The Grand Inquisitor
Via Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
-Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Sometimes you just have to sit down and stop. ...
Greece and the grand machinations of the European Union came to mind as it occurred to me that all of the fine points aside; Greece had become a ward of the State, that the debt was unpayable and everyone knew it, and that all that had been accomplished was to hand them more money, add more debt and to couch it all in complicated phrases with ingenuous fantasies of surpluses to come which is the game initiated by Greece and picked up now by the EU. The math doesn’t even add up so it can be said that it was a poor attempt at hide-and-seek but I suppose it was the best they could do given their skill-set these days. Whatever had lingered from German exactness and precision has faded into a management where each problem is dealt with by handing over more money and where facts are maligned and sculpted by political expediency. Yes, there are attempts at austerity, more controlled budgets and the like but, in the end, more money is thrown about as there is not a leader in Europe that is prepared to confront any other solution.
“Ford, you're turning into a penguin. Stop it.”
-The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
As you watch the antics of the politicians in Spain you realize that they are first cousins to the Greeks. Prime Minister Rajoy and his merry band of henchmen are playing the same tunes as we have all heard before. The reasons that Spain has not come begging for alms yet is not too complicated. They don’t want to be audited by the Troika, God forbid, they want no one peering at the actual state of their Real Estate market, they don’t want anyone but paid flunkies examining their banks and they want the EU/ECB to buy their bonds, give them money and lower their interest rates like some kid in Madrid awaits for Santa Claus. They might get away with it too except for the IMF which is held to different standards, not too much different these days, but not quite the ones to be found in Athens, Lisbon or Madrid.
Los cupones de alimentos se detendrá inmediatamente eficaz porque recibimos aviso de que falleciera. Que Dios los bendiga. Usted puede volver a solicitar si se produce un cambio en sus circunstancias.
[Your food stamps will be stopped effective immediately because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.]
Spain is now going to take the EU money to recapitalize their banks. This means they will lay off about 60% of the people of the troubled banks in Spain. They are also going to set up a bad bank which will be have an actual value of maybe 55% of what they claim given the Real Estate conditions in Spain. The sub debt holders and the preferred holders of these institutions will take part of the losses. Any thoughts that the two major Spanish banks will not be affected by all of this is a late night fantasy accompanying the drinking of too much red wine. The Spanish economy, bad now, is going to get worse and the unemployment figures; much worse. The government, much to their dismay, is going to be forced to the wall and the auditors will march in and their “dynamic provisioning” exposed for what it is, fiddling with the books, and the recent history of Athens will be replayed in Madrid as the Spanish Prime Minister declares it a “Great Victory for Europe.”
“A brick falling from your hand to the ground may be a great victory for gravity but it may also be a great travesty for your foot.”
The European Central Bank
The ECB will save the world subject to the decisions of Europe’s political leaders. Saving the world is a good thing and keeps getting promised by virtually every religious leader for the past several thousand years. Just do this and do that and pray a lot and ask for divine guidance and surely we will all be saved. The ECB will hand out Euros, toss them with wild abandon in the streets of Paris and Madrid and fling them from the cathedral roofs in Europe if directed by their Holinesses in Brussels. As Spain is just about to take the indulgence and as the standards are set for piety and religious observation; the second Spanish Inquisition is about to begin and the zealot may be found wanting.
The Spanish chronicler, Sebastiande Olmedo (Chronicon magistrorum generalium Ordinis Prædicatorum) calls Torquemada "the hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the savior of his country, the honor of his order". Perhaps Senor Barroso will welcome him back but perhaps not; Fray Tomas de Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor.