EUROPEAN UNION IN CRISIS & CONFLICT: insult hysteria goes viral…but behind the scenes, is Merkel still trying to avoid what she sees as a eurodisaster?

Why is everyone across the European Union becoming more shrill with every day? We know there is a lot at stake, but why this constant barrage of personal abuse followed by quiet passage of conciliatory messages in camera and under the table later? This morning, The Slog asks if this chart below (from Marketwatch via the IMF) might be one of the bigger factors that go beyond bad bank bets (derivatives), ECB loss of face, and eurogroupe terror of disobedience contagion.

eurofailchart

It really isn’t that hard to read the take-out from it: ClubMed did far, far better outside the eurozone than in it. If Greece leaves and prospers, the game is over for the euronauts.

It is a disturbing feature of this our Great European project that the degree to which, since the EC became the EU, everyone has been at many other throats in several directions at once. Since the launch of the euro, this has gone up to Defcom 3 – in that throat-cutting is now a daily threat, and when this fails to work, the kind of insults we haven’t seen since ooh it must be 1916 are hurled across the conference tables and airwaves of the Union.

First out of the péage last night was EU Parliament President Martin Schulz. Such is the rate of title inflation in the EU these days, one wonders at times whether this is yet another unhinged attempt to counter economic deflation; either way, everyone now is chief of or President of something. Herr Schulz (I use this form of address because he is a German person) is President of a body he himself admits is seen as full of “superfluous and useless human beings”. His career would suggest he fits the mould perfectly, but above all he is a raving federalist who thinks that “today’s problems are too big to be handled by any one State, and so it is more important than ever that Europe becomes more closely unified”.

In the spirit of such unity, Martin last night said that David Cameron’s campaign for EU reform “is driven by hatred, lies and national resentment”. Thus ended a week in which the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras referred to the eurogroupe as “criminally responsible” for Greece being in crisis, and Jean-Claude Juncker (another President) said Tspras must bear “criminal responsibility” for being intransigent. It was also a week in which the Austrian PM told Syriza to “stop being infantile”, and Spain’s Rajoy told the Greeks they were “spoiling it for the rest of us”. Clearly, there is an insatiable demand for austerity and economic decline in the eurozone, and left-wing dogma is getting in the way.

Further west in France, Le Monde yesterday scorned Britain’s “sirens of fake independence” adding that if we left the Union “it will prove to be your Waterloo”. Listen Johnny Foreigner, we won at Waterloo and you’re Europe-uniting dictator lost, so a more careful choice of metaphor might be in order there. Back in Athens, the Greek Parliament told Frankfurt-am-Brussels that its debt had a serious body odour problem, but further north in Berlin Sigmar Gabriel went into the pages of Bild to announce that German patience “is  running thin with this constant and dishonest Greek intransigence on the part of these clowns and former Communists in Syriza”. Herr Gabriel (he’s a Vice-Chancellor) was obviously trying to pour oil on troubled waters by lighting it, but his metaphor too was an odd one: it’s a long time since I saw a German either running or thin, although there are some very thin people in Greece at the minute.*
*

To the South West, Dutch cheese impersonator and tonsorially teased Jeroan Dijessllbleom (he’s a Chairman) sneered at a press conference on the Greek crisis yesterday that “Athens is heading for the euro exit” – a statement based more on hope and hype than hard fact – and sweeping east towards central Europe, Polish politician Andrsej Duda (he’s a President) told Brussels where to stick its Ukraine policy by snubbing Kiev in favour of Moscow, having earlier old Juncker lackey Donald Tusk (he’s a Head Commissioner) where to stick the euro.

