Jul 012015
 July 1, 2015  Posted by at 10:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Harris&Ewing Army surplus 1919

Tsipras Prepared To Accept “All Bailout Conditions” (FT)
Unpublished Troika Documents Say Greece Needs Substantial Debt Relief (Guardian)
Prof. Steve Keen On Greek Debt Crisis (BBC)
Greece’s Creditors Need A Wake-Up Call (Daniel Alpert)
In Greece, IMF Repeats Its Own Mistakes (WSJ)
IMF’s Uneven Dealings With Greece Is Saga Of Embarrassment (Guardian)
In Its Worst Hour, Greece Overtakes Italy as Top Destination for Refugees (BBG)
ECB Poised To Raise Heat On Greece’s Beleaguered Banks (FT)
Why I Set Up The Greek Bailout Crowdfund (Thom Feeney)
China’s Central Bank Can No Longer Save China (MarketWatch)
American Workers Are Burned Out And Overworked (MarketWatch)
We Are Living in the Anti-Europe (Spiegel)
The Euro Is Only Headed Down: Goldman Sachs (CNBC)
Systemic Turmoil, Structural Reform (Jim Kunstler)
The Care and Feeding of a Financial Black Hole (Dmitry Orlov)

Sun Tzu?

Tsipras Prepared To Accept “All Bailout Conditions” (FT)

Alexis Tsipras will accept all his bailout creditors’ conditions that were on the table this weekend with only a handful of minor changes, according to a letter the Greek prime minister sent late Tuesday night and obtained by the Financial Times. The two-page letter, sent to the heads of the EC, IMF and ECB, elaborates on Tuesday’s surprise request for an extension of Greece’s now-expired bailout and for a new, third €29.1bn rescue, writes Peter Spiegel. Although the bailout’s expiry at midnight Tuesday night means the extension is no longer on the table, Mr Tsipras’ new letter could serve as the basis of a new bailout in the coming days.

Mr Tsipras’ letter says Athens will accept all the reforms of his country’s value-added tax system with one change: a special 30 per cent discount for Greek islands, many of which are in remote and difficult-to-supply regions, be maintained. On the contentious issue of pension reform, Mr Tsipras requests that changes to move the retirement age to 67 by 2022 begin in October, rather than immediately. He also requests that a special “solidarity grant” awarded to poorer pensioners, which he agrees to phase out by December 2019, be phased out more slowly than creditors request. “The Hellenic Republic is prepared to accept this staff-level agreement subject to the following amendments, additions or clarifications, as part of an extension of the expiring [bailout] program and the new [third] loan agreement for which a request was submitted today, Tuesday June 30th 2015,” Mr Tsipras wrote.

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No wonder they were never published: policy is 180º removed from the findings.

Unpublished Troika Documents Say Greece Needs Substantial Debt Relief (Guardian)

Greece would face an unsustainable level of debt by 2030 even if it signs up to the full package of tax and spending reforms demanded of it, according to unpublished documents compiled by its three main creditors. The documents, drawn up by the so-called troika of lenders, support Greece’s argument that it needs substantial debt relief for a lasting economic recovery. They show that, even after 15 years of sustained strong growth, the country would face a level of debt that the IMF deems unsustainable. The documents show that the IMF’s baseline estimate – the most likely outcome – is that Greece’s debt would still be 118% of GDP in 2030, even if it signs up to the package of tax and spending reforms demanded.

That is well above the 110% the IMF regards as sustainable given Greece’s debt profile, a level set in 2012. The country’s debt level is currently 175% and likely to go higher because of its recent slide back into recession. The documents admit that under the baseline scenario “significant concessions” are necessary to improve Greece’s chances of ridding itself permanently of its debt financing woes. Even under the best case scenario, which includes growth of 4% a year for the next five years, Greece’s debt levels will drop to only 124%, by 2022. The best case also anticipates €15bn (£10bn) in proceeds from privatisations, five times the estimate in the most likely scenario.

But under all the scenarios, which all assume a third bailout programme, looked at by the troika, Greece has no chance of meeting the target of reducing its debt to “well below 110% of GDP by 2022” set by the Eurogroup of finance ministers in November 2012. In the creditors own words: “It is clear that the policy slippages and uncertainties of the last months have made the achievement of the 2012 targets impossible under any scenario”. These projections are from the report Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis for Greece, one of six documents that are part of the full set of materials that comprise the “final” proposal sent to Greece by its creditors last Friday.

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Prof. Steve Keen On Greek Debt Crisis (BBC)

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Sound analysis.

