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EUROPE’s immigration problem

Via: TYWKIWDBI (“Tai-Wiki-Widbee”)


Like almost 60,000 others this year, Brahana decided to brave the Mediterranean sea in order to reach Italy, and therefore Europe. She paid people-smugglers $1,600 (£950), she says, to board a boat packed with more than 300 people.

“It’s really hard with a small baby,” she says stoically of a journey that has proved deadly for thousands over the past 20 years. Her boat was intercepted by an Italian navy ship last week and all its passengers taken to safety. The question for them now is what comes next.

More depressing details at the Guardian link.



fyi – I believe TYWKIWBI is one of the most interesting, informative, and FUN blogs on the whole damn web.

You’re right, what the hell do I know. But please check it out, anyway.






July 7, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Germany outraged by Italian newspaper’s ‘Fourth Reich’ headline

Via: Raw Story

German politicians have reacted furiously to this front page in the Italian daily Il Giornale with its headline “Fourth Reich” above a picture of Chancellor Angela Merkel raising her hand in a vaguely fascist salute.

The paper is owned by the brother of Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and the article – published on Friday – was written by its editor-in-chief, Alessandro Sallusti.

It says: “Since yesterday, Italy is no longer in Europe, it is in the Fourth Reich.” It argues that Germany has won while Italy, Europe and the euro have lost. It blames Merkel for failing to allow the European central bank to assist the Italian economy.

Il Giornale has been at the centre of controversy with Germany before. Two months ago, after Italy beat Germany in the Euro 2012 football semi-final, the paper published a picture of Merkel under the headline “Ciao, ciao culona” (Bye bye lard arse).

The paper has also laid into Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti – who replaced Berlusconi – for not doing enough to stand up to Germany. It compared him to the appeasing British prime minister Neville Chamberlain who declared in 1938 he had “secured peace in our time” after meeting Adolf Hitler.



August 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greece/Euro/EU – “Quote of the Day”

Via: Huffington Post

“There’s a disagreement on the fiscal side, and unless that is resolved in the next three days, then I’m afraid the summit could turn out to be a fiasco.

And that could be actually fatal because you are facing the possiblity of Greece leaving the euro and perhaps the European Union, and you need to strengthen the remaining euro structure to withstand that shock.”

– George Soros told Bloomberg TV.



June 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And Then What? – Paul Krugman

Via: NY Times

So it appears that the governing coalition in Greece has pulled out a narrow victory — winning only a minority of votes, but getting a narrow majority in the parliament thanks to the 50-seat bonus New Democracy gets for coming in first.

So they will now have the ability to continue pursuing an unworkable policy.


Joe Wiesenthal tells us that there’s a meme in Greece to the effect that Syriza didn’t really want to win, because it would rather see the current government flail some more.

Conversely, establishment types should actually be dismayed by this outcome: if current policies fail completely, which seems almost a GIVEN, and Greece exits the euro anyway, which seems highly likely, the entire Greek center will end up discredited; better, in a way, to be able to blame the radicals.

And I gather I’m not the only one thinking along these lines; Business Insider also reports hints that Pasok, which has suffered terribly from its identification with failing policies, might not continue in the coalition unless Syriza is also brought on board — which then raises the question, why would Syriza do that?

The debacle rolls on.



You can read all of the Nobel laureate’s blog, and column, here:




personal thought:

Q: Could it be worse?

A: possibly


Q: Will it get worse?

A: probably


June 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greece Still Going Broke, Now Faster And With More Broke-Ness

Via: Huffington Post

If you could rely on anything in the past couple of years, it is that Greece is always going broke. Now it turns out that Greece is going broke faster than almost anybody expected.

The Greek government is struggling to collect enough tax revenue to cover its immediate bills, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, leaving it about 1.7 billion euros shy of its budget goals. It may soon need to freeze government salaries and pensions, temporarily halt imports of food, fuel and medicine, or dip into cash intended to help Greece’s gutted banks, the Times writes.

This comes less than three months after Greece received the first installment of a new, 130 billion-euro bailout package in March. The hard-fought bailout agreement with Greece’s European rescuers involved excruciating belt-tightening that has helped make the country’s deep recession even worse. That tends to have a dampening effect on tax revenue, as the U.S. government can attest.

Austerity, in other words, is self-defeating, which is one reason the rest of the world is dragging Europe’s biggest austerity fan, Germany, toward policies that favor economic growth instead.


The world has recently grown weary of caring about Greece’s money problems and has instead turned its attention to the money problems of Spain, which yesterday warned it was at risk of being SHUT OUT of  the BOND MARKET and that its banks needed a multi-billion-euro bailout.

The European Central Bank this morning stood pat on taking any more action to help Europe right now, in what might be an effort to force European politicians to make some hard choices and hammer out a long-term solution. Greece, which will likely need more bailout money or risk falling out of the euro zone, may be back on the agenda sooner than policy makers think.




personal thought:

“. . . what might be an effort to force European politicians to make some hard choices and hammer out a long-term solution”; well that’s great, and good for them.

But what IF, they/we have reached the ‘tipping point’, and there are NO long-term solutions, simply more half-ass, stop-gap fixes?


June 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Achtung Baby: Germany Is Riskier Than You Think”

Via: Huffington Post

While everybody’s rightly worried about Spain as the next likely victim of the European debt crisis, nobody’s thinking much about Germany. It could be in more trouble than we realize.

That’s the message of a presentation making the rounds Tuesday on Wall Street by Carmel Asset Management, a New York investment firm. Entitled Achtung Baby: Germany Is Riskier Than You Think,” the presentation points out that Germany has been the sponge soaking up Europe’s debt problems for more than two years now — and that it helped finance the debt booms in Greece, Spain and other peripheral European countries that led to the eventual bust. This is all bad news for Germany’s long-term financial health, Carmel warns.

