“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, May 03, 2010

Greece Gets What Greece Does Not Deserve, $146 Billion

And it is not all German money. It is all to prove that the Euro itself is not a failed idea. Angela Merkel said there was no alternative to the bailout. What does that say?

Obviously, there was no alternative for Merkel and Germany as the Euro was the construct of German Progressives and Germany is stuck with the Euro (for now). Germany committed itself to a bad idea but it has worked for Germany industry.

It has not worked so well for ordinary Germans.

Most Germans were dead set against giving up the German Mark. The DM was an amazingly stable currency and it was inconceivable to most Germans that it was to be given up for a currency that would tether Germany to countries such as Italy and Greece. Today, most Germans are still against the Euro. Too bad for them.

The Greeks had one hell of a party with the Euro. They lied about their being ready to join the Euro. They were not ready. They covered up their true situation and probably still are. So many numbers have been bandied about as to what this will cost, and with each passing week the number has gone up.

Tough times ahead for Greece's Prime Minister Papandreou? Oh yea. The Greek unions are already rioting in the streets and calling a national strike to protest the fact that they have to give anything up. The socialist mobs like spending German money and have built their unsustainable life style on it. The trouble is, it is now IMF money propping up Greece and that is American money, money we do not have to throw around.

A lesson here? Oh yea again. Progressive German politicians, big business and big banks ignored the majority wishes of the German people constructing the Euro. Greek socialists created a majority class of people that take more from the system than they put in. Sound familiar? It smells familiar, the whiff of the wildly popular Obama Eau de Cologne. It smells great when first put on, but lingers and decays to something far less happy to the nostrils.


ECONOMY | 02.05.2010 DW
Eurozone agrees unprecedented multi-billion euro bailout for Greece

Eurozone finance ministers have endorsed a record 110-billion-euro bailout for Greece. The aid package requires that Athens implement tough austerity measures.

Eurozone finance ministers, in an emergency session on Sunday, approved a loan package to save Greece from defaulting on its debt. Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker said a total of 110 billion euros ($146 billion) would be spread out over three years. Up to 30 billion euros will be ready to be disbursed in 2010.

Euro states are expected to give 80 billion euros while the rest is to be provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It is by far the largest bailout ever assembled for a country.

Juncker announced a fresh EU summit for May 7 to officially approve the bailout. He stressed the help for Athens was conditional on the Greek government implementing strict financial reforms.

He also said that at Germany's insistence, all ministers would discuss with their national banking sector the possibility of voluntary bank contributions to the aid package.

International support

EU President Herman Van Rompuy welcomed the agreement.

"I am convinced that this sound and ambitious program will enable Greece to put right its economic and financial situation as well as its competitiveness," he said in a statement.

In exchange for financial aid from both the EU and the IMF, Athens has promised further austerity measures to get the country's budget back into shape.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the he would "do anything to avoid the country going bankrupt."

"It is an unprecedented support package for an unprecedented effort by the Greek people," a somber Papandreou, wearing a dark purple tie, the color used for funerals in Greece, told a televised cabinet meeting.

EU Commissioners for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn welcomed Athens' latest austerity efforts as a "very convincing and comprehensive program."

US President Barack Obama told Papandreou in a telephone interview late on Sunday that he welcomed Greece's ambitious reform programs and the support from the EU and the IMF.

Germany's Merkel backs bailout

Much of Sunday's talks depended on the attitude of Germany, which is expected to foot the largest chunk of the bill - around 22 billion euros.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been hesitant about rushing aid to Greece because it is unpopular among Germans.

On Sunday however, Merkel got fully behind the measure, calling the Greek austerity program very ambitious and saying there was no choice but to save Greece.

"I think this is the only way we can restore the stability of the Euro," Merkel said. "I'm going to work for the Greece program and its passage."

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the German cabinet would meet Monday to work on a draft legislation for the aid. He said the bill would then be approved in the German parliament by Friday.

To ensure the stability of the euro, Schaeuble told German public television ARD late on Sunday, "we, as well as the German people and the taxpayer, have to take on this difficult decision [to approve the aid deal]."

He also warned Greece that "the smallest deviation [from the austerity plan] would have consequences, that much is clear," he told ARD.

Widespread protests across Greece

But Athen's plans for painful wage and pension cuts have already triggered widespread protest in Greece with unions planning a nationwide strike on Wednesday.
The austerity measures are deeply unpopular in Greece

The fresh round of cuts aims at saving 30 billion euros ($40 billion) over the next three years with civil servants and pensioners bearing the brunt of the effort.

"These sacrifices will give us breathing space and the time we need to make changes," Papandreou said, defending the measures.

"I want to tell Greeks very honestly that we have a big trial ahead," he said.

