Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category

Greece Slides Toward Default

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Looks like that optimism over Greece caving in to reality was a bit premature, since Alexis Tsipras is back to his old tricks again, proclaiming loudly that he won’t be “blackmailed.” Because we all know that agreeing to cuts in your bloated welfare state to pay for the loans you already agreed to is “blackmail.”

He’s called for a national referendum on bailout agreement terms. The problem is, that vote is July 5 while $1.7 billion payment Greece owes the IMF is due June 30, and the IMF can’t offer extensions, and Greece is too broke to make its debt payment.

Greek banks are closed until July 7, and the “European Central Bank (ECB) said it was not increasing emergency funding to Greek banks.” ATMs are running dry and withdrawals are bveing limited to 60 euros.”

Stocks in Europe and China are in freefall, with bank stocks in Europe particularly hard hit. Greek stocks are off 17% despite their stock market being closed.

A few more Greek crisis tidbits:

  • Holy fark: 70% of Greek mortgages are in default.
  • Nothing says “vibrant economy” like adults forced to live with their parents.
  • “The strange thing is that neither Tsipras nor a large majority of the Greek people want to leave the euro (more than 70 per cent support keeping euro polls show). But despite the country being united on this, the government is still unwilling to make the compromises that would keep Greece in the euro zone.”
  • The bill for Greece’s profligate spending and fake austerity was always going to come due sooner or later. Tsipras’s disasterous term in office merely ensured that it would come sooner and with a maximum of economic pain for the Greek people…

    LinkSwarm for June 26, 2015

    Friday, June 26th, 2015

    The problem with doing a LinkSwarm is there’s just no end to links! I suppose I could post each and every one as I find it, but then I’d be be traveling in the wake of Instapundit, without his indefatigable will. (Or, this week, his army of star assistants.)

    Anyway, these are from the last few weeks:

  • Nothing says “religion of peace” quite like crucifying children for breaking a Ramadan fast.
  • Speaking of Ramadan, Muslims kicked it off in the now-traditional manner: Blowing up the mosques of other Muslims. (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • ObamaCare has fallen short of its enrollment target, hiked insurance premiums, failed to cut down on ER visits, and flopped in its attempt to improve hospitals’ bottom line.
  • ObamaCare is sputtering.
  • Hawaii kills its ObamaCare exchange.
  • China’s dredging on Mischief Reef has united the rest of Asia against it.
  • China tries debt swap financing for the Ghost Cities.
  • “Barack Obama has been the most successful person in history when it comes to electing Republicans to Congress.”
  • Donating to a tsunami victim charity? Don’t forget that Bill Clinton gets his cut.
  • Bill and Hillary and The King of Gay Porn.
  • Not just Bill and Hillary: Even Clinton underlings got Arab money while working for the government.
  • 20 revelations about the U.S. and Israel from Obama’s ex-Israeli ambassador’s new book.
  • Americans prefer not to live where the law-abiding are disarmed.
  • Obama’s plans to muzzle gun-related speech.
  • Ted Cruz introduces legislation to eliminate Obama’s illegal alien amnesty slush fund.
  • “What we’re dealing with is a mayor who is universally acknowledged to be bumbling and incompetent.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • LOL.
  • The Huffington Post: Hell on earth. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • You too can enjoy and spread “white privilege” to your children, no matter your color!
  • The “pecking disorder” among Social justice Warriors.
  • “He ain’t do no wrong — he just shot a cop.”
  • Remember that ultra-irritating piece on life on the Upper East Side? Not so fast.
  • Ouch.
  • Heh.
  • Don’t order the Chong Chin Chicken at Asia Cafe.
  • Bank Runs Start in Greece

    Saturday, June 20th, 2015

    The bank runs have started in Greece. Why the Greek peeople would even keep their money in banks, having the example of Cyprus’s bank “bail-ins” before them, would keep any but the most minimal amout of cash in a Greek bank is a mystery.

