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January 27, 2015

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OPINION - Trojan Hearse: Greek Elections and the Euro Leper Colony - Greg Palast

credit - G. Palast 
The following article is by former investigative reporter Greg Palast and was featured in the Greek newspaper το Xωνί. The article was again updated on January 26, 2015 and featured on his website, link at the bottom of the page. HellasFrappe does not agree with his theory about leaving the Eurozone, but our blog respects a contrast of opinons, and stories which are backed up by good arguments. It should be reminded that Greg Palast has broken front-page stories for BBC Television Newsnight, The Guardian, Nation Magazine, Rolling Stone and Harper's Magazine. 

Greg Palast (το Xωνί) - Europe is stunned, and bankers aghast, that the new party of the Left, Syriza, won Sunday's parliamentary elections in Greece. Syriza won on the promise that it will cure Greece of leprosy. Oddly, Syriza also promises that it will remain in the leper colony. That is, Syriza wants to rid Greece of the cruelty of austerity imposed by the European Central Bank but insists on staying in the euro zone.

The problem is, austerity run wild is merely a symptom of an illness.  The underlying disease is the euro itself.

For the last five years, Greeks have been told that, if you cure your disease—that is, if you dump the euro—the sky will fall.  I guess Greeks haven’t noticed, the sky has fallen already.  With unemployment at 25%, with doctors and teachers eating out of garbage cans, there is no further to fall.

In 2010, when unemployment was a terrible 10%, a year into the crisis, the “Troika” (the European Central Bank, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund) told the Greeks that brutal austerity measures would restore their economy by 2012.

Ask yourself, Was the Troika right?

There is a saying in America:  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

Can Greece survive without the euro? Greece is already dead, but the Germans won’t even bother to bury the corpse. Greeks are told that if they leave the euro and renounce its debts, the nation will not be able to access world capital markets. The reality is, Greece can’t access world markets now: no one lends to a corpse.

There’s a way back across the River Styx. But it’s not by paddling on a euro.

There’s Life after Euro

Many nations do quite well without the euro.  Sweden, Denmark and India do just fine without the euro—and so does Turkey, which had the luck to be excluded from the euro-zone. As long as Turks stick to the lira, even Turkey’s brain-damaged Islamo-fascist President Tayyip Erdoğan cannot destroy their economy.

Can Greece just dump the euro? They have happy precedents to follow.  Argentina was once pegged to the US dollar much as Greece is tied to the euro today. In 2000, Argentines, hungry and angry, revolted.  Argentina ultimately overthrew the dollar dictatorship, the IMF diktats and the threats of creditors, and defaulted on its dollar bonds. Free at last!

In the decade since, the Argentine economy soared. Yes, today, Argentina is under attack by financial vultures, but that is only because the nation became so temptingly wealthy.

I was in Brazil when its President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told the IMF to go to hell—and rejected privatization of the state banks and the state oil company, rejected cutting pensions and thumbed his nose at the rest of the austerity nonsense. Instead, Lula created the bolsa familia, a massive pay-out to the nation’s poor.

The result: Brazil not only survived but thrived during the 2008-10  world financial crisis.

Despite pressure, Brazil never ceded control of its currency. (It is a sad irony that Brazil is only now faltering. That’s the fault entirely of Lula’s successor, President Dilma Rousseff, who is beginning to dance the austerity samba.)

Austerity:  Religion, Not Economics

The euro is simply the deutschmark with little stars on it. Greece cannot adopt Germany’s currency without adopting Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, as its own.

And Schäuble has determined that Greece must be punished. As my homey Paul Krugman points out, there is no credible economic theory that says that austerity—that is, cutting government spending, cutting wages, cutting consumer demand—can in any way help a nation in recession, in deflation. That’s why, in 2009, Obama ordered up stimulus, not a sleeping pill.

But austerity has nothing to do with economics. It is religion: the belief by the stern Lutheran Germans that Greeks have had too much fun, spent too much money, and spent too much lazy time in the sun—and now Greeks must pay a price for their sins.

Oddly, I hear this self-flagellating nonsense from Greeks themselves:  we are lazy. We deserve our punishment.

Nonsense. The average Greek works more hours in a year than any other worker in the 34 nations of the OECD; Germans the least.

The Euro’s Father Describes his Little Bastard

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, would like to pretend that austerity and the euro are two different things, that you can marry the pretty girl but not invite her ugly sister to the wedding. Apparently, the Syriza chief is blissfully ignorant of the history of the euro. The horror of austerity is not the consequence of Greek profligacy: it was designed into the euro’s plan from the beginning.

This was explained to me by the father of the euro himself, economist Robert Mundell of Columbia University. (I studied economics with Mundell’s buddy, Milton Friedman.) Mundell not only invented the euro, he also fathered the misery-making policies of Thatcher and Reagan, known as “supply-side economics” – or, as George Bush Sr. called it, “voodoo economics.”

Supply-side voodoo is the long-discredited belief that if a nation demolishes the power of unions, cuts business taxes, eliminates government regulation and public ownership of utilities, economic prosperity will follow.

The euro is simply the other side of the supply-side coin.

As Mundell explained it, the euro is the way in which congresses and parliaments can be stripped of all power over monetary and fiscal policy. Bothersome democracy is removed from the economic system.  “Without fiscal policy,” Mundell told me, “the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.”

Greece, to survive in a euro economy, can only revive employment by reducing wages. Indeed, the recent tiny reduction in unemployment is the sign that Greeks are slowly accepting a permanent future of low wages serving piña coladas to Germans on holiday cruises.

It is argued that Greece owes Germany, the IMF and the European Central Bank for bail-out-billions.

Nonsense.

None of the billions in bail-out funds went into Greek pockets. It all went to bail out Deutsche Bank and other foreign creditors. The EU treasuries swallowed 90% of its private bankers’ bonds. Germany bailed out Germany, not Greece.

Nevertheless, Greece must pay Germany back, Mr. Tsipras, if you want to continue to use Germany’s currency, that is.

Greece:  Goldman Sacked

Greece’s ruin began with secret, fraudulent currency swaps, designed a decade ago by Goldman Sachs, to conceal Greek deficits that exceeded the euro zone’s 3%-of-GDP limit.

In 2009, when the truth came out, Greek debt holders realized they had been cheated. These debt buyers then demanded usurious levels of interest (or, if you prefer, a high “spread”) to insure themselves against future fraud. The compounding of this interest premium brought the Greek nation to its knees.

In other words, the crimes committed to join and stay in the euro, not Greek profligacy, caused the crisis.

The USA, Brazil and China escaped from depression by increasing their money supply and government spending and taking control of currency exchange rates—crucial tools Greece gave up in return for the euro.

Worse, once the Trojan hearse of the euro entered Athens, tourism, Greece’s main industry, drained to Turkey where hotels and souvenirs are priced in cheap lira. This allowed Dr. Mundell’s remorseless wage-lowering machine, the euro, to do its work, to force Greece to strip all its workers of pensions and power.

Greece fell to its knees, with no choice but to beg Germany for mercy.

But there is no mercy. As Germany’s Schäuble insists, democracy, this week’s vote, means nothing. "New elections change nothing in the accords struck with the Greek government,” he says. “[Greeks] have no alternative.”

Ah, but they do, Mr. Schäuble.

They can tell you to take your euro and shove it up your Merkel.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast's book, Vultures' Picnic, with the no-BS inside story of the financial collapse, will soon be released in a Greek edition by Livanis. Palast is also the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits. Ηε is a Puffin Foundation Fellow for Investigative Reporting. Support the Palast Investigative fund with a tax-deductible donation and get a signed copy Vultures' Picnic. Subscribe to Palast's Newsletter and podcasts, or follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter. 

Source - www.GregPalast.com




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VICTORY - Kurds Take Back Control in Kobani - Push ISIS Back!

Kurdish forces said they have wrested back control of the Syrian border city of Kobani, the site of a four-month battle between militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis) and the US-led international coalition trying to defeat the jihadi group.

Syrian Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) were backed by Iraq’s Kurdish “peshmerga” forces and US air strikes to push Isis out of Kobani in a battle that killed over 1,300, according the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group. It said Isis suffered the bulk of those casualties.
     “We have now completely liberated the city from Isis,” said Ocalan Isso, the deputy commander of YPG forces in Kobani. “We are now [moving] to liberate villages to the east and the south.”
Members of the political wing of the group, however, cautioned they had yet to declare victory.
     “It’s not official yet. We still have pockets of houses to clear in certain districts to the south and the east,” said Salah Muslim, a member of the Kurdish party known as the PYD.
Kobani, which sits right on Syria’s northern frontier with Turkey, became a rallying call for the Middle East’s stateless Kurds, who urged rival Kurdish forces in Iraq, Turkey and Syria to work together to liberate the town. Increasing media coverage of the Isis assault — easily visible from the border — was also a headache for Washington. The YPG, the main force fighting the jihadi group, is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey, which the west and Ankara label a terrorist group.

