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but the 99% was not in solidarity.  Perhaps some believed the propaganda that Greeks are lazy and corrupt or that Greek culture is to blame for their economic crisis.  Certainly reinforcement of that image abounds:

Greeks are lazy. They don’t work. They’re profligates who are taking down Europe. The caricature has become so common that a recent TV commercial in Slovakia used it to sell beer, drawing a contrast between the virtuous Slovak and the paunchy Greek indulging himself on a beach.
Outrageous things are being done to the Greek people; a crushing economic pogrom is being imposed by banking, corporate and government elites on the Greek people:
The "austerity package", as the newspapers like to call it, seeks to impose on Greece terms that no people can accept. Even now the schools are running out of books. There were 40% cuts in the public health budget in 2010. Greece's EU "partners" are demanding a 32% cut in the minimum wage for those under 25, a 22% cut for the over 25s. Already unemployment for 15-24-year-olds is 48% – it will have risen considerably since then. Overall unemployment has increased to over 20%. The sacking of public sector workers will add to it. The recession predicted to follow the imposition of the package will cause unbearable levels of unemployment at every level. link

Greece’s dire economic condition can hardly be overstated. After two years of tax increases and wage cuts, Greek civil servants have seen their income shrink by 40 percent since 2010, and private-sector workers have suffered as well. More than $75 billion has left the country as people move their savings abroad. Some 68,000 businesses closed in 2010, and another 53,000 — out of 300,000 still active — are said to be close to bankruptcy, according to a report by the Greek Co-Federation of Chambers of Commerce. link

Imposed, you ask? Doesn't Greece have a sovereign government?

Not so much:

When the first international effort to impose an economic austerity regime upon Greece was completed, George Papandreou, the prime minister, surprised and infuriated the negotiators from the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank by proposing that the draft agreement be submitted to a popular referendum in Greece. The negotiators and their governments knew very well that the Greek people would reject it.

Mr. Papandreou was hustled out of the limelight, and foreign leaders, the EU, international financial officials, and right-thinking commentators in Europe and the United States all deplored his proposal, since democracy was not part of the deal.

Apparently, democracy could not be allowed and an unelected offical was "appointed" Prime Minister of Greece for a transitional term.  The unelected appointee is also, notably a long-term former European Central Bank Vice President and served as Senior Economist at the (US) Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Interestingly enough, now that the term of the unelected technocrat appointee is coming to a close and elections are due, there are ongoing negotiations that are considering demanding that a foreign overseer be appointed by the Troika (European Commission/European Central Bank/IMF) in Greece to ensure that the Greeks take the full measure of their punishment and that the bailout monies should be placed in an escrow account where they will flow directly to Greek creditors.  Most outrageous of all though is the following suggestion attributed to Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who proposed that Greece should suspend elections and install a non-political technocratic Government, to help Greece’s unelected banker technocrat Prime Minister.

The people of Greece and their democratic processes are seen by the powers that be as an obstacle to their ambitions.  Clearly, this should cause warning bells to ring.  

When we casually use a term like "bailout", it is important to remember that it is not people who are being bailed out, or at least not the Greek people. The bailout will not save a single Greek life. The opposite is the case. What is being "bailed out" is the global financial system, including the banks, hedge funds and pension funds of the other EU member states, and it is the Greek people who are being ordered to pay – in money, time, physical pain, hopelessness and missed educational opportunities. link
It is unlikely that, even if the Greek government is permanently subjugated by the Troika and the Greeks are made to pay that this won't spread elsewhere in Europe and the world.  The 99% are being divided and conquered.

Or as this guy puts it:

Forget farce. Forget tragicomedy. Frankly, we are out of words to describe what is happening in Greece, Europe, and, actually - the world. Luckily, Kathimerini has just the headline, and associated story, to help us through this moment of verbal crisis. In one year this headline will be appearing in all insolvent countries (pretty much all of them), who will have pledged all of their sovereign assets as cash collateral, promptly used up by creditors to pay their interest payments using "escrow accounts" which make the debtor nation merely a fund flow intermediary with a seasonally unadjusted beggar-to-population ratio of 100%.

"Funds found to help Greece's homeless"

But, we in America shouldn't worry about this stuff.  Some variant of what's happening in Greece couldn't happen here...

but then again, isn't it?  Yes, that's right, you're soaking in it:

link
Like Greece, we've got millions out of work, due to a bankster created financial crisis. We're laying off tens of thousands of teachers.   We've laid off half a million public employees since President Obama took office.  We've got kids graduating from college that are having trouble finding work and up to their eyeballs in debt pretty much in a condition of indentured servitude to the student loan industry.  A terrible job market and a flat economy is widely considered to be the "new normal". For those college grads lucky enough to find a job, there's a pretty good chance that they'll join the 17 million Americans with college degrees who are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree - jobs like bartender, waitress, janitor, etc. whose wages make it tough to pay off 10's of thousands of dollars of student debt.

Like Greece, we've also got the propaganda that poor Americans are culturally incapable of working and that the financial crisis wasn't caused by bankers, but rather, by greedy poor homebuyers and Congress.

Also like Greece (and many other countries) we've got banking elites blackmailing the government to impose austerity measures.  The government has responded with President Obama supporting cuts to the social safety net and recently at President Obama's urging, as Tom Harkin aptly put it, Democrats voted to begin the unravelling of Social Security.

The wealthy elites are well on their way to owning our government outright.  Senator Dick Durbin in a surprising moment of candor, when discussing the likelihood of passage of regulations that would affect the banking industry, said, “And the banks — hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”  

With the advent of Citizens United, however, the wealthy are positioned to soon own more than just Congress.  One of our keen observers of the political scene here on Dkos noted with regard to President Obama's recent capitulation over super pacs:

Obama did the right thing by quitting his efforts to stymie Democratic Super PACs. We all want those abominations gone from our politics, but only a political moron would think that taking a principled stand and eschewing them was the route to go. Politics is a contact sport, and you don't tie one hand behind your back...
This is actually quite a remarkable observation in that it points out that super pacs will be indispensible to the success of the winner of the presidential race.  In a recent article about super pacs, Ari Berman writes:
At a time when it’s become a cliché to say that Occupy Wall Street has changed the nation’s political conversation -- drawing long overdue attention to the struggles of the 99% -- electoral politics and the 2012 presidential election have become almost exclusively defined by the 1%. Or, to be more precise, the .0000063%. Those are the 196 individual donors who have provided nearly 80% of the money raised by super PACs in 2011 by giving $100,000 or more each.

    If 2008 was the year of the small donor, when many political pundits (myself included) predicted that the fusion of grassroots organizing and cyber-activism would transform how campaigns were run, then 2012 is "the year of the big donor," when a candidate is only as good as the amount of money in his super PAC. “In this campaign, every candidate needs his own billionaires,” wrote Jane Mayer of The New Yorker.

So, when President Obama announced that he is going to need his own super pac, he essentially made a tacit admission that the very wealthiest people in this country will choose the next president.

President Obama and his campaign are already making conciliatory promises to these wealthy folks:

A day after the announcement that the campaign, like its Republican rivals, would super PAC it up, Messina spoke at the members-only Core Club in Manhattan and “assured a group of Democratic donors from the financial services industry that Obama won’t demonize Wall Street as he stresses populist appeals in his re-election campaign,” reported Bloomberg Businessweek. “Messina told the group of Wall Street donors that the president plans to run against Romney, not the industry that made the former governor of Massachusetts millions.”
So, get ready to hear a lot more from President Obama about how he and his administration are "business friendly" and Wall Streeters are "savvy businessmen" who work hard and we shouldn't begrudge rewards for their "success".   Based upon his track record it is a fair prediction that Mr Obama, if elected, will continue to install Wall Street insiders and business friendly hacks into important administration positions and he will continue to appoint commissions packed with people like Alan Simpson and Jeff Immelt to create austerity policy and toxic memes in order to demonstrate the President's fealty to the monied interests that help him retain the presidency.

It's not clear yet what Citizen's United will do to congressional, state and local elections but, the mix of large donors to small donors in those elections is already massively skewed in favor of large donors:

Typically, these days, incumbent members of Congress raise less than 10% of their campaign funds from small donors, with those numbers actually dropping when you reach the gubernatorial and state legislative levels.
So, given that the floodgates have been opened much wider, it looks like a system that is already gamed to the point of being unresponsive to the 99% is about to get worse with the advent of Citizens United.  A cynical person would say that the price of various office holders is about to have a market readjustment, but such a criticism is probably not far off the mark.

Given the difficulty that the progressive community has had in electing "better democrats" in the past (not to mention focusing their attention on progressive actions once elected) it appears that Citizens United is only going to tip the balance away from our attempts to work inside of the political system to meet the needs of the 99%.  Certainly we should vote, but we should also realize that it is akin to applying a tourniquet to a bleeding limb, it's going to have limited results and if something more isn't done soon, far worse things will happen.

While it remains to be seen whether the elites that are dominating governments and spreading poverty and misery among the 99% will settle on a political ideology, they are certainly an anti-democratic force at this point and while traditional totalitarianism is not exactly what seems to be happening now, the concept of inverted totalitarianism seems applicable.  Our conditions seem to fit the definition of the "managed democracy" envisioned in the concept, "a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control."

Which brings me (at long last) to the point of this rambling discussion, the reason for the title, "First they came for the Greeks."  I chose the title because it comes from perhaps the most eloquent lamentation of a failure of solidarity in the face of a campaign of the gradual imposition of tyranny written in the 20th century.

It is time for some solidarity now.  The unemployed need help now. The generation of kids that will be sent to schools with far fewer teachers and resources will only be young once, their time is now.  The enormous numbers of people for whom a lost job means that they have in a practical sense lost their access to adequate health care and the millions who never had it need help now.  These folks can't wait for a series of elections to have their lot improved.  It's time for us to cast a cool, appraising eye on our options for pressing this fight and come up with a new strategy.

Originally posted to joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:33 AM PST.

Also republished by The Rebel Alliance and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So, our government be in the grips of bankers... (159+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andhakari, triv33, roseeriter, Gooserock, Agathena, brae70, gooderservice, Horace Boothroyd III, priceman, LamontCranston, temptxan, KBO, onemadson, Dallasdoc, chipmo, PhilJD, on the cusp, joanneleon, ItsaMathJoke, DRo, frandor55, tardis10, Hear Our Voices, NJpeach, rktect, jbou, Nulwee, Bluefin, One Pissed Off Liberal, Words In Action, CA Nana, lostinamerica, maryabein, muddy boots, revsue, scorpiorising, Siri, emal, coppercelt, DBunn, Nada Lemming, Brooke In Seattle, Azazello, Cassiodorus, BlueDragon, poligirl, SpecialKinFlag, elengul, LSmith, DEMonrat ankle biter, cotterperson, profh, artisan, hubcap, Medium Head Boy, Robobagpiper, zerelda, Mike08, tomephil, PapaChach, Pescadero Bill, greycat, Terranova0, zaka1, democracy inaction, mikeconwell, strangedemocracy, Jarrayy, JVolvo, DeminNewJ, Ed in Montana, Bluesee, Ken in MN, anodnhajo, psilocynic, 3goldens, run around, 0wn, NearlyNormal, envwq, Greek Goddess, dksbook, trinityfly, Shadowmage36, Showman, la motocycliste, Jackson L Haveck, jadt65, Pam from Calif, ZhenRen, Gowrie Gal, ChadmanFL, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, legendmn, albrt, aliasalias, rick, Marie, samanthab, zongo, divineorder, terabytes, maybeeso in michigan, shaharazade, out of left field, LaEscapee, BigAlinWashSt, NoMoreLies, cosmic debris, quill, vzfk3s, Joieau, jennylind, Sanctimonious, Preston S, mijita, thomask, David Futurama, ozsea1, WattleBreakfast, Haningchadus14, mofembot, George Hier, ilex, techno, tidalwave1, Sandino, An Affirming Flame, 4kedtongue, Lefty Coaster, isabelle hayes, mrkvica, Born in NOLA, petulans, bluicebank, Trotskyrepublican, cslewis, rapala, WheninRome, ColoTim, TracieLynn, Yogurt721, LucyandByron, Lost Left Coaster, oldhippie, Burned, ladyjames, FogCityJohn, sb, xynz, buckstop, a2nite, CTLiberal, zmom, Simian, JayRaye, Leftcandid, Chaddiwicker, Eric Blair

    and elites hellbent on imposing austerity measures that will gut our middle class and have them joining those already living in tents and other improvised housing on the fringes of society, but thanks to media consolidation, you probably won't have to see it in your media:

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:33:44 AM PST

    •  Money is not a good reason for doing anything (7+ / 0-)

      or for not doing it. Those of us who have been unemployed long enough are learning how to work around the idea that you have to work for a living.

      Take for example virtual money.

      My favorite is the Chinese gold farming sweatshops for WoW. Essentially lua programming and macros with a made to order interface of rich wall street punks. The hook is they need good English language skills so as not to be immediately identified and banned.

