Tag Archives: SYRIZA

A Greek Fatality

Greece is in a dubious place. On one side it is trying to advertise the appeal to invest in Greece, whilst on the other side it is trying to emphasize that discussions with Turkey and its ascension into the EU must continue. We might go with what we see in the AFP, yet there with “ending Turkey’s accession talks would be a strategic mistake that would maybe benefit only for Erdogan“; Turkey merely ended their own options. The rules were clear, you either adhere to certain standards, or you are not invited. The fact that others must give Turkey the umpteenth chance merely shows how desperate the EU has become. So when we see “Turkey is an important regional power and should remain engaged, added Tsipras, but also called on Turkey to respect international law and stop provocations“, we need to remind Alexis Tsipras that he is in not such a great place, so fathering solutions for optional investments into Greece is a slightly too dangerous a game to play. France is in a similar place. With “French President Emmanuel Macron said Turkey remained a vital partner of the European Union and ties should be maintained even if the country had strayed from the EU path, according to a newspaper interview published on Thursday” we see a President Macron that is becoming merely a facilitator for economic exploitation. Perhaps both need to learn the little lesson that many have voiced. “If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for anything“, it is a shallow and sad inheritance that the EU is leaving behind. A place that was high and mighty in what they call morals, whilst they are all about big business exploitation. The entire Turkey endeavour is partial evidence of that. The ignore through inclusion or else, whilst the current members cannot maintain their budgets, have no control over the expedient spending and the EU in dozens of trillions of debt, add to that an ECB that prints unsupported billions per month and we get a very dangerous situation. Reuters gives us in addition with “France’s Macron, a centrist, was elected in May on a pro-EU platform that included pledges to create a euro zone budget that would be voted through by a euro zone parliament and supervised by a euro zone finance minister” we are merely treated to a fantasy, a fairy tale that will not result in any budget, merely less transparency and more spending. It is also a first step to get the ECB with two years of utter irresponsibility of the hook. With “Stournaras said the euro zone should be strengthened because the ECB cannot be the single institution responsible for ensuring the euro zone’s stability nor can it maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy forever” Reuters is treating us to the first whiffs that the ECB plan has failed. It wants some level of contingency whilst not willing to throw the utterly overpaid ECB members in some prison until their flesh rots and their bones have bleached to something that reminds us of the colour white. It is merely a sham, set to get two more issues on the table. The overspending of Greece on the bond market, which will set the Greeks in another setting, which will bring certain facilitators dozens of millions in some bonus and nothing more than that, no solutions or gain towards any solution at all. This whilst adding Turkey to a field of players that we have been very outspoken against. Unless Turkey adheres to some minimum level of standards, levels that have not been met 16 fold, should be barred from the EU table. A collection of nations trying not to see that the game ended, they lost and they are not willing to face consequences. The good side is that as Brexit continues, every continued achievement within the UK will mean that France and Germany will face levels of what might become civil revolt against the hardships the people there will face and the politicians who placed them there sooner and sooner. You see, there are a growing amount of articles regarding the Germans and their new class of working poor. I think it is a little exaggerated, but the truth is not far from there. The US has a growing group of people working two jobs merely to make ends meet, for the most they are barely above the poverty line. Yes, that is right, two full time jobs merely to stay barely above poverty. The nations that is claiming to be in such good economic growth is handling it’s one percent by making sure that the disabling of the lower 40% is growing at a steady pass. The numbers are not that harsh yet, but for the most, that group has not seen clear quality of life improvements for well over a decade and Germany is slowly going into that very same direction. In Germany the poverty group grew by 0.5% in one year. As the news is hiding behind ‘new tools’ and reports, the Financial Times gives us: “I survive but I cannot live,” says Doris, a 71-year-old retired nurse, in the former German coal mining town of Gelsenkirchen. “I have no money to go to the ballet, or even €10 for the cinema. But what really eats me up is that I can’t afford to give presents to my grandchildren” (at https://www.ft.com/content/db8e0b28-7ec3-11e7-9108-edda0bcbc928), it is more than merely a story, or merely a small anecdote. It is the growing concern of many Germans and the rest of the EU is pushing the events under a large carpet, but under that carpet are more and more issues that are becoming visible. Even as jobless rates are going down, poverty rises. As the EU is not giving rise to the dangers that exploitative models like the ‘Uber show’ (and other players like that), we see a growing trend towards legalised slavery. In this Germany is following the trend of the USA, where the bottom 40% of these ‘earners’ have nothing left, no savings, no assets and no future to speak of. In this, the EU has become the one party to ignore its local members to degrees never seen before. So as we laugh loudly at the non-sincerity of people like Mario Draghi, we need to be aware that extremism towards the right is almost a given in whatever comes forward in the next wave of elections.

It is the gap between rich and poor that is becoming the next danger. You see, it surpassed 20% by a fair bit in Germany and only in France is this difference larger, so as President Macron is not able to turn the tide on all the plans he made, we see that the dangers many tried to prevent with quick BS schemes are now at the turning point of blowing up in the faces of all who played this game. Now, we can agree or disagree whether Marine Le Pen would have been the solution, I personally do not think she could have made any better switch, what is an absolute given is that whatever comes next is not going to be that simple. And as more are screaming some ‘balanced’ none ultra-right change, the very real danger is that these speakers will no longer be heard or regarded as some option. In this the Financial Times will soon show how the poor side of the equation will no longer be contributing to the economy, because of health and mere minimum standards. The Greek fatality will come to show us all what happens when non-equality and non-accountability will destroy entire generations as well as any economic options that might have been, merely because greed and exploitation was given too much leeway. A first step in this was shown last week in Greece with “especially the IMF – to push through liberalization as an ingredient for jump-starting the country“, this however is the danger as we see “A five-point agreement, dating to the summer of 2015, between social partners and employers’ groups is already in place, with the highlight being that the specific law (1264/1982) should be modernized, especially in order to preclude “practices of poor implementation”. Conversely, the agreement does not dispute workers’ right to strike and constitutionally protected union activity“, these poor implementations are optionally the dangers to the fact that workers will lose even more rights than they bargained for. As the ECB is about to ‘attack‘ protectionism, we will see a growing amount of ‘entrepreneurial’ options like Uber, that will leave people with a presentation and no reality in a protected way of life. And I mean a certain minimum level where workers should have some protection from exploitation, which is not about to happen. We might agree that Uber was a nice idea, yet when we see that passengers are not insured, that is merely the tip of the iceberg and I am merely looking at drivers that have the best intentions and merely want to make some cash for their family. They are getting less and less; they have to agree to almost insane conditions. Even as we see and agree that Wired and the BBC are giving us an extreme with “London’s latest cut-price Uber rival is being investigated by TfL“, do you think that this is merely one case and the end of it? So as this Taxify is merely one player, hiding behind “it would “always” have lower fares than Uber“, how long until it becomes a wild west? Even as it is stopped operations in London, it is active in 18 countries. So how are they looked at there? How many are part of the EU and how is this so called one EU in any way ready for Wild West companies to make a quick coin and get out after the damage is done? It is that level of failure that we will see in Germany, France and Italy. So as the large three need to find solutions, the quality of life goes straight into the basement and what is left cannot continue. That was the danger from the beginning and the EU and its political branch as it fails yet again. But nobody cares because Draghi and Yellen will blame protectionism and leave the rest to rot (for lack of a better example) as they enjoy 8 figure incomes. It will not hit them.

We can agree that there will be entrepreneurial events, some will find the golden goose others missed and that is fine, but at present as protectionism is low, as poverty is rising whilst there is a diminishing unemployment group, we need to wonder how the EU has failed its Europeans and whilst it will find a deal to remove mere values towards Turkey and tries to facilitate for more markets we see that there is very little left of this so called Economic European bloc of areas. Brexit came slightly too late but it might still be on time to keep British values up and growing, when that is shown France and Germany will run for the nearest exit. That is not a speculation, it is an absolute given, because soon enough the one percent who has had the media at their back, will not have any backing from a group that needs to stay alive and out of the hands of millions upon millions of angry people, people that will demand local solutions from people who can no longer give those solutions, or even give rise to the existence of those solutions. When that happens, Europe will not be a nice place to be for some time. Should you doubt this (always a valid option) that consider that Italy one of the 4 largest economic nations in the EU now has over 1 in 4 in the South of Italy that is in poverty, nationwide it is at 7.6%, the largest since 2005. So as some are in denial, the numbers do not lie and they are growing at an alarming rate, so even as we see news of a stabilised economy, we see that poverty is basically through the roof. Yet Draghi is not held to any of those standards, he keeps on printing money, 60 billion a month, leaving the poverty groups fending for themselves as they are growing. A clear warning that the Greek situation should have given the EU politicians, they basically all ignored it, because they had a PowerPoint presentation stating that it was not so.

The Greek fatality that is soon on our doorstep will force a new way of thinking. Not merely to the creditors, but to hold those in office accountable and prosecutable. The nice part is that in the largest 4 economic EU nations there would be enough votes to push that change, I wonder how many people will reside in EU politics the moment that shift happens. I wonder how the employment contracts change overnight before the legislative change comes through. The last is speculative from my side, but the evidence we have seen so far supports my worst fears.

Bloomberg partially confirms this. With “Eldorado Gold is the largest foreign investor in Greece and its decision comes as the country, which is working on creating a sustainable path to exit its bailout program, tries to lure foreign investments”, yet with ‘delays in acquiring routine permits’ we see that in the years that Syriza has been in power, the simplest parts of infrastructure arte not in place. We see (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-11/eldorado-s-greek-suspension-threatens-country-s-investment-image) that the government is failing in more than one way. With “I’ve been with Eldorado since February and CEO for five months and I haven’t had any hostility from the government, but just haven’t seen progress on permits”, we need to ask serious questions regarding dropping oversight from Greece, whether the Greeks should be allowed on the bonds market at all. You see, if you allure investment without infrastructure, you have nothing. That is the short and sweet of it all and the players in this debacle are talking a lot and not doing anything. Tsipras did not merely fumbled the ball, he forgot that he is on a playing field, he forgot about the dimensions of this field, he forgot about the referee in this and we now see that he is not aware on the rules of the game to participate. A failing on four fronts in one go, in this they claim to be ready without oversight on creditors? Who are you kidding here?