Last week Juncker (he’s an unelected President of an unelected Commission) greeted Hungarian President Viktor Orban (he’s an elected President of a sovereign Democratic State) with the words “Good morning, dictator”. Monsieur Drunker claimed it was a joke, probably in the same vein as first of all calling Tsipras “friend” and then “liar”. But then, it’s an odd place, Luxembourg: like Cyprus in that it launders lots of funny-money, just rather better protected from the bludgeoning blackmail of the Draghi Mob. Anyway, during his Brussels visit, President Orban told the eurocrats that they too could anally insert their euro, as it was becoming apparent to all that  is going to be the best use for it before too long.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel remains at odds on budget control with Francois Hollande, and the IMF is hurling accusations of sloth and incompetence at everyone. But as so often, perhaps Mutti Geli has grasped that it is time for a more balanced sort of spin aimed at stopping the rot right here. Above all else, the one thing she must not allow to happen is for the wastrel cast-out prodigal stray to return victorious in Reel Two.So it is that Der Spiegel – an intelligent German print and digital magazine where Merkel’s thoughts are often planted – has published a piece arguing forcibly that the image of the “luxury Greek pensioner”, so dear to German politicians and the media, is pure mythical spin.

It shows that the statistical comparisons published by papers such as Bild, for example,  compare the average retirement age in the Greek public sector (given as 56 years) with retirement old age in Germany (which is given as 64 years), when according to official figures the average pension in both countries is the same – 61.4 years.

Many other tabloid/Schäuble anomolies lies are also challenged. This – and the degree to which the ECB continues to blend cosh with cash – continues to tell me that the Troikanauts are infinitely more scared than the Greeks. Because, let’s face it, they have a lot to be scared about.*

Yesterday at The Slog: Can Stournaras serve two masters and survive?

103 thoughts on “EUROPEAN UNION IN CRISIS & CONFLICT: insult hysteria goes viral…but behind the scenes, is Merkel still trying to avoid what she sees as a eurodisaster?

  1. John, In the context of Euro bullying, it is interesting to hear what was said by a senior Irish civil servant about events surrounding our bank guarantee in September 2008

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  2. Nice piece John, I think you highlight the utter hypocrisy and doublespeak being thrown around in huge quantities. I have said this before but I think it is worth repeating that complex systems start to exhibit wild fluctuations when they are dying, this works across polities, mammals and information systems.

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  3. Good piece undermined by the plot at the top. Where’s the benchmark or point of reference? Where’s the UK, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland on the same plot? Without that it’s just cherry-picked statistics with no real value.

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  4. Obama will not let Greece leave, certainly not to see it prosper out of the Euro but more because of the political ramifications of Putin giving Greece a helping hand that would never do. Geli will be under a lot of pressure to ensure that doesn’t happen. So, the can will once more be kicked down the road and, will continue to be kicked a while longer yet.
    The sovereign debt issue is one that intrigues me because, if I borrow say, £500 from the bloke down the road and I don’t pay him back on time, he sends rounds a bloke with a baseball bat and threatens my kneecaps, I certainly can’t borrow anymore until I have repaid the initial sum. The same is not true of sovereign debt, there is no one to collect with the threat of anything let alone violence and, the debt just keeps getting bigger, it’s just numbers on a computer screen somewhere it actually has no relevance, if it did then the debts would be getting smaller, not bigger, even the IMF has stated that it’s not worth attempting to repay the debts, the debts appear to be meaningless, look at the US, the debt ceiling just keeps being raised they are more and more in debt by the second to no obvious consequence. It appears to my limited vision that it’s not the debt that matters, it’s the population, too many of us with less and less gainful employment, too many old people needing unaffordable healthcare and pensions, less and less young people contributing enough to support them. Vast demands of finite resources are compounding the problem, and the world’s population is growing relentlessly. Forget sovereign debt, forget the EU and Greece et al. take 6 billion folk of the planet tomorrow and all these issue we face today would evaporate (along with us!).
    This is what we should all be concerned about. Folk on here recently have been talking about Agenda 21, Common Purpose and the like, how long before talk becomes reality? The only real issue we face today is the amount of us, the debt, the politics, religion are all irrelevant, it’s people that matter. Sooner or later some bright spark is going to come up with a way of solving the people problem without damaging the planet.

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  5. Watching the red ants fighting the black ants in the great Euro dung heap is certainly going to be interesting over the coming weeks.

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  6. I try to keep things within my level of understanding!…Do we have a big problem looming regarding the wishes of the German working class being ignored , just as in the UK?

