It’s got a groove, it’s got a meaning

The Washington Post is edging closer to calling for a coup in Greece:

Diehl

Ignatius
Lane






224 replies
  1. 1
    Peale says:

    So beyond Tsipras, what are the odds that Charles Lane has already started making out a list of the Greeks he’d most like to see tortured and killed.

  2. 2
    EconWatcher says:

    I don’t know how you can hate Bobo so much, with Charles Lane around.

    Yeah, the slaughter of 3,000 unarmed political dissidents in dungeons and a soccer stadium turned into a concentration camp–hilarious! (And fun!)

  3. 3
    chopper says:

    @EconWatcher:

    i’m sure the CIA is going to get right on overthrowing syriza.

  4. 4
    JPL says:

    I streamed Morning Joe, and keeping with his asshole persona, he explained to his guests, that they had no idea what was going on in Greece. Only he did and these folks just needed to get a job.

  5. 5

    The denizens of MSM punditry are vying with each other for the stupidest analysis of the Greek crisis.
    Robert Samuelson has been the most stupid so far and Roger Cohen the most mean spirited.

    ETA: This is list is by no means exhaustive but restricted to NYT and Washpost.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: I think there was a little more to what happened in Chile than just CIA actions. Just saying.

  7. 7
    Bobby B. says:

    @Peale: It’s no surprise that REDACTED and the CIA have a prepared list somewhere.

  8. 8
    EconWatcher says:

    I think Syriza is doing a fine job destroying itself, with no need for foreign help.

    But what makes you think the CIA wouldn’t dabble, or that the very notion of it is laughable? You do know Greece has been one of the CIA’s bigger playgrounds over the years, right?

  9. 9
    boatboy_srq says:

    @EconWatcher: Lane is outright wingnutty. Brooks pretends he’s reasonable and moderate (assuming “reasonable” translates as “willing to listen to both sides of the Conservatist whinge” and “moderate” means “less b#tsh!t-crazy than O’Reilly and able to use complete sentences”). I’m actually surprised that he didn’t connect Tsipras with Mossadegh and the ECB with BP.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    I’m so confused by this mess. IANAFE, so this shit makes no sense. Greece can run up huge debts, then say “FU” to the countries they owe quite a bit of scratch to, and then appear at the negotiating table (instead of, what I think is more appropriate, bankrupcy court) and start with demands? Is the idea here that Greece will negotiate to pay pennies on the dollar of debt under the threat of possibly paying nothing?

    Kinda hard to see them having trading partners going foward if this is the way they do bidness.

  12. 12
    Botsplainer says:

    I hate-listened to my local Clear Channel right wing radio this morning. The local substitute conservatard woman had some media guy on to discuss the economic ramifications of all those lazy, wanting Germany to give them free money Greeks.

    Her media economic expert thought they spend Euros in England, didn’t mention a word about how Greece never got compensated by the Germans for war damage or the German war debts the German occupation authorities mandated that the Greek national bank take on. Also, conveniently forgot to mention how basically, Northern European banks laundered their CDS exposure through Greek bonds, without the Greek people benefitting from those bonds in terms of investment in Greece.

  13. 13
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I think there was a little more to what happened in Chile than just CIA actions

    did i say there wasn’t?

  14. 14

    @Botsplainer: Even on Balloon Juice this type of thinking has its sympathizers, read comments at # 8 and # 11.

  15. 15
    catclub says:

    @EconWatcher: I know that the CIA has a history of doing very stupid things, but I think the amount of worry about a tide of socialism/communism starting in Greece and spreading to ‘the homeland’ is pretty small.
    Kind of different from the Allende/Chile case.

    At least, I sure hope so.

    ETA: Never mind that Greece is more Europe’s problem than the US’s.

  16. 16
    Face says:

    The last time Greece went this route, I read somewhere on a finance blog that one of the probs in Greece (besides rampant unemployment) is that the country is almost too socialist. The article talked about how little most Greeks expect to work (both hours per day and overall years) because the gov’t pays for so much. I have absolutely no idea if the blog was correct or FoS, but I’ve heard some anecdotes myself of just how different the work ethic is between the typical Greek, and, say, German.

    Perhaps this is why their economy sucks, or perhaps it’s because the lack of industry?

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    Tsipras playing footsie with Putin has led to a flood of unhinged ‘assessments’ in the intelligence community. Discuss.

    Mitt Romney said that Russia is our ‘number one geopolitical foe‘. Discuss.

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: By implication, yes. YMMV.

  19. 19
    Punchy says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: I’m guessing yes to your question. The old saw applies here, “$10K in debt? The bank owns you. $10B in debt? You own the bank”.

  20. 20
    chopper says:

    @EconWatcher:

    when talking about what those guys did in chile you’re not talking about ‘dabbling’.

  21. 21

    I think if the foreign bond holders had not been bailed out by the EU, while the ordinary Greeks had been told ‘austerity now, austerity forever, ya lazy Greeks’, I’d feel slightly more sympathy for the rest of the EU.

    I don’t. The Greeks should leave the EU, take the financial bomb, devalue their new currency and rebuild on their own.

  22. 22

    If the creditors want Greece to pay its debts it is pretty clear that austerity is not achieving that. The Greek economy has contracted by more than 25% and it has the Great Depression level unemployment.
    How is more austerity going to help the creditors to get their money back?

  23. 23
    shell says:

    Good news for John McCain?

  24. 24
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    yes, my mileage does fucking vary.

    just to make sure you all know, yes of course there was a fuck of a lot more that happened in chile than just the CIA. FFS.

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    @chopper:

    I’ve heard the scenario of Greece breaking away from the EU and looking to Putin for help instead bandied about.

    Should that happen, I can actually totally see the CIA (or West European equivalents) getting up to its usual tricks.

  26. 26
    Samuel Knight says:

    It was fairly predictable to have the establishment hacks regurgitating the same many times disproven BS. But wow to joke about CIA sponsored killing really shows what moral monsters that whole gang is.

  27. 27
    Chris says:

    @Face:

    I thought the main problem with Greece, and much of the Med for that matter, was the high rate of tax evasion and tolerance for such for such from the authorities.

  28. 28
    Belafon says:

    @Face: The single biggest problem I’ve heard the Greeks have is it’s incredibly easy to avoid paying your taxes, especially if you’re wealthy. You know, the some want to make it here.

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Well, the point is to punish the lazy Greeks. For daring to defy their German masters.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Belafon: “Not paying taxes” is apparently the Greek national pastime. The entire situation is just a mess, and both sides are at fault for making it so.

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: You seem cranky this morning.

  32. 32

    @Villago Delenda Est: Its seems like the creditors want to make an example of Greece, a cautionary tale for other indebted nations in the EU.

  33. 33
    debbie says:

    @Belafon:

    Right. The next “Celtic Tiger” but with white sandy beaches.

  34. 34
    FlyingToaster says:

    The Greeks don’t want to leave the EU, or even the Eurozone. But as the IMF report states, austerity will not get the banksters any payback, so no more austerity.

    The IMF and the banksters haven’t mentioned squat about the 9BillionEuro hole that the 2004 Olympics dug for Greece; that is likely one of the straws that turned this from a mess to a fiasco.

    Austerity does not grow economies. Banksters need to learn that fact. Assholes.

  35. 35
    Botsplainer says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    I’ll simplify it. First, Germany didn’t pay for war destruction, nor did it reimburse Greece for the occupation gutting the Greek treasury and banks. Second, Greece didn’t get the benefit of the current loan balances, by and large. Besides the Big European banks (Deutschbank, Parabas and others) laundered their CDS derivative exposure through Greek bonds. Then, magnaminously the banks worked some forbearances a few years ago in a cruel imitation of a bailout.

  36. 36
    Botsplainer says:

    @Chris:

    I thought the main problem with Greece, and much of the Med for that matter, was the high rate of tax evasion and tolerance for such for such from the authorities.

    That’s the current propaganda being sold, and Americans and Germans are lapping it up like a dog lapping up vomit.

  37. 37
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I don’t know that #11 is so much sympathetic as confused. Almost no one is talking about how Greece ended up in a lot of this debt to begin with.

    Picked this link up from a previous discussion here.

  38. 38
    dubo says:

    Where did “Fred Hiatt’s crayon scribble page” originate, anyway? Some atrios post?

  39. 39
    debbie says:

    @FlyingToaster:

    Austerity does not grow economies. Banksters need to learn that fact. Assholes.

    That will never happen. It’s not in their DNA. Of all the bankruptcies I’ve read about, the banks always insist on being the first to be paid, and they always demand a full 100 cents on the dollar.

  40. 40
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    not in the mood for pedantry, no.

  41. 41
    Sherparick says:

    Charles Lane is a funny guy. Just 5-days ago he blasted Obama for continuing to normalize relations with Cuba because of Cuba’s bad human rights record and political oppression. http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html And now he is cheering for coup to collect a bunch of debts for banks. Torture and political oppression is okay apparently if it advances the neoliberal corporate agenda.

  42. 42
    NonyNony says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    The Greeks showed up at the table for a plan to pay back their debts that involved raising taxes, cutting some spending, but protecting the pension system as much as possible.

    The bankers said no – you can’t raise taxes. All of your debts have to be repaid solely through cutting social programs and other spending. If you raise taxes then no deal.

    That’s the point where the Greek government threw up its hands and took a referendum to the people.

