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Toni, excellent article on Greek move this week.

by James Denison / November 2, 2011 3:04 AM PDT
This guy has it right, he understands it.

His bio. I wonder if he's "Greek" from immigrant parents?

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou finally
remembered that his country is the birthplace of democracy and decided
to effectively repudiate a European "rescue" plan for Greece by putting
it to a referendum vote.





The Greek people are resisting the idea of a generation of fiscal
austerity in order to save German and French banks. It has been
mystifying up until now why Papandreou's left-of-center government has
been willing to let Germany, which has been the main beneficiary of the
decade-long euro


EURUSD
+0.17%



experiment, impose such draconian hardships on the Greek public.





Barack Obama, are you listening? Papandreou, the third generation in his
family to run a left-of-center government in Greece, finally listened
to the protesters in the street and stood up to the banks and their
political proxies. It may or may not keep him in power, but it is
clearly the best thing for Greece at this point.

.......

(a break)


But if a left-of-center government, like that in Greece, buckles under
to the banks and forgets its task to represent the interests of everyday
working people, then the system risks breaking down. By finally
remembering his responsibilities, Papandreou headed off that breakdown
in his country. It may create a financial mess in Europe, but a
referendum or a snap election in Greece is the only way to reconcile
this kind of austerity in a democracy.





Back home, the reason Obama has to fight for re-election is because he
has failed so far to offer any meaningful resistance to the dictates of
the financial establishment and to remain true to his left-of-center
constituency. .......

(entire article at link.
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I'm having difficulty
by TONI H / November 2, 2011 3:57 AM PDT

trying to understand the writer's opinion, to be honest. On one hand he commends the PM for remembering his country is a democracy and that a vote by the people should be the deciding factor.....(now my words here) BUT, the PM's government has been so far left of center that the country's populace is mainly an entitlement population that Greece created and will fail because the government can no longer afford the free ride, and the people are rioting in the streets because he is trying to take it away from him, and if he puts it to a vote, the voters will again try to keep what they have and the Catch-22 bites the country over and over. HOWEVER, IF the PM actually TELLS the people in speeches all over the country what exactly is happening and how their country cannot continue the way it is, perhaps that show of faith in his people will bring the correct results of doing away with the entitlements (or cut back severely), refuse the bailout, bring back their own currency, and start all over again TOGETHER and not at the dictates of other countries.

On the other hand, the writer is telling BO to sit up and take notice but includes this paragraph which appears to be encouraging BO to 'remain true to his left-of-center constituency' which is going to do nothing but bring the same results as Greece.

>Back home, the reason Obama has to fight for re-election is because he
has failed so far to offer any meaningful resistance to the dictates of
the financial establishment and to remain true to his left-of-center
constituency. ....... <

Help me out here with comprehending the article and where it is actually heading......

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Predatory Lending
by James Denison / November 2, 2011 4:13 AM PDT
In reply to: I'm having difficulty

That's how the Greeks are looking at this I think. The people realize they can't spend more than they make, the problem is none of those benefitting thereby want to take the hit. I think the writer's point is whatever happens, if the people make that determination, then democracy made the decision and that is the best approach. Some of what I've read other places claim the rest of Europe is trying to turn Greece into slaves for them. I don't agree with that assessment and I bet Europe doesn't look at it that way, but if you were Greek it's quite likely you'd consider it that way.

Also the politics of Greece when applied to similar circumstances in America don't always translate that well. The main comparison is how Papandreou isn't letting the banks make the rules whereas it seems Obama did do that as evidenced by the "bailout" which went beyond just making sure all deposits were covered including those above $100K. PASOK might use the term Socialist, but I think the term Centrist might be a more understandable concept for Americans, just so long as you realize the left there is communism, which is why they are "left of center" when relating to American politics.

The most basic comparison and perception is that Papandreou isn't letting the banks push Greece around while Obama allowed it in America. When looked at that way, Papandreou may look as if he's to the right of Obama.

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So is the writer
by TONI H / November 2, 2011 4:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Predatory Lending

condemning Papa for allowing it to go to a vote and complaining that BO hasn't gone far enough left yet? That's the part that I got confused about.