Editor: Nigel Tandy


  1. The smart bet? Bet against Greece doing what it has agreed to do.

  2. LONDON, May 3 (Reuters) - The euro fell, erasing initial gains on Monday made after European countries agreed to a 110 billion euro aid package to Greece at the weekend, on concerns about the plan and fiscal problems in the euro zone.
    While the aid plan would reduce the possibility of default, markets were wary of possible obstacles as countries such as Germany seek parliamentary approval of the plan, as well as the impact of severe austerity measures on Greece.

    "The market is worried about the ability for Greece to implement draconian measures and is waiting for the plan to be approved by each country," said Roberto Mialich, currency strategist at Unicredit.

    "The plan was not well received, but we have to wait until tomorrow when activity resumes in London for a clearer picture."

  3. kick the can down the road...

    in this case?

    the can is a snowball and the road is a hill...

  4. Off topic...

    Let's get this straight...

    A crude, homemade bomb was discovered in New York... No one was killed and it's a big deal...

    Where are all those that complained that Israel was overreacting over the 8,000 crude, homemade bombs were lobed on Israel for which most did not kill anyone

  5. For some time, I have wondered why NYC allows large SUV's with tinted windows.

  6. Like AIG it isn't really Greece that gets the bailout. It is the odomino's that fall upon default that could reach around the world. I'm not too optimistic about the success of the bailout though, given the deep political opposition to it in both Germany and Greece, but I'm guessing the rulers and masters will proceed anyway. Trouble is Spain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Great Britain, and (drum roll please) the US all have very large public debts that keep on growing. The US is in a relatively good position being the exchange currency with the ability to continue with the big devaluation but the cracks are starting to show. Also, there is an ugly anti-bailout sentiment in the US. Will those that suffer due to the oil slick get a bailout and that is just a the near term bailout question on the horizon.

  7. "Except for a mild joke pegged to his falling approval ratings, Obama mostly spared Obama during his 14-minute stand-up routine...

    "The president elicited a few shocked "oooohs" from the audience of 2,600 when he told this joke about Charlie Crist, the Florida governor who is defecting from the Republican Party to run for the Senate: "Odds are that the Salahis are here," he said, referring to the gate-crashing Virginia couple. "There haven't been people who were more unwelcome at a party since Charlie Crist."

    "The outer-directed tone of the material, which was credited to Axelrod, White House speechwriter Jon Favreau and ex-Hillary Clinton speechwriter Jon Lovett, was in keeping with Obama's inaugural voyage as presidential joker last year. Making the rounds of the traditional spring dinners, the president cracked wise on just about everyone but himself.

    "Typical Obama line in 2009: "We have a lot in common," he said of House Minority Leader John Boehner, a man with an odd perma-tan. "He is a person of color. Although not a color that appears in the natural world..."

    "Obama's derisive tone surprises and dismays some of the people who've written jokes for presidents past.

    "With these dinners you want the audience to like you more when you sit down than when you stood up," says Landon Parvin, an author and speechwriter for politicians in both parties, and a gag writer for three Republican presidents..."

    Presidential Humor


  8. ISM Manufacturing Index registers Strongest Reading in 6 Years. 60.4 Factory Employment Index up nicely, also.

  9. Talk about "timing." THIS should be sweet.

    Starting this fall, all new 2011 Buick Regals will have flex-fuel capability. The first boatloads of Regals from Germany have begun rolling off at the docks in New Jersey this past week and are being sent out to dealers. The first several months of Regal production will all be powered by a gasoline-only version of General Motors' normally aspirated 2.4.-liter inline four.

    Once the 2.0-liter direct injected turbo four starts arriving in late August both engines will be able to run on either gasoline or E85 ethanol. The turbo will be GM's first production E85-capable turbocharged and direct-injected engine. The engine was originally developed for the new Saab 9-5 which rides on the same Epsilon II platform as the Regal; GM decided to install it in the U.S.-spec Buick as well. The new Regal has been available in China since late 2008.

    According Jim Federico, vehicle line executive for the global mid-size platform, combining direct injection and turbocharging will allow the new engine to get much closer to the volumetric fuel efficiency of gasoline while running on ethanol. Until now, normally aspirated flex-fuel engines typically have gotten about 15 percent worse fuel efficiency on ethanol. The Regal engine should cut that deficit to the mid-single digits and future versions should be closer.

    It's a Pretty Sucker, Too.

  10. Just for you, allen:

  11. Let's take a comparable car built, today. It probably gets about 27 - 28 mpg.

    This Buick, let's say, gets 30 mpg/gasoline - 28.5 mpg E85.

    At $2.90/gal your present car is costing $0.11/mile for fuel.

    E85 is selling for $1.86 in the Midwest. $1.86/28.5 = $0.065/mile.

    Six and 1/2 cents per mile With More Power.

    Savings over 100,000 miles = $4,500.00.

    Fuck you Saudi Arabia. Fuck you Iraq. And, Fuck you, too, Hugo.