In this we see even more failings from the ECB and the EU, because in the oversight of the funds given to Greece, we see that there was no proper setting for even the largest investors, giving us the clear path that the EU failed even more because they had to be on par with all this. If not, they have given up their right to existence in all this. They could be regarded as the useless pegs that hold up the virtual tent, a tent that only exists in the minds of the Greek governing party and as such, as the tent is a virtual and exists in only their minds, the pegs would actually be redundant. It sounds harsh, but that is the clear evidence that Bloomberg is giving us. So as we now see ‘Shares in Eldorado have fallen 52 percent in the past year and were trading down 6.5 percent at 09:44 am local time in Toronto’, we can argue that Greece and the Greek government might be regarded as liable for a lot more than they anticipated. As such, what other projects would fail and what will the fallout be from these losses? Jobs, income, visibility as well economic progress, all lost in an instant because the Greeks were not ready to commit. It is a Greek fatality with more casualties than most realise and more will come to the view of others. Even as Reuters gives us that the IMF should commit towards Greece, we now see that such a step is ill advised. Why pour money into anything that will not take the issues serious. Did Greece really think that leaving their largest investor hanging for well over a year would constitute any solution? As such Greece is merely the first, France and Italy have other issues and equal worries, the fact that the EU never clearly looked at certain aspects in Greece gives everyone the worry what else did they not look at, or basically ignore. As such, is Greece merely the first visible fatality? Will we see new references towards Greece? The Greek play could now refer to a version of ‘theatrics‘ as well as a version of ‘doomed economic presentation‘. I will let the English language experts look at that one (just to keep them busy).

 

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Feeding hungry wolves

You might think that this is another attempt to quell the hunger of paparazzi, which is always a dilemma we people face (famous people more often). They want their pound of flesh and they will have it. So when I stumbles upon ‘Greece crisis: Yanis Varoufakis admits ‘contingency plan’ for euro exit‘ this morning, I knew that a roasting would be in order. The article (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/27/greece-crisis-yanis-varoufakis-admits-contingency-plan-for-euro-exit). So when I read “The plan was denounced by Greek opposition parties, which in recent weeks have called for Varoufakis to be put on trial for treason” I knew I was onto something, in addition there is “the scheme was “reminiscent of a bad thriller.” The main opposition New Democracy party demanded that the government “come up with convincing answers for the Greek people … so that light can be shed on this dark narrative.”“. Now you know me, I consider Yanis Varoufakis to be a bit of a rock star (not a good one) and he played the limelight wrong, but in this case I am on HIS side.

How stupid can the Greeks get?

It was the job of Yanis Varoufakis to protect the financial future of Greece, because of the mistakes by the Greeks themselves, they are in a boatload of hurt and they will be in that position for three generations, that is, as long as they keep austerity. This is not something that was started by Yanis Varoufakis or Alexis Tsipras for that matter, they mismanaged an inherited bad situation. So in light of those accusing him of treason, I call them ‘the worst bloody idiots in the history of Greece!’ They get to live with that title for both this version of Greece as well as dethroning the idiots of ancient Greece because these people have just truly outdone themselves!

And as for these people who are shouting treason, why do we not hear that in regard of the following names? Yiannos Papantoniou and Nikos Christodoulakis former ministers of Finance as well as Konstantinos Simitis and Kostas Karamanlis both former prime ministers. Did they all conveniently forget that the found mismanaged budgets which they hid from the people of Greece and Goldman Sachs was eager to help them for the money it brought them? Yes, you all forgot about them didn’t you?

Now in addition we need to mention Christoforos Sardelis, former head of Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency, when we learn from the Business Insider “the loan was so confusing that even the Greece government had trouble understanding it and thought it was much cheaper than it actually was” (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-secret-goldman-sachs-greece-deal-thats-described-as-a-very-sexy-story-between-two-sinners-2012-3), so Greece, let’s call it Monkey Mountain for now, gave the keys of what they no longer owned to the ‘Top Banana’ in all this (Christoforos Sardelis), to do something none of them understood, how is that not trialed in a Greek court? So after shaking hands smiles and autographs, Greece was due payment of 600 million euros ($793 million) more than the 2.8 billion euros it borrowed.

That comes down to almost 20%! I’ve had a 50% better rate on my Credit Card!

So, when I see the accusation towards Yanis Varoufakis, which was in my view the wrong man, at least he did what he did for ideological reasons (as far as I can tell), his focus was Greece! I never stated anything to the contrary in any of my articles!

In this path, there are still a few issues that are an issue, yet, let’s not forget that this was a plan conceived in the 11th hour as the dangers were very considerable that Greece could be cast out of the Euro (even though that was technically a legal impossibility). ““We were planning to create, surreptitiously, reserve accounts attached to every tax file number, without telling anyone, just to have this system in a function under wraps,” he says, adding that he had appointed a childhood friend to help him carry out the plan. “We were ready to get the green light from the PM when the banks closed”“, I understand the logic attached to this, but in that way, it also meant that the tax dodgers would have had an escape plan, in addition, the Greek 2047 Swiss Accounts (roughly) could walk away scot free, which is not entirely on the up an up here. Yet in the bulk of it all it was the millions of Greeks Yanis tried to protect (I hope), so explain to my how this was treason? The added fact that we see ‘We were ready to get the green light from the PM’ implies that it was based on government structure, so again, how is this treason?

So when we read the Tweet Yanis gave “So, I was going to ‘hijack’ Greek citizens’ tax numbers? Impressed by my defamers’ imagination”, I would tend to agree, because a step like that is impossible without both the tax system and every bank involved to open the doors to their system. It is not imagination, in my view it is basically a technical impossibility, because that many transfers would light the European financial system up like a Christmas tree, Yanis would literally have no place to run or too, or to hide for that matter.

There is one part I disagree with. The quote “Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza party is not only divided but bears little resemblance to the one he was catapulted into office with in January”. You see, Japan only had itself to blame, Tsipras is partially accountable, yet the debt, the massive result from a decade of mismanaged debt and a mismanaged tax system that spans decades, that part was inherited, they can look at previous national rulers, spokespersons and economic managers for that.

So, let’s remove the title ‘Monkey Mountain’ (now that the Top Banana has gone to sunny, luxurious Italy) and focus on Greece! You see Greece will be in a bad place for a very long time to come, it refuses to go after those who truly pushed Greece into generations of bad times. As the Greek population will have to settle for hunger and poverty, other players like Christoforos Sardelis, who is as far as I can tell at present, living in decent luxury in Italy where he works for Banca IMI, the investment banking unit of Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo. The Greeks are looking in all the wrong places. Hiding the debt was not done by one person, it took several officials, the swap was really stupid but not illegal (Goldman Sachs does not do illegal things, it is very clever in making other people do stupid things). The issue is not yesterday, it is today and tomorrow. Greece needs to wake up and reform a system that cannot deal with the elements of today’s economy, the fact that Greece needs 86 billion just to make it to 2017 is clear evidence of that, the fact that it takes three generations to get the debt into focus is evidence of that and it will only work if debt relief is granted. Greece is no longer able to survive in the current climate, a fact that has been known for a long time and it had to be acted upon a long time before yesterday, but it was not. In all this the Greeks are now blaming the one person who (even though wrongly) tried to get a better deal for the Greeks, who tried any option to at least try to avoid that retirees would have ended up with 1 drachma to the Euro, because that would have been the result from ejection from the Euro (if the EEC could have pulled that off legally). So yes, I have hammered on Yanis Varoufakis (and Alexis Tsipras) in my previous blogs. In this case, there is an utter failure in my view to see where he acted wrongly.

There is one additional consideration to make. There is every chance that the plan started by Yanis Varoufakis needs to stay on hand, it might need almost immediate evolution and preparation should not seize. You see Greece is and remains the tinderbox for events that have been playing for a lot longer than anyone cares to ‘remember’. We might bash on certain Greeks (names I mentioned here), but Greece was not alone. Italy had done a similar thing. Now as both France and Italy represent 5 trillion in debt and the UK close to 1.8 trillion, the current status is that both France and the UK are still in a place where they could voluntarily leave the Euro. France is the initial ‘problem’ because what has been ignored for 2 years, what I feared would come is now almost a reality. At present Marine Le Pen is sitting on close to 40% of the prospective votes for the 2017 presidency, if she wins the Mayoral election of Calais (which is presently almost a certainty) and if she can achieve any decent improvement for Calais, the reality of her making a landslide victory in 2017 would become a mere matter of fact, in that light in 2017, the Socialist Party of François Hollande will face its biggest defeat in French history, they will be ten times worse off than the UK Labour Party currently is, so good luck with that. This is important, because Marine Le Pen could entice French National pride and walk out of the Euro, which would spark a similar thing in the UK at that point. Now we see the part that impacts Greece, when those two walk, Italy will have no option left the Euro will crumble and this plan, this approach by Yanis Varoufakis, this alternative plan would be the only option left for Greece and they would not have any time to implement it. So as ideas go, his alternative was not the worst for the people of Greece and there is a reasonable chance that when the Euro fails, this plan will safe that lives of millions of Greeks. So whomever shouted ‘treason’ against Yanis Varoufakis better be aware that this person himself could end up being roasted when my predictions come to pass.

The wolves are hungry, they want their pound of flesh and those in the game will sell out anyone that no longer seems to be a player in the international economy game.

I cannot and will not support that view!

 

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Wackadoo for a game

The E3 is done, the 2015 San Diego Comic Con is on and I am missing out on all of it this year. Whether it is addiction, compulsion or enslavement. It might be the last one, yet my feelings for Elite: Dangerous are no less than the same feeling I had when I had when the original  on the Commodore 64 was released in 1985. There was one shop who had it on the first day, which meant a 4 hour train ride, two hours there, and two hours nail biting trip back. Yes, it was one hell of a day, but the result was exceeding expectations, the game would be my number one game to play for a very very long time, all because a friend showed it to me on his BBC Micro B one year earlier (1984).

Enslavement is what I have in common with Greece on several levels. Like Greece, I did this to myself, whether my DNA made me desire this videogame more than sex or whether it is just the animation of pretty pictures that move because of my interaction does not matter, it was all me! Now it is so simple to blame David Braben (like calling him ‘Jerry’), but it is me, only me and I very much realize that.

It seems that the press and many others (like Greek Politicians) cannot see that. So I feel miffed when I see ‘The euro ‘family’ has shown it is capable of real cruelty‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/13/euro-family-angela-merkel-greek-bailout) by Suzanne Moore. In January 30th 2013, I wrote ‘Time for another collapse‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/01/30/time-for-another-collapse/). In there I stated “Greece is fighting just about everything from no longer payable debts and unemployment figures to phantoms of their past“, in February 2013 in ‘The Italian menace?‘ I wrote “Politicians are also to blame. For that I would like to mention papers like “Investing in Greece: an Olympic opportunity”. It came from Costas Bakouris in 2001. The thoughts were all fair enough. However, how much came to happen? How much money did come in?” This list goes on and on, I reported on it well over two years ago, no one truly dug into these matters and everyone seems to live by the credo: ‘if Goldman Sachs can hide it and the press does not report on it, it does not exist‘.

Now, the Greek people will get a harsh dose of the consequences of not holding its politicians to account.

