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Greece: “We Are Their Greatest Fear”

testosteronepit's picture


Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com

Stelios Bozikis, recently elected Mayor of Zakynthos Town on the island of Zakynthos, discovered that there were 650 blind people on the island—2% of the population, 10 times the rate of blindness in Europe. But only 40 were actually vision impaired. The rest had succeeded in getting themselves declared blind to receive €350 or more in monthly payments. When he stopped payments to the faux blind, they—in another sign of how ingrained corruption is—revolted and threw eggs and yogurt at him. Apparently, the head ophthalmologist at the hospital diagnosed people as blind in exchange for cash. The claims were approved by the governor of the island, Dionysios Gasparos—his way of buying votes. And he is running for election as candidate for the New Democracy party. Read..... Even Corruption Is In A Deep Recession.

So on Sunday, outraged Greeks get to vent their anger at the political elite. After decades of mismanagement and corruption, the two leading parties, the conservative New Democracy and the socialist Pasok, which had been taking turns divvying up the spoils, will take a licking, and neither might get enough votes to govern. In 2009, Pasok had won by landslide. But its support crumbled as troika-imposed reform measures cut into wages and benefits of its power base, public sector employees. New Democracy, according to the latest polls, will likely emerge as the strongest party, but not strong enough. And a record six or maybe even eight other parties that are vigorously campaigning against the reform measures might clear the 3% threshold and enter parliament.

“There are certain misconceptions that worry me: for instance, the misconception that whatever happens, we are not going to leave the euro,” said Evangelos Venizelos, president of Pasok and former Finance Minister. But frustrated voters are searching for alternatives, and they’re finding the Golden Dawn party whose emblem is reminiscent of a swastika—in a country brutalized by the Nazis. And so the neo-Nazis will likely make it into Parliament for the first time in Greek history. While few Greeks sympathize with their neo-Nazi principles, enough like their anti-immigrant stance—and in a desperate effort to hang on to votes, the government hastily opened retention camps for illegal immigrants.

Even the traditional pre-election jump in economic sentiment by households and businesses—a result of the equally traditional vote-buying racket—practically disappeared, according to the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE). The index rose only a tiny bit, to 77.3 from 75.7 in March (with 100 being the average 1996-2006). Racked by record unemployment, lower wages, gruesome suicide reports in the media, and higher taxes, consumers were the most pessimistic in Europe; and 80% expected the economic situation to get even worse. “This time there appears to be no margin for particular optimism,” the IOBE reported dryly.

In a sign of just how gummed up the system has become, another “temporary” pre-election bailout saw the light of the day: €250 million for Public Power Corp, Greece’s exclusive electricity retailer and largest power producer. Hurt by higher fuel costs and wilting demand, it had lost €148.9 million in 2011. And it ran out of money.

The reason: a Greek irony. Last year, as part of the bailout requirements, the government implemented a reviled tax collection method that billed homeowners for property taxes on their electricity bills. If the taxes didn’t get paid, PPC would cut off the juice. In protest, homeowners stopped paying their bills altogether. Due to popular unrest, the juice wasn’t cut off, but PPC’s cash flow collapsed. It stopped paying natural gas suppliers and small power producers that had sprung up following the EU-imposed liberalization of the electricity market in 2007. Producing 23% of the country’s electricity, they threatened to shut down their generators if they weren’t paid. Faced with pre-election power chaos, the government agreed to let PPC hang on to €250 million in property taxes it had already collected and was supposed to transfer to the government.

“Change everything,” was the rallying cry of Antonis Samaras, the leader of New Democracy, at a rally in Thessaloniki, though his party had entered into a coalition with Pasok to advance the reform measures far enough to where the bailout money would flow again. He exhorted his listeners to give New Democracy an absolute majority. And Greek election math might help him: the party with the most votes gets an additional 50 seats in the 300-seat parliament, a big step toward obtaining the 151 seats needed to form a government. It probably won’t be enough. So the party has three days to form a coalition with another party. But....

