Greece: The “Closure” of the National Broadcaster

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The politically thoughtless and opposing stand of Pasok and Demar (Democratic Left) to the closure of the corrupt, wasteful, and non-transparent opaque ERT, by the Samaras government, that needed three or eight times more staff than it was necessary, and its replacement in the next few months by a new public broadcaster employing its personnel on axiocratic criteria and not on corrupt government appointments, could endanger the cohesion of the tripartite coalition that is so crucial of Greece’s exit from the economic crisis. Venizelos and Kouvelis must realize that the political fortunes of their parties, since they made their intelligent, brave, and politically responsible decision to support a New Democracy government, are tied-up with the success or not of the Samaras government of extricating the country from its economic woes and thus saving the country from a devastating and calamitous bankruptcy. The electorate will not remember or extol their parties for their stand against the closure of ERT or for any other issue that is secondary to the main goal, i.e., pulling Greece out of the crisis, but will punish them electorally if the Samaras government fails in this great task.

That is why it is stupendous foolishness on the part of Pasok and Demar to jeopardise the up till now correct policies of the Samaras government that show clearly, according to all serious economic commentators and institutions such as Standard and Poor’s and Finch, that Greece has been put on the right track to overcome the crisis and these policies will reignite its economy at the beginning of next year.

The respective leaders of Pasok and Demar must be constantly alert and on guard not to derail the Samaras government, either by inadvertence or by frivolous, doltish, and politically irresponsible stunts, which with accelerating speed reaches the goal of putting an end to the crisis. As the corollary to the derailment of the Samaras government will be the total political obliteration of Pasok and Demar as a result of their association with a failed government. But it will be worse; their destruction will lead to the destruction of Greece itself. The collapse of the Samaras government will be followed by the rise to power either of the extreme left or the extreme right. Thus Pasok and Demar by contributing accidentally if not stupidly to the collapse of New Democracy will be opening the doors of totalitarianism to the country. Will they persist to oppose the Samaras government on secondary issues with the danger of creating an unstoppable momentum against it that could fracture the ideologically brittle composition of the tripartite government? Will Venizelos and Kouvelis foolishly sow their political wild oats on a ground whose pernicious crop will be the fascistic twins, Syriza or Golden Dawn?

Hic Rhodus hic salta

Rudd Stopping Boats at the Price of Exposing his Cant about his Humanitarianism

By Con George-Kotzabasis—June 24, 2013

At last, Kevin Rudd, after swallowing a double dose of Viagra he is entering the ‘seraglio of reality’ that you can only stop the boats carrying asylum seekers not by a policy of immaculate conception, as he has done in the past when he repudiated and displaced Howard’s Pacific Solution, but only by forcefully violating the ‘hymen’ of this intricately difficult problem and giving birth to a hard line policy that will decisively stop illegal migrants from entering Australia. His deal with Papua New Guinea (PNG) to resettle refugees in the latter is a masterstroke that will achieve this up till now elusive goal.

This is a craftily made disincentive that will comprehensibly deter asylum seekers from reaching the shores of Australia by boat, since they will know beforehand that they will be send to New Guinea for perpetual settlement. And with the barrage of advertisements that the Rudd government is preparing that will make explicit the new government policy to would-be refugees and by implicitly conveying to them the inimical environment in which they will be residing, this will erase any incentive  attempting to enter Australia by paying people smugglers when their dangerous and expensive passage over the sea will take them not to the social and economic paradise of Australia but to the hellish socio-economic conditions of the dangerous land of PNG. And the veracity of the appalling and dangerous environment in which refugees will be placed is being ironically corroborated, willy-nilly, by all their ‘humanitarian’ supporters, like David Marr, and defence lawyers, who have already in their shrill shouts denounced Rudd’s announcement as “a day of shame” for Australia depicting in dramatic terms the great dangers that refugees will be facing in this hellishly bad setting once they are settled in PNG. After refugees becoming cognisant of the infernal conditions in which they will be living in, by these statements of their own supporters too (thus all the fans and backers of asylum seekers will find themselves being redundant and deprived of their libidinal pleasure by showing their heart on their sleeves, by their own ironic contribution to the stopping of the boats), who of the illegal migrants would be willing to pay a smuggler to be transported by Charon to the Hades of PNG and not to the paradisiac land of Australia?

Beyond any doubt, if the Rudd government will retain to the end the strength and acquire the determination to implement this hard line policy and there are no insurmountable legal challenges to it will exultantly succeed in this endeavour to protect the borders of Australia. And Kevin Rudd from a weak politician will be metastasized into the Roman god Terminus who guarded the boundaries of the republic by the force of arms. But if he is going to avoid from embarrassing the Roman god, he must tear the veil of pretence that covers the ugly features of this new policy and hails it as being humanitarian by arguing fatuously and emotionally that it will save lives by preventing boat people from drowning. Indeed, he will save them from drowning at sea but only by drowning them on dry land, in the socially cesspool of Papua New Guinea. Thus, his ‘humanitarianism’ will be swallowed in the whirlpool of his own hard line policy. Mockingly, he himself has already admitted that his new policy on illegal migrants has all the hard features of a porcupine—to use a metaphor. And the reason he has adopted this porcupine is, other than winning votes, to prevent boat people coming to Australia.