    I have zero fucks to give for the EU bankers who have created this mess. And hell – all of them have already been paid off (if you aren’t paying attention to the Greek Crisis stuff it’s easy to miss because our elite media doesn’t want to talk about it – but the big investors have already been bailed out by the IMF and European Central Bank. The negotiations now are about how Greece is supposed to reorganize to pay back the IMF loans, and the IMF and ECB are insisting that they do it in a way that destroys any semblance of a social safety net. That’s what this is about – unelected bankers telling the Greek people to suck it up because their banking system got used to launder money for other enelected bankers. They got played hard by the bankers and the Germans here and it looks like Germany is out to start another European war with their antics over this shit.)

  43. 43
    Botsplainer says:

    @Sherparick:

    And now he is cheering for coup to collect a bunch of debts for banks.

    Conservatism is about normalizing misery for those not born to the lucky sperm club.

  44. 44

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: It is my limited understanding that Greek bonds were like the AAA rated mortgage backed securities, i.e., a hollow promise of low risk high reward. Too good to be true, paid the investors well till the going was good, the moment of reckoning was the 2008 crash.

  45. 45
    boatboy_srq says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: Think of it this way: Greece signed one of those predatory mortgage thingies and promptly lost most of its jobs in the Great Recession, and now the ECB wants to hike the interest rate and foreclose on the country. Greece doesn’t have a stellar payment history and it’s income is shrinking drastically, so its credit score sux and lending more looks like a bad risk to the bankers, especially now that a political party that thinks Greeks deserve food and housing and a living wage is running the place. If the ECB wants to take the house and kick Greece out, that’s impolitic, but Greece has already said it can’t pay so there really aren’t many options. Greece wants to keep the house so it has a roof over the country, but it got sold more GDP than it could afford by ECB lenders who thought they could make a quick euro there. On top of all that, Greece has watched Ireland survive the economic potato famine of 2008-12 and just barely avoided starvation and TB, for nearly the same reasons and paying the same bill, and they aren’t interested in going that route (and who would be?).

  46. 46
    chopper says:

    @NonyNony:

    The negotiations now are about how Greece is supposed to reorganize to pay back the IMF loans, and the IMF and ECB are insisting that they do it in a way that destroys any semblance of a social safety net.

    which is typically the IMF’s MO. god knows how many smaller countries have had their IMF loan money come with those kind of neoliberal strings attached. privatize this, cut welfare payments here, hand your biggest export over to international business, etc etc.

  47. 47
    Elizabelle says:

    @NonyNony: Good recap. That’s my understanding too.

    ETA: plus the tax evasion, and corruption by the oligarchy and previous administrations. Greece has a lot of work to do to correct its course, but it does not need German bankers’ boots on its neck.

  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: Your comment simply touched on a pet peeve of mine (probably unintentionally). That peeve is the idea that the US is the prime mover in the world and all other countries are merely pawns who respond to our actions. To me, the CIA overthrowing a regime and the CIA supporting a coup are sufficiently different that drawing the distinction is not pedantry.

  49. 49
    Keith G says:

    Its a slow time for news in the US – Thank Neptune! – so I guess Greece is the thing they are turning to to fill the dead space?

    Speaking of dead space: A neighboring community here in Texas made the news when a world class dumb-ass ignored warning signs and jumped into a bayou where a gator had been seen lurking. Dumb-ass lasted less than minute. “Fuck the gator!” was what he yelled before he jumped in. Screams were heard shortly thereafter.

    But now out of Maine we get this (a prescient reader comment is in italics):

    A 22-year-old man who was drinking and celebrating the Fourth of July tried to launch a firework off the top of his head, killing him instantly, authorities said Sunday.

    Despite all the warnings and fear mongering of terrorism, alcohol-induced stupidity killed and injured far more Americans this weekend than ISIS

    If you are one to enjoy bleak and totally insensitive but still humorous commentary scroll down at this ABC NEWS site.

  50. 50

    @chopper: Yes neo-liberalism is not that different from the mercantilism of the previous centuries. They have same goals but different means to achieve them.

  51. 51
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yep. Plus a little deal with the devil Goldman Sachs to play accounting games to meet Maastricht debt reduction requirements. Lots of Eurozone countries did the same thing, but didn’t have the money laundering on top of it.

  52. 52
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Punchy: The problem occurs when you go back to the bank and ask for another 10 billion because you’ve spent the previous ten billion on hookers and blow. Don’t expect the red carpet treatment.

    The Greeks are going to suffer austerity because they don’t have any money left. There is no magic wealth tree in Greece, no vast oil reserves or other sources of instant money they can tap into. The upcoming austerity could be alleviated somewhat by further loans from the ECB and the IMF but those institutions have requirements before they hand over yet more cash. The Greeks have voted to say they don’t want to agree to those requirements, and now the ECB and the IMF have to wait until they get further proposals from the Greek government before they can proceed. The news is reporting that the Greek government don’t know what to do now the referendum’s result is in other than extending the bank holiday to try and staunch the flight of hard currency out of the country into safe havens elsewhere. The Greek finance minister has resigned, probably because he knows he can’t do anything at this point and he’s given up trying.

    As for the existing “loans”, they’re toast. The Evull Grasping Bankers already know this, they’re not even going to get a token repayment on those loans. They’re at the stage of trying to not throw good money after bad in the next series of loans they are offering to provide to the Greek government. I wish them luck with that.

  53. 53

    @Botsplainer:
    My understanding is that Greece does have corruption problems at an absurd level, and the whole economy has been a mess for a long time. Austerity will only make that problem much, much worse, so fuck the bankers.

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    The thinking is 1) Crush the browns/poor. Really make them suffer. 2) … 3) Utopia!

    This is how conservatives think in the US, and it looks like racist paranoia is ramping up in Europe and producing the same result.

    (Also, there actually is a Step 2, but it’s ‘moral correctness’ and for all it applies to 1 and 3, it might as well be …)

  54. 54
    Joel says:

    Still a little confused by the IMF payouts, the last “bailout” etc.

    Someone break this down for me in as neutral terms as possible.

  55. 55
    Davis X. Machina says:

    No one pulls a coup in Europe unless we pull the coup.

    Send in Victorian Nuland and her cookies!

  56. 56
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Channeling BiP this morning, are we?

  57. 57
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    My understanding is that all Tsipras and Siriza are asking for is enough money to keep Greek banks solvent and to restructure the debt so that Greece can actually pay it down; I don’t think they’re arguing for total debt forgiveness (I may be wrong on that, though). The Greek economy is simply not strong enough to meet the IMF’s current terms for debt repayment (a fact that the IMF knows, given some leaked documents). The referendum was not necessarily a vote to leave the Eurozone (although, honestly, they should); it was to give Tsipras the authority to negotiate for better terms.

    And, with all situations like this, the borrower isn’t the only party at fault. Somebody has to slap the lenders for making bad loans.

    Tsipras and Siriza are going to have to make some politically unpopular moves internally (like enforcing tax collection), but nothing can happen until the austerians get their heel off of Greece’s neck.

    The more I read about this, the more I realize just how bad an idea the Eurozone was from an economic perspective. Politically, it was brilliant – avoid future wars by making sure everyone is tied at the hip economically. Unfortunately, it’s been a disaster from an economic perspective.

  58. 58
    EconWatcher says:

    It isn’t just rich tax-evaders in Greece who brought them to their current troubles. They had a retirement age of 52, originally meant for certain risky or particularly strenuous jobs, that spread like wildfire. They had a massive public sector, bloated with jobs used for political leverage. Unless you believe in magical ponies, it had to come crashing down eventually, and it did.

    It really doesn’t make sense to think everything is comparable to the U.S. Greece is not Wisconsin, with German bankers playing the role of Scott Walker. They genuinely dug themselves into a hole with unsustainable policies. Krugman is right that the Germans also benefited for a long time by playing make-believe, so their moral posturing is a bit hypocritical. But Krugman really glides over the extent that Greeks made their own bed–he never denies it, he just passes over it very qucikly.

  59. 59
    Paul in KY says:

    @Keith G: I hope the poor alligator was not killed. Afraid it probably was.

  60. 60

    @Frankensteinbeck: Since when are the Greek considered brown?

  61. 61
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    That peeve is the idea that the US is the prime mover in the world and all other countries are merely pawns who respond to our actions.

    maybe that pet peeve sometimes causes you to read such things into comments that aren’t there. not everyone is BiP or mclaren.

  62. 62
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:Looking at them from one side of the Channel, most definitely brown, yes sir.

  63. 63

    @EconWatcher: If the Greeks are as awful as you say they are why did the banks give them those loans in the first place. The banks too made bad bets, so why should only the borrowers pay the price?

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Botsplainer: Which is why, in 1792 or there abouts, the members of the lucky sperm club saw their luck run out as their heads rolled around in baskets.

  65. 65

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    In Europe? Since always. ANCIENT Greeks, of course, very respectable, fathers of our culture. Modern Greeks are lazy brown-skinned olive-eaters (to Northern Europeans). Europe is racist as Hell.

    Actually, their near neighbors probably hate Greece even worse. Race issues in the Balkans are ‘genocide’ bad.

    EDIT – It’s tempting to think of America as one of the more racist countries. The truth is, we’re one of the least. Still hideously racist, but racism is endemic in humanity and entrenched in even most civilized nations.

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    Somebody has to slap the lenders for making bad loans.

