Today’s European Union Summit Cancelled; Will Frau Merkel Rule the Day Today?


Or will she Rue the Day (as per French FM Michel Sapin’s dire warning to Her Frumpy Nibs)?

(‘Syriza seems to have blinked’ is here; it was getting a bit long and unwieldy.)

From RT:

“A summit of all EU leaders scheduled for Sunday has been cancelled with eurozone leaders only meeting to “conclude talks on Greece.” On Saturday, a meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers was adjourned without reaching any conclusion.

Early on Sunday, Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, tweeted that the eurozone leaders’ meeting will start at 14:00 GMT.

We had an in-depth discussion of Greek proposals, the issue of credibility and trust was discussed, and also of course financial issues involved. But we have not concluded our discussions, so we will continue at 11:00am,” the president of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem told journalists late Saturday.

“It is still very difficult, but work is still in progress,” the Dutch finance minister added, refusing to share any details of the negotiations.

It’s hard to say who or what exactly was behind the decision to cancel the EU summit, especially in light of the reports that if no decision was reached among the Eurozone ministers, The 28 Titanns would have decided on the ‘terms’ of a Grexit.

I got booted out of the Telegraph this morning, but before that, I’d read a snippet there about Putin trying to arrange a complimentary gas delivery to Greece; that goes along with my daydream of flotillas arriving with food, medicine, crates of even non-Euro currencies (some stores are taking others), and so forth.

There is also some indication that Herr Schauble’s Further Punishment or 5-year Grexit plan may indeed have been soooo toxic that it’s caused more support for Athens, although what level of (ahem) benevolence they’d support isn’t clear.

Oddly enough, the Guardian hasn’t posted anything since their recap of yesterday’s meeting for three hours, although the Sunday meeting was to have begun at 11:00 Brussell’s time (seven hours ahead of MDT, iirc).

Back to RT:

“Several EU officials called upon Germany, which holds the majority of Greece’s debt, not to allow it to exit the eurozone.

“Now common sense must prevail and an agreement must be reached. Italy does not want Greece to exit the euro and to Germany I say: enough is enough,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was quoted as saying by Rome-based daily Il Messaggero.

Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that if Berlin “pushes for a Grexit, it will provoke a profound conflict with France. That would be a catastrophe for Europe.”

“It would be fatal for Germany’s reputation in the EU and the world if Berlin does not seize the chance that there now is with the Greek reform offers,” he said.

A senior member of the Greek ruling Syriza party, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, said that Berlin is humiliating Greece with new demands for a bailout deal and trying to overthrow its government.

“What is at play here is an attempt to humiliate Greece and Greeks, or to overthrow the Tsipras government,” he told Greek Mega TV.”

So yes, Frau Merkel; the world is watching you and your minions having political tantrums, and those of conscience aren’t liking your cruel antics at all.


‘BRICS Establishes A Development Bank; Patrick Bond, Co-Author of BRICS: An Anti-Capitalism Critique, finds BRICS to be largely neoliberal and unequal, evident by the appointees to the bank board’ –   July 12, 2015  at TRNN

The title says a lot, but he says Greece can’t get help, especially because the bank’s still so undercapitalized.  Bond’s conclusion are quite contra Mike Whitney’s ‘Putin Leads BRICS Uprisingthesis, at least for the time being, although he’s speaking more of breaking dollar and Empire hegemony.

Just to be clear, the working Eurogroup document includes these items that various journalists are calling pummeling with baseball bats, financial waterboarding, analogous to Rome sowing Carthage with salt…

The draft proposal, which comes from this morning’s eurozone finance ministers, forces Greece to take these seven steps straight away:

  1. Streamlining VAT
  2. Broadening the tax base
  3. Sustainability of pension system
  4. Adopt a code of civil procedure
  5. Safeguarding of legal independence for Greece ELSTAT — the statistic office
  6. Full implementation of automatic spending cuts
  7. Meet bank recovery and resolution directive

And also get the ball moving on another five points:

  1. Privatize electricity transmission grid
  2. Take decisive action on non-performing loans
  3. Ensure independence of privatization body TAIPED
  4. De-Politicize the Greek administration
  5. Return of officials from its creditors to Athens

There have been strong hard-Leftist Oxi! demonstrations against further austerity and waterboarding in Athens, with media loving to predict riots, etc.  But there is talk of a ‘Syriza cabinet reshuffle’ soon, a new coalition or elections.  Mario Drahgi…is looking for a sign a deal is possible…to author some unknown amount of ELA to the banks.  And they’re calling him supportive; go figure.

(I have a lot on my plate in RL today, so I’ll fill in as I can on breaks, and/or see anything that seems like News.  Please feel free to bring what you find, too.)

100 responses to “Today’s European Union Summit Cancelled; Will Frau Merkel Rule the Day Today?

  1. Do you not think that the EU Ministers will now put in place that document they’ve had stashed away about the exit of a defaulting member? I just read this in an Independent article about the possibility Greece will sue Goldman Sachs:

    “The banker who stitched it together, Oxford-educated Antigone Loudiadis, was reportedly paid up to $12m in the year of the deal. Now Jaber George Jabbour, who formerly designed swaps at Goldman, has told the Greek government in a formal letter that it could “right historical wrongs as part of [its] plan to reduce Greece’s debt”.

    Her name is Antigone! (article has a photo) I wondered why Tsipras referenced Antigone at the end of his EU speech instead of Prometheus. Oh boy. Here’s the full article:

    • i remember that there is such a document, but not the protocols. i also remember that athens said it’s illegal to force an exit, and that they’d sue (rather empty threat, i reckon).

      antigone rocks! oh, my, matt taibbi did a long involved post back in the day that goldman sachs had lost the libyans a boatload of money, and gadaffi’s gripes were partially what led to his…er…demise. i’ve looked for it, but haven’t ever found it again in the cache.

      athens has also made noises about demanding reparations from germany. ;-) fat chance, but fun to hear.

  2. Have to thank for the above link in their links section.

  3. Let’s not bend another head:

    But because the study years now, I see that the margins for new illusions are exhausted dangerous and petty itchy all over your body.

    It is because we can no longer dismissal Satan, ie the thought that only the proteases of KKE can give some hope to the people.

    Not the new Memorandum!

    There is no social justice the barbaric measures!

    The government mocks raw and provocative workers when stating that the measures will be based on “social justice”, that supposedly “carrying weights at higher altitudes.” No one is stung in this tale. The new memorandum brings wild new measures on income, on insurance, labor relations, new foroepidromi.

    This is how the crapitalist torture will go, comrades. Pragmatists must choose between knuckling under to the regional masters or get liberated by the hegemonsters while dreamers, Cry Freedom.

  4. There is an alternative, articulated by the Left Platform of Syriza and the far left outside of the party. Measures such as nationalising the banks and taking control of key industries could ensure stability and that immediate human need is met. However, no preparations have been made to this end. Tsipras’s insistence for the last five months that it is not an option has contributed to the fear, which is well founded, that Grexit would bring chaos. […]

    However, sentiment can dissipate quickly if it is not harnessed into organisation. People disoriented by their no being turned into a yes need to hear that there are others like them who do not want another agreement. If there is no big expression of opposition, they likely will feel alone and abandoned.

    No, they won’t be apathetic, they will be repressed.

    The editorial in today’s edition of Avgi, the party paper, calls for a new election to be held soon. This would allow Tsipras to increase his majority and would discipline those MPs who abstained. […]

    Alternatively, the German hardliners will win the day and push through some sort of temporary exit. In such circumstances, the demands the left have articulated with more force over the last few weeks – for bank nationalisation and other measures to prevent shortages – will be prescient. Tsipras may be forced to carry out the left’s proposals to address the social crisis.

    So, the left goes right and the right goes left? Bullshit. The IMF and the hegemonster will step in before the right goes left.

    • prescient; see below. i saw the comment via email, and one of m. hudson’s prescriptions was to create a greecian central bank that would deficit spend (yes, a kind of no-keynseian move, multipliers and all that), although he didn’t mention how it would be capitalized, nor how it would print money, drachmas, perhaps?

      do they know for certain that there haven’t been quiet discussions of nationalizing assets in case they were indeed forced into a grexit? i keep seeing peeps screaming that ‘they didn’t have a plan B!’ mebbe they did, and do.

      • Have Syriza secretly discussed nationalization? Sure, enough to conclude that the benefit of acknowledging it – the reduction of Greek fear of exit – was not worth the consequent aggravation of the EU. This illustrates the vise Syriza is in: they are continually pressured to align with EU neoliberalization and betray Greek popular interests.

        I suppose you’re thinking of this prescription of Hudson:

        The irrational demand by bankers to prevent a public option from creating credit on its own computer keyboards (the same way that banks create loans and deposits) is designed simply to create a private monopoly to extract economic rent in the form of interest, fees, and finally to foreclose on defaulting creditors – all guaranteed by “taxpayers.” […] The remedy is to replace these central banks with what preceded them: national Treasuries, whose proper function is to monetize government spending into the economy. The basic principle at work should be that any economy’s monetary and credit needs should be met by public spending and monetization, not by commercial banks creating interest-bearing credit to finance the transfer of assets (e.g., real estate mortgages, corporate buyouts and raids, arbitrage and casino-capitalist gambles).

        Keynes would redirect and secure capital flows “by borrowing funds from the economy through the issue of government bonds”. The neoliberals’ fraudulently attacked this by claiming the private sector would more efficiently allocate funds for growth They, however, neglected to guarantee this because they intended to use the state to backstop their party and all the better if it destroyed social welfare obligations. In other words, they unleashed private monetization (widespread debt) until the state had to socialize large amounts of that debt, a process I refer to a privatized Keynesianism. Hudson and his fellow travelers, without acknowledging the neoliberal strategy, try a clever evolution by appropriating monetization for the state. They would say that if the state is ultimately responsible for failures of monetization, it should take on this tool for public benefit.

        However, this neoliberal fraud – the market is a more efficient allocator – hid a deeper fraud. They saw a crisis of industrial capitalism coming so they attacked the state before it could defend labor (and “consumers”). By securing austerity, they prepared for the maintenance of elite power in the terminal crisis of industrial capitalism and transition into “financialized capitalism”.

        Hudson et al can’t acknowledge this. They pretend the government appropriation of monetization will be responsible where the market was anarchic and irresponsible. However, since the neoliberals’ own faith in capitalism was fraudulent, the government’s appropriation of monetization for the purpose of better managment of capitalism is dubious. It’s also probably not honest. If government does not mitigate capitalist power and fails in this project it would be further attacked. Even if Hudson, in clever technocrat fashion, is hiding an agenda of mitigation, he misrepresents the forces at work and the risks of his project. Guess who will be on the hook, even though, again, they cannot have given their informed consent.

        Hudson’s post-Keynesian “solution” is a fraud itself.

        In the case of Greece, Hudson avoids the geopolitical economy.and fails to credibly explain “IMF motives”. The IMF and Germany would prefer a technocratic government to Syriza whether Greece temporarily exits or not. If it does exit, the IMF and the hegemonster will not support bank nationalization unless a “technocratic” replacement subverts any intent of the left.

        • yes, there, and here, and in his speech in brussels at the ‘another europe is possible’ conference. his internal link doesn’t go to the speech, but to the conference page itself. i’d posted the video on one of these greek threads, but as the word document is now 21 pages long, it hardly seems worth the effort to find it.

          you obviously see him as another neoliberal con man, but i believe he’s quite sincere, even though neither he, bill black, stiglitz, or most other heterodox economists aren’t yet anti-capitalists, or self-identified as such. if you’d prefer to watch or read, amy goodman had richard wolff on discussing the greek ‘crisis’, but i was so turned off by her first guest that i stopped reading the transcript. (it’s on his website).

          but i appreciate that you’ve toned down your insults; please keep to that.

          • Yes, well, thanks for giving me the opportunity to practice my invective. I am reading Varoufakis’ “The Global Minotaur” and getting a European perspective. Varoufakis thinks his theory trumps many, to an extent, disjoint, analyses (one a Marxist caricature (supposedly he has a detailed professional analysis unsuitable for popular publication.)) In his narrative, the US houses the capitalist monster fed by financial speculation. To feed the monster, the US predates around the world.

            He is impressed by the cleverness in this arrangement. However, he respects German productivity more. I speculate that he is committed to European crapitalism against the American, a possibility which ex-compradors, having inadequately digested their lessons, deprecate in preference to their hate for the foreign neoliberal monster.