In his by now double replication of “me-tooism”of John Howard—the first time he professed to be willing to imitate Howard, as dyed in the wool conservative, in economic policy, this time he is doing it on border protection—he is out-distancing the latter in his hard line, like a galloping horse running next to a mule. And if he doesn’t lose his balance riding this winning stallion over the rough ground of politics, which so many times before enfeebled his policies by making them captive to populism, he will triumphantly pass the winning post and stop the boats.

I rest on my oars: your turn now              

Marxistoid Economists Consider Bankrupt Left as Saviour of Greece

Fair is foul, and foul is fair, /Hover through the fog and filthy air (Witches of Macbeth chanting their cursing ditty)

By Con George-Kotzabasis— July 04, 2013

In their article published in the New York Times  on June 23, under the title “Only the Left Can Save Greece”, the two politically ‘pinkish’ economists teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, James Galbraith (the son of the famous John Galbraith) and Yannis Varoufakis, argue that neither America nor Europe should fear an ascension to power of the Left wing party of Syriza in Greece on the contrary, they should applaud it, as a government of the left would reverse the defective policies of the European Union that have been so destructive to the Greek polity and to its people as well as to many other European countries.

The two economists were shocked at the closure of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) and denounced the Samaras government for its authoritarian and undemocratic action, of depriving Greeks of a public service of information and entertainment that was invaluable to them. The government however closed the public broadcaster temporarily and planned to replace this cesspool of administrative corruption, opacity, and cronyism, for which each Greek household had to pay a levy of 50 Euros per year, with a new public broadcaster not run by the government but by personnel chosen on meritocratic criteria and professionalism that would upgrade the service provided to Greek viewers and at a cheaper price.  Galbraith and Varoufakis, in their support of this corrupt and inefficiently run public entity  and demand of its reopening, found a kindred political ally in the leader of the Marxist party of Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, who had committed himself to re-open with all its personnel intact if he became prime minister. Tsipras’ crocodile tears for the public broadcaster, which in the recent past had condemned as being the mouthpiece of the extreme right, exposed his blatant political opportunism in this U-turn from hate to love for ERT. But they found him also to be an invaluable ally to their economic proposals of how to lift Greece out of the crisis. .

Galbraith’s and Varoufakis’ solution to the crisis springs from the growing of a hundred blooming flowers in the luxuriantly prodigal Keynesian garden. Their package of Keynesian remedies consist of “a kind of European equivalent of America’s post-crisis Troubled Asset Relief program; an investment and job program; and a European initiative to meet the social and human crisis by  strengthening  unemployment insurance, basic pensions, deposit insurance, and the expansion of core public institutions like education and health.” Notice, that all of these remedies are to be financed by  government and taxes from private enterprises. How then government can finance all these things when its coffers are empty and depend on European loans to pay for primal services such as schools, hospitals, and public servants, and when private enterprise has no incentive to function or remain in an unstructured economy that has been for many years inimical to it? And the two economists do not make  a pip about the necessity of private foreign and domestic investments that are the only economically sustainable and viable investments that can initiate growth and economic development that are the sine qua non that will pull Greece out of the crisis. And that these investments can only be made under the incentive  of structural economic reforms that are favorable to private enterprise, and strict fiscal policies that perforce can only be accomplished by hard measures which are inevitably painful to the general populace.

Since neither the political color nor the gray matter of Galbraith and Varoufakis were able to convince serious politicians and economists in the Euro zone, or Greece, of the correctness of their Keynesian mirage as a solvent to the European and Greek crisis, they found in the fiasco leadership of Syriza, of Tsipras, the intellectual salvation of their by now withered flowers of their Keynesian remedy. (This speaks volumes about the value of their proposals in that they found their support and cerebral salvation in the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Greek left.) Tsipras bereft of any tenable economic policies, and rationalizing this vacuity in policy making by populist rhetorical denunciations of the policies of the Samaras government, eagerly embraced the policies of Galbraith and Varoufakis, which ideologically are cognate to his own as a ne plus ultra government interventionist himself, thus giving to his own policies some sort of academic prestige from this ‘south of the border’ economists that he is unable to get from more serious experts in the profession. (But beggars cannot choose.)

Indeed, the policies of Tsipras have their source in a variegated coterie of Marxists getting their inspiration from the flashing pan of Marxism, as the rising sun of the latter has long ago disappeared from the astral constellation of the universe, never to rise again. Tsipras, as a true believer of the great man, Karl Marx, attended the Marxist organised Subversive Festival of Zagreb in Croatia last March, which was likewise attended by both Galbraith and Varoufakis. Indeed, the former announced with pride his attendance of the Festival, in a lecture he gave to socialists in the German Parliament last week, where the gladiators of the great imperator Karl Marx had gathered together from all over the world and rushed into the arena of the Amphitheatre of Zagreb, with nets in one hand and swords in the other, to fight and slay the wild animals of capitalism, which their predecessors in the socialist camp, even better armed with technological weapons, had failed to slay. Moreover, Tsipras was an aficionado of Chavez and had visited Venezuela last year with the hope of getting financial help  from its president with an implied commitment of making Greece a protectorate of Venezuela, if not the European Venezuela. And yet Galbraith and Varoufakis in their political naiveté write in their article in the New York Times that the Americans have nothing to fear from a Syriza government.

