“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, October 24, 2011

Greece in the next decade will need 252 billion euros ($351 billion) to stay afloat.

That's in addition to the 110 billion euro bailout that has mostly been distributed since its approval in 2010.

GREECE | 24.10.2011 DW
Troika says Greek crisis is worse than expected

There are no simple fixes to Greece's problems

According to a report from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, EU leaders need to reorganize Greece's financial rescue measures to stop a downward spiral.

The collective report from the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), known as the troika, which was first shown to EU finance ministers and has now been revealed to the heads of state, reveals a true tragedy.

Greece will need further financial assistance from the international community for another 10 years before the country can start raising money again on the financial markets. Originally, Greece was supposed to be back on track by 2013. The troika estimates that the financial needs of Greece in the next decade will be in the region of 252 billion euros ($351 billion). That's in addition to the 110 billion euro bailout that has mostly been distributed since its approval in 2010.

In July, European leaders approved a second bailout of 109 billion euros. Around half of that amount is being covered by private creditors. To achieve this, private and state-owned banks are set to forfeit around 21 percent of the money they are owed from government bonds.

Debt relief in sight

Since this will likely not be enough to make a long-lasting impact on Greece's debt, eurozone countries are calling on banks and other creditors to pull their weight even more. Debt relief of 50 to 60 percent is now being discussed, and negotiations are under way with the banks.

If approved, the second Greek bailout would need to be raised from 109 to 114 billion euros.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that "Greece must be placed on a new foundation." Other European countries - with Spain and Italy being implied - must also be protected in this way.

The troika also said that despite the painful austerity measures and drastic tax hikes, the state of Greece's public finances has not improved. The deficit will remain at about 10 percent this year. Economic performance is collapsing, and many economists are warning that Greece is "saving itself to death." As economic performance continues to spiral downward, income from taxes sinks right along with it, while more unemployment benefits are paid out.

That's why it is becoming more and more difficult for Greece to get a handle on its debt, and why no investor has any interest in Greek government bonds. It's a vicious circle, and Greece is searching for a way out.

Next installment released

Despite the dire prognosis from the troika, eurozone finance ministers have decided to release the next 8 billion euro-installment of Greece's bailout package. Even the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, who took part in the negotiations in Brussels, gave her approval.

Releasing the funds stands in contrast to the previous position of the finance ministers, who only wanted to pay when Greece's debt sustainability had been proven. But according to EU diplomats, the remaining 16 eurozone finance ministers didn't have much of a choice. Had they not released the money, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venezelos would have run out of money to pay police officers and teachers before Christmas. The eight billion euros should last until at least the end of the year.

'Not just a Greek crisis'

In Brussels, Greek Prime Minister Giorgos Papandreou said the Greeks are a proud people who expect respect for their drastic austerity measures.

"Greece has shown time and again, that we can make the necessary decisions to make our economy more sustainable and in line with the rules," he said. "This has proven to be a European crisis, not just a Greek one."

However, since Greece was the initiator of the European debt crisis, the Germans are arguing that the country should be placed under permanent monitoring by the troika. The quarterly visits for check-ups on Greece's finances cause too much disquiet and media interest. A better solution, argues Germany, would be a continual and therefore more subtle monitoring of Greece's budget.

It is already clear that even trimming Greece's public debts by 50 percent would only reduce the problems, not solve them. Debt relief, together with a bailout package, would reduce Greece's total debt from 160 percent today to 120 percent in 10 years, according to calculations from the EU.

That would still be twice as much debt as is actually allowed under EU agreements. The troika's report, according to one participant of the negotiations in Brussels, was a beneficial shock that showed everyone involved how critical it is that decisions are made.

Author: Bernd Riegert / mz
Editor: Nicole Goebel


  1. This is only the beginning. There is no way possible for Greece to pay her debts and no way to grow their way out of it. The instability in Greece and the rest of southern Europe is growing and can only be bought off with "free money". It will be exasperated by an influx of unwanted immigrants fleeing the newly "free" Arab countries. Ghadaffi is still laid out on a slab in a meat locker and we get a clear picture of where the Libyan thing is going:

    TRIPOLI, Libya – The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil called on Libyans to show "patience, honesty and tolerance" and eschew hatred as they embark on rebuilding the country at the end of an 8-month civil war.
    Abdul-Jalil set out a vision for the post-Qaddafi future with an Islamist tint, saying that Islamic Sharia law would be the "basic source" of legislation in the country and that existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified.
    In a gesture that showed his own piety, he urged Libyans not to express their joy by firing in the air, but rather to chant "Allahu Akbar," or God is Great. He then stepped aside and knelt to offer a brief prayer of thanks.