            I believe Hudson’s UMKC center is funded by a 70’s era Wall Street bullshit master. There are plenty of sincere compradors too but in the capitalist pool, shit floats.

            • please don’t believe that you invective is caused by anything other than your need to apply it.

              you learned some time ago that i mean what i say. most of us can disagree here, but stay civil while doing so. for you, it’s obviously sport.

              barry ritholtz’s moderation standards have been called ‘the gold standard’. the last two on his no-no list amount to ‘no ad hominem attacks (especially on your host)’, and ‘don’t be an asshole’. i hereby invoke both.

  5. It’s a good point about the banks, ComradeX. I’m not at all able to say what is going to happen there, but someone (maybe on Ché Pasa’s video, last Greek thread) suggested that the banks can’t be nationalized because they are totally corrupt, so a new bank would have to be constituted. With the lengthened withdrawal opportunities, during which surely less rich Greeks have had time to withdraw their savings, and the statement the banks will collapse on Monday, I am wondering if the GEU will attempt to shore them up on Monday so they don’t collapse, and if Greece can maybe prevent that. (I could be completely wrong on that as I don’t know beans from banking.)

    There will be a sacrifice required of rich Greeks, no question. I think you can see that in Tsakolotis’ sad eyes.

    On your last comment, I’d say Putin managed the crisis in Russia, admittedly a far different case, not losing the people’s trust and having enough of the oligarchical structure remain intact. I do remember also from Ché Pasa’s video that the other guest was making strong points about longevity in a crisis situation. It’s not enough to have the spirit to rebel and even succeed in doing that; sustainability is the test.

  6. It’s not enough to have the spirit to rebel and even succeed in doing that; sustainability is the test.

    There is no sustainability without a comrade alliance. Some Amerkuns (what neretva’43 calls the White Liberal?) believe in reform and hope to see Greece make it’s Declaration of Independence. They pretend Greece is not a pawn in inter-capitalist warfare.

    Putin saved Russia from oligarchic rape and degeneration, but Greece can neither imitate his model nor will it be allowed to follow his lead. Would a strongman “prevent” Greece from neoliberal devastation? Maybe, if he could last.

    I don’t believe the Troika wishes a collapse of the banks. They just wish the population would turn against Syriza and, if necessary, they can insert their candidates. Tsipras fucked things up for them by calling a referendum that galvanized resistance. Of course, somebody else could insert their man in such a crisis, so Troika can only push that game so far. If there is an independent European deep state that can bypass the “lawbound” Troika, I doubt they can be trusted to recover the game once it gets to that domain.

    Then there is the question: What happens to all the Euros the proles withdraw? The compradors and masters have converted them, securitized them, or relocated them. If the Greeks exit, the proles will probably get a further haircut of their own.

    Amerikun anti-Troikans underestimate the complexities of an exit (though I have yet to read that article fairleft posted.)

  7. i’ve spent any break i’ve had expanding the OP. (each chore has caused another chore, almost exponentially).

    to answer comments would require tapping a vein for you, which is…not realistic. i need a rest, ‘spirit willin’, but not so much my legs’.)

    i’ll add to the OP or something. my incentive is not just the greeks, but that greece is indeed the canary in the coal mine, a not only the EU ‘experiment’, and not just the fuckedness of neoliberalism, but the requirements and end-games of capitalism itself. this is where blood-sucking capitalism kills its host, imo.

    • “blood-sucking capitalism kills its host, imo.” Ex-compradors don’t see their entrapment between the vanquished fantasists in TBTF-land and the altern-sub-crapitalists. They prey that Real Crapitalism will save them from the bloodsuckers. Haven’t these idjuts learned that crapitalism is what the bloodsuckers say it is (until they decide to rename their bloodsucking)?

      • is there a polite way to ask you if you’d fuck off with your snide commie superiority, comrade x? no? oh, well, then. for you i’d not only not tap a vein, i wouldn’t even willingly work up a sweat. bugger off, please.

  8. heh; i was jut about to ask how the hell the hellenic parliament coould possibly act on those knuckle-lapping legislative pieces ahead of a New Meeting on wednesday, especially given that they might indeed cause a putsch. but listen to this from christine de sade and lackeys:

    ” Bild: IMF want technocratic government in Greece

    German tabloid Bild report that the IMF is pushing for Mr Tsipras’s government to be replaced with a technocratic regime which would oversee the reform programme creditors are demanding in return for a new bail-out.

    Political analyst Dim Rapidis also cites sources in Washington saying the same. ”

    well, it might be a trial balloon by tabloid, but dim rapids tweets: “and then elections”. well, will we see maidan 2, or what? 5 minutes ago:

    on edit: ” Meanwhile Twitter is abuzz with the #ThisisACoup trend, which is now trending worldwide.

    On the back of that, the IMF has denied reports in Germany’s BIld, that it is the driving force for a new technocratic regime to replace the Leftist coalition government.


    Meanwhile, things are proceeding in Ukraine as some of us had imagined they would; Kiev can’t control their neo-nazis.
    ‘‘Right Sector on combat alert’: Ukraine Neo-Nazis refuse to lay down arms after shootout’ at RT. Right Sector claims 10,000 of them, heh.

    on edit again, this seems to answer my questions about ‘privatization schemes in spades:

    from the Guardian:
    “Incidentally, our readers flag up that the organisation which could take control of €50bn of “valuable Greek assets” is linked to none other than Wolfgang Schäuble himself:

    equusmulusoctopus 12 July 2015 10:25pm

    “The Press Project has done some digging on the Luxembourg “Institution for Growth” to which the 4-page eurogroup paper demands that €50bn of Greek state property must be transferred. Guess what. This Luxembourg “institution” is wholly owned subsidiary of German KfW and the chairman of its board is a certain Wolfgang Schäuble.

    The Institution for Growth was announced just two years ago, by Schäuble and Greek PM Antonis Samaras.
    Update: KfW is the German development bank — in 2012, we explained how it has had a huge impact in Germany. And in 2013, Berlin proposed that it provided loans to help companies in Southern European countries.”

  9. Just starting to get caught up, much to ponder.

    Spent the afternoon at a performance of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” — which seems to fit the situation nicely, just as Sophocles’ “Prometheus Bound” (h/t Juliania). Each is a favorite of mine in its own way.

    Much to ponder, actually fascinating developments, especially the direct Schauble connection with the attempted theft of Greek assets, the now nearly universal condemnation of German intransigence and greed and its humiliation of Greece (focused it seems on the FrauKanzler herownself), and the strenuous resistance of Tsipras.

    Interesting that the Grexit notion has — for now — been drop kicked into oblivion, while (apparently) Tsipras sticks to his guns, such as they are.

    The streets of Athens haven’t yet exploded, but they may at any moment. SYRIZA may or may not split. Tsipras may or may not call for new elections (my bet is he will, no matter what the outcome in Brussels).

    But the onus is on Germany big time, and about time, too.

    • ponder away, dear, but with all due respect to you and juliania, i think you are both rather too steeped in classic greek literature to see what’s really going on (and yes, i may be grumpulous at the end o a long day). but to believe that tsipras has kicked back mightily against frau grape…is not what i am seeing, given how many egregious fukkeries he seems to not be fighting against.

      yes, he’s in a hard, hard, place, and so i hesitate to say what he might do…before the wednesday deadline. but hesitation aside, were i he, i’d go on teevee and ask the greek people if they can live with the working document, even if tweaked a bit, to die quickly or slowly, and be treated like fooking kindergarteners with troika monitors watching every move, even in parliament, and yielding very little relief for citizens in the end. shall we move to Plan B?

      they are being asked to give up their sovereignty for a pittance in ‘relief’. no, this is not democracy, but more ‘you should have voted ‘ne!’ from those who want to kill any socialist equality, imo.

      meanwhile, here, there is a small group of grand bucks still in velvet out in the hay meadow (that due to the rains instead of drought, has grass up to mine eyebrows, as mr. wd showed me when he brought some in yesterday). they all have those wide-reaching antlers that i love so well, almost like music in antler form. i just begged them to come in and have their pictures ‘tooken’, and i would make them famous among their brethren.

      but i know i should choose to be out for the night; a hot bath sounds just about right for what ails me.

      oopsie, added: yes, nice to see sitting bull, even in a…line drawing.

  10. #ThisIsACoup hashtag is great.

    When she was in town the other day, Ms Ché picked up a bag and a shirt printed with this image [hope the link works]. Not exactly marching in the streets or shutting down the Greek parliament, but for an elder, I guess it’s pretty out there.

    My question is, “Who will ever trust Germany again?” Shauble and FrauKanzler have made such a big thing about “trust,” haven’t they; but what they’ve been doing since the Greek crisis began is betraying the trust of the Greek people and all the other people of Europe as well. Their latest demand letter is beyond sanity. It’s purely evil.

    It’s a complete debacle.

    If the Germans had any shame, they’d pack up and go home and never be seen in public again. Now everybody knows it.

  11. So. The supposed agreement was reached this morning after marathon “negotiations” between the principals. A gun was clearly held to Tsipras’s head, but he bravely if futilely resisted the Euro-Titans’ impositions. It appears that Berlin got most of what it was demanding and certain well-gnawed bones were thrown to Mr. Tsipras as compensation for his capitulation.

    He must now get the VAT and pension reduction measures through parliament by Wednesday and then other “confidence building” measures passed by July 20, before any new money will be provided to Greece (to get the banks back open, etc).

    Then apparently sweeping “reforms” supervised by the IMF and ECB will remake Greece into a debt colony of Germany… wait… isn’t that what it already is? Has been at least since 2010? And some would say it has been a German debt colony since independence from the Sublime Porte in 1820 or whenever it was…

    At least they get to keep the $50 billion in Valuable Assets in Athens for fire-sale to ravenous bidders who want Greek stuff at bargain basement prices. Evil Uncle Schauble was not able to seize these Assets –unnamed– for his own use and pleasure in his “development bank” in Luxembourg.

    I haven’t had a chance to read the supposed agreement (but here it is in pdf format) but the intro does not look promising:

    The Euro Summit stresses the crucial need to rebuild trust with the Greek authorities as a pre-requisite for a possible future agreement on a new ESM programme. In this context, the ownership by the Greek authorities is key, and successful implementation should follow policy commitments.

    A euro area Member State requesting financial assistance from the ESM is expected to address, wherever possible, a similar request to the IMF1. This is a precondition for the Eurogroup to agree on a new ESM programme. Therefore Greece will request continued IMF support (monitoring and financing) from March 2016.

    Given the need to rebuild trust with Greece, the Euro Summit welcomes the commitments of the Greek authorities to legislate without delay a first set of measures. These measures, taken in full prior agreement with the Institutions, will include:

    And then all the yadda, yadda: “You will do thus. You will do so. You will do thus and so, and you will do it now, within moments, hours, days, and that will be that. Then we will take everything you have, and then you will give us more. Willingly. You are dismissed.”

    The rumble is that by this document, Frau Merkel and her butt boys in Brussels have literally destroyed the Eurozone and it may well lead to the disintegration of the European Union.

    From this point forward, Germany has no credibility as a rational — let alone humane — element in European affairs, and that’s all on Merkel and Schauble. They have induced any number of former German outposts, allies and colonies in the North to go along with them (thus my reference to the Hanseatic League being reconstituted.)

    The unfortunate thing for the Euro-Project is that they have made explicit the underlying split between northern and southern Europe, and have made clear that their intention is solely to colonize and exploit the south and east for their pecuniary gain. Greece is one model for the future. Ukraine is another.

    This split was always there, of course, but the treatment of the Periphery by the Core, as it used to be called, was generally not seen the way it is now. It was simply “business.” Now this “business” is seen as a specifically German project to control, exploit and indebt — if not utterly destroy — the rest of Europe, including parts of the so-called “Core,” without limit.

    I’m disappointed that Tsipras conceded, though I don’t see that he had a choice given the situation he was in and the dual/contradictory mandate he had to keep Greece in the eurozone while “ending austerity.” Clearly “eurozone” and “austerity” are synonymous — and he knew that. He had to choose one aspect of his mandate or the other, and he chose to do he had to to keep Greece in the eurozone for reasons he’s stated repeatedly — Greece can’t be thrown out, can’t leave voluntarily, can’t revert to the drachma, can’t… and more importantly won’t leave or be thrown out. Thus austerity in Greece will not end — unless and until austerity ends throughout the Eurozone, and that means that Europe must change, must be changed.

    This phase of the drama may be over. But there is much more to come.

    If the rumble heard across Europe during these “negotiations” is followed up on, Europe will change.

    • you were up early this morning, amigo. that’s a whale of a lot of analysis and typing for such an early hour. thanks for the announcement; i’d slept late.

      Oh, ‘the Euro Summit welcomes the commitments of the Greek authorities to legislate without delay a first set of measures’, do they? how warm and fuzzy of them! how kind of them to have given parliament almost an extra *week* to enact legislation that will spell their final doom. srsly, will it happen? i’ve lost track of the schisms and breaks and resignations.

      you may be right that tsipras had a gun to his head, but it seemed to be the time for him to go back to the people and ask which mandate they’d prefer. i do know some just wanted it over, as in: the agreement for a possible/probable new ESM. but if they were made aware how much national sovereignty and dignity they’re being commanded to cede, i wonder how many would acquiesce.

      i suppose the pdf spells out exactly who the monitors with whips and maces will make sure the legislators vote for the required measures?

      here’s one brief paragraph from the guardian wrap-up coverage:

      “Emerging from the summit, Tsipras admitted it had been tough – but insisted he had won concessions on debt relief (sometime in the future) as well as the medium-term funding plan.
      He also managed to persuade the eurozone that a new investment fund, that will manage and sell off €50bn Greek assets, would be based in Athens not Luxembourg.”

      well, at least herr schnauzer might not get the assets, but then again…’based in athens’ means what? oh, fie; it’s a rout. er….why can’t greece leave the eurozone voluntarily? legally, or just being so tethered to the currency in practice?

      as an aside, the french FM seems to have been trumped by hollande’s agreements with the ‘document’. maybe he’s more of a merkel butt-boy than he cared to admit.

      added on edit: i’d meant to mention that had it not been for the digging by the Press Club, (was it?) Herr schnauzer may have gotten away with it. of course he’d not have really been embarrassed, but vexed that he’d been caught out.

      i just saw this at the Guardian, a link to how the #thisIsaCoup hashtag was born. very brave and inspirational words at the end; yes, we hope so.

      • I meant to include a link to this interview with Yanis that pretty much puts paid to the notions that there were ‘no plans’ for a Grexit in Athens, or that there were any rational ‘negotiations’ with the Titans at all.

        According to Yanis, there were plans to leave the euro, but their implementation was overruled… interesting. In addition, there apparently never were any ‘negotiations,’ at least not at the FM level, there were merely blank stares and orders from the Titans.

        That sounds likely.

        Tsipras has been absolutely consistent — since well before the election of SYRIZA — that there would be no Grexit. Wasn’t going to happen. No way, no how.

        So far, he’s right.

        It’s still not clear how the Greek street — let alone parliament — will respond to this capitulation, but the anecdotes in the Guardian indicate relief, mild anxiety, long-suffering endurance, etc. In other words, there seems — so far — to be very little antagonism toward Tsipras for caving; much more antipathy for FrauKanzler Merkel and Evil Unkle Schnauser.

        That seems to be very widespread in Europe and around the world. Germany went too far, way too far, and in doing so, Germany exposed its real agenda, one that is no different from Germanys in the past: the conquest for financial gain (and sadistic satisfaction) of the rest of Europe.

        The left may be weak and/or incompetent, but this is a matter of survival. It’s not a left/right issue.

        Tsipras can resign now if he chooses, and he will be granted all due honors. I would expect the parliament to agree with the initial demands, but possibly nothing beyond that. Trust is a two way street, and my sense is that the other parliaments that must approve before any money is disbursed won’t go along with the agreement — no matter what Greece does or doesn’t do. Greece has no reason to trust the others involved.

        Without further financial assistance, Greece is unable to pay any further on the accrued debt. Ultimately, the whole thing is unsustainable — and would be for any country in a similar situation.

        The Prometheus trilogy ultimately ends with the reconciliation of Prometheus and Zeus — who had chained him to the rock and set a harpie to eat his perpetually regenerated liver for the crime of defiance (and providing fire and even civilization itself to humankind.)

        In The Tempest, Prospero ultimately reconciles with those who have done him such grievous wrong, but not until they learn painful and frightening lessons.

        Germany has lit a fuse that will blow the Euro-Project apart, and probably nothing can prevent that from happening now. Greece will suffer regardless, and Greece would have suffered no matter what the government did or didn’t do.

        • i agree that the greek people would have suffered no matter what, but what some have argued is that recovery would likely have come sooner with a grexit. as to the snippet on varoufakis, the one hudson piece i’d linked to here (and most recently to comrade x) and there had said:

          ““What Greece needs is a domestic central bank – or failing that, a national Treasury – empowered to create the money to monetize government spending on economic recovery. Mr. Draghi has shown the ECB not to be “technocratic,” but a cabal of right-wing operatives working to bring down the Syriza government, in a way quite willing to empower the far-right Golden Dawn party in its stead. In light of his refusal to carry out the duties of a central bank and act as lender of last resort when Greek banks run out of cash, Mr. Varoufakis has said that: “If necessary, we will issue parallel liquidity and California-style IOU’s, in an electronic form. We should have done it a week ago.”

          i’ll read the interview link as i can, but for now i’ll stick in a few opinion pieces on the situation that came in on the popular resistance newsletter, then go take care some of my obligations and chores. how do i manage to get so behind?/s

          ‘Guerrilla Warfare Against a Hegemonic Power”: The Challenge and Promise of Greece’ by ellen brown (of the Public Banking Institute)

          ‘We can all get by quite well without banks – Ireland managed to survive without them
          A 1970 strike in Ireland provoked an admirable outbreak of ingenuity – Greece should take note’ by patrick cockburn (haven’t even glanced at it)

          ‘Those Who Lead Greece To Surrender Should Be Opposed’ Stathis Kouvelakis for jacobin, including this interesting comment:

          “The Tsakalotos letter continues with references to Greece undertaking “to honor its financial obligations to all of its creditors in a full and timely manner.” It is obvious that despite the assurances that were heard after the proclamation of the referendum for “restarting discussions from scratch” the “negotiations” are continuing exactly from where they left off, with the Greeks lowering the bar for their opponents every step of the way.”

          He also talks about Varoufakis’s complete objection to the final scorched earth ‘agreement’.

          see y’all soon…or soon as i can, anyway.

          p.s. thank you for the short versions of the Prometheus tales; very apropos.

        • The unfortunate thing for the Euro-Project is that they have made explicit the underlying split between northern and southern Europe, and have made clear that their intention is solely to colonize and exploit the south and east for their pecuniary gain.

          Syriza were no revolutionaries and apparently they are willing to disinform their electorate. I’m still reading “The Global Minotaur”, but it appears Varoufakis prefers European neoliberalism to Anglo-American. More of Syriza probably shares this perspective on tiny pawn Greece than not.

          So, they have used their image to mislead their public.

          “Germany’s conquest” is not a left/right issue because it’s not an issue. The technocrats don’t believe in democracy, the don’t believe it’s defensible in this capitalist crisis. That is a problem for the left and a mechanism for the right.

  12. I think it has been a seige for anyone trying to follow this entire devolution of civil discourse in the snatches of it we’ve been able to get. Absolute power triumphs absolutely, and whether the aim is to get Greece out or to utterly destroy it as was done to Libya through air bombardment, the result is the same. And it is as if the Greeks are hooked on something like international heroin and there’s no methadone treatment – it’s still heroin. Not only that but heroin in a stronger dose. (So nobody else gets the idea.)

    I was thinking, from my earlier replies to ComradeX, that what the Russians always had going for them was the samizdat undercurrent that existed even during Tsarist years (you can find it in Dostoievski even) and then continued through Soviet times. It doesn’t seem as if Greece has had that, but they desperately need it now. It seemed as if Tsipras had been courting it, but the Varoufakis interview seems to have belied that, as although he doesn’t come out and say it, the condemnations he had about the EU folk not listening to economic arguments could also be applied to the Greek government.

    There is, though, a foundation to be built upon, and that is the Oxi movement, which drew such overwhelming support in the referendum. Also the tweeted ‘this is a coup’. This has been an Apocalypse of sorts; much has been revealed. Much more to come, so we’d all better rest up. And that goes for Greeks as well. It’s your country; hold fast to the good!

    Thanks for all you’ve done here, wendye.

  13. Just to say – I’ve come back in to post this – I shut my computer down and went outside, looking north in a raincleansed sky. There in the distance and up high was golden eagle spirit bird – only he flies that high so while the size could be a hawk you know it isn’t from the height. I don’t see him often, but I thought of the wendye deer up-post and the wide, wide antler spread.

    I know where the eagle nests – a friend took me there once, and there was a tiny petroglyph marking it for feather gatherers of the past. I’m sworn to silence on the location but just knowing it I know the eagle.

    So I thought I’d come and say my yes to Ché Pasa’s reminder that the Prometheus story promises future reconciliation with a wiser Zeus. Greek classical tradition is far-sighted like the eagle, who sent me back to say so.

  14. inspirational sentiments, juliania. that you know the golden eagle’s spirit by his lair, has the advantage of probably being true. perhaps that bird is your totem, not mine, although the one i consider mine was made by way of working with a south american shaman, and from countless dreams. no fasting or vision quests as for most first americans, though. keep feeling that spirit bird, oh yes.

    and you’re so welcome; how kind of you to say.

  15. Well, I don’t know if a kiwi can have an eagle totem, but it’s a lovely thought!

    I just listened to the real news ‘this is a coup’ piece which is quite long and a bit out of date but does put a few things in perspective – they are definite that the straightjacket is designed to kill the patient and the best outcome would have been for Tsipras to walk out and just say no, as then he would have had even more of the people behind him. So, if we are confused, I can’t imagine what the Greek people must be feeling. They also said that the polls indicating that the Greeks wanted to stay in the eurozone were not credible.

    • yes, i’d been reading it a bit at a time on my work breaks. it does echo my thoughts that a fuller question should be asked to the greek citizens, even now, although lascaris reckoned such with the referendum question, of course.

      it was also noteworthy to me that spourdalakis pretty much said that tsipris had assumed the landslide Oxi would give him a big edge with the creditors, but they not only weren’t rational in their dealings, tsipris was naiive at best.

      yes, the polls were bogus, but most polls are push polls in any event, and these were done by the press, which is in thrall to the oligarchs, like here.

      i’ll go grab the ‘what’s next?’ tick tock; looks impossible to me, but there’s some mumbling about a bridge loan…

      well, i see your point about a kiwi…etc. ;-)

      Control + will enlarge it.

  16. Well, now it seems to be out. It has been Schauble who has wanted a Grexit from the EU. And what you see in the demands is seizure of Greek state assets and delivery to private players. So does the Acropolis go to a hotel resort magnate? You get the picture. It has been theft from the beginning. Starting with the terms of the debts way back when. And previous governments have been on the take in getting bad deals, just like some mayors in the US.

    None dare call it colonialism. In the Wall Street media.

    • well, herr schnauzer and frau frumpy, with able assists by…plenty of their minions. ya know it’s all hideous when the western press snarks about selling the parthenon to highest bidder (if approved). but yeah, not unlike a lot of mayors.

      but the partial autopsies are coming in fast, i parsed a bit of the jacobin piece i’d mentioned up yonder before my eyes went weird:

      Stathis Kouvelakis apparently serves on Syriza’s central committee. He explains his title ‘from the absurd to the tragic’, the ‘absurd being, for one, given the resounding ‘Oxi’ referendum vote, why would Athens interpret as a green light for a new memorandum, even worse than Junckers? even more absurd is that it’s as though the referendum had never happened at all, in his eyes. given the mass mobilizations following the results, *and* the global solidarity, he was blown away that the ‘letter’ to the ESM accompanying the request for a new loan of €50 billion, which would be attached to the New Memorandum. then he ramps up ‘theater of absurd’: tsipras’s ‘no gexit at any cost’ address, which kouvelakis believes set the stage for: a total rout, forced genuflection to the eurozone, etc.

      here’s his short version of the letter (gotta scroll down), which i’d pasted in earlier:
      “The Tsakalotos letter continues with references to Greece undertaking “to honor its financial obligations to all of its creditors in a full and timely manner.” It is obvious that despite the assurances that were heard after the proclamation of the referendum for “restarting discussions from scratch” the “negotiations” are continuing exactly from where they left off, with the Greeks lowering the bar for their opponents every step of the way.”

      he links to trnn’s interview with greek PM costas lapavistas, i didn’t think it delivered what it promised, as i’d said on one of these threads.

      ha; what a surprise! via RT: ‘Poroshenko orders all illegal arms group disarmed in Ukraine amid standoff with Right Sector’

    • both get brought up as examples, i can’t say they would be models or not; but see the cockburn piece above with the title banks aren’t necessary (i haven’t read it yet). the euro Titan Trash hadn’t quite found its game in 2010 though. ;-)


  17. Cognitive dissonance is a feature not a bug of this whole thing, and understanding what’s going on is a real trial for anyone, on the inside or way outside like the rest of us.