Than 22nd January 2014 ‘Cooking the Books?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/01/22/cooking-the-books/), where the quote by Business Week “Europe’s having a bond rally and the PIGS are playing host. Portugal, Ireland, Spain—and even Greece, where Europe’s debt crisis began—are heading back to the bond markets and enjoying their lowest borrowing costs in years, as investors appear reassured that the region’s sickest economies are on the mend” is centre in all this, the part ‘investors appear reassured that the region’s sickest economies are on the mend‘ is the delusion to outrank all other delusions. In all this there is a link of power players promoting one another through unnamed sources. Greece should have known better! And in all this, as I stated before, these power players will sell Greece down the river in a heartbeat, because the fallout of Italy and France would be massively worse (10 times worse). All what we see now is the direct consequence of inaction, inaction for 3 Greek administrations and especially these last 6 months when the Greeks gave faith to what I regard to be a rock star (Varoufakis) and a paper tiger (Tsipras), all this, a mere consequence of inaction.

Was all this inevitable? Yes, personally I believe so, even though I believe that Antonis Samaras was on the right path, yet overall, that path was just prolonging a bad situation that had no long term future path.

In all this the Press is equally to blame, in conjunction with economic forecasters, power players and political whatever you want to call them. They were all about demonising ‘austerity’, it was all about how bad austerity is. The plain, bland and bitter truth is that austerity is nothing more than keeping a proper budget, yet several of the previous parties are ALL ABOUT SPENDING! Which is delusional! Just like I cannot speed up the release of Elite: Dangerous or No Man’s Sky, they cannot write away debts, there will be a consequence.

So when I read “Alexis Tsipras has fought tooth and nail for something resembling the debt restructuring that even the International Monetary Fund acknowledges is needed. The incompetence of a succession of Greek governments and tax evasion within Greece is not in doubt. But the creditors of the euro family knew this as they upped their loans, and must now delude themselves that everything they have done has been for the best” which is nicely written Miss Moore, but the following parts remain an issue “something resembling the debt restructuring” is not even close to a reality unless you keep your spending in order, which has not been done for decades.

It is her last paragraph that bothers me the most “The euro family has been exposed as a loan sharking conglomerate that cares nothing for democracy. This family is abusive. This “bailout”, which will be sold as being a cruel-to-be-kind deal is nothing of the sort. It is simply being cruel to be cruel“, in all this governments are to blame, in all this the press took a back seat to ignore what needed to be done, keep a proper budget, in all this close to ALL EEC nations failed. You see debt, even governmental one needs to be paid back, that part has been ignored for too long. The EEC now has an accumulated debt that is closing in on the size of the US debt. It almost looks like a plan by the banks in global charge to equalise all debts making them in charge of everything. Is that such a large leap? You see the debt only seems to go down in Malta, Czech Republic and Belgium. Belgium is essential because its debt is already too large, but at least they are making a positive change, only them and no one seems bothered about this. As per today they are all bothered with the upcoming consequences, now as Greece has seemingly pulled the bunny out of the hat, we will see changes of another nature, because Marine Le Pen will not let the momentum she can gain from this unanswered issue and as France is down 2.6 trillion, she will now emphasize on the benefit of moving away from the EEC, which heralds future for France, the French product and the all-round future of France. Is she right? I cannot tell as there are a few too many unknown factors here, but beyond Suzanne Moore there is more to see.

For that we need to look at gung-ho go-getter Helena Smith of the Guardian, who writes “It will take years – decades perhaps – for Greeks to get over this crisis. Catastrophe may have been averted, but it comes at the expense of conscious national failure: an overriding recognition that the state formed after the fall of military rule provided 40 years of peace and stability, but has ended in extraordinary ignominy. The promise of unending progress did not occur. Of all the truths that Greeks must now confront, that will be the hardest“, personally she writes well, but the truth is (as I see it), that the Greek issue will take generations, likely 3 of them to get it all under true control, in all this the deadly issue was not changing when it was possible. A hard-line change in 2005 would have made all the difference, now we get the added pain of a decade of spills whilst the economy is down further and more people are unemployed, all factors changing the game.

Helena writes “In return for a third bailout – this time staggered over three years and amounting to €53bn – Greeks essentially have been told to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And that is the good scenario. The alternative – Grexit – would have bypassed purgatory but taken crisis train passengers straight to hell“, even that is not completely on par. Yes Helena is correct, but what she (validly) abstains from, is the part that is depicted by ‘the valley of the shadow of death‘ is a road of reformation of administrative law, criminal law, taxation law and taxation regulation. In addition there will be pension reformation and consumer taxation. If any of these matters are not initially resolved in 18 months, with this I mean proper reformation design from day 1 (tomorrow), not a collection of empty meetings with governmental paid lunches and dinners.

It will take long working weeks (50 hours plus) to make this happen in 18 months and that draft will be decent enough to truly change the tides. If any of these changes are not done by then (so even if they get all but one done), than the Greeks will only have hell to look forward to, the Purgatory station will not be an option at that point. Changes that if Syriza had seriously started talking and started on changing them, the last week would never have happened. In all this there is one other advice the Greeks need to take home, no matter how proud they are, their survival will now depend on changing their family structure.

Let me explain, as time is now too short for those who have an option, the Greeks have one option left to survive (if at all). Consider a family with grandparents, parents and children. We call them iteration 1, 2 and 3. They need to sit down and see where the lowest debt is. If at all possible, make to all debts the minimum payments then, take every coin they have left and place that on the lowest debt. Do not hide behind pride and time and just pay them all. Get rid of them one by one as fast as possible. Banks will all state that this will not work, but they need these people all enslaved. Create safety by removing the first debt, then the second and so on. As the debts fall away, so does the interest, Greeks need to make momentum and the banks are ALL about longevity. They will twist, spin and make all kinds of brazen projections, but Greece will be in a bad place well beyond 2020. So the Greek people, if possible need to move away from all debt, after that, whomever has shed the debt, they can move forward, they can acquire and grow.

In all this, it will be another Greece, one that has a retirement system which can no longer work in the previous path, there will be a Consumer tax setting that will up the cost of living and the health care system in Greece will remain a matter of nightmares, possible it can only be accessed through the purgatory station the Greeks hopefully avoided, but in all this, taxation laws will have to change at first light, it will also mean that the very wealthy Greeks will move to another place, not unlike Gerard Depardieu. There is no telling where they will end if they want to avoid taxation of that what they avoided for so long and it is equally wrong to speculate how much taxation is due, I lack the pure data on that. What is cause to all is the dire need for the Greeks (and many EEC politicians) to stop spending money they did not have and money they were unlikely to receive. all this is centre to the fall of Greece and it is not over yet because even though Greece when over the edge, France and Italy are right there with Greece (which is why they were so opposed to Grexit) and with these two we face a 5 trillion Euro tumble, 10 times the debt of Greece.

So are we wackadoo for a video game, are we going wackadoo for the game of economics or are we just wackadoo for a totalitarian enabling of banks through debt?

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Let’s dance (part 2)

I promised to get back to the game of Finance, to some it is called 50 shades of Greece, to some it is called the work of Atë, yet I see it as the result of a cloud of Stupidity, Inactions and Desolation. Without massive changes Greece will end up without any future left.

This is not some prediction, because the nation is bankrupt, or in default or even in a bad place. You see, whatever ‘promise’ that comes from any of the banks, power players or politicians, throwing money at something that is inert and unproductive is just waisted money. The Juncker speech of three days ago (at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-15-5274_en.htm), gives us all those politically correct words, with the quote “And a deal could also have ensured that we, the Commission, could go ahead with a package for a ‘new start for jobs and growth’ package of 35 billion euro to help the Greek economy get back on track“, so that sounds nice, but that is not even close to the factual issue as I see it. If we include the overdue payments (yes, plural), we see that before the end of the year, Greece faces 2 payments of the ECB at 6.7 billion Euro. The IMF has coming 4 times 300 million Euro, plus 2 sets of 600 million Euro and 2 sets of 500 million Euro, in addition, there is the 1.5 billion Euro overdue and the 750 million Euro shifted payment, which Greece paid for using the IMF emergency funds. You all forgot about that last one did you not? Which makes for 5.65 billion, so these two players are due 12.35 billion Euro before the end of the year alone. In addition there are 10 treasury bills maturing with a total of 15.1 billion, the last one is an issue, you see if Greece is very very very lucky, those owners would be ‘willing’ to roll them over, if not, the max damage will be 27.5 billion in before the end of 2015. That is just expenses with NOTHING paid for and the interest due on the loans has not been taken into account either. The important part is, is the fact that over 50% of that debt is an unknown, because who exactly owns these Greek bonds? To whom is payment due? These are the events that Greece already has and I have mentioned them before, so why mention them again. Well, these facts are important to consider, because what Juncker calls ‘new start for jobs and growth’ is nice, but what will the politicians use is for? This fund covers 80% of the outstanding payments and ZERO towards reducing debt.

So how will the Greek economy get back on track? That is the killer question, because there is no given path. Greece has very little to export, it has relied on services for too long and there is no real resolution there. I personally will not trust rock star Varoufakis (a valid feeling as he has not propelled Greece forward in 6 months). A man of all smiles and no substance. His blog (at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/01/why-we-recommend-a-no-in-the-referendum-in-6-short-bullet-points/) gives us 6 short bullet points, yet as a professor of economy from the University of Athens, he gives us plenty of disturbing afterthoughts.

1a. refused to reduce our un-payable public debt
1b. insisted that it should be repaid ‘parametrically’ by the weakest members of our society, their children and their grandchildren.

My view?

1a. Why? Even though previous elected officials spend it, you still get to pay for it. You accepted the responsibility of office, which include a maximised credit card.
1b. Nope! It just needed to be paid in some way, again, as a result from previous elected officials.

So point one, being 2 points can be seen as a failure because Syriza did not do the following:

  1. Immediately start the investigation on prosecution of previous officials (which might be a farce trial, but it would have given the proper presentation that Greece is truly making a change, his smiley smiley rock star presentation missed the mark by a lot, with the added danger that Jean-Claude Juncker might not have any sense of rhythm or blues, making the act a double miss.
  2. Instigate a serious overhaul of the Greek tax system, mainly taxability and tax collection. Even if it was still underway today, if started in February it would have given a clear signal to those holding onto 7 billion plus, that this elected Greek government was a Greek government that wanted to create a true future for the Greek people. The stress of the last week would never have happened.
  3. Instigate prosecution of tax evaders, not just a sham trial of a man named Leonidas Bobolas (which is actually a cool name to have), that 1.9 million euro bill did not last long did it? How about placing Kostas Vaxevanis in the limelight and giving the clear message that tax evasion is now a thing of the past. Greece could have started to annex these back taxes, many nations would be on the side of Greece here (France and Italy most enthusiastically), in addition, giving the tax evaders an option to pay back tax +20% within a week, or back tax +150% when accounts needed to get frozen, misreporting would come at an additional 200% of misreported outstanding taxation. At this point Syriza would become the most popular band ever. In a group of 11 million, these 2045 people do not add statistically to number of Greeks and after the culling of outstanding taxation the debt might be a smidge lower, showing again that Syriza wanted a better Greece.

NONE of these actions had been taken by Greece in any visible way. So, Ο καθηγητής Βαρουφάκης missed the boat in point one already.