Galbraith and Varoufakis, like the witches of Macbeth cursing the Samaras’ government as foul, undemocratic and authoritarian, slavishly implementing the dictates of the European Union, and as economically incompetent, are predicting its downfall while stirring the pot of their quackish remedies which nobody will ‘buy’ other than Tsipras. Meanwhile, Samaras wisely, assiduously, and decisively is transforming Greece within the short span of one year by an unprecedented series of structural reforms that are increasing competition–Greece is in the 22 position internationally for the first time–reducing the bureaucracy, especially its inefficient part that was an obstacle to investments, and planning to make it more efficient on meritocratic standards, changing the economic milieu by making it friendly to business and investments, and leashing the arbitrary and ruinous power of unions which for many years had prevented foreign investments in the country. Moreover by his virtuoso performance in the negotiations with the European Union and the IMF, Samaras  has blunted some of the austerity measures that have been a major factor in obstructing the re-igniting of the economy and artfully polishing these measures that will put Greece on the track of development. He was able to convince the leaders of the EU to provide Greece with extra funds for employment programs that will materialize by the beginning of 2014, more resources from the European Bank of Investments so they can be ploughed into small and medium sized businesses. He has started building Autobahns that have created 25,000 new jobs and he has enticed the economically hard thinking Chinese government to invest 350,000 million Euros in the port of Piraeus thus making it the entrepot of commerce between south-east Asia and Europe. ( The European Council announced that the port of Piraeus will be named as the capital port of Europe for 2015.) Also the Chinese are interested in making more investments in the infrastructure of the country, especially in its railway network by which they will transport their goods into Europe. But the most important and greatest achievement of the Samaras’ government up to this moment has been the building, through Greece, of the conduit by the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) that will convey natural gas from Azerbaijan to the heart of Europe. TAP will invest the huge amount of 1.5 billion in Greece and will generate 12,000 jobs by 2014 in the country. This, according to one authority in the energy industry, has been the personal accomplishment of Samaras who in his visit of Azerbaijan and meeting with the Prime Minister of the country three weeks ago, convinced the latter that it would be more efficient and economically cheaper to build the conduit through Greece instead of through Bulgaria and Romania, a project which the international consortium backing it was favorable to win, and lost it only, with the intervention of Samaras. Furthermore, this enormous investment, behind which one of its investors is the global gigantic company BHPBilliton, engenders confidence to other investors that Greece is about to pull itself out of the crisis, and hence, encourages and attracts more investments into the country and thus will increase employment which is one of the major challenges of the government.

The government under the statesmanship of Samaras is determined to pull Greece out of the crisis and not to squander the sacrifices Greeks had to make for the economic, political, and cultural Renaissance of the country. The great, fair achievements of the Samaras government, in an unprecedented short span of time, are depicted and cursed as foul by the two Marxistoid economists, James Galbraith and Yannis Varoufakis. Ignominy, loss of intellectual honor, is of no concern to them.

I rest on my oars:Your turn now 

Egypt: Which Side Will the Dominoes Fall?

In view of the removal of  President Morsi by the army responding to the call of the majority of Egyptians for his ousting, I’m republishing the following essay that was written in February 2011, that foreshadowed and tried to prevent by a proposal of mine the fall of  the country to radical Islam,  for the readers of this blog.

By Con George-Kotzabasis February 08, 2011

Swallowing victory in one gulp may choke one.

Egypt, not unexpectedly for those who have read history and can to a certain extent adumbrate its future course, as one of the offsprings (Tunisia was the first one) of the rudimentary Democratic paradigm that was established in Iraq by the U.S. ‘invasion’, has a great potential of strengthening this paradigm and spreading it to the whole Arab region. The dominoes that started falling in Iraq under a democratic banner backed by the military power of the Coalition forces are now falling all over the Arab territories dominated by authoritarian and autocratic governments. The arc that expands from Tunisia to Iran and contains all other Arab countries has the prospect and promise of becoming the arc of Democracy. But Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty in physics also and equally applies to politics. For one cannot predict, especially in a revolutionary situation, and more so, when it is combined with fledgling and immature political parties that is the present political configuration in Egypt as well as of the rest of the Arab world due to the suppression of political parties by their authoritarian regimes, whether the dominoes will fall on the side of Democracy or on the side of Sharia radical Islam. This is why the outcome of the current turmoil in Egypt is of so paramount geopolitical importance. And that is why the absolute necessity of having a strong arm at the helm that will navigate the presently battered State of Egypt toward the safe port of Democracy is of the utmost importance. Contrariwise, to leave the course of these momentous events in the hands of the spontaneous and totally inexperienced leaders of the uprising against Mubarak is a recipe of irretrievable disaster. For that can bring the great possibility, if not ensure, that the dominoes in the whole Arab region will be loaded to fall on the side of the extremists of Islam. And this is why in turn for the U.S. and its allies in the war against global terror, it is of the uttermost strategic importance to use all their influence and prowess to veer Egypt toward a Democratic outcome.