    The contrast between the Greek government’s rhetoric and their actions is truly stunning. A lot of observers and participants alike are confused and disoriented. It doesn’t make any sense.


    The latest deal from the Eurozone — which is rightly called “gunboat diplomacy,” or a “New Versailles Treaty” is ridiculous. There is no possible way for Greece to meet these conditions and have the ability to pay back the debt incurred. No way. It can’t happen.

    One assumes the makers of this deal know that. They may be ideological and rigid and cruel and what have you, but they’re not stupid. They are well aware that the results of Hard Austerity in Greece have been disastrous and have meant that the ever-growing debt cannot be repaid. Ever.

    Similar deals led to the destitution and destruction of Imperial China, the British conquest of India and much of the rest of its empire, and they served to enable a number of other imperial adventures, including that of the United States in its seizure of Hawaii and its repeated invasions of Caribbean and Central American countries.

    It was all about “debt” in other words. And it was moralized in much the same manner as the situation with Greece is moralized. Of course, there wasn’t anything moral about it. “Morality” was used as a smokescreen for looting and destruction, everywhere.

    The fact is that Our Betters have decided on a restoration of Imperialism. There were domestic empires in Europe prior to WWI, and it looks like there will be once again, with the reconstituted German Empire as the key.

    Greece has long been a debt colony of Germany, and SYRIZA’s attempt to better the conditions under which it serves its German masters failed. But there was never any attempt to stop serving German masters. That was never on the agenda, despite all the calls for Grexit from outside the country. SYRIZA always maintained that leaving the euro was not something they would advocate or do. They apparently believed that telling the truth about the situation they faced, telling the truth about their creditors’ demands, and letting the People of Greece express their discontent in a referendum would be sufficient to alter the course of national destruction Greece had long been on…. and they were wrong. “Truth” is not allowed in an imperial project. Telling the truth is a sure ticket to hell.

    And so it has been. Greece now faces a terminal situation, one that would have come eventually, but it has arrived now in part to punish the Greek people for having the temerity to stand up to their masters and say “no, no more.”

    Any master would beat or even kill a slave who did that. And the terms of the latest deal with the masters of Greece are terms of destruction and death.

    The thing is, Greece has been through worse many times in its long history, not least has it been through this sort of thing with Germany and within the living memory of Greek elders. I wouldn’t write off the future of Greece and the Greek people even under the harshest of colonial impositions.

    • i reckon ‘cognitive dissonance’ is the mild term for it all. it’s not at all clear to me by this morning that even the italians and french aren’t looking out for themselves, offering to construct some sort of bridge loans before…well, before the impossibility of athens’ (bend-over-n-take it) ‘compliance’.

      hell, i just deleted the rest; i’ll go read a bit more. but no, it’s all but impossible to have anything more than an intuitive sense of what roles the Titans are playing in this epic battle, nor do i understand what athens is doing at this point. the rumor mill almost seems to contain more trial balloons, rather than fewer.

      but my sense is that the internecine wars in the hellenstic parliament will erupt sooner than later. that, of course, would cheer the Germans mightily.
      debt relief ‘down the road because: no trust’? jezum crow; the abject viciousness of it all.

      thank you for the historical contexts once again, ché; some of it i’d never considered.

      added: cold comfort it is that there seems to be a lot of verbal backlash to the neocolonial treatment of greece, and not a few opinions that the parasites will not only leave their grecian host a husk, but kill the ‘zone itself.

      when the IMF is one of the rational players in the room, you know we’re seriously down the Rabbit Hole. their NEW and Updated Report apparently indicates:

      “IMF report on Greece seen by Reuters

      Says Greece needs debt relief far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far

      Updated debt sustainability analysis projections are subject to considerable downside risks

      Greek borrowing at anything below AAA rates would cause an unsustainable debt dynamic for decades

      Eurozone creditors alternatives is either annual transfers to Greek budget or deep upfront haircuts

      Debt expected to peak at 200% of GDP in next two years
      Greece’s Gross financing needs to rise above 15% GDP threshold deemed safe

      The IMF have been for bigger haircuts to Greece throughout the saga”

      • What comes after the “death” of the Eurozone? Very likely an even more degraded Europe.

        • and i suppose that’s exactly what chéPasa meant about the stellar amount of cognitive dissonance from the trioka. hollande finally admitted that he and frau merkel negotiated the deal, and now says greece ain’t bein’ humiliated. france was pretending to be ‘benevolent’, ha. well, maybe the french FM was put in his place.

          thank you for the capsule on the athenian empire. do you trust those figures and reasons from kathemerini? but yes, so far, democracy for some™ (or lemon socialism, in many cases) rules the day. but i am beginning to wonder how much kickback there will be to passing the greek hara kiri package in parliament? the syriza left is pissed, and there is a call for a 24-hour workers’ strike for tomorrow. we’ll see, i guess.

          • I understood that the Kathimerini reference was only for the post-junta government strategy of “including” left-leaning populations in the economy. The dissolution of the left by boosting the economy was a typical strategy for the West and was a primary justification of the Marshall Plan. So it seems very likely.

    • The Greek economy was one of the fastest growing in the Eurozone from 2000 to 2007: during this period it grew at an annual rate of 4.2%, as foreign capital flooded the country newly backed by the euro.[22] Despite that, the country continued to record high budget deficits each year.


      According to an editorial published by the Greek conservative newspaper Kathimerini, after the removal of the right-wing military junta in 1974, Greek governments wanted to bring disenfranchised left-leaning portions of the population into the economic mainstream[28] and so ran large deficits to finance enormous military expenditure, public sector jobs, pensions and other social benefits.

      The New Economy and fake prosperity in the US arose while welfare was corroded and the left was attacked. Starting earlier, Greece and Spain relaxed their dictatorial suppression of their left while attempting to join the fraudulent neoliberal prosperity. Midst the subsequent neoliberal crisis, Syriza hoped to appeal to the EU to move towards a redistributive path Instead, the EU aimed to heap responsibility on Syriza.

      The Athenian Empire, the proclaimed seat of mercantile democracy, “was composed of 172 tribute-paying towns and had got very rich out of trade with other city-states of ancient Greece and other countries of the Mediterranean basin.” Greece, which once thrived on tribute, must now pay tribute.

      The Syriza bubble pops as the neoliberal illusions die: whether in a mercantile, industrial, or “information” economy, only the rich can afford democracy.

  18. Costas Lapavitsas via the Guardian: ‘Forget the euro, Greece needs a new currency‘ (and may i say again that his ‘nationalize the banks’ interview on trnn failed to deliver that meme for the most part, but he has been a eurozone detractor all along.)

    “When Greece joined the eurozone in 2001, entry happened without an adequate public debate, without anyone explaining that the EMU came with a severe institutional framework and a rigid logic based on austerity and neoliberal ideology.

    As a monetary union, the EMU has already failed. The reason is that Germany has been keeping its wage costs too low, thus running huge trade surpluses and becoming the biggest lender and most powerful state in Europe. Greece has been devastated by its policies, and it is only a matter of time until we see their devastating effects in large countries of the EMU centre, such as France and Italy. But until recently, the ideology of “Europe” had been allowed to cover up the harsh reality of what the EMU has actually meant for European economies and societies. Now Greece has destroyed any illusions in “Europe”. The insistence of the Greek political system to keep the country in a failed monetary union come what may and whatever that means for the Greek people, is now approaching the limits of tragedy.

    What Greece needs now is a detailed exit plan, drawn up with the help of a wide range of economists. Of course a new national currency is not a magic wand. But it would liberate the country from the trap it currently finds itself. It would also allow the government to finally get started on a productive reconstruction of the economy.

    Syriza formed a government with a very successful electoral strategy, but its strategy has collapsed miserably in governance. The agreement that emerged on Monday will not solve the country’s problems and is likely to prove totally unworkable. The prospect of leaving EMU will be raised again very soon.”
    • Costas Lapavitsas is an economist and Syriza MP

    one has to imagine that it’s very likely at this point, although it’s said that ‘the punters have decreased the odds of a grexit’.

    a new interview on TRNN with Dimitri Lascaris makes some pretty cogent analysis of the negotiations themselves, i.e. strengths and weaknesses, and offers some takes on what really is in the egregious plan tsipras has to sell to parliament.

    such as:
    if alexis had long ago taken a grexit off the table, he really had no bargaining position or leverage. and also, much like yves smith griped (though she was talking about the situation far earlier in time), if one wanted to forge a better ECM package, nuking the creditors’ whales wasn’t quite the thing to do (varoufakis, of course) when reports were showing without a hefty increase in ELA, the banks would collapse by monday. lotta pressure, then, on tsipras.

    he asks if the EU rules even permit the fast-tracking of such sweeping a legislative jerk in so short a time. i’d actually imagined that each item would have gotten separate votes, but it may be the entire package in each time frame ‘demanded’.

    paul jay said that he’s read that Schnauzer’s German Development Bank actually *does have* an athens office, so…er…there is that, if it’s true. somehow it sounds about right.

    LASCARIS: “Well, that–whatever institution it may be. Merkel has said very clearly that the Greek government will not have control over these assets. And if you think about it for a second, why would you set up a fund into which you would transfer $50 billion of state assets if the Greek government is going to control them? The Greek government already controls these assets. These are infrastructure assets, principally. They’re not going anywhere. They’re in Greece.”

    JAY: “And one of the things they’ve agreed to is to privatize the electrical company, which apparently was something they said they would never do.
    LASCARIS: The electricity grid. That was the next thing I was going to talk about. Or mention as one of the assets that’s going to be transferred into this fund.”

    but what he says about the hits and coming hits to pensions, even admitting he doesn’t know all the funding sources, is truly the Final Rape of the Labor Class, and likely coming ever more fully to our own theater, or already has in some states.

  19. What’s been missing from the breathless coverage of the Greek Thing is much interest in the effects of the long years of austerity on the Greek people. I’ve noticed that some of those ordinary Greeks who have been interviewed in television reports appear to be malnourished, even close to starvation, but that’s not the topic the interviewer is asking about. I’ve seen statistics that are horrifying: 40% of Greek children live in poverty, 40% of old folks live in poverty, 30% of the population as a whole has been forced into poverty. This is the monstrous policy of the Euro-titans.

    There have been reports that the public health care system — which was never all that to begin with — has essentially been gutted; it’s very hard to get medical care or medicines when needed unless you have lots of money, and even then, it may not be available either because there are no doctors, hospitals and clinics have been shut, or medications are unavailable.

    I’ve seen a few passing mentions that there is no “welfare” as we know it in Greece, there is almost no unemployment insurance, and essentially those many millions who have been thrown out of work — and will not be re-employed under an austerity regime — are destitute. They have nothing to fall back on.

    Which is why the minor amounts devoted to “pensions” are so important. Someone receiving €500 a month may be supporting three generations on that very modest amount.

    I’ve seen reports that young, educated Greeks are leaving in droves because there is no work and no chance for their employment in Greece.

    This to me is the real story, not so much the ins and outs in various parliaments and commissions, who won the week and all that. Real people are and have been suffering mightily while the gods and titans play.

    And another thing about the history… many Greek cities, including Athens from time to time, allied with the Persians — their supposed sworn enemies and the would-be destroyers of Greek civilization. The Persians captured and destroyed Athens at least twice, and the Athenians rebuilt each time. The rubble from the Persian destruction of the Acropolis is still visible in the stonework of its retaining walls.

    Obviously, the Persians did not destroy Greek civilization, but it was closer to the other way around when the Hellenized Macedonian Alexander swept away the Persian Empire — after Sparta (a Greek city) had conquered Athens and destroyed its democracy.