    Read more:

  2. Another reason for a NATO high-five

    At the ceremony in Benghazi, Abdul-Jalil outlined several changes to align with Islamic law.
    "This revolution was looked after by God to achieve victory," he said.
    Abdul-Jalil said new banks would be set up to follow the Islamic banking system, which bans charging interest as a practice deemed usury. For the time being, he said interest would be canceled from any personal loans already taken out and less than $7,500.
    He also announced the annulment of an existing family law that limits the number of wives Libyan can take, contradicting the provision in the Muslim holy book, the Quran, that allows men up to four wives.
    And he urged Libyans to hand back money or property taken during the civil war.
    Abdul-Jalil thanked those who fought and fell in the fight against Qaddafi's forces.
    "They are somewhere better than here, with God," he said.

  3. Sounds as if the Libyans are looking to incorporate their cultural version of the "Ten Commandments" into their jurisprudence.

    A copy in every courthouse.

  4. Those Libyans, wanting the same type of government the US created, in Iraq and Afghanistan, an Islamic Republic.

    Why would that come as a shock, let alone a surprise?


  5. The perceptions about a lack of skilled workers are pervasive. The staffing company ManpowerGroup, for instance, reports that 52% of U.S. employers surveyed say they have difficulty filling positions because of talent shortages.

    But the problem is an illusion.

    Some of the complaints about skill shortages boil down to the fact that employers can't get candidates to accept jobs at the wages offered. That's an affordability problem, not a skill shortage. A real shortage means not being able to find appropriate candidates at market-clearing wages. We wouldn't say there is a shortage of diamonds when they are incredibly expensive; we can buy all we want at the prevailing prices.

    Dr. Cappelli is the George W. Taylor professor of management at the Wharton School and director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources.

  6. Greece is a big paper shredder so keep on printing those Euros, and don't worry, Bernanke is printing dollars so you can shred them too. It's the circle of bullshit.

  7. The killing of Gadaffi bumped Obama up to a lofty 37%. He will have to kill every dictator in the world to have a shot at reelection.

  8. Only 37% of Americans support Occupy Wall Street. What a coinkadink!

  9. We blew another billion dollars that will result in an expansion of Chinese mercantilism in Libya.

  10. Greece's problems are entirely due to the socialists running structural deficits for 30 years and then taking Greece into the Euro and fixing their currency to Germany.

    Yes, the recession was caused by a banking/asset bubble, but Greece was toast the minute the EU economy slowed, no matter what the cause.

    Of course, the reason that we keep having these problems is the debt-based money supply. It really is time the politicians and bankers understand this before they do anymore needless harm.

  11. Greece has, essentially, two industries - Shipping, and Tourism. Both have been hit particularly hard by the recession in the N. European economies, and N. America.

    Also, as Libwhacker said, Greece has no chance sharing a currency with Germany. It's purely unnatural.

    While one has to applaud Europe's attempt at "cooperation, rather than conflict," a common currency for such disparate cultures is simply a step too far.

  12. Most of these banking problem result from the reliance on the fractional reserve system.

    Home buyers, businesses, Governments, etc. want to borrow for as long as possible and lenders and depositors want to lend for as short a time as possible; depositors want the right to withdraw their money at any time in an emergency.

    The fractional reserve system works because, in practice, there are sufficient lenders and depositors to replace those who withdraw their money to continue the funding of the long term loans borrowers require. Share capital, long term debt and liquid assets (the fractional reserve) protect banks against excessive current withdrawals.

    Depositors don't all take their money out at short notice and leave most of it in their accounts for months, if not years. These deposits provide the vast majority of banks' stable funding. Share capital, term debt and term deposits account for less than 10% of all bank funding.

  13. Greece is the itty bitty canary in the coal mine. What kills Greece can, and, eventually, will, kill us.

    We're producing too little, and borrowing too much. We're sending too much of our money to China, and OPEC, and borrowing it back. It just can't last forever.

  14. The Big Banks, and International Corporations are making huge fortunes in China, and throwing the American middle, and lower, classes uner the bus to do it. They will Never countenance a move toward fair trade with China.