    Much of the 2008 collapse of the US economy can be traced back to that, and Jamie Dimon still is at large.

  67. 67
    chopper says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    it seems like it’s been a while since the IMF decided to push its loan-shark ‘market reforms’ on a bigger country than the typical prey, but then again maybe that’s just a mirage.

  68. 68
    Gavin says:

    As always, Steve Waldman over at Interfluidity has one of the best takes on this topic.. now expanded to 2 posts to explain precisely how the bailout of “Greece” is actually the bailout of Euro banks, initiated to stop an earlier crisis.

    http://www.interfluidity.com/

    Read it – you’ll thank me later. I’d recommend a link at the top.

    Key phrase: “It is not the absence of pain and blame that troubles me, but its asymmetry. What was required was a Europe-wide solution to a European problem. What occurred, in my opinion, was the quarantining of a scapegoat.”

    Shortening the story creates strawmen.. read the whole thing if you actually want to understand. If your goal is creating strawmen, of course.. skip it!

  69. 69
    Face says:

    @Belafon: So this is a self-inflicted mercy killing, it appears.

  70. 70
    Loviatar says:

    @NonyNony:

    but the big investors have already been bailed out by the IMF and European Central Bank.

    Call it what it is, Money Laundering. The IMF and ECB unlike the US government didn’t have the balls to directly bailout the banks so they laundered it through the Portuguese, Irish, Italian, Greek and Spanish (PIIGS) economies.

    I wonder what an updated version of the following 2011 chart would like?
    Greece debt crisis: how exposed is your bank

    Notice the huge exposure at the time of the German and French banks, I willing to bet their risk has been substantially reduced by the IMF and ECB bailouts of the PIIGS.

    h/t LGF

  71. 71
    Cervantes says:

    “Just when I thought I had plumbed the depths of Charles Lane’s stupidity,” as no one ever said.

  72. 72
    Cluttered Mind says:

    @EconWatcher: “The Greeks” may have made their own bed, but “The Greeks” is not the same thing as “the average Greek in his/her early 20s who cannot get a decent job regardless of their skillset thanks to policies enacted to punish people who did things 10 years ago”

    I’m starting to think the correct analogy here is not to anything in the U.S. but to Germany itself. Specifically, Weimar Germany. You can’t keep stomping on a country over and over again and telling them it’s their own fault, even if it’s true, without dire long term consequences.

    Syriza is the best possible negotiating partner the rest of Europe could have at this point because they admit Greece’s complicity in this mess but aren’t interested in being the rest of Europe’s punching bags. So yeah, go ahead and denounce the Syriza government. Another 10 years of this sort of treatment and the ECB might find themselves negotiating with Golden Dawn instead.

  73. 73
    Cervantes says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    It’s tempting to think of America as one of the more racist countries. The truth is, we’re one of the least.

    Just curious how one knows this truth.

  74. 74
    Belafon says:

    @Face: This is definitely one of those cases where both sides have contributed: The Greeks need to fix their finances and the IMF needs to get over this idea that you starve a country to make it stronger.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: Christ, what an asshole.

  76. 76
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Cluttered Mind: .

    You can’t keep stomping on a country over and over again and telling them it’s their own fault, even if it’s true, without dire long term consequences.

    The Germans were the beneficiaries of three different restructurings of their post-Versailles reparations obligations — the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan. and the 1932 Lausanne Conference. Another, post-WWII round of restructuring took place in 1953.

    Forbearance for me, but not for thee…

  77. 77
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    you seem cranky this morning.

  78. 78
    EconWatcher says:

    @Cervantes:

    I certainly can’t make any worldwide assertions of where America ranks on the scale of racism. But I’ve been living in Central Europe for a year, and yeah, it’s more racist here than in the U.S.

    Saw a poster for an “Afro” party to be held at a bar. I should have taken a pic on my i-phone; you really wouldn’t believe the cartoon illustration on the poster. You’d be out of business if you did that in any major city in the U.S. (Did people show up for the party in blackface? It seemed to be the point of the poster.) That’s just an instance, but you definitely get the feel around here.

  79. 79
    Tyro says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: Greece can run up huge debts, then say “FU” to the countries they owe quite a bit of scratch to, and then appear at the negotiating table (instead of, what I think is more appropriate, bankrupcy court) and start with demands?

    The scale is different but the principle holds: “if you owe a million dollars to the bank and can’t pay, you have a problem. If you owe a billion dollars and can’t pay, the BANK has a problem.”

    Sometimes you declare bankruptcy and write down the debt and move on. Europe isn’t letting Greece do that.

  80. 80
    chopper says:

    @Belafon:

    the IMF needs to get over this idea that you starve a country to make it stronger

    that’s like saying the mafia loan sharks need to get over the idea that you should threaten to break someone’s kneecaps if they can’t pay. it’s part of the whole shtick.

    the IMF isn’t really very interested in making its loan states ‘stronger’. it’s interested in forcing free-market ‘reforms’ so its client states can make a bunch more money in the international market.

  81. 81
    Brachiator says:

    The Washington Post is edging closer to calling for a coup in Greece

    An austerity coup? A coup in which generals bow down to bankers? I smell an undiscovered Aristophanes comedy.

    Or even better, a coup in which bankers seize power and become tyrants? A Dionysian farce.

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    And, with all situations like this, the borrower isn’t the only party at fault. Somebody has to slap the lenders for making bad loans.

    The bankers have already escaped. Part of their logic, with a small kernel of truth, is “Yeah, you want to punish up when we fuck up, but you will also need us again when times are pretty good.”

    And this goes beyond bankers, and certainly goes beyond trying to find someone to blame. Part of the issue was the overreach of bureaucrats and economists who insisted that Greece could be part of the European economic union, and that there would not be any risks or problems.

    I was hearing on the news this morning that the banks might run out of money. Not stagflation, or hyper inflation of currency. No money with which to transact business. I can’t imagine what that would be like for a “modern” economy.

  82. 82
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @chopper: That’s because I am. Hot, humid weather does not necessarily bring out my charming side.

  83. 83
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @EconWatcher: That’s my lived experience of France, the UK and Denmark as well. The level of casual racism – the things it’s just acceptable to say or do – really astounded me. Australia, as well frankly, though I find individual australians are much less likely to have racist opinions about their neighbours/colleagues/students/employees than individual Europeans. As long it’s an abstract mass of non-Europeans though, crazy crazy racist.

  84. 84
    Hoodie says:

    The problem for the IMF and the EU elites is that they let the bankers leave them holding the bag. They know the Greeks can’t pay back their existing debt, but if Greece defaults, they can’t keep those loans on the books. That’s a political problem for the EU leaders, particularly for Merkel. Conservative Germans love the myth of their own prudence, and their bankers and government have been anything but in dealing with Greece. The were all in it for quick bucks when they were scarfing up high-yield Greek bonds and selling stuff to Greece and the other peripheral EU states and, after the bust, they just started kicking the can down the road. It seems stupid for the Germans to continue on this course if they really want the EU to work, and they would be much better off co-opting Syriza. The morality play thing may give DC pundits a woody, but it’s a bit below what I would expect from Merkel and Hollande.

    That’s why I can’t help but think that much of this is theater. The Greeks are now getting their moment of rebellion. Eventually, there will be some kind of haircut on the debt, Tsipras gets locked in as the savior of an independent Greece, but is still in the EU and owes a debt of gratitude to Merkel and Hollande (maybe Obama, too, if we kick in a few billion). The bright side is that the referendum indicates that Tsipras may have some political skills and may have gained some level of trust among the Greek populace.

    I doubt they would be engaging in this game if oil prices were high and the Russians could afford to play. I’ve been surprised how little talk there has been about the strategic value of Greece in relation to unstable areas in the Balkans and Middle East.

  85. 85
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    you should invest in air conditioning. good for you and the earth.

  86. 86

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Jamie Dimon still is at large

    He’s at large and still in charge.

  87. 87

    @Cervantes:
    From non-whites who lived in Europe before coming to the US. Asia I only know from college studies, but holy Hell, are they racist. Ironically, their racism towards Americans is vaguely like conservative American racism towards Asians… kinda sorta semi-complementary. It’s other Asians they view as subhuman. I know this most about Japan, but even recent history suggests this is true all over East Asia.

    India’s race issues should be no secret to anybody now. Africa’s definitely tend to ‘genocidal.’ As much as America is suffering a racism-based seizure right now, yeah, we’re definitely towards the bottom of the racism scale.

  88. 88
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    @chopper: I think there was a little more to what happened in Chile than just CIA actions.

    Would you even go so far as to say US action there was decisive?

  89. 89
    scav says:

    @TheMightyTrowel: Let’s not forget to add in the difference between comfort in expressing racism overtly and harboring the predjudices though. Americans tend to constantly project a veneer of friendliness that is universal, but probably don’t have more (or fewer) deep, long-term friendships though. There may just be another veneer operating here, hard as that might be to believe from the inside. Not arguing more or less on either side, just complicating things as per usual.

  90. 90
    Cervantes says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Acknowledging that neither of us is making assertions about levels of racism globally, the kind of publicity poster you’re talking about appears from time to time in the U.S. as well — on college campuses, for example, and then someone, often a fraternity, is made to apologize.

    Not unique to Europe, I’m afraid.

  91. 91
    Elie says:

    @NonyNony:

    Great summary.

