Thursday, April 2, 2015

German Mi$ery

No, the alleged plane crash has nothing to do with it; turns out it is all Greece's fault (or the Muslims; they are always a good whipping girl):

"German nurse gets life in patient deaths" AP  February 27, 2015

BERLIN — A German court sentenced a nurse to life in prison on Thursday for killing patients with overdoses of heart medication that he confessed to administering because he enjoyed trying to revive them.

The Oldenburg regional court found the 38-year-old guilty of charges, including two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and another of serious bodily harm, court spokesman Daniel Moennich said.

Prosecutors had accused the man, identified only as Niels H., of three murders and two attempted murders during his time working at a clinic in the town of Delmenhorst.

‘‘The court concluded that the accused used the heart medication to bring about a life-threatening situation in five cases, so as to make himself appear particularly competent when he revived them,’’ Moennich said.

The defendant said during the trial that he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in some 90 patients because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them. He said 30 patients died and expressed remorse for his actions.


I'll have to check to see if the movie is on tonight.

"Toddler dies of measles in Berlin, 1st death in outbreak" Associated Press  February 25, 2015

BERLIN — An 18-month-old boy has died of measles amid an outbreak in Berlin, a hospital in the German capital said Tuesday.

An autopsy on the child, who wasn’t inoculated against measles, showed that he had an unspecified other disease as well but that wouldn’t have led to his death without the measles infection, the Charite hospital said.

It is the first known death in an outbreak in which Berlin has recorded more than 570 cases since October.

Officials believe the outbreak began with a child asylum-seeker from Bosnia. They said it spread to the wider population partly because immunization rates among people over age 45 are low, and younger adults also are at risk because many only received one shot instead of two, as is now recommended.

Although it is rare for measles to be fatal in developed countries, the measles virus kills up to 10 percent of children infected in developing countries that have high levels of malnutrition and poor health care. Most measles deaths are caused by complications associated with the disease and are most common in children under age 5.

Measles is highly contagious and health officials say more than 90 percent of a population needs to be vaccinated to prevent outbreaks.

Vaccination rates across Europe fell after a now-discredited study that suggested a link between autism and the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella....

Look who is leveling the charge!


Funny how the virus stories have faded away, although Ebola items are starting to appear again. The West African campaign must be going badly for them to trot out that fraud; either that, or there is an excuse needed for a martial law declaration and who could argue with folks in hazmat suits (be it sound stage set or not).

Okay, now to the important $tuff, and I hope you don't get angry at me for just dropping this bankerspeak on you:

"Eurozone finance ministers on Tuesday approved Greece’s plan meant to ease the hardships created by its international bailout, extending that loan program by four more months. In revising the terms of the bailout program, the new Greek government pledged to take a disciplined approach to budgets, spending, and tax collection, while remaining committed to relieving the “humanitarian crisis” caused by years of economic hardship and high unemployment. Many Greeks blame the austerity-budget requirement of the bailout program, agreed to by a previous government, for those privations."

"Greek prime minister rules out third bailout

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Greece's new radical left government has no intention of seeking another bailout deal from international creditors and will spend coming months trying to ease the terms of its current commitments, the financially struggling country's prime minister said Friday.

Good luck with those guys.

Alexis Tsipras remarks came hours after lawmakers in Germany, a key rescue loan provider, overwhelmingly approved the four-month extension of Greece's extant deal.

"The bailout agreements are over, both in form and in essence," Tsipras told a cabinet meeting. "Some people are betting on a third bailout in June ... but we will disappoint them."

Tsipras' radical left Syriza party, which is governing in coalition with the small right-wing Independent Greeks, was elected a month ago on a highly ambitious platform of cancelling the austerity measures that accompanied Greece's 240 billion euro ($270 billion) rescue loans.

But despite repeated and often unorthodox attempts to win over other European creditor countries, Greece was forced to retreat from initial electoral promises that included a massive new write-down of the country's crushing debt.

Last week, fellow members of the 19-member eurozone agreed on the four-month loan agreement extension, in return for which Greece offered a fluid commitment to budget reforms.

