their office and work on actual possible solutions, even though in my mind, that path was (even though too harshly) walked by Antonis Samaras. You see, in all this, the non taxation, the Greeks with Swiss bank accounts and the lowering of revenue as a whole was the issue no one was willing to address at any time. Add to that previous irresponsible players with bond billions leaving repayment to the successors of government had no solution ever. It all viewed like an episode of comedy capers with the people at large taking the word of a junkie stating ‘trust me’, whilst the junk pointed at a highly mobile fence stating ‘he’ll check the numbers next week’ then the masses at large are surprised that the fence moved on, the junkie partied to death and no one is willing to foot the bill. And this seems to be a government based view.

At the heart is the fact that Greece could be seen as stumbling towards her end directly through inaction. Whilst plans could be presented in 48 hours, what happens when that is accepted and 94 days later a referendum rejects those? What then? Are we held to a new version of the Divine Comedy by Dantris Alighierakis in three parts, EEC, ECB and IMF? EEC is the part that could give us:

Greece enters the realm of indecisiveness

  • Here, the economists sigh as well, but not nearly as loudly or painfully as the tax payers
  • Suddenly, Greece sees a fire break up the darkness. The fire is the glow of a luminous castle and Jeroen Dijsselbloem is there.

And Greece enters the circle of Desire

  • She’s Pheme, a Greek girl and, in terms of blood, something like a princess. During her life, she was forced into a loveless political marriage. However, she fell in love with her husband’s younger brother and had an affair with his credit card. When the husband discovered her spending spree, he foreclosed them both, but ignored the unpaid invoices.
  • Greek, stirred to the deepest fibres of its soul stirred to the extreme by their emotion, sleeps it off and ignores it

And Greece enter the circle of Hunger

  • Greece incites political strife between the EEC and IMF. First the EEC will win a battle and drive the IMF out. But then the IMF will return with the help of the ECB and crushes the EEC, eventually driving many of them into destitution and deadly depression. Greece rallies as the other parties ignore reason so that Greece can continue “spending, ignoring and inaction”

I can go on but I might get way to close to replacing comic banter with plagiarism here, the message is clear, as we see the unfolding of another Greek tragedy, the people will be caught in the middle by inactive politicians, as they rely on their comfortable futures from those they need to deal with and a theatre is evolving where those getting the money are playing a game where the Greek people are left out in the cold. I wonder if Dante Alighieri ever envisioned that his epic work could end up being a metaphor for reality, I feel certain he did not.

Yet, as we look at the elements, will a serious deal be struck? Politicians must remain positive, but between the proposed plan and the actual implementation of it, years will pass, which means that money will be released on an academic whim that might not ever have been a reality. So are we watching the news, or are we watching a newscast presenting an episode of the Punch and Judy show?

This is at the heart of the matter. It also strikes on the next article that takes a harsh look on Human rights, refugees and the UN no less. Because we see the glittering neon presentation on how certain nations are ‘inhumane’, but those making the allegations (living on 6 figure incomes and higher) are very aware that the drive that propels forward humanitarian causes is defiled by the bulk of large corporations that have achieved non taxed status, which means that the coffers of governments are no longer able to foot bills. This links to Greece again as certain implied allegations (at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/03/greece-outlines-radical-immigration-reforms-150302083444990.html), now we see the quote “Within Greece, Syriza intends to provide alternatives to detention to tens of thousands of asylum seekers and refugees, such as open shelters, assisted voluntary returns, and integration programmes“, the reality is that there is no viable way to get integration programs started, in addition, the Greek unemployment rate is around 25%, so one in four is without a job, so how do you think an integration program will work? Greece had to act on many levels to their ‘immigration’ process, whilst they all know that these people would go on towards ‘wealthier’ and ‘healthier’ waters, like Italy and Western Europe, see Reuters video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC12vbuWKds), so as there is a report of change towards ‘open’ reception places, where do you think these undocumented people will go to after they have been there for a day or two (catching their breath). This part is all innuendo, but that is at the core. We understand that we need facts, but as we see another Reuters article (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/10/us-eurozone-greece-varoufakis-idUSKBN0M60MN20150310), where we see the title ‘Varoufakis unsettles Germans with admission Greece won’t repay debts‘ with the quotes ““Clever people in Brussels, in Frankfurt and in Berlin knew back in May 2010 that Greece would never pay back its debts. But they acted as if Greece wasn’t bankrupt, as if it just didn’t have enough liquid funds,” Varoufakis told the documentary”, with the added quote “It was unclear when the program was recorded“. Really? Are you the reader that dim, to believe that little line?