Greece’s Creditors Need A Wake-Up Call (Daniel Alpert)

Why would the banks and bond buyers of northern Europe have lent money to Greece in the first place? Or, for that matter, to housing speculators in Spain, to banks in Ireland or to the governments of Italy and Portugal? The answer is that the structure of the incomplete European monetary union gave them strong incentive to do so. After all, with substantial excess wealth and a resistance to inflating their own economies through internal spending, the euro regime itself encouraged trade-surplus countries such as Germany and the Netherlands to lend to their weaker brethren in order to bolster the peripheral countries’ ability to import even more of the surplus nations’ production (to the increasing benefit of the latter and the eventual implosion of the former).

And they were able to do so in a common currency, without the risk of currency devaluation by borrowers. This was mercantilism writ large and was without precedent in modern economic history, as there is no mechanism in the EMU to resolve the resulting imbalances and the captive peripheral countries had relinquished their ability to address the imbalances by adjusting exchange rates. And yet the credit providers expected -and still expect- to get their money back. The flip side of this debacle is that, when Greece defaults (or goes into what the IMF will almost certainly deem on this week to be “arrears,” to avoid use of the “D” word), there is really not much that the IMF, the ECB and the euro group central banks can do to get their money back.

And therein lies the realpolitik of the situation. Yes, it is not unlikely that the ECB may conclude that, upon Greece’s default, that country’s banks are no longer solvent and are not worthy of infusions of additional euro to maintain their liquidity. And, yes, that would result in the prolonging of the bank-capital controls Greece instituted on Monday to hold onto whatever euro they have left, and likely even to the issuance by Greece of an internal (and heavily devalued) currency to permit its moribund economy some semblance of functionality.

But none of those things will get the rest of the Europeans their money back. Moreover, as there is no provision in the treaty governing the EMU for ejecting a country from the euro zone (and certainly no basis for ejecting Greece from the European Union), further recourse is severely limited and of questionable force even if it were available. As a result, Greece, with its back to the wall already and its economy in shambles, will suffer further until it rebuilds but it will suffer the double-edged fate of a “debtor-in-possession,” to use a U.S. bankruptcy analogy. It will no longer be making payments on its debt, and may end up disavowing some of that debt altogether, but will remain a sovereign power in possession of its internal assets and resources. And unlike a private party in bankruptcy, Greece will be operating under its own rule of law.

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The IMF is in the hands of the lenders, who don’t want restructuring. The IMF is making itself redundant.

In Greece, IMF Repeats Its Own Mistakes (WSJ)

As Greece defaults on its payments to the IMF, is the emergency lender at risk of repeating bailout history? So say some of its sharpest critics. A host of economists have accused the IMF of setting up Greece for failure in 2010 by rejecting an initial debt restructuring and focusing heavily on near-term budget cuts. Instead of a return to growth by 2012, as the fund forecast, the country’s economy ended up shrinking by 25% over four years. By 2012, the IMF appeared to have learned its lesson. Besides facilitating a restructuring of privately held debt, fund officials also pressed Europe to give Greece significantly more debt relief. The IMF seemingly took every opportunity to remind the eurozone of its promise to help cut Greece’s debt ratio to significantly below 110% of GDP from over 170%.

Some IMF officials privately said it would be difficult to reach that level without a write-down of the value of the debt. The fund also admitted that it underestimated the effects of budget belt-tightening on Greece and other eurozone countries. And the fund gave a half-hearted mea culpa in 2013, saying that a restructuring earlier would have been helpful, (despite saying in the same breath it wouldn’t have done anything different). But Ajai Chopra, a visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a former deputy director of the IMF’s European Department, said recent bailout negotiations with Greece show the IMF and European creditors are treading the same ground.

“They are bent on repeating past policy errors of forcing drastic growth-killing fiscal adjustment in a short period of time instead of providing debt relief,” Mr. Chopra said. “I recognize that it is a fantasy to think that creditors are willing to adopt a less stifling mix of financing and adjustment that promotes growth,” he said. “But it is equally a fantasy to think the current set of policies insisted on by creditors will address Greece’s long-term problems.” Joseph Stiglitz, a Columbia University professor and former chief economist for the World Bank, said “doubling down on a set of recipes that have proven themselves to produce a depression is not a recipe for success.”

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“The body watered down long-held lending principles and its economic projections turned out to be worthless..”

IMF’s Uneven Dealings With Greece Is Saga Of Embarrassment (Guardian)

One big loser from Greece’s (likely) default is the reputation of the IMF. The IMF, we used to believe, only stepped in when a country’s path to debt sustainability was clear and economic revival could be plotted with reasonable confidence. The organisation’s standing as a global lender of last resort relied on the even-handed application of that principle. In Greece, it’s hard to say the debt was ever sustainable in the world after the global financial crisis of 2007-09. In 2010, when the IMF contributed €30bn to the first bailout programme, Greece hadn’t yet experienced its deep recession. But the risk of deep spending cuts making the position worse was obvious: the unpromising backdrop was a weak eurozone in which banks remained under-capitalised.