I am skipping point two!

  1. The Euro group had previously (November 2012) conceded that the debt ought to be restructured but is refusing to commit to a debt restructure.

My view? It could have been a fair point if Greece would have shown any economic evolution as mentioned in the three points (by me earlier), restructuring is pointless if the machine is not getting the overhaul it requires. I have stated before and now that in all this previous administrations have been key in the failure of the Greek economy. Not just because the Greek economy collapsed, but what was done to repair it all? What concrete actions were made between 2010 and 2015 to restart the economy? This is a much harder question to pose, because it intersects on what could have done and what should have done. Which is directly coupled to Junckers 35 billion Euro carrot, you see, dumping money somewhere, but how and where will the economy be revived? You see, no money and no plan is destitution, a plan and no money is a future, money without a plan is a spending spree and a plan with money is a solution. It is actually THAT simple. Greece has had enough spending sprees, it is in a state of destitution, so it needs to get a future and move towards a solution. This is a simple path, but 3 Greek administrations have not pulled that one off, so they are in the state they are in.

I am not proclaiming to have the solution, yet no one else have any either. With the Greying European community retirement villages are an option. How many does Greece have? Consider that the nations with a retired population over 16% is Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria. All nations where the life style has been good. Now add to this the people who will start their retirement in the next 5 years. Thousands of people in relatively expensive cold places, they can in some cases sub-rent their property and retire in warm, sunny Greece. The food is good, the people nice and they move from a life with 4 months of summer to a life of 7 months of summer and the removal of cold winters (compared to their home turf that is). It is not a solution, but it is a start. Greece needs to become innovative and change the game all together. It is extremely likely that these solutions have been looked at, yet, how deep. Too many people look at solutions to fill their pockets, how many looked at it with the intent to fill the treasury coffers? Greece has a second option, is to use the church. Instead of making a short sale of places that came for sale, how about ‘nationalising’ them as tourist accommodation, managed through the church? Move hotels from foreign investors to local hands! Just an idea to start growing the foundation of taxable income.

In all this, the ideas by me should be regarded as laughable. Yet, how many options have been inspected? You see the problem does not go away by throwing a few billion at it, buying all the fish leaves you with a double debt, learning how to fish and get the pond to yourself will leave you with a future. Greece has limited products to work with, so it either adds products or it adds services, services is a first, products is often longer term, unless it is the service that becomes the product.

In all this I still have to address one part I talked about earlier. I stated “they have left, what should be regarded as criminal activities open to reactivation“, there is some of it (at http://www.globalresearch.ca/goldman-sachs-doesnt-have-clean-hands-in-greece-crisis/5459498), more in the annals of history. the article gives us: “According to investigative reports that appeared in Der Spiegel, the New York Times, BBC, and Bloomberg News from 2010 through 2012, Blankfein, now Goldman Sachs CEO, Cohn, now President and COO, and Loudiadis, a Managing Director, all played a role in structuring complex derivative deals with Greece which accomplished two things: they allowed Greece to hide the true extent of its debt and they ended up almost doubling the amount of debt Greece owed under the dubious derivative deals“, no matter where all this is going, consider the Greek bonds. I massively objected in the past against Greece being allowed anywhere near the bond market in April 2014. Consider the total value of Greek bonds out there, are they covered? Consider that Greece is completely bust, the fact that from multiple sources that Greek cannot repay its debt (amongst them the Finance Minister of Greece). Consider that Yanis Varoufakis stated on March 10th 2015 “Varoufakis Says Greece Was Never Going To Repay Its Debts” (source Forbes). So how come that at THAT point certain steps were not made to use the reserve funds Greece had at that time to settle the bonds. When you consider my opposition to bonds in April 2014 comes into view with the consideration ‘The terms on which a government can sell bonds depend on how creditworthy the market considers it to be‘, so as some power players had (as I see it) inflated the Greek credit rating, the question becomes, is the Greek bond market a continuation of the ‘Greekman Sachs’ protocols as played to hide debt, as such, should there be a more serious level of criminal investigation? Moreover, who are the involved parties and why are other parties not truly digging here?

In the end, let’s be clear, there is absolutely no indication that any laws have been broken regarding the bonds, is that not the interesting part? The one part that could have limited the issues now playing (like adjusting laws) is the one action 10 years of government had not adjusted. That seems to have worked out very well for Addy Loudiadis, Chief Executive and Director, Rothesay Life Limited and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs and a few others (Addy was just the most visible one), in all this we see that Greece needs changes, the law most likely first.

So can the Greeks dance? Unless their parliament wakes up, it is only one of many skills a Greek will need to add to his/her skill set to get by after the ATM’s stop working.

 

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Dress rehearsal (part 1)

That is the question in my mind, are we in the final preparations of a new theatre play that will change everything? In the Green Room we have the people in preparation of the new mess they are about to bestow on the people of the EEC. A game that changes everything, yet the people behind all of this have a short term solution, because soon they will move out of the seats of power with a golden parachute, a golden umbrella, a golden handshake and a gold watch. They will get the most luxurious life imaginable, only by prolonging the power players. That is the very first thoughts going through my mind when I was looking at the article ‘Greek debt crisis: day of decision for Alexis Tsipras‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jun/30/greek-debt-crisis-day-of-decision-for-tsipras)

When we look at this production in the limelight, we get a few parts, the introduction is all about comedy with the quick comedy play ‘It’s Greece’s problem, says Kremlin‘, yes, as Russia distances himself from that lefty organisation called Syriza that has elements of Marxist–Leninist, Trotskyist and Euro-communist. Must feel really nice for Alexis Tsipras to be the debutante at a Kremlin ball, only to realise he gave away his cherry for naught and got left out in the cold afterwards. Which means that one option he thought he had just left the exit on the left.

The intro act comes from Mariano Rajoy, our Spanish player. The quote ““What would happen if Greece came out of the euro? There would be a negative message that euro membership is reversible,” Rajoy said in a radio interview. “People may think that if one country can leave the euro, others could do so in the future. I think that is the most serious problem that could arise (from a Greek exit).”“, reflects not on Greece, but emphasizes on the danger France is about to pose. The players are comprehending the dangers, the news on Greece is coming from a few direction, but right from the bat, the others are now starting to manage the news any way they can. My reasoning?

Reuters reports: “Greece has not yet made any movement in response to a last-minute bid by creditors to broker a deal to end a deadlock over the Greek debt crisis, the European Commission said on Tuesday. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday night and Juncker, after speaking to the chair of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem, explained what a last-minute deal could look like, Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters. “This would require a move from the Greek government which President Juncker asked (for) before midnight last night. As we speak, this move has not yet been received, registered, and time is now narrowing,” Schinas said“.

In addition we see from Reuters:

30-Jun-2015 11:19:20 – EUROPEAN COMMISSION SAYS DOOR OPEN FOR GREEK DEAL, BUT TIME RUNNING OUT QUICKLY
30-Jun-2015 11:20:27 – EUROPEAN COMMISSION SAYS NO MOVE HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM GREECE
30-Jun-2015 11:21:05 – EUROPEAN COMMISSION SAYS GREEK GOVERMENT WOULD NEED TO ACCEPT PUBLISHED PROPOSAL

In addition we see in the Guardian: “Danuta Huebner, chair of the committee on constitutional affairs at the European Parliament, has tweeted about the legality of Grexit“, she gives the following Tweets “A member state’s exit from #EMU without a parallel withdrawal from the EU, would be legally inconceivable #Greece

The link refers to a PDF (at the end of the article), where we see in the abstract “that a Member State’s exit from EMU, without a parallel withdrawal from the EU, would be legally inconceivable; and that, while perhaps feasible through indirect means, a Member State’s expulsion from the EU or EMU, would be legally next to impossible. This paper concludes with a reminder that while, institutionally, a Member State’s membership of the euro area would not survive the discontinuation of its membership of the EU, the same need not be true of the former Member State’s use of the euro

So, if the abstract holds any level of water, have we, the audience been played? Are we the people now being misdirected by missing legislation because politicians could not do their job properly? That is the question, because one EU paper, does not policy make. The introduction gives us “Until recently, to talk of ‘secession’ from the European Union (EU) would have been next to absurd“, really? Did you policy makers remember a man named Adolf Hitler in one corner and Arthur Neville Chamberlain with the Munich agreement in the other corner?

A paper linked to all this by Karolina Boronska-Hryniewiecka called ‘The Risky Game of EMU Withdrawal‘, which is implied to come from the Polish institute of international affairs gives us: “The EC’s statement about the legal “impossibility” of EMU withdrawal stems from the fact that no European treaty has included a provision for how a Member State could leave the single currency area. While Art. 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provides that any Member State may withdraw from the EU on the basis of a negotiated agreement with the EU institutions, it does not mention anything about the possibility of exiting EMU itself. At the same time, Art. 140 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides that the rate at which the former national currencies are substituted by the “euro” for EMU members has been “irrevocably” fixed. What also follows from the EU treaties is that while membership is voluntary, participation in the EMU, apart from certain exceptions, is a legal, if eventual obligation of every EU Member State.

The links come from Danuta Hübner, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament. So why did no one properly look into this, or even report on this? I personally expected that the European members of constitutional affairs had their affairs in order, which means that if one local yokel (Alexis Tsipras) cannot get his act in order, there are decent steps that can be taken to either get that person in line, or expel his nation. Now we seem to get introduced that expulsion is not really an option. So in all the theatre plays we watched, it seems that the part, ‘expulsion is impossible‘ was never ever mentioned, was it?

And in addition we get “Reports are mounting that the Greek prime minister has not only accepted a deal but will travel to Brussels, possibly as early as this evening, to discuss it with senior EU officials. The deal, based on reforms proposed by EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker late last night, is believed to have been rubber stamped at a meeting of senior government official held at the prime minister’s office, the Megaron Maximou, this morning. The German daily, Bild, is also backing up the reports, saying Tsipras has had contact with high ranking EU officials whom he will meet imminently. “The prime minister’s plane is at the ready,” the paper said.

This all comes from Helena Smith from the Guardian reporting. So, I feel comfortable trusting the source here. So now we have ourselves a fifth act. You see, in my view this is all about opening 7.2 billion if the 1.6 billion get paid. It must be really comfortable for any banker to underwrite a 7 days loan, with a nice percentage knowing that this payment is the first payment out of 7.2 billion. At 1% that banker ends up with a 16 million euro bonus, that is, if it is only one percent.

Yet, is it not me? Am I trivialising things, perhaps even over-dramatizing it?

Consider the next news “Here’s Bloomberg on Schaeuble’s comments: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers in Berlin that Greece would stay in the euro for the time being if Greek voters reject austerity in a referendum scheduled this week, according to three people present. Schaeuble also said the European Central Bank would do what’s needed to protect the euro if Greeks voted against the bailout terms in the July 5 referendum, according to the people, all of whom participated in the closed-door meeting on Tuesday. They asked not to be identified, citing the private nature of the discussion. The German Finance Ministry declined to comment.