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  7. Sorry, what exactly are you looking for in the graph that is not there?
    The graph shows Average GDP per person Pre and Post € in 4 of the 5 PIIGS (Club Med group)
    The benchmark is GDP Pre €, and in reference to the benchmark is GDP Post €. The graph shows a decline in GDP Post €.

    Do you even know what cherry-picking data means?

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  8. I have to admire your optimism KFC. It seems to me the Greek people have succumbed to clientism, too many are still attached to the welfare teat. Their break in the sun was based upon deficit spending only a slim proportion of which actually enriched the populous, most of the wealth never even arrived on Greek soil but merely got diverted into the coffers of the banking elites. At the moment the EU is acting like an evil drug peddler, drip feeding the debt narcotics and exploiting the economic withdrawal symptoms to enforce compliance with their expansionist policy.

    I do hope the Greek patient will find the strength to kick the debt habit and live within their means and let the EU debt based ponzi tower of cards collapse.

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  9. Excellent JW! I do think that if it at all possible, the stats for Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria and France are included. Then it should be clear if anyone at all is benefitting from being in the Euro.

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  10. Yes, but during the period 1980-98 every fool and his donkey could make money (I know quite a few who did), but after that period we had the dot com bubble, 9/11 and then the great recession so the two periods of time are hardly comparable!

    So, the question is whether or not being in the euro was a valid strategy and seeing as none of the countries in the plot weren’t not in the euro we cannot be objective as to whether it was to their benefit or not. If, on the other hand, we compare these countries to those who stayed out of the euro – I mentioned the UK, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland – we can get a general appreciation of how badly the euro countries performed. What was the UK’s growth per capita per annum in the two periods?

    Apparently you don’t know what cherry-picking data means so I shall explain it to you: “choosing data that backs up your argument while ignoring that which doesn’t.” Which is exactly what we see in the original plot.

    All this does not mean that I believe that the countries mentioned have not done badly since they entered the euro, but I am in the dark as to whether the euro was the contingent factor or just the economic times.

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  11. That is certainly the way things look on the surface, kfc 1404, but I’ve been reading this lack of resources combined with overpopulation problem nonsense since I was a 19 year old, & I’m 61 now.
    Bottom line, it’s a fabrication by the 1%s, who own the media, to promote the views you now hold.
    Population: I recommend http://www.drtimball.com This chap is a top climatologist, bright enough to have figured out that evil industrial man producing CO2 is certainly not driving our climate. Put overpopulation in the search box at his site, & read his essay: “Overpopulation: The Fallacy behind the Fallacy of Global Warming” Also: http://www.overpopulationisamyth.com
    TBC.
    JD.

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  12. I don’t think they will kick the debt habit. From what I see it matters not who is in charge, it’s the same old story, none of them have the backbone to stand up to the bullies, or maybe that isn’t the game? Because who, in there right mind would put up with all the bollox that the Troika/EU dishes out to them? Rajoy, Hollande, Renzi et al all succumb to this charade, why? Is it because they themselves do not suffer the same as their electorate? Or, is it plain old blackmail? Because as sure as shit I don’t understand it. If we knew the truth maybe we would better understand it.
    I too am convinced that it all will come asunder eventually but not for a long while yet.

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  13. Running a government deficit is fine if you are a sovereign currency. The government debt increases the value of non-government assets, which maintains the currency’s accounting balance. Greece gave up that ability when they joined the Euro.

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  14. “…but during the period 1980-98 every fool and his donkey could make money (I know quite a few who did), but after that period we had the dot com bubble, 9/11 and then the great recession so the two periods of time are hardly comparable…”

    Quite happy to make assumptions based on anecdote and personal experience here…
    …but in the graph, where hard economic data is used to construct a chart, you want more….what? Anecdote?

    “…So, the question is whether or not being in the euro was a valid strategy and seeing as none of the countries in the plot weren’t not in the euro we cannot be objective as to whether it was to their benefit or not…”

    You are joking, right.

    “…cherry-picking data means… “choosing data that backs up your argument while ignoring that which doesn’t.” Which is exactly what we see in the original plot…”

    …which would be quite valid, except the graph is an IMF graph (see source on graph) and it is being used to ‘illustrate’ a point rather than to support an assertion. The point being clearly shown is that Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal had a higher Average GDP prior to being encased in the EZ, illustrated by the figures used to construct the graph. Why do you need to see any other countries Average GDP to ascertain that the PIGS are being stuffed?

