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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

Merkel depicted as Nazi in greek rag

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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-02-11 06:18pm 

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Joined: 2002-09-20 11:15am
Posts: 2399
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blo ... _blog.html

Quote:
A Greek newspaper upset over Angela Merkel’s handling of Greece’s debt crisis Thursday ran a Photoshopped image on its front page showing the chancellor in Nazi attire standing before a swastika.


That is sure going to help convince the germans to lend more money at low interest...
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2012-02-11 06:26pm 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 25582
Remember the whole "Germany should totally loan us money because of WWII" spiel they tried to pull a year ago? This is nothing new, just less subtle and tasteful.


also, full article:

Quote:
A Greek newspaper upset over Angela Merkel’s handling of Greece’s debt crisis Thursday ran a Photoshopped image on its front page showing the chancellor in Nazi attire standing before a swastika.

Dimokratia newspaper also ran the word “Dachau” with the photo, referencing a Nazi concentration camp, reported Joe.ie, an Irish Web site that first spotted the image.

The photo appeared just after the Greek government agreed to new austerity measures. The decision sparked protests and clashes with police in Athens as well as a 48-hour general strike. At the protests, Nazi flags were held high, German flags burned and swastikas displayed. The intense anti-German sentiment was clear.

Last week, associations representing doctors, lawyers and structural engineers met in Athens and decided on a boycott of products from Germany.

The financial crisis in Greece has pitted the small country against Germany. Germany refuses to sign off a bailout to help Greece out of its deep debt problems unless the Greek politicians agree to even further budgetary cuts in an already stricken economy.

And much of Greek furor is focused on Merkel. Popular Greek presenter Georgios Trangas has similarly referred to the chancellor as a Nazi, including on recent shows, German site Der Spiegel reports:

Trangas stared into the camera and turned to his favourite subject: the Germans, and how they are cold-bloodedly shoving Greece into the abyss. "Germany doesn't care that 3 million pensioners are dying here," he raged . . . Trangas rattles off statistics mixed with random references to the Nazi regime . . . On occasion, [he] is fond of displaying images of Merkel conflated with marching German soldiers from World War II.


Anti-austerity protesters prepare to burn German and Nazi flags in front of the parliament in Athens on Feb. 7. (YANNIS BEHRAKIS - REUTERS) Stathis Stavropoulos, the paper reports, a well-known Greek cartoonist, has also focused almost exclusively on Germans as a subject during the financial crisis.

“Of course I aim to shock people with my drawings,” Stavropoulos told Der Spiegel. He often depicts German leaders, including Merkel, in World War II uniforms. “But the initial agitation should be followed by reflection. That, at least, is my hope.”




Spiegel article:

Quote:
Nazi flags are hardly a rarity at Greek demonstrations these days. Anti-German tirades on primetime television have likewise become a staple. In Greece, a consensus has developed as to who is to blame for the country's economic misery. Age old stereotypes are flourishing.


Georgios Trangas had launched into a tirade -- yet again. He seemed to have completely forgotten his four studio guests. Trangas stared into the camera and turned to his favourite subject: the Germans, and how they are cold-bloodedly shoving Greece into the abyss. "Germany doesn't care that 3 million pensioners are dying here," he raged.

The sentence is one of his more harmless utterances on this evening. But such verbal artillery is hardly out of the ordinary on the Athens television broadcaster Extra 33, a channel full of angry broadsides against the "German occupiers."

"Choris Anästhetiko" is the name of the program, and it lives up to its name: "Without Anaesthesia." Politesse is an alien concept on the show as it offers ruthless analysis of the economic and debt crisis gripping Greece. On this evening, the show is set to examine the problems facing taxi drivers in Athens and the suffering shipping industry. But the experts invited to appear on the show serve little more of a purpose than providing the moderator with additional excuses to launch into a diatribe.

"Barbaric measures," Trangas spits, referring to the austerity demands made by the so-called troika of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Berlin, he posits, is controlling everything anyway.

The problem, of course, is that Trangas is not merely voicing his views of the financial crisis over a beer in the bar. Rather, he is on primetime television. In addition, he hosts a breakfast radio show, writes columns and has his own magazine. Trangas is a cult figure. What he says carries a certain amount of weight in Greece. He quickly reduces complex problems to mere slogans and just as rapidly identifies who is to blame. And only seldom are those responsible to be found in his own country.