    The situation toward OPEC is similar. The Big Banks can't make much money with me, and thee; but they can make huge amounts financing deepwater wells, and tankers for Exxon, and Conoco Philips. Oil is a monster money-maker for all involved, and is much safer (and more profitable) than a small ethanol plant in Iowa, or Mississippi.

    The Capitalist Class lost their shirts in 2008, and they're determined to retrieve their losses from the easiest source (our backs.)

    Class Warfare is rampant, but it's not the poor, and the disenfranchised that are promoting it. It's being practiced by the same thieves, and crooks that invented it - Your Lords, and Masters.

  15. According to the National Defense Council Foundation, the economic penalties of America's oil dependence total $297.2 to $304.9 billion annually. If reflected at the gasoline pump, these “hidden costs” would raise the price of a gallon of gasoline to over $5.28. A fill-up would be over $105.

    The trade defict with China is $273 billion. the combined total is $573 billion. Each billion in our trade deficit loses us 27,000 jobs.

    Total US job losses due to trade deficits with China and Middle East oil: 15,471,000 Jobs

    Think we have a problem and our rulers and masters can't see the solution?

    By the way, I had to do the math three times because I did not believe the numbers!

  16. The Occupy Wall Streeties are flower children compared to what would be put on the street if the right political voice would appear.

  17. You can do the math a hundred times and 98% of your readers will REFUSE to believe it.

  18. Rufus II said...M We're producing too little, and borrowing too much.

    Welp, there you go again.

    It works like this, Rufus. When you get an order for a widget, you make a widget. So when you say we're producing too little, you really mean to say we don't have enough demand. Every equation has two sides.

    When you say we're borrowing too much, do you mean consumers? Because right now you gotta have triple-A credit just to get a payday loan.

    Perhaps you mean the government is borrowing too much? Well, two year notes are yielding 0.25% these days, which is basically free money.

  19. Way oversimplifying, T. Adam Smith was for the sheep, not the shepherd. Adam Smith was, largely, in technical terms, full of shit.

    As was Hayek.

    We're producing too little, because we're allowing China to manipulate her currency to the extent that "free" people can't compete with her "slave" labor.

    Non-interest loans can bankrupt you just as quickly has high-interest loans. "Free" money can bury you. Think about all of those ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) sold to unsophisticated borrowers.

  20. Deuce said...
    There is no way possible for Greece to pay her debts and no way to grow their way out of it.

    Ditto the US!
    Top hedge fund manager: Decade of doom ahead

  21. All economic theories that are based on some sort of "invisible hand" never get around to mentioning that it can take hundreds, if not thousands, of years for that "hand" to finish writing.

    Successful countries operate in "the here, and now," and base their actions on "common sense," not abstract hypothesis.

  22. I just did some additional math. I served on 13 US military installations, two US Army, 11 USAF. Two of them were SAC, four were TAC, five were NATO. Four were remote radar facilities. Three over the horizon part of BMEWS. Never did I question the need, the purpose and the stated mission to defend the free world from China, the USSR and their allies. I cannot remember anyone in my circle that had doubts about our shared purpose. None of us had the suspicion that we were being used as pawns on the board of political control freaks.

    None of us would have ever believed that the US military, the USAF and NATO would be used in two undeclared wars resulting in the estabishment of Sharia law for Muslim zealots, all the while paying for it with money borrowed from the Communist government in China. Today, if I were in my twenties, I would focus on being a better chef.

  23. I would make every attempt to marry an only child whose father owned large amounts of farmland. The more productive land he owned, the uglier she could be.

    For 10,000 acres she could be the winner of the national kennel club show.

  24. Barring that, I'd probably go to work as a "Solar Installer." :)

  25. Texas Wind Power to Double by 2013

    They produced 7,400 Megawatts one afternoon a week ago.

    Wholesale Electricity hit $0.00 that day.

  26. Wait till they start putting in large Solar Farms down there.


  27. (CBS News)

    With Republicans continuing to stall action on President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill, the White House is taking action to help jump-start the economy with the message "We can't wait."

    President Obama is going to begin a series of executive branch actions that will not require action from Congress - or the assent of Republicans.

  28. Coin Seigniorage: A Legal Alternative and Maybe the President's Duty

    The President is beginning to pack his bags ...

    ... for the trip to ...

    .... Jacksonville ....

