OPINION

On metro strike, Potato initiative, elections, PSI, Venizelos, Goldman Sachs

Athens Metro threatens strike

About a year ago Spanish air-traffic controllers threatened to strike. Before you could say «take off» the government clamped down on them and pulled a copy of a law that forbids strikes in key areas of the running of the country.

They were threatened with arrest and losing their jobs if they went through with the plan.

Back when Ronald Reagan was president he fired 40,000 air-traffic controllers in one day because they went on strike and refused to come back.

Neither country had the issues we now have and the question is why the political elite does not pass a law that makes striking at this juncture illegal.

There are Greeks in Greece today who have paid their taxes, paid their bills, educated their children and have been waiting for 2 years to get their first pension check. They have no alternative but to borrow from friends and family and wait, since it is illegal to find a side job to earn a few euros. They have no one to threaten or inconvenience. They belong to the silent majority.

All these unions who incite the strikes, obviously with an eye on the upcoming elections, should be ashamed of themselves and asked to realise that this is no time for grandstanding.

If they cannot listen to reason then someone, with what it takes, should fire the whole lot.

I am sure there are 5 waiting in line for every job these people have and would be happy to show up every day for duty and a paycheck.

Monica Lane

Florida

Key ministerial posts to change hands

Musical chairs… He was, then he was not, before he will be again, to save us from the terrorists.

Hopefully this time around he will read the memos they give him and get a clue about what is going on.

I am sure the men who found the conspirators of the November 17 group and sent them to the judge will be surprised to hear that Mr Chrisohoides was credited with the dismantling of the terrorist group.

Monica Lane

Florida

Potato initiative irks Communist Party

That is for certain!

No one will leave the hot frying pan alone to join the revolution.

As long as people get what they need at a logical price they will not run to the Communist party to join their ranks and raise the red flags.

Instead of worrying about the potato farmers and their cutting out of the middleman, the Communist and leftist leaders should forfeit their big fat paychecks and perks and private cars they are supplied with, courtesy of the «little» people whose pain they «feel».

Slogans and big words can get one so far. They are also part of the problem and they should not position themselves in the ranks of those who care or can do anything about the problems we face.

Monica Lane

Florida

Potato initiative irks Communist Party

Sounds like the Greek Communist party needs to reformulate their slogan: «No to the monopolies, and yes to the oligopolies (Greek middlemen) and their price fixing!» After all, with all that «smoke» on blaming the Americans for everything and anything, who cares if a gallon of Greek-produced milk is less expensive on the shelves of a German supermarket than on the shelves of a Greek one?

Theodossios R

Greek elections

It is very important that Greece remains a member of EU and also retains the euro as its currency.

However, the important things that this country needs in the future can be itemized as I have shown below:

1. Create and enforce the concept of law and order.

2. Secure all the borders to stop the massive exodus of funds.

3. Expel all the undocumented illegal persons from the country.

4. Provide a general amnesty to exporters of funds if they agree to invest exported funds in Greece.

5. Enforce criminal statutes and expel from Greece any person convicted of drugs use or sale.

I strongly believe that if the above measures are implemented Greece will again the diamond of the Mediterranean Sea as it used to be twenty years ago. Thank you.

John J. Ress

Lincolnwood, Illinois

Re: Political immunity and the number of MPs in Greece

I totally agree with David Cade from the UK on the above issues and so would most readers. Real change can only take place if there is change at the top. Greece does not need 300 politicians; the US with 308 million has 535 members of Congress. Political immunity needs to be lifted and all the money some of these politicians have sent into Swiss bank accounts needs to be investigated and sent back.

The Greek people need to get smarter and be in front of Parliament every day demanding the above changes. Unless this happens it will be the same old business as usual in Greece. I too have written to the President of Greece and the two major political parties no less than 3 times on these issues and yet not one reply.

It?s up to the Greek media and the Greek people to keep asking politicians when are they going to slash Parliament by half and lift political immunity. The Greek Government needs to lead by example.

George Salamouras

Australia

Mr Venizelos’s warning

Mr. Venizelos must be getting very worried about the prospect for the PSI. His warning to the holdouts, if not pathetic, is certainly comical, considering that the IIF members backing the PSI only represent, according to Bloomberg analysts, 20% of the outstanding Greek Government Bonds to be renegotiated. Unless a huge part of the remaining 80% holdouts agree, his CAC threat will almost certainly trigger a disorderly bankruptcy, CDS clauses, and all Hades breaking out both for Greece and the EU.