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The writer
by James Denison / November 2, 2011 9:33 AM PDT
In reply to: So is the writer

as I read it is commending Papandreou for making the process more democratic, while hitting at Obama for not doing so. The writer considers democratic processes as being to the left for some reason.

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That's what I thought but
by TONI H / November 2, 2011 4:59 PM PDT
In reply to: The writer

the confusion came in with the link where I guess you changed it to "this guy has it right, he understands it".....he understands the democratic process but obviously doesn't like it much. lol

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Obviously the author of the article
by JP Bill / November 2, 2011 8:23 PM PDT

should try and improve his writing skills.

You thought he was condemning Papa and James thought he was commending Papa. The only thing he seems to be clear on (in both your minds) is that he was slamming Obama.

I wonder if the article/thread was more about slamming Obama than the Greek crisis, since that's the only point you 2 seems to be clear on.

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RE: while Obama allowed it in America.
by JP Bill / November 2, 2011 5:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Predatory Lending
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More background on the Greek people & situation.
by James Denison / November 4, 2011 2:12 AM PDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/03/greeks-austerity-grassroots

Thousands of workers are to be put on reduced pay schemes across the
country and hundreds are being fired on a daily basis. The government
has raised already existing taxes and introduced a variety of new ones
across the board, while slashing salaries and pensions in both the
public and private sector. Official unemployment
rose by more than 35% year-to-year and now stands at just under 20%;
homelessness is on an enormous increase across the country, while tax on
food consumption has shot up from 13 to 23%.

At the same time, public
transport is being dismantled and hospitals across the country barely
function. For the first time, there were no books to be distributed in
public schools and universities are in utter disarray. The "bloated"
public sector has been portrayed as responsible
for all the misery the country has to endure. At the same time, social
services have been intentionally abandoned, making it easier for enraged
citizens to accept the privatisation of the public sector in return.

People
here feel the country is gradually sinking, carrying them down a path
dug in arbitrariness and injustice. Yet at this very moment - when it is
not only the rules of the game that are challenged but the game itself -
they seem to feel empowered to act in ways that would not have appeared
feasible in the past: they physically attack politicians, mock and cancel military-inspired national public parades and humiliate army officials attending them, participate in neighbourhood assemblies and mass demonstrations (irrespective of the amount of tear gas
thrown against them by the police), create grassroots trade unions to
demand their labour rights, occupy workplaces, disrupt public services
and protest in violent, impulsive, unpredictable ways.
(more in article)
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more from people
by James Denison / November 4, 2011 2:30 AM PDT

Grey-haired and dragging on a cigarette, Yannis Yannarakos had a lifetime of
grievance to direct at Greek leaders and the European paymasters with their
feet on the nation's throat.


"The strong will always throw the weak on the rocks," he said. "Why did these
countries lend to us when they knew we could not pay? Why did we take the
money and open our markets but not look to ourselves?"


With a bitter sigh he answered his own questions. "Because they wanted control
and now they order us around. No one asked me if I wanted all these loans.
I'd be quite happy if we did not pay them back but got on with our own way
of doing things."


Nearby, the owner of a clothes shop could barely contain her anger : "We have
become slaves to Europe because no one up there can find the solution to our
problems."

"The politicians used power to be re-elected, so they
used the system to get supporters jobs and advantages with the state," said
Manos Psaroudakis, 25, a civil engineer. "Nobody asked if this was right. It
wasn't a mystery, we all knew it was about beating the system."

Greece is a state where the old assumptions have been torn apart. At the doors
of the Bank of Greece, an employee claimed to be as bemused as her
neighbours. "We get so much new information every day that's its impossible
to know what's going on," said Marina Constanou. "I remain optimistic
because if we do not we will lose something of our character."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8868792/Athenians-gripped-by-grim-fury-as-they-are-thrown-on-to-the-rocks.html

http://www.athensnews.gr/editorial/49798

SO IT came to pass that on October 27 Greece was placed under the
supervision of its European partners, as part of a grand deal to
convince banks to erase billions of euros in Greek debt.



