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Guest Post: The First Dominoes: Greece, Reality, And Cascading Default

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Submitted by Zeus Yiamouyiannis from Of Two Minds

The First Dominoes: Greece, Reality, And Cascading Default

Greece is the epicenter of a drama that threatens to unwind with all the intrigue and subterfuge of ancient Greek myths and tragedies. As with the legend of Icarus, big, and now bigger, transnational banks provoked the gods with their wax-and-feather financial fabrications to create the appearance of soaring wealth. Now that they have flown too close to the sun and their wings have melted, these banks are being brought to earth by the obligations and consequences imposed by their fabrications.

Rather than take responsibility, these banks seek to appease the gods by sacrificing taxpayers. In fact, if one looks closely, these banks aspire to be gods themselves. They clothe themselves in their indispensability and shield themselves from accountability with tales about how many innocent citizens will be hurt if they don’t get their next bailout. It is as if they say, “We are above the law… We are the law.” Mathematics, legal enforcement, restraint, humility all must fall under the sword of their hubris.

In the end, just as with a Greek tragedy or a Yeats poem, this center cannot hold and things fall apart. When one abuses the laws and principles of mathematics and capitalism, claiming to be a faithful servant, consequence and accountability eventually catch up. The breaking point inexorably nears. Citizens are beginning to think, voice, and act: “We can do without the false idols that call themselves banks. In fact, we need them to be dissolved for us to survive and thrive.”

Reality is the revenge of the gods.

Not just about fairness: Everything unwinds

This is not just about fairness anymore; it is about the exposure of central, global illusions that affect everyone, not just banks. For the last three plus decades, debt-fueled “growth” has instilled a life sense that everyone gets rich, values always go up, and no one has to pay. If those illusions evaporate than those citizens complicit in this failed fantasy may actually join forces with the realists (those who knew it was a scam all along) to produce unified citizen revolt. Hell hath no fury like the people spurned and lied to, even if many had some responsibility in welcoming and fanning those lies.

The implicit deal was this: We will collude so everyone gets rich going forward. We will collude so no one has to pay if there is any unwinding. (But, hey, it’s a new era, and that’s not going to happen!) Open default breaks the illusion, and austerity breaks up the collusion. This is why default has to be hidden, deferred, restructured. It is not just about chaos around party/counterparty risk (in particular, cascading claims that are not backed by anything). It is not even just about finance. It’s about all the other things that will unwind, culturally, politically, and psychologically, if Greece defaults and sets into motion the necessity of someone actually paying up. In short, recognition of reality has disastrous consequences for the status quo and its control myths.

The infinite growth meme unwinds: The cancerous economic obsession with infinite growth in a finite world is already unwinding, but will hit full force with cascading defaults. It is one thing to have a “slowdown,” and another to have your economic brakes lock up on you and your gears slammed into reverse. About the only thing that seems to be growing currently is the number of people partially employed or permanently unemployed. As a humorous aside, the situation is getting so pronounced that quality of life might actually have to replace quantity of possessions as the cultural indicator of the good life, and what would that do to the economy?

Politicians’ power of the purse unwinds: Greek politicians, like many other Western politicians, will do almost anything to get re-elected. The easiest way to do this is to pay people off, particularly government workers and constituents, in the form of generous benefits or pet projects. What happens if your tax base will not support this? You sell your political soul, defer, and/or hide the true costs of your largesse behind undisclosed derivative deals with Goldman Sachs that eventually put your entire country’s sovereignty in jeopardy. As a result, Greece’s former prime minister, George Papandreou, is now out after a very short term in favor of a unity government. Shady deals funded unsustainable perks that not only inflated popular expectations but created catastrophic debt and risk.

Guaranteed entitlements unwind: So now that the illusion of infinite growth is being exposed, the corresponding ballooning entitlements that enticed the larger public to become complicit in the illusion are becoming unglued. It would take almost a decade of gross national product to pay off the U.S. unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which exceed the staggering sum of 100 trillion dollars.

Retirement and health benefits cannot be paid out of fake prosperity and “notional” (i.e. imaginary) values. They require real services and products and an accepted public medium of exchange. (I will leave off the argument as to what constitutes “real” and “accepted” since even fiat currencies are dubious in this regard.) People will be forced to adjust their expectations and adapt their realities. With public and private pension plans also complicit in derivative scams to fund benefits, it will be no surprise if many pensions simply declare themselves bankrupt in the next decade.

The maximum profit mandate unwinds: We have reached such heights in our hysteria about growth and our psychological addiction to more-more-more, that we have seen stock prices fall, even with record revenues, if the corresponding company doesn’t meet expectations of even higher growth and revenue. It is getting to the point where a company cannot simply have a solid year and just pay out its dividends and maintain its good health. Instead companies have to be ever hopped-up on economic steroids and cost-cutting (i.e. shipping jobs to virtual slave labor in China) so as to not fall short of expectations.