“We do not want to rule jointly,” Samaras said at the rally. “Those speaking of joint governance do not want anything to change. And we are their greatest fear because we want to change everything.”

However, “solidarity of the union has its limits,” said even soft-spoken Jens Weidmann, President of the Bundesbank. “That’s why we linked the aid to conditions.” And so, Greek voters are facing a dilemma, but new contracts are already reflecting the outcome. Read..... “Drachma Clauses” For Greece’s Exit from the Eurozone.

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Fri, 05/11/2012 - 03:50 | 2416428 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Clearly people are suffering from too much US-silverzenism.


Sat, 05/05/2012 - 03:55 | 2399032 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

The kleptoligarchy seems to have forgotten the ability of a mass of humans to form a mob and hang people, lop off their heads, or just beat them to death with whatever is handy.

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 07:06 | 2399079 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Nice you branch in on forgetting.

 It seems that a base of US citizenism is forgetting.

 US citizens forget who they are and sometimes, as today, the harsh reality forces them to remember.

US citizen elite, never in human history, an elite has been enjoying such a level of comfort.

 US citizenism has removed most of (if not all) constraints the elite had to suffer from in previous orders. The elite conjuguate both the best security a society could provide and a kind of nihilistic hedonism.

 Power elite though have to deal in reality as imposed by power exercize. They cant have forgotten that a mass of humans can form into a mob. But they also know that in US citizenism, the middle class is the King class. Mobs are very unlikely to form against the elite. They are much likely to form to aggress lower class or weaker people. See US of A lynching tradition and else where. In present days, the elite might be afraid. Sometimes. As the result of an afterthought. Or for the fun, the fun of being frightened by fantasy.

Sun, 05/06/2012 - 03:02 | 2400412 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture


It takes a lot to get U.S. citizens to the boiling point, a lot.

Once there, you best be advised to join the siren call of Liberty or get the hell out of the way.

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 08:11 | 2399100 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Confucius say: US citizenism is as Chinese citizenism fantasy imagines it to be.


Sat, 05/05/2012 - 16:03 | 2399752 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

I believe that's Confuse-Us

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 08:46 | 2399116 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Confucius is something BC, US citizenism is something AD.

It is good, no discontinuity between US citizen elite and its base.

Lets turn the US citizen path and attribute that to human nature.

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 09:52 | 2399158 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Confucius is something BC, US citizenism is something AD.

Why should that even matter? After all, US citizenism is just a fantasy created by victims of Chinese citizenism.

You take many liberties in bending the rules of space and time when composing your ill-tempered diatribes about US citizenism. For example, just yesterday you said:

Nations idea arised along with US citizenism. No nations in Europe back 2000 years.

You conflate the emergence of nation-states in Europe with the advent of US citizenism. You make these preposterous claims as if time and history flow backward and forward in accordance with your impulsive and irrational whims.

Yet you leap at the opportunity to criticize and condemn when someone makes a joking reference to Confucius. Do you consider yourself to be Lord of Time? The Master? Controller of the sequence of all events in the past and future?

Or are you not able to admit that US citizenism is just a fantasy creation? Such crackpottery is part of the eternal nature of Chinese citizenism.

Is it now so difficult for you to see that US citizenism is a creation of Confucius?


Sat, 05/05/2012 - 10:30 | 2399197 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Ah, now, US citizenism is fantasy. Crossing the bridge?

So it all starts with the creation of chinese citizenism, in a whimsical attempt to create symetry with China (rationalized on the ground that one has to be a Chinese to assess US citizenism)

Later, historical chinese characters are mixed with the fantasy named chinese citizenism to give verisimilitude.

And finally, US citizenism (aka 'americanism') has to be itself a fantasy as it is produced by victims of chinese citizenism.

What are US citizens reproaching their elite with by the way?

Both behave the same. One is elite, the other base, an unavoidable feature in a hierarchical order of things.