One is constrained to build with the materials at hand. If the only available materials one has to build a structure in an emergency situation are bricks and mortar he will not seek and search for materials of a stronger fibre, such as steel, by which he could build a more solid structure. Presently in Egypt, the army is the material substance of ‘bricks and mortar’ by which one could build a future Democratic state. It would be extremely foolish therefore to search for a stronger substance that might just be found in civil society or among the protesters of Tahrir Square. That would be politically a wild goose chase at a time when the tectonic plates of the country are moving rapidly toward a structural change in the body politic. The army therefore is the only qualified, disciplined organization that can bring an orderly transitional change on the political landscape of the country. Moreover, the fact that it has the respect of the majority of the Egyptian people and that it has been bred and nourished on secular and nationalist principles, ensures by its politically ‘synthetic nature’ that it will not go against the wishes of the people for freedom and democracy, that it will be a bulwark against the extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that it will be prepared to back the change from autocracy to democracy, if need be, with military force and thus steer the country away from entering the waters of anarchy and ‘permanent’ political instability that could push Egypt to fall into the lap of the supporters of Allahu Akbar.

The task of the army or rather its political representatives will be to find the right people endowed with political adeptness, experience, imagination, and foresight from a wide pool of political representation that would also include members of the old regime who will serve not only for their knowledge in the affairs of state but also as the strong link to the chain of the anchor that will prevent any possibility that the new political navigation of the country will go adrift. The former head of Egyptian Intelligence Omar Suleiman will play a pivotal role in this assembly of political representation which will not exclude members of the Muslim Brotherhood. What is of vital importance however is that this new political process will not be violently discontinued from the old regime. While room will be made to ensconce the new representatives of the people to government positions, this will not happen at the expense of crowding out old government hands. The only person that will definitely be left out will be Hosni Mubarak and some of his conspicuous cronies. And Mubarak himself has already announced that neither he nor his son will be candidates in the presidential elections in September. The call of the Tahrir Square protesters to resign now has by now become an oxymoron by Mubarak’s announcement not to stand as president in the next election. Further it is fraught with danger as according to the Constitution if he resigns now elections for the presidency must be held after sixty days. That means a pot- pourri of candidates for president will come forward without the people having enough time either to evaluate their competence nor their political bona fide and might elect precipitatingly without critical experience and guidance a ‘dunce’ for president, an Alexander Kerensky in the form of Mohamed Al Baradei, that will open the passage to the Islamic Bolsheviks. To avoid this likely danger I’m proposing the following solution that in my opinion would be acceptable to all parties in this political melee.

The Vice President Omar Suleiman as representative of the armed forces, to immediately set up a committee under his chairmanship that will comprise members of the variable new and old political organizations of the country, whose task will be to appoint the members of a ‘shadow government’ whose function in turn will be to put an end to the protests that could instigate a military coup d’état , to make the relevant amendments to the constitution that will guide the country toward democracy, and to prepare it for the presidential elections in September. The members of this shadow government will be a medley of current holders of government that would include the most competent of all, Ahmed Nazif, the former prime minister, who was sacked by Mubarak as a scapegoat, and of the old and new political parties that emerged since the bouleversement against Mubarak. The executive officer of this ‘government in the wings’ will be Vice President Suleiman, who, with the delegated powers given to him by the present no more functional president Mubarak will be the real president during this interim period. Finally, the members of this shadow government will have a tacit agreement that their political parties will support candidates for president in the September elections who were selected by consensus among its members.

The ‘establishment’ of such a shadow government might be the political Archimedean point that would move Egypt out of the crisis and push it toward democracy.

Hic Rhodus hic salta

Reply to American who Blames US Policies for Irrupting Terror

I’m republishing this article that was written on March 2008 for the readers of this blog hoping to find it of some interest.
By Con George-Kotzabasis

 

This is no time for populist politicians like Obama, nor, could I say, for “aureole” New York Times commentators like Paul Krugman, who are attempting to bait the electorate’s hate of the Republicans. But for politicians with mettle, sagacity, and visual clarity and imagination to deal with the stupendous issues that America faces in a very dangerous world that emanates from the great Islamist threat. It’s for this reason that John McCaine is Napoleon’s “voila une homme”.

It’s an easy intellectual escape, when one is devoid of arguments, or should I say when one is replete with hackneyed arguments, to dub one’s interlocutor’s points as being a “straw man”. You still see war and great dangers emanating solely from states, and you cannot see, due to lack of imagination and historical perspective, those “stateless” invisible enemies who operate both from within and from outside the countries they are attacking are even more dangerous, especially when, the rapid technological development accelerates and consummates their possibility of acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and indeed, nuclear ones, and which they will use with fanatic glee against the infidels of the West and the “Great Satan” America.

Further, your contention that Republican policies created terror is your own real straw man. It’s America’s unprecedented success in the history of mankind in the fields of the economy, science, technology, and cultural and political power and its status as the sole superpower that has created the envy and also the hate of many people of the world against it, especially of people with retarded cultures and chiliastic religious beliefs. Residing in countries of corrupt and authoritarian governments, and as a result of this they have been left behind in the race of economic development and tend to scapegoat America for all their ills.

Policies are objectively evaluated geopolitically and morally only within the context they are made. Hopping in bed with ugly and murderous regimes was an unenviable choise that the U.S. perforce had to make during its cofrontation with a powerful planetary enemy, such as the Soviet Union had been. Sure enough, some of these policies alienated many people, but the end result was to save the world from the most brutal of all regimes in the history of mankind, Communism.