      It used to be that a man went out and worked by the sweat of his brow to make a living for his family doing hard manual work. I don't see that as a successful survival strategy for the future.

      Most manufacturing jobs are already being done by robots and maybe that's how it should be, machines should work, people should think. Nowdays you can design something on AutoCad and send it off to be machined and even painted so inexpensively that the material costs are the big factor.

      Entrepenurial enterprises are another area of development. I'm amazed by some of the exotic things people are developing as handmade crafts. Luthiers for example can do a lot of mass production of technically superb instruments, but there is actually a big market for cigar box guitars with a wonderful mix of imperfection and creativity.

      Does it seem possible that foraging for restaurants and farmers markets can actually provide a successful hunter gatherer survival strategy? It's something robots can't do yet...

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:35:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if it's not worth doing for love... (11+ / 0-)

        ...it's not worth doing.

        Who do you want working for you;  someone who loves what they are doing, or someone just watching the clock and waiting for a paycheck?

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:23:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Heh, it depends on their quality of work (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Marie, ColoTim

          Loving your work doesn't make you good at it. It helps, sure. But I'd take a competent person who is indifferent about the work than in incompetent person who loves it.

          •  Incompetent people (4+ / 0-)

            don't stay incompetent if they love what they're doing.

            It's too frustrating. They don't want to do the same stupid thing over and over, they want to do something more than that.

            If you love music, you want to play it well. Playing it well means practicing, and figuring out what you did wrong so you can fix it, and trying it over and over until you get it just the way you want it.

            You don't want to just play one piece competently, you want to be able to play all kinds of pieces well.

            Same with anything else. There's a cook who can follow a recipe, and there's a chef who CREATES the recipe. But before they can create something new, they have to learn how to cook and how to follow a recipe, and what works together and how.

            Some will never get past the cook stage. But if they love it, they'll want to become a chef.

            It's the passion for excellence in what they're doing, and the drive to create something unique.

        •  Survival (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FG

          Is about love, I suppose, because so many work just to survive.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:50:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well hey (14+ / 0-)

      I hear tyvek suits are all the rage in homeless attire these days.  

      I will not send money to, work for, or vote for, any candidate whose behavior benefits the 1% over the 99%. Work for my vote, money and time, or lose it. Not the other way around.

      by Nada Lemming on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:15:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tyvek Will Help Govt Manage Citizens (9+ / 0-)

        http://tyveksuits.org/

        Tyvek Wristbands will separate them from the rest.

        These wristbands are a single use waterproof band that is extremely simple to put on and a very inexpensive way to separate your V.I.P.

        Tyvek wristbands can be used for crowd management, age ID, height restrictions, special privileges, and catering service identification.

        Tyvek wristbands are popular for concerts, bars, parks and other events that require tracking of people. Event planners crapper easily ingest them for temporary direction at a party, or to curb traveller entry.

        ~snark~

        Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.~~~ Susan Sontag

        by frandor55 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:39:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "imposed on the poor Greek people" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan, bbrown8370, FG

      The banks and the bondholders just took over a 50% cut on the debt owed by Greece.

      Seems to me everybody is suffering in this deal, even the 1%.

      Greece Reaches Agreement on Restructuring

      Greece reached an agreement with its private creditors to secure the biggest sovereign restructuring in history, paving the way for a second bailout of the debt- ridden nation and averting an economic collapse.

      Investors will forgive 53.5 percent of their principal and exchange their remaining holdings for new Greek government bonds and notes from the European Financial Stability Facility, the International Institute of Finance said in a statement today after a final round of talks overnight. The coupon on the new bonds was set at 2 percent until February 2015, 3 percent for the next five years and 4.3 percent until 2042.

      Yes, it will be tough on the Greeks.  But today's actions are a lot better than the alternative - default and expulsion from the EU.
      •  don't cry for the banks and bondholders... (39+ / 0-)

        the justification for the interest rates they charge for the loans that they make is to insulate them from the risk of the loan going bad.  the greater the risk, the greater the interest charged.  the bankers and bondholders that sold greece these loans are sophisticated lenders, so we should not be shedding tears for what happens when a normal market event occurs for which they have already extracted a premium.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:35:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the issue is that the interest rate (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fcvaguy, Deep Texan

          wasn't commensurate with the risk. Now, rates are being jacked up to be commensurate with an increasing risk, and the amount of money Greece will have to pay in interest is making the servicing of Greek debt even more problematic.

          The Greeks have overspent. They have too much debt. Their democratic process does not appear to be willing to take the steps necessary to resolve the issue. I don't think anyone is crying for the banks and bondholders. They're crying for the Greek people. Banking is a very valuable enterprise to have in your society. If the Greeks effectively get cut off from world capital markets, the country will be booted from the Eurozone, making it even harder to fix their finances in a way that doesn't involve de-developing.

        •  Greece has a chronic/structural deficit problem (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, Deep Texan, Jerry J

          Even if it dumped the Euro, resurrected the drachma, it would solve nothing. Who will they then borrow money from? They won't. They'll just print it and inflation will spiral out of control as what used to happen in Greece and Italy pre-Euro. That's part of the reason why the Greek people don't want to levae the Euro. Poverty will be even be worse.

          •  sovereign default is pretty common... (15+ / 0-)

            there's a list of sovereign defaults on this wikipedia page

            countries default, they restructure their debt and they move on.  it happens all of the time as you can see from the list.  generally speaking, they are able to maintain access to capital markets.

            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

            by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:11:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The table mixes both restructuring (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koNko, Deep Texan

              and sovereign defaults -- they're not the same thing.

              Sovereign defaults are pretty rare outside of nations that grouped into the '3rd world'/classified as 'developing' economies or lower.

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:50:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  sure they're different... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassiodorus, ilex

                but neither seems to have a lasting effect on the access to credit markets and that's what seems to be in contention at the moment.  there is a great likelihood that if greece defaults or restructures outside of the euro community that it will still have some access to credit markets that will improve over time.

                i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:19:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I guess it depends on what you term "lasting" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan

                  Argentina essentially spent ~8 years in the wilderness in regards to credit market access.... and again, it had the significant advantage of being a net exporter; in particular, agricultural and a fairly diverse mining industry.

                  Skyrocketing commodities prices played a significant role in making it 8 years and not 15 or 20 -- Argentina grows a ton of food, mines a lot of raw materials, and has one of the better mixed economies south of the US.

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:41:05 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You're ignoring the fact (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan

              that they require borrowing money every year to meet their budget commitments. Their debt may go away, but their deficit spending will not, except now they won't be able to borrow it.

              •  If they default, they'll save (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe shikspack, ilex, happymisanthropy

                17-18% of their total revenues, and yes they won't need to borrow money.

                There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:09:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But then -- (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fcvaguy

                  They're pretty much going to become a... I don't know... Jamaica or some such.  

                  Looking at their import/export balance, it looks like they can probably feed themselves - so they've got that going for them.... but you can forget any sort of significant manufacturing base or mixed economy.

                  Not saying it isn't the answer -- but I think it would mean a nation with a thriving, but limited, tourism-based economy while large segments of the population are left to what amounts subsistence farming and fishing.

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:44:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Import/export balance (5+ / 0-)

                    is a product of the zone's beggar-thy-neighbor approach.

                    Not just Greece, but all weaker eurozone economies have had manufacturing shutter do to the export imbalances which showed up AFTER joining. Heck, they get paid NOT to grow food. Greece went from 20% ag imports to 80%. Tons of manufacturers have shut down.

                    As for Jamaica, you're underplaying the key difference between Greece and Jamaica, and that's wealth. There a lot of wealthy Greeks, and judging by their pre-euro exploits, it stands to reason they'll be investing there. After all, the Greek banking system which has spread int the Balkans and Turkey is the plaything of these people (all of them shipping magnates). If you looked into Greek commercial banking you'd find they were started and owned by billionaires.

                    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                    by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 01:57:23 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I'd like to see your numbers (0+ / 0-)

                  Because, even if they defaulted on their debt, they would still have a significant annual deficit, and their economy is shrinking at a staggering 6% per year.

                  If Greece knew default was the elixir to their problems, they would have done it already.

                  •  I just provided the link in this section of the (0+ / 0-)

                    thread. Read above in my reply to fan man.

                    Let's do this again: 17-18% of revenues are toward servicing the debt.

                    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                    by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:19:25 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Sorry, my response to zonk (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joe shikspack, FogCityJohn
                    In the second half of 2011 the latest figures show tax revenues up 1.4% year on year and non-interest spending falling by an impressive 7.4%. As a result, the Greeks seem to have managed a 1.8bn euro primary surplus in that period: the overall deficit was still massive, but all that borrowing was going toward debt interest, not domestic spending.
                    I honestly can't understand why this is even under discussion since Greece doesn't see an ounce of the bailout money. It goes straight to the creditors. This is part of the whole IMF/troika surveillance. They control the purse!

                    So why are we even discussing that?

                    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                    by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:22:23 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Let's actually look at them. Bonds are still (0+ / 0-)

              repaid after defaults unless the state simply ceases to exist. Yeah, they are not repaid at face value with 70% haircuts being quite common. But there will be already at least a 50% haircut on Greek bonds. How would it be different in case of default?

              Another thing that happens during default is devaluation. Greece can't do that, it has no currency. Devaluation does help by increasing GDP growth (due to import substitution). However, it hurts residents of the country doing it as their incomes don't adjust to match the increased prices.

              •  so far default and ejection from the euro... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WheninRome

                have gone hand in hand, so if a default occurs, the debts will be paid back in drachmas, much to the horror of the creditors.

                i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:11:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Can't pay back euro-denominated debts in (0+ / 0-)

                  drachmas. They would still have to negotiate with creditors.

                  Devaluation will help the exporters by providing some stimulus to economy but it will be also quite disruptive. People will lose their savings, their salaries will buy much less than before. If it's not coupled with fundamental changes in the economy, it will not help much. Take a look at Belarus, it just devalued its currency 3 times. Did it little good.

          •  Argentina (3+ / 0-)

            Iceland


            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:32:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Argentina (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan, Inland, fcvaguy

              Didn't just do a Michael Scott standing on a chair "I declare BANKRUPTCY!!!!" --- it was a painful, ugly four year process and technically, only a partial default.

              And while one can certainly call Argentina a "success story" superficially -- it shouldn't go without notice that Argentina benefited significantly from commodities price explosions in the late aughts... That's an advantage a net exporter has over a net importer like Greece....  what's more - you don't need a conspiracy theorist to suggest that the 30 billion infusion they took a few years ago by nationalizing all pensions was less to 'protect' the pensioners than it was to add a new little "free" piggybank to the budget.

              Even beyond all that -- it was 2010 before Argentina was able to reenter the bond market.

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:59:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  OK, I'll bite (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fcvaguy, Deep Texan

              See my comment up-thread about Argentina. Much different case and different time.

              Iceland? They will be digging themselves out of debt (repaying the UK government/taxpayers who covered a major portion of their band default debts) for decades, and please do talk to the depositors from outside of Iceland that got burned in their bankers Ponzi scheme.

              Take my advice and don't use Iceland as an example, it was a fairly unique case of a country gambling with the savings of people from other countries; without which, Icelandic people would never have had the benefits of an economic bubble that gave them property they then refused to make good on - not quite moral high ground if you ask me.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:05:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Argentina (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan

              has a robust export economy. Greece does not. The Argentina = Greece equivalence has been debunked a number of times.

              •  argentina's export economy took off... (5+ / 0-)

                when its currency was devalued.  

                a quick google shows that greece is not without exports:

                Greece exports of goods were worth 1749 Million EUR in November of 2011. Greece's main exports are fruit, vegetables, olive oil, textiles, steel, aluminum, cement, and various manufactured items such as clothing, foodstuffs, refined petroleum and petroleum-based products. Greece main export partners are Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, and United States.
                it seems fair to say that should greece's currency be devalued relative to the euro, the pound and the dollar that demand for its exports might improve dramatically.  further, with a robust shipping industry and an educated work force, greece seems well positioned to take advantage of such an opportunity.  

                i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:50:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No - that's not true... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Inland, fcvaguy

                  Beyond a brief period in the late 90s, Argentina has always had a trade surplus -- Greece hasn't.

                  Everybody exports something... and everybody imports something -- what matters in terms the default or not to default question is what that balance or net effect is.  Argentina had a trade surplus when it defaulted, it maintained a surplus while it was working through its partial default, and it continued to have a surplus when the credit markets were finally available to it again 2010.

                  ...and I'd quarrel with saying it's economy "took off" when its currency devalued...  Argentina defaulted in 2002... In 2003, it's GDP fell by about 60%.  It wasn't until 2008 that it came close to its pre-default level of GDP.

                  Greece hasn't defaulted yet... so if we're going to go that route -- and again, I've consistently said that I'm not altogether saying they shouldn't -- the clock for recovery hasn't even started yet.  In fact -- we haven't hit the bottoming out point.

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:13:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  and its not over yet (0+ / 0-)

                    Argentina currently suffers a 22% inflation rate. That's not sustainable.