These steroidal practices are destroying the companies and the means by which consumers can afford products and services. A relentless short-term focus serves no one in the end. “Maximum” less and less corresponds with “optimum,” because present assets can be cannibalized or revaluated to give short-term boosts to numbers, creating medium- and long-term systemic and foundational deficits that destroy the health of a company and its surrounding society. Hopefully the idea and practice of optimum profit will replace maximum profit as the Great Unwinding continues.

The central question:

The central question, obscured by all the hand wringing and crocodile tears is simply this: Why should public citizens who have no stake in private enterprises, who received no profits or dividends, who had nothing to do with creating losses, be forced to pay for private losses? The only legitimate answer is, “They shouldn’t.” Period. Anything that does not acknowledge this tenet is not functioning capitalism, and if it is functioning capitalism it cannot violate this tenet.

Yet we witness apologist expert after expert excusing this fatal breach in capital practice as “regrettable but necessary to save the system.” They seem not to have noticed that the system has already killed itself by violating its own foundational laws and principles. If anything, current conventional practice might be accurately described as an all-out anti-capitalist assault on democratic free enterprise.

So now the follow-up question is easy to answer: “Why are we paying for something we did not buy and had no hand in creating?” The answer: We no longer have functioning capitalism. Call it what you want— corporate socialism, crony capitalism, cancer capitalism, plutocracy, kleptocracy, oligarchy, neofeudalism— the system we have now is the equivalent of an individual going up to a complete stranger on the street and shaking that stranger down for “protection money” to pay for the individual’s underwater house mortgage.

As this simple fact grips the population, and people wake up to the present economic reality, there will be increasingly organized moves toward civil disobedience and alternative economy. “Cannot pay” will merge with “will not pay” since the only way to re-establish health and integrity in a corrupted economic system is to starve the cancers that have taken it over. This has already started with Occupy Wall Street, strategic defaults, and riots in Greece.

So if someone asks you, seeking to appeal to your fear, self-interest, and need for approval, if you are willing to “be responsible for bringing down the global system,” your answer should be an emphatic, “Yes.” “Are you asking if I want to bring down fraud, theft, abuse and the cancer that global finance has become for me, my neighbors, my children, and my children’s children? Are you asking me if I want to replace the current broken system with something that serves actual people? Not only, ‘yes,’ but ‘heck, yes.’”


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Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:08 | 2153419 Frank N. Beans
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Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:11 | 2153438 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Mrs.Carberry: Fecking Greeks!

Colm: It isn't the Greeks, it's the Chinese he's after.

Father Ted: I'm not after the Chinese!

Mrs.Carberry:I don't care who he gets as long as I can have a go at the Greeks. They invented gayness!

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:16 | 2153447 falak pema
falak pema's picture

this Carberry lady needs to get her upholstery redone or her cherry dipped in wine. It'll make her whine for gay times.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:10 | 2153668 The Big Ching-aso
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This could very well be the slowest dominoe game in history played by the slowest dimwits in the universe.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:09 | 2153420 Cognitive Dissonance
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"Guest Post: The First Dominoes: Greece, Reality, And Cascading Default"

It is inevitable.


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:11 | 2153435 battle axe
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If it is INEVITABLE, which I agree with, then lets get on with it, because you know what the next party is, IRAN!

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:52 | 2153595 Mr Lennon Hendrix
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Naw, the next party is the facebook IPO, then the Eurponzi collapse, then Iran.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:53 | 2153602 battle axe
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Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:53 | 2154140 CPL
CPL's picture

I'm torn between Iran and Europe, they are in a position to sit and make faces at the problem as long as the money is printed even if nothing is produced.


The Facebook IPO is a definite roll call item that will over shadow any real news like a B grade celebrity like Whitney Houston dropping dead from their own bad habit..

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:54 | 2153903 Bwahaha WAGFDSMB
Bwahaha WAGFDSMB's picture

Fresh water, topsoil, fisheries, oil reserves, all the things we depend on for survival are declining. 

The human population is in overshoot.

Die off is guaranteed.

It's a mathematical certainty.

It could be the end of western civilization.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 14:10 | 2154267 malek
malek's picture

You still believe that 40 year old fairy tale?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 14:55 | 2154486 Bwahaha WAGFDSMB
Bwahaha WAGFDSMB's picture

Which fairy tale are you refering to?  That the earth is finite?  That mathematis is true?  That humans can't live without eating?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 23:14 | 2156302 malek
malek's picture

That you, like the Club of Rome at 1970, seem to believe it is inevitable for densely populated parts to have massive famine occurring very soon.

Very strange the inevitable didn't happen, not within 10 years as forecast, not even within 40 years...

Before you respond with the usual "but this time it's gonna happen, this time it's different!", let me ask you: what would need to happen for you to change your mind?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:16 | 2153451 DogSlime
DogSlime's picture

It is inevitable.

...but it still doesn't actually happen and all this delay makes it much worse when it does.

Makes me sick.  The only reason I can think of for the delay is that it gives the elite extra time to consolidate their positions and have one last (big) bite at the cherry.