Indeed, the IMF itself has admitted that it let its lending standards slip in Greece and that its economic projections may have been “overly optimistic”. A 2013 evaluation report confessed there was “a tension between the need to support Greece and the concern that debt was not sustainable with high probability.” The response was “to lower the bar for debt sustainability in systemic cases”. In other words, Greece was viewed as an exceptional case because it was a member of the eurozone, where a blow-up could ricochet around the world. You can’t blame non-eurozone contributors to the IMF coffers for smelling a European rat. The managing director of the IMF in 2010 was Dominique Strauss-Kahn and he was followed by another member of the French financial establishment, Christine Lagarde.

Hindsight is perfect but even in 2010 the IMF was behaving out of character. Normally, the body only gets involved when other lenders have been made to accept steep losses. In Greece, debt relief only arrived in the second bailout in 2012 and, even then, private lenders suffered only modest financial pain. Over the past six months of talks, the IMF’s stance on debt write-downs has also been wishy-washy: it seemed to be in favour without ever championing the cause openly. In the end, the IMF, at the head of the queue of creditors, will probably be repaid by Greece. But this saga is an embarrassment. The body watered down long-held lending principles and its economic projections turned out to be worthless. There is fuel there for critics of the IMF who argue the body is designed for the pre-globalisation world of the 1940s. Those voices will grow louder.

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Plent of misery to go around.

In Its Worst Hour, Greece Overtakes Italy as Top Destination for Refugees (BBG)

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Greece. With the country on its knees, the number of refugees arriving by sea is at a record and for the first time overtakes Italy, a country almost nine times as rich. In the first six months of the year, Greece – a country of 11 million – received more migrants than Italy – a country of 60 million – according to a report by the UN Refugee Agency. The reason is Syria. Almost 40,000 Syrians seeking to escape the war take the eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to reach a handful of Greek islands, principally Lesbos. Conditions on arrival are notoriously inadequate and unlikely to get better with the country now under capital controls with its citizens limited to 60 euros a day in daily withdrawals.

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Not its function.

ECB Poised To Raise Heat On Greece’s Beleaguered Banks (FT)

When the eurozone’s central bankers meet in Frankfurt on Wednesday, they could make a decision which some officials fear could push one or more of Greece’s largest banks over the edge. The ECB’s governing council is poised to impose tougher haircuts on the collateral Greek lenders place in exchange for the emergency loans. If the haircuts are tough enough, it could leave banks struggling to access vital funding. The ECB on Sunday imposed an €89bn ceiling for so-called emergency liquidity assistance, effectively putting the Greek banking system into hibernation. If, to reflect the increased risk of default, the ECB now applied bigger discounts to the Greek government bonds and government-backed assets which lenders use as collateral, that could leave banks struggling to roll over those emergency overnight loans.

Doubts abound in Frankfurt and Brussels about whether all of Greece’s four biggest banks can survive the week. Even with bank branches closed until next Tuesday and ATM withdrawals limited to €60, officials fear some of the country’s lenders are so weak that they will struggle to honour their customers until Sunday’s referendum, when Greeks will decide whether to accept the terms offered by international creditors. The Syriza-led government’s confirmation that it will not pay the €1.5bn it owes to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday and the expectation that Athens will fall out of its bailout programme at midnight has put the ECB in a delicate position.

The ECB’s senior officials have now openly acknowledged the possibility of a Greek exit from the currency union. Benoît Cœuré, a member of the ECB’s executive board, told French newspaper Les Echos in an interview published on Tuesday: “A Greek exit from the eurozone, so far a theoretical issue, can unfortunately not be excluded any more.”

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Still got a few billion to go.

Why I Set Up The Greek Bailout Crowdfund (Thom Feeney)

You know when you just have a little idea, have a laugh to yourself and then move on with your day? I do that a lot, only on Sunday night, I didn’t let it pass but decided to try it out for real. I wondered, could the people of Europe have a crack at fixing this? Less talk, more direct action So, sat at the table after dinner, I started a crowdfunding campaign to try to rescue the Greek economy. Some basic maths told me that I only needed the entire population of Europe to donate €3.19 (£2.26) to reach the amount of the bailout fund. I included some nice perks for donating, including a Greek salad and holiday in Athens for two, and set up a page on IndieGoGo and a Twitter account.

Nobody was that interested at first, but after a couple of small stories on the internet, the idea seemed to explode overnight. I woke up to 1,200 emails and it got even more crazy from there. I set up the crowdfunding campaign to support the Greek bailout because I was fed up with the dithering of our politicians. Every time a solution to bail out Greece is delayed, it’s a chance for politicians to posture and display their power, but during this time the real effect is on the people of Greece. I wondered, could the people of Europe just have a crack at fixing this? Less talk, more direct action. If we want to sort it, let’s JFDI (just effing do it)! On Tuesday, between leaving for work and returning home, the crowdfunding page had raised over €200,000 in around six hours, which was incredible.

This isn’t just about raising the cash, though. In providing the perks, we would be stimulating the Greek economy through trade – buying Greek products and employing Greeks to source and send the perks out. The way to help a struggling economy is by investment and stimulus – not austerity and cuts. This crowdfunding is a reaction to the bullying of the Greek people by European politicians, but it could easily be about British politicians bullying the people of the north of England, Scotland and Wales. I want the people of Europe to realise that there is another option to austerity, despite what David Cameron and Angela Merkel tell you.

The reaction has been tremendous, I’ve received thousands of goodwill message and as I write almost €630,000 has been pledged by more than 38,000 donors. Many Greek people are messaging me to say how overjoyed they are to hear that real people around Europe care about them. It must be hard when you think the rest of the continent is against you.

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Danger ahead.

China’s Central Bank Can No Longer Save China (MarketWatch)

China’s domestic stock markets may have bounced back Tuesday, but the damage from the panic despite interest-rate and reserve-ratio cuts at the weekend will take longer to heal. The big problem is that the People’s Bank of China explicitly targeted the plunging stock market, and yet the Shanghai Composite kept falling, revealing that the PBOC was not in control. Even after Tuesday afternoon’s sharp rebound, the index is still flirting with bear territory, taken as a 20% drop from the recent high. The reprieve for the stock market came only after the Ministry of Finance stepped in to say that the state’s pension fund may be allowed to invest up to 30% of its 3.5 trillion yuan ($565 billion) into securities.

Now that the PBOC has played its hand — and revealed it to be a weak one — the next question is: What else is beyond its control? This new frailty can be expected to resonate beyond the millions of novice retail investors who might now conclude the Chinese equity rally is over. So much of the “risk-on” case for China is underpinned by a belief that a Beijing Put of never-ending stimulus can be deployed whenever the authorities so choose. This goes together with a belief that policy makers have a plan to deal with slower growth, scary debt levels, and negotiating a variety of financial and currency reforms. Yet much of this is faith based on little more than fear, as the alternative is so unpalatable.

For now, the immediate concern is what the ongoing slump in Chinese shares does to the psyche of domestic retail investors. As this column has argued, the new issues market is pivotal, as it has been instrumental in driving stock mania by continuously delivering outsized gains. Reports that China’s securities regulator is considering suspending IPOs to help stabilize the wider market underlines this. But it could be a high-risk move and just as easily send an unequivocal signal that the bull market is over.

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“..how can workers say they feel both burned out and claim to be happy?”

American Workers Are Burned Out And Overworked (MarketWatch)

American workers have found themselves in a 21st century paradox. More than half of Americans (53%) are burned out and overworked, according to an inaugural survey of more than 2,000 workers by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of office supplier Staples. And yet an overwhelming number (86%) say they’re happy and willing to work for a promotion within their organization, says Dan Schawbel, founder of WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory service for the human resources industry, who helped create the Staples survey. So how can workers say they feel both burned out and claim to be happy?

“While many are still happy at work, we have to ask whether it’s because they’re truly inspired and motivated, or simply conditioned to the new reality,” says Schawbel, who is also the author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success” and founder of Millennial Branding, a management and consulting firm. “People understand that this is just the world they’re living in now.” But all this overworking may be hurting productivity, the survey found. About half of respondents acknowledged they receive too much email, with about one-third of those saying that email overload hurts productivity. There is an expectation to be always available: The majority of people (52%) who send a work-related email expect a reply within 12 and 24 hours, according to a separate survey released earlier this year of 1,500 people by MailTime.com, an app that aims to organize and simplify emails.

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“..it is those institutions that are farthest from the voters that wield the greatest power – the ECB, the IMF and the executive.”

We Are Living in the Anti-Europe (Spiegel)

Tired. Everyone is so tired — the politicians, the people, the media, the institutions, democracy. Europe is tired, exhausted, haggard. Yet another marathon negotiating session? How many have there already been? Yet again these tired eyes of overexertion of those involved in the negotiations. Once again a postponement or a compromise that nobody is convinced of and is really just the start of the next crisis. This is how things have been proceeding for years now. Enough already. We don’t want to speak of greatness, or of political heroes or of far-reaching actions. That’s difficult in a complex system like Europe. We want to speak of the minimum: Politics requires successes in order to legitimate itself. It has to solve problems, especially the really tough ones that require a lot of effort.