    Oh. Your assumption as to my state of knowledge, is quite erroneous. I am an accountant, and perfectly aware of how to display data to garner the appropriate response.

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  15. thanks for this one JW. the ‘dogs dinner’ called the euro, is an experiment.. as is the group membership.. like knitting when it unravels its full of holes..

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  16. Money that is conjured out of thin air, as in QE, and when a private bank issues a loan, can return to the ether without any real effect on the Real economy.
    Real money and wealth are directly related to productive labour.
    Casino financial services do not contribute to the wealth of a Nation in either meaningful employment or wealth creation.
    It is not difficult to understand the results of the above charts showing the drop in GDP between various counties economies when in and out of the Euro.
    When a country cedes control of its currency, it loses control of its economy and can be looted at will, as we witness with Greece and the other PIIGS.
    The EU, the Euro and its associate military enforcer NATO are all a means to keep the European countries in thrall to the hegemony of the USA Empire.
    Greece will not be allowed to leave and turn East to the BRICS. This will cause disruption both financially and militarily to the Hegemon.
    There is already an internal battle in the Hegemon between the greed of the bankers to loot and the military objectives of NATO. They usually co-ordinate , but in the case of Greece there are contradictions to be resolved.
    Greece holds the high cards in this poker game, contrary to received opinion. They can play footsie with the BRICS and attain their objective of debt forgiveness, if they hold their nerve.
    Maybe Yanis Varoufakis is not a dumb ,game theory player after all.

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  17. Reckless rhetoric risks ridicule but reality remains both rigorous and resolute. If Greece can uncover Ariadne’s thread, and if Tsipras can emulate Theseus, she may yet escape the labyrinthine embrace of an all too fallible fantasy. It would indeed be a great and liberating victory.

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  18. You seem to have petered off at the end Mr Ward …….. have you been taken poorly ?

    Sorry I have no time to comment constructively. Rushing around somewhat at the moment.

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  19. Hi JW .. Yes these a re telling charts ; I have stated as much when referring to France . There was a Top Gear episode wher they took the Mickey out of Peugot that came on again recently : they used newspaper headlines from 1999 that basically showed record sales figures for the company then. Thats why Merkel won’t let go , the Germans have the most to lose as they export to all these countries with no currency appreciation . If my memory serves me correctly back in 2003 2004 the French car companies had better investment ratings than VW , the Euro effect had not yet kicked in . Still can’t belive the ECB hasn’t said ‘ whatever it takes ‘ regarding Greece ,as a partial default and more manageable debt wouldn’t cost that much if compared to 750 bn€ of QE .

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  20. Rothschild: “If I control a nation’s currency, I care not who writes its laws.”
    He did not mean he was content with just money.
    He could, crucially, dictate the amount of money in circulation, & politicians being populist creatures dependent on a friendly media, said politicians could be dominated via a bought media. Politicians can also be dominated via bribes & blackmail.
    Herded from both directions.
    Rothschild commissioned the renegade ex-jesuit, Adam Weishaupt to update a plan for World Domination, which was completed 1st May 1776.
    Google, Youtube, or book: Pawns in the Game, by William Guy Carr.

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  21. Am really pleased you took time out of performing your chicken with no head routine,to intervene in the debate,however i think you still think you have your head attached to your body?

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  22. Sorry SL but this statement : ” Casino financial services do not contribute to the wealth of a Nation in either meaningful employment or wealth creation ” is wrong . If it didn’t make alot of money casino banking would not exist . Profits are profits and ( in theory at least) taxes are paid on them . The problem is that these services are not labour intensive ( although any number of legal/compliance / back office people are involved ) .Equally , if you do deals with overseas conterparts that make you profits in foreign currency the net effect is exactly the same as exporting goods . Casino banking poses a problem only if banking controls ( in the case of Kerviel for example) or regulatory controls ( as in the last financial crisis ) cannot actually control what is happening . A well regulated and just banking system brings both employment and profits , as do well run service companies . You do not have to ‘make’ things to be successful . Apple does not make hardware , they develop integrated Os and software and design hardware : production is done elsewhere .