I wish I could believe that the guilty will eventially be brought to justice :(

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:31 | 2153496 Cognitive Dissonance
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"We" could certainly hasten the collapse if "we" just withdrew our support. The problem is that over the last 50 years any degree of independence from the machine has we as a culture (and most importantly we as individuals) are for all practical purposes completely dependent upon the machine for support and subsistence. Just in time delivery to supermarkets and gas stations are just one very small example of how our world will be rocked when the retread comes flying off the rim.

If for no other reason, our collective dependence upon the machine will extend further and further into the future this inevitable collapse to way past the point where any 'sane' person could conceive it possible. No 'sane' mouse wishes for, or even helps, destroy the very environment upon which it is dependent upon.

Welcome to the machine. It is us and we are it.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:35 | 2153529 OttoMBMP
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Fully agree.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 16:16 | 2154874 DaveyJones
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gardens are your greatest weapon

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:06 | 2153652 forexskin
forexskin's picture

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
Where have you been? It's alright we know where you've been.
You've been in the pipeline, filling in time,
provided with toys and Scouting for Boys.
You bought a guitar to punish your ma,
And you didn't like school, and you know you're nobody's fool,
So welcome to the machine.
Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
What did you dream? It's alright we told you what to dream.
You dreamed of a big star, he played a mean guitar,
He always ate in the Steak Bar. He loved to drive in his Jaguar.
So welcome to the machine.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:10 | 2153665 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

One can go even further:  Buy as much PM as you can, cut costs to the bone (forgo eating out, movies, etc., move to a cheaper apt, etc.), run up and then default on debt, go on social services, only pay cash, etc.

Eventually the camel gets one straw too many.

Be the straw!

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:15 | 2153704 BLOTTO
BLOTTO's picture

For those in the know...

How do you - me - We - keep it together without completely going nuts?

What keeps one from snapping?



Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:22 | 2153747 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

Meet reality on it's terms.

Decide what is truly important in your life.


Simplify your life.

Make a plan, stick to it.

Follow through.

Since you have no control over the big picture, resolve to enjoy what is happening.


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:18 | 2153991 tsx500
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Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:20 | 2154005 Acet
Acet's picture

Have a backup plan, maybe even a backup plan to the backup plan.

Setup multiple options to cope with difference scenarios of colapse, invest more for higher likelyhood situations, less for lower likelyhood ones.

For example, from preparation against highest likelyhood crisis to lowest likelyhood ones:

  • Have at least a year worth of savings in case you loose your job
  • Have money in bank accounts with more than one bank. If at all possible one of those accounts should be abroad.
  • Have some money in cash at home to protect yourself against a bank colapse. About a month worth. Even if the government guarantees scheme pays back the money from the accounts, until that happens you will want to have some money.
  • Put some of your savings into PMs to protect againt high inflation and even currency colapse. If you live in a country with higher inflation and ultra-low interest rates (say, like the UK), gold is a great way to simply preserve your wealth
  • Store enough long lasting food to feed your family for at least one month. Large cans of freeze-dried food will last up to 25 years. This protects you against a colapse in the food distribution system, including due to things like severe fuel shortages.
  • Keep highly portable food, water, first aid and survival gear in a bug-off backpack, learn survival skills. If living in the US you might want to add weapons to it. This is for the societal colapse risk. Also works in case of a large incident, like for example a flood or earthquake.
  • Buy a farm, learn to farm, make friends with your neighbours there.

I'm not saying you need to do all these things, just layer a couple of these so that you're prepared against the scenarios that you feel are high probability. If things get worse, layer some more.

Meanwhile, live your life normally and enjoy as much as you can - you have the peace of mind of knowing that if the brown mater hits the rotary impleller you're ready.

[I've had the lowest level backup plan (keep lots of savings) in place for years now and it has given me peace of mind, allowed me refuse to take shit from employers and take more risks when searching for a new job and even saved my hide when a big crisis hit my life]

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:12 | 2153689 roccman
roccman's picture

My daughter is a type I diabetic.


I try not to think just how connected i/we are to the machine.


we are also connected in other - much more important and lasting ways.


Mer-ka-ba folks - it's real - it's measurable (60' diameter around your body).

this "reality" is just a tiny fleck of the much - much bigger picture.



Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:55 | 2154153 CPL
CPL's picture

Well, speaking of food. 


The port of Athens is the largest part of the European cold chain for food storage, last I heard it was burning and diesel is tough to find.


I expect nothing but interesting news about people missing a meal or all of them in the next week.


JIT is officially broken in Europe regarding food.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:59 | 2154198 GeneMarchbanks
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This ain't America, food is local.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 15:55 | 2154773 CPL
CPL's picture

It's where the food is stored for JIT. 


Strawberries grow in May and June.  Potatoes all year if there is no snow or they die.  Same for Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower.  Etc.


All countries are part of the cold chain.  The idea of anyone in europe providing their own wheat, barley or corn is laughable.  It hasn't been done in a century, two world wars and mustard gas saw to that.



Mon, 02/13/2012 - 16:07 | 2154817 GeneMarchbanks
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'The idea of anyone in europe providing their own wheat, barley or corn is laughable.'