But that’s not happening. In the case of Greece, all we have been seeing are pseudo-solutions, if even that. A brief breather is always given, only to be followed by the next marathon meeting and the next expedited proceedings in the German parliament. The exhaustion will continue to grow, as will the weariness that will catapult the next populists into power – the very ones who will make solving the problems even harder. It’s a vicious cycle. But exhaustion is merely one of the costs of this permanent state of crisis. The truth is that we have lost Europe in recent years. It is no longer the Europe that its generation of founders and builders promised – people like Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Kohl and François Mitterrand. It’s almost the opposite. What we are living in today is an anti-Europe.

Much has contributed to this state of affairs – not least the euro crisis. But nothing has been as damaging as the protracted fight over Greece. Europe promised joint growth for everyone. Instead we have competition for prosperity. Many Germans don’t want to have to sacrifice anything for Greece, whereas many Greeks expect Germans to make a contribution to ensure that what the Greeks are forced to give up doesn’t become too harsh. Europe promised an end to nationalist thinking and even the end of the nation-state at some point in the future. In truth, the Continent is going through a renationalization. Few continue to believe in the greater good and the states have their eyes set on their own interests.

Europe promised reconciliation with its history. But instead, history has become a weapon, with Greece demanding that Germany pay World War II reparations. Meanwhile, images of German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a Hitler mustache have become a regular feature at anti-austerity protests all over Europe. Europe promised political equality. The intention was for France and Germany to lead on the Continent, while at the same time taking into account the concerns of the smaller member states. But in the crisis, Germany has overtaken its partners and become the EU’s dominant power.

Europe promised a Europe of the people. Instead, it is those institutions that are farthest from the voters that wield the greatest power – the ECB, the IMF and the executive. Parliaments, on the other hand, which have the greatest democratic legitimacy, are being forced to fast-track their approval of decisions made in Brussels.

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“..the euro has been like a brick – you can throw it, just not very far..”

The Euro Is Only Headed Down: Goldman Sachs (CNBC)

Amid Greece’s Sisyphean drama, the euro has been like a brick – you can throw it, just not very far. But that’s only temporary, Goldman Sachs says, sticking with its call for near-parity with the dollar. “This week’s jump in the euro on news of the Greek referendum made no sense to us,” the bank’s analysts said in a note Tuesday. “We continue to see mounting tensions over Greece as a catalyst for the euro-dollar to go near parity, if contagion to other peripherals causes the European Central Bank (ECB) to accelerate quantitative easing.” In one year’s time, the euro will be fetching just 95 cents, Goldman said.

Greece missed a repayment worth about €1.5 billion that was due to the IMF Tuesday, making it the first advanced nation to ever default on a debt to the global financial stability agency. That followed months of contentious negotiations with its creditors over exchanging reforms for another bailout. Those talks came to a standstill after a surprise move by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to call for a referendum on whether to accept the creditors’ proposals, even though those proposals may no longer be on the table. The country is now subject to capital controls, meaning funds can no longer be transferred outside the country and ATM withdrawals are limited to just €60 a day.

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“All this trouble with money comes from one meta problem: aggregate industrial growth has ended.”

Systemic Turmoil, Structural Reform (Jim Kunstler)

Can anyone stabilize this bitch? At daybreak, anyway, the Federal Reserve governors were all bagging Z’s in their trundle beds. Maybe after a few pumpkin lattes they’ll jump in and tell their trading shills to BTFD. The soma-like perma-trance among those who follow markets and money matters appears to be ending abruptly with the recognition that sometimes robots and humans alike run shrieking to the exit. A pity when they get to the door and discover it opens onto a cliff-edge. Look out below.

All this trouble with money comes from one meta problem: aggregate industrial growth has ended. It has stopped more in some parts of the world than others, while in the USA it has actually been contracting. The cause is simple: the end of cheap energy, oil in particular. At over $70-a-barrel the price kills economies; under $70-a-barrel the price kills oil production. The bottom line is that, in the broadest sense, the world can no longer count on getting more stuff, except waste, garbage, political unrest, and the other various effects of entropy. From now on, there is only less of everything for a global population that has not stopped growing. The folks on-board are still having sex, of course, which has a certain byproduct.

This dynamic was plain to see a decade ago, but the people who run finance and governments thought it would be a good idea to maintain the appearance of growth via the usufruct mechanisms of central banking: ZIRP, QE, market intervention, and universal accounting fraud. It’s not working so well. Debt was generated in place of the missing growth, and now there is too much of it that can’t be repaid on a coherent schedule. Many nations, parties, and entities are in trouble with debt and the prospective defaults are starting to pile up like SUVs on a fog-bound highway. Greece is just the first one fishtailing into a guard-rail.

The magic moment will come when it becomes obvious that these systemic quandaries have no solution. The system itself is programmed for implosion, in particular and most immediately the banking sector, where most of the untruth and illusion is lodged these days. As it stands exposed, the people are compelled to shake off their faith in what it represents: order, authority, trust. Institutions fail and each failure acts as a black hole, sucking air, light, and even time out of the system.