False flag attack or how US citizens do strive to create the environment that justify themselves.

US citizen nature is eternal.

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 14:09 | 2399568 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Ah, now, US citizenism is fantasy. Crossing the bridge?

Ah, observe here now Chinese citizenism citizen engaging in fallacy of unedulcorated demand.

Typical Chinese citizenism offuscation and denial.

A standard template being followed as prescribed by PRC Ministry of Truth.

Nothing to see here, unless you seek entertainment from cheap Chinese citizenism propaganda.


Fri, 05/04/2012 - 23:25 | 2398884 from a greek island
from a greek island's picture

"And a record six or maybe even eight other parties that are vigorously campaigning against the reform measures might clear the 3% threshold and enter parliament."

That is a complete distortion. 3 of those parties are neoliberal and are vigoroursly campaining for reform measures and a very small state. Then you have the ecologists who also have a strong reform agenda. 

“solidarity of the union has its limits,” said even soft-spoken Jens Weidmann, President of the Bundesbank. “That’s why we linked the aid to conditions.” 

Insolvent Greece was given a new big expensive loan in order to repay German and French bankers. Almost nothing of that loan goes to Greeks. What we had to sign instead is that we must change the constitution so that repaying the foreign bankers has to take priority before paying pensions and sallaries. To make things worse, the unellected government imposed by the foreign lenders and headed by a central banker, just a few days before Greek debt took a haircut, turned all the deposits of social security funds, hospitals, univercities etc into Greek Government Bonds in order to repay in full the foreign vulture funds who bowght at distressed prices under British law. Then they gave that money a big haircut.


Fri, 05/04/2012 - 21:18 | 2398728 GCT
GCT's picture

Good article but I think from reading european papers the Greeks want to remain in the Euro.  They do not want to suffer under the austerity.  They fear leaving the Euro.  After these election result that will be rigged anyway nothing will change.  Real austerity is coming though.

Hell disability is a racket in the USA to the tune of 1.5 billion for just the lawyer fees.  We probably pay out more in disability then the Greek GDP, truth be known.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 19:03 | 2398503 Ag1761
Ag1761's picture

I see what's going on here.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 18:05 | 2398412 navy62802
navy62802's picture

Screw them. If that's what they want (i.e. free shit), let them have it. Let them vote for candidates who promise everything. And when they find themselves broke, with a welfare system that can't cut welfare checks or a social security system that can't cut social security checks, I won't feel sorry for them. As they say, people get the government they deserve. I feel no pity if this is what the people vote for. Sadly, the story is much the same right here in the US ... it's just that our citizens can't see the forest for the trees.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 20:47 | 2398676 Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

Thank you for telling it how it is, your dead on.  People vote the govt. they deserve pure and simple.  What I fear is that this is coming to the US in the near future and we will do the same thing and it will be worse.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 20:36 | 2398659 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Fortunately, the forest has been cut down to make room for McMansions financed by NINJA mortgages.

No trees to see here, move along to another forest please.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 17:05 | 2398281 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

Evangelos Venizelos, president of Pasok and former Finance Minister


You are very blind - he had other jobs too - ones which helped him get so fat

He became a national figure in 1989, when he successfully defended Andreas Papandreou from corruption allegations. During the trial, Venizelos demonstrated his powerful gift of oratory. Impressed with his young lawyer, Andreas Papandreou included him in the PASOK list of parliamentary candidate

The 2004 Athens Olympics cost nearly $11 billion by current exchange rates, double the initial budget. And that figure that does not include major infrastructure projects rushed to completion at inflated costs. In the months before the games, construction crews worked around the clock, using floodlights to keep the work going at night.

In addition, the tab for security alone was more than $1.2 billion.

Criticism of the Olympic spending has sharpened in recent weeks, after parliament launched an investigation into allegations that German industrial giant Siemens AG paid bribes to secure contracts before the 2004 Games.