Read more at: Euro2day


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Reform Takes Times But Will Tsipras Reverse Mood in Europe, Will His Super-Ministries Work?

Will Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' attempt to reorganize the Greek state fulfill his campaign promises? Will his planned super-ministers work? For this to happen political fences and ideological dams need to come down. This is going to be difficult because he was supported by PASOK hardliners who are well known unionists and part of the well known state within a state. Will Tsipras be able to reverse the mood in Europe? It is too early to tell but certainly our EU partners are watching things closely. Aside from congratulating the new Greek PM they also note that Greece faces serious problems.

Europe will give reasonable time to the new government to submit its proposals for the programme that will replace the disastrous memorandum, SYRIZA MEP and European Parliament Vice-President Dimitris Papadimoulis on Tuesday told ANA-MPA in an interview.

"The Greek plan of reconstruction and development will respect the country's commitments under the European treaties, but it will replace the destructive recipe and troika's model, which does not exist anywhere in the European tradition and European Law," Papadimoulis said and added: "The reconstruction and development plan will be based on sound public finances, balanced budgets and the sustainable development of the Greek economy in the euro zone and the rapid decline in unemployment."

Regarding the effort of the new government to render the Greek debt sustainable, he stressed: "SYRIZA will submit its proposals, which are not easy, to the negotiation table and we are ready for a mutually beneficial solution. We are open to a 'propulsive compromise', as the scenario of rupture is not in the interests not only of the Greek side, but also of our partners and lenders. For this reason I am optimistic that, despite what is being said mainly by the German right wing, there will be pragmatism and realism on the basis of mutual benefit. We do not want these discussions to take much time, and as you can see, Alexis Tsipras is moving fast to implement the popular mandate, without any delays."

Asked about the apparent favorable change in the international climate towards Greece after SYRIZA's electoral victory, Papadimoulis said: "A large portion of the political spectrum in Europe and in the government understands the outcome of the elections in Greece and the great victory of SYRIZA as a defeat of the unilateral destructive austerity of Schaeuble and an opportunity for the EU as a whole and particularly the eurozone to turn to a development and investment policy, aiming at reducing unemployment and strengthening social cohesion. In spite of our domestic opponents and their bullying propaganda, important initiatives are being undertaken by leading European officials so that mediation initiatives and positive steps are prepared in the near future."

On Thursday and after being asked to comment on what will happen with the current fiscal program of Greece, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that he looked forward "to working with them, the way we worked with the previous Greek government." He said that the Eurogroup will support SYRIZA in its quest for economic recovery of Greece and that he is content that SYRIZA's ambition is to realise this within the eurozone.

He added however state that "it is too early to say what their intentions, ambitions are in the short term" regarding Greece's fiscal program and recommended patience".
     "We must allow the new Greek government to take their positions and give their points of view on how to move forward, both in finalising the pending review and any other further support from the euro zone to Greece," he said, noting that the next Eurogroup meeting was in February.
He also said he had a 15-minute telephone conversation with the new minister of finance. "That is a good start," Dijsselbloem said.

Meanwhile, German Minister of Finances Wolfgang Schauble stressed that any attempts of Eurozone members to renegotiate any of the agreements they have made to be a “waste of time”.

During a speech before the Financial Affair Committee in the European Parliament, Schable recognized that the Greek people have suffered more than other Europeans, but argued that was due to the mistakes made by the Greek political leadership over many years.

Regarding the general election results, Schauble commented that he respects the Greek people’s verdict and noted that the new government was an interesting mix of different political forces.

In other news, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said that there is no chance of a new debt write off for Greece. In an interview he gave to the German public broadcaster ARD, Juncker noted that there is no such possibility of the Commission’s “radar” and estimated that the majority of Euro group officers – particularly from Euro zone members – would not support any further write offs.

He then argued that the new Greek government must focus on implementing the agreements of its predecessors and stressed that he is going to cooperate with the new government, for everyone’s benefit.

Junker also said that Greece has committed to carrying out a number of reforms and that after “significant progress”, it would be a mistake to backtrack and jeopardize everything achieved in order to encourage growth, job creation and investments.

In Athens, reports are claiming that Tsipras will attempt to reorganize the ministries in order to fulfill his pledge for a small ministerial council comprised of ten super-ministers that will overlook the state.

The plan is not new, because efforts have been made in the past for a series of ministries to operate under one supervisor. The problem, as everyone knows, is that the beast which is called the Greek state is (and has never been) easy to control, nor can it become efficient unless it is reformed from the roots up.

Everyone hopes that this time the efforts will pay off but it is clear that the success of Tsipras' cabinet will not be measured by the number of ministers it appoints, but on how efficient, persistent and capable his Cabinet is in tackling Greece's problems.

The Greek public sector needs to be reformed, and become flexible and certainly it needs to be much more friendlier towards the people, but the bureaucracy and inability of ministers to organize their ministries cannot be tackled by a few announcements that look great on paper, they need a head on head collision.

The country truly needs a plan for a complete overhaul, less paperwork and primarily fewer, more efficient laws that will leave no room for doubt or wrongdoings. That must be the new government’s primary goal, which will determine its success, super-ministries or not.

And finally in other news, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament announced via Twitter that he will travel to Athens on Thursday to meet new Greek premier Alexis Tsipras.

(Combined Reports)

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BUSTED: New Clip Proves That Western Mercenaries Are On The Ground in Mariupol (VIDEOS)

Amid the recent devastation in the area of Mariupol, (which was even more violent than before the truce was signed last year) a strange video clip has emerged on the web that appears to provide to prove without a shadow of a doubt that US military boots are on the ground in Ukraine.

It should be reminded that Kiev’s troops and Donbass militia forces are locked in renewed hostilities in southeastern Ukraine after a shaky ceasefire reached by the sides in September utterly collapsed. Ukrainian forces launched a massive offensive in mid-January, but failed to gain any ground despite employing tanks, artillery and aviation.

In the clip below, a Ukrainian journalist approaches what she thinks is a Ukrainian soldier (since he is wearing a Ukrainian military uniform and is carrying an AK rifle) and asked him as they run through the battle zone, "tell me, what happened here?"

His response, which requires no translation, speaks for itself. In a perfect American accent he states "out of my face, out of my face".

This clip raises many questions about the US involvement in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Which raises another question: Did the West also stage the Mariupol massacre as well?

Here is the controversial clip:


Obviously, and without a shadow of a doubt, this is Smoking Gun Evidence of Western mercenaries in Mariupol! HellasFrappe agrees with the commentator of the video who clearly states that the man obviously speaks fluent English and as we can all see he is wearing fatigues known to be worn by American and Western mercenaries. Obviously the man pictured in the video... is just part of the Western backed forces from all across the globe, including Australia and Canada!

Here is another clip:


Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government called for a state of emergency.
     "In accordance with the Ukrainian Code of Civil Protection, the Cabinet of Ministers has adopted a decision to recognize an emergency situation at a state level," Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk announced was cited as saying by Interfax-Ukraine.
According to him, the move is aimed at providing the most efficient coordination of all government agencies in order to ensure civil protection and the safety of the population. The statement was made after the field meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, which took place at the headquarters of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Kiev on Monday.

(Combined Reports - Youtube, Interfax)

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UPR - Greeks will now see that SYRIZA is nothing more than a decoy set up by the oligarchs

The following article is an English translation of a post by Union Populaire Republicaine (UPR) . The article referenced one of HellasFrappe's stories on it, and we decided to feature it on account of its unique analysis on the recent Greek elections. A direct translation from French to English could not be made, but we have done our best to present most of the content to you as it appears on their official website.

(Union Populaire Republicaine (UPR)) - The Greeks will now be able to see for themselves that SYRIZA is a lure which is promoted by the oligarchy to maintain the Euro-Atlantic domination of Greece.

As expected, announced, promoted and organized by the oligarchy, the SYRIZA party won the parliamentary elections held in Greece on January 25th, 2015. The elections were conducted smoothly and less than 20 hours later the leader of SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, was already sworn in as the new Greek Prime Minister.

This victory may surprise those who had not noticed the overwhelming media promotion - in Greece and abroad - or all the major Euro-Atlantic media outlets which for months generously granted this supposedly left "radical" and "anti-austerity" politician air time.

The appointment of Mr. Tsipras at the head of the government in Athens, is a product of all the media hype which was planned by organizers to raise influence Greek voters (to vote in favor of him).

UPR points out that the leader of SYRIZA does not offer Greeks a way out of the EU, or out of the Euro, and therefore offers no credible solution to the constraints of European treaties and the requirements of the ECB.