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“..it’s puppets all the way down.”

The Care and Feeding of a Financial Black Hole (Dmitry Orlov)

A while ago I had the pleasure of hearing Sergey Glazyev—economist, politician, member of the Academy of Sciences, adviser to Pres. Putin—say something that very much confirmed my own thinking. He said that anyone who knows mathematics can see that the United States is on the verge of collapse because its debt has gone exponential. These aren’t words that an American or a European politician can utter in public, and perhaps not even whisper to their significant other while lying in bed, because the American eavesdroppers might overhear them, and then the politician in question would get the Dominique Strauss-Kahn treatment (whose illustrious career ended when on a visit to the US he was falsely accused of rape and arrested).

And so no European (never mind American) politician can state the obvious, no matter how obvious it is. The Russians have that pretty well figured out by now. Yes, maintaining a dialogue and cordial directions with the Europeans is important. But it is well understood that the Europeans are just a bunch of American puppets with no will or decision-making authority of their own, so why not talk to the Americans directly? Alas, the Americans too are puppets. The American officials and politicians are definitely puppets, controlled by corporate lobbyists and shady oligarchs. But here’s a shocker: these are also puppets—controlled by the simple imperatives of profitability and wealth preservation, respectively. In fact, it’s puppets all the way down. And what’s at the bottom is a giant, ever-expanding, financial black hole.

Do you like your black hole? If you aren’t sure you like it, then let me ask you some other questions: Do you like the fact that your credit cards still work, or that you can still keep money in the bank and even get cash out of an ATM, or that you are either receiving or hope to eventually receive a pension? Do you like the fact that you can get useful things—food, gas, airline tickets—for mere pieces of paper with pictures of dead white men on them? Do you like the fact that you have internet access, that the lights are on, and that there is water on tap? Well, if you like these things, then you must also like the financial black hole, because that’s what’s making all of these things possible in spite of your country being bankrupt. Perhaps it’s a love-hate relationship: you love being able to pretend that everything is still OK even though you know it isn’t, and you wish to enjoy a bit more of the business-as-usual before it all goes to hell, be it for a few more days or another year or two; but you hate the fact that eventually the black hole will suck you in, after which point things will definitely… suck.

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Home Forums Debt Rattle July 1 2015

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    Harris&Ewing Army surplus 1919 • Tsipras Prepared To Accept “All Bailout Conditions” (FT) • Unpublished Troika Documents Say Greece Needs Substantial
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle July 1 2015]


    Greece – “Heartbreaking” Scene Unfolds At Greek Banks As Pensioners Clamor For Cash

    “And so, as sad as it is, the scene that unfolded today in front of the roughly one-third of Greek bank branches which opened their doors to pensioners, may have been preordained by the powers that be in Burssels because as we said yesterday evening, breaking Syriza’s voter base may have been necessary in order for the Troika to finally force Tsipras to relent or else risk being driven from office, after capital controls and depositor haircuts force public sector employees to collectively cry “Uncle”, beg Europe to take it back, and present Merkel with Tsipras and Varoufakis’ heads on a proverbial (and metaphorical, we hope) silver platter.”


    Diogenes Shrugged

    Martin Armstrong has a different assessment (very short blurb).


    All of his articles today are pertinent.

    Back in the 1990’s, Aaron Russo was close friends with Nick Rockefeller. He asked why, with all their money and power, they pursued more of both with such zeal. After all, what was the point? What was the goal? Rockefeller told him the ultimate goal was to get everybody on the planet chipped. That would give the elites absolute control.

    First two minutes:

    Chipping everybody would certainly be easier to accomplish if their designs on radical population reduction, for one thing, were achieved. Or maybe you think those nice people at the top will change their minds if enough angry people march in the streets. They command the world’s police and militaries (mercenaries, all), knuckleheads. Are you daft?

    Remember Bush senior back in the early 1990’s telling us confidently and smugly about how the NWO would eventually be instituted? Were you as disturbed as I was at his self-assuredness? Still at a loss to explain that smug confidence? Still hope he was mistaken?

    Ilargi: About that charitable fund you set up to help Greeks. I recommend you purchase as many old, cheap Russian sniper rifles from WWII as you possibly can, and plenty of ammunition. I know you’ll scoff. But I’d bet more than you have in your fund that you’ll someday realize, in retrospect, that it would have been the only sensible thing to have done. After all, five or six grand will only support *one* Greek family for a month or two. Or not even a week once the shelves go bare. Pensions? Don’t make me laugh. Sure, with plenty of caviar.

    The last impediment to total, permanent, worldwide economic dictatorship is American gun owners. If the American gun owner is eradicated, as looks to be the objective of Jade Helm, then I hope you’ll be happy with your chip. No more plastic cards, no more checking out at Walmart, no more elections, no more jury duty, no more free speech, no more personal opinions or important decisions. For a cursory glimpse at what this utopian paradise will look like, look no further than North Korea. Everybody smiling because it’s REQUIRED. Enjoy!