Now we have a ballgame. There is also an issue, why do they need to be ‘not identified’? It seems to me that the European Central Bank would need to do what’s needed to protect the euro. Yet, in light of what made the news from Danuta Huebner, chair of the committee on constitutional affairs at the European Parliament, we now need to consider what options are there?

These are important questions to keep in mind. Consider all the news I have brought in the last 6 months through my blog. This is now ‘set’ in the limelight with the Guardian article ‘Alexis Tsipras: Mr Reasonable seizes the initiative from Project Fear’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/30/alexis-tsipras-greece-deal-vote-referendum), how misguided is that title? The quote “Faced with Project Fear, Tsipras wants to be seen as Mr Reasonable“, is as misguided as it can. They have not just changed the game, they have left, what should be regarded as criminal activities open to reactivation. (I will get to that part in part 2).

First two quotes “It little mattered that the new blueprint from Athens had a shelf life of only a couple of hours before Angela Merkel said there could be no fresh negotiations until after Greece’s referendum on Sunday” and “Somehow or other, Greece’s debt burden will be reduced. It can happen through a deal in which Athens gets debt relief for economic reform. Or it can came through a default that would swiftly follow Greek exit from the single currency. Everybody knows this, and it is bizarre that an explicit proposal for debt relief was not formally made to Tsipras in last week’s talks

You see, the game is changing, yet some elements have been ignored and some were never given clarity. So as Greece wants another extension 2 minutes before midnight, as they want another bailout of 30 billion with better terms, the game is now taking another term, one that the people behind the screens cannot contain, in the end, they are cutting their own veins even deeper than Greece ever did, but let me back that up with some facts, because without facts, this all becomes a rant (which anyone can get whilst reading the Telegraph, or an equally disastrous form of news coverage).

The quote “Juncker earlier told Tsipras that a last-minute deal was still possible if Athens agreed to sign up to the creditors’ proposals presented last Friday. He also dangled the prospects of debt relief for Greece and a €35bn “new start for jobs and growth” programme” from the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/30/greece-brink-financial-collapse-imf-deadline-hours-away) gives us the salutation I made on May 6th (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/06/whats-the-matter), where I stated “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“, so not only was I right all along, it is possible that the Greeks delayed because of the fear what it would do to the UKIP numbers and subsequently a first serious move away from the EU. Now, not only is Juncker offering 5 billion in addition, it comes with very little extra hardship for the Greeks, especially the previous Greek politicians.

Yet, now, as I mentioned, the game changes. With the migrant issues in Calais, Marine Le Pen is about to take control of another piece of France, which will soon prove to be really bad news for President Hollande. In addition, the quote “In January she asked French President Francois Hollande to suspend the visa-free Schengen Area in Europe and strip dual nationals of their French citizenship if they carry out “barbaric crimes”“, give us an additional change. It is not a given that the changes to Schengen will happen, but if it does, it is clearly in addition a preparation to move France away from the EU. Her statement a week ago clearly indicates the change she wants to impose.

In all this, Greece now stands alone, because the drive on the shores of Brexit and Frexit are now clearly stated in the news, stated by these politicians, which in case of Marine Le Pen is not a good thing for Europe, because unless her demands are met, she will call for an exit from the EEC, not just the Euro, which changes the game by a massive margin. So when I see the quote “but what Tsipras has done is seize the initiative“, it must be stated that it is an incomplete view, because the response from both the UK and France is about to give the world of finance a massive headache, one that will continue for the next 20 months, especially as Marine Le Pen ends up as the next possible leader of France, for which she is currently in the lead, ahead of Sarkozy and Hollande. The laughing whisper two years ago, is now a realistic threat, interesting how so many journalists missed this escalation.

There are more signals, all indicative of one more act on the floors of the theatre.

And the act starts with a gloomy theatre, men and women in black, handing a folder, from person to person, they all look at it for a few seconds and give it to the next person. This goes on and on. Yes, we get to the article ‘IMF: austerity measures would still leave Greece with unsustainable debt‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/30/greek-debt-troika-analysis-says-significant-concessions-still-needed). The story already starts with questionable statements “Greece would face an unsustainable level of debt by 2030 even if it signs up to the full package of tax and spending reforms demanded of it, according to unpublished documents compiled by its three main creditors“, the reason that I call it questionable, is because Greece is what I call a 3G nation, which means it will take three generations for this debt to become close to manageable. So, with that I imply that the debt is still a massive form of pressure in 2061, there is no escaping it. Even with reforms Greece is no longer able to meet the interest payments and the payments after the payment reduction, unless it makes MASSIVE changes to its laws and its social system. This includes holding politicians accountable for overspending, making them prosecutable for criminal negligence if they cannot meet the budget. It is close to the only change that will start stopping the madness. In addition, tax laws need a massive overhaul, one that should be part of the IMF demand before Greece gets one additional eurocent.

By the way, Greece is not alone, Spain, France and Italy are all 3G nations at present. The UK is not that deep yet, but it will take a generation of hardship to get the debt under control.

That (secret) document also states “that under the baseline scenario “significant concessions” are necessary to improve Greece’s chances of ridding itself permanently of its debt financing woes”, is that even a surprise? I figured that out over a year ago, doing the math of my fingers, an Abacus was not required, this is exactly why I opposed Greece to be allowed back on the market selling another 5 billion in bonds. But the power players wanted their commission and as I see it a 100 million euro bonus is just too good to pass up.

So here in short is part one of this story. Certain elements are in play and have been in play for some time. Greece has done next to nothing to clean up its act, its laws and its massive shortcomings. As we see again the voices of many shouting against Austerity, we have to wonder whether people even realise what they are shouting against. You see, austerity is merely keeping a budget, for close to two decades governments have overspend every year, this is how Greece got into this mess, it had spent money that it never had. It is not alone in this pretty much every EEC nation is guilty of this and whilst some are still afloat, Greece is the first one who cannot even commit to the due interest bill, that is at the foundation of this debacle. So austerity is not a punishment, it is not a right, it is a mere responsibility and it has been forfeited by nearly every EEC nation for much too long.

I will give more answers in part 2 of this article, hopefully the day after tomorrow.

Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU

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And the time is?

They say timing is everything, ‘EU ministers refuse bailout extension for Greece as referendum looms’, gives a clear indication that Greece overextended the timeline they thought they had. The makers of Arkham Knight are realising that they needed a little more time then they gave themselves, and all over Europe people realise that they seem to be running out of time. And as timing goes, the pressure from Greece gave David Cameron the additional time he needed. We now get the quote “David Cameron says he is delighted the process of ‘reform and renegotiation’ of the UK’s membership of the EU is ‘properly under way’” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-33281019), no matter how this bullet is pushed, the Eurozone will massively change over the next 18 months. With Greece pushing Italy and France over the edge, the UK is considering the safety of pulling out. In the meantime, the UK, to change this options, needs to change several parts of EU laws, so that there is no influence on British common law, if that is achieved, the UK could diminish the negative sides of the EU connection, whilst the pro-EU parts gain strength. This is one option and it is a good strategy, but in all this, Greece remains an issue. If Greece is given too much leeway, the system collapses, which leaves the UK the only option and that is to pull out, damage or no. This will also fuels France’s need to departure, which opposes President Hollande and gives massive visibility to Marine Le Pen, stating ‘we told you so!’ Now the Euro has no options left, whatever diminishing noise you hear, like the noise stated for many weeks, they will all suddenly inflate into stories on ‘how disastrous it all became’, ‘became’ is the operative word, which should be ‘was all along’. Even without Greece, the Euro had been set to become the maximum exploited currency around, which is less of a positive thing, when all over Europe its leaders are increasingly unable to keep a budget, the close to half a trillion that Greece could end up bestowing on them can be missed like a hole in the head.

The EU leaders have decided (as I see it) that there is no more time, no more extensions, either make the call or Greece enters the realm of defaulted nations. The next wave will be about another matter, you see, when Greece defaults, what happens to the outstanding debts? More important, what happens to the Greeks in general? The Greek people will get hurt in all this. Even though I am all about accountability, the Greek people, especially the retirees will get a massive hit in all this, whilst the politicians of previous administrations will have their long term golden years nice and comfy.

But we need to get back to the issue, you see, someone ends up with this bill and even though it might be ‘contained’ for now, the Greeks have squeeze every inch out of the debt they could and with payments due all over the field, this situation moved from worrying to hairy for the Greeks and is now a worrying state for any nation holding on to those debts, not to mention the 80 billion in liquidity overdraft.

So where are we all? What is the time?

The time is getting closer to midnight, as we see two escalations, the first one makes some sense. “The failure of the Greek government to reach agreement with the rest of the Eurozone’s finance ministers has raised fears of the European Central Bank (ECB) rejecting Greece’s request for continued emergency lending to keep its banks afloat“, in addition there is “bailout programme for Greece expires on Tuesday and the referendum has been called for Sunday 5 July“, these are the steps that follow, it does not sound worse than it is, but it really is a little worse than some people think. Even though there is clear frustration in the joke Alexis Tsipras has become, especially when we consider “The calling of a referendum will prolong the political uncertainty that a senior company executive said was “driving us nuts”“, this play was always on the Syriza agenda, but now, as there are no options left, the Greek people got run for 6 months by a rock star and a paper tiger, in the end, they chose poorly. The question becomes: how can this situation move forward? Which is also debate of the next part. This updated quote comes from Austria’s finance minister, Hans Jörg Schelling ““Greece would have to file a request to do so. The other EU countries would have to approve the request. Only then could Greece leave the Eurozone”“, this is regarding leaving the EEC. The question is, why Greece would want to leave the EEC. You see, out of the Euro is one thing, the UK, Sweden and Denmark are not in the Euro either. So Greece will have 3 impossible generations as Greece will try to re-float their way of life, yet those options might deteriorate into 5 or even 6 generations when they leave the EEC. Whatever that choice might be, it will be up to Greece to decide.

Back in the UK, part of the issues that play are:

‘Curb EU immigration by cutting benefits’ and ‘Make the EU more streamlined and competitive’, and to get what it wants the UK believes it will need to rewrite treaties agreed by all 28 EU members. This is part of the joy and the worry.

Consider that the EU setting was never set to be streamlined and competitive enough, why not? What was it about? Social refurbishment, or allowing financial structures and big corporations to get the best solution for THEM? That is a question, not an accusation!

Let’s face it, the UK needs to curb immigration (even though I am trying to get my ancestry visa) and for the most, the UK would not have an issue if these people are all contributing members, but that is part of the issue the UK has as everyone tries to make a new future in London, in its current congested way, London cannot continue. It needs changes, the EEC charter did not allow for that at present. Greece opened that door and it is about to change more. Both France and Germany need to think of both France and Germany and they too need changes, the situation called Greece made sure of that too.

