Thursday, July 16, 2015

Greek Parliament Betrays People

The deal was no good, but it went through anyway:

"Greek lawmakers pass austerity bill despite dissent; Lawmakers, public at odds over decision" by Elena Becatoros and Derek Gatopoulos Associated Press  July 16, 2015

ATHENS — Greek lawmakers voted overwhelmingly early Thursday to approve a harsh austerity bill demanded by bailout creditors, despite significant dissent from members of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ own left-wing party.

The bill, which imposes sweeping tax hikes and spending cuts, fueled anger in the governing Syriza party and led to a revolt against Tsipras. The legislation was approved with 229 votes in favor, 64 against, and six abstentions — and won the support of three pro-European opposition parties. 

Look at that margin. In the Greek peoples' face.

Among Syriza’s 38 dissenters were prominent party members, including Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, whom many blame for exacerbating tensions with Greece’s creditors with his abrasive style during five months of tortured negotiations.

He was one of the good guys.

The post-midnight vote might not pose an immediate threat to Tsipras’ government, but it raised more doubts over whether it could implement the harsh new austerity program demanded by rescue lenders.

Look at that twisted terminology. Harsh austerity delivered by rescuing lenders. It's a banker's pre$$, boys. They prove it everyday with their self-internalized word choices.

The vote came after an anti-austerity demonstration by about 12,000 protesters outside Parliament degenerated into violence as the debate was getting underway Wednesday night. Riot police battled youths who hurled gasoline bombs for about an hour before the clashes died down.

Hey, you protesters finally got some print instead of just a photo!


Dissenters argued that Greeks could not face any further cuts after six years of recession that saw poverty and unemployment skyrocket and wiped out a quarter of the country’s economy.

Tsipras has been battling all week to persuade party hard-liners to back the deal. He has acknowledged the agreement reached with creditors was far from what he wanted and trampled on his preelection promises of repealing austerity, but insisted the alternative would have been far worse for the country....

The rumors swirling on the Internet were they faced an invasion.

Tsipras had urged Syriza members to back the bill despite having urged voters to reject earlier, milder creditor demands in a July 5 referendum. Greeks voted overwhelmingly to reject those proposals.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, who took over from Varoufakis the day after the referendum, said the deal Greece reached with its creditors on Monday was the only possible choice.

‘‘I must tell you, that Monday morning at 9:30, it was the most difficult day of my life. It was a decision that will weigh on me for the rest of my life,’’ Tsakalotos said.

‘‘I don’t know if we did the right thing. But I know we did something with the sense that we had no choice. Nothing was certain and nothing is,’’ he told Parliament.

High-ranking dissenters included Alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani, who resigned from her post earlier Wednesday, saying she could not vote in favor of the bill.

The honorable thing to do.

In a letter sent to Tsipras on Monday and released by the finance ministry Wednesday, Valavani said she believed ‘‘dominant circles in Germany’’ were intent on ‘‘the full humiliation of the government and the country.’’

Those would be the banks and government.

The economy ministry’s secretary general, Manos Manousakis, also resigned over the measures.

Parliament speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou, a prominent Syriza member, slammed the deal as a product of blackmail, calling it a ‘‘crime against humanity’’ and ‘‘social genocide.’’

It is.


Fortunately, nothing like that could ever happen here in AmeriKa:

"Yellen warns Congress against new Fed limits" by Binyamin Appelbaum New York Times  July 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, told lawmakers Wednesday that proposals to increase congressional oversight of the central bank could cause collateral damage to the broader economy.

OMG! That's $ick!

Yellen repeated versions of that warning several times in a three-hour hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, ceding no ground to Republicans who want to impose new limits on the Fed.

The Federal Reserve needs to be abolished, but because they control Congre$$....

“Efforts to further increase transparency, no matter how well intentioned, must avoid unintended consequences that could undermine the Federal Reserve’s ability to make policy in the long-run best interest of American families and businesses,” she said. 

And might let us see the stealing scheme.

Yellen provided few new indications of the Fed’s plans for the next few months, and she was not pressed on the issue. Lawmakers evidently do not share Wall Street’s obsessive interest in the exact timing of interest rate increases.

Republicans instead focused on proposals they describe as necessary to improve the management of monetary policy and the regulation of the financial industry.

Representative Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who chairs the committee, said the Fed’s approach to monetary policy has been “amorphous, opaque, and improvisational.” He continued, “One way our economy could be healthier is for the Federal Reserve to be more predictable in the conduct of monetary policy.”

The Fed’s relationship with its congressional overseers has deteriorated since Yellen took over the Fed and Republicans took over Congress. Yet the tone of Wednesday’s hearing was markedly more polite than at Yellen’s last appearance, in February, an openly hostile affair.