    Doncha also think that the fear here on the IMF and banksta’s part is that other countries are taking a good hard look at this loan shark racket and will draw similar conclusions as Greece? (Spain comes to mind). The other thing that it does is show countries that its ok to challenge these entities …

    Some folks upstring spoke of Putin “helping” Greece. Unless I am missing something, not sure how much he could help them except with cheaper gas? Russia has its own debt problems.. not sure how much they can help them…

  92. 92

    @Tyro:

    The scale is different but the principle holds: “if you owe a million dollars to the bank and can’t pay, you have a problem. If you owe a billion dollars and can’t pay, the BANK has a problem.”

    Which is why the earlier bailout effectively took the debt off the hands of the actual banks and put it into the hands of IMF and ECB. They’re political players rather than regular banks, so they’re willing to take a financial hit in order to make an example of Greece.

  93. 93
    scav says:

    To complicate matters slightly, Americans tend to present a veneer of universal friendlieness but probably have no more (and no fewer) deep long-term ‘real’ friends. So let’s not forget the difference between easily expressed racism and the unvoiced but systemic beliefs and behaviors of same. This could just be a different veneer operating.

  94. 94
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cervantes: I don’t have the level of expertise in the subject matter to attempt to make that call.

  95. 95
    NonyNony says:

    @Hoodie:

    It seems stupid for the Germans to continue on this course if they really want the EU to work, and they would be much better off co-opting Syriza. The morality play thing may give DC pundits a woody, but it’s a bit below what I would expect from Merkel and Hollande.

    The tragedy of the EU is that it appears that the big nations (Germany & France) only really care about the EU working to the extent that it benefits Germany and France. If Germany and France have to give to make the EU work then they’ll let the EU fail. I don’t think that’s what the original architects of the EU had in mind when they envisioned it as a way to prevent future World Wars, but then I’ll bet that the original architects of the Entangling Alliances that were supposed to bring peace to Europe for all time were shocked by how that worked out in practice too.

    Also – beneath Merkel and Hollande? They’re politicians. They may be smart politicians, but they’re still politicians. Never ever ever convince yourself that there is ANYTHING beneath a politician when their jobs and legacy are on the line. Merkel needs to keep the German people happy and the German people have ZERO fucks to give about the Greeks (if you’ve seen some of the racist claptrap about shifty Greeks and their compulsive laziness from otherwise super-liberal Germans you’d know what I mean). Hollande has the same thing on the French side – the French also have ZERO fucks to give about the Greeks.

  96. 96
    Booger says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: Read Krugman’s explanation. It ain’t that simple.

  97. 97
    Mandalay says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    Somebody has to slap the lenders for making bad loans.

    It depends what you call a bad loan. Goldman Sachs made a deal to Greece that turned out very well for GS, and very badly for the Greeks:

    Greece was handicapped, in part, by the terms Goldman Sachs imposed, he said.
    “Sardelis couldn’t actually do what every debt manager should do when offered something, which is go to the market to check the price,” said Papanicolaou, who retired in 2010. “He didn’t do that because he was told by Goldman that if he did that, the deal is off.”

    Beware of Jews bearing gifts.

  98. 98
    burnspbesq says:

    @Botsplainer:

    That’s the current propaganda being sold

    That’s not propaganda, that’s fact.

    That said, it’s important to remember (as Dr. Krugman reminds us this morning) that every bad loan has two parties, an unfortunate borrower and an irresponsible lender. If you want bad lending to stop, make the lenders take the consequences of their irresponsibility in the shorts.

  99. 99
    gene108 says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    I’m so confused by this mess. IANAFE, s

    I would suggest digging through Krugman’s blog posts on this subject. Most accessible explanation I’ve read so far.

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay:

    Beware of Jews bearing gifts.

    ???????

  101. 101
    Hoodie says:

    Barry Ritholtz pretty much hits the nail on the head regarding the Greek bailout, particularly noting that Tsipras is no fool.

  102. 102
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: some of the stories from African students who went to study in the USSR and the PRC are the same. The official policy was that they were brother and sisters in “socialism,” but to the average person on the street they were “n****rs” just as they would have been in Mississippi.

    It really isn;t that productive to arguemnt where the US stands in relation to other countries in terms of racism. Are we good at handling it? Are we worse than the rest of the world? The fact remains race is a huge issue in the US, it always has been, and will be for a long time to come. There’s an awful history we can not allow ourselves to forget. We’ve made progress, but have an awfully long way to go. We can mourn the losses, and celebrate the victories, and still focus on what is left to do.

  103. 103
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mandalay:

    Beware of Jews bearing gifts.

    Tsk, tsk.

  104. 104
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @burnspbesq: Two parties, but not two equal parties — debt is sin, and wealth is virtue, and international economics is a branch of moral theology.

  105. 105
    EconWatcher says:

    @Mandalay:

    Last sentence–wtf?

  106. 106
    xenos says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: under this logic, how much does Mississipi or Louisiane owe the rest of the country by now?

    And this is not a matter of trade partners, but of sovereign debt. It gets written off routinely.

  107. 107
    opiejeanne says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: among some racists they are. A friend announced to her family 40 years ago that she was going to marry a young man they knew to be Greek and the first thing out of her astonished father’s mouth was, “We thought you were going to marry a white boy!”

    And don’t get me started on my own Midwestern family’s suspicion of them eye-talians who aren’t quite white and eat food that smells of garlic.

  108. 108
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Cervantes: no, it would have happened anyway. But the US made it a lot easier and could have stopped it by telling the Chilean military to back off.

  109. 109

    @Mandalay:

    Beware of Jews bearing gifts.

    Fuck you, asshole.

  110. 110
    chopper says:

    @Roger Moore:

    there was an idea bouncing around the halls of the IMF a few years back, where they thought they could knowingly loan to debt-saddled countries with one huge string attached – the country would have to basically default on its other debts first. i don’t think the idea ended up going anywhere for a number of reasons. but at this point greece owes primarily to them and the ECB so maybe they’re looking back on the idea. who knows.

    then again, i’m sure greece missing its recent IMF loan payment doesn’t help in that regard.

  111. 111
    KG says:

    honest question: what if Greece, as a sovereign nation just said “fuck it” and repudiated the debt? Even if some of the debt is held by foreign governments rather than foreign corporations, it’s not like anyone is going to invade a NATO member over lost debt, right? I’m guessing they get kicked out of the eurozone, but its not like that has been incredibly helpful to them anyway. Then what happens?

  112. 112

    @Woodrowfan:
    I completely agree that we need to deal with our problems, not pat ourselves on the back. Racism is still terrible here. Indeed, I think it’s the overwhelming political issue right now. It’s just important to not hold any illusions that other civilized countries don’t have big racism problems. You have to know that to interpret some of their politics.

  113. 113
    somethingblue says:

    @Sherparick:

    Charles Lane is a funny guy.

    No, that’s Richard Cohen.

  114. 114
    catclub says:

    @Gavin: It is later. Thanks!

  115. 115
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Davis X. Machina
    The debt restructuring in those cases was after a couple of wars that killed about a hundred million people in total, a lot of them Germans. The first tranche of debt forgiveness paved the way to German rearmament, the remilitarisation of the Rhineland and eventually the second world war. Maybe we should have kept our boot on the back of their necks for another generation or two instead of being generous back in the early 30s but that’s past history now (see also, Reconstruction in America after the Second Treasonous Slaveholder’s Rebellion ended in 1865).

    Nobody’s bombed Greece or overrun their borders, their cities aren’t in ruins (the Parthenon excepted), their factories are not heaps of smouldering rubble. They got loaned a big chunk of money, wasted it on hookers and blow and now they can’t meet the repayment schedule. They want to borrow more money and disagree with the loan company about how they should proceed in the future. They have options like printing their own IOUs (i.e. leaving the Euro and printing their own currency) but they need to get stuff like oil, gas etc. from outside sources (imports) who are only interested in hard currency, vague promises (New Drachmae) not accepted since they’ve proven they can’t be trusted. Sucks, doesn’t it?

  116. 116
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    didn’t know hank paulson was jewish. ♫ the more you know…♫

  117. 117
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: FYI, there is a well-done online comic called “Scandinavia and the World.” It’s drawn by a young Danish woman. There’s a running gag about the clueless casual racism that Danes can show.

    http://satwcomic.com/english-flag

  118. 118

    @Woodrowfan:

    It really isn;t that productive to arguemnt where the US stands in relation to other countries in terms of racism.

    What I would say is that any given level of racism is likely to be a bigger problem in the United States than in most other countries because we are relatively diverse and have a large minority population that will suffer from the majority’s racism.

  119. 119
    Punchy says:

    You’d think the Greeks would be Hungary for Turkey to Bali them out of this mess. Otherwise, it’s “Iraq up all this debt, Iran from my Euro creditors, and now I Congo bankrupt”. I would Haiti to see them write some bad Czechs; Oman, would that really piss off their Poland’ers and make the Germans ask for Somoa austerity.

  120. 120
    Fair Economist says:

    Greece isn’t going back to the Eurozone. The pundits are talking about whether there will be a Grexit but it’s already happened. Right now there are two different Euro currencies: the “normal” European Euro and a Greek Euro, which is an electronic-only currency consisting of deposits in Greek banks. You can use Greek Euros in Greece for all normal business but not abroad. It’s exactly like many South American “dollars” in the past, except that it’s only electronic.