On the contrary, Tsipras has promised the Euro-Atlanticist oligarchy that he will (not make due) on his party's slogans:

The UPR sadly discovered that the Greeks are duped by the usual media manipulation that the Euro-Atlantic Forces impose at every election, to foil any challenge that could crumble their dictatorship. (not surprising)

In every country in Europe, politicians, and devious schemers, are presented to voters by the most prominent media in unison, as opponents or "radicals" against the policies imposed by the European Union. Banal lures such as "alter-Europeanists", champions with double speech, (are presented) who are responsible for neutralizing the anger of the people by promising false remedies to them.

Many Greek voters are convinced that Tsipras will allow them to remain in the euro while escaping austerity, unemployment and mass poverty.

Many French voters had been duped in the same way when the following politicians came to power:
  • Lionel Jospin in 1997 because he had promised that he would renegotiate the criteria of the Maastricht Treaty ...
  • Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 because he promised them that he would reduce unemployment and public debt ...
  • François Hollande in 2012 because he had promised to renegotiate the TSCG signed by Nicolas Sarkozy and had assured the French people that his enemy is the economy ....
Therefore it is not surprising that the media and French political parties with deference and eagerness, welcomed Tsipras' victory, and (conivingly) described it as a new terror that will shake the European Union.

The UPR notes that the Left Front and the FN specifically expressed support for SYRIZA (by deliberately keeping silent about the Greek political parties - which nevertheless do exist - that have asked for the unilateral Greek exit from the EU and the Euro). Between French and Greek lures, we understood (and we argued).

Nevertheless, the coming months will be an opportunity for the Greek people, to discover the extent of the political fraud that they once again became victims of.

When the media hype wears down, Greek people will realize that the election of Tsipras:
  • does not change any item treaties TEU and TFEU
  • does not alter any decisions of the European Commission and the ECB,
  • does not change any economic and monetary policies desired by the governments of Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg,
  • does nothing to remedy the total inadequacy of the economy, the industrial fabric and the Greek social body of the euro,
  • and does nothing to stop the warrior diplomacy that Washington imposed on the EU vis-à-vis Russia and the rest of the world.
Original Article in French At: Union Populaire Republicaine (UPR)

Please also read:

Tsipras Holds Talks With US State Department Officials On Greek EEZ
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/01/tsipras-holds-talks-with-us-state.html

BUSTED - Tsipras' Side By Side With T.Miller & D. Speckhard - What The Greek Media Purposely Ignored
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/02/busted-tsipras-side-by-side-with.html

SPECIAL REPORT - Analyzing Meeting Of Tsipras & Angelopoulou-Daskalaki & Upcoming Clinton Global Conference
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2014/11/special-report-analyzing-meeting-of.html

Alexis Tsipras: What’s his Real Mask?
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/01/alexis-tsipras-whats-his-real-mask.html

Kasidiaris Openly Accuses SYRIZA & Alexis Tsipras Of Supporting The Release Of Terrorists
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/03/kasidiaris-openly-accuses-syriza-alexis.html

BUSTED - Soros Funded Tsipras' Trip To US Says German Mag.
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/02/busted-soros-funded-tsipras-trip-to-us.html

US Tells Tsipras That Turkey Will Attack If Athens Proclaims EEZ
http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.gr/2013/02/us-tells-tsipras-that-turkey-will.html




January 26, 2015

Greek Air Force F-16 Crashes In NATO Exercise In Spain, Fate of Pilot Unknown - BREAKING NEWS

Credit - The Local
A Greek Air Force F-16 apparently crashed during a NATO exercise near the Spanish city of Albacete, press reports said.

Local media reports in France are noting that the plane was flying at low altitude and crashed into an airport hangar shortly after take-off.

The report was confirmed by the Spanish report as well. A Defence Ministry spokesman told the news blog that the plane crash occurred at the Los Llanos air base in Albacete, central Spain.

The report said that there are not any details as of yet on whether or not the parked planes were occupied by other pilots or technicians during the time of the crash, or if the pilot of the crashed F16 managed to eject. Click HERE to read.

The El Pais paper on the other hand reported that there were more than four injured on the ground at the time of the crash, but a report on SKAI Tv in Greece just announced that the number of injured can exceed more than 10 people.

The fate of the pilot is still unknown.

19:00 Local Time - UPDATE - Greece's state owned NERIT just confirmed that there are 2 people dead as a result of the crash, and 10 people injured. The report said that there is fear that this number could rise. (It is highly suspected that the two Greek pilots are dead.)


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ANALYSIS: The Euro, SYRIZA & ANEL Seal Majority & Geopolitics

John Ward (The Slog) - In a rapid (and smart) move that demonstrates both energy and planning, Alexis Tsipras is this morning 95% of the way into a Coalition with ANEL – better known in the West as the Independent Greeks. This is an anti-euro Party of right-wing Greek nationalists.

In going for this option, Tsipras shows that – unlike most on the Left – he can unite against a common enemy. I also suspect that his advisers see this as one dimension in an overall strategy designed to calm down bank depositors and bond markets. But shrewd or not, the new Prime Minister is going to face several waves of attacks from those hostile to his election – both inside and outside Greece.

The first thing to set off screaming headlines will be the effect on the euro.

Overnight, the single currency plunged down to 1.12 against the Dollar – before the weekend it was around 1.15. We should expect to see a further weakening during the day.

A second and highly likely immediate threat is a spike in Greek bond yields – pushing Greece’s borrowing costs through the roof.

This will add urgency to the blatant destabilising strategy of the ECB’s Mario Draghi, who for spurious reasons announced last Thursday that Greece would be locked out of the QE program.

A third issue is bank withdrawals that preceded Syriza’s stunning victory. Here too, threats have been forthcoming from both Brussels and Frankfurt to cut off ELA (emergency liquidity assistance) to four big banks in Greece.

Last but not least is the worryingly high poll achieved by the Golden Dawn party – which now becomes the third largest Party in the country with 17 seats. They will, I have no doubt, use that bloc to disrupt as much Parliamentary business as possible… and plot with the hard Right to take over should things look to be spiralling out of control.

A weak euro is technically good for Greek exports, but SYRIZA will of course be blamed for “beating the euro to death on its sickbed” and the pro-Euro professional classes will weigh in heavily on that angle. So then, apart from Europe-wide opprobrium, soaring borrowing costs, the chance of a Putsch and imminent bank collapses, there’s nothing at all for the new Prime Minister to worry about.

But there is also another side to this.

My own hunch is that the Greek voter really did three things in the election: first, voted for a radical change of strategy; two, kicked Samaras out with the biggest boot available; and three, decided to give the new generation a chance.

I looked up Tsipras’s date of birth last night, and he is of course the leader of that generation who never knew life under the Colonels’ Junta. He is also surrounded by people with zero respect for tradition: Varoufakis has already promised to “completely demolish the Greek oligarchy” as a matter of priority. Corruption in high places has been a Greek given forever; rooting it out would get approval from all but the fatties who support Samaras.

Secondly, the Greeks ignored all the EC/ECB/IMF/Juncker/Schauble veiled threats and scaremongering. That bullying will now, without any doubt, be stepped up. I predict it will backfire, and further unite the country. Because in the light of the previous paragraph, it will play very badly against the prevailing atmosphere of ‘give them a chance’ and Troika-hatred.

I have made my view clear about Draghi: he has already decided for his own reasons to Grexit Athens from the equation: he’ll be delighted to get the euro down to Dollar parity, and supremely confident in his ability to mess up any plans SYRIZA have.

I expressed the view strongly early last year that Tspiras should never have dropped his opposition to the euro, but it now looks to have been a wise idea: without doing that, he would never have been elected with such power – and with it he can (quite justifiably) evade blame for its collapse… he can play the Good European.

It’s too early to call this kind of stuff. But it’s good to know where the touchlines are. All we need to do now is find the ball.

As for the poppycock streaming nonstop from Brussels-am-Berlin about the ‘zero effect’ SYRIZA’s success and Grexit is having or might have on the euro – indeed, the EU itself – it is beneath contempt. It will spike ALL Clubmed bond prices, keep liquidity away from Europe, confirm the europhobia in Italy, and encourage the growing Left support in Spain… where they have the added problem of Sovereign fragmentation.

In other areas too, the knock-on effect will have geopolitical consequences.

Moscow will I’m sure see this development (and what must inevitably follow) as likely to move Greece more into its orbit: and you can be sure that Viktor Orban in Hungary (and Polish voters) will welcome further opposition to the juggernaut. Orban is one of the few, I think, who has not only grasped that the Brussels Bus is actually being driven by Washington, but is also prepared to talk about it openly.

In the UK, it can only spur on the UKip camp. But Nigel Farage blotted his copybook very badly last night by referring to the SYRIZA win as “a cry for help”.

What a profoundly pompous and patronising twerp he is.