Before the games, Greece's densely populated capital got a new metro system, a new airport, and a tram and light railway network, along with a bypass highway, while ancient sites in Athens' city center were linked up with a cobblestone walkway.A former Greek transport minister has been charged with money laundering after he told the inquiry that he had received more than $123,000 from Siemens in 1998 as a campaign donation.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 18:49 | 2398486 walküre
walküre's picture

I'm surprised that Venizelos is not hanging from a lamppost in Athens yet. But considering the weight of this obese caricature of a man, no lamppost would be able to hold him very long. Maybe a marble arch somewhere on Akropolis.

criticism of the Olympic spending has sharpened in recent weeks, after parliament launched an investigation into allegations that German industrial giant Siemens AG paid bribes to secure contracts before the 2004 Games.

Venizelos has been instrumental in the process of procurement for the Olympics. He's as corrupt as they come.

Corporate defense lawyer. Knows the script, knows how not to get caught.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 16:24 | 2398104 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Those islanders are a healthy lot. If you do the numbers they should have only 65 "blind' people based on the European average. They only have 40.
Fraud is so easy when punishment is so scarce,

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 16:13 | 2398050 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

At least Riot Dog looked healthy.

Too bad he got laid off.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 15:48 | 2397936 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Gotta get with the program. Once Fraud (crimminal activity) at the top is allowed the bottom follows suit.

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 01:36 | 2398969 illyia
illyia's picture

Follow the leader. If it's good enough for them...

Eh? Jamie???

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 17:59 | 2398400 CPL
CPL's picture

Cream rises to the top.


Unfortunately more than likely so does the scum.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 14:18 | 2397627 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

'But only 40 were actually vision impaired. The rest had succeeded in getting themselves declared blind to receive €350 or more in monthly payments. When he stopped payments to the faux blind, they—in another sign of how ingrained corruption is—revolted and threw eggs and yogurt at him. Apparently, the head ophthalmologist at the hospital diagnosed people as blind in exchange for cash.'

€350! My God!

We must burn the islands of the Ionian for this!

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 18:47 | 2398484 jonjon831983
jonjon831983's picture

610 fake blind people*350*12 months = $2,562,000

Population of the island approximately: 32,500

Imagine the tax dollars that got drained for this one.


Then wonder if there were other similar faked benefits.

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 04:28 | 2399043 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Great. Paulson began a heist that is still ongoing in plain sight in clear daylight.

Unless you are Greek or on Zakynthos, this really doesn't matter very much in grand scheme of things.

Kindly, STFU.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 23:20 | 2398875 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

but can you "double blind" someone? i.e.: "you are blind...but today...you are even MORE blind!" i mean...eventually you run out of people to misdiagnose. i'd go for hearing loss myself.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 18:58 | 2398496 CPL
CPL's picture

Interesting stuff as a case study.  I'm sure we'll discover more over the coming years to add to the compendium of poorly executed theft.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 16:18 | 2398078 Canucklehead
Canucklehead's picture

... Grow Up...

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 13:36 | 2397495 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

"Apparently, the head ophthalmologist at the hospital diagnosed people as blind in exchange for cash"

Why is he not in jail?  The Germans should be sending some doctors with their 160 tax collectors to Greece.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 13:34 | 2397488 Born-Again Bankster
Born-Again Bankster's picture

These Greeks don't want to change everything.  They want to be in the headlines.  Wake me up when they burn down Athens again.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 13:25 | 2397455 ivars
ivars's picture

I think that todays jobs report sets a nice foundation =firm bottom for silver in USD due to QE, of course. So we already may be in the beginning of the uptrend, good to join.Current  GSR peak is also confirming this. However, as the trouble will now accelerate in Europe, USDx is going to move higher as well. Nothing contradictory in that. Silver will now move up both in USD and EUR, but faster in EUR.

2 updated charts ( actual - in blue, relevant chart in silver-green) that explains what could play out. Press right button, View, zoom to see values/dates.