There is no costless freedom. And often one has to pay a high price for its keep, politically and morally, not to say bloodily. Thucydides tour de force History of the Peloponnesian War, clearly depicts the intricacies of geopolitics and the unholy alliances nations have to make to prevent their downfall.

Your Opinion on this issue…geopolitics

Greece:What to Do with Missed the Mark Politics of Coalition Partners?

By Con George-Kotzabasis May 3, 2013

The Samaras’ Government, like Atlas on his back, is carrying and attempting to transform and move Greece’s awesome heavy burden of unprecedented economic insolvency, since the ending of the Second-World-War, onto the stage of economic recovery and development. By succeeding in this most difficult enterprise it will also justify the positive, against the negative, economic remedies formulated in the second Memorandum by the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the so called Troika, for the purpose of saving Greece from economic catastrophe, and thus simultaneously enhance the credibility, and indeed, the survival of the EU as an institution of crucial influence and guidance in world affairs.

In this call to national salvation three politically and ideologically disparate parties 0f New Democracy, Pasok, (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and the Democratic Left (Demar) decided to form a coalition government whose main goal was to keep Greece within the European Union and salvage the country, with the financial help of the latter, from economic bankruptcy that would have devastated the standard of living of the major part of the population and would have brought a proud nation to the status of indigence and economic despair for at least a generation. The two leaders, of Pasok and Demar, Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis, respectively, seeing the prodigious dangers the country was facing, raised their height to these dire circumstances and wisely decided to stand hand in hand with an ideological opponent, that is, the liberal conservative party of New Democracy and its leader Antonis Samaras, for the purpose of saving Greece from this imminent catastrophe. Hence the two leaders of the left put their ideological reputation and the future viability, and, indeed, the existence of their parties at immense risk by their decision to support a government led by Samaras, their erstwhile conservative opponent, and tie themselves and their parties to the fortunes of the latter, that is, whether the Samaras’ government will succeed or not in pulling the country out of the crisis and start the economic development that is so vital in overcoming the terrifying economic difficulties that Greece countenances at the moment.

There are grounds to make one believe that Greece economically and politically might be at a turning point. The Samaras government after succeeding in convincing its European partners, in exceedingly difficult negotiations, to provide the funds Greece needed, to ignite its economy and place the country on the path of development, under less onerous terms of the bailout than the initial ones the Europeans were demanding. This was a great success and a great achievement of the government and demonstrating at the same time its virtuoso skills in the art of negotiations.

The government announced last month that it had beat its budget targets for 2012. Finance Minister Stournaras claimed that the government was close to achieving a primary surplus—the budget surplus before taking into account payments on the debt—this year that would deliver, according to the mutual agreement of the parties, a further package of help from the Euro-zone.  Employment statistics also showed, that within the span of the last two months the number of workers hired exceeded by nearly nine thousand the number of workers dismissed for the first time since the crisis. Furthermore, the recapitalization of the banks was on track and bound to be consummated in the next few weeks and the spigots of liquidity were therefore ready to be opened that would provide the private sector the funds for investment. Last week, the president of the National Bank stated that levels of liquidity are progressively established and 10 billion Euros could flow into the real economy. And already 50% of one thousand of small and large private enterprises announced that they were preparing to start investing within the current year. The internationally renowned telecommunications company Nokia is planning to establish a branch in Athens that would employ hundreds of highly skilled technicians and could become a magnet that would attract other foreign corporate giants to the country and thus by their presence would provide a continuous economic confidence for the country’s future. The Task Force of the European Commission last week issued favourable reports that the Greek economy was about to be re-ignited although it warned the government that small businesses had been dried of funds and their future operations were at risk. Also the credit ratings agency Moody’s estimated that Greece would have a positive rate of growth in 2014, after five years of negative growth.

Thus we see that there are ample encouraging signs that Greece might be at the crucial point of overcoming the crisis. It is most important therefore that the two parties, Pasok and Demar, that support the Samaras government, must first take note of these auspicious indices and that the current measures of the government are putting the country on the axis of economic development, and second, must not jeopardise this favourable situation by rigidly sticking to their parties position on other issues, such as labor relations and on the restructuring of the public sector, which are contrary to the overall current policy of the government and could endanger the economic progress the latter is making in overcoming the crisis.

The coalition partners must become fully aware that their political viability is tied up not with the sacred ideological position these parties hold on a variety of issues, contra the neo-liberal position of New Democracy, and pushing these toward their consummation, at this critical juncture whose primary goal is the salvation of the country, is a most imprudent diversion from the main goal. On the contrary, their political future is tied up with the success of the Samaras government in pulling the country out of the crisis. The electorate will not remember them and will not elect them for being pure to their ideological position but for their pragmatic support of a neo-liberal government that saved Greece from economic oblivion and mass poverty. In the event the Samaras administration fails in this complex immensely difficult and great task would likewise totally discredit and everlastingly condemn and cast to political oblivion both Pasok and Demar for their support of this failed government, no matter how favorable the former have been on other minor issues, in comparison to the major issue, that are dear to the hearts of the many. Their responsibility to the country and to themselves therefore lies in their pragmatic assessment of the policies of the government beyond ideology as to whether they are better placed to extricate the country from the crisis.

It is for this reason that in this process of the Renaissance of Greece, under the wise and strong leadership of Antonis Samaras, the cohesion of these partners in the salvation of the country is of unaccountable importance. Thus for Pasok and Demar not to miss the mark is to realize that the failure or success, in this uniquely historical venture of saving Greece, will determine their political viability in the future and not their ideological hues on secondary issues.