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EU Officials Favor “flexibility” - Rule Out New Haircut

Following SYRIZA’s major victory in the general elections, a number of European officials began commenting that they are willing to consider offering some greater flexibility to Greece, but immediately ruled out the possibility of a debt write off.

For example, German Commissioner Gunther Oettinger argued on German radio on Monday morning that a new debt haircut would send “the wrong message” to Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus, which have all experienced similar financial problems in recent years. Oettinger noted that the EU cannot change its stance based on the turnout of the Greek elections and urged Athens to keep its promises. He did however appear prepared to offer some flexibility, regarding maturities and interest rates.

Similarly, the Prime Minister of Finland Alexander Stubb stressed the importance of implementing reforms and allowed the possibility of some flexibility, since he considers the terms of the loans that Greece has taken out to be rather favorable as is. He said that he respects the result of the democratic elections in Greece but insists that all deals must be respected.


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Lagarde notes need to resume talks with the Greek officials

In an interview to the French daily Le Monde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde on Monday argued that it is imperative that the talks with the new Greek government recommence as soon as possible.

She stated that it was an IMF priority to initiate talks with the new  Greek government, especially on matters of structural reforms, so as to cover lost time.

The paper notes that there is an IMF tranche worth 3.6 billion euros that Greece is still owed, provided it competes all Troika-mandated reforms.

She stressed that these reforms are not austerity measures, but rather involve reforms in the State mechanism, tax collection services and judicial procedures.

When asked to comment on Alexis Tsipras intention to restructure the country’s debt, Lagarde dismissed the possibility of  new haircut, claiming that such a development would stir up matters of equality amongst other EU nations. She said that the internal rules must be respected by all Eurozone members and that special rules cannot suddenly be introduced for specific countries.

Turning to the issue of the Greek debt, Lagarde said that the IMF would examine a variety of scenarios with Greek and European authorities, but she did not go into any further details. French sources however suggest that the upcoming negotiations could focus on the volume, interest rate or repayment period of the debt.


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Demis Roussos Dies At 69

Internationally renowned singer Demis Roussos has passed away at the age of 69. His death was announced by France's popular television show host Nikos Aliagas via Twitter.

Roussos became hugely popular in the 1970s, as a solo artist. Prior to his international career he was a part of a progressive rock band named Aphrodite's Child, which also featured other award winning musicians such as the well known composer Vangelis Papathanasiou.

Roussos was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt. His father was Greek and his mother was Egyptian of Italian origin. His parents lost their possessions during the Suez Crisis and decided to move to Greece. After settling in the motherland, Roussos participated in a series of musical groups beginning with The Idols when he was 17, where he met Evangelos Papathanassiou (later known as Vangelis) and Loukas Sideras, his future band mates in Aphrodite's Child.

He achieved commercial success in France and other parts of Europe between 1968-1972 and is rumored to have sold over 60 million albums worldwide throughout his career.

Kalo taxidi patrioti....


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Tsipras: The Greek people's verdict cancels memorandums of austerity

"Today the Greek people have written history, hope has written history," Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras stressed on Sunday night while addressing crowds of people gathered at the Propylaea of the Athens University in central Athens, after SYRIZA's victory in the Greek elections.
     "The sovereign Greek people today gave a clear, strong, indisputable mandate. Greece is starting on a new page. Greece is leaving behind it the austerity of destruction, leaving behind it the fear and autocracy. It is leaving behind it five years of humiliation and pain. And Greece is moving forward with optimism, hope, dignity and a firm step toward a Europe that is changing. And SYRIZA, you and SYRIZA, our people are a characteristic example of this changing Europe. Our people who took this step and Greece, which took a step in history, a step forward, a step to meet the other peoples of Europe.
     "Today we have a celebration, a fete. From tomorrow we begin hard work. The people's verdict ends in an indisputable way the vicious circle of austerity in our country. The verdict of the Greek people, your verdict, cancels today in an indisputable way the memorandums of austerity and destruction. The verdict of the Greek people now makes the troika a thing of the past for our joint European framework."
     "We are fully aware that the Greek people have not today given us a 'carte blanche' but have given us a mandate for national revival and for restoring social cohesion with our party. We will make us of this trust and form a government of all Greek men and women. We will place our faith in every Greek woman and every Greek man individually, regardless of whether they did or did not vote for us. We will all fight together to rebuild our country on new, firm and fair foundations of justice and prosperity.
     "Today, my friends, citizens of Athens, I address every Greek man and woman that is watching us now. Today there are no winners and losers. Defeated today was the Greece of the elite, the Greece of the oligarchs, the Greece of antidemocratic deviation, the Greece of misappropriation and cover-ups. If anyone won today it was the Greece of toil, the Greece of labour, the Greece of knowledge, the Greek of creativity, the Greece of culture. If someone won today it is the Greece that struggles, the Greece that hopes, which asks for the space and time to against create a future with dignity."
     "Friends, I want to warmly thank all of you. But primarily I want to thank all those, and they are thousands, in every corner of Europe, who have come here and the foreign delegations, for this unprecedented wave of support and solidarity toward the Greek people that is coming from every corner of Europe. Our victory is at the same time a victory of all the peoples of Europe who are fighting against austerity that is destroying our common European future.
     "Guided by the common interest of all the peoples of Europe, I want to assure you: the new Greek government is ready to cooperate and to negotiate for the first time with our partners a fair, mutually beneficial and viable solution so that Greece can exit the vicious circle of excessive debt, so that Europe can return to stability, growth, social cohesion, the values and principles that were its founding values and principles, such as democracy and solidarity.
     "In this sincere dialogue, in this substantive negotiation, Greece, I want to assure you, will come with its own factually-supported proposals, with its own national plan of reforms and radical changes, with its own four-year fiscal policy plan without new deficits but also without the unrealistic and unattainable surpluses, with its own proposals for the debt, its own plan for investments and the productive reconstruction of the country.
     "Friends, the new Greek government will prove wrong the 'Cassandras' within and outside the country. There will neither be a mutually destructive confrontation nor will a continuation of the submission be tolerated. We have before us a great opportunity for a new start in Greece and Europe. For a new policy, for a new model for relations based on trust, mutual respect, solidarity and responsibility.
     "Friends, our priority from the very next day will be to tackle the great wounds of the crisis. It is to restore the people's sovereignty in our country. It is to deliver justice. It is a break with the establishment and pathogenic phenomena of decades; a break with the regime of intertwined interests and corruption; the promotion of sweeping democratic reforms to the state, public administration, everywhere. Our priority above all, however, is for the country and our people to once again regain their lost dignity. This is the message of this victory of our people today. We are winning back hope, we are winning back our smile, we are winning back optimism, we are winning back the lost dignity of our people.
     "I want to thank all of you, from one end of Greece to the other, who fought this wonderful fight. You fought it with self-confidence, with passion, with optimism. You took hope in your hands and raised it high. You defeated fear. You brought back the smile of every Greek man and woman. And I call on you at this historic moment and now, when everyone in all of Europe and the world is listening to us, to give the assurance and the promise that we will fight with the same passion, the same self-confidence. Forward to continue this great, difficult beautiful fight. Forward to raise the sun over Greece. Let us raise the sun of justice, the sun of justice, the sun of democracy, the sun of dignity. We will succeed. We will go forward together and we will succeed. 
ANA-MPA
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HF Wants Frappers To Be Weary About #icannotvote Campaign

I recently came across a campaign by Greek expats in the EU who are  lobbying for their right to vote from abroad. The campaign runs under the #icannotvote. At first I was thrilled with the idea, but as I began to examine this initiative I became a little skeptical as to its intentions. But before I analyze that I just want to note that one of the first expats that began lobbying for this right was yours truly.

Anyone who has read the About Us section in HellasFrappe, or who has spoken with me directly on the social networks or on a political level knows very well that I have been lobbying for this for well over a decade. (And I have done so with ZERO funds, ZERO support and ZERO non-profits backing me up.) So now you can understand my excitement, but you will also comprehend why I am now questioning this particular initiative and want all of you to also be weary of it as well.

This particular group of expats rightfully says that their exclusion from the electoral process is a form of discrimination. However, after examining their site, and all the material that they have published, I am skeptical about this initiative because, as I discovered, they are only lobbying for the new waive of expats and especially for those who only live within the EU. Also, another thing that amazed me was that there is no mention in their material of Costas Karamanlis' initiative several years ago to give expats this right. Instead they endorse recent remarks from SYRIZA MEP Manolis Gletzos and allow it to be understood that this is a new initiative that the radical left party has devised.

I salute all initiatives that aim to reunite expats with the motherland, after all this blog's motto is "Hellenes united, never again divided",  but I warn Frappers not to get blinded by initiatives that omit to give credit where credit is due. Or to endorse an idea that simply repackages something, omits historic facts and presents it as new (for political purposes).