Tsipras said his first act of legislation would be to table a draft law on Monday to address what Syriza calls the "humanitarian crisis" - extensive poverty brought about by the deep income cuts and shockingly high unemployment resulting from creditor-mandated cutbacks.

"This is our foremost duty toward a society that has been severely tried for five years," he said. "The bill will contain specific action to provide free power and food to thousands of families that need it, to make Greece once again a civilized country ... So that no child is cold, no child faints from hunger or goes to school hungry."

Tsipras also pledged to provide housing for 30,000 people, limit evictions, and facilitate payment terms for an estimated 3.7 million people with tax debts of up to 5,000 euros ($5,620).

Critics, including several within the governing Syriza party, have accused the government of capitulation and backtracking on its election promises.

About 8,000 Communist Party supporters gathered outside Parliament on Friday in the first sizeable anti-government demonstration as Tsipras convened his Cabinet.

Earlier, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told Ant1 television that the vagueness in the agreement with eurozone finance ministers was what Greece's EU partners wanted.

"We are very proud of the degree of ambiguity. And I use a term, constructive ambiguity," Varoufakis said.

On the issue of increasing value added tax, Varoufakis insisted it would not be increased on islands or border areas, or for medications, food, or books. VAT was reduced in some areas and for some items from 23 percent to 13 percent, but Greece's creditors have sought for it to be increased in order to raise tax revenue for state coffers.

"I will search to find a tax rate on an insignificant item so we can show goodwill," Varoufakis said.

The government, meanwhile, has a liquidity crunch to deal with. The country's creditors have said they will not release the remaining funds in Greece's bailout until the government presents concrete measures, expected to be agreed on by April.

Money has been tight, and figures released Friday showed Greece's economy shrank slightly in the fourth quarter of 2014. The statistics authority said the economy contracted 0.4 percent compared with the third quarter, on seasonally adjusted basis.

Greece's economy has lost a quarter of its value compared to pre-crisis levels in 2008.


"Meeting on Greece’s debt ends with an ultimatum from creditors

BRUSSELS — European creditors gave Greece an ultimatum Monday, saying the country must accept a key condition in bailout talks by the end of the week or face having to meet its debt commitments on its own — a prospect that many in the financial markets think would leave Greece little option but to stop using the euro. After a meeting of the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers on how to make Greece’s debts sustainable broke down Monday, Greece was told it must seek an extension of its bailout program before further talks can take place. ‘‘We simply need more time and the best way for that at this point is extend the current program, which would allow a number of months for us to work on future arrangements,’’ said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the so-called eurogroup. The current bailout program ends Feb. 28. After that, Greece would be hard-pressed to meet its obligations. Investors grew increasingly concerned that a deal may not emerge in time to avoid a so-called ‘‘Grexit’’ from the euro currency union. The main stock market in Greece fell 3.8 percent. A cornerstone of the new leftist government’s election campaign was to scrap the bailout program. In return for $275 billion of rescue money since 2010, Greece has had to implement painful austerity measures, including deep spending and pension cuts. The new Syriza government blames those measures for the country’s ills. The Greek economy is a quarter smaller than in 2008, while unemployment and poverty have risen. Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis (right), said a deal was still achievable. Dijsselbloem said compromise is possible provided the Greek government commits to the broad outlines of the current program, such as maintaining tight budgetary discipline."

"Greece: Loan extension request will satisfy Europe, Greece" by Nicholas Paphitis and Elena Becatoros, Associated Press  February 19, 2015

ATHENS — Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis sounded cautiously optimistic Wednesday of achieving a last-minute deal with Greece’s European creditors that would keep the country solvent and within the euro currency.

Greece’s creditors have said the country has until Friday to request an extension to the 240 billion euro bailout that has kept Greece afloat since 2010 and whose main component expires on Feb. 28.

But the new government in Athens, elected last month on a promise to renegotiate the bailout’s harsh spending cuts, has been adamant it cannot seek to extend a program it believes is wrong. Instead, Athens says it is preparing a request to extend its loan agreement, but not the austerity budget measures that accompanied the bailout.

The divide has threatened to scuttle negotiations and increased the risk of Greece having to leave the eurozone, raising concern among European governments and global markets.