Should the conversation turn to German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- or should it be forced in such a direction by Trangas -- the host completely loses all control. "She acts as though she were clean. But in reality, German companies have been paying bribes in Greece for years and handing out risky loans," he says. "Merkel is lying when she says that she knew nothing about all that. But now, she is playing the fiscal watchdog." The rant goes on for minutes. Trangas rattles off statistics mixed with random references to the Nazi regime. Even the studio guests begin to hang their heads sheepishly.

A monitor hangs on the wall directly behind Trangas. On this evening, the image remains neutral. But that is not always the case. On occasion, Trangas is fond of displaying images of Merkel conflated with marching German soldiers from World War II.

Just minutes after the show is over, an amicable Trangas is relaxing in his office. He has his bodyguard bring a drink to his guest from Germany before saying: "I don't actually have anything against Germans." But, he says, he detests what Merkel and the troika she supposedly leads is doing to Greece.

Then he takes a deep breath and launches into an almost word-for-word repetition of the accusations he has just made on live television. A half hour later, even Trangas has preached enough for the evening. He wishes his German guest a nice stay in Athens, is helped into his coat by a second bodyguard and disappears into the night in his SUV. It's a German make.

Trangas is a master of hyperbole, and has won many viewers with his tirades. But his core message is one that many in Greece share. Seeing the EU as the "Fourth German Reich" is hardly a novelty in the country -- and one almost has the feeling that the sentiment against Germany grows more poisoned by the day.

Indeed, just this week, the associations representing doctors, lawyers and structural engineers met in Athens and agreed on a unified boycott of products from Germany. Just how the boycott will be put into practice is not yet clear. But it could mark the beginning of a broader anti-Germany movement. Already, the burning of German flags, and the display of swastikas, has become de rigueur at anti-austerity demonstrations in Greece.

Stathis Stavropoulos is well versed in Third Reich symbols. He sits chain smoking in the spartan offices of the daily newspaper Eleftherotypia, located a few kilometers away from the Extra 33 studios. The paper has been on strike for months, the offices are dark and unheated. In the mean time, Stavropoulos has found a job at another paper, but he nevertheless elected to host his German interlocutor here in the offices of Eleftherotypia. Few people in Greece know what Stavropoulos, 56, looks like. But everybody knows his drawings. Stavropoulos is the best known caricaturist in the country -- and he too has remained focused on a single subject since the beginning of the crisis: the Germans.

His drawings are seen each week by well over 100,000 readers. Even the New York Times recently reprinted one of his cartoons, he proudly relates. Whether it's Merkel, Sarkozy, Horst Reichenbach, the head of the EU's Task Force for Greece, or the leaders of the Greek government, Stavropoulos dresses them all in German World War II uniforms and depicts them abusing Greeks.

He is a far cry from the boisterous utterances of Trangas -- he prefers a more elevated brand of provocation. "Of course I aim to shock people with my drawings," he says. "But the initial agitation should be followed by reflection. That, at least, is my hope," says Stavropoulos, as he reaches for his next cigarette.

He says he is aware of the danger that his use of World War II symbols could enflame new resentments among the Greek people. But the debate, he insists, is worth the breaking of a few taboos. He insists that his criticism is focused on German political leaders and their Greek lackeys -- never against the German people as a whole.

Are his readers able to appreciate the subtle difference? The cartoonist isn't quite sure.



This is not going to make German popular opinion of Greeks (which already can't get much lower) change for the positive anytime soon.
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Starglider
PostPosted: 2012-02-11 06:58pm 