You're clueless about Ag in Europe. Visit villages even outside the EU and you'll see even gypsies don't go hungry.


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:24 | 2153477 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

It is inevitable. But unfortunately along with the collapse of economies war isn't to far behind.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:54 | 2153606 scatterbrains
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Not to mention all those brokerage accounts that need to be disappeared via the re-hypothocation explosion once the collapse occurs. Everyone short these markets waiting for their pay day when the wheels come off are going to have their day stolen from them yet again. I wouldn't be surprised if in the aftermath people with long only accounts/pension funds/mutual funds etc get x % of their funds back in the new world currency where as shorts will get zero. Imagine that   lol.


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:26 | 2153489 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Of all the other players, Archimedes is the Greek that fits "this bill." We've been given a lump and it isn't gold, it's growing larger and now the lies are spilling over. 

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:29 | 2153503 Alea Iactaest
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That lump sounds like a tumor.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:30 | 2153506 SheepDog-One
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Yes a cascading default catastrophy is innevitable and upon us now....however all is quite splendid for tomorrow and tomorrow...

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:48 | 2154109 Bwahaha WAGFDSMB
Bwahaha WAGFDSMB's picture

It has been inevitable for a long long time.  Greece is not the first domino.  Lehman was not the first domino.  The discovery of fosil fuels was not the first domino.  It all stems from the urge to reproduce.  Un-sustainability is in our DNA.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:08 | 2153422 falak pema
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FINANCIAL INQUISITION : We judge you by OUR standards, not yours; move on.

The message of the Oligarchs

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:30 | 2153439 LongSoupLine
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Don't worry...AAPL's above $500. and Starbucks coffee is still hot.  What could possibly go wrong?

(Edit:  To whomever junked I really need to put "sarc/" at the end of my statement?...idiot.)

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:35 | 2153526 Stormdancer
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There's at least one Starbucks where the coffee is really hot:

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:42 | 2153559 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

Ahhh yes...nothing like a smoking hot cup o' Greek Starbucks, eh?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:04 | 2153645 Deo vindice
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(Edit:  To whomever junked I really need to put "sarc/" at the end of my statement?...idiot.)

I gave you a plus.

The problem is that as the current world system unravels at exponentially increasing speed, folks' sense of humour is diminishing proportionately.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:12 | 2153686 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

Well, FUCK 'EM if they can't take a joke.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 17:21 | 2155161 TheFourthStooge-ing
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LowProfile said:

Well, FUCK 'EM if they can't take a joke.

Hey, that's the motto of my church!



Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:13 | 2153442 Hippocratic Oaf
Hippocratic Oaf's picture

"For the last three plus decades, debt-fueled “growth” has instilled a life sense that everyone gets rich, values always go up, and no one has to pay"


Once the can gets too big, who has the ability to stub their toe on the kick down the road?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:16 | 2153448 fijisailor
fijisailor's picture

"Guaranteed entitlements unwind" 

Yes these so called entitlements that I PAID for for so many years.  The word "entitlement" signifies that I must be some sort of leech on society

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:45 | 2153571 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Clearly, those of us no longer employed and contributing some part of our wages to the common good are leeches. It is not as if we had a choice regarding participation in paying for Social Security or Medicare, because slaves don't have choices. The central government thinks it has the right to control everything - people, corporations, religious institutions, etc. It thinks it can force us to buy healthcare, it thinks it can force employers to give free birth control measures, it even thinks it can force us to embrace depravity.

It's time for a massive reset, here and worldwide. It will come, whether we want it or not.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:51 | 2153592 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Part of the problem with benefits is that the amount is paidd in isn't enough to cover what is taken out. SSI is a ponzi scheme that requires a new person in the system to pay for the next person going out. I'm not disagreeing with your statement I am just commenting on the current structure of the benefit.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:56 | 2153615 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

Yup.  It's kind of a battle of semantics when people want to argue whether or not it is a Ponzi scheme... and of course it doesn't really matter... all that matters is that A) it can't be sustained and B) It isn't what it is implied to be.  

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:14 | 2153697 forexskin
forexskin's picture

perfect recipe to continue the intergenerational war started during vietnam...

"but i paid into (the ponzi) ______"

at least with madoff, once people identified the criminal, they were disabused of the notion that they'd get back what the put in.

here, the cognitive disonance of identifying sugar daddy (government) as the criminal is just too profound.

"yea, so we're broke, but we still have a government, and they promised to pay!"

(secret - this government is not of, by, and for you, it *thinks* it owns you. internalize that fact, and the illusions fall away.)


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:36 | 2153824 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

Preach it, brother.  300 million sold on an illusion.  It's pretty impressive.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:30 | 2154038 masterinchancery
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But they blew the money you paid on vote buying social programs, so what have you done for them lately?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 15:31 | 2154653 GernB
GernB's picture

Entitlements are not a savings plan, they are compulsory charity. You have no claim on money spent on entitlements that government does not give you.