    To get Greece back in the Eurozone, somebody needs to pay about 100 billion in European Euros to buy off all the Greek bank deposits. That’s not going to happen. The European Central Bank could, actually, but that’s ideological anathema for them.

    This is a good thing, because it will allow the Greeks to devalue, which is a necessity to fix their economy. The underlying problem is that at current prices they run a huge trade deficit anywhere near full employment. This means the government has to run a huge deficit to prevent a depression, because otherwise they have a demand shortfall.

    The debt owed by the Greek government have been dead for a while. There’s just no way they’ll ever be paid. They are real losses and the value they represent is lost and gone. They are, in essence, losses from forcing currency union when it never should have happened.

  121. 121
    Cervantes says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    You are, in fact, saying that U.S. (in)action was decisive.

  122. 122
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Robert Sneddon: I’m glad it’s a Manichean struggle between the forces of light and darkness — it makes it much easier to choose sides.

  123. 123
    KG says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: the biggest difference between the US and Europe is that the US is one big nation, whereas the EU has 28 member nations. It might be easier to contain racism in smaller areas, maybe.

  124. 124
    Cervantes says:

    @Punchy:

    That was … inspired.

  125. 125
    KG says:

    @Punchy: go to your room!

  126. 126
    chopper says:

    @Punchy:

    just terrible. we’re russian for the exits.

  127. 127
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Here is an interesting breakdown of “No” votes by age.

  128. 128
    Cervantes says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I completely agree that we need to deal with our problems, not pat ourselves on the back. Racism is still terrible here. Indeed, I think it’s the overwhelming political issue right now. It’s just important to not hold any illusions that other civilized countries don’t have big racism problems.

    I don’t see how anyone could disagree with these statements. The last one, however, is a far cry from asserting that the U.S. is among the least racist societies.

  129. 129
    catclub says:

    @KG: would need more room to rwanda.

  130. 130
    chopper says:

    @KG:

    that punchy, guinea possibly get any worse?

  131. 131
    Cervantes says:

    @Mandalay:

    Classical allusions are great and all, but, as the kids say, ur doing it rong.

    Either that or you’re an even bigger fool than I thought — which is damn near impossible.

  132. 132
    Cervantes says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    I agree.

  133. 133
    Matt McIrvin says:

    My understanding is, while pandemic tax evasion is definitely a problem, the main problem is simply that the Eurozone is a currency union between countries with economies of vastly different strengths, but there’s no mechanism for routinely transferring cash between them, as happens with states in the United States through federal taxes and spending.

    So when a weaker economy loses cash through trade deficits, it doesn’t have any regular way to get that money back through federal aid, like a poor US state would. And it also can’t devalue its currency to make its exports and labor more attractive to foreigners, like a sovereign country with its own currency would; because its currency is yoked to that of rich, strong countries like Germany that aren’t having any of it.

    So while Greece may have endogenous problems, getting into the Eurozone was the big mistake. And it’s something that’s probably going to happen to some of the other weaker Eurozone members too.

  134. 134

    @Cervantes:
    Sure, but we are also one of the least racist countries. We have people upthread telling you that, yes, they have personal experience with Europe and Australia. I’m guessing you know that most of Asia, including India, have racism issues to the point of denial of their own little Holocaust on the part of the Japanese. Africa’s recent history of tribal strife is pretty terrifying. I have no idea about South America, but even assuming they have no race issues at all, that still puts us towards the bottom of the racism list.

  135. 135
    Elie says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I think that there are probably elements of his argument but also much of what others are also saying in painting this complex picture. Fair Economist at 119 also had some good info.

    I see it as a gigantic cauldron of reasons and possible outcomes. We’ll see over time what manifests itself most strongly to congeal into what ends up happening and lessons learned for the long term. I think that there are some interesting backstories surfacing. I think also that in some ways, Germany and the EU have a lot to lose on a super bad outcome. The confidence of any of their members that the union will pull together in bad times has been shaken to the core and I don’t see a fix for that easily.. Putin must be laughing. I like how Greece has challenged the troika, but don’t hold them blame free in this mess. Again, there are many dimensions here and the lessons learned will take a while to play out IMHO.

  136. 136
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Cervantes: Personally I prefer this one: Greeks apologise with huge horse

  137. 137
    chopper says:

    @chopper:

    and how guinea-bissau careless with his puns?

  138. 138
    jonas says:

    @Hoodie: The problem for the IMF and the EU elites is that they let the bankers leave them holding the bag.

    This needs to be emphasized. A lot of people are still under the impression that this is about the Evil Banksters vs. Greece. The banks were bailed out 5 years ago and a huge chunk of Greek debt written down. They don’t really have a dog in the hunt any more, which is why you don’t see the European stock markets tanking. The ECB and IMF are left holding what was left after the banks took their haircut with a buyout, and they’re backed by the other EU governments, particularly Germany and France and those countries’ taxpayers. So what this is about is actually Germany’s (for the most part) taxpayers potentially being on the hook for $80 billion if Greece exits the euro and they’re not happy about that, which is why Merkel, among others, has been holding a tough line. Greeks aren’t the only voters here.

    This whole mess amounts to a Mexican standoff. Greece’s political and economic system is utterly dysfunctional and even if it were given a huge line of credit and its debts forgiven, it would still be back in the same place in a few years w/o huge structural governmental and economic reforms, which the troika is demanding as a condition for further bailout funds. But to undertake those reforms — as we’ve seen — results in a massive retrenchment in public spending, which sends the economy into a death spiral and leaves them unable to pay off their debts and German taxpayers pick up the tab.

  139. 139
    Cervantes says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Sure, but we are also one of the least racist countries. We have people upthread telling you that, yes, they have personal experience with Europe and Australia. I’m guessing you know that most of Asia, including India, have racism issues to the point of denial of their own little Holocaust on the part of the Japanese. Africa’s recent history of tribal strife is pretty terrifying. I have no idea about South America, but even assuming they have no race issues at all, that still puts us towards the bottom of the racism list.

    All I will say about the above is that you seem very committed to your idea.

    I could write a more detailed response but (1) not today, and (2) I expect it would not outweigh your … commitment.

  140. 140

    @Cervantes:
    Who is less racist than us? Please give me a big chunk of countries. I mean, the point isn’t that we’re not racist. It’s that we, oh, have insulting conversations on conservative TV about Muslims after 911, where France has actually made parts of Islam illegal. All you’ve done is sneer, making no argument at all. Who is less racist than us? Make an actual argument.

  141. 141
    Mike J says:

    Anybody read the Piketty interview everybody is talking about?

    http://www.zeit.de/2015/26/tho.....ettansicht

    after the war ended in 1945, Germany’s debt amounted to over 200% of its GDP. Ten years later, little of that remained: public debt was less than 20% of GDP. Around the same time, France managed a similarly artful turnaround. We never would have managed this unbelievably fast reduction in debt through the fiscal discipline that we today recommend to Greece… Think about the London Debt Agreement of 1953, where 60% of German foreign debt was cancelled and its internal debts were restructured.

  142. 142
    Helen says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    My understanding is that Greece does have corruption problems at an absurd level,

    I know absolutely nothing about this situation but here’s my funny Greek story which may be relevant to your statement.

    My friend Steve is married to a woman born in Greece. She became an American citizen when she married him. Two summers ago they went to Greece to visit her father. Steve breaks his finger. He goes to the Dr to get it fixed. When it comes time to pay up, the Dr. says “Do you have your booklet?”

    Apparently there’s a booklet needed for the socialized healthcare system to pay the Dr.

    Steve says “No, I’m American, I’ll pay cash” And the Dr says “no no no – just go get someone else’s booklet”

    So Steve goes and gets his Father-in-law’s booklet, brings it back to the Dr., and the Dr. stamps it. The people of Greece have now paid for an American’s broken finger.

  143. 143
    Brachiator says:

    French economist Thomas Piketty, author of the recent book on wealth inequality, Capital in the 21st Century, has weighed in on the situation in Greece. I don’t know if other economists have offered this idea as well, but Piketty makes the case for for a major debt conference to clear the entire continent of its debts.

    I think that, like Krugman, Piketty writes very clearly about economic issues and cuts through jargon and nonsense.

    We need a conference on all of Europe’s debts, just like after World War II. A restructuring of all debt, not just in Greece but in several European countries, is inevitable. Just now, we’ve lost six months in the completely intransparent negotiations with Athens. The Eurogroup’s notion that Greece will reach a budgetary surplus of 4% of GDP and will pay back its debts within 30 to 40 years is still on the table. Allegedly, they will reach a 1% surplus in 2015, then 2% in 2016, and 3.5% in 2017. Completely ridiculous! This will never happen. Yet we keep postponing the necessary debate until the cows come home.

    Full interview and discussion here:

    http://qz.com/445373/thomas-pi.....bt-crisis/

  144. 144
    Keith G says:

    @Cervantes: Please do write as soon as possible. As an outside observer to this conversation, my interest has been piqued. And you just left a real inviting “Wait til I tell you this” offer.

    Do tell.

  145. 145

    @Keith G: and @Cervantes:
    Damn right. Out-argue me, and fine, I’ll admit I’m wrong. But make an argument.

  146. 146
    catclub says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Who is less racist than us? Make an actual argument.

    I agree with you. I could only think of Canada, which is much of a polyglot like we are. Costa Rica? I don’t know enough.
    Spain? Maybe. New Zealand? Many issues, but maybe getting better? Antarctica!

  147. 147
    NonyNony says:

    @jonas:

    it would still be back in the same place in a few years w/o huge structural governmental and economic reforms, which the troika is demanding as a condition for further bailout funds. But to undertake those reforms — as we’ve seen — results in a massive retrenchment in public spending,

    See, I’d buy this story if it weren’t for the fact that Greece went to them with a plan that involved raising taxes and cutting spending and were told NO – you have to do it without raising taxes.

    That’s the point where it becomes impossible to believe that this is really about Greece’s government being dysfunctional and corrupt. Syriza showed up with a plan and instead of being told “okay we can work with this – we still need you to trim spending here and we think these tax increases are too high” they were told “NO – screw your working class and middle class entirely and no increase on taxes are allowed.”

    That’s not the behavior of a reasonable partner trying to work out debt relief. That’s the act of a group of bankers trying to overthrow the government of a sovereign nation.

    (The IMF and the ECB are bankers. When you say “it isn’t the bankers, it’s the IMF and the ECB” what you are essentially saying is “it isn’t the banker, it’s the bankers”. The IMF and the ECB are the buddies of the bankers that took big risks and lost big and had to be bailed out in the first place. The whole point of this exercise by the IMF and the ECB seems to be to shift the blame away from the European banks that made really, really bad risks and entirely onto the backs of the Greeks. And they gave the game away by their refusal to negotiate with the Syrizia government in good faith.)

  148. 148
    Lurking Canadian says:

    I think this part:

    The bankers said no – you can’t raise taxes. All of your debts have to be repaid solely through cutting social programs and other spending. If you raise taxes then no deal.

    is the key to understanding the whole mess. It’s not just, “Pay me!”, it’s, “Pay me but only by raising the money in a fashion I approve!”.

    I am the first to admit I don’t understand all the financial dealings (who bought whose bonds at which rating at which time) and so on, but I think the whole thing boils down to trying to have a currency union without a political union. Every year, the money spent in Alabama on health care, public pensions, defense and other federal responsibilities (I’ll use the acronym HPDO) exceeds considerably the amount Alabamans pay in federal taxes. Every year, the money spent in California on HPDO is considerably less than the amount Californians pay in federal taxes. But nobody says that “Alabama” borrows the excess billion (or whatever) from “California”. It’s just collected here and spent there.

    And, at the same time, the government of Alabama doesn’t just choose the level of HPDO its citizens will receive, then send California a bill. Individual Californians pay their taxes and individual Alabamans get their federal spending, and everybody does it because the American people, through their often frustrating, log-jammy legislative process, have decided on the level of HPDO entitlement and tax obligation of each American citizen.

    The problem seems to be that, instead of viewing everybody involved as a European citizen with equivalent obligations and entitlements, when it comes time to collect taxes and spend money, it’s “I’m a German and you’re a Greek, so fuck you, pay me”.

    If they had different currencies, that’s OK. The government of Canada makes its own decisions about the level of HPDO that Canadians are entitled to, and if the total collected by Revenue Canada isn’t great enough, Canada issues bonds. Fine. If those bonds are not considered trustworthy, the interest rate goes up, the Canadian dollar falls, the magic works. But if you try to have it both ways, so everybody makes their own decisions and collects their own revenue, but the currency can’t fluctutate…isn’t that just the gold standard, re-invented?

  149. 149
    catclub says:

    @Mike J: Yes. Ritholtz had a link to it in the morning reads.

  150. 150
    Cervantes says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    All you’ve done is sneer, making no argument at all. Who is less racist than us? Make an actual argument.

    You’re almost right. There was no sneer, just the thought that it’s (at best) difficult to justify the kind of Big Assertion you want to make.

    I’m not offering a contrary “argument” because, by my reasoning, that would be futile as well!

    But never mind my skepticism: please proceed.

  151. 151
    max says:

    @jonas: Greece’s political and economic system is utterly dysfunctional and even if it were given a huge line of credit and its debts forgiven, it would still be back in the same place in a few years w/o huge structural governmental and economic reforms

    It would depend entirely on whether Greece was on the Euro or not.

    If they default on the debt, have their own currency, and have some cash to get them through the next couple of months they’d be fine. (They were doing at least adequately well, up until they joined the EZ.)

    The argument for ‘reforms’ is essentially an argument that the well-off in Greece (the people that benefited from the EZ in the first place) should be allowed to continue evading taxes, and they should starve the old people in Greece. The EZ was preaching (and the preceding government that was all in on the euro was following) for essentially following the Chris Christie method of government. Balance the budget with cuts and maybe some tax breaks for their rich friends. None of the the problems with Greece (again, mainly tax evasion, plus some highish social costs) would be problematic with the drachma plus some inflation.

    Gigantic influxes of capital from creditor nations, followed by gigantic outflows will kill a country (or a state) every time.

    max
    [‘The EZ has been swallowing camels and gagging at gnats.’]

  152. 152
    catclub says:

    @NonyNony:

    Greece went to them with a plan that involved raising taxes and cutting spending and were told NO – you have to do it without raising taxes

    The funny part is the troika said no tax increases because they are recessionary. Irony died.

  153. 153
    Cervantes says:

    @catclub:

    About racism in New Zealand one should not forget to ask the Maori people.

    Canada, too, mutatis mutandum.

  154. 154
    Keith G says:

    @catclub:

    Antarctica!

    I donno. Those damned penguins are very cliquish.

  155. 155
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Out-argue me, and fine, I’ll admit I’m wrong.

    That’s not how the Internet works.

  156. 156

    @Cervantes:
    So…

    I could write a more detailed response

    is a lie, and you don’t think…

    But never mind my skepticism: please proceed.

    is sneering. Okay, man. You’ve just said you’re not going to provide an argument, and I’ve made mine, so I guess this is done.

  157. 157
    chopper says:

    @Cervantes:

    I’m not offering a contrary “argument” because, by my reasoning, that would be futile as well!

    people here outside of frankie are interested. put me down on that list as well.

    let’s see what you got.

  158. 158
    catclub says:

    An intelligent take on the vote:

    I guess we’ll find out in a few years what today’s “No” vote will actually mean. Anyone forming a strong opinion now about whether or not the Greeks did the right thing may be a bit premature.

    TRB

  159. 159
    Elie says:

    @Lurking Canadian:

    Very good point you make… and this will be key to what solution can happen as well as the survival of the EU. If the members of the “union” cannot back each other, then they de facto do not have a union without that confidence and trust. In some ways it lets you see and appreciate what a freakin miracle it is that the US has been able to hang together with weak and strong states as long as it has…

  160. 160
    Cervantes says:

    @Keith G:

    @Cervantes: Please do write as soon as possible. As an outside observer to this conversation, my interest has been piqued. And you just left a real inviting “Wait til I tell you this” offer.

    You misunderstood.

    Meanwhile, let me ask you something else: are all unfalsifiable assertions true?

    I imagine you know a lot better than to say they are.

  161. 161
    Fair Economist says:

    The “Greeks are socialist and lazy” business is nonsense:

    Pop Quiz: Germans or Greeks?

    Who works more hours per week? Answer: Greeks
    Whose country spends a larger percentage on social programs? Answer: Germans
    Who has more legal protections against being fired?: Answer: Germans
    Who has higher tax rates?: Answer: Germans

    Greece does have genuine problems with corruption, which, ironically the not-yet-recognized Grexit will help with (since the Greek Euro is electronic, thus traceable, and will likely stay that way for political/treaty reasons). The tax rate is shared with several other southern European countries like Spain and Portugal and was basically the bribe to the oligarchs to end some fairly brutal fascist regimes.

    Greece has higher proportional pension costs than most other European Countries BUT this is largely because they don’t have unemployment insurance, and pensions are almost the entire safety net.

  162. 162
    dmbeaster says:

    There are no set rules for dealing with international sovereign dent gone bad – it is all political. If this was a commercial loan situation in the US, the outcome would involve a significant haircut for the lenders. The current crisis in large part is due to the adamant German and French attitude that no debt reduction is possible (and bailing out the stupid private loans with public money so that the dispute becomes purely political between sovereigns). If you go for broke using brinksmanship as a strategy, guess what is likely.

    If a lender extended loans to a cocaine adict to finance more blow, no one would talk about the necessity of moral hazard such that the addict must repay every cent. People would get that the lender is going to eat it on the loan. The Greek situation is not all that different, except there are no rules for resolving defaulted sovereign debt. It is all political, and most of the rhetoric has been political propaganda.

  163. 163
    Brachiator says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I have no idea about South America….

    This alone should have stopped you from making any comments about racism around the world and comparisons with the US.

    Yes, you have no idea.

    A quick historical tidbit. After the end of the Civil War, some Southerners moved to Brazil, because that country still had slavery, and these folk believed that Brazil was recognizably like the South in its love of white supremacy and racial hierarchies.

    And of course, the Americas, north, south, and central, still struggles with oppression and subjugation of Native American peoples.

  164. 164

    @Brachiator:
    If I can argue three quarters of the world, with one quarter merely a mystery, I’ve made my point.

    EDIT – And you seem to be stating that South America would back me up as well.

  165. 165
    Chris says:

    @NonyNony:

    That’s the point where it becomes impossible to believe that this is really about Greece’s government being dysfunctional and corrupt. Syriza showed up with a plan and instead of being told “okay we can work with this – we still need you to trim spending here and we think these tax increases are too high” they were told “NO – screw your working class and middle class entirely and no increase on taxes are allowed.”

    Dear God, Europe’s being run by Grover Norquist.

  166. 166
    Fair Economist says:

    @catclub:

    I guess we’ll find out in a few years what today’s “No” vote will actually mean. Anyone forming a strong opinion now about whether or not the Greeks did the right thing may be a bit premature.

    No, it’s absolutely the right thing. The EC’s offer was hopelessly unworkable and the only possible answer was rejection.

    Greece *must* leave the Euro and it *must* default on its debts. There’s just no alternative to either. Details on leaving and on partial payment could theoretically be discussed, but it’s clear the EC is not going to discuss them. They are going to continue to insist on concessions that are impossible six ways to Sunday.

  167. 167
    chopper says:

    @Chris:

    not to belabor the point but it seems right out of the IMF’s playbook.

  168. 168
    Fair Economist says:

    @Elie: Hopefully the EU (the association of the countries in Europe) will survive the coming collapse of the Euro. Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland will have to leave too and probably France. Generally the EU remains wildly popular – the Europeans view it as a shield against war, and they know to avoid war now. The biggest threat is that Marine LePen will run in 2017 on a platform of taking France out of the EU as well as the Euro and I suspect a desperate French populace, a successful Grexit, and a loathsome second-round opponent (Sarkozy) will put her in.

  169. 169
    scav says:

    Will somebody please free my comments from FYWP? I’ve no clue what’s triggering the mistapearence.

  170. 170
    dmbeaster says:

    @Lurking Canadian: Its not just a lack of political union but starkly different internal political and social cultures trying to operate under one financial union.

    I think this is not so much a european union problem, as it is a combo a bad Greek management and bad lending practices to a nad Greek government. The lending nations then threatened Greece with all sorts of economic horribles if they did not repay every euro. The strategy is influenced because the basic problem is much bigger than Greece. But the terms demanded of Greece have been so unrealistic that the wiser strategy was to walk from the table and risk being kicked out and suffering more short term in the hope for a brighter future.

  171. 171
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Face

    he article talked about how little most Greeks expect to work (both hours per day and overall years) because the gov’t pays for so much.

    .

    Actually, the Greeks work longer hours than most of the EU, but their productivity is much lower. Agrocultural vs cars etc.

    The no show jobs are in the government sector, where the ogliarchs have maintained political control by buying (literally) off the unions.

    Ex: Greece got billions from the EU to rehab its rail system, the average job there is 3x the average for the country at large

  172. 172
    Keith G says:

    @Cervantes: I liked Philosophy 101. Was a real eye opener.

    Here, I though we were just making observations about how the real world might be working.

    As to:

    Meanwhile, let me ask you something else: are all unfalsifiable assertions true?

    Professor Dunbar (cute old lady, old as granite) would want me to answer: No, none the less with proper precautions, unfalsifiable claims can be an acceptable/legitimate form of reasoning.

  173. 173
    Brachiator says:

    @Cervantes:

    About racism in New Zealand one should not forget to ask the Maori people.

    And the genocide of Tasmanians can be documented down to the last “full blooded” individual, who died in 1876.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aboriginal_Tasmanians

  174. 174
    boatboy_srq says:

    @NonyNony: @Lurking Canadian: I can’t help but think that Greece’s appalling history of tax collection (or lack thereof) is part of what’s contributing to that. Syriza does at least seem interested in reforming tax collection – if they can buy enough time to show a trend then it’s possible that ECB/IMF attitudes might change. Trouble is the time ran out before they could even make a start.

  175. 175
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Botsplainer:

    four banks hold a staggering 95.9% of U.S. derivatives

    Would you have a link that explains this?

  176. 176
    Brachiator says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    If I can argue three quarters of the world, with one quarter merely a mystery, I’ve made my point.

    Actually, you cannot and have not argued three quarters of the world.

    And you confuse “mystery” and “ignorance.”

    You have not made any point. You don’t really have any point to make here. The idea of ranking racism is subjective, stupid, and pointless.

    And clearly, and by your own admission, you don’t really know much about the history of racism. At one point in your comments, you conflate tribal conflict with racism in Africa.

    As another commenter noted, you are very committed to your idea. But as Richard Feynman once said (by attribution), if you knew what you were talking about, you would understand how wrong you were.

  177. 177
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Fair Economist:

    Greece *must* leave the Euro and it *must* default on its debts. There’s just no alternative to either.

    OK, it leaves the Euro and defaults on its debts. Now what does it do? How does it keep the lights on, factories operating, farms productive without imported fuels and materials? It can’t get loans on the world financial markets and the local currency is wastepaper outside their borders unlike the Euro. What happens next? Anything good?

  178. 178
    Darkrose says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I’m a little confused, actually. You seem to be conflating a number of things that aren’t necessarily the same, and including tribal conflicts in Africa, ongoing religious sectarian strife in the Indian Subcontinent, casual use of racial slurs in Europe, and anti-Muslim sentiment in the US under the same umbrella of racism.

    Using the latter as your example of US racism is also problematic, because while it’s certainly a problem, one of the big issues in the US is that there’s a wide spectrum of racism. Fox News commentators saying stupid shit is at one end, but then there are systemic issues like rampant police brutality faced by people of color, and the staggering rates of mass incarceration among black men in this country. These issues are not necessarily the same as racial issues in other countries, so the comparison doesn’t really work.

    And as others have said, so what? Where the US ranks on some imagined global scale of generic racism is less important to me as an American than addressing the institutional racism I live with on a daily basis.

  179. 179
    Elie says:

    @Fair Economist:

    Interesting… Makes it hard to see how the EU can survive. If it does not, what happens? Going back to before EU would be pretty difficult wouldn’t it — or would it? We can see that the Grexit may be the only path for Greece (and maybe similar strategies for Spain, Portugal, Italy, etc), but where does that put Germany and the Netherlands, etc? The Northern Germanic rich white countries union? How does that set them up to deal with the global economic realities beyond just their own immediate economies? To me its hard not to see Europe as kind of fucked… they are moving in a direction that is going to put them in a different frame than others working with all the new markets in Asia and elsewhere — or am I thinking wrong about this?

  180. 180
    chopper says:

    @Brachiator:

    certainly racism isn’t the sort of thing with a hard-and-fast metric and it is pretty subjective, but i don’t see how it’s ‘pointless’ to try to see how different countries and cultures stack up.

  181. 181
    Punchy says:

    @chopper: Let’s hope that Greece asks them to Sweden the deal in order to Finnish the negotiations. Otherwise there’s Norway this shit will pass the voters, and Denmark my words, the GyroZone is toast.

  182. 182
    catclub says:

    @The Pale Scot: Probably the Banks of Newton, Leibniz, Lebesgue(?) and Cauchy-Riemann.

    I bet that percentage is some multiple of pi, too.

  183. 183

    Returning, for a moment, to the starting point of the discussion, Michaloliakos:Pinochet.

  184. 184
    Elie says:

    @Punchy:

    LOL!!! Best one yet…

  185. 185
    chopper says:

    @Punchy:

    i don’t bolivia when you say it’s ‘toast’. kenya possibly see it from a different angola?

  186. 186
    chopper says:

    @Punchy:

    despite what you keep gabon on about, the grexit israel. i just don’t think we have togo there yet.

  187. 187
    Brachiator says:

    @chopper:

    certainly racism isn’t the sort of thing with a hard-and-fast metric and it is pretty subjective, but i don’t see how it’s ‘pointless’ to try to see how different countries and cultures stack up.

    In theory, a Racism Index might be interesting. I doubt that any of the commenters here, including myself, would be competent to compile such an index taking every country into consideration.

    And even when it comes to informal banter, patriotism, jingoism, sheer ignorance gets in the way. Some people have a deep need to minimize the persistence of racism here in the US. How could their judgments about the rest of the world have any value?

    And even when bias is less acute, unless you are polling people who have been subjected to racist practices, and preferably people who have lived in many different countries, how informed or valuable could the discussion really be?

  188. 188
    The Pale Scot says:

    @opiejeanne:
    “Are you an Italian or worse?”

  189. 189
    chopper says:

    @Brachiator:

    And even when bias is less acute, unless you are polling people who have been subjected to racist practices, and preferably people who have lived in many different countries, how informed or valuable could the discussion really be?

    gotta start somewhere. besides, it’s a blog. it’s not like ‘informed or valuable’ is a prerequisite here.

  190. 190
    Fair Economist says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    It can’t get loans on the world financial markets and the local currency is wastepaper outside their borders unlike the Euro. What happens next? Anything good?

    It trades products it makes for products it wants. Same as everybody else.

  191. 191
    Fair Economist says:

    @Elie: Well, the EU is a commitment to peace, open borders, and free trade. Those all work fine with separate currencies. The issue, as you suss out, is the transition – do the euro exiting countries turn to some nasty political party on the way out (e.g. LePen, maybe) or do the rump countries try to take revenge for the mountain of bad debt they’re left holding?

    The Nordic countries are fairly similar (democratic socialist countries with similar income levels) and can probably make a currency union work if they choose.

  192. 192
    brantl says:

    @catclub: It was never likely that socialism would spread from Chile, either, for god’s sake.