    But then Athens as an imperium had often been a cruel and brutal task master to its far-flung colonies and tributaries, massacring or enslaving entire rebellious populations.

    And of course there was the Greek partisan resistance to the Nazis which essentially crippled them…

    I guess what I’m getting at is that Greek history — ancient and modern — shows how a relatively small state can indeed thwart the plans of much larger ones, and how the supposed slave can turn the tables on the master…

    • when that long arc of light and justice comes is the question, though, isn’t it? i never tried reading through the demands, but from what i read the pensions are not to include *any* deficit spending, and will be phased out by
      2019 for the poorest pensioners. medical costs for pensioners will cost 50% more, the VAT taxes of food itself will rise, and will take an enormous rise for restaurants. Crikey.

      collective bargaining and strikes will be outlawed by the Occupying Colonial Forces, and just think what privatized electricity will cost! water, who knows, may be next.

      But ‘who wins the day’ may matter greatly to the further or even total immiseration of everyday greeks, and i do imagine many of them are not only very hungry, but at least sub-clinically ill as well.

      oh, yes, the new corporate polls are saying that they want the package passed, and tsipras to stay on as prime minister. (he just did a teevee speech saying Ne, he will.)

      but my goodness, john pilger and of course the trotskyites at are pissed that even this Grand Bargain is a neoliberal class war. ad that varoufakis has a long history of believing that reforming neoliberalism and capitalism are the better way to go. i confess i hadn’t seen this piece by varoufakis that they call defeatist, myself.

  20. from RT:

    “Greek Deputy Finance Minister Nadia Valavani has resigned ahead of the key vote in the Greek parliament on a third bailout agreed between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the country’s creditors. She described the deal as Greek agony.

    “Alexis, I am ready to serve in any capacity to the end during challenges. However, when our delegation returned with liabilities that are ‘stillborn measures’ and at such a price [by the creditors in fulfilling the reforms program], once again when the dilemma appears of retreating or Grexit, it will be impossible for me to remain a member of the government,” Valavani’s letter reads.

    She called the debt deal reached Monday a “capitulation” by the government, that’ll hit the Greek people.

    “This ‘capitulation’ is so overwhelming that it will not allow a regrouping of forces. With your signature there will be a deterioration in the status of an already suffering population, and this will be a tombstone around their necks for many years with little potential of redemption,” she wrote.”

    Quite right, and very sobering, even if by ‘little redemption’, she’d meant ‘nearly none’.

  21. the PM dramatically entered the room an hour ago and spoke. he doesn’t like the deal, but he will see it through, because no deal is even worse.

    Zoe Mavroudi @zoemavroudi
    Tsipras gives a defiant speech. The saddest defiant speech in the history of sadly defiant speeches.

    Tsipras responds to a ND critic: — “the new bailout deal has a firmer commitment on discussing debt relief; just as soon as the first review is completed.

    And we also have pledges to consider grace periods and longer debt maturities. This is a really positive thing for the country.”

    the voting starts now.

    Two big names have voted to reject the deal – including former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
    Not a huge shock, given Varoufakis compared it to the Treaty of Versailles in a blog post today.
    But still, he’s defied Alexis Tsipras….and could potentially be fired as a Syriza MP.
    As has house speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou – who earlier slammed the deal as a coup, that could cause social genocide.

    Bailout Deal Approved
    That’s it! 151 MPs have voted Yes, agreeing to pass the ‘prior actions’ demanded by creditors before a third bailout can be agreed.

    Final Ne/Yes votes: 168

    • Pass it and fight it? I dunno. The firebomb incidents in Syntagma Square seemed more pro forma than revolutionary, though I saw that the Greek Riot Dog was out and about the other day.

      229 to 64 + 6 abstain. Harumph.

      Tsipras was going on about how this “deal” was somehow better than the alternatives — decoupling from the Euro for example. This is Ol’ Baroness Thatcher’s “TINA” mantra, “there is no alternative” to whatever the high and mighty want to do — to you. So submit or die. Or submit and die. The high and oh so mighty just don’t care.

      And of course he mentioned the 35billion in goodies Greece is supposed to get in exchange for savage austerity. Now if he thinks the Troika will follow through on any of it, hoo-boy.

      The whole thing is nastier by the minute.

      What a mess…

      • ah, we seem to have crossed cuz i type and think slowly. (i’m not receiving site emails, maybe no emails, really.)

        but yes, i googled and and saw ‘Loukanikos’ or his doppelganger was in the Riots! that of course stayed at the top spot at the guardian live blogging.

        goodam, though, it’s just too hard for me to believe that tsipras actually believes in the goodies promised behind the scenes, ‘if, if, and if’. i watched Zoe Konstantopoulous speak, and my heart cheered her on. so few spoke for everyday greeks’ immense suffering, and even accidental deaths of children so cold that they were (sob) lighting fires inside their apartments seeking warmth. i would have voted No once i’d heard her.

        229, eh? well, they are now in agreement about being Occupied by the agents of their slow demise wishes; i am so sad.

  22. Sourpuss says:

    The Greek government kneels before the bankers of Europe begging for mercy because it knows that if it leaves the eurozone, the international banking system will do to Greece what it did to the socialist government of Salvador Allende in 1973 in Chile; it will, as Richard Nixon promised to do in Chile, “make the economy scream.” The bankers will destroy Greece. If this means the Greeks can no longer get medicine—Greece owes European drug makers 1 billion euros—so be it. If this means food shortages—Greece imports thousands of tons of food from Europe a year—so be it. If this means oil and gas shortages—Greece imports 99 percent of its oil and gas—so be it. The bankers will carry out economic warfare until the current Greek government is ousted and corporate political puppets are back in control.

    MMT ignoramuses, take note.

    • i’d counter Ye Olde Sourpuss in a couple respects. one is that having (if it’s true) run on a ‘we won’t leave the EU or the eurozone’ platform, syriza may be a leftist government in the way so many ‘socialist’ european PMs are: not really.or not at all.

      secondly, the economy is screaming, the pensioners and other lower class (now) are fully immiserated, but no, the bankers care not, nor does the fucking prez of the US who’s loved this packaged deal, nor the troika.

      in my heart, i’m trying not to fault tsipras, save for that letter of capitulation of his that the FT published. nor varoufakis, given his earlier writings in favor of ‘reforming’ capitalism in europe. would help come from other quarters if the vote were different? would short term hell have been worse than Forever Hell? will there be any debt relief as tsipras either promises or is gullible enough to believe? would there have been a reconstituted body to decide which and how much of greece’s debt could have been declared odious and therefore…automatically erased?

      well, i will say that yves smith and her economics allies have shown how ‘impossible’ a voluntary grexit would have been, or even a pushout as per herr schnauzer. the threats seem to have been enough to work, at least for now. but i wish there had been even a hint in the end that syriza was a class-based party; i’m not so sure at this point. maybe i’ve been too engrossed in it all to see the larger view from…the parthenon.

  23. I hear that German forum lurkers want Greece to exit: “Scheiße, better to cut our losses now than let that shithole bleed us further!”

  24. his ode to the IMF:

    “See the loaded eyes of the children too
    Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
    One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
    To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
    They call the revolution

    IMF dirty MF
    Takes away everything it can get
    Always making certain that there’s one thing left
    Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt ”

    the lyrics. bless bruce, and good night; i dunno what else to say.

  25. You have all said it all here, and I am wondering if the best thing would not be the impossibility of the EU to actually have all of its parliaments needed okay the deal. As the IMF seems to have already said without the debt relief they won’t help, but debt relief is a sticking point for countries whose citizens have indeed actually been handed the bill – maybe they can’t continue- politically or financially, whatever – having so reduced Greece to penury? Are those assets really worth billions any longer?

    It reminds me of the situation during the Great Depression when big rich banks were being called on for loans as the economy sank, bigger and bigger ones till they couldn’t do it any longer, and that was when FDR stepped in with the New Deal, which was also what Syriza ran on. There’s only so far down a country can go, even a small one like Greece.

    I can’t for the life of me now think there was any strategy, any ultimate plan to all of the concessions. Since I’m so often naive, I’ll go with your definition, wendye. Naivité of the most tragic kind on Greece’s part, as well as fear of the unknown. Some commentary had the horses of the Brandenburg Gate atop the Acropolis, titled ‘Rocking Horse’. It’s exactly that, I do think. Desperate measures from desperate people, and I don’t mean the Greeks. Goodnight all.

    • ah, good; i’d wondered where your kiwi might have been. ;-)

      i’d have to agree that your scenario might be best, and oof: frau frumpel’s party is saying: “Economic Committee of Merkel’s CDU party: third Greek ESM bailout “has been exposed as wishful thinking by the IMF” herr schnauzer still likes his 5-year punishment temp-grexit; frumpel pretends not to, who can say?. and UK’s george osborne (essentially their treasury secretary) said ‘forget us giving to them; we’re no even IN the eurozone!’ but how serious is the IMF?

      my goodness, was the brandenburg gate atop the acropolis a word picture, or had someone created the actual image?

      mario drahgi just offered 900 billion euros as ELA, and says, “hell, we’ll fund a week, then see how it goes”. moody’s of course is quite skeptical, and after all, bidness is what it’s about in the end. elections may be called for august or september given the ‘tradition’ of such when the government’s central committee does not have a majority supporting it (apparently left platform must have dented that).

      but yeppers, the wheels can still fall off the bus in myriad ways, as you point out, and as does Dimitri Lascaras, but then what, srsly?. (the transcript)

      there are some interviews with athenians up at trnn, also, and a snot-nosed kid with a ph.d gargling on about his and zizek’s ‘democracy rising’ conference, but i wanted to pop him one for his intellectual triumphalism instead of concern for the greek people, myownself, but then i am in a bit of a mood over all of this.

      added on edit since i can’t get ne comment to submit; odd-bodkins.

      autopsies, analyses, and solutions are rolling in, of course. here are a few:

      The preliminary report from the april Truth Committee on Public Debt, led by
      SYRIZA member of European Parliament Sofia Sakorafa and Eric Toussaint of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt, at ‘Illegal, illegitimate and odious’

      “All the evidence we present in this report shows that Greece not only does not have the ability to pay this debt, but also should not pay this debt, first and foremost because the debt emerging from the Troika’s arrangements is a direct infringement on the fundamental human rights of the residents of Greece. Hence, we came to the conclusion that Greece should not pay this debt because it is illegal, illegitimate and odious.
      It has also come to the understanding of the Committee that the unsustainability of the Greek public debt was evident from the outset to the international creditors, the Greek authorities and the corporate media. Yet the Greek authorities, together with some other governments in the EU, conspired against the restructuring of public debt in 2010 in order to protect financial institutions. The corporate media hid the truth from the public by depicting a situation in which the bailout was argued to benefit Greece, while spinning a narrative intended to portray the population as deservers of their own wrongdoings.”

      The report makes quite a case. on the right sidebar you’ll also see ‘‘SYRIZA leaders against the coup’, july 15: their statement, but nothing prescriptive.

      a companion piece, as it turns out, by ellen brown, head of the public banking institute.

  26. from the, ‘Tormenting Greece is about sending a message that we are now in a new EU; No deeper divide than that between those brought to heel and those who shout ‘Heel!’

    or Heil!, whatever works. yes, it was fintan o’toole who’d indicated that frau frumpel had coyly announced “(ho, ho) that it turned out we didn’t even NEED Schnauzer plan B”. but most sane and ethical people get that germany (with bit of help from her friends) have indeed murdered the EU experiment toward hegemony, and hope that the world is noting it. as in: will the frau rule the day or rue the day…some day. he winds up to this ending:

    “And all for what? Why has the European Union been so radically redefined? Not for the sake of the Greek people, of course. No sane person believes that austerity and asset-stripping are the recipe for Greek recovery.
    For international financial discipline, then, to prove that all debts must be paid? Hardly – consider that in March the IMF, with almost no fuss, announced a financial package for a European country that is far more corrupt, unstable and oligarchic than Greece.

    Ukraine write-offs

    Ukraine got €36.1 billion in assistance from the IMF, including write-offs of previous IMF loans worth between €13.5 billion and €18 billion. There is little chance of any of this money ever being paid back. And yet Angela Merkel and the other EU hardliners had no problem with any of this.
    Why? It’s the politics stupid. Pouring money into corrupt and oligarchic Ukraine was about sending a political message. And tormenting Greece is also about sending a political message.
    The message is that we are in a new EU now, one that has a dominant power at its centre and a single acceptable ideology. Those who founded it believed that such a union could not survive. The current leadership apparently knows better.”