                    What it does have in its favor is that it has a close-to balanced budget. Greece runs a significant deficit. Greece needs to borrow money to survive. Argentina does not.

                •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

                  It took off when the currency was devalued. That was a pure coincidence because that is the time when the worldwide commodity explosion happened. They benefited from pure luck.

                  Argentina's biggest export is soybean (24% of exports). When it defaulted, world soybean prices were at a 10 year low of $150 per metric ton. By 2004, soybean prices skyrocketed to $370 a metric ton. B7 2009, price was at $550 per metric ton. Argentina benefited from a huge windfall in the skyrocketing costs of commodities.

                  http://www.indexmundi.com/...

                  Argentina is a NET exporter. Exports - $84B, Imports - $68B

                  Greece on the other hand is a NET importer. Exports $27B, Imports $66B.

                  After Greece defaults, how will they pay for their trade imports? They import machinery, vehicles, energy and chemicals. Their biggest trading partners are Germany, Russia, Italy, China and the Netherlands.

                  Do you think those countries will except worthless drachmas for payment?

                  •  yes, they'll accept drachmas... (0+ / 0-)

                    as long as there is not a significant trade imbalance.  there are also imports that greece spends far too much money on that it can cut:

                    Greece directs approximately 4.3% of its GDP to military expenditures, the 2nd highest percentage in Europe (behind the Republic of Macedonia). In absolute numbers the Greek military budget ranked 28th in the world in 2005. By the same measure, Greek military budget ranked 6th in the Mediterranean basin (behind France, Italy, Turkey, Israel and Spain) and 2nd (behind Turkey) in its immediate vicinity, the Balkans. It must be noted that Greek arms purchasing is among the highest in the world: Greece ranked 3rd in the world in 2004.

                    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                    by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:06:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  they'll accept drachmas because you said so? (0+ / 0-)

                      3 of their 5 largest trading partners are Euro countries. They'll want to be paid in Euros. Why on earth would they risk accepting drachmas?

                      With respect to its military, you could wipe out their entire military, and bring those expenditures to zero and you will only have erased half of its annual deficit.

                      •  yes, because i said so... (0+ / 0-)

                        well actually they'll do it because they will have to.  they want the trade and as long as the trade balances, there's no reason for them not to.  the alternatives are not good for them.

                        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                        by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:47:22 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  In the current EU (0+ / 0-)

                          If Germany needs to buy olives for example, it has alternate sources for those purchases within the EU. It buys olives from Greece, because its mutually beneficial with a common currency. If I need to buy olives, I'd buy them from Italy and Spain before I bought them from Greece because its in my best financial interest. There is nothing Greece exports, except its own tourism, which other EU countries must buy.

                          •  but they'd like to sell to greece... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ChiTownDenny, happymisanthropy

                            which means that they have to buy from them, too.  the germans and the french especially don't want to lose the billions of dollars worth of exports that they send to greece.  that's why all of the austerity demands target the greek social safety net and specifically exempt cuts to greece's military.

                            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                            by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:13:23 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

            •  Iceland... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack

              did not default.  The country never refused to pay back a dime that it owed.  And even the private companies that initially defaulted on their debt are at present paying off all of their debt obligations.

          •  Greece devalued (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack

            in 1991 and came out of it just fine with a lot less poverty and destruction of the economy.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:08:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Greece can't devalue the euro (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FG

              They're pretty left with either go along with the EU, or, a full-on default and exit of the Euro (I suppose there's a slim chance of trying to thread a default but stay in the EU needle... but that's not a choice I think they have all to themselves.)

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:46:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  What percentage of the bankers are going (23+ / 0-)

        homeless because of this?  Somewhere around zero I'd expect.  It's much larger for the Greeks.  Of course, the horrors of losing some money can always be compared to deprivation of vital services.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:56:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Always at least one banster apologist in every (23+ / 0-)

        crowd.

        Those poor "investors."  Since when are investments risk free?

        And if the global financial vampire system lives on (thanks to the corpse of Greece), who is the next victim?  IE When does it stop?

        To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. - Theodore Roosevelt 1918

        by JVolvo on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:13:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Greece's problem did not happen overnight (12+ / 0-)

          Greece has had a problem of not enough revenues for years.  Much of that is due to corruption in the government that allows whole classes of people go without paying their taxes.

          These banksters knew exactly what was going on with teh Greek government. Goldman Sachs was secretly lending the Greek government large amounts of money as early as 2002. They knew exactly what they were doing and that is why they did it under the table.

          "Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help facilitate and structure the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction.”-Justice Stevens

          by gulfgal98 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:03:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not true not true not true (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mrkvica, Saint Jimmy

            Look at their total revenues. Eurostat has them at 39.5% GDP for last year and 40% for the decade prior, an amount I would argue is underscoring the true revenues collected primarily because the shipping sector at 15% of GDP is untaxedf for obvious reasons.

            The tax story is overblown.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:10:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Under what circumstances (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deep Texan

      Do we hold nations responsible for their debts, or not?

      And when nations face obvious difficulty meeting obligations because they have overspent for any reason, and debt forgiveness would impose undue hardship on others, what is your proposal to solve that problem?

      These are important questions you should address.

      Thank You.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:47:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone's right (22+ / 0-)

    Greece was screwed by bankers, but Greece (the country, via its elected leaders) spent beyond its means and lied about its financial situation.  This isn't entirely about what others have done to Greece; it's also partly about what Greeks have done to themselves through the usual intersection of electoral democracy and elite rule.  When you're a wealthy country, like Germany or the US or the UK, you can do a lot of crazy stuff without a comeuppance--and the US is a class by itself because the dollar is a reserve currency.  But when you're much farther down in the food chain, like Greece, your margin of error is a lot smaller.

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:46:52 AM PST

    •  the greek government and elites bear some blame... (47+ / 0-)

      but the greek people don't deserve the kind of abuse that they are getting.

      i'd recommend this article's section a "mini history of the modern greek economy" for general background information.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:56:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where will the money come from? (6+ / 0-)

        You are discussing the "abuse", but who will pay to keep the government afloat?

        Anyone, who held Greek bonds, will now get 53% of the face value of their investment.  That means they will likely lose 45 cents on every dollar they invested.

        Will you use your money to invest in Greek bonds?  Would you advise your family to?

        •  i think that the greek people should (30+ / 0-)

          repudiate the debts and start over, preferably without the elites that got them into this problem.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:08:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay, where is the money then (4+ / 0-)

            Certainly Greece could default on all privately held debt.  Where do they get money the day after?

            Do you believe the tax base is large enough to cover their present obligations to their own people?

            •  look they are going to have to start over... (31+ / 0-)

              once they leave the euro, they can print their own money again and start to put things back in order.

              yes, it will be very difficult - but it will be better than being subjugated and impoverished by external forces and banksters.

              i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

              by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:14:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That only works though (7+ / 0-)

                If you something to export... Greece really doesn't.

                Reinstitute the drachma and Greece's two largest economic sectors each face a different problem... First - tourism likely suffers because of dual-edged problems... Leaving the EU likely means a drop-off, at least initially, in tourism (just out of pure convenience initially, but then also because the Greeks are going to significantly deal with some belt-tightening and more than likely, will be facing significant social upheaval).  Second - their second largest sector -- shipping -- probably moves out of the country... I can't foresee many shipping magnets interesting in trafficking in worthless drachma.

                Greece ends up impoverished either way - I suppose one can make the case its better to be impoverished by one's own government and internally than it is impoverished by the EU and Germany.... but the betting money seems to be slightly less impoverishment by externalizing it.

                No easy choices here -- it pretty much comes down to a XXL shit sandwich they can prepare themselves or a XL shit sandwich prepared for them.

                Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:44:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  shipping industry can be nationalized... (19+ / 0-)

                  yeah, the magnates will disappear and they've already moved the money that they skipped out on paying taxes on for years offshore, but you can't move a port.  if the greeks can avoid privatizing all of their assets to pay off their creditors, then they will have something to work with.

                  i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                  by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:04:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That doesn't solve the problem, though... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sparhawk, Deep Texan, 3goldens

                    Because that shipping industry is still intertwined with international commerce -- get rid of the owners and nationalize it and you're still stuck trying to deal with essentially the same people you just told to take a hike.  

                    I have to think that other remaining EU members -- those down the Adriatic, and perhaps especially -- prospective EU members like Turkey -- start greedily licking their chops at picking up the slack.

                    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                    by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:24:48 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Right (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      NoMoreLies, zonk

                      Does the Greek government have some magical ability that private corporations don't have?

                      No. If it nationalized shipping, Greece would have to compete with other shippers elsewhere on price. It would make a certain amount of profit, which may or may not be big enough with respect to the size of its economy to matter.

                      And, because governments are historically very bad at doing private sector activity, it might be a worse overall solution than allowing the private sector to do it.

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:22:29 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Agreed - though with the caveat (0+ / 0-)

                        About the rather infamous Greek problem with collecting taxes on that activity.... but that's a whole different question as to whether the drop in efficiency, but more absolutist revenue collection would make up the difference... given that the current mess involved a hidden set of books, too -- I'm not even sure I'd want to take the nationalization side of that argument anyway.... even if it were a realistic option.

                        Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                        by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:18:29 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                •  ReIntroduce Drachma, and Entrepreneurship will... (5+ / 0-)

                  ...flourish.

                  In Mexico pre-devaluation (December 1994), McD's imported 70% of its ingredients due to the overvalued peso (in fact, it was cheaper to vacation in Miami than in Cancun).

                  One year later, McDs Mexico was domestically sourcing 70% of its raw goods.

                  Reintroduce the Drachma and Greeks will produce (and export) many, many products that one can't conceive of today.

                  Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

                  by PatriciaVa on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:42:19 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Significant differences though (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sparhawk, divineorder, Deep Texan, mijita

                    For one thing -- a devaluation is substantially different than an outright default.

                    Leaving the EU is going to mean a default.

                    For another - the Greek standard of living is a fair bit higher than Mexico.

                    Finally, Mexico has a much greater natural resource and agricultural capacity than Greece.

                    It seems to me that the EU is trying to do what the US/Canada/(IMF) did with Mexico -- avoid a total meltdown... but there are structural differences that prevent it working the way it did with Mexico.

                    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                    by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:54:08 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  You're right (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan

                  the way the Greek economy is currently structured, they will still deficit spend. The difference will be that they will have no place to borrow from anymore. So, the alternative is to print more and more drachmas and they're back to where they were in the 60s and 70s - hyperinflation and abject poverty.

                •  greece has no exports? (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ilex, Sandino, mrkvica, WheninRome

                  a quick google shows that they do.  imagine that.

                  Greece exports of goods were worth 1749 Million EUR in November of 2011. Greece's main exports are fruit, vegetables, olive oil, textiles, steel, aluminum, cement, and various manufactured items such as clothing, foodstuffs, refined petroleum and petroleum-based products. Greece main export partners are Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, and United States.

                  i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                  by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:30:27 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I didn't say they have no exports... (0+ / 0-)

                    I said that they're a net importer...

                    Greece's export market is ~22 billion -- while it imports roughly ~43 billion...

                    What's more -- it's two biggest import and export partners are Germany and Italy.... EU membership does have its advantages -- it's not solely a boondoggle for banksters.

                    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                    by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:54:26 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  greece could become a net exporter... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      happymisanthropy

                      it is well positioned with an educated work force and a robust shipping industry to do so.  demand would almost certainly rise if their currency devalued.  it seems unlikely that the eurozone would block imports of greek goods, in no small part because the large eurozone exporters would certainly feel the loss of greek demand.  in all of this brewhaha, little is made of the fact that germany relies on export markets within the eurozone and has probably looked the other way regarding the solvency of their trading partners in order to loan them money to purchase their finished goods.  also, it is well to note that one thing that these large countries are insisting on is that despite austerity, greece should not cut its bloated military budget - likely due to the fact that the larger european exporters rely on greek demand for military goods.

                      all things considered, greece may ditch the euro, but it is unlikely that the rest of the eurozone will refuse to trade with them.

                      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                      by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:21:04 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you can't export "shipping" (0+ / 0-)

                        There's a fundamental differences between exporting goods and services -- for one thing, plenty of nations have and can pick up a services slack (I think Turkey, for one, has rapidly expanded its merchant capacity over the last decade... with a GDP about half of Greece -- and a pending EU membership application -- I kind of suspect the Turks are licking their chops right now).

                        Sure - Greece could become a net exporter... and I'm not at all saying that the EU would just embargo them (but let's also remember that neither is the EU going to be interested in trading goods in drachma with Greece, either).

                        So could the US (become a net exporter), if we wanted to...

                        The reason we don't -- and the reason it is not a cut-and-dry issue for Greece - is standard of living.

                        From the availability of health care to the availability of flat screen TVs -- those things will become more expensive and more rare for a Greece that can longer surf the euro to a 1 to 2 trade imbalance.

                        We're fortunate here in the US that it's only an idiot congress that insists on throwing a tantrum that keeps us having no issues servicing our debt -- it allows us to maintain our standard of living by an large, without worrying too much about our trade imbalance.

