Archive for 2010
P’sst! Got a dime?
This bloke needs a reality check. If he is not going to ask for the dosh “formally” how IS he going to ask for it? Over a pint
at the pub?
And what exactly are “preparatory moves”? A long sidle up to the Treasurer standing at the bar? And how do you “prepare” to ask for 30 billion euros? Either you ask for it or you don’t? Oder?
Perhaps something is lost in translation ……
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has said his country is making “preparatory moves” to take advantage of a multi-billion euro rescue package.
He added, however, that Greece would not necessarily make a formal request for help.
STOP PRESS: Alex Brummer of “The Daily Mail” makes a very serious charge here in relation to Goldman Sachs and Greece’s financial status before entering the euro.
STOP PRESS TWO: The BBC are reporting that Greece has formally asked for the dosh!
By Chris Snuggs
Greeks taking farce to new heights
Well, Ancient Greeks used to have tragedies; modern ones are better at farce, and so the “Shall we bung Greece billions of taxpayers’ money or not” farce rumbles on ….
It seems that the rising cost of borrowing for Greeks plus various warnings from people like George Soros about the possible collapse of the euro have pushed the EU (and in particular Germany) down a path they would have preferred not to go.
A vast loan at 5% has been offered, which is substantially below what the Greeks were having to pay before. So, crisis over? They can sleep well in Brussels again?
Errrmmmm …… hands up those who think Greece will ever be able to repay this money? Oh, at the time of writing (Monday 12th April) they haven’t yet ASKED for the money …. it really IS a farce rather than a tragedy, isn’t it?
Is there anyone on the planet who thinks they WON’T have to take the money? That they can get out of this mess WITHOUT it? No, nobody, except perhaps (as I speak) the Greek government itself. Well, they got the country into this humungous shambles in the first place so you’d hardly expect them to know what to do about getting out of it. This of course is in sharp contrast to the British government, which claims it is the ONLY party that can get out of the mess it itself created.
The reaction of German and British taxpayers to the bailing out of Greece (even though technically speaking it hasn’t yet occurred) is not yet clear ……. Neither is that of the other group of PIGS (Portugal, Italy and Spain). Incidentally, I am not sure how close the UK is to becoming a member of this rather grisly club, but as the country is still borrowing vast amounts at every tick of the clock it can’t be far off qualifying for full membership.
I did see a calculation this morning that the British taxpayer (I refuse to say government; all they do is pass on OUR money) will have to cough up around £600 million to help save Greece.
Of course, in return the Greeks will immediately start working as long and hard as we do, collecting taxes as efficiently as we do and avoiding corruption as well as we do. Yes, I am reporting from cloud-cuckoo land.
Well, we seem to be around Act III, Scene I in this farce, so there is plenty more entertainment yet to come, no doubt some of it tragic.
Today’s quiz question: What have lazy, corrupt, inefficient little countries in common with large, obscenely-rich banks? Answer -> They can’t be allowed to fail and some poor, hard-working mutt somewhere is going to have to bail them out, not that he’ll have any choice in the matter, this all being decided by the Great and Good (and Rich) in some posh office somewhere far away.
What you once couldn’t have made up now seems an almost daily occurrence.
By Chris Snuggs
A suit was filed last week in the US against Goldman Sachs by the US government’s financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission.
GS is an example of all that is morally and practically wrong with capitalism. This is an obscenely-rich company whose ludicrously-rewarded executives do not actually do anything that I would describe as “work”. Their activities do not in
my estimation benefit the world in any meaningful way. They are parasites which feed off the backs of real workers (nurses, police, teachers, firemen, bridge-builders, electricians and so on) and – as in the recent shambles – end up practically killing the host.
There is a good case for forcibly putting them out of business and completely reorganising financial services, with the accent on SERVICES. A functioning society needs investment and jobs. Banks should be there to look after money and provide investment to companies, not shuffle around paper to make themselves obscenely-rich.
GS and others apparently have some sort of electronic system that operates automatically and instantaneously to market movements, allowing them to make vast sums by doing no work. NO WONDER bright graduates seek to join such leech-like firms instead of becoming teachers, researchers or otherwise seeking to do something useful for society apart from themselves.
If they are guilty, I hope we see the company broken up and put out of business. The criminal deception is no different from that at Enron, where people pretending (with already vast salaries) to serve the public were conniving to do criminal damage to put up the cost of their product. They were given a severe penalty, and it should be the same for any white-collar worker if found guilty. I don’t have much hope for the eventual down-to-earth-sizing of GS (they are well-connected and can afford good lawyers …), but I am not the only person angry about all this greed. Get past the cosy confines of Wall Street bars into the real America and there are plenty more who feel the same way.
By Chris Snuggs
Bob Dylan a serious threat to ….. only China knows!
Congratulations China. You win this month’s Paranoid Fascist Fatuosity award by refusing to allow an ageing Bob Dylan to perform in Beijing and Shanghai.
It seems you are concerned that he might inspire people, and no doubt mostly your youth, to revolt. And (apart from political freedom of course) revolution is the last thing on your mind, even though a revolution spawned you 60 years ago.
So Dylan will live on for Asians only on CD, but thank goodness for that! Michael Jackson may have been the self-styled “King of Rock”, but Dylan was astonishingly and iconically original and unique.
I say “was” of course not out of disrespect to today’s version, but with those amazing years of the 60s in mind when protest was in our very soul and played its part in the revolutions of 1968 and later the big one, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the USSR.
On second thoughts, perhaps the Chinese Communist Party is not so paranoid after all. As my psychiatrist once said to me: “No Mr Snuggs, you’re not paranoid; they really are out to get you.”
Still, what a pity. What a sad reflection on the so far failure of “globalisation” to penetrate far into CPP mindset. Where is the Chinese “Glasnost”? Where lurks the Chinese Gorbachev?
Just in case you’d forgotten, here are some of the words that apparently strike such fear into the Forbidden City. Just as in the British civil service, “change” is not something welcomed with open arms:
Come mothers and fathers throughout the land,
And don’t criticise what you can’t understand.
Your sons and daughters are beyond your command,
Your old road is rapidly aging.
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand,
For the times, they are a-changing.
The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast.
The slow one now will later be fast,
As the present now will later be past.
The order is rapidly fading,
And the first one now will later be last,
For the times, they are a-changing.
PS Most “serious” western newspapers did in fact report that the tour was cancelled because permission was refused by the authorities. However, just because the CPP is fascist – and of course all fascists maintain strong censorship – it doesn’t necessarily mean they are ALWAYS guilty. “The truth” is sometimes an elusive quantity. Well, re the Dylan tour, here is an alternative version of what happened …. perhaps the last page has not been told.
By Chris Snuggs