greece, again

Back in 2011, and boy how time flies, we did a whole crapton of posts on Greece and the Eurozone. Basically the thrust of every single one of them was summed up nicely by Kevin Drum in Mother Jones in a nifty piece that’s worth reproducing verbatim here.

So, one more time, just as we did it here back on November 2, 2011.

Here it is;

Are the Greeks crazy?

No, they’re just at the end of their tether. Europe is asking them to adopt more austerity than they’re willing to bear.

Okay, but they’re spending too much money. Surely they know they have to cut back?

Now what, Angela? If Greece goes down, so do a lot of German banks. Then you get to bail them out instead of Greece. The German electorate is gonna just love that either way, right?

Sure, but the deals on offer are pretty unattractive. Europe wants to forgive half of Greece’s debt and put them on a brutal austerity plan. The problem is that this is unrealistic. Greece would be broke even if all its debt were forgiven, and if their economy tanks they’ll be even broker.

But that’s the prospect they’re being offered: a little bit of debt forgiveness and a lot of austerity.

Well, them’s the breaks.

But it puts Greece into a death spiral. They can’t pay their debts, so they cut back, which hurts their economy, which makes them even broker, so they cut back some more, rinse and repeat. There’s virtually no hope that they’ll recover anytime in the near future. It’s just endless pain. What they need is total debt forgiveness and lots of aid going forward.

That doesn’t sound like a very attractive option for the rest of Europe.

No, it’s not.

So maybe they should just let Greece default and wash their hands of them.

Here’s the thing, though: Greek debt is largely held by German banks that made the loans. [See update below.] If Greece has been irresponsible, so were the German banks that happily loaned out the money. So if Greece defaults, the banks go kablooey. But they’re too big to fail, which means the German government would be forced to bail them out. And guess where the bailout money comes from? Tax dollars.

This means that German taxpayers have a bleak choice. They can shovel lots of money to Greece to keep them from defaulting, or they can refuse, and then shovel lots of money into German banks to keep them from collapsing. Either way, German taxpayers are going to foot the bill. They just haven’t quite accepted this in their gut yet, and it’s hard to blame them. They’re pretty badly screwed no matter what.

Hmmm. Given that choice, they might decide they’d rather give their money to German banks than to Greek civil servants. What happens then?

Greece defaults. And that almost certainly means that Greece exits the euro.

Why?

It’s the growth thing again. If Greece defaults, nobody will loan them any money. That means huge cutbacks, which means the economy will tank, which means even more cutbacks, etc. The traditional way out of this spiral is a massive devaluation of your currency. But Greece doesn’t have a currency. It has the euro.

So if they want their economy to grow again, they have to (a) default, (b) exit the euro and readopt the drachma, and (c) devalue the drachma. This will cause massive amounts of pain, but it will also make Greek exports super cheap, which will eventually revive their economy.

So why not just let that happen?

It’s just too catastrophic to consider. German banks, of course, would collapse and have to be bailed out. Ditto for banks in other countries that have lots of exposure to Greek debt. But that’s not the worst of it. If Greece exits the euro, it will become terrifyingly obvious that other weak countries might exit too. Portugal, Spain, and Italy are the obvious candidates. Investors, spooked at the thought of their money being stuck in a country that might exit the euro and devalue all its bank deposits, would start huge runs on banks in those countries. The ECB would have to intervene and provide liquidity without limit. It would be a disaster.

So exiting the euro can’t be allowed?

Right.

But if there’s no exit, there’s no devaluation, and Greece is pretty much screwed forever.

Right.

So who wins?

It depends on who blinks. Exiting the euro would be no picnic for Greece. But they could decide it’s better than endless indenture and threaten exit in order to get a better deal from the Germans. Then the Germans have to decide whether to call their bluff.

Wow.

Exactly. Wow. Everyone knows that somebody’s going to lose a huge pile of money over this. What’s really happening right now is a very high-stakes negotiation to figure out just how the losses are going to be parceled out. Stay tuned.

My own addendum to Drum’s excellent explainer was as follows;

Like I said, this is about Greece accepting the impossible so as to keep the confidence fairy on life support with regard to Italy, Spain and Portugal. And the idea of a democratic referendum impinging on those plans has the money wranglers running around like spooked church mice.

And they were running around like scared mice, and back then they didn’t get their referendum.

But just yesterday they sure did, and so now it comes to this; does Germany decide to support a  bail out for Greece in a manner which would actually allow Greece to build a working economy (which would necessitate reeling much of the punitive austerity back in), or do they (along with quite possibly France and Switzerland) end up having to bail out their “too big to fail” banks if Greece defaults completely and exits the Euro?

Imagine that. Who could possibly have seen this coming?

it’s a ‘bomination

Here’s the thing, we all know there’s a bunch of whackos in Congress and DeeCee generally, but what gets a lot less attention in the media is the whacko density in State Legislatures from coast to coast. Bulletheads like this South Carolina state Senator Lee Bright are much, much more commonplace there;

“I watch the White House be lit up in the abomination colors! …. It is time for the church to rise up. It’s time for the state of South Carolina to rise up. Romans Chapter 1 is clear, the Bible is clear. This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and they are under assault by men in black robes who were not elected by you….