  29. "The implications of this shift are very large for geopolitics, energy security, historical military alliances and economic activity. As US reliance on the Middle East continues to drop, Europe is turning more dependent and will likely become more exposed to rent-seeking behaviour from oligopolistic players," said Mr Blanch.

    Meanwhile, the China-US seesaw is about to swing the other way. Offshoring is out, 're-inshoring' is the new fashion.

    "Made in America, Again" - a report this month by Boston Consulting Group - said Chinese wage inflation running at 16pc a year for a decade has closed much of the cost gap. China is no longer the "default location" for cheap plants supplying the US.

    A "tipping point" is near in computers, electrical equipment, machinery, autos and motor parts, plastics and rubber, fabricated metals, and even furniture.

    "A surprising amount of work that rushed to China over the past decade could soon start to come back," said BCG's Harold Sirkin.

    The gap in "productivity-adjusted wages" will narrow from 22pc of US levels in 2005 to 43pc (61pc for the US South) by 2015. Add in shipping costs, reliability woes, technology piracy, and the advantage shifts back to the US.

    The list of "repatriates" is growing. Farouk Systems is bringing back assembly of hair dryers to Texas after counterfeiting problems; ET Water Systems has switched its irrigation products to California; Master Lock is . . . .

    Phoenix Rising?

    Could ol' Ambrosia be onto somethin' this time?


  30. Flows into the EU collapsed by 63p from 2007 to 2010 (UNCTAD data), and fell by 77pc in Italy. Flows into the US rose by 5pc.

    Volkswagen is investing $4bn in America, led by its Chattanooga Passat plant. Korea's Samsung has begun a $20bn US investment blitz. Meanwhile, Intel, GM, and Caterpillar and other US firms are opting to stay at home rather than invest abroad.

    Europe has only itself to blame for the current “hollowing out” of its industrial base. It craved its own reserve currency, without understanding how costly this “exorbitant burden” might prove to be.

    China and the rising reserve powers have rotated a large chunk of their $10 trillion stash into EMU bonds to reduce their dollar weighting. The result is a euro too strong for half of EMU.

    The European Central Bank has since made matters worse (for Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France) by keeping rates above those of the US, UK, and Japan. That has been a deliberate policy choice. It let real M1 deposits in Italy contract at a 7pc annual rate over the summer. May it live with the consequences.

    The trade-weighted dollar has been sliding for a decade, falling 37pc since 2001. This roughly replicates the post-Plaza slide in the late 1980s, which was followed - with a lag - by 3pc of GDP shrinkage in the current account deficit. The US had a surplus by 1991.


  31. The switch in advantage to the US is relative. It does not imply a healthy US recovery. The global depression will grind on as much of the Western world tightens fiscal policy and slowly purges debt, and as China deflates its credit bubble.

    Yet America retains a pack of trump cards, and not just in sixteen of the world’s top twenty universities.

    It is almost the only economic power with a fertility rate above 2.0 - and therefore the ability to outgrow debt - in sharp contrast to the demographic decay awaiting Japan, China, Korea, Germany, Italy, and Russia.

    And that does not even include the "other" Americans.

  32. What was it, rufus, you mentioned a few months ago ...

    ... regarding Mexico having the same standard of living as France?

    Slightly above?


  33. The 21st Century may be American after all, just like the last.

  34. It will not be a Tunisian one.

    (Reuters) - Tunisia's leading secularist party conceded defeat on Monday after unofficial tallies from an election at the weekend showed a victory for an Islamist party.

    "The PDP (Progressive Democratic Party) respects the democratic game. The people gave their trust to those it considers worthy of that trust. We congratulate the winner and we will be in the ranks of the opposition," a PDP statement sent to Reuters said.

  35. I remember, Rat, that a few months back I was looking at "Mexico City." Maybe I made some statement of that kind regarding the "City," and its Suburbs.

    Mexico City is an eye-opener. Not anything like I expected.

  36. I've been mightily pissed off at "the powers that be" since 2008. That means, in a nutshell, that I'm mad as hell at myself for not seeing it coming.

    I did see the "oil" part, and predicted the recession, itself, well before it happened (when everyone thought I was nuts;) but, I did Not see the massive, and idiotically self-destructive fraud that was the mortgage market.

    Having said all that, I am Not a "doomer." Our Lords and Masters have gotten us into a hell of a fix, but the country, itself, is incredibly rich in natural, and human resources.

    For every problem we have (and, some of them are of the "very large" variety) there is an "Out." And, in spite of all that the politicians have done to foul it up, we have, arguably, the Best political system in the world.