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  23. I don’t attempt chapter & verse, Rowan, just the high points on this intelligent site.
    & while the alarmist bedwetters call us truthers ‘Deniers’, you can expect to get insults back, in spades.
    A site with enough & plenty graphs & articles to present the truth.
    http://www.c3headlines.com
    I suggest graphs and also quotes.

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  24. Depopulation: Look into the Brit Empire use of famines in India & Ireland.
    Look at the use of vaccines in the Philippines at the end of the Spanish/American war.
    It’s a time-honoured Imperial tactic.

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  25. http://www.drtimball.com

    Overpopulation put in his search box will get his essay: “Overpopulation: The Fallacy behind the Fallacy of Global Warming.”
    Dr. Tim is a world class climatologist who has sussed the One World Fascist Govt & Depopulation plan behind Global Warming & Agenda 21.

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  26. You really must work harder on your English vernacular, angel, it’s ‘petered out’ – and when history catches up with you and your lupine friend you may discover what it means to do a bit of ‘peter’ yourself. Aufweidersen pet, but keep ’em coming, not long to go now..

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  27. @ Jon Baker
    Your statement that ‘Casino banking does not create a problem unless there is a lack of regulation,is revealing. This is exactly what has caused the Great Economic Crash, The regulators ,both of the City of London and Wall St have been suborned.
    Have you forgotten,Libor manipulation,, PPI fraud, Mortgage fraud, Foreign exchange fraud, High frequency trading fraud, front running share fraud, Pension fraud, etc etc.
    The revolving door from the regulators to highly paid jobs in the Financial sector has ensured a ‘Nelsons Eye’ policy from the regulators.
    There is no effective regulation ,either of the City or of Wall st.
    The whole Financial sector is a fraudulent ,stinking pile of ordure..
    Not one banker has been jailed or even stood trial for their looting.
    Crime in the streets is punished severely with a diet of porridge, crime in the suites is ignored and the champagne continues to flow.

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  28. ‘Crime in the streets is punished severely with a diet of porridge, crime in the suites is ignored and the champagne continues to flow.’
    +100

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  29. The belief is that Greeks retire at 55 on 700 Euros pension and above.

    I don’t know where they get that figure from. Most of my relatives didn’t get anything like.

    The lowest basic farmer pension has been cut.

    There have been cuts to pensions that are private works funds and nothing to do with the state pension.

    I’ve never heard of private pensions like ours in Greece, from my relatives.

    What I have seen is growing pensioner poverty, but cuts to pensions already being received.

    However old, even into their 90s.

    At a time when social medicine is being lost, and medicines getting ever more expensive, even if available.

    Having a medical insurance scheme, once out of work, lost access to social medicine altogether.

    The minimum wage fell through the floor.

    So the EU and IMF between them have destroyed capitalism over most of Europe, in southern and eastern Europe.

    They will do the same for Ukraine, already in debt.

    The rich say that huge numbers of people on a living wage, generate business and create jobs.

    Creating jobs with a living wage, generate more business.

    The EU and IMF don’t seem able to comprehend the basics of capitalism.

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  30. Salford Lad you’re right but for the wrong reasons,they are all symptom of the problem of overvaluation/undervaluation which i will try later when i have some time to explain!

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  31. Perhaps the biggest depopulation exercise, apart from communism Fascism & wars, which are all banksters’ products, is malaria deaths: June 1972, EPA boss “banned” DDT. It had been proven non-carcinogenic. People had eaten it for 2 years in tests. The Sweeny report to Congress revealing this was ignored by Ruckelshaus. Malaria deaths in the 3rd world shot from 50,000 pa to 2 million pa. I’ve seen estimates from 30 – 58 million dead total.
    Michael Crichton’s novel: State of fear.
    Wildavsky, Aaron. But is it True? A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues.
    Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994 (or ’95)
    http://www.junkscience.com & put DDT in search box

    Musn’t forget the “Spanish Flu” outbreak which killed more than combat did, just following WWI.
    That, too, was vaccine related..