Now we get to the last part in that article: “Downing Street has said the prime minister remains committed to ‘proper, full-on treaty change’ but it has acknowledged this is unlikely by the end of 2017 since it would trigger referendums in other EU countries as well“, this is the move the UK makes, which is a good move, it is fair and it is the proper approach. But that approach now hits another snag, which also has an impact on Greece. You see, both UKIP and National Front are all about nationalism and breaking away from the EEC. I am not condemning or condoning. I always believed that it is the rights of any sovereign nation to choose its path and its future. Greece choose poorly, will France and the UK choose better? I certainly hope so. Yet, this path, now gives UKIP the option to bring messages of ‘delay’ and ‘exploitation of Britain’. That is how Nigel Farage is likely to bring it, because that is how he sees it and that is how his constituents are voiced to see it. That wave is growing, many from the Conservative, some Liberal Democrats and a sizeable chunk of the UK Labour constituents feel more that way every day forward, which is the push UKIP hoped for earlier and it could start to happen over the next 3 months, it all depends on how the financial waves of Greece continue over the next 3 months, that is the impact the people are looking at. It goes beyond the UK, as stated, National Front is on that same ferry route. The push here is that because France is in a much worse state than the UK, the push away is also a lot stronger, depending on how the Greek situation escalates to Grexit and beyond. With France having a lot more on the line, we will see a stronger ‘appreciation’ for National Front and Marine Le Pen. Yet, how the escalation grows cannot yet be predicted, even though the growth of National Front has been stronger and their influence at present in France is a lot stronger than the UKIP has in the UK, so that fact must not be ignored. France add 11 National Front mayors to their nation, that part is influence, strong influence. So as they grow constituents stronger than UKIP can at present, with their presidential campaign happening in April 2017, the UK needs to make a change, because if France pulls out, and the UK is still in the mix, the game changes truly fast. So far, I remain in the view that David Cameron is making the right play for the UK, yet France could change the deadline for the UK. The imperative word is ‘could’, there are several variables in all this and the real game has not started yet, the pawns are placed on the board for the UK and France, the game is about to end for Greece, I hope the Greek people end up in a decent position, which is at present not a given. That part is also essential, the EEC better take a long hard look at that, because with every news of starving retirees as Greek retirement funds loses the value due to Greek bonds, will have a massive impact in driving the local population to their ‘saviour’, whether it is UKIP or National Front will not matter to the player.

We are about to enter a media war unlike any we have seen, because when the news comes of degraded pensions in a greying society, panic will come to the people. At present I have no clear solution, I cannot tell what would be the best way to go; how to go into that direction; too many unknowns at present. I always believe that united is stronger, Greece made me doubt that, because the power players were all about status quo. Now consider the fact that Greece was only 2% of it all, France and the UK are a massive part of the EEC economy, which means we will get carefully phrased words of misinformation soon enough, the question then is from whom and in what direction are they pushing the voters?

So what time is it and when midnight strikes, where will the pieces on the board be and which chess piece is which player, because that dynamic is not a given, not for many months to come.

 

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Divisiveness or Subterfuge?

If has not been that long in the face of danger, challenge or just plain confusion, yet what are we left with to believe? So let’s take a look at Suzanne Evans. She was born in Shrewsbury. Oh Sarcasm! ‘Shrew’s bury’, a woman of violent temper to be put in a grave. I just could not make this up, I am not that creative, oh wonders of fate! The fact that a shrew is also a mole like mammal hits the noisy triangle again in loud succession.

You see, this all started with the comment that we can read in many papers “Suzanne Evans sacked as Ukip spokesperson after labelling Nigel Farage a ‘very divisive character’”’ (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/suzanne-evans-sacked-as-ukip-spokesperson-after-labelling-nigel-farage-a-very-divisive-character-10330417.html). in addition, the Guardian had this subtitle ‘Party’s most prominent female member incurred boss’s displeasure after giving interview saying he would not front EU exit campaign‘, now here is the issue.

How could she be this ‘naive’ as a spokesperson (the word ‘stupid’ seems slightly harsh)? Consider her career: Working at BBC from 1987 to 1999, which includes ‘Today’, BBC World service, BBC Radio 5 and local radio programmes. After that 10 years as a marketing consultant and later as a communications director. She joined the Conservative party in 2010 and switched to UKIP in 2013. So with 25 years of work as a journalist, PR executive and a politician, she goes on with the words as stated in the Independent “In an interview on BBC2’s Daily Politics show, Ms Evans, the party’s deputy chairwoman, said Mr Farage was a “very divisive character” in terms of the way he was perceived, although she added he was “not divisive as a person”“.

And that went over well? Oh Suzanne, you having a quarter of a century of presentation experience, you did not see this coming? So on a BBC2 show you get the limelight with this expression, what was going on?

So this is where we should wonder, in the first, who was divisive? And was Suzanne Evans trying to create hostility between people, or was she employing deceit to achieve change? Let’s face it, Nigel Farage should NOT have handed in his resignation. It might have seemed like a noble thing to do after losing his constituency, but he was the appeal to millions of voters (3 million voted for HIM), well over 95% were all about Nigel. Was it not XTC that was making plans for Nigel (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXNhL4J_S00)?

So this 70’s song has the following lines:

We’re only making plans for Nigel
We only want what’s best for him
We’re only making plans for Nigel
Nigel just needs that helping hand

Yet the reality is quite different.

His initial wrongful resignation gave way for the acts by MP Douglas Carswell, who is the only UKIP MP with a constituency, now we see the ‘presenting’ words from Suzanne Evans. It is not uncommon for a party to see the seconds in command to ruffle the feathers to get the limelight. In Australia we had Julia Gillard, who must have heard about that Julius Caesar play and thought, she could do that too. Yet, the opposite view of this can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqXq5n4-ta4. There is no clear point on what exactly happened. Yet, is an internal hostile takeover so unimaginable? Now consider the Gillard clip at 6:33 “Over dinner Bill Shorten organised the revolt”, isn’t he in charge of the Australian Labour party now? So as we have seen these acts before and we will see them again in the future, we must wonder what exactly was the endgame, Suzanne Evans had in mind, because someone with 25 years of experience does not go on the air on BBC 2 so unprepared, especially when you are the spokesperson. This was about something else entirely. Was it to clear the decks, to stir change? You see, if she had planned this and if the responses were monitored, could an aggressive outspoken Nigel Farage in the media have been the endgame of round one?

You see, no matter how fired she is getting now, if Douglas Carswell is trying to refocus the minds of the UKIP voters, than this was not a bad play to get momentum on change. That view is getting stronger when we see the BBC article ‘Douglas Carswell does not fit in with UKIP – ex-Nigel Farage aide‘ of June 11th (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-33089917), where we see the quote “He said: “I think he sees UKIP as a way of being an independent, whereas actually the way of being an independent is to sit as an independent MP“. Now the funny part is, is that I saw that same thing coming on May 16th, so more than a month earlier in my blog ‘You be Kipping?’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/16/you-be-kipping/). Interesting that I had this view 5 weeks earlier than the insiders who reported on this. Equally interesting is the quote by Raheem Kassam as he states “he was so embarrassed of some people working for the party during the election he had to lock them behind closed doors when showing journalists around UKIP headquarters“, which was a BBC quote from the Guardian. I think that those ‘embarrassments’ might be regarded as political newbies, utterly devoid of political correctness. In that atmosphere trained conservatives like Douglas Carswell and Suzanne Evans could steer themselves reasonably fast into positions of power and shortly thereafter takeover. They would have sit quietly a little longer if UKIP has secured more constituencies, but they came second in many places, which means that their power play would get delayed for 5 years. Now, if the EU gets truly exited, UKIP will get a lot stronger as they advocated change long before the Conservatives did. The Conservative party wanted to hang on in the European group because until recent, it should have been the best course of action. It is the irresponsible acts by Greece and those ‘partially dancing to their own needs’ is why the step to secede is now stronger than ever. If the IMF and creditors had been massively firm from the beginning, this play might never have happened. Yet the inactions and allowing Greece to add close to 100 billion more in debt and even today as there could be another possible increase in the Emergency Liquidity Assistance facility, yet the amount is unknown (10 minutes ago, Reuters reported that there will be an infusion, but the amount is unknown). So at present, with the dangers of what Greece could do to the other nations in Europe, the UK has a first responsibility, which is the UK plain and simple. The fact that Nigel Farage had been saying that all along is not a factor. Yes, in this I did agree with Nigel Farage, but I had in on speculative foresight, a government must make decisions on actual facts and given certainties. There lies the difference; so even as Nigel Farage is now in the camp others are joining, the initial reasoning to enter ‘camp exit-EU’ was not the same.

This is at the heart of the change Carswell and Evans might have been gunning for. If UKIP had made it, they would have waited as their power core would have grown, but now, the valid tactic that a change is best done immediately, not later on. The Gillard move shows this, other moves have shown this and future changes will do the same thing.

I will be the first to state that the tactic was a good one, but to do it so eager on BBC radio 2 was not the wisest of actions (unless Carswell takes over and she gets ‘rehired’), as such Suzanne Evans is now no longer part of UKIP, which beckons the question, what will Nigel Farage do next? His first act is to get a good consultant trainer, to start educating the troops that Raheem Kassam kept behind locked doors. The plain truth is that Suzanne Evans will need to redeem herself somewhere and she knows behind which doors ‘the skeletons’ (read: less politically correct speakers) are. In that regard UKIP needs to bolster defences so that the gain made where they are in second place in several constituencies is not list, moreover, they can grow in almost half a dozen to leading position, which means that those places are all a threat for the labour (and some conservative ones), as this is all about the next wave. It is my view that some wanted to take over, likely both Evans and Carswell dreaming of the New Conservative Independent Strategy (NCIS), would make for great TV on cable would it not? That danger will remain for a little time longer, Carswell has the benefit of being an MP. Nigel Farage needs to work 100% harder (read: twice as hard) to keep the voters of this last election riled, to keep them interested and on point as they could sway even more of their friends. UKIP could become the threat they were meant to be in May 2015. Greece was always a maker or breaker of events, yet to what extent also depends on France and Italy.

That is still underplayed by many speakers all over Europe, also to some extent ignored by analysts all over the field, because the events for UKIP failed to be stronger in parliament, those analysts are promoting (as I personally see it) a managed bad news approach, yet the bigger danger remains Marine Le Pen from National Front. that danger can be seen in ‘France’s Le Pen announces far-right bloc of anti-EU MEPs‘ (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33147247), the smaller Dutch player Geert Wilders now a lot more prominent will have the option to sway many Dutch voters in another direction too. That danger is not that big in the Netherlands, but it is not 0, so there is a danger and the Financial power players have cut themselves deeply by not acting against Greece a lot harder and a lot sooner, now we see, the consequences when the Status Quo is no longer tolerable: “Forming the group will give the MEPs more influence in the parliament. It will also mean that the new bloc’s members have access to millions of euros in extra funding as well as more staff and speaking time. To be valid, a group needs 25 MEPs from at least seven different nationalities“, so inaction will now have a massive reaction. If Nigel Farage gets to be a stronger speaker and collaborator for pro UK change, that shift will have massive consequences. So even as we read in that same article “UKIP has previously said it was “not interested in any deal” with Ms Le Pen or her party because of ‘prejudice and anti-Semitism in particular’ in the FN. UKIP leader Nigel Farage already heads another anti-immigration alliance in the European Parliament called the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD)”, this does not mean that a minor coalition could not exist as it would propagate both views, visions and goals. As this evolves, the acts of Carswell and Evans now get a different light. They could have grown so much stronger if they had only waited it out. Now they will find out that they are in one case cut off completely (Suzanne Evans) and in the other case under non-stop scrutiny for now (Douglas Carswell).