Any digital recording has properties, like ‘date filmed’ and ‘last date edited’ as well as who filmed it and so on. They are known as Meta tags, and now we see a lack of clarity in facts? This article less than 6 hours old is nothing less than an introduction to a dance of letting Greece (partially) off the hook, with the possibility that Jeroen Dijsselbloem end up eating some humble pie in public on failing to resolve the Greek ‘issue’. No one wants to hold Greece to account at present (least of all Greece) and all this is a new iteration for those on high incomes to remain to keep the status quo a little longer. The article was written by Madeline Chambers, most important it was edited by Noah Barkin. I am curious to what EXACTLY was edited, what will become part of a managed bad news cycle this time? I get that Reuters will wait for actual facts, as they are a news agency, so as such, the editing might be extremely valid. What is also a fact is that the truth is that less clever people were also aware that Greece could never pay its debt, but what is not acceptable is that we see a European rock tour by Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis whilst the newly elected government is another one that could end up being the next one in a line of several elected Greek governments that end up never doing anything serious to tackle a failed Greek tax collection system, a failure that has been around for way too long now.

 

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Double standards, no resolve (part 1)

This is at the heart of two matters that are at play. The mere notion that change will do anything definite is just a laughing matter. Yet, it is not laughter at the people trying to do this; it is about the next two cogs of grinding that will halt it all. The first issue is Greece. There had been little doubt on Alexis Tsipras winning this, I was holding my breath in favour of Antonis Samaras winning, but it was never overly realistic. The problem is what will happen now. The direct issue is that none have been able to deal with Greek corruption in any way, shape or form. The fact that Kostas Vaxevanis and not those dodging Greek taxation ended up in a courtroom in 2013 is still additional cause for concern. Can we agree that as Greece has not been able to do ANYTHING about the mounting debts from 2009 onwards, a massive change must be made! It goes hand in hand with the quote we see in the Guardian “Priti Patel, Conservative MP in Westminster, just told Sky News that Greece’s economic problems are “a stark reminder that we should never join the euro”“, I will take it one step further, if Alexis Tsipras is not massively careful on what he does next, the downward curve (curve, not spiral) of the Euro will only fuel both British UKIP and French Front Nationale even further, it could also force the German people to feel pressure to leave the Euro in a failing attempt to bolster their diminished fortunes. It is a failing notion because no matter what happens next, those under the Euro will take a hard hit over the next 2 weeks, whatever bolstering will happen, it will only aid the super wealthy and only short term as they recap their non-tied down wealth as I personally see it.

The biggest issue remains corruption and tax evasion in Greece, no matter who comes next, without dealing with those two elements is simply selling a fairy tail (pun intended) to the Greek voters. This is at the heart of Zoe Williams piece that I disagree with (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/25/syriza-uk-left-labour), the title is already a bit of an issue for me ‘Syriza stood up to the money men – the UK left must do the same‘, which money men are you referring to Zoe? The artful tax dodgers, who are partly to blame for the entire mess, yet no one has the cajones (or any jurisprudential power) to actually prosecute? Or are they the people holding the debts? Let’s not forget that governments got ‘assistance’ under the strict rule of austerity, a promise never kept, because none of these politicians will do anything about them Greek artful tax dodgers.

There is also another side, the fact that less than 2100 Greeks have this much money in unpaid tax debts seems simply ludicrous to me (the Kostas Vaxevanis list of 2100 naughty Greeks), so I wonder how much spending should have been cut for over half a decade, so again we get to Alexis Tsipras, who would need to cut massive spending, for the mere reason that there is no money coming into the coffers. Yet, within the article Zoe wrote, there is a gem, it is out there in the open and it has been there for a long time: “Ukip is often saying something similar to the Greens: business interests aren’t everything. That’s a reality that the majority feels, but that you never hear described; that’s how the Greens overtook the Liberal Democrats, while all eyes were on Ukip“, when we see ‘business interests aren’t everything‘ we need to realise that this is not just corporate greed, it is a majority of corporate greed signs that have been rampant on a global scale. The issue of a 15% board of director’s wealth growth in a 2% margin world; how was that ever a sustainable situation? It is also the deadly option Alexis Tsipras might opt for. As Greece becomes a possible tax shelter ‘for a fee’, to allow for closed bank account details under limited donation of revenue (all for the people approach) where we see the next waves. Global corporations will love the coming step (if it happens), a non-accountable 0.3% tax account, each coming with its own island. It will anger the American IRS (and State Department) to no extent, it will drive the IMF into entirely new problems and the rest of Europe will see a shift of fund flows. This is all assumption (read speculation) on my side, but it could work for Greece, for a very short time. I reckon that this step, if taken, might have one massive obstacle, that would be assuring that another Kostas Vaxevanis list never surfaces, so when you see any announcement on the new Apple iOlympian or the new Google Nexus ‘Theíos’, then you know that Greece will be embracing new tax free shores. The question now is not, what is the solution, but what options are actually open?

We can accept the statement from Professor Christopher Pissarides from the London School of Economics “Greece’s debt pile is simply too high for the country to return to growth and services its borrowing”, in addition, we can accept the words of Yanis Varoufakis MP “Grexit is not on the cards, we will not go to Brussels in a spirit of confrontation. There is plenty of room for mutual benefit”, this all sounds fine, but if no one is actually actively dealing with the list of 2100 of Kostas Vaxevanis you tend to not have that many options, which means you need a decently strict austerity regime, the one issue that got them elected by disposing of.

What is the option of change?

Well, with my law education, I do have another path for Greece, yet, it is an uneven path, but it could be a long term salvation if it works. Now, feel free to object to the notion and if you are a law professional, than those remarks will be met with my personal investigation. So here is the premise!

Issue: The levels of corruption within Greece are beyond several layers of acceptability. We all acknowledge, that any nation will have a level of corruption, however, what can be done to stem the tide in a novel way.

Solution: As the current legal system is in such disarray, the mess will evolve from bad to worse. We might state that it had gone from worse to unsustainable, so what if we change the premise altogether? What if the new Greece will implement a new legal system from a common law system? Instead of making their civil law more draconian, with of course the added danger of more loop holes, what if Greece evolved into a Common Law nation? It will still be based upon Greek constitution and Greek values, but will come with a few centuries of English jurisprudential evolution. The benefit is that it does not need to happen overnight, but can be structured to deal with the tax laws and criminal law (corruption, fraud and such) first. You see, if there is no faith in the Greek courts, would it not make sense to evolve the justice system (this is a choice of words; this does not indicate that a civil law system is less evolved than a common law system).

It seems that the evolving flexibility of common law is exactly what Greece needs, no matter how good the law is regarded now in Greece; it has failed a nation and its people. This is at the unspoken heart of several issues. There is ample concern on such changes too; the big issue is that no matter how the Greeks feel at present, there is enough concern that Alexis Tsipras is not the new hope, he will be their last hope, because if no solution grows now, Greece will be finished, that much is clear. The reported word from several nations, in many publications is all about reforms. Greek journalist Nick Malkoutzis from the Kathimerini English Edition stated today “Syriza’s top priority should be to reform the justice system, the civil service and the tax-collection operations, to show Eurozone allies he is serious”. He is one of many voices stating issues in this direction. Yet, reforming a justice system is also wrought with the dangers they get when new legislation is passed. It sounds good in theory, but such reforms tend to be time consuming ones and that is one element Greece no longer has. It has been sustaining on borrowed time too long and those holding the debt papers are out of patience (loss of profit will do that to these people). So will common law be good or bad for Greece? I personally do not know, but the current system is not working and so far, the failed system has not been overhauled or tested since the 2009 collapse, which makes the issue more pressing, so as Alexis Tsipras claims it is turning a page, will it be for better or for a lot worse for Greece and for the Greek people. Only time will tell.

 

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