Here are the facts: During his term in government the former leader of the conservative New Democracy party Costas Karamanlis took action on this matter and his government tabled two historic bills in the Greek Parliament which would have given Greek expats the right to vote from abroad. The bills came after Karamanlis went on an official trip to Australia. While there the Greek community, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands, asked him to take action on this right and as soon as he returned he took action right away.

Unfortunately both times, the PASOK party (under George Papandreou), as well as other Leftist parties, blocked the bills.

The bills would have bypassed the Greek constitution -which does not permit expats to vote outside Greece- and allow expats to vote from their country of residence, but it needed 180 votes in order to be ratified. Much to Karamanlis' dismay, and to the disappointment of millions of expats abroad, the bills only had the support of the conservative New Democracy party because all the other parties in the Greek parliament were against it... this includes SYRIZA.

If those bills had passed, then expats would have been permitted to vote at their local embassies in their countries of residence through the process of electronic voting. The same process that is used by other western nations during any election process.

When the first bill was introduced, it was totally rejected by all the Left forces in Greece, and through the help (of what some say) of the Council of Hellenes Abroad or (SAE). So Karamanlis' team began redrafting the law and reintroduced a few months later only to be met with complete rejection again. The second bill would have also permitted expats to have legal representation in the Greek parliament (slightly different than the first) by electing their own MPs, but again it was slammed by all the left forces in Greece.

But don't take my word for it, I encourage you to do your own homework and look up the information for yourselves.

Another thing which bothered me while reading through their material has to do with who should be eligible to vote and who shouldn't. The material that they have produced to endorse this initiative only refers to fresh expats who recently immigrated to other EU nations. I truly hope that I misunderstood this (major) detail. If not then I am extremely insulted as a Greek-Canadian citizen. I want to to remind them that Greeks in Germany, Sweden and Spain, etc. (or in other EU nations) are not more Greek than Greeks in Australia, Canada or the US, etc.. They are just as Greek if not more!

Expats have every right to co-decide on the future of Greece, but not only one group of expats... ALL EXPATS.

I cannot support an initiative that excludes a huge number of expats, and find it rather suspicious that they only refer to one group. But again, I truly hope that I misunderstood this point.

An expat is anyone who was born in Greece, is of Greek decent and a Greek national. This means that Greeks in New York, Sydney, Montreal, Chicago, Tokyo, Johannesburg, etc. should also be allowed to vote. The right of expats to vote cannot be limited to people who simply live in the European Union and who recently immigrated abroad, because expats in other nations (especially in the Americas and Australia) have the same rights and have kept a duo-nationality for decades!

Besides, they are the best ambassadors of Greek culture that the Motherland can offer. They carry the torch of Greece in their countries of residence by educating their children the Greek language and teach them our vast history which is then passed on from generation to generation. Some also pay hefty taxes on properties in Greece which they maintain for sentimental purposes. They also support Greek exports and therefore contribute significantly to the Greek economy and finally many expats also send their sons to serve in the Greek military.

All expats... not just those in Sweden, Germany and other European nations... but all expats. This was obviously overlooked by the designers of this initiative and this explains why they only highlight Glezos' statements on this controversial issue and totally omit the historic fact that Karamanlis actually took action on this several years ago.

I propose that all expats get in tune with the facts. The initiative that is making strong waves on the web is nothing new... It is a democratic right that veteran expats such as myself have been vying for for years.

I salute this initiative, but will only support it if it edits its material and includes these facts and if it lobbies for all Greeks, not just for one set of Greeks.  I advise all HF readers to do the same.

I vowed to lobby for this right over a decade ago so that my aging parents, who were forced to leave Greece more than four decades ago, would one day have the right to vote for their beloved Greece. Till this day many aging Greeks abroad hear the word Greece and it still brings tears to their eyes. It is this very love and passion for the motherland that has been passed on to their children, and their children are already beginning to pass it on to the next generation. Their "καημο" or bitterness of being forgotten by the Motherland is strong, but their hearts are still forgiving and full of "φιλοτιμο". If the Motherland acknowledges them in this way... then all the pain and bitterness will be forgotten. I live for the day when our leaders finally realize how important this is for the future of Hellenism abroad and for the future of Hellas as a whole. In the meantime, I pledge to continue with this fight until I am vindicated; for my parents and for each and every one of us.

Signed
Editor of HellasFrappe
Marina Spanos

The video below is from their campaign


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Venizelos: “PASOK’s failure has a name…” (And that name is Papandreou)

The leader of PASOK Evangelos Venizelos congratulated SYRIZA on its win in the general elections and at the same time expressed his hope that its leader Alexis Tsipras is successful for the good of the nation.

Speaking to reporters, he said that in this day and age "a social consensus is necessary”. He then noted that the percentage of votes that his party received in the elections is small and insufficient  and attributed this fact to the To Kinima leader George Papandreou, whom he noted was responsible for Golden Dawn ascending to third place.

This kind of explains why some reports were saying on Monday morning that the pictures of the former PM were being taken down from PASOK's offices.

The rivalry between Venizelos and Papandreou stems from George's decision to leave PASOK in order to form the Movement of Democrats Socialists.

PASOK, which for some odd reason believes has to constantly rule Greece, argues that this divided PASOK voters and averted them from being in third place today, or playing a decisive role in the new government formation.

Quick to reply, Papandreou's press office said that “it would be best for those who tolerated and cooperated with Baltakos in the government they served to not talk about who is responsible for Golden Dawn coming third in the European elections”.

Venizelos, and in general PASOK (old and new members), are so thirsty to rule Greece that after the first exit polls were announced and showed that SYRIZA was going to win the elections, PASOK began stating that Greece cannot be governed with a 35%-37% majority. They are so determined not to let go of their Ministerial seats, that a meeting was apparently held at PASOK’s central offices where Venizelos debated with other members about proposing the formation of a national unity government.

If the proposal is not accepted by the other parties, then PASOKers are going to join the opposition and support government decisions that are in line with the national strategy it described in its proclamations.


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Greek Press Ridiculed After Lying About Golden Dawn Getting 3rd Place

The Greek media was once again very harsh with the Golden Dawn party on Sunday night, since they presented them as being tied in the third position with the (oligarch-backed) To Potami party. As noted in previous posts HellasFrappe does not politically support the Golden Dawn party, but we will not ignore their existence because we believe in democracy, the right to free speech and respect the tens of thousands of Greeks who voted them into the Greek Parliament.

(We follow the same line for all democratically elected parties, including the communist KKE which is totally opposite to our political ideology.)

Aside from the insults and the characterizations against the far-right party, as well as its supporters, the official election results proved them wrong and once they were announced, the exit polls that saw GD in fourth position -and all those who slammed the party- were placed to shame.

Meanwhile, it was also announced that the party's website was also apparently hacked after the election process had concluded.

Earlier on Sunday, several Golden Dawn members were attacked by radical leftists wearing helmets in the area of Petroupolis. GD claims that there were police officers present when this happened but they did not react.

According to GD, the victims of this abuse were mainly elderly voters, who spoke out against the presence of radical leftists, and the assailants responded with physical aggression. The mainstream media jumped on the opportunity and presented the event as another Golden Dawn episode, leaving it to be understood that GD instigated the aggression. This time, however, lawsuits were filed against both the offenders and all those responsible for that incident. It would be interesting to see what the media says then.

In the area of Kallipoli in Piraeus the same thing happened, but according to GD the unprecedented happened here. Instead of officials arresting the perpetrators of the attack, they instead escorted electoral representatives of GD to the local police station.


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The Formation of the New Government Cabinet - Inside Scoop

Rumors have begun to circulate in the Greek press about the formation of the new government Cabinet. According to what has been circulating, it is expected that Yannis Dragasakis will play a prominent role in Tsipras’ government and some believe that he will assume the position of government Vice President and general coordinator of financial affairs. The Ministry of Finance, on the other, may be taken over by (former George Papandreou advisor) Yannis Varoufakis, with Euclid Tsakalotos as the alternate Minister in charge of revenue.

The Ministry of Development could merge with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works, and it is believed that George Stathakis will be appointed as its Minister, and Gabriel Sakellaridis will also take a role there as well. The Ministry of Interior is expected to merge with the Ministry of Administrative Reform and be operated by Dimitris Papadimoulis. The former PASOK MP, Alekos Mitropoulos, is also rumored to join the same ministry.

Theodoros Dritsas could possibly take over the Ministry of National Defense, where retired general Nikolaos Toskas will be appointed as his Alternate Minister. This is, however, not certain, because Panos Kammenos has already hinted that he wants this particular Ministry for himself.

(Surprise, surprise) There is also news that SYRIZA will create a new Ministry of Migration. The contender for this seat is Tasia Christodoulopoulou.

On the other, the Ministry of the Press is going to be abolished, with Panagiotis Skourletis being the likeliest candidate for the position of government spokesman. Tsipras’ trusted consultant Nikos Pappas is probably going to be appointed in a prominent position as Minister of State, as is the SYRIZA-backed Avgi newspaper journalist Thanasis Krateros.