    Given that Greek banks are insolvent without the European Central Bank’s backstop, one wonders why Greek PM Alexis Tsipras thinks he can continue to bluff the EU caving on reform demands. It’s tough to bluff when you have no hole cards…

    There’s talk of a “new” Greek proposal, which could mean Tsipras and Syriza are finally coming to their senses and giving in to EU demands, or it could be just another smokescreen. I mean, we’ve only seen about a dozen “new” Greek proposals this year that didn’t offer meaningful reform. What’s one more?

    Stay tuned…

    Greece’s Final, Final, Final Deadline…Finally?

    Thursday, June 18th, 2015

    Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Google News is once again filled with Greece on the Brink headlines and the Telegraph has started a live update page for the Greek debt crisis. Today’s Eurogroup meeting ended without any deal, Merkel says she won’t budge, and Greece admits they have no money to make their bundled payment to the IMF at the end of the month.

    And the IMF has said there will be no grace period if Greece misses their June 30 deadline.

    Also, tomorrow Greece owes €85 million to the European Central Bank. Since the ECB backstop is the only reason Greek banks aren’t already insolvent, I suspect Greece will find some way to make that payment, even if it means raiding the Emergency Transplants for Crippled Orphans fund.

    Other than that, things are going swimmingly.

    The sticking point, as always, is Greece’s insistence that the rest of Europe lend it more so as to allow Greece to continue spending insanely more money than it actually has on its bloated welfare state, and that it absolutely will not cut government pensions (the pensions it will be unable to pay without a loan anyway) at all. But “Greece still spends more than any other country in the European Union on pensions as a proportion to GDP – with the country shelling out a whopping 17.5 percent.”

    British tourists are warned to take cash if they’re vacationing in Greece, since cash machines and credit cards may not work due to capital controls.

    How much is Greece uncertainty weighing down stocks?

    Eh, not so much…

    Quick Pre-Default Greece Update

    Monday, June 15th, 2015

    It looks like the rest of Europe has finally wised up to the fact that Alexis Tsipras has been playing them for chumps. It should be obvious to everyone now that Tsipras and his far-left Syriza party have no intention of reforming Greece’s bloated welfare state, they just wanted to pretend to as long as the rest of Europe was willing to underwrite it in exchange for pretending to reform. But lately even the pretense of reform has become intolerable. They want debt forgiveness and Europe to continue paying their bills, and they’re not going to budge until they get it, or until they totally destroy the Greek economy. You know, whichever.

    Europe seems to finally have said “Enough!”

    Other Greek links:

  • Might the European Central Bank impose capital controls on Greece (ala Cyprus) to force a change in the Greek government? Since the Greek banking system only exists at the mercy of ECB-backstopping, this could very well be the easiest way out of the crisis for everyone (even, weirdly, Tsipras and Syriza, who will still be able to claim they never gave in to Troika demands…)
  • “The latest Greek negotiating strategy is to demand a ransom to desist threatening suicide. Such blackmail might work for a suicide bomber. But Greece is just holding a gun to its own head — and Europe does not need to care very much if it pulls the trigger.”
  • “For the creditors, the test of whether Mr. Tsipras really wants Greece to remain in the eurozone comes down to a simple question: Is Syriza willing or able to reform Greece’s public sector?” Syriza wants to reform Greece’s public sector the way O. J. Simpson wants to find the real killers.
  • Gameplanning Greek outcomes. (Warning: Autoplaying video. Up yours, Bloomberg.)
  • Erdogan’s Islamist A.K.P. to Lose Majority?

    Sunday, June 7th, 2015

    So say the tea leaves from early results. If it holds up, that would be pretty big (and good) news, especially since it would slow Erdogan’s attempts to fully Islamize Turkey, as well as thwart his attempt to change the constitution to give himself more power. The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party is also on track to surpass the 10% voting threshold for representation, which is also good news.

    LinkSwarm for June 5, 2015

    Friday, June 5th, 2015

    Another Friday, another LinkSwarm!