  12. I think the people down on the Gulf might have just caught a break.

    BP gets a "Clamp" on the pipe; Slows Leak

    Not on the "News," yet. I wonder why?

  13. As of early this AM, the total surface area of the slick had contracted as well.

  14. Really? No mention of either factoid on CNBC, all day.

    Journalism is dead.

    'Cept at the "Bar," of course.

  15. Why didn't they burn it off, in the early days of the slick. 40 miles out, standard operatng procedure.

  16. Brit Sniper takes out Two Taliban that had his Commander in Peril - From A MILE AND A HALF.

    I gave them the good news. They didn't f****** like it."

    Craig had to aim 6ft high and 20ins to the left. Despite the bullets travelling at almost three times the speed of sound, the married dad of one was so far away it took them 2.64 seconds to reach their targets.

    Just freakin', Wow

  17. He was just warming up. With his third shot he took out the machine gun. Jeez.

    I could "light'em up," pretty good; but, this is just Unbelievable."

  18. Re surface area diminishment:

    It came through a regular NOAA update issued in the very wee hours and I caught it on CNN, I think it was, around 6 AM.

    I don't recall an explanation or possible causes given. It was pre-coffee.

  19. "White House sees foreign ties in car bomb plot: report

    The Post cited a U.S. official who, recounting a conversation with intelligence officials, said, “Don't be surprised if you find a foreign nexus ... They're looking at some tell-tale signs and they're saying it's pointing in that direction.”

    Officials cautioned that even if the investigation pointed toward an international link, rather than domestic or anti-government organizations, that did not mean al-Qaeda or a similar group was involved, the Post said. "

  20. Absolutely, no one in Memphis cares if a bomb goes off in NY.

    Or, as an old buddy of mine once said, "Half don't care, and the other half are glad of it."

  21. Likewise, I don't think anyone in NYC gives a damn what anyone in Tennessee thinks about them. It's all one big meth lab out there.

    I think the recent subway plot was more significant as plots go.

    Messing with mass transport systems again.

    It's a cheezy metaphor, but the Bureau guys like it just as much as others:

  22. "For some time, I have wondered why NYC allows large SUV's with tinted windows."
    What about Dark Glasses?

    It's only a matter of time before some fanatic gouges out his eyes and replaces them with Cherry Bombs.

    No doubt the MSM can find some expert willing to assert that this WMD could level half of Manhatten.

  23. Rethinking security:

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday called into question the Navy's heavy and expensive arsenal of ships and subs.

    In a speech before naval officers and contractors, Gates did not say he was planning to cut any programs or its budget.

    But he did say the military must rethink whether it can afford such a massive naval fleet at a time when the Army and Marine Corps need more money to take care of troops and their families.

    "Do we really need 11 carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?" Gates asked.

    He noted that the Navy's most expensive resources aren't on the front lines when it comes to countering many modern threats, such as piracy.

    "As we learned last year, you don't necessarily need a billion-dollar guided missile destroyer to chase down and deal with a bunch of teenage pirates wielding AK-47s" and rocket-propelled grenades, Gates said.

  24. Been updated, Rufus:

    "BP refutes statement on oil leak
    Monday, 03 May 2010, 4:17 PM CDT

    Randy Merrow
    MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - 3:42 p.m. British Petroleum Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles refuted a statement made earlier in the day by a BP employee, who said the flow of oil from the rig in the Gulf had been slowed.

    That employee, Jeff Childs, said BP had successfully deployed a ram to reduce the flow of oil from the drill pipe. At an afternoon news conference, Suttles said the ram did move, but it failed to seal the leak properly.

    Suttles said he had personally spoken to Childs about the matter.

    Oil spill update 12:30 p.m.:

    BP official Jeff Childs says the company has been able to deploy a ram that clamps around the drill pipe at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Childs says that maneuver has slowed the flow of oil in and around the pipe. "

  25. "Do we really need 11 carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one?" Gates asked.

    How vulnerable is a carrier? With pilotless drones, is a carrier obsolete?

  26. DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - Ireland's Aviation Authority said Monday it was banning all flights in and out of Ireland on Tuesday morning because of a renewed risk of volcanic ash drifting south from Iceland.

    All flights to and from Irish airports will be banned from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time Tuesday (0600GMT to 1200GMT; 2 a.m to 8 a.m EDT), the authority said in a statement. The restrictions will not affect planes flying over Ireland from Britain and Europe.

    "The decision is based on the safety risks to crews and passengers as a result of the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by the northeasterly winds," the statement said.

    Ireland is expected to experience ash concentrations that exceed acceptable engine manufacturer tolerance levels, the authority said.

  27. Ash exceeds our tolerance levels,
    but somehow, we persist.

  28. Ever since Lyndon Johnson, when some shit starts trickling into the fan the President rolls over in bed, picks up the phone, listens for a minute, and says, "Where's my carriers."

    I don't really think that's going to change any time soon, Do you?