                        Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                        by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:37:43 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  you can't export shipping... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          mrkvica, happymisanthropy

                          but you can't get your goods to a foreign market without it.  it's a big advantage to be able to provide your own transportation for your goods and price advantage them over others.  it worked swimmingly for the railroad barons.

                          i'm not so sure that the reason we're not a net exporter has to do with standard of living.  as far as i can tell, the powers that be don't give a damn about the quality of the little people's lives, but they care a hell of a lot about relative currency values and have favored a "strong dollar policy" for a long time.  

                          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                          by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:52:23 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Sure, but -- (0+ / 0-)

                            again, the problem is that the Greeks aren't the only ones who have the ships or the capabilities to sail them...

                            And I don't disagree about the 'powers that be' -- but the "little people" do care very much about having new TVs and getting them at the cheapest possible price.  I mean, don't know what to tell you there -- I've still got an old CRT, but I'm an increasing rarity.

                            Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                            by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 01:11:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Selling what to whom? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Texan

                Greeks were impoverished by the greed and recklessness of their own elected officials and unsustainable government policies including a bloated, non-productive public sector and ridiculously lax enforcement of taxation.

                I pretty much agree with you the situation demands they ultimately leave the Euro, but if and when they do so it will not materially improve their situation as long as the the world and the EU (their main trading partners) are in recession, because with out exports, they face meager economic growth (at best) in the domestic economy. So my personal opinion it they would be wise to bite the bullet now and face the music a little later after the European economy recovers a bit.

                One thing is for certain if they leave the Euro - they will not be getting any cheap, unsecured loans, with no strings attached.

                "Bootstraps" would be an under-statement.

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:16:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  they have a primary surplus (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Siri

              Or haven't you heard?

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:58:32 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not yet they don't (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Deep Texan

                You have to engage in the same sort of accounting chicanery that led to this place to come up with the math that says "primary surplus" (read - completely put accruals somewhere offbooks).

                Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:55:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's been documented by others (3+ / 0-)

                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

                  In the second half of 2011 the latest figures show tax revenues up 1.4% year on year and non-interest spending falling by an impressive 7.4%. As a result, the Greeks seem to have managed a 1.8bn euro primary surplus in that period: the overall deficit was still massive, but all that borrowing was going toward debt interest, not domestic spending.
                  Left out of all the analysis is that Greece has cut its budget by 34% in the last 18 months.

                  Furthermore, the report on Greek debt sustainability shown to the IMF yesterday shows that 17-18% of all revenues go to servicing the debt, which is a factor of 3.5x than anyone else's in the eurozone, a sure product of huge decline in both the budget and the GDP.

                  There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                  by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:03:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sure, but again -- that number (0+ / 0-)

                    is solely based on current year numbers; it ignores accruals.... now - I suppose in a default situation, you can slice off a big chunk of those external accruals like some of that debt service -- but then, I have a hard time believing that you're going to be able to continue to measure those numbers in euros -- which means you're probably going to have to measure them with new drachmas (which are going to really screw up the math as inflation inevitably rears a rapid and nasty ugly head).

                    ... and that's without analyzing any internally owed accruals because I confess I'm not at all sure how various greek pensioner and safety nets are constructed and funded.

                    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                    by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:24:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You're assuming default = exit from eurozone (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      joe shikspack

                      That's not a given.

                      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                      by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 01:50:04 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No, it's not -- (0+ / 0-)

                        but I think the question then moves out of their hands... at least by that, I mean -- I think it becomes more likely they get expelled.

                        Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                        by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 01:55:39 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That's a major major unknown (0+ / 0-)

                          because there is no formal mechanism for expulsion. As well, it would require a constitution and treaty change (i.e. years of deliberation). And then finally, such decisions require unanimous approval.

                          The bond markets are already nervous at the idea because it would mean their loans would be forcibly converted into drachmas, and the prospect sends shivers into anyone even considering loaning to the periphery.

                          You'd be putting a gun to the head of Portugal and Ireland to approve such a mechanism after the fact.

                          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                          by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 02:01:45 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

          •  But then what? (7+ / 0-)

            The current austerity measures would look like mardi gras in comparison -- because at that point, forget a long-term debt equalization strategy -- now it's literally balanced budget shock therapy.

            The Greek government is then put in a position with borrowing costs that are tons worse than they are now -- plus, in such a case -- they're almost certainly not in the EU, so Germany et al are probably washing their hands of more aid.

            Greece isn't Argentina -- it simply doesn't have much in the way of exports that it could use like Argentina to emerge from default rubble... it's a tourism and shipping economy... and both of those get seriously imperiled by a default and EU exit.  Greece's economy is severely import-tilted -- in a lot of ways, a default only serves to make that fact more glaringly painful.

            I'm not saying they should or they shouldn't, just that there is no easy answer here.  

            Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

            by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:37:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They won't be any better off that way, but they'll (4+ / 0-)

              be free, at least.

              Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

              by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:43:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  It's not easy, but it's simple (13+ / 0-)

              Import substitution.  Go back to growing their own food, instead of importing beef.  Invest in generating their own power, instead of sending the money to banks.  

              And they'll be ahead of everyone else when the peak oil and climate change shit hits the fan.

              •  Well They Wouldn't Have Much Choice (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cotterperson, Deep Texan

                Since Drachmas would essentilally be worth NOTHING anywhere outside of Greece, they wouldn't be able to import anything anyway.

              •  This is not 1900 (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk, Terranova0, Deep Texan

                Greece does not make, and will probably never make a whole host of technology products that they still will have to import.

                Import substitution has severe limits in the modern world.

                The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

                by fladem on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:44:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  excellent comment (5+ / 0-)

                greece will become a tourist magnet if they default and devalue, because it will be a heaven for young tourists with small budgets who want to go have fun in the sun.

                think ibiza multiplied to the nth degree, lots of beautiful islands.

                also, all that sun and wind, they could pay their debts and interest with income generated from that.

                but n-o-o-o-o... they are being half-nelsoned into buying submarines built for the baltic that freaking roll over sideways in the mediterranean or aegean seas.

                this is the biggest heist by the 1% since halliburton and the iraq war. greece is just the first european country to fall off the ledge.

                who's next? many will make gazillions betting on it, remember, and thus influence the outcome...

                more virgins into the neolib volcano!

                why? just kos..... *just cause*

                by melo on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:40:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sure... (0+ / 0-)

                  Of course - you're probably talking a tourist magnet where you've got a few very affordable hotspots with some of military/police type situation to keep those living in Thunderdome outside the industry away from the vacationers.

                  If Greece wishes to become say... Jamaica... well... there's not "all wrong" with that, but you're talking about a ton of people taking a significant standard of living hit.

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:27:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  i'm thinking more (0+ / 0-)

                    thailand style beach house guest houses/ farmstead spare rooms with bouzoukis, fish straight from the fisherman.

                    not strings of ugly condos run by the 1% dumping sewage into the sea.

                    why? just kos..... *just cause*

                    by melo on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:08:18 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  They are effectively defaulting on (0+ / 0-)

            half of them.

            The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

            by fladem on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:41:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  And investing in bonds is risk free? Guaranteed (10+ / 0-)

          profit?  What was the interest rate when they invested?  Don't higher rates expicitly announce "higher chance of default"?

          Cry me a river for the banksters...

          To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. - Theodore Roosevelt 1918

          by JVolvo on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:16:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not the higher interest bonds (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan

            that Greece was in danger of defaulting on, at least not wholly...

            At this point - no one is willing to buy any more Greek bonds, even at higher interest rates.  If they were - the Greeks could have told the EU to go fuck themselves in the most recent 130 billion bailout... they'd have the choice of just borrowing more (even at higher rates) to cover the bills due.

            They don't have the money to make the payments on bonds that were sold years ago.

            This is nothing like the silly debt ceiling fight here last summer, where there were plenty of people willing to loan us money, even at rates that are poor (for them) -- no one is willing to lend the Greeks anything more, but they have bills due that they can't pay.

            Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

            by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:05:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bills due? (0+ / 0-)

              We're discussing bankruptcy here, are we not?

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:13:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure - but even a sovereign default (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1

                wouldn't be total -- has there ever been such thing as a complete and total ledger reset on a sovereign basis?  Argentina's wasn't... Russia in the 90s didn't default on its European debt.

                And again - I'm not sure how greece is financing its current internal obligations (pensioners, etc).

                Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:55:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Greece has always paid back its loans even (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joe shikspack, ozsea1

                  at usurious rates.

                  But there's a difference here between Argentina and the like and Greece.

                  As of right now, today, Greece's private loans are under Greek law. Not so Argnetina and the like. Those were written under London law and were thus liable to suits from vulture funds.

                  There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                  by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 01:59:08 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  One year Greek Gov bonds at 682% (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, happymisanthropy

          In other words spend a dollar on a bond today, get $7.82 back a year from now. The investor who bought that bond can take a haircut of 85% and be just fine. And he knew that when he bought the bond.

          In reality the purchaser of that bond is a bloodsucker and deserves a 100% haircut. He deserves to be totally defaulted on. If he only takes a 45% haircut he makes out like a bandit.

          What will happen is holders of GGB will get differential treatment depending entirely on politics and connections. Pension funds will be lucky to collect a penny on the dollar, Goldman Sachs will laugh all the way to the bank. Every published line describing the tentative settlement thus far has been a lie. The final settlement, unless it is a single word - Default - will be self serving propaganda for the banks. The reality of who got what money will never be known to the Greek public.

      •  I totally agree (5+ / 0-)

        All of this nonsense about how "the Greeks" overspent points the finger at the entire culture, which is just absurd.  You can't realistically indict an entire country.  Perhaps you can complain about actions of a government, but as soon as you get into blaming the Greek people, it is not appropriate.  This is for three reasons.  First, no group of people as large as a country like Greece is homogenous in their actions or beliefs, so broad-brush insults are necessarily wrong.  Second, I am pretty darn sure that most of the Greek people, whether or not they paid taxes etc etc etc, were just trying to get by, just like everyone in the United States and Germany and pretty much everywhere else.  Finally, it ultimately doesn't matter how or why they got into this mess, they are people who are suffering, and we should be supporting them in keeping hold of the things that progress has brought them if we are at all able to, and we certainly ARE able to.

    •  I think we should all note that Greece is not what (7+ / 0-)

      France, Spain, etc are. Hopefully the Greeks can be a warning flag for other nations in rough straits, but the Greeks were spending waaaaaaay beyond their means of production or ability to pay back.

      Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:57:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  so have we (22+ / 0-)

        they point is we can simply inflate or way out of it if need be by printing.  Greeces biggest mistake was joining the crooks in the Euro.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:12:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A Sovereign Currency Has More Direct Connection... (7+ / 0-)

          ....more direct connection to the citizenry.

          Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.~~~ Susan Sontag

          by frandor55 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:18:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It is true that the committment to the Euro (0+ / 0-)

          handcuffs them considerably...and I'm not sure if you were implying that we have an equal means of production with Greece relative to the population, but if you are, I would have to disagree with you on that one.

          Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

          by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:20:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not so sure (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TooFolkGR, NearlyNormal, Deep Texan

          a tourism and shipping based economy joining a continental currency union was an altogether bad thing...

          The methodology and parameters of the EU aside, it would seem to me that a country whose two largest economic segments are tied directly to the EU is probably better off in, than out....

          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

          by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:46:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  no we haven't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy

          our country is a rich nation that could easily pay the debt if taxes were collected from corporations etc.

          the debt is what, just about what the whole country makes in a year?  a debt plan could get us close to 0 debt in 10 years.  however, we don't even really need to pay off the whole debt.  having debt is a good thing.  it just needs to come down some.

          -You want to change the system, run for office.

          by Deep Texan on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:47:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  German homeownerhsip rate is 42%; Italy's is (4+ / 0-)

          ....84%.

          Inflation would be FAR more devastating to the Germans than to residents of the southern EuroZone states.

          And it would be grossly unfair, as the Germans were promised that the ECB would never inflate the EuroZone out of its problems.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

          by PatriciaVa on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:47:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is really a bad viewpoint... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dksbook

          You're not supposed to inflate your way out of your financial commitments. You're supposed to pay the fucking money back - in non-Monopoly currency.

          This "inflate the debt away" policy is not as easy in practice as you make it sound. Sometimes the international community lets it go. Sometimes, they come in with armies...

        •  the euro was built on fishful winking (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack

          if they had established fiscal union before a common currency, and had a federated central bank none of this would have happened.

          the euro could only fly (and did!) with a favourable wind, now we see how it was w-a-y optimistically structured, by the bits falling off.

          bestcase scenarios rarely last long in murphy's universe.

          why? just kos..... *just cause*

          by melo on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:48:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  What is being imposed is self-destructuve (16+ / 0-)

        What is needed is short term stimulus and longer term budget controls.  There are some real issues in Greece (for example, there is massive tax fraud there) but driving them into the ditch starts a spiral they can't get out of.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:16:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think it's fair to denigrate the Greeks (11+ / 0-)

          as "lazy", etc any more than assuming someone going through a foreclosure is lazy, etc.

          Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

          by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:21:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The justification for the austerity (14+ / 0-)

            being imposed, even while it causes their economy to contract making them even more insolvent, is their spending  their way into this mess. There is a marked message of the Greek people deserving this pain as a punitive measure, especially coming from the Germans.

            What they need is a Marshall Plan of sorts to revitalize their economy. How is it that the Germans can exterminate 6 million people and drag the whole world into war then get  billions infused to rebuild their country and now take the position that the Greeks were irresponsible so should now be punished and are undeserving of real aid to rebuild their economy. Is being over their heads in debt to bankers really a worse offense that what the Germans wrought during the war? Maybe now would be the time for them to drop this need to impose punishment and really help.

            48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

            by Siri on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:54:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  10 million people (10+ / 0-)

              6 million Jews plus another 4 million Roma, LGBT, and various political dissidents.  Not to mention the millions of people who died in WWII.

              There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

              by AoT on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:01:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  the biggest irony (5+ / 0-)

                is that germans are impeccably civic-minded within their own country, an example to the rest of europe, certainly.

                they just don't feel that way yet for the rest of euroland. the sooner that happens the better, but there are some already dragging the nasty edge voices of retro-nationalism in both countries -and others- in europe, which were fading fast into history when economies were growing more and people were convinced of good prospects, salaries growing faster than inflation, generous funding from the EU, energy prices still more reasonable.

                now peak oil is here the shit's hitting the fan.

                greece should do a massive rollout of solar power, grow their own food, then tell the banksters to take a long walk off a short pier.

                why? just kos..... *just cause*

                by melo on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:57:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Beggar thy neighbor (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joe shikspack, Siri, happymisanthropy

                  is a bankrupt economic policy, and it requires a helluva lot of "I didn't know" to keep it going.

                  There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                  by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:15:11 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's what we do here in the US (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joe shikspack, Siri

                    Which is what I think melo was probably thinking of.  If Germany wants Europe to continue to be a unified thing, however you want to define it, then it needs to realize that that means that some countries are going to have to be subsidized.  Simple as that.

                    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                    by AoT on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 02:45:26 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  We also have a surplus recycling mechanism (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      joe shikspack

                      that prevents that approach from slicing off parts of the country. So, while it's true that wages in Mississippi impact wages in California, I can't say this is a bad thing.

                      My concerns, in this regard, however, are that states are treated as monolithic entities, and that a state such as NY may have the richest city on the continent, but Appalachia also slices through the state.

                      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                      by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:45:17 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  But what do they build long term? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan

          This isn't a nation with considerable natural resources that a long-term budget balancing can help with...

          Greece is not a net exporting nation and I'm not sure how they realistically ever could become one - at least, not in a time horizon that's going to matter.

          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

          by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:48:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  create a sustainable economy... (13+ / 0-)

            based upon providing food, clothing, shelter, etc. internally and trading for what you can't produce.  it's the wave of the future.  greece can get out ahead of the curve.

            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

            by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:07:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That means a ton of "austerity" (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TooFolkGR, Deep Texan

              short-term - and probably even medium-term... They won't be able to import - at least, effectively - in the near-term.  Sure - they can probably do without Chevy's and flat-screens, but things like medicine and such are bound to become so expensive as to be pretty much the limit of imports...

              Based on their EU rankings in several areas, they might well be able to feed themselves... but it should also be noted that the Greek agricultural and fishing industries got tremendous boosts out of EU membership, and presumably, some of those gains suffer or roll back from an EU exit.

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:16:22 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  it's not going to be easy... (7+ / 0-)

                but no matter which way you slice it, there are going to be great difficulties.  the question is, do the greeks want to be free or do they want their future to be dictated by banksters and their pet governments.

                i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:25:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Which is fine--- (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PhilJD, Deep Texan

                  Like I said, I'm not sure that isn't their best choice anyway...

                  But then - I don't think we can make this about "austerity" or "not austerity"... it becomes a different discussion, and FWIW - it seems like most the protests I've seen and read about are focusing more on the austerity aspect than the self-governance aspect.

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:28:46 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  freedom is certainly something worth pursuing (5+ / 0-)

                    a temporary "austerity" freely chosen is a world away from an imposed austerity.  a self-governing people can choose to reject neoliberalism, for example.

                    i'm not even sure that using the term to cover both conditions isn't a form of equivocation.  it has the feeling of equivocation to me.

                    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                    by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:43:16 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I don't see how it's equivocation... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Deep Texan

                      We're talking about 'standard of living' here -- and ultimately, even a self-chosen path is certain to mean less medicine, less education, less social safety net, etc (not to mention less luxury items).

                      Those things would become prohibitively expensive for Greece as a whole and Greeks individually.

                      In a generation?  Maybe... and maybe the Greeks decide something more agrarian and consumer-driven is a life they prefer... but it's still the same basic choice in anything but the longest or terms.

                      Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                      by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:56:07 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  the greeks have imposed austerity now.... (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        3goldens, joanneleon, Cassiodorus

                        but taking steps to dig themselves out of austerity is simply a choice of more austerity?  doesn't seem to me to be a good description of the situation.

                        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                        by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:03:53 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Sure it is -- (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Deep Texan, Kathy S

                          The EU just sent them/just passed another 130 billion in bailout funds...  That was to prevent what would have certainly been a default in March.

                          But even with it (and the further austerity measures that were predicate to it) -- Greece is still running a sizeable deficit (120% GDP, I believe).

                          If they default - that 120% has to become equalized immediately (i.e., more and deeper austerity) because the EU money completely goes away...

                          It's austerity either way -- setting aside the self-determination question for a moment -- it's strictly a matter of the slope of the incline.

                          Staying within the EU is a slightly less steep slope -- if they choose to just default and exit the EU, the slope becomes steeper because there's no longer any EU money available to them (nor negotiated write-downs).  

                          Sure - the ledger resets to zero, but at that point -- the Greek government can only spend what it takes in, no more than that...

                          What's worse - under an EU exit, what they 'take in/spend' becomes based not on euros, but now - on a currency that no one is going to accept payment in.... the inflationary aspects of reinstituting the drachma as a last resort means that "take in/spend" now happens in a world where the things they'd need to import become extraordinarily expensive.

                          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                          by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:20:00 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  A light at the end of the tunnel (7+ / 0-)

                  The way I see it, if they go the route of the EU bailout, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  If they default and get back to their own currency, it will be hellish at first but at least there is light at the end of that tunnel.  And they can run their own country!  I mean, the road they are heading down now does not even give them a chance to steer themselves out of this.  And it's clear that the northern European countries will not be very generous with them or care much if they suffer indefinitely.

                  It amazes me -- do they not realize that they could find themselves in a reversed situation some day?  It makes me wonder why they even formed the EU if they did not realize that some countries in their union would fall on hard times.  Yet they created no way to leave  the Euro.


                  "Justice is a commodity"

                  by joanneleon on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:38:43 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  i'm not so sure it is the euro per se (10+ / 0-)

                    i think it is globalization and CHEAP goods that have killed regionalized economies that is breaking all of us.

                    it is this one world order that papa Bush (aka Damien?) was talking about.

                    the most worrisome thing is Greece ceding of some of its sovereignty to these whack job IMF or World Bank types.

                    it is a gathering storm. and we still haven't figured it's time to circle the wagons.

                    look at the what's happening in the usofA. the treatment of the occupy protesters is showing us the truth behind the happy happy joy joy talk of dems.

                    and can i just say how pissed i am at that stupid front page piece extoling the Dow hitting 13,000???? these are the people who dragged us into this mess and now we're parading it as a good fucking thing??? in what world. i want to know.

                  •  They've already gone the route (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Deep Texan

                    of an EU bailout... several times.

                    The most recent bailout being the 130 billion just yesterday.  

                    Right now - the EU is basically covering their debt service every time it comes due.

                    I think we're at the tipping point where the chances are more likely Greece gets expelled from the EU than leave willingly.

                    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                    by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:13:47 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  greece can become the poster child (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack

              for alternate energy.

              why? just kos..... *just cause*

              by melo on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:59:22 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Let the Greeks solve their own problems... (8+ / 0-)

            just don't exacerbate them terribly by imposing austerity.

          •  Shipping (6+ / 0-)

            They've been a leader in the shipping industry for what? Centuries? Given a chance, I'm sure there are other industries that they could build up as well.   Japan doesn't have many natural resources either.


            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:34:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Shipping is tied to international commerce (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan, melo, ozsea1

              So -- let's aside for a moment this utopian vision where the other EU nations that now basically tossed several hundred billion into a rabbit hole, never to come back -- don't take a jaundiced view of (presumably nationalized?) Greek shipping... but hey - they might be - after all, once Greece emerges with a worthless drachma, shipping with Greece might be too tempting to pass up.  Greek shipping might well become the Foxconn of international shipping.

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:20:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well maybe if they had (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe shikspack

                created a way to exit the EU and had not forged ahead with the horribly flawed design of their economic union, things would be a bit more utopian.  But just keep bashing Greece if it makes you feel better and more superior.  Wait til it's you being bashed and see how well you are defended in return.  It's always so much better for the people to fracture into factions -- always so much better for us that way.  Not.


                "Justice is a commodity"

                by joanneleon on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 02:53:03 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Education perhaps (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack

            My husband work in AI -- some of the most brilliant programmers in artificial intelligence are at Greek universities.

            Greece is a lot of things, but lazy, backward or uneducated aren't among them.

            "There once was a union maid..." Political compass: -9.75 / -8.72

            by mijita on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:41:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I agree. Austerity is equivalent to debtors' (9+ / 0-)

          prison.  You're let out when you raise the cash to pay off the debt. Fat chance.

          Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

          by triplepoint on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:25:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Spending because they were told what they (11+ / 0-)

        were investing in was worth billions and going to be worth even more.

        Suckered like so many American mortgage holders.

        I can't count the number of times I heard realtors saying that if something should happen, you can always sell the house and turn a quick profit.

        That mentality started somewhere in the middle and trickled up and trickled down. The big difference is the professional people at the top should have seen it for the scam selling point it was, probably did, and kept selling their junk bundled securities just the same.

        The problem lies first and foremost with the criminal banking institutions. Let's start to bleed those stones.

        Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

        by Pescadero Bill on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:39:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is much truth in (6+ / 0-)

      what you write.  Ultimately, though, this is really about the German Government, not the banksters, and their belief in the magic of austerity.  

      Together with the French, they effectively conducted a coup d'etat in Italy.  

      The post wants to blame the banksters, but in truth the real culprits here are the French and the Germans.

      It is worth noting that the markets haven't imposed any austerity on the US; US bond yeilds are at record lows.  In fact, you can argue that the bond markets are pro-stimulus.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:13:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I used to agree with this position, not now. (19+ / 0-)

      The Greek government, not its people, involved itself in some large scale dubious ventures (Olympics is an example). It's so-called generous social spending is not generous at all, much cobbled together from the 80s onward as a result of trying to bring Greece in line with other EU Mediterranean countries. Their tax receipts are not dramatically out of line with their GDP. On the negative side, they have a stagnant economy, strict job security in certain sectors (making early retirement the only way to free up jobs for younger workers). Except for tourism and a few exports, not much to leverage.

      I have yet to see a good reason why they shouldn't have exited the EU. The short term would have been as bad or worse, but their devalued currency would have stimulated their economy, possibly making them solvent quicker and at least on their own terms. They are a proud people, this will not go down well at all.

      Lessons for the US? Like parents, pundits are holding this event over us: "Eat your benefits! Do you want to be like Greece?" We are an entirely different economy, different dynamics.

      “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

      by the fan man on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:27:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Greece is a democracy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the fan man

        I don't make the clean distinction between government and people that one would make, for instance, with Mubarak's Egypt.  Especially since the crazy spending went overwhelmingly for things people wanted, like public works and pensions and public sector salaries.

        But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

        by Rich in PA on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:52:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  do you suppose that the greek government... (17+ / 0-)

          managed to hide its illicit spending from the european union, but managed somehow to keep the greek people fully informed?

          seems to me that there's a massive information asymmetry that happened between the government elites and the people that makes such a distinction operative.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:09:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Democracy? Don't blame the repeal of Glass Steagal (10+ / 0-)

          on me!  I also think we all are guilty for the derivative debacle. :)

          I'll agree with you on large scale public/private works, which were mired in corruption. How much of that was a populist movement I couldn't tell you, but for argument I'll agree they were popular.

          Did you know there isn't gov't unemployment insurance in Greece? Other social benefits are on the low end of what other Mediterranean countries offer (not France and Germany), in balance with their economic situation. It is not what you're reading in the press. Those benefits, of course, will be taken away first. The population at large will be screwed, not due to their social spending extravagances, but some ill placed wagers on their behalf. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

          I think this will not go down well in Greece at all. It's like Versailles without a shot fired.

          Do you have any thoughts about why they shouldn't do what Iceland did? Fold their cards, take the severe devaluation and move on?