    How bad are things for the people of Greece?’ bad, but i reckon much worse than this, if one considers loss of hope and dignity, and more.

    osborne says the UK will pony up, oh, yes.

  27. I don’t think the article said anything new, wendye. Just the image at the top was memorable to me.

    Over at the Saker post on Greece a late comment directed to zerohedge saying Scheuble had commented in a radio speech that Greece does need a haircut, debt relief, but that isn’t possible within the EU so would have to exit in order to have that. That in light of the IMF report (which a post at NC is saying wasn’t official) the whole deal wasn’t viable as without debt relief the amounts would balloon much more than on offer. Which is that quote in your twitter piece above.

  28. A couple of things have turned up re: my notion that Germany might exit the Euro (which would be a relief for everyone, IMO).

    One is this story from a few days ago from Deutsche Wirtscrhafts Nachrichten which in translation indicates that Evil Unkle Schnauser has a definite plan for all but the reconstituted German Empire to be booted from the Eurozone, leaving the euro to Germany and its imperial clients and allies. Just as easily, it seems to me, the idea could be turned around, and the German Empire could return to the Deutschmark.

    On the other hand, Bloomberg has this article about how Germany and its Nordic allies leaving the euro would be beneficial to everyone in Europe on all sides of the divide.

    Indeed it would. Germany is the problem, not Greece. Whether the rest of Europe can wrap its collective mind around that simple fact, ¿quién sabe?

    (Oh man, those fires around Athens look apocalyptic, no?)

    • for cryin’ in a cupcake, that google mess of the Deutsche Wirtscrhafts Nachrichten piece was a rough go; bing does at least somewhat better. i did get lost in it, of course, but it does ring true in the broad outlines. i’d argue a few points, especially about hollande’s role in all this, and agree with the piece of dianna johnstone’s juliania had mentioned. i’ll fetch in a minute. but her thesis contains one ingredient i keep harping on: greece must stay because: NATO.

      i’ve read so many writers making the point that Syriza (except for Left Platform) was indeed wedded to the idea of being ‘europeans’. varuofakis seems to have had many iterations of his politics over the years, including wanting to ‘reform neoliberalism’ and such that i dunno which speeches and interviews to believe any longer.

      but a piece billmon wrote based on an essay by j.w. mason (?) makes a pretty clear case that the EU is run by the central banks. one note: i hadn’t known that the greek bank is indeed a central bank; hudson and a few others must have been talking about nationalizing it as a *public central bank* or close.

      i really can’t do the bloomberg piece as well, and sorry juliania, rob urie’s is good so far, but i’ve only made it about halfway through so far. but most of the votes are saying that a grexit will come sooner than later, if for no other reason that they can’t pay the damned debts. contra the german piece (ack; was that the one?) if they get booted out, they don’t have to pay them, as i understand it.

      but oh, my; herr schnauzer seems to have (edited) ‘lifted is leg’ on that inviolable Maastricht treaty, no? bad dog!

      on edit: an EZ parliament: what a novel idea! at least the pretense of democracy, all of which was bafflingly ceded long ago at its creation, eh?

      • The Goggle do the best it can, but I’ve has/v/d more fun running things through various translators and comparing the outcome — sometimes it is to laugh. Bablefish (h/t Hitchhiker’s Guide) was for long my favorite. But it’s become impossible to use anymore.

        At any event, if the story anything like the troof, then Evil Unke Schnauzer has a plan und it vill be carried out! Jawohl mein herr!

        Meanwhile, the Greeks will have to figure out as best they can what they’re gonna do. As for Tsipras, I doubt it will end well, as they say on the intertubs. When I saw him appear at the OXI rally before the referendum with that honking cold sore on his lower lip, I figured it was a sign, he’d been marked, and he’d be lucky to escape from Brussels with his life. So it was. Now with the fires around Athens, the signs are growing grimmer.

        On the other hand, people who say Tsipras would have gotten a better deal if he’d only surrendered at the outset are full of it. He repudiated the 2nd memorandum, the supposed 2nd “bailout,” and Yanis was trying to negotiate better terms for that; didn’t work. In other words, they could not have gotten better terms by surrendering. Now they’re on the 3rd memorandum — negotiations which may be concluded by September or something. As I understand it, the working paper with all those harsh terms that Alexis brought back from Brussels is the outline for the 3rd memorandum, but there will no doubt be more provisions/conditions, all of them crippling and stupid and cruel. These terms may well be identical to the ones that would have been in the 3rd memorandum anyway.

        But the banks will open on Monday and they’ll still be dispensing euros, so everyone will be happy, right?

        I’ve wondered about Tsipras’s ebullience in the midst of all this. Why so (apparently) happy? Is he that good an actor? No, I think he knows something. Everybody knows these terms won’t work, even FrauKanzler Mutti. What with everyone who matters telling the Germans to back off, maybe, just maybe, they will. NATO, indeed. That, I think, is the huge-est part of whatever the denouement will be.

        What I don’t understand is that with all these extended debt maturities and repayment schedules — which may be extended into infinity — why are the Greeks forced to make payments now to the very outfits that are going to be providing financing over the long term. It’s bizarre.

        But then, the whole thing is.

  29. on phone, but yes:

    wildfires near athens

  30. To Ché Pasa – I saw that ‘Germany leave’ article at Bloomberg and was disenchanted when I saw the name, Soros. I suspect it’s a distraction, though I’m sure your reasons for proposing it are not his.

    Counterpunch has some really good pieces today. I just finished one by Rob Urie and before that a lady, (Diana Kingstone?) questioning who is behind all of this, namely IMF-NATO, so Germany just a helpmate – but what a helpmate! The following lets us in on the Schåuble machinations in bringing East Germany into the fold – hugely important reading!

    And to wendye on the wildfires – I spent the morning tracking location of the Athens fire, and saw one photo of Kereas Monastery nun vacating the premises, so naturally I was interested. I got into what I could find about the monastery (probably interesting only to me, had been a men’s monastery in the past, relatively recently given over to the nuns, who seem an active group that has worked in Asia and Africa) Before, in the ’40’s it was woefully neglected being up against an old marble quarry, had a huge pile of gravel against the rear of it, and goats were tromping on the ancient church roof – well, long story short for us wildfire victims, I came across a spanish fire danger article I would strongly recommend:

    Click to access xanthopoulos2_GRECIA.pdf

    Warning: it is long, but if you scroll through it, you will come to an incident near the monastery where three firepeople were killed. The wind that makes these fires dangerous in summer is called ‘meltemi’.

    • ha; what an intriguing title: ‘greece and a german ahab’; can’t wait. well, interesting capsule history on the monastery, but no, i can’t possibly make the effort to read it with so much else to read…twice, usually, for me. ;-)

      but it does remind me that i’d meant to mention my surprise that you really didn’t want to believe that the No referendum ads were sponsored in part by the greek orthodox church. several writers and interviewees in greece said the same thing. thing is, as does the vatican have a stock portfolio, so would the greek orthodox church. so does the LDS church, and it apparently rivals or surpasses the vatican’s. that was why i’d quipped about post pope francis’s climate speech, the vatican *might consider* divesting its coal investments. i hear that he also dissed capitalism itself, which is very cool, imo. but i know it would be folly to think the vatican would ever dump their ‘fruits of predatory capitalism’ investments, eh? ;-)

      i am quite please to hear that he apologized for the many deeds the catholic church committed against the indigenous of both north and south america, though. they were indeed egregious.

      on edit: i do wish i could remember which troika-oppressed eurozone nation had touted the idea of eliminating the tax-free status of the churches, but that idea many would find unappetizing, i’m sure. to me, it’s a hella fine idea whose time has come long since.

      • The point I was trying to make, wendye, was that this or that body of clerics claiming to be ‘the Orthodox’ or ‘the Vatican’ or whatever while supporting clearly unjust practices in no way represents that Church as its followers understand it. Even for Catholics, infallibility is a clearly fallible and recent edict, like the Pledge of Allegiance for American citizens.

        Particularly for the Orthodox, the leadership isn’t infallible, just a bunch of human beings collected together that have human failings just like the rest of us, and there are good and bad among them, idiots and charismatic well-intentioned teachers as well – just as you find among the black prophetic preachers, and we all did find in Martin Luther King. Certainly the leadership of his followers had great difficulty maintaining the purity of his purpose, and I’m sure they’re all sorrowing about their inadequacies. It’s that darn arc, that fragment of a rainbow vision. It’s the vision that is his message, that is the crucible of his faith, not any bunch of people doing or not doing what he said to do.

        As to taxing the rich, if any of these bodies is that – I’m with you. We certainly need to level the playing field. However, it did seem to me that the Kareas monastery nuns were endearingly human – and that small, ancient church – set above Athens and tromped upon by goats after some centuries of neglect whilst then a firefighter tragedy had occurred nearby in hills that looked very much like my own foothills – was to me a sort of icon for Greece at this point in time. Never mind the church ‘establishments’ – I’ve never been part of that anyway.

        • we seem to be talking past each other, juliania. of course all of us, including all religious, are fallible humans. what i was trying to say that it seems that someone or ones in the greek synod, those who keep the contributions, invest church money, and write the checks would very likely oppose a democratic and financially more egalitarian greece.

          it was part of the reason that liberation theology in the global south was believed to be a scourge against the catholic church, that and of course…that their churches resembled lay churches in many respects, and didn’t pay tribute to the vatican or whatever chain of command hierarchies most churches follow.

          and i tried to nod that yes, the monastery’s sisters and the fire were indeed metaphors for the current plight of everyday greeks seeking a better world. but i also believe that churches shouldn’t be tax exempt for many reasons, one being that so many of them engage in politics. if churches with pastors of the black prophetic tradition do that *financially*, they should not either, imo, no matter how pure and just they believe there motives are. that’s all.

    • Counterpunch has quite a dismal perspective on the Greek and euro business — which I don’t share, for the simple reason that the Counterpunch viewpoint denies Greece any agency whatsoever in what is going on, and that’s wrong.

      Greece has been through worse, much worse, and somehow its people have survived and ultimately claimed their own place in the sun. Very few observers — and apparently no one at Counterpunch — have paid more than glancing attention to the fact that the point of all this sturm und drang (from the SYRIZA/Tsipras/Varoufakis/Greek People point of view) is changing Europe. By any measure, the actions of Greece since the installation of a SYRIZA government have accomplished that objective. Europe will never be the same again, and it cannot go back to the status quo ante. The perfidy and cruelty of the Euro-Projekt have been exposed and cannot be veiled again– once seen, one cannot unsee what this monstrous Projekt is all about.

      Greeks will continue to suffer, and SYRIZA and Tsipras may not survive the likely denouement. But surprisingly, despite the catastrophe under way in Greece, they’re remarkably popular — and trusted, something previous governments couldn’t claim.

      The problem isn’t Greece, it’s Germany and those who are groveling and cringing at German authority. The Greeks, though they may suffer, are not bowed.

      • well, counterpunch isn’t monolithic, it’s by way of an opinion aggregator site. i’ve only read the one and a half recently, so i dunno if what you say they all miss on greece’s agency… is so or not.

        your comment about tsipras having meant to change europe was well-accoladed at ian’s, but i do wonder if the regular greek citizens knew that when they voted for him. yes, the EU has been changed forevermore by the calumny of the Dreadful Duo, and yes, that may serve to make a better deal in the upcoming negotiations, which could take months, it’s being said. otherwise, changing europe will be cold comfort to those who will be most sincerely harmed by what’s been agreed to so far.

        Yves writes that christine lagarde never had signed off on the IMF research report (uh-huh), and given everything, finds greek debt will be sustainable enough for the imf to pony up some euros.

        i wish i could remember the nato tweet i’d brought on one of these threads, as the subtext clearly amounted to: fine greece; these russian periphery nations want to be in the EU, and we’ve already signed memos of understanding with them. read: they’re our guys, and our ilitary might will back them up! fuck you, putin, fuck you Li Keqiang (yeah, i hadda google)! this is part of our pivot to the east!’

        it’s not that i think NATO is the only driving force, but it’s part of the impetus for obama and jack lew have put on such happy dances the the greecian parliament okay’ed the deal and cheered further negotiations (if they indeed meet that bar).

        so a bit of a cabinet reshuffle, natch, and left platform is gone, varoufakis (shaved head and all) is railing against the plan at the bbc, yada, yada.

        your contention that the greek always come back into the light of the day is hopeful, and i do hope it will be so again.

        oh: the cold sore: he’s had it so long i’d wondered if were something more permanent than that. herpes incubates with body temp rises, so yes, stress, fever, or sunburn.