I rest on my oars:your turn now

What is Needed for a Recycling Mechanism to Start?

A reply to Professor Varoufakis on his proposal of a recycling mechanism from countries with surpluses in his talk to the OECD.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The working of a recycling mechanism from countries that are in surplus would primarily need the physical stature of Professor Varoufakis, that is, lean efficient competitive economies with no wastage baggage and lean governmental apparatuses. Most economies, however, of southern Europe are in a state of pathological obesity in both regards and thus are being unfavourable turfs for surplus countries to plough their money into them. For the wheels of the recycling mechanism to start therefore, it would be necessary to fundamentally restructure the economies and governments in the former case, on the ethos of a competitive market economy, and on the latter, by removing the destructive policies of government intervention and excessive regulation in the sphere of private enterprise.  Only countries free from the deleterious effects of un-competitiveness and government dirigisme and replete with entrepreneurial dynamism acting within a private enterprise system can be favoured to be the recipients of the manna of the recycling mechanism.

The above argument is reinforced by the two historical examples in Professor Varoufakis’ presentation where he shows that the Americans at the end of the Second World War recycled the major part of their surplus to Germany and Japan, the two countries that were renowned for their economic efficiency and technological feats and operating within the private enterprise system, and the second, when China and the oil producing countries of the Arab peninsula recycled their surpluses to America on the basis of the same principle, that is, of economic prowess and competitiveness. In neither case were these surpluses recycled to “Africanized” economies. Likewise, why European countries, such as Germany, that are in surplus, should recycle the latter to the economically sclerotic countries of the south unless the latter engaged in a radical restructuring of their economies that initially would be followed with a lot of pain as Greece presently shows with the radical changes that are taking place in its economy under the robust and imaginative Samaras government? It is easy to talk about the misanthropy of the elites but what about the misanthropy of those politicians of the left, such as Andreas Papandreou, who for years created a false prosperity for their peoples without telling them of the heavy price and suffering they would have to pay for it and the great crisis that they would be engulfed in?

Can Professor Varoufakis envisage that the great foundational changes that are required, so the recycling river of funds will inundate those countries that are at the bottom pit, can occur without pain? Is the Heracletian profound maxim that out of “great discord rises the greatest harmony” to be negated by the votaries of the “dismal science”?

Guest (Xenos) says,

Incorrect, in every way and on every level.

Per capita, Greece received more than any other country from the Mashall Plan and other forms of financial assistance from the USA. Germany andJapan received the most because (a) they were the largest countries lined up to receive funds, and (b) because they had been decimated by the war. It had nothing to do with your homespun nonsense about “Africanised countries” — whatever you think those might be.

Your speech is nothing more than empty rhetoric and has no relation to historical reality or economic analysis.

Kotzabasis says,

Greece was a special case due to the civil war and the threat of a communist take-over and the fact that America replaced Britain as the plenipotentiary of Greece and its protector from communism. And it goes without saying that part of the reason why funds flowed to Germany and Japan was their devastation. But the major reason was that the Americans wanted to create a locomotive of economic development in these two regions and that is why they chose Germany and Japan renowned for their past economic prowess. Professor Varoufakis himself in his presentation makes it quite explicit that China invested its surplus in the United States precisely because of the latter’s high competitiveness (M.E).

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Terrorists Claim Rights under Loose Garments of Human Rights Lawyers

With the terrorist attack in Boston and the capture of one terrorist human rights lawyers are readying themselves to render to the captured terrorist the Miranda enactment that gives him the right not to talk to the police. It is for this reason that I’m republishing this article written in 2009.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Supreme Court judge Bernard Bongiorno, who is presiding over the biggest terror trial in Australia of the twelve radical Muslims (The “Dirty Dozen” bombers) who were allegedly preparing themselves to be holy martyrs in their jihad against Australia by killing innocent civilians, has been persuaded by SC (Senior Counsel) of the defendants, Jim Kennan and Mark Taft, that the alleged terrorists are being treated inhumanely by the authorities and are in a state of mental collapse.

Before we go into the ruling of the judge I think it would be appropriate to know few things about the two SC of the accused,. Jim Kennan, and MarkTaft. The former was a minister in the Kane and Kirner Labor governments in Victoria who held the portfolios of Attorney General and Transport in the mid-eighties. Melbournians will remember the Tramways Union strike in 1989 when trams had blockaded the metropolitan streets of Melbourne for more than a month preventing commuters coming into the city and threatening many small shops with bankruptcy. The strike lasted that long only as a result of Kennan being a weak minister as well as of the incompetence and languid state of his advisors. One example which I remember vividly, was his press secretary watching the Commonwealth Games with his feet on his desk whilst John Halfpenny ( the then Secretary of The Trades Union Council), who was leading the strike, was besieging with his goons the minister and threatening the livelihood of many small shop keepers. At the end of the strike, Jim Kennan was removed from the Ministry of Transport and was placed back to his Attorney General’s position. And Bernard Bongiorno was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court by the Brack’s Labor government in 2000. ( Birds of a feather flock together.)