The sharpest exchanges concerned the committee’s investigation of a 2012 leak of confidential information about the Fed’s bond-buying plans. The Fed has refused to provide some information, citing a continuing investigation by the Justice Department, a position Hensarling has described as “willful obstruction.”

Representative Sean Duffy, Republican of Wisconsin, said the Fed did not follow its own rules in investigating the 2012 leak and that it is now impeding the committee’s efforts to identify the source.

Yellen defended the Fed’s actions as consistent with its policies and said it was cooperating with the various investigations.

RelatedCongressman screams at Yellen 

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis. hasn’t yet gotten the memo that the Federal Reserve answers to no one inside the United States -- (h/t)

Obama isn't prosecuting the leaker? 

Sarah A. Binder, a political scientist at George Washington University who studies the Fed, said on Twitter that the standoff highlighted the difficulty for Congress in holding the Fed accountable, particularly when there is a sharp partisan divide.

The thump you just heard was the founding fathers flipping over in their graves (except for Hamilton).

Yellen also gave no ground to proponents of new legislative constraints.

And Liz Warren backed her.

Congress is considering a number of measures to increase oversight of the central bank. One proposal would require the Fed to articulate a rule for setting interest rates, and then justify deviations from that rule. Another would subject the Fed’s policy-making process to regular external review.

I want an audit.

Yellen and other Fed officials argue that such changes would inhibit the conduct of monetary policy. The Fed, like central banks in other developed nations, is insulated from political pressure so it can make unpopular decisions that have long-term benefits, like raising interest rates to control inflation.


Yellen said Wednesday that the Fed already ranked “among the most transparent central banks” and cautioned against opening new windows.

Proponents of the measures, however, say additional oversight would strengthen the conduct of monetary policy. They argue the Fed has aimed at an increasing number of targets since the financial crisis, including job growth and financial stability, at the expense of a pure focus on inflation.

Yellen also pushed back against the idea of new limits on the Fed’s power to pump money into the financial system when private funding dries up.

“I do think this is a very important power,” she said. “We need to address liquidity and credit issues in times when there is unusual financial market stress.”

Printing money is the only tool they have left. Never you mind that increasingly worthless purchasing power as the money is lavished on Wall Street.

As for the Fed’s monetary policy plans, Yellen said they had not changed in recent weeks. Officials still expect to start raising the Fed’s benchmark interest rate later this year, provided the economy grows in line with their expectations.

Except they are consistently wrong:

U.S. Economy Back on Track

"The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that lower energy prices were encouraging consumers to shop and eat out more. 

Really? Where? Not McDonald's.

Growing sales of homes and commercial real estate also boosted the economy. 

Yup, condos are great. Little cramped, but great!

Employment growth was solid, although some layoffs were reported in manufacturing and energy industries, which have cut back because of falling prices. The Boston Fed reported “stable or improving” conditions across New England, with retail sales growing, real estate activity strong – except in the Hartford area – and some tightness in the labor market. The Fed report, known as the beige book, will be used by officials when they meet July 28-29 to consider interest rate policies....

Tired of the mixed me$$ages as they fiddle around in your pocket?

The US stock market edged lower, ending a four-day rally, as a drop in energy shares and jitters over Greece outweighed encouraging earnings reports from banks

Globe is missing those for some reason.

Energy stocks slumped along with the price of oil after a report showed that a drop in US supplies last week was less than expected. The market’s pause follows strong gains. Stocks have surged in the past week as a slump in China’s stock market abated and Greece reached a deal with its creditors. As investors awaited a vote by Greece’s Parliament, though, anti-austerity protesters clashed with police in the streets of Athens. Bank of America said its profit more than doubled, thanks to lower legal bills. 

That is the important thing, the BoA. 

It also reported that an increase in deposits, lower expenses, and an improving balance sheet helped offset a decline in revenue

Uh-oh! That's not a sign of recovery!

The bank’s stock rose 3.2 percent. Macy’s was the biggest S&P 500 gainer, up 7.9 percent on reports that Starboard Value, an activist investor, thinks the department store chain could boost its value by spinning off real estate. Netflix surged 9.4 percent after saying growth internationally boosted subscriptions to its Internet TV service."

Time to turn that off.

The International Monetary Fund has said the Fed should wait until next year.

Representative Maxine Waters of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee, also urged Yellen to exercise caution.

“It is my hope that the Federal Reserve will fully consider the impact of any potential interest rate increase on the middle class and those communities that have yet to benefit from the economic recovery,” Waters said.