Silver till September 1st-last month was a good fit as well:


EUR/USD - update with actual (blue) satisfactory:


More charts here:


Simple but accurate piece about Europe-here. I live in Europe.


Fri, 05/04/2012 - 13:21 | 2397441 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

I thought they were all declared handicapped in one way or another to game the system.

The Greek way of life.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 16:17 | 2398065 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

This is also true of the USA where a lot of the unemployed are declared invalids to get them off the unemployent figures.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 12:21 | 2397221 web bot
web bot's picture

If this wasn't so true... I'd be laughing.

The ruling class of this country has failed their people in the last 40 years.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 16:19 | 2398080 battle axe
battle axe's picture

GREECE for the love of god, just do a full default and say screw it. It can not get any worse....

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 17:41 | 2398353 IAmNotMark
IAmNotMark's picture

Actually, it can and will get worse.  I seem to remember the europeans killing each other with regularity.  I think that the European peace will be ending soon.  WWII was less than 100M dead.  WWIII...  500M?  1B?  7B?

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 15:21 | 2397788 pussum207
pussum207's picture

Agree but it looks to me like the "people" were willing and happy participants.  Ultimately, they want the freebies at someone else's expense. 

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 04:12 | 2399040 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

as the dog said, i would not oppose a cat tax.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 16:06 | 2398017 Doubleguns
Doubleguns's picture

Seems to be a bit of a bull shit story. How the hell can blind people even figure out where to throw eggs and yogurt.


Fri, 05/04/2012 - 12:48 | 2397323 Bag Of Meat
Bag Of Meat's picture

The ruling class of this planet has failed its people in the last 99 years..

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 16:16 | 2398061 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The ruling class rule based on US citizenism.

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 23:08 | 2398865 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

well with all those penis enlargements the blindness rate may actually rise.....but how did they afford the penis mods? ahhhhh gots to love dem greeks.....

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 20:16 | 2398623 Clever Name
Clever Name's picture

Lets not forget the blind lawyer guy!


The blind lawyer from Hells Kitchen!

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 20:46 | 2398670 Coldfire
Coldfire's picture


Fri, 05/04/2012 - 17:35 | 2398339 BigJim
BigJim's picture

That's right!

Because before 1776, the ruling class were enlightened benevolent folks. Since then, it's been downhill all the way, and only noble Chinese citizenism stands between us and absolute blobbing-up tyranny.

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 08:55 | 2399121 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

That is right.


Of course, that is right.

My answer came to:

The ruling class of this planet has failed its people in the last 99 years..
A period of time you felt obliged to expand to now from before time 1776.

You can take the stance that since dawn of times, the ruling class has failed its people.

But that was not the turn of the comment which imposed a time bracket I respected.

US citizenism leads to take shelter into fantasy.

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 10:06 | 2399171 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Ah, ah, but Chinese citizenism citizen does not respect time brackets unless it is convenient. Chinese citizenism allows one to become the Master, the Lord of Time, making time go backward and forward, altering the sequence of events, all in support of Chinese citizenism crackpottery.

Your Chinese citizenism clocks doing somekind of weirdoism downthere, running backward and forward simultaneously.

Chinese citizenism scientific great leap forward and backward? More likely confusion induced from inhalation of opium smoke.



Sat, 05/05/2012 - 10:20 | 2399182 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

It is possible. Fantasy is bound to reality and chinese citizenism being your fantasy, you can indeed mix everything you want.

Sat, 05/05/2012 - 14:01 | 2399555 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Fantasy is bound to reality and chinese citizenism being your fantasy

Ah, ah, you now have falling in mousetrap of the logic, with loud snapping noise.

You live in fantasy world of US citizenism. US citizenism fantasy world cannot exist without foundation of Chinese citizenism. Thus you are every time proving reality of Chinese citizenism when you are describing your fantasy world of US citizenism.

But hey, Chinese citizenism is famous for reversal of cause and effect.

As Confucius say, "US citizenism is nothing more than Chinese citizenism looking in mirror."


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