Nikos Kotzias is also one of the likeliest candidates for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while Dimitris Tsoukalas is one of the favorites for the Ministry of Culture.

The (controversial and extreme leftist) Dimitris Stratoulis seems to be one of the more likely SYRIZA MPs to take over the Ministry of Labor, while it looks like former PASOK MP Petros Kourouplis is going to be proposed as the new Minister of Health.

Also, the outspoken Zoi Konstantopoulou could be appointed at the Ministry of Justice, although Panagiotis Nikoloudis, the current chief of the Authority for Combating Money Laundering has also been considered for the same position.

Nikos Voutsis, on the other, is also expected to assume a central role in the new government and some reports are claiming that he could  possibly be appointed as the new President of Parliament.


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Samaras: I hand over a country without deficits, which is emerging from the crisis

In statements at the Zappion building press centre (central Athens) following his party's defeat in the Greek national elections, outgoing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Sunday that "the Greek people have spoken and we all respect their decision".
     "My conscience is clear. I took over a country on the verge of disaster. We withstood, we averted the worst, we pulled the country out of the recession and the deficits, we laid the foundations for growth and an exit from the crisis. We created a new tradition of consensus and coalition governments.
     "Today I hand over a country without deficits, which is emerging from the crisis in an orderly way, is a member of the European Union and the euro. I hope that the next government will preserve these gains," the outgoing premier said.
     "We were forced to take painful measures and some mistakes were made but we averted the worst," Samaras stressed.
     "I hand over a country without deficits, with security for citizens, a country that is making an orderly exit from the crisis. I hand over a country that is a member of the European Union and the euro. For the good of the country, I hope that the next government preserves these gains. I have a clear conscience because I told the people the truth right to the end. I hope that my predictions are not proved true," he added.
Turning to the election results, Samaras noted that:
     "It is not pleasant, but ND withstood and is on its feet, despite the very difficult measures that we were forced to take. It seems that ND has lost only two points in relation to 2012 and remains ready to play a role as a guarantor of European stability, security and the reforms. Its role will be crucial, I guarantee that it will play this role to the utmost." 


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Potami Wins Fourth Place in Greek Elections

The leader of Potami, Stavros Theodorakis might want to believe that his party came out third in Sunday's elections, but the truth of the matter is that Golden Dawn came out third with Potami trailing slightly behind in fourth place. He told reporters on Sunday night that his party managed to enter Parliament without money and without agreements with vested interests and unions.
    "This is a victory of society. Without money, without protectors, without agreements with vested interests and unions, we achieved the unachievable: to enter Parliament with 16 lawmakers," Theodorakis told journalists.
He then expressed his gratitude towards his volunteers, noting that the party will not betray them, and stressed that their vote was not a vote of anger, but a vote of logic and courage.


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Draghi-Merkel Split - Suspicion Between Germany & ECB Boss Grows

In a recent post, the Slog analyzes what he claims are Berlin leaks that apparently show that Angela Merkel doubts the recently announced QE as well as is beginning to get annoyed with the ECB boss. In the same article we discover that Moscow is getting ready to launch a Swift competitor and that Alexis Tsiparas is going to be caught in a crossfire of currency wars. In his own unique and humorous way, John Ward at the Slog says that the two powers in Europe have to clash at one point or another or the Eurozone risks becoming a Dollar colony.

(John Ward - The Slog) - As a senior Russian banker hinted that Russia is building a global alternative to the Swift bank-transfer system, Angela Merkel has allegedly been telling David Cameron that she thinks the (Mario) Draghi QE “a very, very bad thing”. Merkel is the last person on the planet who’d be indiscreet without some purpose to it.

At the weekend, a leak went out to various news media from the Berlin Chancellery alleging that ‘Frau Merkel is privately dismayed with Mr Draghi’s pledge to buy €60bn in bonds a month. She believes policy makers have ignored Berlin’s fears about the use of QE on this scale…’. The FT for one printed it almost word for word – and is today running this piece about where and when the split began.

Two years ago, critics of the Slog’s Bankfurt Maulwurf (mole) contact kept affirming that, in the end, Merkel would back Draghi against her erst while protege at the Bundesbank, Weidmann: several German and American sites even suggested the Maulwurf was a product of my imagination. But the person – who has now disappeared entirely off the radar – was real enough: and that person has been shown to be 100% on the money. The Bankfurters are now in the ascendancy in the Merkel Circle.

The only unknown left here is whether she and Schauble just think they’ve got a somewhat brio Italian on their hands, or whether they’re becoming convinced (like me) that Mario is batting for the other side. Despite some weakening of the Pound at the weekend, the £/euro exchange rate rose to 1.34.

The Economist early last week described euro/Dollar parity as ‘plausible’ during 2015. But Big Red also thinks that such will cause friction with the Americans.

I’m prepared to stick my neck out and say I could not disagree more.

The dimension Economists neglect is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP.

Conventional wisdom would avert that, if the TTIP happens with the Dollar and Euro at parity, then the US must lose in trade terms, because a cheap euro plus lowered (or removed) trade tariffs is a double-boost for EU exports.

But we need to look way, way beyond short-term advantage.

There is a very fine line indeed between cheaper exports and zero credibility.

My view remains that, if Draghi is allowed to go ahead and complete his QE drive, the euro will fall into the latter category. If he isn’t allowed to do that, the euro markets will panic, and chaos will ensue in the euro zone.

Either way, the Dollar is the winner.

And while this may seem perhaps a little ‘out there’, nothing would make the establishment of a ‘eurodollar’ (to replace the petrodollar) easier than near-parity value.

Beneath that, ‘local’ currencies could still operate with floating values for items beyond gold and energy: and even if the potential instability of that could easily act to reduce Eurodollar value, who cares? It would only serve to inflate away the debt.

Meanwhile, continuing to lay stress on competition with Asian tigers would facilitate further power-shifts from wages to capital within the entire TTIP area.

Charles de Gaulle’s dream of a Europe to counteract American power would become the nightmare of Europe becoming a de facto American colony.

This is, I must emphasise, way beyond certainty as an outcome. But being a megalomaniac, Merkel thinks geopolitically like most of us drive cars: it’s almost autonomic. She and Wolfie Wheelchair will, I do not doubt, be mulling this and myriad other outcomes over.

I will only leave you with this, my recurring concern: if you wanted to piss off every demographic in Greece, bring on default there – and then deal with the contagion that would spread via Italy to Spain and then France, what might you do? And my answer is, “Play rock-hardball with SYRIZA while spending billions on a QE form whose likelihood of stimulating economic recovery is near-zero… and thereby piss off Germany too to create anarchy in the ezone”.

Which is precisely what Mario Draghi is engaged in doing.

So is he stupid – or is he working for Wallington Street?

Mario Draghi may be many things... but he isn’t stupid.


January 25, 2015

Live Blogging of Greece's General Elections - Updates Every 15 minutes #Greeceelections


21:30 - As predicted by HellasFrappe earlier, it is still unknown whether or not SYRIZA will gain a majority government. At present SYRIZA has not been able to gain the majority, and this will not be known until tomorrow morning. As it stands and with only 16-18% of Greece’s official votes accounted for, SYRIZA gathers 36.5% (147-150 seats) followed by New Democracy with 27.7 (76 seats), the Golden Dawn party with 6.3% (17 seats) the Potami party with 5.9% (15 seats), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 5.6% (15 seats), PASOK with 4.8% (13 seats), the Independent Greeks party (ANEL) with 4.7% (13 seats), and it is still unclear if George Papandreou’s “KIDISO” (To Kinima) party will get into parliament because at present it has only gathered 2.52%. Quite surprisingly, Vasilis Levendis’ Center party gathered 1.86%.

According to analysts, and exit polls results, it was noted that some 74.3% of ND voters remained stable to their choice, however a record 11.6% of the right party shifted to SYRIZA. That means that a large chunk of SYRIZA's supporters are right-wingers. What is also quite interest is that one out in five supporters of PASOK voted for George Papandreou's newly formed party, and a whopping 24% shifted to SYRIZA.

Meanwhile, Syriza economic policy sector head Yiannis Milios told the state news agency ANA-MPA that his party's victory is a historic win of the Greek people. He said that a new page has turned in Greek history and that it was a great moment for Europe. Responding to a question by ANA-MPA, on what the Finance Minister will do on Monday at the Eurogroup conference, he said “I imagine that Mr. Hardouvelis will settle pending issues of technical nature. Because the program on which Mr. Hardouvelis has agreed as Mr. Samaras' representatives is now dead.”