Miles Dyson


Joined: 2007-04-05 09:44pm
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Completely understandable when the German government is taking such an inhumane position. They seem to care more about irrelevant accounting abstractions, meaningless digits in a computer in the basement of the ECB, than the very real and severe hardships the long-suffering Greek people are going through. Germany is ruthlessly and spitefully blocking the ECB from supporting Greece by monetising its debt, even though this entails absolutely no cost to Germany. Yes there may have been some minor delays in the implementation of measures, some slight inaccuracies in the presentation of government accounts, but no reasonable European would force the people to suffer for errors made by their national government. I don't know how Merkel and co can continue to think of themselves as decent human beings, much less good and proper socialists, when they are so eager to throw Greek vulnerable pensioners under the bus just so they can score some political points with far-right extremists. I mean really, only the worst kind of fringe doomer lunatics believe that a strategic and timely investment in peripheral government debt could lead to any significant overshoot in the eurozone inflation target. There is hope though; I am sure the people of Germany completely support their Greek brothers and sisters, and that this stubborn, mindless veto of sane ECB policy will soon be overturned. :)
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Sidewinder
PostPosted: 2012-02-11 09:54pm 

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Joined: 2005-05-18 10:23pm
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Starglider wrote:
Completely understandable when the German government is taking such an inhumane position. They seem to care more about irrelevant accounting abstractions, meaningless digits in a computer in the basement of the ECB, than the very real and severe hardships the long-suffering Greek people are going through.

Are you being serious, or sarcastic?
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Chirios
PostPosted: 2012-02-11 09:55pm 

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Joined: 2010-07-09 12:27am
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I'm going with sarcasm because of the decent socialists bit.
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Tribun
PostPosted: 2012-02-11 10:38pm 

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Joined: 2003-05-25 10:02am
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Reading this, I kind of even want their country go down the toilet now. Really, I read the whole story for years now, and despite sounding like an ass, I have to say it's completely their own fault. Greece has cultivated a system that is corrupt to such a degree that only few other countires are worse (They even cheated themselves into the Euro and only thanks to completely idiotic idealists they weren't thrown out). Now that all their shit comes back to hit them like a boomerang they are unable to admit that they fucked up and instead look for a boogeyman they can blame.

Well, good luck. Unlike 20 years ago, bullying or guilt-tripping Germany into giving away money freely doesn't work any more. Using the Nazi-card nowadays is only bound to make us pissed (even more than we already are at Greece).
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Chirios
PostPosted: 2012-02-11 11:19pm 

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Tribun wrote:
Reading this, I kind of even want their country go down the toilet now. Really, I read the whole story for years now, and despite sounding like an ass, I have to say it's completely their own fault. Greece has cultivated a system that is corrupt to such a degree that only few other countires are worse (They even cheated themselves into the Euro and only thanks to completely idiotic idealists they weren't thrown out). Now that all their shit comes back to hit them like a boomerang they are unable to admit that they fucked up and instead look for a boogeyman they can blame.

Well, good luck. Unlike 20 years ago, bullying or guilt-tripping Germany into giving away money freely doesn't work any more. Using the Nazi-card nowadays is only bound to make us pissed (even more than we already are at Greece).


Talking about the corruption, does anyone else think that maybe Germany took the wrong route with the austerity measures? The big problem that Greece had was that it's GDP ratio was skewed heavily towards the government, and that was mainly because of corruption within government jobs (you can't get people fired; big benefits, bribing people for promotions etc) so should the EU have made the requirement: deal with the systemic corruption, instead of: cut your budget?
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Bakustra
PostPosted: 2012-02-11 11:36pm 

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Joined: 2005-05-12 07:56pm
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Blaming Greece solely for its debt problem is problematic, since the reason Greece was able to accumulate so much debt is because the disparities between its economy and the economy of the richer nations within the Eurozone prompted the extension of so much credit to Greece by investors in those richer nations. Blaming it on Greece is just a way of ignoring that this crisis was largely created by political and economic elites as a consequence of their ideologies, and although this particular incident will no doubt make it easier to look the other way as the Greeks are broken to their new life of being cheap labor for multinationals (to be carried out by the downward economic spiral that removing consumption from the economy will inevitably cause by throwing people out of work and slashing wages), people should still be worried about what's happening, though not for the reasons most people are thinking. But in the end, this is nothing more than what the IMF has done for decades in Africa and South America and only a handful give a damn about that, so...
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Baffalo
PostPosted: 2012-02-11 11:38pm 

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Joined: 2009-04-18 10:53pm
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Chirios wrote:
Talking about the corruption, does anyone else think that maybe Germany took the wrong route with the austerity measures? The big problem that Greece had was that it's GDP ratio was skewed heavily towards the government, and that was mainly because of corruption within government jobs (you can't get people fired; big benefits, bribing people for promotions etc) so should the EU have made the requirement: deal with the systemic corruption, instead of: cut your budget?
Before I say anything, I'm not an expert so I'm just guessing.