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  32. financial regulation is a bit like trying to tie up an ant with a thick rope. it is a non starter and will never work.

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  33. Salford Lad I think you are misreading the political intent of the US in regard to our commitment to NATO just as the Germans don’t support aiding Greece many Americans are also against defending countries like the UK whose Army has shrunken to the size of the NY city police force. I realize that the majority of Sloggers don’t want NATO’s help. You may soon get your wish. The armor column sent to bolster NATO commitment to the Baltics is a joke and the Russians know this.

    In a speech in Brussels, outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that America’s military alliance with Europe faces a “dim, if not dismal” future, owing to what he characterized as the United States’ disproportionate funding of NATO operations, and of allies “willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.”

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  34. @S-lad
    I get the creating money from thin air stuff….. But can they also do the same for employees salaries and bonuses ? I can’t see why not if they just ‘borrow the payroll’ from themselves…..?

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  35. “What is perhaps most-infuriating is that the big-picture progression here also could not be clearer, or more inevitable. As each round of “debt negotiations” take place; the Vampires pile more debt onto the victim-nation (increasing interest payments) and then also demand less spending (on the people) to free-up more funds, to pay the higher interest payments.”
    I’ve a suspicion that these chaps are not “cherry picking data”
    http://bullionbullscanada.com/intl-commentary/26627-the-facts-on-the-greek-crisis

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  36. At what cost the truth ? I hope Greece defaults myserlf, kicks the EZ and EU into turmoil, giggle watching european banks try to hold themselves together and it would affect the UK of course. Through all that chaos though the truth can finally be heard, no more lies upon lies etc. because the first and ultimate lie has been revealed that is “NO NATION IS IN FACT SOLVENT” through all the human invention and efficiency savings for sol ong now. Yea the central banks can print, but we can make ropes also :-)

    I reckon I lose the same whatever Greece does so I am all for the truth now no matter the cost.

    As for GDP collapse since joining the euro JW it was a club for the few e.g. Germany / France from the start so anybody who joined should have expected that they would have to give up a share of GDP to more deserving countries like those already in the club.

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  37. Agreed. Greece holds all the trump cards but, seems unable to grasp that fact, or unwilling to play them, I’m not sure which, it may be that Tsipras and Varoufakis are better players than we give them credit for. One German politician whose name now escapes me said a while back that it would be wrong to underestimate Varoufakis. We shall see.

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  38. @Desmondo
    I repeat a previously-quoted aphorism: “The dog returneth to his vomit: the Liar must eat his Lie” (…”The Devil’s mouthful”)
    The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, George Meredith, page 74
    Sums up the Brussels-am-Berlin Euro bollocks to a freaking tee.
    WAD

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  39. I lived in Deutschland for 3 months with working folks in the early 70’s. They feared leaders of all the tribes, because they knew the nazi had never left. Now all of the world watches it rise from its fatherland and other “unions” where it would have been met with disbelief once upon a time.

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  40. @H
    Your alliteration matches your humour.
    Thank you once again for bringing a smile to my already wrinkly old face. Your skills, as I have said before, are wasted!
    WAD

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  41. The German working class could have voted AfD. They did not. Therefore they must be happy with whatever arrangements the parties they did vote for come up with.

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  42. hi mr ghost, we invent financial stuff which can be fiddled. See all the billions in bank fines for fiddling. That is just a little slap on the wrist for con men swindlers. The regulators are a joke. We need another way to do the stuff we do because the triangulation and lines squinting are not true. Is there any financial transaction that banks are involved in that has not been cheated on with no censure for years and years.?

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  43. Putin. DB. Target2. Tax payer losses. End to “ever closer union”. Proof that Euro is just a currency exchange mechanism. Contagion (Portugal next?).

    I am sure Merkel has much on her mind.

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  44. JD shows his blind ignorance in another area – maleria and DDT. What a surprise. See here for a better, more balanced summary.
    http://www.panna.org/issues/persistent-poisons/the-ddt-story

    What JD doesn’t tell you is that the only remaining legal use for DDT is to control mosquitos carrying malaria. I wonder why he omitted that piece of information? Does that smack of Propaganda to anyone else?