‘‘I want to believe that [the negotiations] will end well tomorrow, the day after tomorrow,’’ Varoufakis said as he left Parliament Wednesday night. ‘‘We are on a good path. The negotiations are showing all the signs of convergence.’’

However, he said, ‘‘until we reach a result, nobody can be certain.’’

Varoufakis said the extension request ‘‘will be written in a way that covers both the Greek side and the president of the Eurogroup,’’ referring to Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the meetings of eurozone finance ministers.

Germany, the main European creditor, expressed deep skepticism when Athens initially said it would ask for a loan agreement extension Tuesday night. The European Commission said it would like to see what the proposal entailed before offering support.

The United States has urged Athens and European lenders to swiftly resolve their differences.

Both sides agree Greece needs external support to keep it afloat.


"Greece teeters on default; Germany criticizes bailout plan; Sides continue to work toward late compromise" by Nicholas Paphitis and Elena Becatoros, Associated Press  February 20, 2015

ATHENS — Germany quickly rejected a conciliatory bailout proposal by Greece on Thursday, dampening hopes that emergency talks might break a deadlock threatening the country with default and an exit from the euro.

The Greek government asked to extend its rescue loan agreement by six months, in order to give all sides more time to hash out a more permanent deal. That goes much of the way toward satisfying an ultimatum from the 19-country eurozone.

It held back, however, on offering to continue implementing a full series of budget cuts and reforms that the eurozone has required since 2010 in exchange for loans. Greece contends those measures devastated its economy.

Germany was quick to say the plan was not good enough. German finance ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said it amounts to a request ‘‘for bridge financing without fulfilling the demands of the [bailout] program,’’ namely the budget measures. It does not, he added, correspond to what the eurozone countries had demanded of Greece before talks broke down on Monday.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece talked with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany Thursday, with a Greek official saying the discussion was ‘‘positive.’’

The executive European Commission was somewhat more upbeat than Germany.

Spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, ‘‘sees in this letter a positive sign, which, in his assessment, could pave the way for a reasonable compromise in the interest of financial stability in the euro area as a whole.’’

A text of Greece’s letter shows it proposing:

A promise to honor all of Greece’s debt obligations [and] supervision of Greece’s reforms by the IMF, European Central Bank, and the EU. The new Greek government had refused to deal with debt inspectors from these groups....

The new government just capitulated to the bankers.


"Greece, eurozone creditors reach deal on loan" by Lorne Cook and Pan Pylas, Associated Press  February 21, 2015

BRUSSELS — Following weeks of recrimination and distrust, Greece and its creditors in the 19-nation eurozone reached an agreement Friday on extending the country’s rescue loans, a move that should dramatically ease concerns Greece was heading for the euro exit as soon as next month.

The agreement, which looked a long way off Thursday when one German official compared Athens’s request for more time to the infamous Trojan Horse, will mean that Greece will avoid going bankrupt, at least over the four months of the extension. It should also mean that capital controls won’t be needed and that Greek banks will have enough money to stock up their ATMs.

To get the money though, the Greek government has one more hurdle to clear. On Monday, it has to present a series of unspecified economic reform measures that are deemed acceptable by creditors and rooted in Greece’s previously enacted bailout agreement — something the government had promised not to do.

I told you above what that is, and prepare for more cru$hing au$terity.

Still, the Greek government will be the author of the reforms pursued and that represents a change from the past five years when Greece has relied on rescue money to avoid going bankrupt and was effectively ordered to enact a series of austerity measures.

‘‘We have established common ground again,’’ said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the eurozone’s top official, after the meeting in Brussels.

And Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the deal allows both Greece and Europe ‘‘to turn a page.  . . . As of today, we are beginning to be coauthors of our destiny.’’

Varoufakis conceded that the Greek government would be ‘‘in trouble’’ if the reform measures, which are likely to include a series of measures to tackle corruption and tax evasion are not backed by representatives from the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund, and European Commission — previously known as the troika.

People don't matter, huh?

Related: Corruption is Good For An Economy 

Well, you know....

However, he insisted that they ‘‘won’t be shot down by the institutions.’’