The other SC Mark Taft was a member of the Communist Party following the footsteps of his father Bernie Taft, who, as the Victorian Secretary of the Party dissolved it in 1991 in the wake of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. But he dissolved the Communist Party not for the purpose of expressing his political mea culpa for the millions of peoples who were slaughtered by the Leninists doctrinaires Stalin and Mao, but for the purpose of conceiving its bastard sibling the Socialist Forum hoping that its members would become an influential part of the left of The Labor Party. In the latter goal the older Taft succeeded completely, while the younger Taft as a member of the executive of the Socialist Forum and as one of its foremost ideologues, second only to his father, was ideologically grooming many members of the left of the Labor party, among whom were the present Minister of Finance, Lindsay Tanner, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, of the Rudd Labor Government. Now that both SC Jim Kennan and Mark Taft have abandoned the heavy burdens of the public sector, which for both of them were a total failure, and have chosen to be lured by the entrepreneurial temptations of the private sector and gratify themselves with its rich tastes, they decided to open their appetite for the latter with the “aperitif” of being the defenders of the “Dirty Dozen”, in Australia’s biggest terrorism trial. But enough of this minuscule biographical diversion of our two attorneys of defense, and let us now deal with the “unprecedented “ruling of the presiding judge of the trial.

Justice Bongiorno being a practical judge and not an ivory tower one, was not satisfied of being convinced merely by the “theoretical” pleadings of the two SC that the defendants were treated inhumanely by the authorities, especially when they were shackled hand and foot while they were transported from prison to the Court locked in the steel compartments of the prison vans, and wanted to test this allegation in a practical way. So when he visited Barwon prison where the twelve were being held he had himself locked up in “the small steel compartment…in one of the prison vans… to get a better understanding of their treatment”. Convinced now “beyond a reasonable doubt” by his own “travailed” experience during his own “transportation” to Barwon prison that the alleged would-be terrorists were treated by the authorities brutally and inhumanely he issued his ukase to the latter that unless they stopped this “intolerable” treatment of the prisoners his honor would “suspend the hearing indefinitely and consider releasing the men on bail”.

Victoria’s Department of Corrections under this hovering threat expeditiously responded positively to the Jupiterian ruling of Justice Bongiorno and implemented most of his directions. In doing so it negated the possibility that some of the twelve defendants would jump bail and break away from the “forceps” of Australian justice and disappearing in a Muslim country. But it did so paradoxically at the expense of the Judge. As it deprived his Honor of the honorific that Muslims, moderate and radical alike, at least in Australia, would have bestowed on the Justice as an indelible sign of their gratitude for this service, i.e., giving the opportunity to their co-believers to escape from the unjust Australian terrorist laws, by replacing their traditional greeting of Salam with Bongiorno, for ever after.

What was most interesting and amusing moreover, was the forensic evidence of the psychiatrists whose painstaking analysis had found the defendants to be psychologically and mentally disturbed—as if people who were prepared to kill hundreds if not thousands of innocent people for their messianic goals and in chase of the seventy-two virgins were not already incurable cases of mental disturbance–and “believed that their condition would deteriorate as the trial progressed”. Needless to say Justice Bongiorno was deeply influenced by this forensic evidence extracted from the “psychiatrist’s couch” and was a decisive element in his “extraordinary”, to quote him, ruling.

Thus we will be told as an entertaining and jovial story, that the twelve bearded fanatics who were “toying” with ideas how to blow up Australians, now that they are standing before the bar accused of planning this atrocity they have metastasized themselves into mere “naughty boys” playing among the skirts of the “libertine” legal profession and claiming from the loose garments of the latter their human rights.

Bongiorno Australia:Have a nice day

I rest on my oars: Your turn now.

Australian Leader in Favour of Preemptive Attack against Irreconcilable Enemies

The following article was written on September 2010. It is republished here for the readers of this blog hoping they will find to be of some interest.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The ‘unanimous rejection and repudiation of terrorism… and commitment to work within the laws of Australia’, by the Muslim leaders who attended the Meeting on 23 of August 2010 in Canberra, must now be used by the Howard government as a “jump-start”, to a “summit” of hard, but not foolhardy, action, that would effectively protect Australia from those fundamentalist Muslims and their followers in our midst, who pose an ominous and a grave threat to the security of our country.

Notwithstanding the support of the six principles, drafted at the Meeting, by the Muslim leaders, the government must not “manure” and water any illusions that these leaders will be able to do anything ‘effective’ against those fundamentalist imams and deflect them from continuing to push their radical-fanatic agenda among their followers, albeit this time, cautiously and stealthily, so they can avoid from being seized by the arm of the law. Fanaticism has the spots of the leopard on its back. And as one cannot change the spots of the latter, it would be the “summit” of folly to believe that the Muslim “summiteers”, by exercising reason and persuasion, could change the nature of fanaticism embodied in these imams. This much was conceded by the Prime Minister himself, who in his riposte to the journalists as to why he had not invited radical Muslims to the Meeting, said that it would be impossible to change the views of fanatics by persuasion. And the evidence is overwhelming that no amount of reasonable arguments can persuade these fanatics to change their views, as despite the flood of concrete evidence to the contrary, they still believe that Osama bin Laden was not behind the attack on 9/11. Even some moderate Muslims believe that bin Laden was not the culprit. And, like the fanatics, they believe in all kinds of Americano-Jewish “twin” conspiracies, such as for example, that the Jews had foreknowledge of the attack, and that was the reason why they had not turned up for work on the day of the attack on the twin towers.