    In Greece, the uppity ones will soon be dead. Long live the Euro.


    After today’s capitulation, Alex Tsipras must resign immediately. We’ve all been watching this drama for many months now. One day Tsipras says one thing, the next, the absolute opposite. Regardless of whether it’s a case of bribery or blackmail – J. Edgar style, whether he’s insane or incompetent, this is the final straw.

    i hope and suspect that SYRIZA is meeting right now and voting to demand his resignation as leader. If not, the Greek Parliament must, by the end of the day today demand a non-confidence vote.

    IMO, it’s most likely that Tsipras has had some sort of mental breakdown. It’s all so sad. No matter which side you’re on though, this morning’s capitulation isn’t just another twist in some game. Tsipras must resign immediately.


    mr.mud – who knows what’s going on. He’s either had a mental breakdown or he’s been seriously threatened (he, his family, or his country). These guys don’t play around. We still don’t know what really happened to Kennedy. It could be, “You go along with what we want or your family is dead tomorrow.” And they mean it. You play with these sociopathic type thinkers, who have little to no empathy, guilt or shame, and you’re playing with fire. We have to consider that maybe that’s what’s going on.

    Another site said, “Moreover, Germany wasn’t even the most hardline country; Portugal, Spain, and Latvia are more hostile to cutting Greece any slack since their leaders had their citizens wear the austerity hairshirt.” He doesn’t even have the backing of the other countries who are getting creamed. If he did, that would make all the difference. He must be under tremendous pressure.

    They are going to literally crush that country just to make an example of them.

    John Day

    Ambrose has a good take on the apparent ups and downs of the negotiating stance of Alexis Tsipras. He may be positioning Greece to be financially blameless.
    I’m no expert. He is. This is an interesting angle.


    In response to someone who suggested that “the resulting defeat for Greece may have essentially been preordained from the beginning by the starting conditions,” Yves Smith had this to say:

    “They will either Grexit, which will be even worse than implementing structural reform, or they will have to swallow accepting even worse term than offered in the hostile negotiations of last month.

    Literally, any course that kept them from defaulting and letting the politicians turn the ECB loose would have been better. That’s why I have been so hard on Syriza. It was obvious to anyone who understood an iota about banking that the ECB had the power to bring the Greek government to its knees, quickly. And the Greek government created the circumstances that gave the politicians and the ECB the cover they needed. […]

    In other words, there’s a reason the Greek government says “no Grexit”. It’s not just to appease the voters. It’s also that some of the officials, particularly Varoufakis, understand or at least have a sense of what a catastrophe it would be. […]

    You be nice, you admit privately that you are a bankrupt (the appearance of contrition is an important part of the ritual of negotiating with creditors) and you move into pragmatics. You take whatever you get cause you got ‘nuthing to fight with.

    That may not be emotionally satisfactory, but the government has a duty to the citizenry. Saving lives is more important than national ego. Syriza had its priorities ass backwards. Syriza was in no position to take on the Eurocrats and ECB. Only France or Italy could pull that off. Syriza was running a 21st century Charge of the Light Brigade playbook. We know how that movie ended.”


    Nicole Foss

    Here’s a street-level view of events in Thessaloniki in German by a German/Greek woman visiting from Germany:

    Bericht aus Griechenland: Chaos pur, und es wird jede Minute schlimmer

    Google Translate version:

    10.13 Clock: After three days I am back in Germany Greece. After landing on the way home I could not believe my eyes: At around 15 kilometers expressway (weekdays at the time getting busier to heavy traffic) I have counted a total of three cars. Also in place is all eerily empty, few people in the street. Shops (even incl. Supermarkets) are empty. I have not been shopping yesterday, but today will go check times, what about the offer. Furthermore, long queues at the ATM.

    It is clear that there is already the capital controls massive difficulties. Our beverage supplier for the restaurant (alcohol and soft drinks) has already informed us about the fact that so few goods are currently not available, as import goods – and that these can not be cleared.

    If that’s been with us so, then I want to know how the hits in the big hotels so. Since there is then at the bar soon only Amstel, Heineken and Green Coke or something? And on the buffet are feta and olives …. Not that I have anything against that, but that is likely to be bad for the tourism destination Greece.

    Flown by the way I am with AirBerlin, typically brimming with tourists. Quite confused, and with money in your pocket …

    Speaking of money in your pocket: The number of robberies has increased by leaps and bounds. As a rule, it is evidently raids on people immediately after lift-off at the bank (was especially in the days when the banks had still or ATMs spit out more than the 60 euros that there is now even a day ). Supposedly yes get more with their non-Greek maps tourists / foreigners were allowed to spread. But since I am in possession of a CoBa card, I can announce: Bullshit.