If the list of reforms is sanctioned, then it will be further detailed and agreed upon by the end of April.

Friday’s agreement was clinched just a week before Greece’s $270 billion bailout program expires and is aimed at buying time for both sides to agree on a longer-term deal to ease the burden of the bailout loans.

Yeah, they bought about a month(?)!

The Greek government isn’t getting the time it requested Thursday. Instead of the six-month bailout extension it asked for, it is getting four — with Greece having to make big debt repayments after the new cut-off point, that’s a sign that its creditors aren’t willing to give Athens free rein.

Are those $cum ever?

Still, following weeks of tense negotiations after the election of the new left-wing Greek government, the final deal showed an element of compromise by both camps, and investors appeared to breathe a sigh of relief with the Dow Jones index closing at a record high Friday as news of the Greek deal broke.

Dow has been down lately(?).

‘‘This deal temporarily eases tensions and gives Greece breathing room to negotiate long term-debt relief,’’ said Jay Jacobs, research analyst at Global X Funds. However, he warned that it could just set up another ‘‘potential future standoff four months from now if parties involved continue brinksmanship negotiating tactics.’’

Oh, that is a very touchy statement when it comes to Germany given their past.

Brinksmanship was just one of the games that was referenced over the past few weeks of discussion.

That tends to fog things up.

More often than not, it was German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who was the bulwark against the Greek government’s ambitions.

But he emerged from Friday’s meeting in conciliatory mood. ‘‘This is an important step forward,’’ he said.

Oh, isn't that $pecial?

Schaeuble will no doubt be making sure that the promises Athens has made for the coming months will be kept. 

Those bankers who $crewed you will be paid off! Talk about true fa$ci$m!

‘‘We are now in the process of confidence building,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s why there are strict conditions.’’

As well as presenting a list of reforms by Monday, the Greek government has committed to honoring its financial obligations to all creditors ‘‘fully and timely.’’

I can't imagine the Greek voters that voted for Syriza are very happy right now.


As usual, the Globe's op-ed page has all the an$wers:

"US must rally to Greece" by James K. Galbraith  February 19, 2015

As of this writing, Thursday morning, Germany has slammed the door. Greece had gone the extra mile, submitting a request to continue formally under the hated bailout program, while discussing necessary changes. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was on board. But the answer came from Berlin: nein.

The question was: Can official Europe break out of its self-serving illusions and see the reality that is obvious everywhere in southern Europe? That reality is that the Draconian austerity policies of the past six years have failed to produce economic growth or jobs, to improve public services, or to fight corruption. Instead they have worked to demolish core public services such as education and health care and have stressed Greek society to the breaking point. These policies must be changed, and they will be changed — with Europe’s agreement or without it.

Greece, of all the eurozone countries, has seen the most devastating failures. It has lost about one-third of GDP; its unemployment rate is 26 percent overall and over 50 percent for the young. On the avenue from Piraeus to Athens, one sees only shuttered storefronts and pawn shops. Many Greeks are poor; some are hungry. That is why Syriza won the election in Greece.

The previous government made the impossible promise that Greece could “complete” its bailout and return to private credit markets by Feb. 28. The new government thus faced an immediate need for new financial terms. On Feb. 4, the European Central Bank blocked Greek banks from using state paper, which is not rated at the required investment grade, to obtain euros. The atmosphere of deadlines and threats set off deposit withdrawals and falling tax revenues as citizens hoarded cash.

Greece therefore agreed to start discussions on refinancing and conditions. But Greece will not promise a budget surplus that it cannot achieve. It will not accept the toxic conditions of the previous program on privatizations and labor markets. It will not accept having Greek policies dictated by the “troika” — a committee of visiting enforcers from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF. Within these limits, Greece sought a bridging loan and time to discuss the remaining common ground. It was the only reasonable position left.

To several governments in the eurozone — Spain, Portugal, Finland — even this was anathema. They face elections and they fear that if Greece succeeds, they will be shown up as spineless for having accepted what Greece now resists, and their internal oppositions will grow. The petty political analysis is surely correct. Some of those governments are likely doomed anyway at this point, either way they move. The Greek people have lit that fire, and it will not go out.