        • Sorry, but I haven’t seen anything at Counterpunch that indicates their stable of writers is aware that SYRIZA and Tsipras might not be the naifs and patsies they’ve been characterized to be in the broader media. I attribute this to a “Counterpunch narrative” about what’s going on, one of many media narratives that simply leave out the possibility that although they aren’t necessarily all that clever about it, they might have a plan and might know what they are doing and hope to accomplish.

          How up front they’ve been about it with Greek voters I can’t say. I don’t speak or read Greek. But it appears from my observation of reports that the Greek people “get it” pretty much, and though they grumble (as well they should), they seem to trust the motives and methods of Tsipras et al, at least so far, something that seems odd, even bewildering, to most outside observers. There’s a piece at Harper’s that I haven’t had time to do more than skim, but it seems to have glommed on to some of the underlying story that is barely recognized in most of the commentary about the Greek Thing. Ultimately it’s about Europe, a Europe that must change but won’t change unless there is sufficient pressure. (This could all be tied to Washington, or Soros or who knows what nefarious interest might want a chastised Germany and a “different” Europe. That’s not conspiracy theory, it just seems to be the way things work. We can all point to examples.)

          Greece is paying the price of putting that pressure on the rest of Europe, but damb, we are witnessing the beginning of change… It’s too slow, and I hate to see the kind of suffering so many Greeks and other Europeans are going through, with no doubt more to come, but it is change…

          Ian is one of those who seems to be blind to the idea that the Greeks have a clue to what needs doing and what they can do. Mandos seems to be well aware. I think the difference is that Ian’s prism is like that of Yves, drawn from certain media reports (that may well be in error) and which fit a certain pre-conception of the way things ought to be. I didn’t figure out what might be going on (can’t say I know for sure, of course) until I sat through that 2013 convo between Tsipras and Zizek. It’s all there… quite up front, not trying to deceive or bullshit or anything. It’s startling, really, given the general media opinion that the Greeks don’t have a clue and are being bulldozed. Well, maybe not.

          (I hadn’t noticed Tsipras had that cold sore prior to the OXI rally. If he did, oh my. He’s been “marked” much longer than I realized…)

          • well, darlin’; for now i’ll simply yield to your counterpunch bias, as i’ve read few of the 9 greecian posts in the weekend edition, dunno how many in the few days before, as CP ‘borrows’ many posts from authors’ home sites.

            and well, yes, mebbe the citizens of greek see the chessmoves,i can’t possibly say.

            mandos kinda lost me in his guest post at ian’s er…not being able to define what a Grexit really means. another question i’d have asked Lapavitsas: can greece leave the eurozone and not be booted outta the EU?

            but hell’s bells, ima gwine to go watch what’s left of two hours of pbs mysteries. g’ night.

          • hmmm; i couldn’t find this comment to click your link, so i went to harper’s and read jamie galbraith’sgreece, europe, and the united states‘ first. my favorite sentence was: “There is a model-prisoner group—Spain, Ireland, and Portugal—which is faced with Podemos and Sinn Fein at home and cannot admit that austerity hasn’t worked.”

            but then i remembered that when i’d clicked your link, other folks were speaking in a feb. 2014 interview, including jeff madrack, whom i’d vaguely remembered. so…i dug out your link in ‘browsings’. yes, they were arguing over the nature and future survival of the european project and/or the eurozone. ‘the myth’ that germany is/was profiting from the euro was interesting, as were some of the comments about france’s odd role in allowing greece to twist in the wind, i thought.

            but one reaches this good point at the bottom, and is notified that the whole article is…behind a paywall.

            “guérot: Since you mention the world market, and since we’re talking for an American magazine, let me just suggest another reason the euro will survive, which is that there are too many actors — especially in U.S. markets — who want it to survive. Nobody on Wall Street wants the euro to break apart. Nor do the Chinese. So that’s a good reason to assume it will survive.”

            but again, no one brought up the role of nato as a key player, either, and i’dd add that right on cue: ‘Finland and Sweden seek closer ties with NATO‘.

            this paper looks a bit on the tabloid side, but notes ‘Germans Demonstrate in 14 Cities Against Merkel’s Tough Stance on Greece’, with another piece (iirc) saying germans are fine with the new memorandum. ;-)

            this just came in via the popular resistance newsletter via Occupy, and it might be interesting in the ‘changing europe’ theme: ‘‘Spain’s Electoral Rebellion: Welcome to the Post-Party Political Era, Part I’ – by Bernardo Gutiérrez

            • Yes, I appreciated the Galbraith thing at Harper’s too, though like so much stuff lately, I haven’t had a chance to thoroughly digest it. The others will have to wait for a while, as so much has been on my own plate of late.

              BUT — I have some comments about the Lapavitsas talk that’s caused such an (apparent) sensation. Proviso: I read the transcript, did not watch the video, so my perspective is incomplete. My impression was that he made a good political case for leaving the euro and how he believed Greece would be better off doing so — and he did it from a Greek point of view. As I understand it, this is essentially how the SYRIZA coalition goes about its business, hearing passionate, well-made arguments from people like Lapavitsas and coming to a decision on how to proceed. Lapavitsas made his case, and members of the audience questioned or disputed his claims — much as would happen in a SYRIZA central committee meeting. He was able to defend some aspects of his argument, but not others. He doesn’t really know what would happen to the Greek people if the country left the euro — any more than anybody else does. It could arguably be immeasurably worse for Greece than the current catastrophe but it would not lessen the current catastrophe over the short term and may exacerbate it over the long term.

              I noted with interest that he said “impossible” repeatedly. He used Baroness Thatcher’s locution “there is no alternative,” which is being echoed by Evil Unke Schnauzer’s urge to purge Nordic Europe of the taint of icky, swarthy Greece.

              In other words, his argument seems to depend on the imperative rather than the potential, and what can’t be done — “we can’t change Europe” — rather than what can. He argues against playing a long game, in part because of the present emergency. Schnauzer makes essentially the same case, no?

              So far, his argument has been rejected by the SYRIZA coalition, but that doesn’t mean it always will be. Some of his alternative economy ideas are already in place, and as the desultory “negotiations” over the third memorandum drudge on, I don’t doubt that more alternatives will be put in place — whether or not there is serious planning for a Greek exit from the euro. (As for that, I suspect there is much more going on behind the scenes than we know…)

              As an example of how arguments are made within the SYRIZA coalition, and as a clue to how its decisions are made, I thought it was remarkable.

              It may be setting the stage for a voluntary Greek rejection of the euro some time during the “negotiations” this summer.

              But the questions and counter-arguments from the audience were good too, and I thought they helped clarify why SYRIZA still rejects a Grexit, despite increasing pressure from within and without.

              • good points, and of course he can’t know how long the even-more-egregious financial, medical, hunger suffering would go on. but you’ve caused me to wonder *who* was in the audience, how widely this conference will be known among the greek population, or indeed if it’s caused a stir. you can bet your bottom euro that the unTrustyTroikans are listening carefully, though.

                but as he said, in the need to restructure the whole system, all models fail, since they’re *based on* what has been, not what might be, and he deems necessary for the future of a democratic and just greek. i also liked that he did seem to understand well that the poor had vote Oxi, and why. but he sure did use TINA a lot; ish. he got way in the weeds with his ‘an israeli prime minister said nations always choose the road to wisdom’ or some such. wot??

    • ha; given that soros’s hedge fund controls many billions, i blanched as well. it may have been a sweet way to help enrich him, too, who can say? but his wiki is almost pure puffery, especially his philanthropic giving, and i wonder if like gates’,’s, they come with a price. it does say he was convicted of insider trading, but also the reasons he fought back…

      ‘he single-handledly broke the bank of england, and made a billion in profits to boot!’ but if one skips down to the sections on his view on russia and ukraine, europe, we begin to see his motives more clearly.

      stronger financial bonds in europe (no nationalism! read: sovereign identity?), andsaid that “Europe needs to wake up and recognize that it is under attack from Russia,” that ‘ god loves ukraine, so i helped (and boy, did he), etc.

  31. all i got left for tonight, save for: if you can, go out and gaze at the western horizon to see jupiter and venus dancing apart from conjunction a week or to ago. and in greece, and too many other places…

  32. Blaming the Victim: Greece is a Nation Under Occupation’, by Andrew Gavin Marshall / July 16th has some fascinating history of greece being under troika occupation since 2010, and reports on secret meetings and statements including one from the *appointed* president of the european commission jean-claude junkyardDog, positing back in 2012 that if the euro fin mins were polled on keeping greece in the eurozone ‘there would be an overwhelming majority against it.”

    he gives history and flavor as to what the technocratic trioka overseers were, and did, including:

    “In addition to this immense loss of sovereignty over the past five years, Greece was subjected to further humiliation as the European Commission established a special ‘Task Force for Greece’ consisting of 45 technocrats, with 30 based in Brussels and 15 at an outpost in Athens, headed by Horst Reichenbach, dubbed by the Greek press as the ‘German Premier’. European and German officials had pushed for “a more permanent presence” in Greece than the occasional inspections by Troika officials. Thus, the Task Force was effectively an imperial outpost overseeing an occupied nation.”

    it’s long, but incredibly informative, and fills in much i’d never known, but suspected, and ends:

    “Blaming Mr. Tsipras and the Greeks for the current predicament is a bit like blaming a rape victim for getting raped. It doesn’t matter how they were ‘dressed’, or if they ‘could’ have fought back, because it’s ultimately the decision of the rapist to commit the crime, and thus, the rapist is responsible.
    Syriza could become a party of liberation, of a proud, sovereign and democratic nation. But this is only possible if Greece abandons the euro.

    Until then, the Greek government has about as much independent power as the Iraqi government under American occupation. Syriza made several gambles in negotiations with the country’s creditors, most of which failed. But Greece was never on an equal footing.”

    aye, there’s the rub: exiting the euro.

    i didn’t take time to explore his links, but i will say that mark weisbrot’s essays on venezuela often get picked up at, and he gets published at al jazeera now and again (his current one on greece doesn’t add much to the discussion, i think.

    anyway, i’ll be back in a bit; weekends are heavy with chores and the need for rest. ;-)

    • Thanks for that, wendye – I’ll check it out. All the educational backstory is really helpful.

      I’ve been just dipping into the various speeches at ‘Democracy Rising’ and for the most part your analysis stands – just one shining moment, I think. I need to look at this again, a very emotional speech by Costas Lapavitsas that I think shines because of his own very Greek character.

      Don’t want to say ‘a star is born’ because I am woefully ignorant of such things, but the audience interplay was unexpectedly part of the drama of his presentation.

      • i ended up reading the transcript after ten minutes or so, and he made some good points and added some confusion, as well. his definitions of money were perhaps old school, as in: no mention that banks create money when they make loans, for instance. long ago i’d read david graeber’s theory of money, but as with everything, i’ve forgotten it.

        but i would love to have heard him answer the questions posed; why did they just move on to the next questions? the british woman who mentioned that none of the three previous speakers (and i assume she meant costas, as well) spoke the language of the working people, intimating: how will you get The People on this track, while asking them to suffer more for some months or years to…get to the other side…if you can’t? good question.

        it seemed funny to me that he rather dissed marx, or perhaps marxist economics as verrrrry dinosaur-time, and i’ll need to let his statement that none of this has to do with morality, just pragmatism, i suppose to ‘allow greece to revive, then thrive’…to sink in. odd that he also named those who have profited from the troika oppression as the greek oligarchs (at least as i remember it). is that because he believes that their failure to pay taxes, offshore their billions, etc. was the beginning of the state to fail, then in bounded the IMF?

        arranging how goods can be directly distributed, and the various mechanisms needed in nationalizing the bank was right, but too brief of course. folks over at ian’s were claiming that leftists are just too ideological to make the train runs, as in: too soft, or something. beats me, juliania. ;-)

        but heh, let me add to the fray this piece at the guardian, if i can find it again: ‘the end of capitalism is at hand’ or something, and how many alt-services and industries have popped up in greece during this long debacle.

        food for thought, anyway.