While I think leech is a harsh word, if you receive money which you did not earn and which was taken from others whether they wanted to give it or not, then I'll leave it to you to call that whatever you want. The fact that you were forced to give money to others does not change the fact others are paying your way for you. It's tempting to view some government programs as insurance, and it might be a reasonable argument if any government program was ever run as an insurance company would run their business, meaning it is not funded in any way from general tax payer money and has to compete in a free and open market against other insurance companies.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:18 | 2153461 maxmad
maxmad's picture

Pretty soon litterally 1 share of AAPL will only buy you 1 granny smith!

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:34 | 2153523 maxmad
maxmad's picture

All this talk about investing in apple, they aren't telling you which apple!

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:54 | 2153604 Mr Lennon Hendrix
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Adam's apple.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:24 | 2153464 GeneMarchbanks
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'Now that they have flown too close to the sun and their wings have melted, these banks are being brought to earth by the obligations and consequences imposed by their fabrications.'

Most Westerners still have Stockholm syndrome or are still on the pay-roll so, um, keep waiting.

'Are you asking if I want to bring down fraud, theft, abuse and the cancer that global finance has become for me, my neighbors, my children, and my children’s children?'

Don't be ridiculous, WE MUST GROW! is not at all analogous to cancer, the lazy Greeks remember?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:18 | 2153465 SilverFocker
SilverFocker's picture

The battle for LA will be epic.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:39 | 2153546 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

Yeah, and this time MS13 are the good guys.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:42 | 2153552 Cheesy Bastard
Cheesy Bastard's picture

The year is 2013 and Snake Plissken is back but this time it's L.A., which through the agency of earthquakes has become an island of the damned...

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:35 | 2153468 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Of course Icarus didn't buy his wings from an army surplus store to benefit Shell, didn't finance them with the Goldman payment plan, and didn't pick feathers off Tyson birds raised from Monsanto's biological weapon food.

 He did get too close to the sun, but then again we seem to avoid that fire ball for all our other needs.    

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:24 | 2153471 Monedas
Monedas's picture

Dress rehearsal for welfare riots in Baltimore ! Greek comedy at it's best ! Love it ! Russkies and Chinks say nyet to Syrian Revolution ? That's a new twist for those pillars of Socialism ? Love it ! Even my sick mind can't invent shit like this ! Me happy !  Monedas  2012  Whitney Houston look at what you're missing !

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:25 | 2153483 Jendrzejczyk
Jendrzejczyk's picture

Draghi is claiming victory, crisis contained.

Did Banzai mess with the picture in the above link? That head is HUGE.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:25 | 2153484 flyonmywall
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What is the point of Greece voting for the latest austerity plan, if they cannot enforce it? It is pointless, and the Germans know it. But, if you really think the German bankers are going to initiate the first domino falling, I think you're smoking some good weed. They'll figure out a way to blame it on somebody else, guaranteed. Then and only then, all hell will break loose.


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:25 | 2153485 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

Meanwhile the US prepares for war against Iran to sidetrack us from all of this.  These people at the top would rather risk nuclear war than let go. I wouldn't doubt it if they end up getting us all killed before this is over.  The US would be dropping nukes on every hot spot in it's own country before they step aside. I'm sure of it.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:23 | 2154014 Baleful Runes 4 U
Baleful Runes 4 U's picture

"The US would be dropping nukes on every hot spot in it's own country before they step aside. I'm sure of it."

nukes? nah...likelier this-


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:28 | 2153497 cherry picker
cherry picker's picture

From the Telegraph

14.29 Here are some interesting facts for you. The average number of hours worked per worker in 2010 (the latest year), according to the OECD:

UK: 1,647

Germany: 1,419

Spain: 1,663

Italy: 1,778

Greece: 2,109

US: 1,778

Meanwhile we gloat over how these Greeks are lazy and tax avoiders.  It appears to me they have the yoke on far to long as compared to the rest of civilization while their leaders steer them into hell.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:31 | 2153511 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture



France:  1

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:35 | 2153525 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

Hours worked is irrelevant. It is PRODUCTIVITY that matters and it is VERY HIGH in Germany and VERY LOW in Greece. Value-Added Per Worker is high in Germany and not distorted by comparing traders at Glencore with people making tractors. Japanese work longer hours than Germans but if you adjust for houurs Germans have higher productivity than Japanese.

Working long hours is what Foxconn workers do and their standard of living is far lower than US school kids playing with iPhones

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:09 | 2153641 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Who sets the standards for 'PRODUCTIVITY' you German speaker you? Siemens?

Peddle Max Weber elsewhere.

Japan is a stellar example, thanks, I wish my country resembled an ultra-homogonous ant colony.

Foxconn is corporate capitalism's wet dream on X, you're just pissed cause in a decade your offspring will have to compete with people who dream of taking flying leaps off of skyscrapers.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:38 | 2153543 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

You are aware that 30% of Americans have passports and haven't opened a book in a couple of decades right? MSM repeats then Trolls repeat and finally the average American repeats.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:47 | 2153578 falak pema
falak pema's picture

That's like Chad, and they don't have any hanging chads there either, their voting is done manually. 