          “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

          by the fan man on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:18:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  neoliberal policies caused the problem in greece.. (12+ / 0-)

            check this out:

            We are told by certain parties that Greece is in this situation because of extravagant public spending, early retirement and long holidays. This is simply not true. Public spending as a percentage of GDP in Greece is about the same as Germany and lower than Britain and France. When one takes into account the much higher amount of public spending that goes on servicing the debt, the Greek government spends much less on public services as a proportion of GDP, never mind per capita, than those who criticise it.

            Similarly the notion that Greeks retire far too early and take too many holidays is also not true. While many civil servants given sinecure positions as a result of political patronage have enjoyed this, the average Greek worker does not. A study a couple of months ago showed that Greeks on average work longer hours and retire later than Germans. That kind of fact is not likely to be featured in German tabloids, but it does not make it any less true.

            So what has caused Greece’s difficulties? In short the neo-liberal policies that are being forced upon it as a supposed solution. The Greek government bought into the notion that lower taxes will encourage growth and led to greater revenue in the long run and subsequently cut taxes and made little effort to crack down on tax evasion. In the short run it thought it could plug the gap with revenue from privatisation. This did not work and it cannot sell those assets again and no longer has the revenue from the profits they generated.

            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

            by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:33:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Proof??? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, the fan man, Marie, mrkvica

          High public sector salaries?

          You said it, now back it.

          So much BS

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:00:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You set me straight, lay it out for Rich. He's (0+ / 0-)

            a good guy, maybe on the conservative side of this site's spectrum like me.  Not many of us have looked beyond what we've read in the news which is fairly universal in agreement with austerity and I've told you what Greek people I know have said.

            We all benefit from facts. Demanding facts is responsible, providing facts much, much better.

            “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

            by the fan man on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:45:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Avoid the gold standard (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the fan man

        is the most important lesson I would draw.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:38:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's literally no good answer here... (3+ / 0-)

      Crooked Timber had a really good "choose your own adventure" Greek solution exercise... and there really are no good choices.

      You can certainly take the route of an orderly or disorderly default -- but none of that is going to solve the fact that the Greek economy simply doesn't have much in the way of exports...

      Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

      by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:30:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exports are so 20th century (5+ / 0-)

        With peak oil and climate change, nations better figure out how to be self-sufficient as to the necessities.

        •  why? (7+ / 0-)

          we are humans, we simply take and kill what we want.

          Peak oil, debt, climate problems= world war.

          Bad is never good until worse happens

          by dark daze on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:45:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Then you're arguing for austerity (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan

          just from a different direction.

          I'm not saying you're wrong, but that's what it would be...

          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

          by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:51:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That way, austerity ends sometime (4+ / 0-)

            Stay a colony, and it doesn't.

            •  Does it? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan

              If you go the full exit route, then it seems there's at least it's not so much that the 'austerity' ends so much as a much more basic and much lower standard of living just becomes the new normal... at least for a generation or so until whatever/if whatever eventually rises from the ashes of the greek economy... And it probably is a generation at minimum f you want that phoenix to rise without bankers/EU/etc "helping".  Microloans aren't going to build, say, microchip or solar panel manufacturing plants.

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:11:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If they stay (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe shikspack
                The 10-page debt sustainability analysis, distributed to eurozone officials last week but obtained by the Financial Times on Monday night, found that even under the most optimistic scenario, the austerity measures being imposed on Athens risk a recession so deep that Greece will not be able to climb out of the debt hole over the course of a new three-year, €170bn bail-out.

                It warned that two of the new bail-out’s main principles might be self-defeating. Forcing austerity on Greece could cause debt levels to rise by severely weakening the economy while its €200bn debt restructuring could prevent Greece from ever returning to the financial markets by scaring off future private investors.

                According to the Eurozone's own analysis

                Secret report

                Like Argentina, they've got better odds at eventually getting outside financing if they default than if they stay.

                •  Do they have 8 years minimum? (0+ / 0-)

                  That's how long it took Argentina to regain access, even at bad rates, on the international debt market -- and again, Argentina is a net exporter.  It's economy has a much more diverse mix, it grows an absolute ton of food, and it mines a fair bit of extremely valuable materials.

                  Greece just doesn't have those advantages...

                  Hey - again - I'm not saying they shouldn't exit the EU (and frankly, I'm suspecting a number of EU finance folks are secretly hoping they'll do so of their own accord) -- I'm just saying it's going to several to many severals years of near Mad Max living for a lot of Greeks...

                  Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                  by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:49:14 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  hmm (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack, bbrown8370, Marie

            Arguing for austerity as opposed to what?

            Insanity?

            If we are not living beyond our means, are we necessarily 'austere'?

            Since I believe our standard of living cannot be maintained, then I guess I am forced to argue for 'austerity'.  

            “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

            by Terranova0 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:05:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fair enough... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Terranova0, Deep Texan

              Hey - I tend to sympathize with a more transcendentalist interpretation of what modern libertarianism has become, but ultimately, I do like my modern amenities...

              But like I said - fair enough - it's an honest approach that I'm not altogether convinced isn't the most sound one longterm.

              I guess I'll say this -- in global terms -- I'm pretty low hanging fruit in terms of people you'll need to convince, though.

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:14:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Speak for your own (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack, Terranova0, mrkvica

              'standard of living'. Americans who have lost their jobs, their homes, their retirement income, their savings, and their ability to pay the damned electric bill to keep from freezing are forced to live beyond their means by the fact that there simply isn't any means for anything at all. Hell, a goodly portion of the public can't even afford to die.

              That's as 'austere' as it gets, it can't go any further down that dead end road. Once everybody's living in tents and dumpster diving for food, there's no money for bankers to steal. And governments who offer nothing to the people but fascistic controls are less than useless. Let the thieves go play austerity games with each other and the people will institute governments for themselves that actually will prove useful. The EU was a bad idea from the git-go, bribes were the only way Greece was enticed to join. Bribes don't need to be repaid.

      •  FYI (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan, Siri

        Here's a version with links enabled for the choices...

        I seem to end up with various Argentine default endings... which, like I said above, doesn't really seem to be an appetizing solution for  Greece.

        Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

        by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:07:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So what... (5+ / 0-)

        if they can take care of their own sufficiently, that should be enough. THat's what they need to work towards. You seem obsessed with the role of international trade.

        •  But so is Greece--- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Halandri, Deep Texan

          Again, it's two largest economic segments (and mind you, within an economy that is import-centric) are tourism and shipping.

          You're talking about basically a disorderly debt default, coupled with an EU exit, and chopping its two largest economic motors off at the knees...

          Your austerity would be worse than anything merkel or UBS could dream up -- if you want to make the argument that at least this significant drop in Greek standard of living would come 'within' rather than outside, OK... but "take care of their own" is going to mean significant reductions in everything healthcare to education to social safety nets in the near term.

          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

          by zonk on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:43:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  But let's be completely honest: Would the (10+ / 0-)

      government of Greece be in the situation they're in if they hadn't been defrauded by buying into junk, highly value inflated securities pushed by American and British criminal banking organizations? I mean if these banking (and I use the phrase lightly) institutions called themselves a Mafia, we'd be taking a different approach to this.

      Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

      by Pescadero Bill on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:26:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rich you are totally dishonest (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, peptabysmal

      You have repeated this and repeated this forever, nut no matter how many times youa re corrected, you go on in your lies and canards.

      I'm not correcting you again here.

      Donut me away.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:58:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The freemasons are looking for new members (11+ / 0-)

    to watch their money grow. A commercial was just on MSNBC.

    I know this is off topic but the SMELL of MONEY is in the air and the New World Oder is making its move..I think its also why all the money-minded churches are 'stepping-it-up' now also.

    Maybe all this austerity is the GREEDY BANKS Finale.

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:47:20 AM PST

  •  It isn't that simplistic (12+ / 0-)

    Listen, I'm the first to bash the banks, but Greece isn't a simple situation.

    The core of the problem is in the bond market, which isn't exactly the banks.

    Greece was fine until their bond auction failed.  They couldn't find any buyers for their debt.

    So they weren't able to borrow money, and because of their attachment to the Euro, they couldn't print anymore money.

    This is the biggest difference between Greece and the US, and that is a huge difference.

    There is no immediate threat of investors rejecting our bonds.  There is also a lot of room for devaluing the dollar further (relatively speaking).

    Once Greece surrendered their monetary policy, they ceased to be a true democracy.

    •  And that is, bottom line, the problem with (9+ / 0-)

      the Euro.  They didn't see it coming, but here it is.  

      I'm glad Obama is taking super pac money.  How could he avoid it?  Do you want any of those rethugs in the oval office?  I don't.  I may not like that he puts those banksters in the cabinet, but I don't want to live through what the rethugs will do to our country.  In a second term, the citizens must demand more from Obama and I hope he responds and takes the side of the people.

      love the fetus, hate the child

      by Raggedy Ann on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:58:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's the Leverage Citizens Have On Him Then? (16+ / 0-)

        A man whose history shows his core philosophy is operating government with players from both sides?

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:09:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I Think He Will Respond To Those... (10+ / 0-)

        ...who are giving the most money to his campaign--called pragmatism.

        ....and I hope he responds and takes the side of the people.

        Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.~~~ Susan Sontag

        by frandor55 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:22:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Already making promises (5+ / 0-)

          And giving private reassurance to large wall street superpac donors

          Jim Messina, President Barack Obama’s campaign manager, assured a group of Democratic donors from the financial services industry that Obama won’t demonize Wall Street as he stresses populist appeals in his re-election campaign, according to two people at the meeting.
          Snip..

          And this....

          Many have argued that Obama’s decision to embrace super PAC fundraising is a shrewd political move. But as Republic Report has pointed out, corporate CEOs donate to campaigns often with the expectation that they will get something back in return. Obama may be arming himself for the ad campaign against the Republican nominee, but he’s doing so by selling away his principles and perhaps the public interest.
          And for those thinking he will change next term....I am just dumbfounded and disappointed when I hear this. He is not one of us...he is part of the problem, certainly not as evil as the republicon, but that is a very very low bar we've set here.

          People are seriously setting themselves up for a world full of hurt and major disappointment.  But to each his own. You have been warned by those who believe this president is acting and accepting things he can tolerate, he just is not going to challenge the status quo or the busted system we call "democracy".  He just isn't! Just look at his track record when it comes to challenging the status quo and the ruling class oligarchs and elites. Look at with whom he has surrounded himself and appointed to key positions!

          He. Is. Not. Going. To. Change. I would love and hope to be proven wrong and pleasantly surprised, but I am not going to set myself up for more disappointment and cling to false hope.

          The Plutocratic States of America, the best government the top 1% and corporations can buy. We are the 99%-OWS.

          by emal on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:42:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  don't (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack, JVolvo

            Don't blame me I voted for Kodos.

            for non simpsons fans
            http://www.urbandictionary.com/...

            Bad is never good until worse happens

            by dark daze on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:06:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  People should vote their conscious (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack, JVolvo

              And I am not urging people to not vote for him ...just want people to vote for him knowing exactly what they will most likely get next term ( mots) and not because they truly believe he will behave or act  differently next term...na.gah.happen. Let's have realistic expectations for  how he will govern and what he will most likey do next term.

              Just cautioning...he has a track record! He also is a very skilled and charismatic campaigner, politician, and orator...

              Lets Hope for the best, but seriously prepare for realistic expectations here.

              And yes I appreciate the reference...thanks.

              The Plutocratic States of America, the best government the top 1% and corporations can buy. We are the 99%-OWS.

              by emal on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:22:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  that ignores the origins of their bond problems... (20+ / 0-)

      this article gives a good thumbnail sketch of the banks involvement in creating and catalyzing the problem:

      One fairy tale held that once countries adopted the euro, they wouldn’t default. They would limit their deficits. Every country would become like Germany, where debt was highly secure. Yay! Greek debt, Irish debt and Spanish debt began to trade as if they were super-safe German or French debt. Countries like Greece that had been considered dicey investment became overconfident. The European Central Bank would take care of inflation, they thought. And surely no one could go bankrupt. The Greeks, once forced to pay high interest rates (as high as 18 percent in 1994), could now borrow at low interest. The conservative Greek government went on a reckless borrowing spree and the banks went on a reckless lending spree. Big European banks were delighted to lend them money; more than a few also helped the Greeks hide evidence that all was not well.

      Many of these big banks knew perfectly well as early as 2005 that the Greeks wouldn’t be able to pay the money back. But so what? Banks love a little thing called moral hazard – where you know your risky behavior is not going to be punished because somebody out there is going to pay for it. That’s what they counted on with Greece, and accordingly kept the rivers of money flowing.

      The Greek government borrowed boatloads for the 2004 Olympics, which cost twice as much as projected. Magician-bankers at Goldman Sachs obligingly helped it disguise the debt -- we’re talking billions -- with clever little financial instruments called derivatives. The public hadn’t a clue what was going on. All the southern countries on the euro continued to borrow heavily, spend heavily, and for a while, they boomed. Until they didn’t.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:02:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  today in Greece, how soon the US? (15+ / 0-)

    This is what globalization does.

    You are going to see a part of the population, the middle class, comprising say 30 to 50 percent, involved in some kind of resurgence,” he told me. “But another part of the population will be living on 300 or 400 euros ($400 to $500) a month. This part of Greek society won’t be living a Western European lifestyle. It will be more like Bulgaria.
    Already in progress in a community near you.

    "I'll hold my nose and vote but I won't hold my nose and canvass or call or donate." Some Dkos Comment

    by onemadson on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:56:06 AM PST

  •  We are screwed. (14+ / 0-)

    Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

    by temptxan on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:56:16 AM PST

  •  It's a global plutocracy (7+ / 0-)

    The Greeks are going to have to shitcan their entire political class and start over.  They're going to have to move to self-sufficiency for the 99% and let the 1% accumulate their soon-to-be-worthless assets.

    And if they manage this, they'll be a good example for us when our turn comes.

  •  Shouldn't there be austerity in Germany? (0+ / 0-)

    Greece and Germany are both in the EU.

    Germany has big banks and even bigger corporations.

    Why no austerity in Sweden or the Netherlands?

  •  Nationalization of the Greek shipping industry (8+ / 0-)

    would go a long way towards restoring the Greek people to financial health.

    Redistribution of wealth. Yeah, I said it.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:13:28 AM PST

  •  A Greek tragedy (21+ / 0-)

    in the birthplace of democracy.

    And too many people don't seem to get it.  They'd rather look down on them and blame them.

    Democracy
    The term comes from the Greek word δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) "rule of the people",[2] which was coined from δῆμος (dēmos) "people" and κράτος (kratos) "power", in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC.[3]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:13:58 AM PST

  •  nice diary (7+ / 0-)

    what comes next in this world.  Lets see, populist uprisings, electing populist leaders and god knows where that goes. Usually war.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:15:25 AM PST

  •  Arne Duncan thinks he has a partial answer. (5+ / 0-)

    He said, and I quote:

    We have to educate our way to a better economy.  There are two million jobs out there today in our country that we can't fill because we don't have the educated workforce to fill those jobs.
    at 7:03

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/...

    We delivered. They failed us. We have moved on. (h/t to my good friend)

    by gooderservice on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:16:47 AM PST

    •  as the saying goes, repeat the lie often enuf ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, amsterdam, mrkvica

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:10:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Derived from Lean Six Sigma/TQM, etc. BS? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      The argument against offering widespread training (from one of the bloody useless meetings I spend 25% of my time in) is that it is more "efficient" to create a small group of "subject matter experts" to impose "best practices" {AKA the One True Way} on a reduced number of worker bees, who will be able to focus better without all that pesky decision-making.  

      a specialized group is established that segregates learning to a few and wastes the immensely greater opportunities for improvement that the many (all employees) can provide.
      shifting the focus of improvement from quality to productivity and localizing improvement efforts in a small group of employees (Black, Green, and White belts) differentiated by status from all other employees rather than broadcasting the uncovering and making of improvements to include all employees, among others (Quality Digest, 2008; 2008a)

      "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

      by LucyandByron on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:57:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama wants us to think we're like Greece (19+ / 0-)

    So your point could happen in a sense that we politically destroy ourselves and our social safety net using debt as an excuse. there's nothing stopping a restructuring or non suicidal action by the European central bank through more leveraging and/or allowing some inflation but by trying to carve out a pound of flesh from a rotting corpse and an idea that it as accurate as a rain dance as far as a chance for working via austerity.

    The US is not like Greece and it won't happen like that structurally because we issue our own currency and the IMF or World bank can't really tell us what to do.

    But this is about politically destroying ourselves and we are doing that. If the US was just a state without control of its currency, then Obama would have the exact same tax evasion problem that Greece had which caused their problems. Not to mention the fact that our pathetic Dodd Frank didn't solve the problem of currency swaps and derivatives which led to hiding Greek's debt as well to makes the problem via Goldman Sachs.

    So the ECB stupidity on inflation and debt and Obama's stupidity in the fiscal propaganda about deficits he champions are both similar in that they are politically destroying nations so I do find some similarities in that and the view that we need to cut social programs to get our fiscal house in order, which are both unrealistic and impossible so the two are both idiotic.

    People will suffer from that idiocy too. More so in Greece. There needs to be a restructuring as there was in the 80s with some Latin American countries but there's no time for rational solutions apparently.

    Very thought provoking diary, joe shickspack. thank you.

    Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin - I Illustrate #OWS protest T-shirts you can buy at priceman political prints

    by priceman on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:21:14 AM PST

  •  too bad... (19+ / 0-)

    Obama and the Democrats haven't stepped up to get some money to the states to rehire teachers and other social service staff. The unemployment rate would drop to 6% and we'd see real economic recovery.

    The nicest and most intelligent people are the ones that share my point of view.

    by jbou on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:26:35 AM PST

    •  bingo! (13+ / 0-)

      the great wurlitzer of the media has drowned out the voices calling for expanded stimulus and amplified the barking about debt.

      stimulus is what is needed here.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:38:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How exactly... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Halandri, Deep Texan

      do you propose they get such money through a republican controlled House?
      A lot of the stimulus was used by states to keep from laying off teachers, aides, etc. Here in Indiana, after that money ran out, many were let go, although now that auditors "found" $300 million, many will be brought back.

      •  you play hardball... (8+ / 0-)

        you tell stories about how poor Suzy and Jimmy can't get new books and computers to fend off the hard driving Chinese kids who are beating us in every way and how we have classrooms too packed with kids who can't keep up with the smaller class sizes in China. You scare people into pushing their reps to vote for more money to hire teachers and buy school supplies. Think of the children is the oldest political ploy in the book.

        you can whine about the Republicans or you can attack them and defeat them. You excuse is lame and stupid.

        The nicest and most intelligent people are the ones that share my point of view.

        by jbou on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:01:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excuse? (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Halandri, Deep Texan, burlydee, ozsea1, FG

          My "excuse" is reality. No speech that anybody gives is going to convince the GOP House to pass another stimulus.
          No amount of phone calls. No amount of pressure. They don't live in reality, and neither do you if you think there is any chance of this House passing any kind of stimulus or funding that will possibly help create jobs for teachers or anybody else.
          I'm down with attacking and defeating Republicans in the election. More and better Democrats will lead to more funding for education. Sorry to tell you, but it ain't happening a minute before then.

          •  you actually have to... (9+ / 0-)

            put the effort in. You actually have to give the speeches, plural, you give them in states that are cutting teachers, you give them in Republican districts. You take it to them. You actually have to attack. You may lose the vote, but you will have done damage so next time the Republicans know you aren't messing around. Obama has not done this.

            The nicest and most intelligent people are the ones that share my point of view.

            by jbou on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:39:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  He hasn't? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Halandri, Deep Texan

              I must have been imagining when the President went to republicans home districts and talked about his jobs bill, which included money to put many teachers back to work and modernize schools, among many other things.
              As I recall, much of the public agreed with nearly every aspect of his jobs bill, especially the increased funding for education.

              •  when did he do that? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe shikspack, 0wn

                I want links to stories. Obama has failed to fight for proper stimulus funding since he got into office and teachers and other social service staff have paid the price.

                The nicest and most intelligent people are the ones that share my point of view.

                by jbou on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:01:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  seriously? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan, burlydee

                  It was last fall. You don't remember the American Jobs Act? You don't remember the President calling the joint session? Pass it right away? Pass it now? You don't recall him going to Boehner and Canter's districts?

                •  you just don't know wtf ur talking about (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  josephcwhite, FG

                  -You want to change the system, run for office.

                  by Deep Texan on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:57:22 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  the sad thing is none of us know much. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joe shikspack, 3goldens, mrkvica

                    truly. we have bits and pieces of data.

                    you can say Obama and the Dems passed the jobs act. and you can wonder why it wasn't enough as FORTY PERCENT of americans face poverty.

                    there are clear signs. you can read them. you can choose not to.

                    but Obama or any brand Dem (outside of perhaps Elizabeth Warren or Russ Feingold among only a few) stepping into the white house or into congress doesn't give one shit about you, your family, or this country.

                    they have their little game. their club. their untouchable world.

                    do you REALLY think Greece is unrelated to you? do you think these monsters are different than ones in control of mortgages and money around the world. oh, and armies too.

                    the only thing they aren't in control of is organized crime. another kick in our collective heads.

                    i get so tired of this. it's going to get worse. and brand national Dems are part of the problem.

      •  somebody with a megaphone needs to make the case.. (10+ / 0-)

        somebody whom the media can't ignore...  somebody that they follow around all the time...

        can you think of somebody like that?  the name's on the tip of my tongue... o... darn i forgot, i give up...  maybe it'll come to you, though.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:13:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good point... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Halandri, Deep Texan

          Just like when what's his name, O-something,  proposed a jobs bill, gave a really big speech about it and then a whole bunch of other speeches in republicans home districts. The public agreed with many parts of it, including the part where tons of money would go to put teachers back to work.
          I kinda stopped following after then, though. I assume the republicans passed it, right?

          •  say was he the guy... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JVolvo, 0wn

            who called for a stimulus package that was far too small and then went out and decided to weaken one of the key pillars of the social safety net (social security) to provide some extra stimulus?

            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

            by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:07:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  He must be... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan, FG

              judging by how quickly you turned to a new argument rather than addressing how you were incorrect in the previous one.

              •  turn only reflects my diminished expectations... (0+ / 0-)

                of having a meeting of the minds with you on this issue.  

                yes, i would agree that it is trivially true that mr. obama has supported a stimulus.  in my opinion the stimulus that he was flacking for was entirely insufficient and progressive economists labelled it as such while it was being created, but the administration called for an insufficient stimulus anyway.  that said, his support for stimulus has been tepid.  

                when i think of someone using the bully pulpit to promote an idea, i think of someone promoting a plan of action to meet a goal and they don't stop pushing hard until the goal is met.  that is not what mr. obama's record looks like to me.

                i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:48:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  they do not give (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, jbou, mrkvica

          the megaphone to anyone who might actually make that case.

          “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

          by Terranova0 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:19:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You really believe repubs will hire back (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack

        union workers with the lost money? The voucher schools will get it or business interests but rehiring those layed off is not even thinkable to these republicans.

        •  Yes, I do. (0+ / 0-)

          $80 million of that found money will help fully fund all-day kindergarten, while $150 million will fund pensions for teachers. Some of the rest will be put toward refunding taxpayers and compensating families who lost loved ones in last summer’s Indiana State Fair tragedy.
          Link

  •  For this to be happening (24+ / 0-)

    in Greece, the birthplace of democracy.  In the US, the shining beacon of freedom and the land of opportunity...

    I found myself sobbing after reading this, something that does not happen very often. There was no holding it back.  My boys are just now coming of age and look at this world I have brought them into.  You are right -- our youth -- you are only young once. This is their time.  And the difference between what was offered to me and what is being offered to them is devastating.  We have failed them.  

    Not just my boys, everywhere.  Greece, the US, almost everywhere.  Even in the places where there is a boom.  We live in an age where some huge majority of people are just seen as instruments of labor and their price should be as low as possible, even inhumanly low. And for what?  So that the 1% can be insanely rich.  And I don't mean figuratively insane -- it is insane.  

    It has to change.  I'm afraid that the opportunity to change it in a comfortable way is gone.  I hope it can be kept peaceful. But at this point I don't know.

    For the fools who are comfortable right now and sitting there blaming everyone else, thinking you will be okay, thinking you're better than everyone else and that you're not in line for a fall, I hope you wake the f up.  


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:31:14 AM PST

  •  lets remember about the elephant (15+ / 0-)

    the elephant in the room that people dont talk about or seem to notice, is that this crisis is NOT about Greece. If it were just about Greece and a small country defaulting, they would of simply defaulted, the world would hardly notice and things would move on.

    No, the real problem here is the Credit default swaps, oh brother, yep those again.

    The ENTIRE problem here is if Greece defaults, it triggers the trillions of credit default swap bets tied to them, and with no one able  to pay them off, its 08 all over again.  THATS the  problem here.

    With Greece paying only 20 to 40% on the face of their bonds, they are indeed going to default, thing is, if this haircut is accepted 'voluntarily' by the bond holders, then its not a true defined default, and thus the credit default swaps are not triggered.

    SO what to watch in the upcoming weeks is, are the private holders of these bonds going to accept losing 70% on the face? I'm not sure they are.

    SO dont fall for the rueters headline bullshit, NOTHING has been solved here yet.  And as for the Greece citizens suffering? well they are just pawns in a game that I would bet many, simply dont even begin to understand.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:55:07 AM PST

    •  It's Not a Problem to Be Solved (13+ / 0-)

      This isn't a crisis that is going to have a fixed endpoint. Instead, this is going to be an on-going experience for the rest of our lives. Greece, Portugal, Detroit, whatever. This is a now a permanent and continuous situation that we must suffer. Gather rosebuds while ye may.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:08:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (9+ / 0-)

        the can will be kicked for awhile longer, but the can will become to large at some point.  Greece GDP is the size of just Dallas/fortworth.  Its tiny and look how much trouble they have with dealing with it.
        Spain/portugal/italy they are all barreling down the same road as greece has, point is this will all implode again. NOt a matter of IF but WHEN.  I give this kick the can game at most a few more years, then its crisis all over again, only this time bigger.