“Periphery debt is now the Federal Republic of Germany’s problem,” Carmel writes in the presentation, which is available in full at the Zero Hedge blog.

Typically when Germany is mentioned in relation to the rest of the eurozone, it is the Debbie Downer who won’t let anybody do anything fun, like stimulate the economy or issue joint European bonds. Its fever for austerity has helped investors think of it as an uber-safe haven. That’s one reason its two-year debt yields recently turned negative: Investors are so desperate for Germany’s perceived safety that they’re willing to actually pay money to let the German government hold their money for safekeeping.

But Germany is not immune, Carmel warns. It is getting punished in four very specific, very awful ways:

– Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, has taken on the burden of some of the bad debts of struggling European countries, as a result of being the primary cash source for repeated eurozone bailouts.

– The Bundesbank is also suffering from the bad debts of German private banks that loaned to struggling countries.

– German banks that still have those bad debts on their books are suffering, too.

– Germany’s export-driven economy is taking a hit from the slowdown in trade accompanying Europe’s rolling financial crises and recessions.


Read more, HERE:




personal thought:

I can’t help think, sooner or later, there will be a ‘German Spring’; and the voters will demand their government stop bailing out their Southern neighbors.

Perhaps even a return to the ‘Deutsche Mark’?


June 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

“Quote of the Day”

Via: The Economic Times

Retirement ages will have to move to 70, 80 years old,” Benmosche, who turned 68 last week, said during a weekend interview at his seaside villa in Dubrovnik, Croatia. (see photo)

 “That would make pensions, medical services more affordable. They will keep people working longer and will take that burden off of the youth.”

“Of course the youth will never get an opportunity to work; but hey, tough shit.”, he didn’t add.

– Robert Benmosche, CEO, AIG


Read more, HERE:



Yes, we know.


June 5, 2012 Posted by | 2012, Occupy Wall Street, We Are the 99 Percent | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Euro Exit Would Prompt Greeks To More Than Half Their Income

Via: Huffington Post

An exit from the euro would see Greeks lose more than half their annual income and prompt a dramatic rise in unemployment and inflation, a report from the country’s largest bank has warned.

The National Bank of Greece study was published Tuesday as Greece heads to new general elections on June 17, amid Europe-wide concern of broader financial turmoil if Greece’s place in the single currency is threatened by a victory for an anti-austerity party.

“An exit from the euro would cause a significant drop in the living standards of Greek citizens – with a reduction of at least 55 PERCENT in per capita income,” the authors of the 17-page report wrote.

“This would affect those on a lower income the most, with a significant devaluation of the new currency, by 65 percent, and financial contraction of 22 percent on top of the (GDP) reduction of 14 percent that occurred between 2009 and 2011.”


Read more, HERE:



May 30, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greece Crisis Is Personal As Well As Political, As Greeks’ Lives Worsen

Via: Huffington Post

Like many Greeks left unemployed by their country’s economic tailspin, Dimitris Spachos finds it easier to talk about his nation’s problems than his own.

Enormous debt accumulated over decades sent the country into a recession so deep it kills 200 businesses and 900 jobs EVERY DAY. Elections this month failed to produce a government, and Greeks will vote again in June. Meanwhile, life for most Greeks continues to get worse.

“Every day I see more people sleeping rough on the street,” said Spachos, 72. “They can’t even wash their clothes or themselves. … It worries me.”

Spachos, who has been staying with different friends in recent months, may soon join them. A former doctor, he could not afford to retire and found work as a hospital orderly. But as Greece’s woes mounted so did his own, and he lost his job, then two more: one as a gardener and one as a groundskeeper.

Now, he is unemployed and homeless, and spoke this week at a municipal soup kitchen, where he ate a plastic bowl of bean soup, a thick slice of bread and a banana.

“I am ashamed to be here,” Spachos said, his eyes filling with tears. “My heart is broken.”

“Greeks have fight in them, so maybe things will improve in a couple of years,” he said, opening his shirt to reveal a scar from surgery to implant a pacemaker. “But I won’t be around to see it.”


Read more, HERE:



personal thought:

” . . . so maybe things will improve in a couple of years”; I hate to say, but I think it might be very much worse in a couple of years.


May 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(1 of 2) Euro – Here’s how it might play out – Paul Krugman

Via: New York Times

Some of us have been talking it over, and here’s what we think the end game looks like:

1. Greek euro exit, very possibly next month.

2. Huge withdrawals from Spanish and Italian banks, as depositors try to move their money to Germany.

3a. Maybe, just possibly, de facto controls, with banks forbidden to transfer deposits out of country and limits on cash withdrawals.

3b. Alternatively, or maybe in tandem, huge draws on ECB credit to keep the banks from collapsing.

4a. Germany has a choice. Accept huge indirect public claims on Italy and Spain, plus a drastic revision of strategy — basically, to give Spain in particular any hope you need both guarantees on its debt to hold borrowing costs down and a higher eurozone inflation target to make relative price adjustment possible; or:

4b. End of the euro.

And we’re talking about months, not years, for this to play out.


Read Krugman’s BLOG, here:




Paul Robin Krugman born February 28, 1953) is an American economist, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.

In 2008, Krugman won the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences (informally the Nobel Prize in Economics) for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography. According to the Nobel Prize Committee, the prize was given for Krugman’s work explaining the patterns of international trade and the geographic concentration of wealth, by examining the impact of economies of scale and of consumer preferences for diverse goods and services.

Read more, HERE:



personal thought:

Chicken Little was right, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”


May 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment