Thoughts from Athens

Bruce Krasting's picture

I talked to someone in the shipping business this morning. He happens to be Greek and has substantial interests in the country. We never did get around to talking about ships. Some of his words on the status quo in Greece:

The situation today is worse than ever. Business has stopped

The world does not appreciate the extent of social deterioration in the country.

Soup kitchens are forming to feed people.

Many old age homes are desperate. Many are indebted. The have been pleading for donations.

Wealthy ship owners have been discussing a private initiative to provide support for those on the edge.

There is no possibility for a unity government. There is less chance for this in Greece then there is in the USA. You think there is a problem between Democrats and Republicans? Here, they hate each other.

Papandreou was desperate to get out. He could not see how he could continue to play a confrontational role with the Greek people. He was losing his ability to maintain civil order. He did not want to govern a country that was going to become either a police state, or fall into a state of revolution.

An interim government may pass new laws and make promises to the EU and IMF. Most in the government want to stay in the EU and stick with the Euro. It’s in their best interests to do so. That’s what the EU is pushing them day and night to do.

It’s way to late for this type of orderly transition. It will end badly for Greece.

There is a sense of optimism in the markets and the press that a soft landing can be achieved in Europe. That a “solution” is hours away. Only “one more” vote in parliament is required in any of the countries facing trouble. The financial resources needed to address the problem are available. There may be a temporary liquidity issue but solvency is not a question. The social, political and economic consequences of what will come are all manageable.

I thought I would provide this fellow’s thoughts as a contrast to all that hopium.



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whirlybird rules's picture

Sorry to hear this news but I hope you keep reporting.  I read the Greek papers every day - English translation but very little of what you have described here is presented in the news. Sincerely, wr

Problem Is's picture

"All hope abandon ye who enter here."
Dante Alighieri

Leave it to an Italian...

walküre's picture

Well, at least German politicians know how EFSF works. Or do they?

We're screwed!

chindit13's picture

While this adds to the already bleak picture---as does the comment from Doc---the MSM has not been as absent as many here say.  Flipping through the channels I saw reports on CNN or BBC---despite the differences in accents, they do blend into each other---that were particularly bleak, talking about youth UE, shuttered businesses, seniors who are both saddened and ashamed by having empty refrigerators, lack of hope, etc.

It seems that it is only the markets that are ignoring the harsh reality, and embracing each rumor as The Solution.  Record bonuses apparently are better insulation than fiberglass or space blankets.

I reside in a land where there never was hope, so there are no expectations to be dashed.  Ironically, it is rather safe save for what the junta does (or from the growing pollution brought by the take-every-resource Chinese).  Though there is no way to objectively measure, it also seems "happier".  At least that is the impression I get when I again see the stern faces of those crowding the malls when I visit the land of my birth.  There is some charity, but there is also the selfishness that stems from being in perpetual survival mode, so it is by no means Shangri-la.  The range of activities people invent in order to survive are astonishing---everything from sitting on a street corner with a bucket of water, a piece of cheesecloth that holds a giant block of ice, and a dirty glass to offer cold water to passersby (as water is passed once or twice over the iceblock), to people who carry an entire "al fresco" restaurant on a shoulder yoke, complete with hibachi and small plastic stools.  Nobody waits for the government to stimulate or provide jobs, and there is no social safety net whatsoever.

The fall from grace is/will be harder for those of us who grew up in the developed world, because we dared to have hope and expectations.  Is it better to have hoped and lost than never to have had hope at all?  We will see.

Bruce Krasting's picture

We shall see. Thanks for this comment.


Loan Gunman's picture

Off topic:  What happened to TFMetals site?  I suspect the govt took em out.

Uber Vandal's picture

Perhaps someone did not like his first hand account of what happened to his MF Global account?

I've got some good stuff for you tonight. Let's get started.

First of all, my firsthand experience with MFing Global today. My puny, little account has been transferred to a firm called R.J. O'Brien in Chicago. My current positions transferred over intact but the cash did not. Now, it's not like it's make-or break money. It was only $3,100. However, where did it go? The nice people at R.J. O'Brien don't seem to know nor do they have any idea as to whether or not I'll ever "get it back". So, all the press regarding MFing Global co-mingling and plundering their client's funds is apparently true. My $3M as well as everyone else's cash has been, for lack of a better term, stolen. Not cool.