I think in this case, the EU can't just outright say "One of our members is so corrupt they can't find their ass". Instead, they have to pretend Greece has a stable, viable economy and government and hope no one really takes note and starts giggling. By saying "Cut the Budget" they might also be saying "Fix this corruption." Which, if you think about it, is just as clear: Stop wasting money on corruption and actually do something, or you're just going to make us watch you crash and burn. The roasting of marshmallows is at the discretion of the honorable members from Germany."
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 01:39am 

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When Greeks see pensions being cut and value added taxes going up because of austerity measures demanded by the EU, with Germany in the lead...

I understand that people can blame Greece for its own mess. But I don't think it's sensible to get into a righteous state of outrage against the Greek people, and the papers that represent them, for blaming the foreigners along with their own government. Whether the Greeks could find a way out of their crisis that didn't come largely at the expense of their people I don't know, and I doubt the Greeks know either. But as it stands, is it really inaccurate to say that their government is being railroaded into austerity measures under foreign pressure?

Even if the foreigners are perfectly logical to try and force these measures on Greece, it's not like we can expect the Greeks to like it.
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 02:15am 

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Simon_Jester wrote:
But as it stands, is it really inaccurate to say that their government is being railroaded into austerity measures under foreign pressure?

No but the alternative is/was worse and they need more german money?
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 02:40am 

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Both those things are true.

The Greeks would have to be inhuman not to direct some of the resentment and blame for a horrible situation at the people making them do it, though. Measures like this will always be unpopular, even if they're necessary- I'm not arguing about the necessity, but no one should be too shocked to see this kind of reaction.

Now, how much blame might go to the EU depends on how faithful their government is being to its duties- how much are they acting as the Greeks' face to Europe, versus being Europe's face to the Greeks. And how hard they're trying to limit corruption and waste rather than raid pension funds and increase sales taxes to make the budgetary ends meet.

I have a nasty suspicion (unproven) that the Greek parliament is falling too eagerly into the position of doing what the EU says to keep the money coming in, while letting the people take up a lot of the load if it lets them spare expense to themselves.
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Zed
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 04:50am 

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Joined: 2010-05-19 08:56pm
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The Greeks are running a primary deficit. In other words, even if they default on their debt, they're still going to be short of money. In other words, austerity is coming, whether it's because of Germany's demands or because of the fact that there's simply no money.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 06:49am 

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Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
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Simon_Jester wrote:
Both those things are true.

The Greeks would have to be inhuman not to direct some of the resentment and blame for a horrible situation at the people making them do it, though. Measures like this will always be unpopular, even if they're necessary- I'm not arguing about the necessity, but no one should be too shocked to see this kind of reaction.


Germany is also a very easy target here. After all, it is not the fault of our sons/relatives who for years made money on what were essentially sinecure positions in the bureaucracy or state enterprises. No, it is the fault of those damned foreigners.
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Baffalo
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 09:38am 

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Joined: 2009-04-18 10:53pm
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Zed wrote:
The Greeks are running a primary deficit. In other words, even if they default on their debt, they're still going to be short of money. In other words, austerity is coming, whether it's because of Germany's demands or because of the fact that there's simply no money.
So either the government's going to get curtailed by selective budget cuts now, or the government will be unable to pay itself and will essentially implode under it's own weight, is that right?
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Zed
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 09:40am 

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Joined: 2010-05-19 08:56pm
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Or it loans more and invests in its economy while engaging in crucial reforms.

But nobody's willing to give those loans except for the people who're demanding budget cuts right now, so essentially: yes, that's exactly it.
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Baffalo
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 09:47am 

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Found this on the New York Times.

Quote:
Greek Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Approve Debt Deal
by NIKI KITSANTONIS, published Feb 11, 2012

ATHENS — Prime Minister Lucas Papademos urged Greeks on Saturday night to accept a tough new austerity package sought by its lenders. The alternative, he said, was certain bankruptcy.