Germany faced a choice. It could preserve the union and the euro by changing course, negotiate in good faith, and accept that Europe’s politics and governments will be quite different next year than they are today. Or it could try to hang on to absolute power, and unchanged policies, and try to destroy the elected government of Greece and the rising opposition elsewhere, while taking its chances on the fragmentation of Europe. Unless German Chancellor Angela Merkel overrides her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, at the last minute, it appears the disgraceful decision will have been made.

In this dramatic moment, if Europe fails, the United States can step up. Greece is our NATO ally. Its new economic policy is in line with longstanding American views, as President Obama has said several times. Greece has shown pragmatism and patience, unity and determination; these qualities have earned the respect of the American people in the current crisis. And Greece is a small country, easily saved with minor measures, including a loan guarantee and, if necessary, a currency swap.

This is within our power to do, and quickly. We should prepare to act now.

And do what, bail them out when we need one ourselves (and if the dollar is ever removed as the reserve currency American citizens will suddenly find themselves and their economy covered in Greece)?


"Germany, EU must help Greeks recover from austerity" February 20, 2015

GERMANY HAS proved its point: Promises matter, and Greece can’t simply walk away from its controversial 2012 bailout agreement, including the much-hated austerity measures that have thrown the nation into turmoil. That was the outcome of a dramatic, last-minute meeting on Friday in which the new Greek government, elected last month on an anti-austerity platform, capitulated on virtually all important points. Sticking to their left-wing campaign platform, it became clear, would have meant losing the bailout funds and, more than likely, being forced to leave the eurozone. Now that the Germans have made their point, though, they and the rest of the European Union must urgently address Greece’s humanitarian catastrophe. If they don’t, they may find the next Greek government far more threatening to European unity and ideals than this one.

Greece’s economic woes are real. In exchange for the bailout, Europe insisted on cuts to wages, health care, and pensions, which have thrust many Greeks into poverty. The Greek unemployment rate sits at 26 percent. While Athens now runs a budget surplus, that hasn’t translated into gains for ordinary Greeks: Much of the money is spent paying back its international creditors. Fed-up voters turned last month to support a radical left-wing party, Syriza, in hopes it could end the austerity measures, renounce the country’s foreign debts, rehire public employees, and end public-sector privitization.

Instead of seizing the Greek elections as an opportunity to renegotiate a bailout deal that’s clearly causing far-reaching pain, though, hardline Europe countries decided that letting Greece off the hook would set too troubling a precedent. Politics played a role, too: Leaders in Spain and Portugal, which gritted their teeth through their own harsh bailout agreements, feared the rage of voters if they allowed Greece to weasel out of its deal. Friday’s agreement gave Greece a few face-saving concessions, but Athens still has to honor all its debts and submit by Monday a list of structural reforms that it will pursue.

All well and good — but Friday’s agreement, which would extend the bailout for four months if it wins formal approval, did nothing to help ease the conditions that led to Syriza’s election. Now that Europe has shown that it can’t be bossed around by Greek voters, it should commit to voluntarily restructuring Greece’s debts and easing some of the austerity demands. If they don’t, when Friday’s agreement expires in four months Europe will go through the same drama all over again.

Except that next time, the Greeks on the other side of the table might be different. Syriza just abandoned the platform that got it elected, and it’ll take a Herculean feat of political spin to keep Greeks from viewing the outcome of Friday’s showdown as anything other than a total failure. If Syriza can’t get the European Union to blink, Greek voters may look for someone else who will. The neo-fascist Golden Dawn, which came in third in January’s election, is waiting in the wings. Insisting that an impoverished country stick to the agreements that caused such deep misery in the first place can cause a lot of trouble. Just ask the Germans.

Look at the $pectre the Globe just raised!


Help is on the way!

"With new deal, Greece won’t seek third bailout, prime minister says" by Demetris Nellas, Associated Press  March 01, 2015

ATHENS — Greece won’t seek a third bailout deal, the prime minister said Saturday, having succeeded in separating the loan agreement from the ‘‘disastrous’’ austerity conditions imposed with the willing cooperation of previous governments.