It is indeed an eerie coincidence that the deal was hammered out on
the eve of the day Greece traditionally celebrates the refusal (Ochi) (greek word for no! -jd)
of dictator Ioannis Metaxas to buckle under pressure from Fascist leader
Benito Mussolini and allow the passage of Italian troops on Greek soil,
thus ceding national sovereignty.



Despite the analogy, international markets sighed with relief after
the agreement to write down Greek debt and to boost the firepower of
the European bailout fund.


And by the looks of it, Greece has, for now at least, averted a
potentially catastrophic bankruptcy - and the battle to save the euro
goes on.



But for many observers, right, left and centre of the political
spectrum the cost is too high for Greece if that means ceding authority
to European overseers.

They have dismissed, outright, the presence of
the European Commission task force to oversee the implementation of the
sale of Greek state assets and the country's civil service, calling it a
new form of colonialism. On the other hand, as lenders see it, "Greeks
must accept that formal authority is not in Greece's hands." (more in article)

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(NT) Do you still think he made a "smooth move"?
by JP Bill / November 4, 2011 3:08 AM PDT
In reply to: more from people
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Yes
by James Denison / November 4, 2011 3:14 AM PDT

I think he should have stood by it stronger though. He made a very populist move that in the future will sit better with the people than this bailout package will as austerity measures grind the economy down more and more. He can always say he wanted the people to decide and the others didn't. He could have played it better as the glorious hero of the people who stood along against overwhelming political forces from European powers, from opposition party members, and even from those who wanted to backstab him within his own party, the "et tu Brutus" types. Why didn't he stick it out? Not sure. Nevertheless, with the Greek people, in the long run it will serve him better than not having made the referendum proposal.

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Last I heard
by JP Bill / November 4, 2011 3:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes

Confidence vote, even IF he wins...he must resign.

What's smooth about that?

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Sounds like our housing crisis
by Diana Forum moderator / November 4, 2011 5:21 AM PDT
In reply to: more from people

on a government scale.

Diana

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This was especially interesting to me
by TONI H / November 4, 2011 4:09 AM PDT

>>>>The government
has raised already existing taxes and introduced a variety of new ones
across the board, while slashing salaries and pensions in both the
public and private sector.>>>>>

Socialism/tyranny at its worst when the government has the ability to slash the salaries and pensions of not only the public sector that they control, but also THE PRIVATE SECTOR. No wonder the people are trashing the whole country in anger.

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that private sector
by James Denison / November 4, 2011 8:42 AM PDT

I believe is refering to old age and widow's pensions, what we'd call Social Security.

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A little noticed comment that may grow in importance
by James Denison / November 4, 2011 3:08 AM PDT

Basically, Greece pulling out of the Euro is still on the table.

http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/8/49966

The ferocious response of the French and Germans was a signal to
the world that the EU will defend by any means necessary, including the
obliteration of a small member state.


Many Pasok MPs felt that Papandreou had no clue of the magnitude of
his blunder. "Ill-advised by a couple of ministers, [Papandreou]
thought he could have some Yiannis from Larisa decide in a referendum
the fate of a treaty to save Europe and the euro," said one veteran
Pasok MP to colleagues.

Despite the brutal Franco-German attack on his ill-fated proposal, Papandreou defended the referendum.

He admitted that the angry popular protests that marred the October
28 national holiday parades shook the government, as they showed the
situation spun out of control. He said he didn't call elections because
Greece might have gone bankrupt before the polls.


Papandreou revealed that a possible Greek departure from the euro
was discussed in some detail with Merkel and Sarkozy on November 2 in
Cannes. "If Greece decides to leave the euro, we can discuss [a return]
again in ten years," he quoted them as saying.

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The 300
by James Denison / November 4, 2011 9:32 AM PDT
Papandreou wins confidence vote at midnight Friday night. So, it looks like Papandreou will have some maneuver room before they can call for another confidence vote.


Greece's prime minister has survived a confidence vote in parliament,
calming a revolt in his Socialist party with a pledge to seek an
interim government that would secure a vital new European debt deal.Socialist
lawmakers backed the embattled government of George Papandreou in the
vote that ended early Saturday. An AP count showed Papandreou won with
153 votes in the 300-member Parliament.
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