        • Thanks for doing that wendye.

          • welcome. as it turned out, i had more time to read than i’d anticipated. seems as though i might have taken better note, though. ;-)

            p.s. on the theme of metaphors for greece’s present, i put in tracy nelson and mother earth’s ‘the sky is about to cry’ up yonder. it’s odd, but almost no one here seems to listen to the music i embed.

            • Sorry wendye; it is a beautiful piece. The sky in maori lore is Rangi, who cries at being parted from his wife, Papa-tu-anuku. It was their son Tane Mahutu, the great kauri tree that forced them apart long ago.

        • “folks over at ian’s were claiming that leftists are just too ideological to make the train runs, as in: too soft, or something.”

          More excuses for their ongoing ignorance. They harp on corruption cause they like efficiency whether induced by Gawd or MasterDad (or even better, the mythical Market); they just want more sturdy whiplashers.

          Would they accept a national socialist like Musclelini to get the trains running on time?

          From a Basque:

          what is clear is that I understand the issue in terms totally opposed to what Counterpunch suggests: the USA is interested in using “nationalism” (a very ambiguous term incidentally) against the unification of Europe because a truly unified Europe would be a rival rather than a vassal, with greater population and GDP and usually not at all the same geopolitical interests the USA has.

          The elite scramble includes the Greek oligarchs who are using the crisis to get bargain pieces of Greece.

          starting in 2012, all aristocrats have set up a system, the European Stability Mechanism, to extract from the general Greek public, in the future, the wealth that will compensate some aristocrats for money that had been defrauded from those aristocrats by other aristocrats, defrauded until the fraud (never yet punished — nor even sought to be punished) was made public in late 2009. Moreover, the general Greek public are being blamed for all of this. That blame-shift downward is necessary to do, in order to ‘justify’ the Greek public’s future enslavement, in a modern form of debt-bondage, of a national kind, for debts in which the public had, actually, played no significant (if any) part, and the proceeds from which had instead gone mainly to Greece’s billionaires and centi-millionaires (and largely stashed by them in Switzerland and other tax-havens, thus now inaccessible, so that the Greek public are the targets instead, by the other aristocrats, the ones who had been victimized by their fellow-aristocrats).

          Greece is a target also because it so corruptible; the predation by domestic oligarchs alleviates the Troikan “conscience” while the gang bang proceeds.

          • i’ll have to zero in on one thing, given a day of too many miles for my crap legs to walk.

            i may have gone too full-bore mussolini re: ian and his majority commentariat who don’t seem to mind his ‘insert quarters, i post’ vending machine stuff, but after his idea to solve climate change was to create a climate change navy: Ka-Pow!, and this elitist horseshit, i seem to take a dim view of him. yes, it makes me rather impolite. ;-)

            by the way, should i include a ‘subscribe’ button here? (ha ha ho ho hee hee h/t ‘the chink’ ‘even cowgirls…etc’.)

            to juliania: no apologies, but thank you for the maori mythology; lovely.

  33. You could be right, Comrade X. I just went backtracking the combined video of Bill Black and Michael Hudson before they took off to parts unknown – realnews video from early July. I followed wendye’s practice of just reading through the transcript (just the facts, ma’am.) Lots I could not understand trying to follow the money, but one item I hadn’t remembered, that back a way Christine Lagarde had handed a previous Greek in-charge guy, Papademos a list of oligarchs hiding enough funds in Swiss accounts to pay off the debt and nothing was done.

    And now Lambert at NC is saying the rich are ‘the people’ too – boy, good thing no comments on that post!

    My last bit of homework was to read Dimitri Lascaris’ interview (posted today) with the Minister of Education. I defy anyone to make sense of that interview; he’s a ‘yes’ guy of course.

    My work here is done. Tomorrow I’m catching the Railrunner down to shop till I drip,(Freudian slip but I’m leaving it be) and yes, that does run on time (unless it hits a cow).

    • See “The Trail of the Troika” on Youtube. Towards the end, it’s reported that the IMF official installed at the Greek ministry of finance basically discouraged public officials from investigating those on the Lagarde list although tax evasion was a written mandate for the Troika. The Greek Privatization Fund was rigged so an oligarch on the Lagarde list was sole bidder for public property.

      Baltas’ euphemism – that Syriza chose an ethic of responsibility over one of conviction – means that Syriza couldn’t provoke the threats to the Greek population the Troikans made. Ethically, they could follow their conviction if only Syrizans were under threat, but they could not subject Greeks to the Troikan punishment by sticking to their convictions.

      I don’t think The Real News is up to decoding these messages of duress.

      • yes, well michael hudson indicated exactly those things were happening and will happen to a far greater degree now, save that i have no idea what your paragraph concerning balta’s euphemism means.

        ack; an hour and a half? i’ll have to trust you on it.

        • Where did Hudson report exactly those things? Hudson blusters and complains that the bad crapitalist coup needn’t be! How does UMKC tolerate his schtick?

          Read my paragraph again. And use youtube’s HTML5 player for speedup. If you really want a show, go watch the full interviews of the compradors and fraudsters slowly raising the fascist heat on this cauldron.

    • Jawohl, the Nazi’s were people too. S’a pity the barbarities they were forced to by “the system”.

      Most rich are compradors, so any siding with “the people” whom they sabotaged is too late to be credible.

      “A large part of the Greek real estate portfolio is suitable for tourist development, and given Greece’s climate and leisure and holiday potential this is the key source of potential value for investors.” In other words: whatever desperate Greeks will still remain in Greece after all of the stripping of the assets of the state, will now become available, at rock-bottom subsistence wages, to serve tourists, while the billionaire owners, throughout the world, will be reaping the profits, from that land (including the beaches and new hotels), and from their slaves there (serving those tourists). This is commonly called “the free market”: the more desperate and poor the public (the Greeks serving those tourists) are, the more profit the aristocracy (the owners of those resorts) will receive.

      Welcome to Hellenic Disneyland! Watch Marxist Mouse dance for his ouzo!


  34. Greek capitalism, with the exception of merchant shipping and tourism, is [was?] largely based on small enterprises.

    Those petite bourgeois compradors, once subsidized by the master fraudsters, are now finding themselves on the street. Seems they should be wakening, even were there no history of Greek Communism. Maybe Costas Lapavitsas is not there to educate/organize them but instead to despirit them.

  35. The immediate aftermath of departure would have to be meticulously planned in advance—something we have yet to see—and the population prepared for the likelihood of extensive rationing as the prices of imported goods skyrocket. This may lead Syriza to impose controls on the movement of capital and commodities. While the Syriza government, liberated from restraints from on high, should be able to mobilize the available resources to jump-start its economy, the economy it jump-starts will still be one of relative deprivation—and one vulnerable to continuous siege from the continental forces at its perimeter.

    Did the Greek electorate sign up for this when they voted for Syriza? Are the citizens being mobilized to confront these issues? How are they being readied to face these challenges? Will the question be put to a vote?

    Do you think those petit bougeois compradors have yet been galvanized to accept deprivation over enslavement? Or are they all scrambling to position themselves as house negro?

  36. While the ECB retains the ability to shore up the system against liquidity shortfalls in the event of a departure, the prospect of future fragmentation is worrisome for capital on a different front. It introduces a mountain of new investor risk and uncertainty. Would Spanish, Portuguese, Irish, or Italian corporations issue bonds to raise funds in euros, if a later redenomination would cause them to go under? Would a corporation invest outside its own country if there were ongoing uncertainty about the future denomination of its investment? If a Grexit is followed by peripheral fragmentation, crises and paralysis contagion could set in, undermining neoliberal integration and leading predictably to wide-spread financial retrenchment. The Troika must be evaluating a response to this scenario. But how? By turning a blind eye to Greek initiatives that formally violate the terms of agreement, but keep Greece from exiting? Or with plans to isolate and crush an “independent” Greek economy, demonstrating decisively that the path out of the eurozone leads from disaster to ruin?

    Yes, the Mental Midget Theorizing on Grexit sure would be shameful were it to be a tool of greater fascism, wouldn’t it?

  37. Well, I know it has been expressed that counterpunch has an agenda (not sure what it is) but they have put up today this from Stavros Mavroudeas – “with or without capital controls popular support for Syriza is withering away.” Plus two other articles from before referendum on.

    Travellng on to the Real News, another platitudinous interview, with Leo Panitch – “there’s enormous popularity of the government” – seems vastly overblown as maybe also RT’s IMF okay that everything’s hunkydory with Greece’s debt to them now, plus NC Tankus saying I forget what about the ‘well-intentioned’ IMF.

    Oy. Are they panicking? Oxi. . .Oxi. . .Oxi . . . hard to ignore it, but ignore it they did. And do.

    At least Sharmini Peries got to insert in the Panitch one about “…the tensions we are sensing as we have been walking the streets in terms of the 61 percent…”

    Thanks for the explanation on the Swiss bank fizzle, ComradeX. Rest those legs, wendye.

    • i’ll offer: Yves Smith nukes the idea of a grexit vehemously; allows ONE comment by dmitri lascaris, then closes comments. ooookaaaay.

      Dimitri Lascaris July 20, 2015 at 7:24 am
      “19 European states have successfully converted to a new currency in the last 20 years. Is it an enormously complex and time-consuming task? Certainly. Is it feasible? Absolutely. Ultimately, this is a question of careful and intelligent planning and preparation, which is precisely why the Syriza leadership’s refusal to prepare for a Grexit that is now inevitable is inexcusable.”

      from lascarasis’s twitter account:

      (i haven’t listened, but my goodness, this page is jumping around like a grasshopper for me.)

      he’d also tweeted: ‘Spain’s Podemos loses ground as recovery, Greece factored in’, reuters, as in: nice job, syria; spain has been watching all of this quite closely. (if the bouncing continues, i might start a new thread.)

      newish and wth?

      To comrade X: thanks but no thanks. our daughter’s family of five is coming this weekend, and i have so many more things to do than you suggest. i’d add that most of us here aren’t coming from a communist vantage point, so your dialectically-based (ahem) criticisms fail to meet their mark with me, at least.

      to juliania: thank you, dear, but my legs seem to know when to cause me to arrest, if not rest, as with yesterday. trying to get caught up today, including a really stooopid project for the gran chirren, lol. mightta been a good thing i ran out of paint. ;-) and wot? your train ain’t got no cow-catcher? (oh, how romantic a ride to town on a train seems to me now..)

  38. This morning on RealNews was Part 2 of the Sharmini Peries interview with Leo Panitch – I could follow better his points as he repeated quite a bit. Two points he aggressively muddled were leaving the Euro vs. leaving Europe, and that the Oxi vote was strictly a ‘no’ against that particular program – saying polls supported ‘staying in Europe’ but not willing to say which poll or that staying in Europe is different from staying in the Euro. Difficulty of going to ‘new currency’ (drachma is new?) played up. Comparison with Venezuela nixed because Greece doesn’t have oil. (Well, they have a potential pipeline, don’t they?) He was very negative about Costas and Stiglitz and other economists, saying the reality on the ground and practical ways to go around the nasty rules are what’s needed for now.

    Comments very interesting on this one. Maybe there should be a big Sunday rally to ask “Oxi?” and really get straight what the Greeks thought they were voting for, rather than he, she, or me thinking we know what that was.

    Visitors for me too, wendye – hope yours go swimmingly! Off I go to clean. . .oy.

  39. ooof, if i have time i’ll read the transcript, but you don’t seem to give it much of a thumbs up, lol. what’s your take on the final tweetie i put up, linking to “Israel, Greece sign status of forces agreement

    “Kammenos said the “Greek people are very close to the people in Israel,” adding that military bilateral relations are good, and that both countries will continue to build on them through joint training. Terror – ism and jihad, he added, are not just in the Middle East, but are also present in the Balkans and Europe.

    Greece is within range of Iranian missiles, he added. “If one Iranian missile makes its way to the Mediterranean, this could be the end of states in this region,” the Greek defense minister said.”

    on the open menu, thd said about it that both nations need friends right now, turks, temp alliances, seaports, etc. for me, this is a very large mistake for a ‘leftist coalition’ to make. even were it some weird signal about ever leaving nato.

    hope your visitors are fun; and i hope ours are, as well. five of them and a dog. ;-) but: grandchirren!

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