“We are a breath away from ground zero,” Mr. Papademos said in a televised address to the nation ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote on a new debt deal scheduled for Sunday night.

The austerity program — which foresees cuts to private sector wages and private sector layoffs — is tough but will “restore the fiscal stability and global competitiveness of the economy, which will return to growth, probably in the second half of 2013,” Mr. Papademos said, adding that the deal would safeguard the country’s future in the euro zone and encourage skeptical investors to return to Greece.

Greece’s so-called troika of foreign lenders — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — has demanded the austerity measures in exchange for about $170 billion in bailout money that Greece needs to avert default. The troika has also made passage of the measures a condition for sealing a deal in which private creditors will take voluntary losses of up to 70 percent of Greek debt.

Mr. Papademos said that those who argued that bankruptcy would be preferable to more austerity were “woefully mistaken.”

“A disorderly default would throw the country into a disastrous ordeal,” he said. “It would create conditions of uncontrollable economic chaos and a social explosion.”

The Greek cabinet approved the package on Friday after five hours of debate and sent it to Parliament, where it is expected to pass. While several lawmakers from the coalition parties — the Socialists and the center-right New Democracy — have indicated that they will vote against the deal, the dissent is far from the level that could prevent it from passing. Still, at least 10 lawmakers from New Democracy have said they will vote no, and the number of dissenters among the Socialists is believed to be close to 20. Three members of Parliament have resigned from the Socialist Party.

Outside Parliament on Saturday, union leaders held a demonstration that attracted about 3,500 protesters, according to the police, who said there had been no arrests and who could not confirm news reports of two minor injuries to demonstrators. Local news media reported that at least 4,000 officers were on duty. Another protest was expected on Sunday.

Hours before the prime minister spoke, the leaders of the two parties remaining in the shaky Greek coalition government urged lawmakers to approve the debt deal.

Antonis Samaras, the leader of the conservative New Democracy party, who is likely to be the next prime minister, said that elections should also be called immediately after the completion of the swap deal being negotiated between the government and private creditors. And in a bid to discourage would-be dissenters, Mr. Samaras has warned members that anyone refusing to back the measures would not be a candidate in the coming elections.

George Papandreou, the former prime minister and leader of the Socialist Party, appealed to his deputies to put party interests aside for the good of the nation. He compared Greece to a thirsty traveler. “We’ve gone too far to turn back now,” he said. “We have reached the source. The country must drink water.”

In his speech, Mr. Papademos appealed to Greeks, who have already faced two years of austerity in the form of wage cuts and tax increases, to be patient.

“We know that people’s endurance has reached the limit,” he said, adding that the sacrifices have started to bear fruit. The primary budget deficit has been reduced to $6.6 billion, from $31.6 billion, in two years, he said, noting that the country had regained a third of the competitiveness it had lost in the last decade.

Mr. Papademos said the austerity program included changes that should have been made years ago to bolster the Greek economy.

The recession, now in its fifth year, is due to “constantly increasing borrowing,” he said. “When the borrowed money finished, the state could no longer finance its expenses, consumption fell and economic activity shrank.”

In a nod toward growing public anger with the demands by foreign creditor states for a tougher approach to the Greeks, Mr. Papademos noted that the country was getting something in return.

“We must not forget that Greece today is receiving the biggest package of rescue funding ever given, and with extremely favorable terms,” he said. “This reflects our partners’ will to keep us in the euro. This is why they are pressurizing us, so we can make use of this support.”

Bankruptcy and an exit from the euro zone would be “the greatest defeat” for a proud nation, Mr. Papademos said.

“It would be a great injustice of history if the country where European civilization was born, which in the past 65 years has experienced a civil war and a dictatorship, and yet prospered, built a democracy, institutions and values, reached the point of going bankrupt and finding itself, from yet another error, in national isolation and despair.”

Stephen Castle contributed reporting from Brussels, Rachel Donadio from Rome and Matt Flegenheimer from New York.
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Starglider
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 10:00am 

Miles Dyson


Joined: 2007-04-05 09:44pm
Posts: 7729
Location: Isle of Dogs
Sidewinder wrote:
Starglider wrote:
Completely understandable when the German government is taking such an inhumane position. They seem to care more about irrelevant accounting abstractions, meaningless digits in a computer in the basement of the ECB, than the very real and severe hardships the long-suffering Greek people are going through.