So France will have a massive impact!

That last part is also at the core of the French financial consequences. You will have read on how it would not be an issue, how Michel Sapin had downplayed this on more than one occasion. In Bloomberg we see ‘French Bonds Infected as Greek Crisis Swells Euro-Region Spreads‘ (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-16/french-bonds-infected-as-greek-crisis-swells-euro-region-spreads), which was given three days ago, long after I had made predictions of this nature (but not by how much). You see, the French debt is at 2.3 trillion Euro (interest around 64 billion per year), Italy is at 2.6 trillion (interest around 110 billion per year). You see as those presenters ‘hide’ behind debt in percentage per GDP, in an age of faltering revenues and no consumers, the entire GDP is a little virtual, even figmentive one could say, in the end, the debt per citizen is €36K for every French, and €43K for every Italian citizen. Again, this is not the right numbers to look at, what does matter is that these budgets need to come up with the annual interest and it needs to be within their budgets, which is not done correctly, so that debt number is only getting bigger, with now an additional push from the  Greek debt and Greek bonds. The UK might not have any part in the Greek bonds, when Greece falls, the Euro debts will need to be covered by the other players. It is the consequence of ONE currency! Which means that with the liquidity infusion, closer to half a trillion could be pushed over the field. Now France and Italy will not be the only one getting a jab to their coffers, but the large four (Germany, UK, France and Italy) will feel that pain, and it will hurt. That part had been downplayed for too long and soon it will be very likely that the callers come calling!

This is the power push both Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen get to enjoy as they get to say ‘I told you so!’, that will be felt over the next 7 years, which means that the coming elections all over the board will see changes. The consequences and fallout for Greece will directly affect the power that Podemos in Spain (their anti-Austerity party). If Syriza pushes Greece over the edge (which is now more and more likely), Podemos could lose a lot of their voters as they run for the hills towards any political party eager to prevent this from happening to Spain, that too will fuel both UK and France in the next elections. It is too soon to state whether the Euro will stop, but at the centre stage is the need for governments keeping their commitments, which is only a temporary promise, as the next government is always just one election away. Syriza made that abundantly clear above all other issues.

That is the power Nigel Farage can tap into, that is the power Marine Le Pen will very successfully tap into and Geert Wilders will keep afloat in that boat collecting that bonus, but he will unlikely gain the power he would like from the Dutch voters, in that regard he had made too many wild statements, a flaw UKIP must now guard itself from as soon as they possibly can. Because public opinion will remain the killer of UKIP power for some time to come.

 

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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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It is today!

We can boast, we can make all kinds of slogans. Like ‘Do you feel lucky, punk?’, ‘The writing’s on the Wall!’ or ‘If at first you do fail, whinge, whinge again!’

We can make all these boasts and claims when it comes to Greece, but there is symmetry in mine: ‘It is today!’

You see, in my previous blogs involving Greece, too many to just mention them all here, but Google ‘Lawlordtobe Greece’ and you’ll get a nice list! I stated clearly that Tsipras was out of his league. You cannot play the high stakes he did and not given in on several fields. Banks will not allow that, they were dealing with what they thought was an adult population (previous Greek governments) and ended up at the table with a petulant child (this Greek government). How did you think it would go over?

By the way, Greece lost a lot more than they bargained for, as the interest bill kept on going, as the bills were still due. Syriza and their approach of inaction has cost the Greek people already 11 billion in interest, an ongoing cost that would not be set still, so the 7.2 billion in bailout does not even cover the interest bill, let alone the additional costs that have matured. Tsipras and his gang played a game of solitaire, taking a day for every move, a game with 8 visible elements. Cost to the taxpayer 61.1 million Euro’s a day. Not to mention the flight and hotel and food and drinking costs. Just the interest alone, 61,111,111.11 a day!

Today Tsipras will realise what I have been telling all along. Certain players will not budge, he should have realised that when President Obama spoke on the need for actions and he was not kidding. Do I need to remind People on the IMF loan that did not go through for Argentina in 2001? It was said that the US was the strongest voice that stopped IMF bailing out Argentina and they were left with Vulture funds, which was 13 years ago, that issue is still playing today. So when President Obama gave his speech last week, the only option Alexis Tsipras had was to take the first flight back and seriously discuss actual options. He decided not to do that.

Now the IMF has walked away from the table. Like the SNS bank, Greece believed that they were ‘too big to fail’, which did not work for SNS and it will not work for Greece. We need to realise that Greece only represents 2% of the European Economy and the repercussions at present of default will be massive in Europe, because even though the results have been heavily downplayed, the impact of Greece will be felt, there is no doubt about that. Syriza did this to Greece, not the Germans and no one else, it is a Greek act of whatever they think it is.

So as the Guardian is not printing a picture of Tsipras laughing, or Tsipras pointing at his watch, this is Tsipras contemplating in deep worry, because the final bell is ringing and he is out of time. Perhaps he finally realises this, perhaps he is thinking of one more act before the Greek flag is lowered forever. Whatever he does, he better think of the people that elected him, because they are about to lose out on a lot more than even they bargained for.

So what can Greece do?

My first voice would be to re-elect New Democracy, because Syriza did not seem to have a clue what they were doing. Now that the US has had enough, they will have even less time and less options. In my view Greece needs to become a professional entity and needs to call in the professionals. It is my view that any act needs to show that ACTUAL work is being done. It will appease the creditors, the rating firms and the IMF, all in one deal. In my view (especially as they have many fences to mend), Greece should call on PricewaterhouseCoopers. Not just for advisory, but also for implementation, consultancy, education and taxation. In the view of all who matter and the view of many more, the statement from Greece that they can fix it, no longer holds value. In this way, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) gets to redeem themselves for an issue involving a grocery store or two and Greece gets a sweet deal on actually resolving issues. Greece can no longer continue in this way and that needs to be documented. Not for the world to know, because to some extent it is nobodies business, but to seriously call in the commercial auditing cavalry and sit down and actually do something about it is essential. The additional benefit is that if Greece would ever need to repackage anything, having PwC in your corner with all the data and evidence will go a long way, a degree of freedom Greece lost some time ago.

The second party in all this would be Natixis. Any actual movement from debt, any resetting of outstanding loans needs a group of people that has the ear of those who matter. Natixis is one of the ONLY non-US firms that has the ear of every G-20 nation, has strong ties with European governments and has access to possible financial solutions that Greece did not consider. If pensions are to be saved they need to look at those making actual money, Natixis is such a player. It is not the worst idea to rescale a government to be commercially viable, Greece now has to make the step no government has ever considered before. You see, in 300: Rise of an Empire we see an interesting quote in the beginning of the movie “All glory die, thousands died by the hundreds of them all for the idea. The Greeks free. An experiment called democracy of Athens. I wonder this idea is worth all the sacrifice

You might wonder why I grasp back on a movie quote, but consider “Aristotle argues that all forms of government have their problems, including, but not limited to democracy“, we all live in a democracy, an idea that came from Greece, would it be so far-fetched that it is Greece who takes an entirely different step, one that could propel them forwards? So many governments, all these nations that are set in methods by their own internal ‘experts’ (none of them able to hold a budget I might add), you see, the best experts are never in government, so why not call on the actual experts who might give view on solving this matter.

Greece might end up being the first to take such drastic steps, but it is 99% certain that this solution will take hold at some point and more governments will need to consider this point in the future and make that act, many of them will have economies substantially larger than Greece, even when we consider Greece when it was at the height of their economy.

We are all pushed into new directions, perhaps the road least travelled, will show the solution never pondered and a resolution is undertaken that changes everything.

This is just me having an idea!

 

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A slave to greed

It is time to take a stance a little more vocal and a little more ‘anti’ certain voices. You see, the people are being led astray, misinformed and basically lied to. It is a clever lie that some people spin, where the involved players (like in Greece) focus on one part of the story and after that story is told, those who think they are getting informed, are told a fairy tale with no concrete connection to reality or to the factual complete truth. Those advocates work from the concept of ‘in the eye of the beholder’, which sounds nice, but when you pay your electricity bill, there is no eye of the beholder, there is just the invoice!

To get this party train started, let’s take a look at the definition. We are looking at Austerity!

According to the Investopedia it is: “DEFINITION of ‘Austerity’ a state of reduced spending and increased frugality in the financial sector. Austerity measures generally refer to the measures taken by governments to reduce expenditures in an attempt to shrink their growing budget deficits“.

Whilst dictionary.com tells us “strict economy

Both apply here!

So when I am looking at an article in the Guardian by Heather Steward called ‘Austerity isn’t ‘good housekeeping’: it’s dogmatic, risky and unjust‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/07/austerity-isnt-good-housekeeping-dogmatic-risky-unjust), it is time to get a few things out of the way. To help me, there is a source I used for part of this, which is at http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/5509/economics/government-spending-under-labour/. You see, in the time 1997 – 2010 several things happened, even though around 2007 the total debt was at a record low, the increase in spending has changed that. The debt is getting out of control, plain and simple. Governments (both sides) tend to hide behind GDP percentages to validate their spending, yet, in the previous conservative government, it was at 40% of GDP, by the time Gordon Brown was done, it was at 45% of GDP, considering that the UK GDP is decently high, that 5% amounts to a lot. Yet, that figure does not tell you the whole picture.

The UK public sector debt went in the period 2008 – 2010 from around 36% to over 65%, which is massive, this current government has been adding to that, but they are trying to stem that tide, which is not done overnight. Now this is not me blaming Labour (which is always fun), Health care spending almost doubled in real terms between 1999 and 2010, which is a Grim Reaper reality. Some were massive bungles by labour, but the added reality is that the UK population is growing old, that is just a natural part and we have always known that. So there is no blame, but it is therefore of a much higher importance to get a handle on it and none of the choices are nice ones.

You see, the source gives a possible connection, but not the reality behind it. We see the mention whether Keynesian economics are to blame, with the quote “Keynesian economics calls for counter-cyclical spending and deficits. Thus, in a period of strong economic growth, Keynesian economics would advocate balancing the budget or even pursuing a budget surplus“, but that is the problem, the politicians, in the era 1997-2004, in such a ‘good’ climate did not adhere to that. The GDP debt is evidence of that. You see, to some extent, politicians are like children, give a 17 year old boy  a credit card with one million pound, stating that he must be careful, and that person will find a reason to get the PS4, the Xbox One and get personal biology lessons at the ‘Steam and Sun Health Club’. At which point that person is feeling that the good life is here, alas, at some point the invoice is due and whilst it is not getting paid, the interest is getting paid from the credit card, dwindling reserves even further, this is EXACTLY where Greece is at!