Alexis Tsipras spoke Saturday at the start of a two-day meeting of his party’s central committee. The Syriza committee will elect a new general secretary and members of the political secretariat, replacing those members who were elected to Parliament in the January election.

Tsipras warned that although a ‘‘difficult battle in a long and difficult war’’ was won with the loan extension, difficulties lie ahead. And he recounted, for the benefit of the party membership, what transpired in the negotiations that led to the conditional loan extension agreement in the Eurogroup.

‘‘We joined the battle in Europe with every step undermined,’’ claimed Tsipras. ‘‘The most aggressive European conservative forces, in cooperation with the (ex-Premier Antonis) Samaras government, had sprung up a trap to derail us before we had even governed.’’

Tsipras said he was referring to the extension of the second bailout agreement by only two months; a credit crunch; an empty treasury and banks ‘‘on the edge’’ of illiquidity; and commitments on further tough austerity measures.

‘‘They had everything set up to shipwreck us . . . and the country,’’ Tsipras said.

Meanwhile, the country’s finance minister said Saturday that Greece intends to start discussions with its creditors on debt rescheduling in order to make the country’s massive debt sustainable, at the same time as working on reform measures that need to be cemented by April.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Yanis Varoufakis also said Athens will prioritize debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund, some of which come due in March, but that repayments to the European Central Bank are ‘‘in a different league’’ and will need discussion with Greece’s creditors.

‘‘The IMF repayments of course we are going to prioritize, we are not going to be the first country not to meet our obligations to the IMF,’’ Varoufakis said in his office in the Finance Ministry. ‘‘We shall squeeze blood out of stone if we need to do this on our own, and we shall do it.’’ 

Time for the Greeks to get out of the E.U.!

However, ‘‘the ECB repayments are in a different league and we shall have to determine this in association with our partners and the institutions.’’

Greece faces IMF repayments in March of about $1.69 billion, and about $7.5 billion to the ECB in the summer.

In his speech, the prime minister singled out Spain and Portugal as leaders of ‘‘an axis of forces’’ that ‘‘for obvious political reasons were trying to lead the negotiation to the edge of the precipice, taking the risk of developments spiraling out of control, so that they could avoid internal political risk.”

Again, another charged phrase when it comes to Germany.


I should stop ‘wasting time’ and trying to sculpt these things:

"EU commits $2.15 billion to help Greek poor deal with crisis" by Raf Casert and Frank Jordans, Associated Press  March 21, 2015

BRUSSELS — The European Union committed $2.15 billion on Friday to help Athens with what EU leaders call the humanitarian crisis hitting Greeks in the wake of the financial crisis that left the nation on the brink of bankruptcy.

President Jean-Claude Juncker of the EU Commission said the funds will not be linked to international loans keeping Greece afloat but will aid people and companies hit hard by the crisis.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece praised the decision.

‘‘It is a good sign,’’ he said. ‘‘It was recognized that there is a humanitarian crisis in our country and that there must be a common effort against it.’’

The pledge came hours after the EU leaders told Tsipras to come up with a raft of budget cuts and tax increases to improve his balance sheet before he gets more European bailout money.

Tsipras refused to commit to a date of delivery, saying ‘‘deadlines only create more pressure.’’

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said Tsipras can decide what mix of budget cuts and tax increases to impose: ‘‘What’s important is that in the end the sums add up.’’

How is that going to help the cri$i$?

Fears remain that the hard line of the Greek government formed in January could cause the country to drop out of the euro, which would trigger a crisis for the currency shared by 19 nations. ‘‘A disorderly Greek exit from the euro remains a major threat to Europe’s economic stability,’’ Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said.

Wow, how quickly the tone has changed.

European leaders have become exasperated by what is seen as foot-dragging on the part of Tsipras’s government. Greece agreed a month ago to push through reforms in exchange for EU help to keep it solvent, but delayed submitting the measures.

President Francois Hollande of France said Tsipras had recommitted to moving fast.

‘‘The Greek prime minister promised me that he would move as quickly as he can to present his reforms,’’ he said.

Adding to the European frustration, the Greek Parliament approved an antipoverty bill on Wednesday, and it did so without full consultation from its creditor partners.

Bad Greece!

Greece’s economic policies drew criticism even from nations outside the eurozone. Cameron marveled Thursday at how poorly the Greek economy has fared compared with Britain’s.

‘‘When I first came here as prime minister five years ago, Britain and Greece were virtually in the same boat. We had similar-sized budget deficits,’’ he said. ‘‘The reason we are in a different position is we took long-term, difficult decisions and we had all of the hard work and effort of the British people.’’

Greece is banking on the fact that its European partners all want to keep the eurozone intact, fearing that if Greece pulls out others might as well.



"Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece is set to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany for the second time in five days on Monday, at the start of a week that may prove decisive for Greece’s future in the euro area. The meeting in Berlin with the leader of the biggest contributor to Greece’s stalled $259 billion bailout is a precursor to make-or-break decisions Tsipras faces as his country’s financial predicament becomes ever more perilous. His government needs to spell out economic measures it plans to undertake as early as this week to unlock long-withheld aid payments that will keep the country afloat. “I hope there’ll be a U-turn on policies in Athens, but I maintain my view that if not, the Greek economy will collapse and they’ll slip out of the euro zone into chaos,” said Erik Nielsen, global chief economist at UniCredit AG. “The Greek government ought to recognize that this is ‘endgame stuff.’ ’’ Locked out of capital markets and with its coffers running dry, Greece is scraping the bottom of the barrel to pay pensions and salaries amid signs that it could run out of money by early next month."

Just checked and haven't seen a word since, and that certainly contrasts with the tone up to this point.

Btw, did you know that austerity destroyed the Greek health system?

Related: Crazy Pilot Crashed Plane

Ah, the misery of crisis actors and a crap cover story:

"Based on black box cockpit recordings recovered the day of the crash, investigators believe the Germanwings copilot, Andreas Lubitz, locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately slammed the plane into the mountain, killing everyone on board."

I'm just not seeing it, sorry:

"German copilot sought treatment for vision issue; Portrait of man linked to crash slowly emerging" by Melissa Eddy and Nicholas Kulish, New York Times  March 29, 2015

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — Andreas Lubitz, who was flying the Germanwings jetliner that slammed into a mountain in the French Alps on Tuesday, sought treatment for vision problems that may have jeopardized his ability to continue working as a pilot, two officials with knowledge of the investigation said Saturday. 


"This Official Story would be a lot more credible if it wasn't oozing out more slowly than the melting of Antarctic ice." --

The revelation of the possible trouble with his eyes added a new element to the emerging portrait of the 27-year-old German pilot. The police found antidepressants during a search of his apartment here Thursday, an official said Saturday.

It is not clear how severe his eye problems were or how they might have been related to his psychological condition. One person with knowledge of the investigation said the authorities had not ruled out the possibility that the vision problem could have been psychosomatic.

This is reaching the point of insult!

Information about a possible motive remained sketchy Saturday, and it was not clear whether his apparent decision to crash the plane was triggered by a particular development.

The search for clues covered every period and corner of his life, including his relationship with a longtime girlfriend, and a German newspaper reported Saturday that another woman with whom he had a relationship had described him as unstable.

Many questions remain unanswered, if not unanswerable.

And the propaganda pre$$ is not where you will be finding the truth anyway.


One year before he made the cut for the elite flying school overseen by Lufthansa, Germanwings’ parent company, Lubitz worked at a Burger King, flipping Whoppers and making french fries and talking to co-workers about his dream.

The dream finally started to come together in 2008, when Lubitz traveled to Phoenix to attend one of the most rigorous commercia-pilot training programs.

The same school the alleged 9/11 hijackers attended!

But by 2009, Lubitz had walked out of the program he had fought so hard to attend, taking several months off and coming back to his hometown.

During the hiatus, Detlef Adolf — Lubitz’s old boss at Burger King — remembers him stopping by the restaurant, buying a meal and sharing his distressing news.

‘‘He had come back because he said the pressure was too great,’’ Adolf said Saturday.