He then said:
    “The government of SYRIZA, the government of national salvation, is the government that will promote, defend and consolidate the interests of social majority but, at the same time, it is not just a message. It is the beginning of a major change for Europe."
He then noted that Europe cannot continue with the deflation, recession, the rising unemployment and excessive debt.
     "Greece leads the way, our country, our people are the pioneers of a huge change. We are all very emotional and happy,” he added.
Finally it was announced that SYRIZA plans to propose Costas Karamanlis as the new presidential candidate. Meanwhile, the former spokesman for the Karamanlis government Mr. Antonaros tweeted that it is time for ND to return to its roots... the Karamanlis sort.


This is our last post for the LIVE blogging event. Please check back every so often to find out more official results by scrolling down to the Singular Logic program. HellasFrappe will post an analytical report on the elections on Monday.

20:00 - HellasFrappe has just uploaded Singular Logic's electoral map.  We have programmed the program so that it may broadcast the results in the English language but if you prefer to read the results in Greek then simply press the icon depicting the Greek flag. The team of HellasFrappe will now take a break and return at 21:30 for a final update on today's elections. We advise readers who want to find out how many seats were appointed to each party to simply check in regularly throughout the night on the results which will be changing on the chart posted below this post. 

19:55 - RT just released a report - "Greece’s radical-leftist party, Syriza, has won between 35.5 and 39.5 percent of the vote in the national parliamentary election, leaving the country’s ruling New Democracy party more than 10 per cent behind, the exit-polls revealed." Click HERE to read.

19:45 - The first exit polls presented on major TV networks as soon as the polls closed, show a clear SYRIZA win. According to their estimations SYRIZA gets between 35.5% and 39.5%, with New Democracy following with 23% to 27%. The Golden Dawn party is clearly third. It appears that there is going to be a battle for the fourth position between the Greek Communist party and the River party, both getting between 6.4% to 8.0%. As for the seats, it should be reiterated that given the above results and given that George Papandreou's newly formed Social Democrats do not enter parliament then SYRIZA will get between 146 to 158 seats, New Democracy between 65 and 75 seats, the Golden Dawn party 20+ seats, The River and the Communist party between 17 and 22 seats. It was also reported that all foreign embassies and non-Greek betting agencies had placed their bets on SYRIZA. Interestingly a report on defencenet stated that some betting agencies lowered the rate on the Golden Dawn party one day before the elections because they realized that they would follow in third place. This is a clear sign that the opinion polls that were published throughout the election period may have been over blown for gambling (and other) purposes.


19:15 - At SYRIZA's polling booth at Klafthmonos Square in central Athens people are beginning to gather for their party's win. Expected win of seats in Parliament if a majority government is achieved: SYRIZA 146-158 / New Democracy 65-75 / The Golden Dawn party 17-22 / The Potami party 13-16 / PASOK 12-15 / KKE 10-13 / ANEL 0-8. If other smaller parties enter parliament then SYRIZA will not be able to maintain the number of seats mentioned above -or a majority government- but this will not be known until later on tonight, or at the very least until Monday morning. Keep in mind that these are exit poll results and not formal electoral results. Polling stations have just closed throughout Greece and we will have a better idea of the results after 21:30.


19:00 - According to SKAI channel the first sample in exit polls results are as follows:
  • SYRIZA:36-39
  • ND:26-27
  • Golden Dawn:8-6
  • KKE: 7-5  
  • PASOK - 6-5
  • Potami:6.5-8
  • ANEL: 4.5-5
  • Social Democrats: unknown
  • Other parties: unknown
Meanwhile, Th. Pangalos said on MEGA Channel that he voted ND and that he did this "consciously". Meanwhile, preliminary estimates show that  the participation in these elections was highest that they have every been since previous elections.

16:45 - The first poll results are set to be announced in 15 minutes but it can now safely be concluded that SYRIZA will be the clear winner. However, it is highly suspected that they will not be able to gain a majority government. Meanwhile, the American news channels which clearly support SYRIZA are having a field day. They have been publishing reports on a SYRIZA win throughout the day. One example of this is a report that was just released by ABC news. It said that the "Leftist Syriza party is set for landmark win as Europe watches on". The correspondent Mary Gearin in Athens writes that it Greece should get set for a change of government. Click HERE to read. Finally the video below was just released from Press Tv.



18:30 -
The first exit polls will be announced in half an hour. Meanwhile representatives of Singular Logic told a reporter on SKAI television in Greece that the majority government will depend on how many smaller parties enter parliament. They released the picture below showing how this works. Also, the spokesman of the Independent Greeks party (ANEL) Terrene Kouik said that ANEL are the guardians of a possible SYRIZA government. (If all parties enter then the winning party would need 40.05 to gain a majority government) Meanwhile, George Papandreou is meeting with colleagues of the Democratic Socialist Movement because there is fear that they will not be able to generate the 3 pct needed in order to enter into parliament.


16:15 - CNN, which clearly favors Alexis Tsipras and the SYRIZA party just released a report that says that "Greeks vote in election that could lead to showdown over bailout." Click HERE to read. The Wall Street Journal on the other just said in a report that "Greece Votes as Role in Eurozone Hangs in Balance" since the results could determine the country’s future in the Eurozone. Click HERE to read that story.  Earlier today during the Divine Liturgy the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Anthimos, who has spoken against SYRIZA on national issues, told his congregation that Greeks lose their unity during political change, while those around us celebrate. "Today, in Skopje, they are preparing feasts and fairs to celebrate the deal over the name (Macedonia). Anthimos was of course referring to SYRIZA's stance on the issue of the name which has never been in favor of Greek interests and is more in favor of the neighboring republic.

18:00 - An offbeat story was reported from the patratora.gr news site involving a 70 year-old female voter. The report claims that the poor woman did not know where she was registered to vote, so she began visiting all the polls stations in the city in order to find out. Meanwhile it was also reported that the Greek elections are heading global news outlets. In Zappeion at the moment there are 1,015 accredited journalists, correspondents, observers from many countries and diplomatic representatives are observing the election results. Of these, 741 are foreign correspondents (590 of which have come to Greece specifically for the elections). The largest group is from Spain (said to be about 70). Indicative is the video report below by ANT1 news.


17:45 - The first exit polls should be announced in an hour and fifteen minutes. Meanwhile reports are claiming that a stage is already being constructed at the Propylaea area for Alexis Tsipras (downtown Athens). The state news agency also released a dispatch confirming an earlier post by HellasFrappe which stated that the first safe and more credible estimation of the Greek elections result should be expected at 21:30 local time on Sunday and not at 19:00 (when exit polls are released). This means that we will have a clearer picture of the results two and a half hours after the closing of the polling stations. If, on the other, a political party achieves a majority government, or 151 deputies, then Singular Logic which is tallying the votes will not be able to release the data until Monday at dawn. This is because, according to Greek election law, the results will depend on the percentage of the parties that will not enter parliament. Finally, the video report below was released by Business News.


17:30 - Reuters just released a report saying that Greeks are heading to the polls to decide "on whether to dump austerity, take on lenders". Click HERE to read. On the other hand Gulf News said that "Euro may extend weakness as traders eye Greece elections results." The author notes that on Friday, the euro fell 1.4 per cent against the dollar, to $1.1206, on top of a 2.1 per cent slide the day before. He adds that currently it is down 7.4 per cent against the dollar since the turn of the year and is at its lowest point in more than 11 years. Click HERE to read. Finally the video report BELOW was released by Russia Today.



17:15 -
The Guardian said in a report that the outcome of the elections could possibly put Greece on collision course with EU. The author claims maintains that opinion polls give SYRIZA a clear lead, but the party may not win enough seats to govern alone. Click HERE to read. NPR news on the other hand just released a report noting that the "Future Of Eurozone At Stake In Today's Greek Elections". Click HERE to read. Finally the video report below was released by CNN.


17:00 - The New Democracy party rightfully slammed reports which are purposely posting exit poll results. Meanwhile in the area of Keratsini in Piraeus, there were a few incidences reported with the involvement of the far-right Golden Dawn party. (Details on these incidences will be posted as soon as we have more details). Also at 15:30 it was reported that parliamentary candidate and member of rivaling party attacked each other in Plomari, Lesvos. According to plomarinews.gr, one candidate threw a metal object at his rival. The man who was injured was rushed to a local clinic and then filed a lawsuit against his rival.  In other news, DW (English) just said in a tweet that the Greek election sparks new #euro worries.  Also, it was announced that ballot results will be available on Greece's Interior Ministry’s website: http://ekloges.ypes.gr.  Finally it was also reported that a super puma helicopter airlifted a judicial representative to Agia Roumeli in Crete after strong winds and heavy rain prevented the representatives from reaching the polling station by boat.