So now to the first article as mentioned in the beginning!

the spending squeeze the Tories now hope to implement, starting in the current financial year, is intense, as the spreadsheet wizards at the Institute for Fiscal Studies made clear last week. Shortly before Osborne’s statement, Carl Emmerson, the IFS’s deputy director, warned that achieving the Tories’ planned cuts would be “anything but easy”” Here I agree, it will not be easy, it will be hard and it will be even harder on the people, the issue is however that £1.56 trillion comes with the added issue that at 1%, this bill gets an added 15.6 billion in interest, however, the interest is not 1%, it is higher, so we see that the annual cost of servicing (paying the interest) the public debt amounted to around £43bn (which is roughly 3% of GDP). In an age where some people get instant orgasms from reporting a 0.2% increase in GDP, they seem to forget that this amounts to the part that the UK is annually down 2.8% of GDP. If we act harshly (really harshly) it can be dealt with and even be reduced! Which is the real deal. That interest is benefitting banks and foreign investors. It boils down to ‘money for free’. So now we get the second quote “the belt-tightening is likely to be profoundly unfair. Osborne has repeatedly said his cuts plan will involve a £12bn reduction in the welfare bill. Since pensioners are protected, and out-of-work benefits are a relatively small part of the £250bn social security budget, much of the burden is likely to fall on low-wage workers and their children” I agree, it is very unfair, but when the economy was high, no one was shouting loudly to decrease spending as bad times are always around the corner, no one stopped Gordon Brown to give away the keys to the kingdom, which is what he pretty much did!

So, the term ‘pursuing a budget surplus’ sounds nice, but politicians will avoid bad news whenever they can, so cutting down on expenses will only be done when there is no other option, and preferably in the 11th hour, whilst there is no guarantee that there is a surplus at that point to work with!

More austerity is risky at a time when recovery appears to be fragile against a background of the bubbling Eurozone crisis” this is a clear misrepresentation. You see, the statement is true, but there is no ‘fragile recovery’ at present, Greece is making sure of that by not doing its part. Which is exactly why the UK is contemplating getting out of the EU in the first place. The bulk of the Euro nations are all not balancing their books and getting out now might be the only way to preserve the little gain the UK can get. Now we get to another ‘failed’ view. It comes from Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen. The statement is “A nation’s debts are mainly owed to someone else within the same society – for example the pension-holders whose funds are stacked full of gilts“. Is that so Mr Sen? Well, if you did your homework on this then please elaborate where the 1.5 trillion in UK debt is? I feel 99.324% certain that a massive amount is in other hands, not in the hands of pension holders, in addition, with the annual increase of needed funds over the next two decades, that amount is about to dwindle to record lows really fast, so where is all that debt?

The next statement is a view that I oppose “a report from the International Monetary Fund, rarely considered a hotbed of fiscal recklessness, warned about the risks of trying to tackle a country’s debt burden too quickly“, what is too quickly? You see 1.5 trillion is not going away overnight, it will take 2-3 decades to truly slim it down, so for the next generation, someone is walking away with £43bn a year, so we should get the debt down soon, preferably by a lot because the annual interest bill is around 7% of the received revenue in 2014, that whilst George Osborne spent 15% more than received, so to cut back on that increasing debt austerity seems to be the only answer.

Now we get the next issue “Paying them down rapidly distorts the economy too much to be worth the risk“, the risk to whom? To banks not getting ‘free’ money? Debt is a kicker, it always has been it has never been different. We will never be completely out of debt, but the debt at present is unacceptably high. You see a debt driven economy is based on the illusion of never ending growth. How did that work out in 2004 and 2008? In that light, how is it working out for Greece? They can no longer pay their bills. Whatever they get now in bail-out will be swallowed by debts and interests before Q3 ends. So, when I read “Debts should be “reduced organically through growth, or opportunistically when less distortionary sources of revenue are available”, the IMF’s researchers argue“, I am reading more misinformation. The theory sounds nice, but in the time when there was the option of surplus NOT ONE government created surplus. President Clinton was the only one who got a true surplus, after that due to circumstances the US could not foresee, the debt went completely out of control. In reflection on Austerity, Germany did tighten the buckle and got part of its debt down, which is why they are in a better position at present.

So this is the first article, Heather Stewart is not stating anything untrue, but the article is missing a lot and some of these points I very much disagree with (figure me, disagreeing with a Nobel prize winner, whilst I have no economy degree).

Now let’s have a go at the second Nobel Prize winner. In this case Joseph Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the John Bates Clark Medal. The article that in centre of this is ‘Greece’s creditors need a dose of reality – this is no time for European disunion‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/05/greeces-creditors-need-a-dose-of-reality-this-is-no-time-for-european-disunion). The first paragraph is the very notion of the beginning of my disagreement. “Athens has met its creditors’ demands more than halfway“. And we care….why? Why is Athens not meeting those demands 100% of the way? You see, Greece took the debt, it went back to the markets and sold 5 billion more in bonds (I still have not figured out the name of the idiot allowing for that act of stupidity). Greece vowed to make payments again and again, yet at present the already deferred TWO payments. Now, let me be frank. They were allowed to do that! The rules were there and they played by the rules, yet we all know that Greece is out of money, there are no more options. This will be the first time that a nation goes extinct through economic inaction! Even when Syriza won, instead of going after their predecessors, instead of sitting down and getting to the tax evaders, we see (at http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/europe/article4358352.ece) “The country’s financial crimes police, the SDOE, had begun shredding scores of documents linked to cases of corruption. What remained was stuffed in bin bags and discarded outside the bureau’s headquarters in Athens, in public view” the title ‘Greece shreds files on tax cheating by rich and powerful‘ Kostas Vaxevanis reported this on February 19th 2015. So, why was there no prosecution here? The entire debacle on tax evasion has been treated like a joke by 4 previous administrations, so as they cut their own jugulars, why allow for just a half way approach? So far this Greek administration has not done anything to give ample faith that there will be any level of resolution. Then we get “Greece has made clear its willingness to engage in continued economic overhaul, and has welcomed Europe’s help in implementing some of them“, is that so? So far there has been no overhaul at all, the public sector cuts were undone by rehiring. Greece needs to lower its cost by a massive amount. In all that time, which of the over 2000 of wealthy Greeks ended up in court for tax evasion (from Swiss bank accounts), perhaps one? Oh the Journalist Kostas Vaxevanis ended in the dock too, a massive miscarriage of Justice as I see it!

The one part I do agree with is the dangers of Greece exiting “I believe such views significantly underestimate the current and future risks involved“, this is true, but Greece can no longer be trusted to do what they stated to do and as such, some of the players prefer to get out, before the total debt grows with another 20% which is basically no more than a year away. There is not concrete evidence that the economy will truly pick up and those who have enabled this debt driven event are not held to account either (that small matter of a massive amount of Greek bonds on the market).

Then the last part “The ECB president Mario Draghi’s confidence trick, in the form of his declaration in 2012 that the monetary authorities would do “whatever it takes” to preserve the euro, has worked so far. But the knowledge that the euro is not a binding commitment among its members will make it far less likely to work the next time“, yes, how did it work? By spending a trillion or more one areas that are still not recuperating and will need at least a decade to regain the trillion that was spent in under a year? How is that anywhere near a workable solution?

In all this, whatever should work might have worked to a degree if politicians would control their budgets and that financial institutions would not be as greed driven as they are, which is why it all failed. When we see the quote “16 banks in five years to the end 2014 reveal £30bn increase in payouts, fines and legal bills on previous five-year period to end 2013” and this is linked to a total of well over £200bn. Lloyds alone got £117m in fines, how is this linked? Well, such losses means no taxation in the books as profits are gone, whilst many involved walked out with enough money (read: bonus) to pay their full mortgage in places like Golders Green.

Mr Stiglitz never lies or misinforms, but his view is incomplete. It is very dependent on the people involved doing the right and the correct thing. Politicians and bankers tend to be not those kind of people, Greece has shown it, Gordon Brown has spent it now the Conservatives need to repair the damage, Prime Minister Tsipras is ‘forced’ to play a high stakes game, whilst those involved are no longer willing to give leeway. In my view, that game should never have been played in the first place. By setting austerity, whilst going after the Greeks and their wealth benefitting from all this was perhaps one of the few acts that could have opened wallets all over the place, that act was never done, which is why many see that meeting half way is not really an option.

Austerity might seem unfair, and it is not fair on the payers at present, but someone opened a tap whilst the bulk of those knowing what was going on should have spoken out, and spoken out very loud. This was not done, so behold the consequence of that little caper.

There is one gem in his article at the end that is part of the entire Euro mess, which is fun as I have raised it a few times over the last few years. Not bad for a person devoid of an economics degree!

He states: “Europe’s leaders viewed themselves as visionaries when they created the euro. They thought they were looking beyond the short-term demands that usually preoccupy political leaders. Unfortunately, their understanding of economics fell short of their ambition; and the politics of the moment did not permit the creation of the institutional framework that might have enabled the euro to work as intended. Although the single currency was supposed to bring unprecedented prosperity, it is difficult to detect a significant positive effect for the Eurozone as a whole in the period before the crisis. In the period since, the adverse effects have been enormous

This is true, the one part I have an issue with is ‘Europe’s leaders viewed themselves as visionaries when they created the Euro‘. I think Europe’s leaders had nothing to do with that part. I have always viewed this change as an essential; step by the US. Their benefit of trade with a single currency was titanic in proportions, in addition, the US would keep its option to float the currency as any economy tends to do in times of hardship, whilst the nations that are part of the euro are part of a collective, which removes the option of floating a currency. This was centre in the additional growth (or diminished fall) for the US, yet, even they did not bank on the credit swap meltdown, which did hurt them. The US is getting better, but their 18 trillion in debt is choking them, even with the option to float the dollar, the Euro in the massive debt it is, can only remove the debt by paying it, which is strangling France and Italy. The UK is dealing with it, and the Euro is hurting them, but not as much as being part of the Euro is. Which is just my view on it all.

As I stated in the beginning, the articles are incomplete, misstated, not by inaccuracies, but by incompleteness, which is why people have the skewed view they seem to have at present. In the austerity path, which is unfair to some, we need to add the legal premise and the legal definitions as well as legal obstructions to remove the option of overspending to the degree that was done, we need to make sure that the law will not allow for such overstretching ever again, when that is done, we will return to times when there is hardship, but when there are good times we will all feel it too, in my view, the push of the financial sector to remove the season of ‘financial winter’ resulted in the banks getting by and the rest suffering, this must never be allowed ever again!

 

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