    In general, the mood is very depressed, fear reigns. With “Yes” those will vote who have nothing to lose anyway, who are desperate and have no perspective. All this chaos busy here so far way, virtually no one with whom I have spoken, the Tsipras troupe at. How long this will continue for however, I am unable to say.

    So yesterday was the pensioners who are members of UCI (which is the pension fund for farmers) announced that it will apply until further notice no or very reduced pensions. There are about one million pensioners concerned, I read. Many retirees are currently doubly affected because they have no bank card and can not get their pensions, but need the money urgently. For them, the banks have now opened, it must be chaotic scenes have played.

    Then something else. Yesterday here one of the worst storms has descended that I have experienced over the years here. Duration and amount of precipitation were incredible. I see cars floating away. According to the weather map the phenomenon was so violent all the way down to Athens. I have not seen any other reports, but if that was so, should have suffered the harvest. Poor in the current situation.

    12:23 clock: On Monday just wanted all the 20 passengers on the Western Cyclades. The famous island hopping is first past.

    16:12 clock: transactions that require online payment (via credit card) are no longer possible for customers of Greek banks since today. The AppStore is closed, Ryanair tickes there are only against cash at the counter.

    16:54 Clock: A huge banner hanging on the Ministry of Finance. Advertising for a “No” on the referendum day. Varoufakis tweets: “Not in my name.” Goods allegedly activists of some unions.

    17:07 Clock: A US tour operators should not pay the note, we do not know so, whether the money arrive or remain blocked supposedly Greek hoteliers. Now that’s really not the problem of the tour operator, and if he has paid, he has paid, perhaps ne excuse. But now the company dying really begins. Man, where is this going to end?

    17:00 clock: More than 50 percent of all private loans are now in default. And the banks fight back tooth and nail against the “collection” of real estate. These qualities are virtually worthless. Have a friend who works in the “recovery department” of Piräusbank. The thought: We accept virtually everything, but just not Immos.

    17:37 clock: Lidl Greece does not accept Greek banks more.

    18:01 clock: Level I wrote an acquaintance on Facebook, which is currently in Canada: Your husband should comply with Skygreece tomorrow (Greek line). Received Call: Since the plane is currently in Budapest and you can not send the money to fuel him, he remains on the ground. Maybe Friday then ….

    18:18 clock: In the evening, the limit for withdrawals of 60 euros was reduced to 50 euros – because the 10s and 20s Euro bills are all.

    20:19 clock: Why does one weeping, starving old only now in the news? I had the ARD can show those years ago. But there was the not, because there were only lazy, ouzosaufende, prassende Greeks.

    Had shown many years ago, in which abject poverty and despair among others, the policy of the Troika much of the population has fallen, so you’d better understand today why so many people are on Sunday probably vote “No”.

    John Day

    Thanks Nicole.

    Diogenes Shrugged

    An interesting half-hour interview of Dmitry Orlov by Pete Santilli via Skype yesterday:

    How can the quality of electronic communications be so flawed in an era of advanced electronics? The Santilli Skype and Google translation from Greek (above) make me wonder. It’s certainly not for want of lots of expensive equipment. Anyway, Dmitry said things I hadn’t realized before and I was glad to have run across the interview.


    Nicole – great post, empty streets, empty shops. Must be terribly scary for the Greeks.

    Diogenes – Dmitry Orlov is always such a good listen. Thanks for posting that.

    TAE Summary

    * What people want:
    – Greek pensioners want their promised-pay paid to them
    – Rockefeller’s want everyone to be chipped as a means of control
    – George Bush wants a New World Order
    – Diogenes wants to donate sniper rifles to the Greeks
    – Portugal, Spain and Latvia want Greece to suffer like they have

    * TPTB:
    – Are sociopaths
    – Don’t care if we march in the streets
    – Play for keeps
    – Have no empathy, guilt, shame or pesky calls from insulation salesmen

    * Fear reigns; North Korea is a Utopian paradise; American gun owners are the stopper that keeps evil in the bottle and Jade Helm is the corkscrew; Shoot first, ask for donations later; The Euro is dead, Long live the Euro

    * Alex Tsirpas should be forced to voluntarily quit; He speaks out of both sides of his bifurcated mouth; He has been either bribed, blackmailed or mentally broken down; This had better be the last straw

    * Greece:
    – Shouldn’t have defaulted
    – Has painted itself into two opposite corners
    – Is empty except for robbers on floating cars
    – Should value lives over national ego
    – Uppity Greeks will be the first ones up against the wall

    * Greek phrase of the day:
    – Pragmatic Utopian Paradise = Systematic non-existent pleasure grounds for the rich


    @ TAE Summary – Thanks, have missed your commentaries!

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