  • Democrats believe illegal aliens should be allowed to vote. “The Obama Administration has lost faith in the electorate and has decided to appoint a new one.” (Hat Tip: Instapundit.)
  • The ObamaCare death spiral is still coming.
  • Doctors leaving practice due to federal mandates. “EHR is health care’s Solyndra.”
  • Vermont: A funny thing happened on the way to Socialized Medicine.
  • “If there’s a more renewable resource than Clinton lies, I’m hard pressed to think what it might be.”
  • Hillary’s event ticket sales: Not setting the world on fire. (Hat tip: Moe Lane)
  • Democrats panicking over Hillary’s sleaze contemplate breaking the glass case around Michael Bloomberg.
  • And speaking of old rich white male Democrats, Lincoln Chafee joins the Presidential race, comes out against drone strikes, for the metric system and belt onions.
  • Minneapolis teacher takes middle school students on field trip to sex shop. Bonus: “Gaia Democratic School”
  • America: There’s an App for that. Cuba: There’s a line for that.
  • Another day, another Islamist suicide bombing killing 10 in Nigeria. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Professional pro-Putin Internet troll now suing her former masters.
  • France insists those damn elected representatives can’t be let anywhere near their precious global warming treaty.
  • Planned Parenthood goes ballistic over OTC birth control. It’s all about the Benjamins…
  • Consultants advise college applicants how to appear less Asian.
  • Did you know there’s a national egg shortage on?
  • Greece to Receive It’s Final Final Final Final Final Final Final Offer

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

    Looks like all of Greece’s creditors have finally decided it’s put up or shut up time for reform. “Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to face demands for tough reforms of Greece’s pension system, labor laws and other areas, as well as creditors’ insistence on painful budget measures to ensure that Greece runs a fiscal surplus before interest.”

    At this point Greece seems completely and utterly broke, unless there’s more upfront money in that still unsigned Russian pipeline deal than reports indicate (doubtful, given Russia’s own financial straits), or Tsipras finds yet another hidden money reserve to tap (“We can can pay pensions from the children’s bone marrow fund!”). So despite Tsipras’ insistence that they be allowed to keep spending other people’s money on their bankrupt welfare state, this time the jig may finally, finally, really, we mean it this time, for sure, be up.

    Here’s a piece that explains in terms of game theory why Tsipras overplayed his weak hand:

    Now, as long as the EU keeps Greece in the Eurozone then the Tsipras administration will find itself forced to either exit the Eurozone or apply the austerity it promised to end. Not only would such an outcome send a clear signal to other Eurozone nations that exiting was foolhardy, it would also indicate that radical, nationalist, anti-establishment and anti-austerity parties cannot deliver on their promises.

    The EU won’t force Greece to exit the Eurozone but it won’t offer anything to keep Syriza in power, either. The EU simply needs to keep negotiating without offering anything but strict compliance with what was already agreed upon, which is continued austerity in return for loans. In effect, to use a sports analogy, the EU just needs to “run out the clock.” In the end, it appears that Tsipras will either be forced out of office or forced to break up his coalition and form a new government with the mainstream parties, the outcome that EU and Germany have been angling for all along.

    (Though make no mistake: that “primary surplus” was always illusory.)

    A few more Greek debt crisis links:

  • Now Greece is threatening not to pay this week’s debt payment to the IMF unless a deal is agreed on. Once again, Tsipras is playing chicken with a Yugo, while his opponents are driving a Tiger tank…
  • Tsipras needs to stop making empty promises and get a clue. “He cannot expect Germans to volunteer the money Greece needs, so he can spend it on the kind of leftist economic fantasy that was discredited all over Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. Just ask Argentina where default followed by populist economics leads.”
  • Germany has good reason to stop subsidizing Greece, namely their own crashing demographics: “Germany’s birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan’s by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy.” (Hat tip: Powerline.)
  • “A Greek exit is already priced into the euro.”
  • LinkSwarm for May 29, 2015

    Friday, May 29th, 2015

    I didn’t get flooded out, but for a while on Memorial Day, I finally had that defensive moat around my house I’d always dreamed of…

  • U.S. economy shrinks in first quarter. (Hat tip: Instapundit, who adds, of course, “unexpectedly!”)
  • Get ready for still more ObamaCare sticker shock.
  • Let he who has never created a shell company to skirt disclosure laws cast the first stone at the Clintons…
  • The Clinton Foundation took money from FIFA, the recently indicated world soccer organization.
  • “Does the Media Hold Anyone to a Lower Ethical Standard than the Clintons?” Save rock stars in the 1970s and Obama 2008—2013, I’d say no…
  • Speaking of rock stars from the 1970s, Ted Nugent has some realistic and pungent advice for the graduating class of 2015:
    1. Life is not fair. Get used to it.