Alex Chronis

Re: To reach reforms, don’t take a cab

I’m pleased that Greece is at least making some reforms, but as you say, it’s still a long way to go.

I also think that when the proverbial hit the fan, the EU suddenly woke up, and I mean woke up, after years of slumber, to find that Greece was in it a little further than knee deep. So, it (and its troika friends) decided to throw the kitchen sink at Greece, i.e. absolutely everything needs to be reformed, everything’s wrong, those Greeks can do nothing right. They ran around in panic — and still are — because they had seriously messed up, and Greece had to be punished. And the Greek people are being punished terribly, because of useless and crooked politicians (in Athens and Brussels), greedy bankers, and a flawed currency. However, the people need to take some of the blame, for believing the lies, and for re-electing the same faces year after year.  For accepting bad service, bureaucracy, paying bribes, and for not challenging anything coming from parliament.

It’s extremely difficult to believe that the troika economists, who are surely educated people one would hope, could get it so horribly wrong. Reform, yes, but to strangle the economy and then still expect increased tax revenues? On which planet? It didn’t work, so pile on even more taxes, cut wages and pensions even more, just kill the economy, but don’t worry, the taxes will still come in. Nothing was thought through, when the initial reforms were (very obviously) not working, the course could or would not be changed, Greece had to face the music being played by the troika.

The biggest reform still outstanding is a clean sweep of your parliament, including immediate removal of immunity to prosecution for each and every politician or civil servant in your country.

Those same faces who are going to be re-elected very, very soon. The same faces who are going to lie to you, again and again, to make false and impossible promises, all of them are waiting round the corner to sit in their cushy chairs whilst families fight for survival.

As you say, less of a scattergun approach would have achieved so much more, but I think a big broom in parliament would achieve a domino effect for many other reforms down the line.

Mary-Ann Faroni

Zurich

Goldman Sachs

What a complex story!

It seems to me that the Greek officials thought that they could outmanoeuvre Goldman Sachs.

They were wrong.

All the deals seemed to assume that ‘growth’ was assured and repayment no problem.

They were wrong.

Transparency and accountability are essential.

J. Kelvyn Richards

Trikala

IIF: Danger of 1-tln-euro fallout from Greek default

Yawn. Yet another «confidential» document obtained from a «source». I’m shocked and horrified. It’s been around since at least 18 February, I’m amazed this one took so long to get out.

This «leaked» document can’t possibly have anything to do with the PSI deadline on 8 March, can it? No, surely not!

Thumbsuck a number of 1 trillion and everyone will start shaking in their boots. “Ramifications,» gasp, «consequences», more gasp, «disorderly default», dead faint.

Who stands to lose the most? (I mean, besides the already-suffering Greek people.)

“It is difficult to add all these contingent liabilities up with any degree of precision». Well of course it is. Because it’s never happened in this magnitude and because these same idiots have been doing the planning and calculations for the past 3+ years, which brought Greece to its knees. OK, admittedly with a little help from Greek politicians.

I guess it’s also «difficult» to quantify the billions in profits already made by the banks, thanks to Greece’s misery and the troika’s brilliant austerity measures.

But the banks (read IIF) wouldn’t want to lose any more profits, now would they? They’ve already more than made up for the 53.5% (or whatever) haircut. Now all they have to do is spread more fear so everyone will toe the line and behave. There are bonuses at stake here, after all.

Convenient to have well-planned «leaks».

Mary-Ann Faroni

Zurich

ECB, Eurostat, Goldman Sachs behind Greece’s financial destruction

Have you read your own news? The ECB and your politicians were the ones behind Greece’s debt swap problem — Read:

Mar 6, 2012: «Bloomberg News filed a lawsuit at the EU?s General Court seeking disclosure of European Central Bank documents on Greece?s use of derivatives to hide loans. Releasing such information could damage the interests of the ECB, hurt banks and markets, and undermine the economic policy of Greece and the EU, the central bank said last May in a response to the suit. A judgment is pending.”

 

Who’s fooling who? The ECB and IIF bond deal is a scam on bondholders who are now being blackmailed by the EU Commission. When are you going to realize your old Greek politicians are destroying your own country, Greece, by their own greed and mismanagement! When are you going to help your country to speak out and get rid of these criminals and thieves?

Robert Powell PhD