Are you being serious, or sarcastic?


Both. I am a well-known evil capitalist, in fact I have a standing invitation to a Greek bankrupcy celebratory drinking night, but it is completely true that the financial status of the periphery is an accounting abstraction that the ECB could banish with a few keystrokes. What I find entertaining is that the EU's socialist rehetoric inherently demands that individuals be supported and hardship be eliminated by handouts. The Greeks after all were living the socialist dream; jobs for all, massive state ownership and regulation of everything, very strong unions, very generous minimum wage and working conditions, legislature of lots of weak parties etc. How can the EU punish them for taking the initiative in moving boldly towards socialist utopia?

Of course the debt-fuelled dream foundered on the rocks of reality (frankly I am proud to be part of those reefs) and nationalism and nasty messy realpolitik is intruding. This is rich with black humor as Greece is merely an exagerrated mirror of the rest of the eurozone. The disconnect between the eurosocialist rhetoric and the euroausterity reality has never been wider, and the desperation, confusion and panic of the eurocrats is delicious to me.

My above statement is merely the position eurosocialists should hold if they are going to be truely consistent and impartial in their beliefs. Massive outright ECB monetisation is coming anyway (massive under-the-table monetisation is already under way); Italy, Spain and ultimately France will demand it. So it seems pointlessly cruel to deny Greece the free money that all the larger countries are going to get.
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 10:20am 

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Joined: 2002-09-20 11:15am
Posts: 2399
Starglider wrote:
My above statement is merely the position eurosocialists should hold if they are going to be truely consistent and impartial in their beliefs.

:lol: :roll: :lol:
You have no clue at all, do you?
Its as smart as saying that US "capitalists" need to kill a poor person by their own hand if they want to be consistent.
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Zed
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 10:22am 

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Joined: 2010-05-19 08:56pm
Posts: 487
What the hell are you talking about? You associate the EU with socialism? Where the hell are you getting that from? The project's a liberal's dream.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 10:35am 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 25582
Starglider wrote:
in fact I have a standing invitation to a Greek bankrupcy celebratory drinking night



That sums you up perfectly.
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Stas Bush
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 10:44am 

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Zed wrote:
What the hell are you talking about? You associate the EU with socialism? Where the hell are you getting that from? The project's a liberal's dream.

Starglider does not know that ECB has essentially pushed for laissez-faire capitalism in most Europeriphery nations. Including pushing for tax rate reduction, with which Greece and many others obliged. It also supported bailouts in 2008, which tanked the periphery's budgets. Oh the times.
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Col. Crackpot
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 02:16pm 

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Joined: 2002-10-28 06:04pm
Posts: 9950
Location: Rhode Island
Thanas wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
Both those things are true.

The Greeks would have to be inhuman not to direct some of the resentment and blame for a horrible situation at the people making them do it, though. Measures like this will always be unpopular, even if they're necessary- I'm not arguing about the necessity, but no one should be too shocked to see this kind of reaction.


Germany is also a very easy target here. After all, it is not the fault of our sons/relatives who for years made money on what were essentially sinecure positions in the bureaucracy or state enterprises. No, it is the fault of those damned foreigners.


Germany still co-signed for the idiot brother in law's credit card. So whatever guilt that comes from empowerment is deserved. (thought the nazi bit is over the top) That said you are spot on in your criticism of the Greek government passing all the blame on to 'them damn foreigners'.
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Baffalo
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 07:53pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2009-04-18 10:53pm
Posts: 634
Location: Ruston, Louisiana
Stas Bush wrote:
Starglider does not know that ECB has essentially pushed for laissez-faire capitalism in most Europeriphery nations. Including pushing for tax rate reduction, with which Greece and many others obliged. It also supported bailouts in 2008, which tanked the periphery's budgets. Oh the times.
Wait so the government backed off on government regulation and oversight, cut the budget, then supported the bailouts when it all went to shit? Or am I missing something? Not being a smartass or anything just trying to understand what's going on.
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Baffalo
PostPosted: 2012-02-12 07:56pm 

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Joined: 2009-04-18 10:53pm
Posts: 634
Location: Ruston, Louisiana
UPDATE:

Quote:
Austerity Plan for Greece Wins Passage in Parliament
By NIKI KITSANTONIS
Image
ATHENS — As hooded youths torched shops and battled police in the streets of Athens, lawmakers early Monday approved a tough austerity package that was expected to help the country avoid default.

Out of the 300 members of Parliament, 199 voted yes, 74 voted no, 5 voted present while 22 were absent.

Lawmakers accepted the plan after Greece’s so-called troika of foreign lenders — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — had demanded the measures in exchange for about $170 billion in bailout money. The troika had also made passage a condition for sealing a deal in which private creditors will take voluntary losses of up to 70 percent of Greek debt.

The outcome was widely expected, though many lawmakers grudgingly voted yes.

Addressing Parliament, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos stressed that rejection of the bill would plunge the country into bankruptcy. He appealed to lawmakers to do their “patriotic duty” and make the “most significant strategic choice a Greek government has faced in decades.”

Still, he acknowledged that the program was “tough and calls for sacrifices from a broad range of citizens who have already made sacrifices.”

But the alternative — “a disastrous default” — would be worse, he said.

“Our country has been experiencing the biggest crisis since the restoration of democracy,” Mr. Papademos said referring to the fall of Greece’s military dictatorship in 1974. “It started as a crisis of fiscal deficit and public debt and has now become a broader economic, social and national crisis.”

As lawmakers debated, angry gangs outside smashed the facades of stores to loot them and targeted banks or branches of foreign chain stores. A Starbucks was among those to go up in flames. The crowd swelled as the day went on; chants of “traitors” were directed at the lawmakers inside Parliament.

Police said that dozens of stores had been torched or looted, adding that they had made more than 50 arrests. About 100 riot officers had been injured, the police said, while the local media reported that dozens of demonstrators had been hurt.

In his speech, Mr. Papademos appealed for calm. “In these critical hours, we don’t have the luxury for such clashes,” he said in comments directed toward the protesters.

Speaking in Parliament during a daylong debate, the leader of the conservative New Democracy Antonis Samaras, said that failure to pass the austerity measures would have been “a step into the void.”

The conservative leader, who is likely to be the next Greek prime minister, also reiterated calls for early elections after the debt swap deal was finalized. “With our vote today, we pave the way for immediate elections which will be liberating for society and stabilizing for democracy,” he said, adding that snap polls should be held in early April at the latest.

Protesters also directed their anger at Germany, which has consistently argued for a tough austerity package.

“We’ve fought several times for liberation, but this slavery is worse than any other,” said Stella Papafagou, 82, pulling down a surgical mask worn over her mouth to keep out tear gas being fired by the police to push back protesters from Parliament. “This is worse than the ’40s,” she said, referring to the Nazi occupation.

“This time the government is following the Germans’ orders,” she said. “I would prefer to die with dignity than with my head bent down.”

Her granddaughter Elina, a 25-year-old employee at a marketing company, said she was still living with her parents and grandmother as she could not afford to move out on a monthly wage of 600 euros, or $790, which she fears will be slashed. She said she had all but abandoned her hopes to become a journalist.

“The worst thing though is that we can’t have dreams for the future. They’ve killed our hope,” she said pointing in the direction of Parliament.

Natalia Stefanou, a 45-year-old shoe shop employee, said she had not been paid since September and feared she would lose her job soon.

“It’s not me I’m worried about though, I’ve got two children, aged 14 and 15, what kind of country are we going to leave them?” she said. Asked if the austerity bill would pass, she said she was sure it would. “They’ll find 151 traitors,” she said, referring to the majority required to push the measures into law.

Makis Barbarossos, 37, an insurance salesman, said he had lost faith in Greek politicians.

“They’re all sold out in there; they should be punished,” he said, waving a cigarette in the direction of the Parliament building. “We should put them in small, unheated apartments with 300-euro pensions and see can they live like that. Can they live how they’re asking us to live?” Asked what the solution was, his answer was blunt. “Three hundred nooses,” he said, referring to the 300 members of Parliament.
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