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:55 | 2153611 Calmyourself
Calmyourself's picture

Gene, I get tired of that old passport saw..   As if the mere possession puts you in a different strata, no, 90% of the 30% are still idiots and much more likely to praise the leftist regimes around the world.  Books, who needs books..  Much more important metric if measurable..

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:45 | 2153871 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Good point. You see, I assume that having all the required resources a people could ask for allows them the rare opportunity to get out and experience the world in all its diversity and multitude. Apparently it boils down to moonbats sending college students to Paris for two weeks and all of a sudden VOILA! you are now worldly. Not what I meant.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:02 | 2153922 Kali
Kali's picture

MOre like shipping their own fat asses onto norovirus infested cruise ships to line up at the all you can eat buffet while complaining about the poor and brown people occupying the 2hr shopping stops at the ports of call.  : )

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:31 | 2153510 Alex Kintner
Alex Kintner's picture

It's simply building a Staircase To Capitalist Heaven with the bodies of dead taxpayers. Moral Hazard is only for commoners afterall. Did the Prime Minister of Greece fiddle as Athens burned?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:31 | 2153512 daxtonbrown
daxtonbrown's picture

Of course, the unwinding will eventually come to the U.S. as well because the numbers are too huge and the transactions too opaque for anyone to figure out. But of course we will be given promises of green shoots until the last moment before the collapse.

We are already in a civil war over debt slavery to a collapsing welfare state. That's what OWS is really about, despite its high sounding ambitions it is really a proxy army for Obama the community organizer to run a socialist revolution.

For the little guy, there is no easy way out, except to learn how to protect his own, to hunker down and Go Galt.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:40 | 2153551 adr
adr's picture

They are trying to kick the can far enough that most of the boomers will be dead before it lands. The younger generation will find a can that brought down the moon with it. The first person will show up and find a message carved in the dark side, "Ha, ha you're fucked, hope you bought a really nice gun, Love Mom&Dad."

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:44 | 2153561 Stack Trace
Stack Trace's picture


You still believe there is a Difference between the two parties? Oh my side hurts naive one. Please lay-off the kook-aid. You have a long way back to reality.

This is why a reset will be painful. Many people still believe there are 'sides' in our government.

The only sides are the super rich supported by their brain-washed masses and the rest of us outside that group struggling to survive.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:55 | 2153603 Stack Trace
Stack Trace's picture


If you really want to be free you need to let go your belief in our political system as it stands, it means taking responsibility for your thoughts and postions and that can seem like a heavy burden.

Turn off the 'faux' news and sensational misinformation about impending civil wars led by the evil left.

Maybe after a little time the fog will lift from your vision and you will start to witness the ugliness of Babylon in her true dark glory and be repulsed to your core, even though at times missing the seductive touch of anesthesia she brought to the burden of truths

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:14 | 2153964 Baleful Runes 4 U
Baleful Runes 4 U's picture

some moron wrote-

". That's what OWS is really about, despite its high sounding ambitions it is really a proxy army for Obama the community organizer to run a socialist revolution"

yeah that's why DHS was coordinating with local police to evict them. and that's why obama buddies like emmanuel are doing whatever they can to restrict their actions.

obama is utterly and completely reviled among the hardcore ows


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:32 | 2153516 maxmad
maxmad's picture

Looks like wallstreet is running out of steam from this one already.... If you people dont start buying, the elites will be forced to take us to war!

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:39 | 2154061 xcehn
xcehn's picture

Fraud Street is salivating over the prospects of retail investors returning to the casinos.  A lot of them, including myself, am out for the foreseeable future.  Long on cash, pm, collapse preparations.  Amazing how many 'intelligent' people are buying all the propaganda and joining the full retard party.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:33 | 2153520 Dermasolarapate...
Dermasolarapaterraphatrima's picture

Growth = Printing nowadays

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:34 | 2153521 stopcpdotcom
stopcpdotcom's picture

But surely these bankers are doing God's work?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:34 | 2153522 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

I thought the first domino was iceland.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:08 | 2153659 Deo vindice
Deo vindice's picture

But the Icelanders wouldn't play the bankers' game.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:35 | 2153530 adr
adr's picture

Mmmmmmmm infinite growth, riches without work. Buy one share of Apple and retire on it 30 years later. Wow, what a wonderfull dream we have all been sold.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:38 | 2153541 xcehn
xcehn's picture

The mainstream media will sleep through everything until they announce the 'breaking' news story that the global economy is on the verge of collapse.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:49 | 2153585 Alex Kintner
Alex Kintner's picture

Ha ha. So true. If you listen to CNN, you'd think the depression is over. They are saying it's all behind us and have declared recovery well underway. I want whatever they are smokin -- rolled into a Big Fattie.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:27 | 2153777 xcehn
xcehn's picture

While they know things are dire, as tools of the PTB, they will feed the illusions for as long as possible.  They did the same thing before and right after the '29 crash.  Instead of reporting that Greece is on fire, they report that "Greek optimism pushes Europe stocks higher."  The media tools have gone full retard:  it's 'happy days are here again' all over.  As the saying goes, 'the more things change, the more they remain the same.'