  193. 193
    Brachiator says:

    @chopper:

    gotta start somewhere. besides, it’s a blog. it’s not like ‘informed or valuable’ is a prerequisite here.

    I agree with you here. Hence my reference to “informal banter.” But even here, you gotta have something more than empty opinion.

  194. 194
    brantl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Your talking about the difference between a gloved fist, and whose hand is in the glove, and he’s talking about who’s paying for the glove, and the fist, both. We payed to get Hugo Chavez overthrown, failed miserably, and he laughed at us, until he died. We were responsible, in both there, and Chile.

  195. 195
    chopper says:

    @Brachiator:

    even here, you gotta have something more than empty opinion

    cat pics?

  196. 196
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Brachiator: But even here, you gotta have something more than empty opinion.

    Hey, when did that rule get introduced?

  197. 197
    Alex S. says:

    @Mike J:

    I bet Germany’s debt-to-GDP ratio was even higher, I mean, how much GDP was left immediately after the war?

  198. 198
    somethingblue says:

    Or, you know, one could go try to find an actual study. With some further discussion and caveats.

    Yeah, I know—where’s the fun in that?

  199. 199
    Punchy says:

    @chopper: Germany people on this blog seem to agree with Greece. Japan their work ethic, and peeps get upset. India greement, lots of higher Texas. I’m sure Iowa lotta money, too, but nothing close to what Utah on their IOUs. Lots of zeros….how many? Tennessee. At least.

  200. 200
    chopper says:

    @Punchy:

    dude, uganda see it from a different point of view. europe shit creek here, and yukon take that to the bank.

  201. 201
    chopper says:

    @somethingblue:

    i saw that earlier, but to be fair it does kinda suffer from the exact sort of problems brachiator is complaining about.

  202. 202
    Valdivia says:

    Chuck Lane is a freaking idiot.
    Particularly stupid and ominous analogy given Greece has a history of military dictatorship in the 1970s, maybe he should go read a history book. They already had their own fucking Pinochet.
    So annoyed because Village people like him are constantly trying to shoehorn everything into a cold war frame which is the epitome of foolishness (just see his Cuba piece).

    Also, don’t get me talking about the whole jews as bankers comment.

  203. 203
    sharl says:

    @Valdivia:

    So annoyed because Village people like him are constantly trying to shoehorn everything into a cold war frame…

    There are a LOT of people in the U.S. – delusional people IMO, but many highly placed in government, industry, and media – who really pine for the job/financial security and high social status they and their predecessors had in the Cold War days. In this regard they are just like Putin and his cronies (as well as a lot of the older citizenry, both there and here, e.g., Tea Party zombies who endlessly cheer war).

    As a Boomer I don’t say this lightly, but I hope the inescapable Wheel of Mortality will help in matters like this, to at least some extent.
    :-(

  204. 204
    Valdivia says:

    @sharl: Can’t tell you how exasperating I find the nostalgia for Cold War frameworks, which seem ever present in a lot of people.

    Because my brain is slow after class: DougJ, only now I get the title, win as always.

  205. 205
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Valdivia:

    Also, don’t get me talking about the whole jews as bankers comment.

    I know. I’m hoping it was just an incredibly poorly done and ill-advised attempt at snark.

  206. 206
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Possible variables in a Racism Index:

    1. Legal – are people of different races treated differently under the law, not just in enforcement, but in intent?

    2. Economic – Do people of different races have the same economic opportunities? Are people routinely denied loans or credit on the basis of race? And tying back to #1, is such discrimination legal?

    3. Social – How integrated or segregated are various neighborhoods in a city? Is any such segregation due to policies in City Hall (official or unofficial)?

    4. Individual – This gets into the kind of stuff mentioned in that survey above – would you be willing to have a neighbor of a different race? How about co-workers? Family members?

    That’s the kind of stuff we’d have to analyze to really determine whether the US was more or less racist than some other nation.

  207. 207
    chopper says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    doesn’t at all seem like it, but then again some people are terrible at snark.

  208. 208
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Betty Cracker: I saw it as a play on Greeks bearing gifts (which is really no less racist, Trojan war notwithstanding), and Marcus Goldman and Samuel Sachs were Jewish (as were the founders of a several American banking and investment firms). Of course, they’ve both been dead for a while.

  209. 209
    Valdivia says:

    @Betty Cracker: I don’t think so, but would be willing to be convinced. Though it seems the whole ‘jews are bankers what is wrong with this’ is a thing now.

    @Grumpy Code Monkey: I don’t mean to jump on you but there is no excusing and explaining that usage which reeks of ancient anti semitic tropes of jews as financial parasites.

  210. 210
    PaulW says:

    Every conservative / far right politician-economist seems to have a f-cking hard-on to kill pensions. Why?

  211. 211
    ezra abrams says:

    maybe it is my browser, but I don’t see a link to the WP article(s) in question

    what kind of lazy blogger puts up a critical post without a link to the OP ?
    I mean, that is what you would expect of a D Trump supporter

  212. 212
    sharl says:

    @ezra abrams: DougJ might be more of a very busy blogger – i.e., busy with his real life and paying job – rather than a lazy blogger, but in any event, here is the link to the Washington Post opinion piece by David Ignatius (the one linked in Ignatius’ tweet)

    [I would link the three individual tweets shown in the O.P., but that would exceed the 3-link per comment limit and get me thrown in moderation (aka commenter purgatory).]

  213. 213
    chopper says:

    @PaulW:

    there’s a lot of money in pension funds. also why should the working class get anything, ever?

  214. 214
  215. 215
    The Pale Scot says:

    @opiejeanne:

    OK, that was just a throwaway joke I’ve heard down here in FL referring to the pretensions of some of the wealthy crackers down here.

  216. 216
    The Pale Scot says:

    @opiejeanne:
    Yea, those Vikings got around.

  217. 217
    Jim Brewer says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Why wouldn’t the CIA dabble in regime change in Greece? Because our interests are aligned with Greece and not Germany.

    We would like to have Greece in the Euro and we logically would be insistent that Greece be treated as a full fledged member of the EU, with an opportunity to regain some semblance of economic ability to participate in NATO. That can’t happen if the country is in peonage to Germany for the indefinite future, nor is it politically tenable for even the medium term.
    Besides, it’s not like the Germans are going to be paid either way.

  218. 218
    Cervantes says:

    @Keith G:

    @Cervantes: I liked Philosophy 101. Was a real eye opener.

    Good.

    Here, I though we were just making observations about how the real world might be working.

    That may be what you were doing, I can’t say. Whereas someone else had asserted a “truth” and I was very obviously questioning how they had identified it as “truth,” hence the one-line comment I made, namely, “Just curious how one knows this truth.”

    I don’t see how my meaning and intention could have been clearer.

    As to:

    Meanwhile, let me ask you something else: are all unfalsifiable assertions true?

    Professor Dunbar (cute old lady, old as granite) would want me to answer: No, none the less with proper precautions, unfalsifiable claims can be an acceptable/legitimate form of reasoning.

    Because I used the word “all,” that first “No” is the operative word in your response (and I agree with it). The rest of your response is neither here nor there and I see no point commenting on it beyond that.

    Glad you took and enjoyed “Philosophy 101” but what I’m saying here is easily understood without it.

    Incidentally, I see that several other readers had questions, so a re-cap: Someone might say “Gentlemen prefer blondes,” or “The US is among the least racist societies” — and to ask “How on earth do you know this to be true?” does not require an argument that the assertion is false.

    Put another way: some people have a tendency to think of opinions (invariably their own) as “truth.”

  219. 219
    Cervantes says:

    @TheMightyTrowel:

    Personally I prefer this one: Greeks apologise with huge horse

    Yes: that is how you do it!

    I trust the right people are paying attention.

  220. 220
    Cervantes says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    So…

    I could write a more detailed response

    is a lie

    No, because “a more detailed response,” such as this one here, is not necessarily a counter-argument. See?

    Plus I said “not today.” Omitting words in a quotation to make some ridiculous non-point is, well, a waste of time.

    and you don’t think…

    But never mind my skepticism: please proceed.

    is sneering.

    When I said there was no sneer, the counter-example you think you’re providing here had not even been uttered. Do I need to elaborate?

    (Nor do I accept the counter-example as such — but who’s counting?)

    Okay, man. You’ve just said you’re not going to provide an argument, and I’ve made mine, so I guess this is done.

    On this we agree: it’s done when you say it’s done. (That’s a sufficient condition, albeit not a necessary one.)

  221. 221
    Cervantes says:

    @Mike J:

    Anybody read the Piketty interview everybody is talking about?

    I should hope so!

  222. 222
    Cervantes says:

    @chopper:

    Since you asked: you can find an explanation here.

    @Brachiator:

    This alone should have stopped [someone] from making any comments about racism around the world and comparisons with the US.

    I didn’t mind the comment — you’ll agree that people are entitled to opinions based on even the skimpiest of data and the poorest of arguments — but I still don’t see why the commenter thinks the above-stated “truth” is a knowable and known thing.

  223. 223
    priscianus jr says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: To me, the CIA overthrowing a regime and the CIA supporting a coup are sufficiently different that drawing the distinction is not pedantry.

    Standard CIA MO for regime overthrow is to support a coup. If you don’t know that you don’t anything. Sending in the marines went out with hoop skirts.

  224. 224

    Our country has more secrets that the maid of kim jong il

Comments are closed.