It is on this principle alone, ‘once a fanatic always a fanatic’, that the government must now enact the no “legal niceties” foolproof no loopholes legislation that would prevent, effectively, fundamentalist imams and teachers in Islamic schools, from teaching their doctrine of hate against America and Western nations, and from propagating – by craftier and more devious means, instead of doing this openly and with tongue in cheek as they have done in the past – a holy war against those nations and their peoples, who are fighting global terror in Afghanistan and in Iraq. (And it is precisely for this reason-the fighting of global terror- that countries engaged in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have become targets of terrorists. And not as second rate and rationally shallow commentators, a la Kerry O’Brien and Tony Jones of the ABC, to mention only the most prominent ones in this country, who assert that these countries, and Australia in our case, have become terrorist targets because of their alliance with the U.S. and because of being co-occupiers with the latter in Iraq. These countries and America would not have been in Iraq, if the latter had not been an integral part of global terror, and especially now, when it has become the front-line of global terror. It is the ultimate contradiction on the one hand to agree, as most of these pundits do, that the countries of the free world have no other alternative but to fight global terror, which is a war sans borders and unlocalised, and then to refuse to fight it in the crucible of terror that Iraq has now morphed into.)

The government must realize, that only by legislating a “Sword of Damocles” over the heads of these dangerous fanatics that would deport them to the countries of their origin –if not jail them in this country for treason, if they happen to be Australian citizens–even by stripping them of their Australian citizenship, in the case that they are officially Australians. This can be done by retrospective legislation, in order to carry out their deportation, if they blatantly violated or violate the pledge they have made to their Australian citizenship. Thus, will it be able to protect Australia, to the highest degree possible, from home-grown terrorism.

In the enactment of this legislation protecting Australia, the Howard government must be consistent with the logical position of its foreign policy, as expounded by the Prime Minister himself. He made it crystal-clear, that if a country’s terrorists in our region threatened the security of Australia by weapons of mass destruction, and the government of such a country was unwilling or impotent to prevent such an attack, then Australia would be forced to launch a pre-emptive raid to stop such an attack upon Australia. The Prime Minister cannot do less in regards to the internal enemy that also poses an imminent and lethal threat to the security of our country. The anti-terrorist legislation therefore, that the government is preparing to take, must also comprise the pre-emptive wherewithal, that would abort an attack on our country by home-grown terrorists. If the Prime Minister is willing and prepared to take the greater risk of invading and violating the borders of a sovereign nation to protect Australia, why then cannot he take the lesser risk, of uprooting and “destroying” the enemy within, which is the inalienable sovereign right of Australia, as it would be equally the right of any other nation in the same situation, to protect its people from an enemy attack?

Australia is at war! It has committed its brave soldiers, its sons and daughters, to fight a treacherous fanatical enemy in Afghanistan and in Iraq who is engaged in global terror, and whose goal is no less than the establishment of a block of Islamo-fascist states in the region, that would ultimately threaten the existence of Western civilization. It would be the acme of folly, of historic dimensions, that while Australia is engaged with its allies in such an existential war, that its government would allow a more than possibly operational fifth column of treacherous fanatics in the meantime, to stab Australia in the back. Such a folly, if it were to happen, would be registered in the annals of history as unforgivable and as inexcusable. It would irremediably demean all the sacrifices that our soldiers had made in fighting this war, and it would put an inerasable stain of moral feebleness and political incompetence, upon the up- to- now admirable leadership of the government on the war on global terror.

The Prime Minister, being fully aware of the real stakes of this war against global terror, who, with historical insight, moral fortitude, and political acumen, decided to commit Australian troops to fight it, must not now be squeamish about the necessary force of the legislative measures that must be commensurate to the great threat that is posed by home-grown terrorism. The political leadership of the free world is now at the crossroads of leading from the front or leading from behind. If, as some leaders of the West, such as Chirac, Schroeder, and Beazley – not to leave out our own crop – have decided to lead from behind, pushed by the stream of populism, these leaders will be everlastingly condemned by history, for their intellectual dishonesty, and political opportunism. Those leaders, such as Bush, Blair and Howard, who have decided to lead from the front, against the stream of populism, will be for ever and ever renowned by future ages for their indomitable spirit, that saved Western civilization from these terrorist barbarians.

ECRASEZ L’INFAME DE TERORRISME

Obama’s Limits of Imagination Transformed into Limits of Power

I’m republishing this short piece that illustrates the diplomatic scarcity in international relations that is the inexorable feature of the Obama administration.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Steve Clemons and Ben Katcher are using the ‘shamanistic’ art, the art of a conjurer, to turn the limits of imagination into “the limits of American power.” The “aborted attempt” of the Obama administration to “persuade the Israelis to enact a “settlement freeze”, has nothing to do with US power limits but with lack of imagination and political insight on the part of Obama and the State Department not to foresee the political implausibility of trying to impose such a doltish demand on the Netanyahu government. It’s a dismal failure of policy and not a limit of American power as Clemons and Levy in their conjurers’ role aver.

As for Daniel Levy’s ”asymmetries of power,” WigWag’s post is instructive and unassailable in its historical logic. All defeated nations in wars were due to asymmetries of power.