        Thing was in 08 we had a chance to fix it, the world didnt, so now we are in worse shape, with more crisis and war on the horizon.
        I feel bad for the kids today, they are going to live worse then the parents because of things like credit default swaps which the vast majority dont even begin to understand.

        Toss in wars over 1940 tech, climate instability, nuclear fallout from Japan, oil issues, and on and on...wow what a crappy horizon.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:14:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Moreover, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, Siri

          how is the average person suppose to survive, our money no longer gets interest, our retirements and benefits have been getting less and less while healthcare is getting more and more expensive.  As soon as the ecomony gets a little improvement gas prices rise.  Wages are going down, it is impossible to save let alone have our own money grow to build a nest egg.  

          We are living in the land of the insane, nothing makes sense and for every step a person takes forward they have to take ten back.  Economic Hokey Pokey is a dance I'm real sick of.

          Just the fact that the Dow is breaking 13 hundred on the Greek bailout is a big red flag.  Where is all that money going?  It is paying only Greek's interest payment, but I doubt it is even touching the real debt.

          "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

          by zaka1 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:00:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Correction: (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack, Siri, mrsgoo

            Not 13 hundred, should be 13,000.  

            But, isn't it amazing that the market is almost back to where it was when it crashed in 2008 and the ecomony has barely improved.  So much for real investing.

            "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

            by zaka1 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:26:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Democracy is not compatible (11+ / 0-)

    With neoliberal monetary policy.  If people don't think the US is neoliberal, think a again. Mather entire treasury and federal reserve are run by Milton Freidman clones.  Greece is what America would be if not for sovereign currency and Occupy.  

    This was all foretold in the Shock Doctrine.  

    I will not send money to, work for, or vote for, any candidate whose behavior benefits the 1% over the 99%. Work for my vote, money and time, or lose it. Not the other way around.

    by Nada Lemming on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:15:02 AM PST

  •  Austerity is being used to (13+ / 0-)

    strip social safety nets across Europe. The ruling class wants state budgets to shrink so taxes on them can shrink.

  •  We Would Have the Same Problem As Greece (15+ / 0-)

    If we did not have an internal transfer mechanism between states that share our currency. (I'm talking here about our Federal system of states.)

    Greeks didn't "squander" the money that they borrowed.

    They spent it into the economy ...

    ... Which, because of their trade deficits, means that a lot of it ended up back in Germany and France.

    Germany and France, instead of recycling the money back to Greece, horded it.

    And this is the result.

    The same thing would happen to states like Mississippi and Alabama if we did not have an instrument to transfer cash back to them from richer states like New York and Massachusetts.

    The ultimate irony is that when you hear people in the South screeching about taxes -- where do they think that tax money goes? A lot of it gets drained from the North and the West Coast and goes to their states to keep them from collapsing.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:15:24 AM PST

  •  The problem (11+ / 0-)

    with saying the Greek people are lazy and corrupt is not fair to people being held hostage by corrupt governments.  The Greek people are at the end of their rope and for good cause.  Moreover, as the Greek people lose their jobs they also lose their healthcare because they do not have a nationalized healthcare system like Germany.  Last week a woman had to be talked out of jumping from her office window when she learned that she was going to lose her job.  And all of this for what, so the rich can be richer?  So that bankers who should be in jail can now be put in place of governments to take even more than they did in 2008.

    To watch a whole country suffering is heartbreaking.  Even more sickening is that we are headed down the same road.  It is more than sickening that our safety nets are being slaughtered while Mitt Romney spent like 18 million in one month to try and get elected, I can think of a lot better uses for money like that, and it isn't on campaigns.

    The whole Greek tragedy is because of corrupt governments, not because of the people.  I wish there was some way to stop the abuse of the people world wide, but our voices here and in Greece are simply being ignored.

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:18:10 AM PST

  •  Omigod there's an election on! (4+ / 0-)

    And we're not represented...

    "I think the Obama campaign would be taking this populist-sounding tack even if Occupy had never happened." -- Paul Street

    by Cassiodorus on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:23:09 AM PST

  •  Greece got rid on one Junta in 1973 ... (17+ / 0-)

    ... they will get rid of this one [the banksters] too.

    Do not underestimate the Greeks. They understand the long game that we do not.  

    They are formidable guerrilla fighters in wars of independence [Turkish occupation 422 years] and world wars [www2 comes to mind]. There is no reason the Greeks cannot transfer/translate their terrestrial fighting skills to cyber ones.

    There is so much anger in Greece that if the EU attempts to install a puppet government the Greeks will bring it down even if it means literally going back to the stone age economically. There is no way the banks can regulate trade in services if no currency changes hands nor resides in the banks which is exactly what is happening outside of the big cities.

    We in the US are so far behind the learning curve in self sufficiency that unless we get our collective act together pretty darn soon, what is happening in Greece is gonna look like a walk in the park compared to what could happen here.

    I lived in Greece for 27 years and have nothing but the utmost respect for their patriotism and work ethos. I know, in the end, they will win.

    Peace.

  •  Democrats support corruption (4+ / 0-)

    as much as Republicans do. No lesser evil here.

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:43:15 AM PST

  •  Boiling Frogs. (8+ / 0-)

    That's what most people are.  Solidarity among the 99% is impossible of course.  We can't even gain solidarity on this democratic blog, let alone with those we really disagree with.   The .01 Percent have pretty much ALL the power and the electorate continues to be divided along party lines.  No single country of citizens can fight this off, not the Greeks and not the Egyptians.  A worldwide fight against those seeking to control the planet is necessary.  

  •  'Lazy Greeks work much longer hours than Germans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, Halandri, LucyandByron

    It's true, you can look it up. It's documented in the recent NY Times article on Greece.

  •  I agree 100% (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    That was very rambling.

    You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

    by tomjones on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:39:11 AM PST

  •  Greeks giving up children to save their families (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, BigAlinWashSt, ozsea1

    This is one of the real and tragic human costs of what some people in high places who will never feel the pain like to call "austerity:"

    Greece's financial crisis has made some families so desperate they are giving up the most precious thing of all - their children.

    One morning a few weeks before Christmas a kindergarten teacher in Athens found a note about one of her four-year-old pupils.

    "I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because I cannot afford to look after her," it read. "Please take good care of her. Sorry. Her mother."

    Some people in Athens are so desperate that they feel they can do more for their children by putting them into foster care than by trying to keep them at home.
    Cases like this are shocking a country where family ties are strong, and failure to look after children is socially unacceptable - and it's not happening in a country ravaged by war or famine, but in their own capital city.
    The Greek parents too poor to care for their children
    By Chloe Hadjimatheou
    BBC World Service, Athens
    January 9, 2012

    FOX News: For entertainment purposes only. Not to be confused with actual news broadcasting.

    by IowaBiologist on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:42:08 AM PST

    •  suicide rates in greece have doubled, too... (4+ / 0-)

      link

      While we mock and ridicule the corrupt and often times purposefully obtuse Greek politicians, we often ignore the human cost in the equation (and so does the rest of the world). Unfortunately this is becoming an ever greater issue for a country that is rapidly devolving to sub-3rd world status. Because while we have previously discussed the miserable conditions for a country where ever more people are sliding out of the middle class and into poverty status, in reality it is far worse. Spiegel has profiled the new Misery in Athens where "aid workers and soup kitchens in Athens are struggling to provide for the city's "new poor." Since the economic crisis has taken hold, poverty has taken hold among Greece's middle class. And suicide rates have nearly doubled." Just like in the US, those in misery are growing exponentially, but the last thing anyone needs is a reminder of their existence. Yet perhaps they should, because when the Bastille moment hits, the spark to overthrow tyranny, especially that masking under the guise of democracy, will come precisely from the slums of the impoverished and disenfranchised, from those who have nothing left to lose. In Greece, with 28% of the population living "at risk of poverty or social exclusion" this moment may arrive any second.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:10:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Occupy Oakland Stands With the People of Grece (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, mrkvica, ozsea1
       STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF GREECE

    Occupy Oakland stands in solidarity with the ninety-nine percent in Greece. We support your struggle against the austerity measures imposed by one percenters both foreign and domestic; policies which will plunge your country into a depression and lead to economic ruin. Truly, European banks are being bailed out while an entire nation is being sold out. From Oakland to Athens, those who suffer from economic oppression cry out: "No Justice, No Peace!"

    passed by the General Assembly of Occupy Oakland 2/19/2012
  •  Both left and right insist on simpleminded (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, Halandri

    paralells between Greece and the US, and they both fail.

    Greece is a country of about thirteen million, dirt poor, with an economy encrusted with inefficiencies ranging from nepotism to state monopolies, and a polity that was dysfunctional even before the state decided to encumber more debt than Greece could ever pay back.

    Trying to compare Greece's straits to the US's deficit is dumb, and trying to someone link Obama's use of a Superpac..which has raised all of fifty K, by the way....to Greece is really dumb.

    And trying to make Obama the messenger of "austerity", dumber still.

    Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

    by Inland on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:46:30 PM PST

  •  Greece was one of their prime targets. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack

    The first recorded democracy originated in Greece.
    Sparta actually developed democracy before Athens.

    What we’re seeing is the undermining/sabotage of democratic philosophy. Greece is one of those psychological-warfare things. If they (multinational/global-corporate/oligarchic interests) can undermine/sabotage democratic institutions in places where democracy originated in ancient times, it weakens the morale of other (later) democracies (against that same kind of multinational/global-corporate/oligarchic sabotage).

    •  I think "they" don't care one way or another (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      The fact that the society is a "democracy" is, at best, icing on the cake.

      This game has been in play since the Medicis.

      Enabled by 21st century tech, "they" can move trillions of whatever in a single keystroke, and national boundaries are rendered obsolete.

      I'm actually working again, on a contract basis, with a 503 (c)3 nonprofit agency that serves minority and special-needs populations with their health insurance needs. I've found my calling. I hope this becomes a permanent job. Please wish me luck!

      by ozsea1 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:10:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Germans can't help themselves (0+ / 0-)

    Every German I've ever known (and having lived overseas, I've known  my share) is dying to again be proud of their German heritage and German Nationalism.

    They're obsessed with the idea that German culture is being polluted by foreigners and other Europeans.

    They're hopelessly wrapped up in an inferiority complex regarding their ugly history and are largely in denial about it - and are therefore forgetting the lessons their parents learned and repeating the mistakes their grandparents made.

    They're obsessed with their own physicality (their height and physical prowess) and are convinced that they are a superior race and culture.

    It's the 1930's all over again, only this time they're convinced they can take over Europe in secret using their banking system in Frankfurt.

    It's much much uglier than anyone imagines once you really get into the nitty gritty of what's going on in German culture in 2012.

  •  Well, not exactly.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, ozsea1

    ....they've already come for the Russians, the Chileans, Poles, Argentines, Brasilians and countless third world countries. They're working like hell on the USA as well. It's a looter's market.

    No one ever created a vibrant economy by building houses for each other. Houses are built because there is a vibrant economy.

    by Doug in SF on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 02:53:14 PM PST

  •  And what is your alternative? Greece can leave the (0+ / 0-)

    Euro and have its collapse on its own if wants to. It will have a collapse if it does. There are no good options now. Their government shouldn't have been lying about its finances for decades.

  •  well actually they first came for the Icelandians. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, ozsea1, dailykozzer

    .. who told them to go screw themselves.  and are doing quite fine... perhaps other countries should follow their lead and limit all current home mortgage obligations to no more than 110% of actual value..   and let the banksters feel the pain.

    During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. ~George Orwell

    by Derffie on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:22:44 PM PST

  •  Economic Sovereignty = Sovereignty. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, joe shikspack

    Can't pretend to sovereignty when taking orders in this manner.

    We require a world where nations indisputably matter more than banks.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:37:47 PM PST

  •  Bankers and media doing what they do best (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack

    The greed and avarice is in their bones and DNA.

    First they pull and gain control of the strings of politicians;   then they over in-debt governments and the masses using low interest enticements and the creation of bubbles;  then collaborate with their MSM cohorts and pols to propagandize, pigeonhole and divide peoples;   then they swoop in like vultures and plunder, cannibalize, foreclose and take assets of the people (both of government and the people);  lastly they conquer by installing their representatives and oligarchs in positions of power .

    This is their master plan and it is being implemented as we speak in many countries of the world.    

    Organized labor and the political clout that it offers is perhaps the only means of offsetting it,   because it may prevent the politicians from becoming their puppets in the first place.  

    Victims of bigotry are the poorest, least influential members of society.......never the wealthiest, most educated, most overrepresented in high levels, and most influential. Bigotry hurts the least influential. To claim or say otherwise is absurd.

    by dailykozzer on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 07:04:30 AM PST

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