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:41 | 2154073 tsx500
tsx500's picture

yup. and i couldn't help but notice sunday nite the complete lack of any coverage of Athens burning...i think all i saw was a sentence or two of text scrolling rapidly across the bottom of one of the channels...   however i was very easily able to keep updated on exactly which prescription pills and illegal drugs were(allegedly) found next to the body of some irrelevant has-been drugged-out ex-pop star .      

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 15:36 | 2154688 xcehn
xcehn's picture

Mass media is the most powerful tool used by the ruling class to manipulate the masses. It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes and defines what is normal and acceptable. This article looks at the workings of mass media through the theories of its major thinkers, its power structure and the techniques it uses, in order to understand its true role in society.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:39 | 2153545 Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

if one looks closely, these banks aspire to be gods

Men are damned to be mortal and so they climb to the top of institutions hoping to deify themselves and build something immortal. Money Men have always tried to build their temples to overshadow churches and cathedrals but now they build it with the Credit Side of the Balance Sheet and think these really are "Assets"  even when they are effectively unsecured.


The truth is most Bankers are NO good at banking but have had a really easy ride from the easy credit culture lubricating their dance to destruction.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:40 | 2153553 Crumbles
Crumbles's picture

First the fuel gets scarse
Then the food.
Only then will we see sheep in the streets
And neighbor on neighbor
Reporting the Hoarder next door.
Be careful
But Be Prepared
Be quiet - nothing to steal here
Know where we can get some beer?
Or .45 APC rounds?
We're nearly out

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:44 | 2153569 forexer
forexer's picture

Already long AAPL April puts, bitchez :)

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:07 | 2153654 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Which ones?  480?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:47 | 2153579 bankonzhongguo
bankonzhongguo's picture

Greece is a laboratory.

What can "they" get away with?

The unemployment rates, the cost of fuel and food, what do you do to government bureaucrats before they take to the streets and the trains stop running on time?

Athens still seems intact.

Maybe when the tax collector speaks German.


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:41 | 2153849 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

Everything is a bit of a laboratory, no?  It's all data.  But like any complex system with tons of variables, it's difficult to project.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:52 | 2153596 maxmad
maxmad's picture

Can meet end of road!

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:57 | 2153619 The trend is yo...
The trend is your friend's picture


Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:04 | 2153646 EverythingsSuper
EverythingsSuper's picture

This is what the elite has been pushing forward with, all along. Once the system breaks down, new "emergency" laws will be implemented, to "control" the domestic "terrorism" and "extremism". Uncle Stalin had nothin on dis! Country after country, and then a global government! It's coming.


It's all good, green shoots are everywhere.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:10 | 2153673 Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons's picture

It's already on Fox News:

*People likely to commit violence speak against govt
*They blame the govt for their perceived problems
*Unusual/Extreme actions caught the attention of others
*Active online to show extreme views/connect with others

~Homeland Sec, FBI & Natl Counterterroism centr

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:10 | 2153672 Monedas
Monedas's picture

Capitalism.....home to the richest poor people in the world !  Monedas  2012  It's all soooooo good !

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:21 | 2153745 tobinajwels
tobinajwels's picture

The Zero Hedge comments are great but could someone please expalin what is gonna happen in Portugal next? I still feel as though I am watching a very bad horror movie that does not end?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:24 | 2153755 mktsrmanipulated
mktsrmanipulated's picture

Is the greek bailout package contingent of the psi deal getting done?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:27 | 2153780 tobinajwels
tobinajwels's picture

Good question! I don't know the answer

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:34 | 2153816 lesterbegood
lesterbegood's picture

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make proud...

to all the bankers who are proud of their profession...time's up!

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:39 | 2153833 Texas Ginslinger
Texas Ginslinger's picture

The Germans occupied Greece during WWII and were brutal.
300,000 Greeks died to starvation in Athens during German occupation.
After the war the Greeks in charge were thought to be Nazi sympathizers.
What we are seeing now is the payback to Germany and the Greek politicians.
Call it Zorba’s revenge.

Quite possible that the working class Greek would perceive a default as a victory against the oppressor – a way to even the score after all these years..??
If the Greeks politicians can deliver the upcoming round of stimulus payment (take more German money) before the imminent collapse, all the better…

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:56 | 2153911 Ned Zeppelin
Ned Zeppelin's picture

Too bad 81% of the money Greece the Nation borrows under this phony baloney bailout goes right back out to German (and French) banks. 

Now who's the sucker?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:40 | 2154066 weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

Poor analogy.  The German people didn't have anything to do with this.  You're confusing people w/banks and banksters. 

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:44 | 2153864 Catullus
Catullus's picture

So will someone come to the conclusion that Greece can't guarantee any "austerity" measures that will lower their cash flow deficit because they don't have an accurate accounting of what their situation actually is? Governments "guarantee" loans that default. When they default, the govt picks up the tab. Without knowing what the total outstanding obligations are and what rate which the Greeks assume they will need to make the guarantee whole, they can't guarantee they'll lower spending at all -- payroll cuts or not.