So who are the thieves? Well, obviously MFing Global executed the theft, that much we know. But who received it? And why do they get my money instead of me? And isn't it a crime to receive stolen property? Unfortunately, I'm sure it'll be quite some time before we get any answers. I'll keep you updated regarding this ongoing saga as we go through this month but, for now, that's all I know.

Transformer's picture

Ahhhh, he's just one of them terrorist bloggers.  Off to a FEMA camp.  We're probly better off without him.

Implicit simplicit's picture

Greecing the skids for an Italian last meal to seal the deal at The Euro Buffet.     All  you can print. but nothing to eat with the Spanish special tomorrow just another repeat repeat

BandGap's picture

I work in the pharma industry.  Greek hospitals are 3+ years behind in payments and many companies are refusing to do business there.  We're talking hospitals that need drugs.  Companies that do capitulate get paid in Greek BONDS, and they take a big haircut.  This was months ago, I can only imagine what the fuck is going on now.

MS7's picture

My fear also is that Greece will turn into a police state. Those molotov-throwing hoodies in Greece always show up at just the right time when the police need an excuse to throw tear gas and beat the protesters so as to clear the square. Curiously, the hoodies don't get arrested. I suspect many will show up again if there is a protest, resulting in curfews, and all types of oppressive measures. I feel like the groundwork is being laid for it with articles like one by Michael Lewis calling Greece a society in moral collapse, or something like that. There will be all sorts of justifications for a police state, a "Don't look here people. Nothing to see. It had to be done. Move along."type story. There were also quotes from lesser people in governments in the EU (granted, right wing people, I believe) saying that Greece needed a dictator.

Gordon Freeman's picture

Ah--a police state.  You mean like the United States?

disabledvet's picture

No. That come's later. Or sooner rather than later. Or maybe it's just "soon." Anywho have no fear...we can be "thear" too.

Zender67's picture

Great comments. 

Thanks for describing what you are hearing from friends, family, and business associates. 

While we get manstream media good news or bad news, it's "risk on" for the HFT machines. 

The banksters must be in a mad rush to clean up their books before the truth permeates the mainstream media and "bad news" becomes bad for the markets, if ever.

We will keep the "little people" in our prayers.

Moocao's picture


I have been on this forum for 8 weeks and some, and I have learned a lot from this community of sharp minded, no nonsense, no BS, extremely intelligent individuals, and I would like to thank Tyler for illuminating the many ills and greed and horrid practices currently plaguing our finances and our world. I am happy that my eyes are opened.

I also learned that this forum has many sharp minded and extremely pessimistic individuals who are waiting for the end to come, with no hope, no belief, and just waiting for the end to come

Some of you have the pessimistic view of the future, and indeed it is grim. My first 2 weeks in this forum gave me nightmares of what the future portends. Hope, and a priest, helped me on thinking on what should happens "afterwards". We have survived World Wars, we have survived the threat of Fascism, Communism, Colonialism, we can still do so again. We are better educated than 1911. There are more enlightened individuals here than I can remember through my perusal of history books. We can do better than our forfathers still, even if our world crumbles, we can still build it back. Our current failed Order will come Chaos. Out of Chaos, however, will be Order. And we shall be the light within the darkness. We need to come up with a better system

I hope that my message of hope can resonate. All of you have IQ beyond mine I think. I want you all to think on how to create communities of hope. A sustainable community where we create and we do not consume more than we need, where we create wealth for generations. We need to create a sustainable system that will benefit not just our children, but for the children of our children and beyond. We may not all survive, but the idea will. We will create a concept, a philosophy, that will create Order out of Chaos. We need to, because our children depends on it.

Thank you for your time. I will try to post this once a month so everyone who can see this message can think and try to build a community of hope around them. With all of your intelligence, and perhaps with a new sense of hope and purpose, we can recreate our country again. Long Live our Republic of USA

dolly madison's picture

I do think that it will only be bad for awhile if it falls apart.  It will surely be very bad then, but I do believe it will get better again, so spreading ideas to help the future people avoid the pitfalls we fell into is a good thing to do.  I spread the ideas of participatory democracy to combat the fact that when the few lead the many, the few are vulnerable to bribery and threat.   And I spread the notion that money should not be issued as debt.  So give a good thought to what you think might help people most and spread it.  The more people know right now the better.

pauhana's picture

One thing to keep in mind:  The one thing society cannot tolerate is chaos.  All revolutions devolve to the right, not the left - and for those of you who think I'm referring to Republicans and Democrats, go read a history book.  We are headed for authoritarianism, militarism, or a combination of both.  Getting back our liberty after the storm will not be easy.  We'll have to fight for it so be prepared.

fadgadget's picture

who are you kidding?  this whole shit ship is taking on water.  fast.

Eireann go Brach's picture

What about the lying crooked fuckers from Goldman Sachs that cooked their books to get them into the EU in the first place? Not a fucking word is being said about that? Everything gone wrong in the financial system over the past 10-20 years can be traced back to a tentacle from the Squid!

Bob's picture

Thanks, Bruce!  The corporate news spin on it all defines common sense--if not sanity itself--but I don't know any Greeks! 

DeeDeeTwo's picture

Bruce just makes this stuff up. It's good... good for a few thousand hits, baby.

ebworthen's picture

Greece now is Italy and Spain and the rest of the West in the not too distant future.

Jim in MN's picture



We all fall down.

franzpick's picture

The banks and financial authorities having painted themselves and their nations into a financial corner over the last 10 years have announced a solution requiring only that their respective citizens pay for and deliver to them more paint.

I wouldn't buy it.

TooRichtoCare's picture

And once again, England is waaaay ahead of the game.

Over here, we got rid of a profligate inept social welfare nanny state government a full year ahead of all the others.  Now we're seeing the same political power change happening in Greece, then Italy, then who knows where next...

but just imagine...if the UK still had that absolute incompetent Gordon Brown in charge, with all his idiotic sycophantic twits around him, calling for MORE government spending and MORE borrowing?  Wow...The UK would've been downgraded by now and would have to be out there with the begging bowl tryng to sell its bonds at 6.5% and praying for some kind of Merkel/ECB/IMF bailout.

And yet, people like Ed Miliband and Ed Balls still keep going on & on about how the austerity budget and the Tory cuts are a mistake.  For fukk's sakes you keynesian idiots, can you not see how much of a complete shit-storm your party left us with? How dare you have the bloody gall to even try to justify yourselves as a credible opposition party? You have no legitimate claim to power, your proposed solutions are so completely wrong that you shouldn't even be allowed to be the official opposition party! Shame on you! Fukk off and leave us alone!

Thank goodness we're a few steps ahead of this rolling bond-vigilante fuckfest.  Whoever's next after Italy, good luck!

A Man without Qualities's picture

Funny thing is, the austerity measures in the UK are not actually happening yet.  The government is still spending as much as it was.  They've cut education funding, but replaced it with public sector construction spending, so the next generation are even more screwed than before, but at least they will have nice roads to walk down.

Interest expense has gone down, but almost entirely from QE.  They've finally announced that they might not give the inflation adjustment on welfare payment, but again, this is in the future.

If you listen to Gideon, he never shuts up about how he's made tough choices to deal with the deficit, so it's easily forgotton that it's all in the future.

delacroix's picture

you didn't mention the massive money printing, that finances your wonderful progress

Terminus C's picture

Yea, but that's different.... because the money isn't created by borrowing it into existence or anything like that... right...?

Freddie's picture

Sad but it reminds me of the brain dead idiots and union thugs who voted for the muslim in America.   Someone in England should put Ed Milliband (another member of the other semetic tribe) into a wood chipper.