15:02 - HellasFrappe will return for LIVE coverage of the 2015 elections at 17:00 (unless there is a breaking report). #Greeceelections

15:00 - It was reported that several members of the extreme-Leftist ANTARSYA party - known to be strong supporters -and maybe even part of the SYRIZA party- attacked a member of the far-right Golden Dawn party at another polling station in the area of Petroupolis (western Athens).  These two political entities have been long-time rivals. The ANTARSYA party has in the past been suspected of taking part in many crimes performed by anarchists. #Greeceelections

14:45 - Spain's El Pais daily is also covering the Greek elections and for a good reason, last Thursday Pablo Iglesias, the leader of left-wing Podemos, stood alongside Alexis Tsipras at the end of the SYRIZA chief's final pre-election speech in Athens. Click HERE to read their coverage. #Greeceelections

14:35 - According to The Guardian today's election outcome could put Greece "on collision course with the European Union." Read article by clicking HERE #Greeceelections

14:15 - The leader of the conservative New Democracy party returned to the party headquarters on Syggrou avenue after arriving back in Athens following his right to vote in Pylos earlier this morning. Meanwhile the results from two final polls that were conducted on Friday night claim that SYRIZA is leading in the polls. Specifically: MRB poll for Star TV gave SYRIZA 31.2 pct, New Democracy 26 pct, To Potami 6.5 pct, Golden Dawn 5.5 pct, Greek Communist Party (KKE) 4.5 pct, PASOK 4 pct, Independent Greeks 3.2 pct and George Papandreou's party 2.4 pct. BUT the poll also claimed that undecided voters stood at 13.2 percent; A second poll by GPO shows SYRIZA at 33.4 percent, New Democracy at 26.7, Golden Dawn at 5.1, PASOK at 5, Potami at 5, KKE at 4.9, Independent Greeks at 3.5, and George Papandreou's party at 2.9. It also shows smaller parties such as LAOS at 1.4. The undecided in this poll were reported to be at 9.3 percent. #Greeceelections

14:00 - The first exit polls, which are being conducted online, have already begun claiming that the difference between SYRIZA and the New Democracy party has been determined, however it is still unknown if a majority government will be achieved. #Greeceelections

13:45 - It was just reported that the Golden Dawn member who was attacked at the polling station in Kallipoli Piraeus was rushed to a local hospital. Reports claim that the assailant who attacked him fled on a motorbike. #Greeceelections

13:25 - As the day progresses more and more people are heading to the polls to vote in central Athens. Meanwhile, it is being reported that in a few polling stations the voting process is being conducted without any legal representatives because they either never showed up for their call of duty, or have not reached the stations due to adverse weather conditions. Whereas in other polling stations where there are similar problems legal representatives and other supervisory members from adjacent sections have undertaken double roles to fill the voids. Finally MEGA Tv left it to be understood that there will be a clearer outlook on what the exit polls yielded after 21:30 and not 19:00 because the race is still neck to neck for the two leading parties. #Greeceelections

13:11 - Leader of the Independent Greeks party Panos Kammenos tells the press: "We send a message of hope. It is a day of democracy, and a landmark in Greek history. The Greek people decide to reclaim their sovereignty. The Independent Greeks promised to be the regulators and we are. As of tomorrow we will be the guarantors for the course of our country, where Greeks will be united." #Greeceelections

13:00 - The Greek elections are being covered by the French press: Views can be read at Liberation, Le Monde and Le Figaro. (Click on bold links) - #Greeceelections

12:54 - Officials are considering allowing the polling stations that delayed to open an extension of two hours to complete the electoral process. The news has not been confirmed as of yet. - #Greeceelections

12:52 - Some press reports are claiming that there were small incidences at a polling station in Kallipoli (Piraeus). A suspect apparently assaulted a representative of the Golden Dawn party. - #Greeceelections

12:45 - George Karatzaferis casts vote and tells reporters that by allowing his LAOS party to enter into parliament it will "brake" the independence of the Left. - #Greeceelections

12:34 - After casting his vote, Papoulias tells reporters that: "I hope the Greek people choose the best (party) to send to parliament. I predict that the coming years will be problematic. I would say that there needs to be a unanimous approach and sangfroid to deal with the situation. I believe that the people (of Greece) have the wisdom and knowledge and determination." - #Greeceelections


12.10 - The Interior Ministry announced that all 19,449 polling stations across Greece are finally operating smoothly. Also, the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias arrives to cast his vote in Ioannina. - #Greeceelections

12:00 - The polling stations in various communities in Nafpaktos finally opened. They had remain closed in the morning due to adverse weather conditions. - #Greeceelections

11:48 - After casting his vote in Kalithea (southern Athens), KKE secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas tells the press that “The day after will be difficult for our people because the long-term memorandum will be present with the new government as well.” - #Greeceelections


11:30 - Italy's Corriere della Sera reports on the Greek election. Click HERE to read article - #Greeceelections

11:25 - Speaking to the press George Papandreou reiterates his and his party's position regarding a referendum on post-bailout structural reforms. - #Greeceelections


11:14 - SYRIZA Attika Governor Rena Douro: The current electoral process marks the end of one period and the beginning of a new one. With their vote people are generating a new age. - #Greeceelections

11:09 - George Papandreou leader of the newly formed Social Democrats Movement votes in New Erithrea. - #Greeceelections

11:09 - Michael Theoharidis (caretaker Interior Minister): In all polling stations across the country voting has started normally and there are no major problems being reported. The few problems that are being reported are due to adverse weather conditions, but are being tackled immediately.  - #Greeceelections

11:07 - Leader of the Greek communist party (KKE) Dimitris Koutsoubas votes. - #Greeceelections

10:59 - Tsipras: Today the Greek people demand a return of hope with complete determination. The responsibility belongs to everyone. The dilemma is clearer than ever. Today we decide whether or not Greece will return to the troika tomorrow to implement the Samaras program -cuts in pensions and wages and increases in taxes- or if the Greek people will claim everything they deserve tomorrow. Dignity will return. (Greek statement) Following his statement in Greek, he switches to English: “Greece will return to democracy, social cohesion and dignity.” - #Greeceelections



10:57 - SYRIZA head Alexis Tsipras arrives at a polling station in Kypseli, central Athens, where a large number of local and foreign journalists await. - #Greeceelections

10:17 - Venizelos:  "I hope today the Greek people make choices that will lead to something better and not worse for them and their children". - #Greeceelections




10:13 - The leader of PASOK Evangelos Venizelos casts his vote in Thessaloniki. - #Greeceelections

10:04 - In two communities of Nafpaktos (Quick and Elatovrysi), it was reported that there were still a couple of polling stations that were closed because it was impossible for judicial representatives to gain access to the area due to heavy snowfall. - #Greeceelections

09:48 - Kouvelis:  Greek citizens decide today on the progress of the country. With their vote they should give a mandate to move Greece forward. The people will decide the course of the country. - #Greeceelections

09:45 - Leader of DIMAR Fotis Kouvelis votes in the area of Peristeri Athens. - #Greeceelections

09:15 - Theodorakis:  The nation decides to change the first party (ND and PASOK) and punish those who have brought to this situation. This change is in the right direction and. We do not want adventures, we want to change everything without wreaking the country. - #Greeceelections

09:10 - The leader of the Potami party Stavros Theodorakis voted at the 1st Highschool in Chania. - #Greeceelections

08:30 - Some polls stations in Achaia opened with a slight delay and in marsh areas located in the region of Kalavryta. There were also some problems in mountainous areas of Nafpaktia caused by bad weather, because of heavy snowfall. Some stations did not open until 8.00am because access was impossible. It was also reported that some 4815 polling stations have mobile phones which will send a text message of the first results when the polls close at 7pm. - #Greeceelections

08:24 - Samaras: These elections are crucial for our future and the future of our children. Today we decide whether or not to go forward with strength, safety and security or whether to ride on adventures. During this election there is an unprecedented large number of undecided voters who will decide the outcome. We are optimistic because I believe that no one will risk the European course of the country. We will win." - #Greeceelections


08:13 - Antonis Samaras casts his vote in Pylos, in the southern Peloponnese.

08:08 - A few problems reported in Crete due to bad weather.

HellasFrappe will be posting LIVE updates every 15 minutes for the 2015 General Elections. The LIVE blogging begins at 11:00 am Greek time. We encourage readers to leave their comments in the comment section below. Worldwide interest in the Greek general elections. In Zappeion covering the elections there currently are:
  • 876 Accredited journalists (649 in the 2012 elections)
  • 497 Foreign journalists (298)
  • 148 Foreign Press Correspondents 148 (100)
  • 231 Greek journalists 231 (251)
  • 45 Countries 45 (44)
  • 27 News Agencies (31)
  • 100 global television stations covering the elections (66)
  • 27 Radio stations 27 (31)
  • 84 Newspapers (85)
Voters can find out where they vote by visiting the Greek Interior Ministry website (www.ypes.gr) or by calling 2131361500. - #Greeceelections

For all other related stories leading up to the 2015 elections, then please click HERE .


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