    A hard and fast Two Year Election Cycle will do wonders to focus the political mind when things start going severely sideways.

  37. .

    On November 9, the next GOP debate will be coming to the hood. It will be held at Oakland University a few miles away.

    Unfortunately, it will be sponsored by CNBC and Larry Kudlow will play a prominant role.

    The presence of the faux economist a major reason I will avoid the event.


  38. China could own the Moon by 2026, U.S. space entrepreneur warns

    They're welcome to it. Not a drop of water, regolith's packed tighter'n a nun's girdle, cain't grow a dadburned thing there.

  39. Hell, I'll be happy to sell them any parts they don't already own. :)

  40. Rufus Realty:

    The Best Deals on Lunar Landscape.

    5% Down, EZ Terms.


  41. Gotta check on that domain name.

    I think we're gonna be rich.

    Rich, I tells ye.

  42. Biographer: Mortality motivated Jobs
    Man is born alone and dies alone, Steve Jobs told his biographer. "Does anything else really matter?"

    Doesn't mortality motivate everyone?

  43. That is the single most clarifying moment to anyone that has ever had cancer. It is afterall, company policy that we all die. Somehow cancer makes it real and escaping from its clutch is exhilarating to say the least.

    No one fights cancer, you either escape or succumb.

  44. .

    They're welcome to it. Not a drop of water, regolith's packed tighter'n a nun's girdle, cain't grow a dadburned thing there.

    Sounds like the perfect place for a new financial center.

    Or for those who like to mint 'money for nothing'.

    And the chicks are free.


  45. .

    Rufus Realty:

    The Best Deals on Lunar Landscape.

    I see a massive lawsuit coming from Francis Williams on infringement.

    Now a franchise? Maybe.

    I hear he is already expanding his franchises to some guys in Nigeria.

    However, why would anyone want to own a piece of the moon when they can have an entire star. Plus have it registered in the Library of Congress?


  46. That's what a fiat currency is, Q.

    A license to print money.

    Who wields that license, a matter of Law.

    The President has the legal authority, he should utilize it.

  47. .

    The President has the legal authority, he should utilize it.

    We've gone through this before. Your author cites a couple other authors that oppose the minting of trillion dollar coins and says they have to be discounted because of what they didn't write. Yet his has to be discounted for things he did write. Some of the assumptions and assertations he makes are bizaare.

    As I said, we have argued this subject before and evidently positions haven't changed. No sense starting it up again.

    However perhaps there was too much hyperbole in my post when I implied the proponents of the coins were 'lunatics'.



  48. .


    A bizarre spelling of bizarre.


    A new word or a bizarre spelling of assertions?

    Who knows?

    I'm on a free-association roll today.


  49. I might not have even brought it up, but for the CBS piece describing how the White House was going to start acting unilaterally.

    What better, I thought, than to provide a link to a well reasoned piece on the subject of legal routes available to the President, to provide monetary stimulus to the economy, without any further Congressional assent required.

    Not unbiased, but reasonably well reasoned.

  50. This will fuel "the mother of all conspiracy theories."

    Vatican Calls for New World Economic Order

  51. Remember well, anon, that Saul Alinsky credited the Dioceses of Chi-town as being the cornerstone of his success as a community organizer.

    In a story about Barack Obama’s friendly meeting with the Pope, reporter Josh Gerstein featured information that made it clear that the President’s Catholic connection goes back to his days as a community organizer and that Obama’s associates understand and appreciate this fact.

    Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough was quoted as saying that:
    Obama’s work as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago “was funded partly” by the “Catholic Church campaign for human development…”
    He was referring to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), an annual collection authorized by the U.S. Catholic Bishops which is advertised as a charity to “break the vicious cycle of poverty” but in reality has funded left-wing political organizations such as ACORN to the tune of millions of dollars.

    McDonough , a former Senior Fellow at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP), was the moderator of a May 10, 2006, CAP event on:
    “How Catholic Progressives View the Role of Faith in Governance.”

    Conservative Catholics concerned about this problem have documented that millions of dollars of Catholic money over the last four decades has gone into Saul Alinsky-style networks which pursue their own brand of socialist direct action. CCHD itself acknowledges funding ACORN projects with grants totaling more than $7.3 million during the last 10 years.

  52. The question on many minds:

    Will the Arab uprising lay the groundwork for the next big Sunni/Shia civil war?