I feel bad for you Greek govt workers at some level. It's really shitty that the strip mall development loan gets paid out before you do, but that's how they decided to let this go down. That submarine that the Greek govt promised to purchase years ago too is well in front of your pay as well.

If you're German, any promises a Greek politician makes to you is about as good as the promises they made to Greek govt workers. Think about it.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:37 | 2154058 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

'...“We can do without the false idols that call themselves banks. In fact, we need them to be dissolved for us to survive and thrive.”..'

amen and amen!! default here and default now!! fuck the banksters - they foisted these shackles of debt upon us and it is now time to throw them off....the world will survive the collapse of goldman sachs....and long rejoice when its partners don orange jumpsuits....

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:48 | 2154114 LookingWithAmazement
LookingWithAmazement's picture

If Greece is the first domino, why are markets rallying?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 15:13 | 2154465 Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons's picture

This is a question I've been wondering ~ and to hedge against the barrage of laughter following this post, I'll say that I've never worked in financials, nor do I have much / enough knowledge of them. Feel free to tear this apart.


Data points that have caught my eye - I won't source them, but I can:

- The Market has risen 6,000+ points (S&P?) since 2008, which was 'Armageddon' 

- 400 American citizens are worth as much as 150,000,000 in the lower bracket (which is your bottom 40% or so), the top 1% 43% ish and the top 20% of USA owns 93% of the financial wealth

- HFTs currently trade over 70% of all (equity only?) trades, and do so by algorithms, not specific company knowledge [i.e. Chinese Room, which can be manipulated by both inputs]

- Going by old (2006/8) UK data, the domestic Market is split as such: Pensions (12.8%) + Insurance companies (10%) + Financial Institutions (10%) + Banks (3.5%1) + Individuals (10%) + "Rest of World" (43% - where do SWFs come in?). In the 60's, Individuals amounted to 54% or so of ownership. I'll assume that this split / trend are fairly universal for now. In the USA (2007) "institutional investors" owned 76.4% of the top 1000 US firms, with pension funds controlling 10%.

- Hedge Funds have become a dominant part of "Institutional Investors" since the 1990's, but have a spotty record of maintaining value for clients (with fees increasing 280% over 10 years)

- Income Inequality has risen sharply in the USA since the 1970's, whilst median wages have stagnated. 

- Global trade has increased, as has non-domestic ownership of shares in all markets

- Individuals now participate much less, barring through intermediaries such as Institutional Investors, however those who do are now worth (per unit) much more % of the total aggregate wealth than before, and actual ownership of shares is less a function of qualitative value than quantitative value.

- Nation States only directly participate in markets for national budgets through their SWFs (? This I'm really not sure of ~ the USA has State level funds, such as Alaska / New Mexico / Texas, but no central ones, so I presume that these are controlled at the State level?)

- Cost cutting / efficiency in companies usually hits labour / work force, as does (machine) efficiency and out-sourcing to other nation states (which do not run pension schemes). Likewise, sub-contracting and non-pension jobs have increased massively in the last 20 years. Ergo, Company / Privately run pension schemes have less participation than before, with higher tier employees gaining more % share of pension returns.


The answer to your question has to be: the market participants now only make up 20% (ish maximum) of a national population ~ in fact, much less if we model it weighted to per capita (i.e. the top 10% of Americans own 90% of the stocks outside of pensions). Simply put: the markets ignore 80% of people as they have no input into the system.

Nation States don't run like this, and actually can't function with 80% non-participation. For a reference, the Roman Empire worked on a 20-30% slave population rate.



I'll add an addendum to that thought line: when a Nation state breaks down, so does its (mature, non-primary resource) markets; but the current market doesn't "price that in" (they exist on different topological strata).

  • 1. I'm assuming that at least part of "Financial Institutions" are owned by banks?
Mon, 02/13/2012 - 13:54 | 2154148 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

just as with a Greek tragedy or a Yeats poem

if ya can't pay your debts you're bankrupt?

banks, greece, you, me, anybody

this is why borrowing more than you carry in a "rainy day" has NEVER been considered a very "smart" idea

i'll bet sophocles and wB1 would understand one of us, too mrY!  but, perhaps you are wagering more than enuf, already, eh?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 14:06 | 2154253 vh070
vh070's picture

The corruption of Democracy: Democruptcy.  It's sad to see and read about every day but it's a fact of life.  Unfortunately we have now reached the point where the schwerpunkt is in sight; the light at the end of the tunnel is a train wreck bearing down on us all at slow motion.

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 15:38 | 2154701 GernB
GernB's picture

All you need to know about the US is that being unable to raise the debt ceiling is equavalent of having balanced budget amendment today. The very thought of having to live within our means struck fear into the hearts of the markets and brought our political system to its knees. Politicians in both parties pretty much said, emphatically, that it would be a disaster, which translates into it being a disaster for us to live within our means. How can any sane, thinking person not draw the conclusions that we re doomed if operating the government soloely on the tqx revenue collected would be a disaster.

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