The Greeks will tyake the deal because the union govt workers payroll is this Friday and the union govt parasites must be paid.  Greece is like Detroit, Oakland, Philly or some islamo shithole in the UK like Birmingham or Malmo in Sweden.   The west imported loads of poverty from the turd world.

lakecity55's picture

First Greece... then Italy and Spain.. who else? America goes 2 weeks later? Time for another withdrawal from yet another liquor store outta town. Need more silver, lead. Hang on!

woolly mammoth's picture

Thanks Bruce, not only for this post but all your other posts as well!!!

Lord Welligton's picture

It’s way to late for this type of orderly transition. It will end badly for Greece.

10 years of austerity to reach a goal of 120% Debt to GDP is beyond a joke.

Greece needs to go bankrupt and go through two years of real pain.

Then and only then can the Greeks as a people determine what level of public expenditure and taxation is a appropriate.

It is clear as day that if they follow the IMF/EU plan every Greek Citizen, other than the politically connected, will become debt slaves.

Buck Johnson's picture

Your correct, it won't work.  This is only to keep the EU and euro intact pure and simple.  And what ever happened to the 170 billion that was given to them in January of this year or november of last year, they went through that and needed more.  Take the two years of pain and bring back the Drachma, then everything will be clean slated and ready for a new Greece.

smiler03's picture

@ Lord W.   +1 from me here as it won't let me do it on your post.

Freddie's picture

That might fix it for a while but they have to go back to the drachma.  Greece wants to default, wipe the debt clean and then stand in line for more EU/ECB/German Euro cash.

When a country has their own sovereign currency - they can at least protest their national politicians.  They need to default, go back to the drachma and fight and squabble amongst themselves.

blu's picture

An interesting inside take. My thoughts for Greece have been the same, though I have never been there I get a sense for where they are taking this. They are an old culture with deep roots in the human drama, there are not many ways for them to proceed now. If they must go back a ways to go forward, then they will.

And in the long run I think the chances of the Greeks remaining authentically Greek are better than that of Americans remaining American. If one follows my meaning. Ultimately, that must be the only acceptable definition of having won.

mind_imminst's picture

IMO, the hopium that is levitating the US market is the expectation of money printing/inflation. If a Greek default was NOT a huge impending disaster with contagion risks across the entire EU, they would have allowed it to happen already, months ago, or even last year. IMO, investors and bureaucrats in-the-know, know that meltdown awaits, and know the only way to kick-the-can or maintain the status quo is to slowly inflate their way out of the massive (world-wide) problem of too much debt (hence the bid under risk assets). They keep trying to come up with tricky ways to disguise the massive inflation that is heading our way but it is difficult. I wonder if a bank-run or "surprise" Greek default will ruin the plans of stealth inflation/money printing. So far, so good, but the market does not always cooperate.

Sweet Chicken's picture

Thank you for sharing that. I believe it would be very benefitial to have more updates like these. I wish you all luck in the coming years.


Sweet Chicken's picture

Why the fuck did somebody give me a negative for my post?!?!?!?!

TSA gropee's picture

Probably used the same reasoning they used to vote for obama.

Rynak's picture

Because greece right now is a hotbed... and the psyops sockpuppets around here, are all over it. In threads like these, downvotes are medals, unless you accumulate lots of them (because then, it will probably not be sockpuppets doing it).

P.S.: Sorry, replied to the wrong post. The above was meant as a reply to sweet chicken.

Sweet Chicken's picture

LOL OK I just find it funny that I have been given 7 negatives simply for saying thank you for an update and good luck.

11b40's picture

Probably vegetarians.  They want you to shut the cluck up.

Iwanttoknow's picture

I gave you up on both the posts.I guss some of us are cynical beyond redemption.

edotabin's picture

May not be in Athens, but the smaller northern city of Volos is doing something about it.


flyonmywall's picture

Worthless leaders that only care about lining their own pockets lead to what you see in Greece right now. Coming to the Jersey Shore, soon. I feel sorry for the world.

Don Birnam's picture

<= Greece pulls through.

<= Hellenic recovery ? Farewell and adieu...

flyonmywall's picture

Worthless leaders that only care about lining their own pockets lead to what you see in Greece right now. Coming to the Jersey Shore, soon. I feel sorry for the world.

disabledvet's picture

How does one become a "spokesperson for the pirates" exactly?