  53. A decision on whether to extradite him is expected in the next few weeks. Speaking to journalists after Monday's Frontline Club appearance, Assange put his chances of being extradited without the possibility of appeal at "30 percent."

    Also looming in the background is a U.S. grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks' disclosures. Earlier this month a small California-based Internet provider became the second company to confirm it was fighting a court order demanding customer account information as part of the American WikiLeaks inquiry.

    WikiLeaks' suspected source, U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, remains in custody at Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas.

  54. The 40-year-old man who arrived at the Omaha headquarters of Godfather’s Pizza to become its fourth president in as many years had never visited Nebraska and knew little about pizza.


    From his first day, Cain gave regular and rousing speeches — peppered with adages that he has revived on the campaign trail — urging everyone at the company to think big and share in his vision of making Godfather’s the No. 1 pizza chain in the world. “If you truly do dream of being a part of that achievement, your creative energies will be unleashed and unstoppable,” he said in a speech to employees and franchisees the month after he arrived.


    Despite the changes at Godfather’s, Pillsbury never showered it with resources, and even Cain, he later recalled, suspected that the chain’s days were numbered at its parent company. In March 1988, the company announced its intention to sell Godfather’s as part of a broader restructuring effort amid rumors that the parent company itself was vulnerable to a hostile takeover.

  55. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on Monday morning new rules that will allow many more “underwater” homeowners – who owe more than their properties are worth – to refinance at today’s ultra-low rates.


    Officials hope that by reducing monthly payments, more homeowners will avoid foreclosure, and free up more cash to spend on the economy.

  56. Better them than us!!!

  57. 12. Annoy Mouse:

    Maineman – California has a significant illegal immigrant birth in anchor babies. The libs here are taxing and breeding themselves out of existence.

    And when those anchor babies grow up they and the families they anchor are all good pro-life Roman Catholics, and the bishops are now telling them they can't vote pro-choice and approach the Blessed Sacrament.

    18. Morton Doodslag:

    shit holes like North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan, can ALL produce WMD despite their seemingly faltering systems.

    Ever notice that it's the beta males that always end up strapping on the suicide belts, never the alpha Mullahs and sheet?
    Kim Jong Il saw Qaddafi's double tap (the second tap was 9mm, the first one was a Predator-delivered Hellfire) and you won't see him come out of his cave for the next three months. That's why MAD still works.

    20. Josh: The scale of the boost we – and the world, and that gets back to us again – get from fracking *should* be just incredible. Even Obambus will come around on that in the next six months, I suspect.

    All these states running red ink which are now cut off from the Federal teat due to a renewed focus on controlling the debt will just look at North Dakota and see that they're fracking and they're in the black. Human nature will take it's course. Libs love to spend money, not slash budgets.

    29. Morton Doodslag This is one reason Obama’s bowing to the Saudi King was such a heinous breach of protocol – it reinforced the absolute worst possible inferences Muslims could make about America and the “infidel” West.

    Barack Obama bowing to Emperors and Kings bows only for himself, not for me. This is a Republic, every man and woman is on the same level. So if Obama wants to do the equivalent of removing himself to the back of the bus, he can knock himself out.

  58. "I the long run we are all dead": so said Keynes sardonically. What he failed to mention was that we can also simultaneously have depressions, recessions, plague, pestilence and war.

    Re: Iraq

    I must stand corrected. It was my long held and published view that the US would have "boots on the ground" in Iraq for decades. I did not reckon on an Islamic president.

  59. House Dems: Obama's response to mortgage crisis is insufficient

    "Cardoza was quick to praise certain elements of the FHFA's new strategy, particularly the elimination of new property appraisals in cases where Freddie or Fannie have a “reliable” automated valuation model."

    Yes, indeed! That reliability worked out so well the last time. We have learned nothing.

  60. Jalil meanwhile confirmed that after 42 years of Khadafy's rule, discussions were underway to form the nation's interim government in a matter of weeks.

    "Yes we have begun talks," Jalil confirmed. "And this matter will not take a month but will be finished within two weeks."

    During Sunday's ceremony of liberation, Jalil promised that the new Libya's legislation would uphold Islamic Shariah law. "Any law that violates Shariah is null and void legally," he told the crowd of tens of thousands.

  61. Obama's plan strikes me as an attempt to force the banks to pass some of the stimulus money along to the homeowners.

    The Banks (and, Republicans) don't like it. Shockah!