…..We can rally together and talk about a flag all we want but the devil is taking control of this land and we’re not stopping him!”

It’s gonna be a long hot summer, folks.

 

breakfast epiphanies

Here’s a headline you don’t see everyday, more’s the pity, concerning the breakfast specials at Sam’s Morning Glory Cafe in south Philly;

Morning Glory Diner’s “Scalia is a Douche” breakfast special sells out in record time…

Antonin-Scalia-articleInline

Antonin Scalia, culinary muse

According to the owner of the Morning Glory Diner, Carol Mickey, one of the staff members, Sean Gaittens, comes up with the weekend specials every Friday, and he originally suggested the Scalia menu item as a joke. Then on the menu it went as the  “Scalia is a Douche”— scrambled eggs with andouille sausage, tomato, scallions and monterey jack cheese. Took off like a rocket, by all accounts;

There was enough sausage to make around 150 of the dish, and it was so popular on Saturday that it sold out by 10 AM on Sunday morning, within two hours of the doors opening.

Hell, that ain’t nothin';

“The Supreme Court Finally Got It Right” quiches — with tomatoes, prosciutto, spinach and brie or all veg with asparagus, onion and smoked mozz — sold out even more quickly.

This is so totally a 9thousandfeet kinda story—it has almost everything this place is about; politics, law,  food, humor, irreverence. Oh, and the only business model (and motto) that’s worth a damn.

Discussing it later that evening, Mickey’s husband did ask her if she was afraid of offending anyone, to which she replied that she was not — if someone was offended, she didn’t need them as a customer (the restaurant’s motto is “Be nice or leave”).

“Not one single person complained,” she told Billy Penn on Sunday afternoon. “The atmosphere in here was really wonderful. People were just loving saying it! ‘I’ll have the Scalia is a Douche, please.’”

sunday services

Well, not services exactly, but a nifty little collection of pearl-clutching by some of the usual suspects about the likely results of the Supreme Court so recklessly poking god in the eye.

Gotta say, though, that I saw three brand spanking new Stars and Bars battle flags flying in front yards on my way into town yesterday. Those are new additions on top of the normal background count of three or four Stars and Stripes and one Gadsden on that particular 30 mile stretch of highway.

 

bryan melts down…

…but you’ve gotta admit, even if grudgingly, the guy is good.

 

Not many people could take a Supreme Court decision as a springboard to invoke 9-11, the twin towers, Islamic jihad, truth and righteousness blasted to rubble, serfdom, cultural elites in black robes, slaveholders with whips, judicial tyranny, Pearl Harbor and Sodom and Gomorrah.

Not in less than two and a half minutes, they couldn’t.

anyone got a match?

Rick Scarborough, a Texas preacher and one of those people the mainstream media likes to call a “conservative activist” but which anyone in their right mind calls a tea-bagger whacko theocrat, made a small flurry of news a week ago or so with this little hissy fit over the prospect of an impending SCOTUS decision affirming the right to gay marriage;

Brother Rick

Brother Rick

“We’re simply being pre-emptive and saying, no matter what the cost, we are not going to bow, we are not going to bend, and we will burn.”

This hairy-chested twaddle has been presented as a promise to self-immolate in protest should the Court decide in favor of Satan, but I don’t for one minute think that’s it.

It’s not easy to know what a Christer might mean by “we will burn” other than either; a) burn in hell as a result of sin, or b) be burned at the stake by some other Christer group (heretical, obviously) over some trivial point of dogma, or c) set themselves on fire in protest.

Since this whacko states an intention to defy the Supreme Court, should they be so demonically possessed as to affirm a constitutional right for the ‘mos to marry and thus bring about the destruction of the republic, we must assume it’s not a).

He could easily be referring to the idea that atheists under Satanic influence are on the verge of rounding up whackos like him and burning them in the public square. This is tempting, of course, but unlikely to happen. But since c) is not, so far as I’m aware, something that Christers are known for, it being more of a Buddhist hobby, I’m thinking b) is what he’ll now say he meant, and that the atheists are busily collecting the faggots (Irresistible. Sorry. I blame it on demonic forces) for the ceremonies as we speak.

But just in case it is c) after all, anyone got a light?

 

if I had a hammer…

I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall.

thedonald

Yes, TheDonald is running for real, or at least as “for real” as this wretched little fuckwit ever gets.

This has to be some kind of pinnacle of stupid, doesn’t it? Christ, let’s hope it’s a pinnacle anyway.

people of walmart

Yeah I know, there’s a website with that name which photographically documents the visual horrors to be found there. And hooo-boy are there ever horrors.

But all is not lost. Right here, in as good an Exhibit A as can be found for legalized marijuana (‘cos with carfully cultivated marijuana readily available, this is the kind of caper which passes for mischief), we have a coupla cool cats in a Wallyworld. One of them picks up a plastic guitar off the toy shelf and cuts loose, maybe even contributing a smidgen to the salvation of the human race.