    Incidentally, JD’s comments on this thread have finally persuaded me that we are dealing with a conspiracy theorist of the highest order and direct engagement will have no effect on him. He will not be persuaded no matter what the evidence. Refer to Lewandowsky’s papers on conspiracy ideation for all you could possibly want to know about this particular personality type and why it is so hopeless trying to engage them in constructive debate.

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  45. >Quite happy to make assumptions based on anecdote and personal experience here…
    >…but in the graph, where hard economic data is used to construct a chart, you want more….what? Anecdote?

    Of course I want more!!! It’s totally arbitrary! If you shift the date to 9/11 you get more or less the same result, so you cannot possibly say, based on this particular bar chart, that this is all due to the euro! It may well be due to the euro, but it is impossible to tell from this limited set of data.

    >>“…So, the question is whether or not being in the euro was a valid strategy and seeing as none of the countries in the plot weren’t not in the euro we cannot be objective as to whether it was to their benefit or not…”

    >You are joking, right.

    No, I most definitely am not. This is basically where you and I differ. You believe that it is axiomatic that introducing the euro has resulted in poorer economic performance, and I say that those countries may well have performed worse but that we cannot tell from the graph shown. In scientific terms, what we need is a control i.e. a country that did not join the EZ.

    >…which would be quite valid, except the graph is an IMF graph (see source on graph) and it is being used to ‘illustrate’ a point rather than to support an assertion.

    Semantics.

    You may be an accountant, but I am an engineer and engineers don’t design stuff based on half-truths. We have to be convinced, I am perfectly prepared to be convinced that the euro is responsible for these countries problems. Unfortunately, this bar chart does not deliver.

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  46. So whas Merkel to do?? She has to appear to dance to the tune of the German Burgher whilewhispering sweet nothings ( and as for the value of them they really are nothing) into the Ear of Tsiparis. as for our intrepid Grteek prime minister his goose os about cooked. It appears that the EU is going to force him either to sign or default and that they ( pour Le encouragement de Les outres) has determined to make this default as painful as possible. All Tsiiparis can do is scream painfully as it happens.

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  47. You should be taking your “cherry-picked statistics” complaint to the IMF since it’s their chart. So they don’t know what they’re taking about? UnIike you?

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  48. Tsipiras can’t leave, that would be politically unviable (most poeple of Greece want to stay in)
    Greece can’t be forced out, that would be politically unviable in the Union (it wouldn’t be a union)

    Greek default would make the Euro rise crippling the German exporting economy.

    (not) Sorry to rain on anybodies parade but Grexit ain’t gonna happen, neither is Brexit.

    Cameron is going to come back from Europe claiming all sorts of concessions (none of which are real)
    Referendum confirms EU membership.
    40,000 immigrants per year from grim bits of MENA are assigned to UK to make up for the demographic shortfall and DC says there is nothing he can do cuz you lot voted for it.
    (why does anybody think the TFR challenged EU countries enthusiastically bombed Libya after getting into bed with the Gadaffi regime ?)

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  49. @Rowan. I’m afraid you lost me by using the pejorative “conspiracy theorist” – a term specifically invented and popularised by the CIA as a way to discredit those genuine investigators who had questions about the laughable lone gunman Warren Commission fiction created under the guidance of one of the chief suspects, (Allen Dulles). Had you been paying attention over the last decade or so you might have discovered that many of those alternative histories dubbed “conspiracy theories” by the mainstream have been revealed to be correct, albeit too long after the event to make any real difference. The ideas you mock now may well turn out to be correct.

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  50. WHAT Greek welfare?

    There is NO “welfare teat” to be attached to – why do you think people search for food in the garbage?

    There is NO social housing, NO doIe, NO universaI heath care. Only 1 in 1O receives unemployment benefit, and that ranges between 16O eur to a magnificent 3OO eur/month.

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  51. @angie
    Comment constructively? Seriously????
    Your value system places money and power above human life and some fundamental principles of a civic society. Please go back to your (bank) vault and rest assured that your “comments” will not really be missed here.

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  52. People are missing the REAL point of all this ‘negotiation’ which is the fact that the troika have one immediate goal, GET RID OF SYRIZA. That is the only thing they are concerned with and they only have 10 days to do it! If they can do that they will then be able to talk things over with ‘adults’ who know the rules, kick the can again until the next crisis, when we will go through all this BS again and again, because they have no idea how to end it, well they do but haven’t got the guts or the inclination.

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  53. Silly question, but here goes: I have just read “Treasure Islands” by Nicholas Shaxson. Highly recommended. This institutionalised, economic caning of a country’s population for misdeeds of a handful of people is so perverse. The subtitle of this book is “Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World.” Junker, of all people, knows where the money has gone. Why don’t they go there?

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  54. I’m pretty certain that someone somewhere is doing dirty little things with genetically engineered viruses (should it be virii ?).
    I’d guess that camps as per FEMA could be testing facilities to make certain that only the ‘correct’ traits got wiped out ???

    Agenda 21 is pretty achievable utilising this technology….. No doubt there is an anti-virus available at £1Bn per shot so that only the ‘right sort of people’ get to survive….. Far fetched idea….. Were dealing with psychotics here remember !

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  55. Conspiracy theorist – from the man who thinks he’s a tree ! And and and is convinced by the consensus of scientists who make their living off the AGW taxation scam…… And you have the nerve to go for the throat of JD ???!!!

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  56. They cannot kick Greece out of the EU ! Greece can only leave if it chooses to do so ! Even if the other countries try via some sort of censure over breaking treaties would only open a new can of worms as the treaties are broken 7p and down the EU with amazing regularity – whenever it suits our ubermeisters ! Strangely and probably because of our historical concept and acceptance of the rule of law – the UK probably meets its ‘obligations’ more than any other member state…… Shame the same rule of law has been destroyed within the UK itself by those who slavishly obey the dictats from their masters !

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  57. That would be the logical conclusion, however, the chart was produced using IMF data, but I don’t believe it was produced by the IMF. They would not be so crass.

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  58. @Garet – snide comments from someone who hides behind a fake name is quite ironic really.

    Please tell me, what AGW taxes are you referring to? And which climate scientists allegedly benefit?

    Y’see, I can point to numerous Deniers (Ridley, Murdoch, Koch brothers) who DO earn a lot of money from denying climate science and maintaining the status quo. Follow the money – fossil fuel companies get billions in subsidies every year, dwarfing the amounts dedicated to research.

    @Canexpat – in essence, Deniers are claiming that AGW is all a scam, that it is a conspiracy of the highest order. I am calling them the equivalent of Dulles – holding a position for which there is no evidence. Just because the CIA invented the term doesn’t mean I can’t use it when it’s applicable.

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  59. I agree with Re-loaded, also pertinent is the fact that real gdp growth has been decreasing in the west for the last 30 years at least due to the expansion of credit, wildly increasing in fact since the mid 90s.

    So, the real gdp growth for those countries in the graphic would have in all likelihood decreased post 1998 whether in the euro or not.

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  60. Clarification, unbacked credit has been wildly increasing since the mid 90s leading to lower real gdp growth.

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  61. And in terms of cherry picking, why choose 1980 as a start point? Why not choose the post war rebuilding period?
    I don’t think accusations of cherry picking data stand up to scrutiny without knowing why 1980 was chosen.

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  62. And one final point, real gdp growth is wildly overstated anyway as the gdp deflator is massively understated, so it’s all swings, roundabouts and obfuscation. Not that I don’t think the Euro is a good idea of course, mostcurrency areas need transfer payments to work, just look at transfer payments from the south of England to other parts of the UK.

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  63. @Keasley Lad. Indeed. Expect to see ‘spontaneous’ street demonstrations and the like, followed by grave warnings from the U.S. President about the consequences of using riot police against the violent crowds, followed by ‘mysterious’ snipers that target both police and demonstrators. When Victoria Nuland turns up to toss her cookies, Greece will be firmly back in the US/NATO/EU fold.

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  64. A fine article, JW. Lifting the veil of MSM lies to reveal the decay, both moral & financial, of an increasingly bankrupt & Totalitarian EU.
    Slog on, John.

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