The picture emerging of Lubitz is one of a man haunted, whose ambition to fly brought him both pleasure and torment. On Saturday, Bild quoted an interview with a former girlfriend who described Lubitz as suffering from both vivid nightmares and delusions of grandeur.

‘‘At night, he woke up and screamed: ‘We’re going down!’ because he had nightmares,’’ the former girlfriend told Bild. ‘‘He knew how to hide from other people what was really going on with him.’’

She also said that last year he had warned, ‘‘One day I will do something that will change the whole system, and then everybody will know my name and remember it.’’

Another lone nut, huh?

The Globe is calling it a  “teachable moment,” and that more than anything alerts you to an agenda at work.


I guess the blindness didn't fly:

"Crash investigators gather physical, psychological clues; Copilot’s papers indicate fragile mental state" by Nicholas Kulish, New York Times  March 30, 2015

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — As aviation experts in the French Alps piece together the shattered fragments of the German jetliner that crashed there, investigators here are engaged in a task that is at least as challenging: trying to understand what drove Andreas Lubitz to apparently fly the plane into a mountainside.

In what amounts to one of the most high-profile cases to date of forensic psychiatry, French and German investigators must not only piece together the strands of Lubitz’s professional and personal lives, they must also try to determine what was going on inside his head before and during the fateful flight Tuesday.


Five days after the crash, the investigators had three main lines of inquiry: Lubitz’s apparent depression; a problem with his eyesight that might have compromised his ability to continue flying; and his personal relationships, including one with his longtime girlfriend.

His personal writings, found at the scene, suggested a confused young man who feared failure and was scared he was going to lose his job because of his vision and mental health problems, an official said.

????????? Writings survived the crash like passports?

How those elements fit together — and the relative weight each should be assigned — would be hard to determine under the best circumstances. In this case, it is not clear that it will ever be settled with any great degree of confidence, no doubt frustrating those who want answers, including the families of victims and regulators seeking to ensure it does not happen again.

(Blog editor just shakes his head)

As many as 200 German law enforcement officials have been working on the case, a spokesman for the Düsseldorf police said Sunday. They have learned thus far that Lubitz, the copilot on the flight, was dealing with psychological problems serious enough to require medication, sources with knowledge of the investigation said, which may have dogged him for many years. Antidepressants were found during the search of his apartment, as were notes from multiple doctors, one of which was torn up and thrown in a wastebasket.

SeeGermanwings copilot had been treated for suicidal tendencies

And the airline knew back in 2009!!?

Investigators also discovered that Lubitz was having trouble with his eyesight, either as a psychosomatic symptom related to his mental-health issues or as a separate physical malady that could have depressed his mood further. The young man’s identity was tied to his dream of becoming a pilot from an early age, at least since he began flying gliders as a 14-year-old.

To acquaintances and colleagues, Lubitz was personally polite and professionally accomplished, a copilot crisscrossing Europe for Germanwings, a loyal son who spent much of his time in his hometown Montabaur with his parents, and the long-term boyfriend of a woman he had known since before entering pilot training.

And he just snapped, huh?

“He was a colleague like every other,” Frank Woiton, a fellow pilot for Germanwings, told German television after the plane crash. “We sat together in the cockpit. We talked about his plans for the future. He said he wanted to fly long haul flights. He was not someone who said, ‘I want to end my life.’ ”

But his private papers indicated a fragile mental state. A high-ranking investigator, speaking with the newspaper Die Welt, characterized Lubitz’s writing as a window into the dark world of illness the copilot had skillfully concealed from outsiders.

There have also been reports, largely from anonymous sources, that his personal life had become complicated. Germany’s highest circulation newspaper, Bild, published an interview Saturday with a flight attendant who also claimed to be his girlfriend.

The woman, speaking under an assumed name, said that Lubitz was mentally unstable, screaming at night, at one point locking himself in a bathroom and complaining bitterly about how he was treated at his job.


Also see:

Plane skids off runway in Halifax

Difference there is they were rescued. Turns out a snake on the runway caused the skid.

Singaporeans turn out in force to pay respects to Lee Kuan Yew

That is what started this whole thing!