That is because they don't own stock, and it's been so long now it's a DEPRESSION, the GRAND DEPRESSION!

But Yellen said the Fed’s majority had not changed its perspective.


A silver-haired devil. 

Of course, the world would be a better place if women were in charge. That's the old line used by divisive feminists. And yet here we have one of the most powerful women on the planet, if not the most powerful, furthering the wealth divide and debt enslavement as she and her cla$$ personally benefit.


Microsoft to cut up to 7,800 jobs, mostly in its phone unit

Disney wins big tax break, will invest $1b

Fed officials still cautious about rate hikes

Stricter export rules await some Mass. tech firms

Still got a Waze to go before being done for the night.


"A new lifeline for Greece and strong quarterly earnings at Netflix and other companies had investors buying stocks on Thursday, putting aside their worries about the possibility of a financial collapse in Greece, plunging Chinese stocks, and Puerto Rico’s debt struggles. 

SeePuerto Rico may be closer to a default

‘‘Some of the red flags in the market have come down, and now the market can look to earnings,’’ said Kevin Dorwin, at Bingham, Osborn in San Francisco. Stocks in Europe got a boost from news that Greek lawmakers had approved tax hikes, pension cuts, and other measures demanded by creditors in exchange for a short-term loan to help Greece cover its debts through mid-August. 

Netflix was the S&P 500’s biggest winner; its stock soared 18 percent on news of fast subscriber growth. Citigroup climbed 3.8 percent after profits rebounded, and eBay rose 3.4 percent as earnings beat expectations."

As Greece falls flat:

"With fresh aid, Greece will allow banks to reopen" by Elena Becatoros and Derek Gatopoulos Associated Press  July 17, 2015

ATHENS — Greece on Thursday won vital pledges of support from bailout lenders needed to keep its economy from collapsing, but officials in Athens said the painful austerity measures demanded in return were likely to force an election within months.

Oh, good.

Hours after Parliament approved the tough new cuts, the government promised to reopen banks on Monday and gradually restore services — helped by higher cash support from the European Central Bank.


The news buoyed world markets and came as a relief in Greece, where banks and the stock market have been closed for nearly three weeks.

Officials in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s government, however, were still reeling from the contentious post-midnight vote.

An "early election was now seen as ‘‘very likely’’ — either in September or October," and then Tsipras and the left-wing Syriza party will be out.

With another austerity vote planned next week, Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis cautioned that the level of dissent shown Thursday had fallen just short of toppling Tsipras’s six-month-old government, which was elected on a pledge to free Greece from debilitating austerity programs.

In Berlin, Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, insisted that growing calls to ax a portion of Greece’s 320 billion euro debt mountain would not be accepted and again raised the idea of a managed Greek exit from the euro currency union.

‘‘No one knows at the moment how it’s supposed to work without a debt cut, and everyone knows that a debt cut is incompatible with membership in the currency union,’’ Schaeuble told Deutschlandfunk radio.

However, the head of the eurozone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, shot down talk of a Greek euro exit. ‘‘Schaeuble,’’ he said, ‘‘if you reach an agreement after such long and hard talks, you have to stand behind it, and that goes for all sides.’’

Germany’s insistence on tough terms for Greece even after bailout austerity deepened and extended its six-year recession has earned Schaeuble criticism, even inside Germany.

A Munich-based think tank, Project for Democratic Union, said it was time for Schaeuble to resign.

‘‘Under the Schaeuble regime the eurozone is no union, it is a creditor-debtor relationship,’’ the group said on its website. While negotiating the Greece deal, Schaeuble ‘‘changed the political climate in Europe for the worse.’’

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew met Thursday with Schaeuble and France’s finance minister, Michel Sapin, and urged Greece’s creditors to make sure the struggling country emerges from negotiations with debts it can manage. In a telephone call with Tsipras, he also called on the Greeks to fully implement the budget cuts and economic reforms they had agreed to.

In Athens, Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said banks would reopen Monday after a three-week closure, though withdrawal restrictions would remain in place.

Bank customers ‘‘can deposit cash, they can transfer money from one account to the other,’’ but can’t withdraw money except at ATMs, Mardas said.

A withdrawal limit of $67 a day would stay in place, he said, though Greek authorities were working on a plan to allow people to roll over access to their funds. So if, for example, they don’t make it to a cash machine one day, the next day they could take out 120 euros.

Meanwhile, the Moody’s credit rating agency said that the Greek vote means the country has dodged imminent danger, but that it still faces risks....

I'm in no mood for their opinions after the AAA MBS $hit.


UPDATEGreek bailout moves ahead after Germany gives its backing