    2. Social justice is a commie scam. Read the drivel of Saul Alinsky and fight it with all you’ve got.
    3. Nobody owes you jacksquat. You will either earn your own way, or feel like a helpless leech. There is no middle ground.

    And there’s more where that came from…

  • Why didn’t the Obama Administration order airstrikes against ISIS columns before they took Ramadi?
  • What Right Wing Nutjob said “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people” in December of 2011? That would be Barack Obama.
  • Why the left launched an attack on geek culture: “The group that expected to define taste and culture by virtue of their previous oppression found themselves instead being forced to make less money and cater to the tastes of a group that not only never sought out the bleeding edge of coolness, but never cared about the concept to begin with.”
  • Dutch tend American WWII graves. “Each grave has been adopted by a Dutch or, in some cases, Belgian or German family, as well as local schools, companies and military organizations. More than 100 people are on a waiting list to become caretakers.” Damn these rains, all this mold pollen is really doing a number on my eyes… (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Bernie Sanders, S&M fantasy pervert.
  • Woman comes to the sudden revelation that she’s being a shrew. “He’s a good man who does a lot for me, and doesn’t deserve to be harassed over little things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.” (Hat tip: Milo Yiannopoulos’ Twitter feed.)
  • Pictures from the Austin flood.
  • Pctures from the Houston flood.
  • LinkSwarm for May 22, 2015

    Friday, May 22nd, 2015

    Welcome to the beginning of the long Memorial Day weekend! Here in Texas, we’re going to celebrate the long weekend by building arks and gathering up two of every animal.

  • “Islamic State seizes Syria’s last border crossing with Iraq.” (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Obama’s toothless Iran deal is pushing the Saudis to buy nuclear weapons from Pakistan.
  • Saudi convicted of keeping a sex slave refuses to attend a mandatory sex offender course, because Islam.
  • “If the Obama Administration loses [the King vs. Burwell ObamaCare case] in the Supreme Court, the political pain will fall almost exclusively on the President and his Party.”
  • Evidently Bill de Blasio has mistaken himself for Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
  • Coming soon: homebrew heroin.
  • Ted Cruz is the only republican arrogant enough to be President. (Though I have some disagreements with Spengler’s subsidiary foreign policy points.)
  • Democratic pollster Pat Caddell: Obama is more corrupt than Nixon. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “How To Spot And Critique Censorship Tropes In The Media’s Coverage Of Free Speech Controversies.”
  • The Stephanopoulos lies: worse than you think.
  • A good many of those Ferguson protestors were paid to protest. And now many say their paymasters refuse to cough up the dough. It’s sleazebags all the way down.
  • Slashdot post: Look at all this STEM sexism! Slashdot comments: Your link is garbage and you should stop talking out of your ass.
  • It’s another one of those New York Times pieces that seem designed to make you hate both rich Manhattanites and the writer equally, about how terribly, terribly isolating it is to be a rich woman on the Upper East Side. (File under: “Three people in New York make a trend.”)
  • By way of partial counterpoint (and, in some ways, almost equally annoying), here’s dating advice for Uptown divorcees from a few years ago. “Our biggest challenge, time and again, is matching up middle-aged divorcées in the ‘pre-realist’ stage, who have not realized that they have a choice of sex, money or companionship —but not necessarily all three in the same package.”
  • Good: List of speed-traps to avoid in Texas. Bad: Slideshow.
  • Police chief in small Texas town get’s drunk and starts hitting on another policeman’s soon-to-be-ex-wife. Beatdown ensues.
  • Dogs are Awesome.