There’s a lady who’s sure…

I dedicate this post, belatedly, to Christine Lagarde. For her seriously ridiculous remarks on Greek child  poverty not being as worthy of her concern as the poverty of far worse off African children. So, to the Managing Director of the one global organisation which has contributed the most to child poverty in Africa and Latin America, and who is now at the helm of a similar effort to bring similar ‘reforms’ to Greece, I dedicate the following verse…

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold.
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all is one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.

(Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven) And if you want a fitting soundtrack to go along with it (and, no, I do not mean the Zeppelin song itself), click here.


  • Dear Yani
    I was a child during the German occupation in Greece. I have lived through the civil war. I therefore am an authority on hunger which receently has knocked on my door again. The lady has absolutely no qualifications to talk about hunger, except that the organization she leads considers it as the necesary means to recovery. I might be still hungry, but I would like to state that we, the hungry children that grew old and are still hungry, that we are not afraid. We do not know what fear is. Beware…!

  • Dear Yanis, please disregard my previous comment, as it was not formatted properly (especially w.r.t the links provided). I am submitting it again:

    Christine Lagarde lacks the moral standing to lecture anyone. You could remind her (I’m going to provide a healthy number of links here), and everyone who comes in to say he/she agrees with Lagarde’s downright racist rant, that:

    (a) she pays no taxes at all for her ridiculously high income, therefore she’s quite a tax-dodging freeloader.

    (b) Greeks – lower-to-middle-income ones mostly – are quite heavily taxed, according to the OECD. Therefore, the “Greeks are tax dodgers and it’s payback time” line holds as much water as Blood Libel that was used against the Jews in older times (and still keeps popping up from time to time).

    (c) She’d better worry about getting investigated (and probably getting thrown in jail for 10 years or so) for her role in the Bernard Tapie scandal. Heh, a major white-collar criminal lecturing an entire nation and smearing it. How ironic!

    (d) Now she says she feels sympathy for the starving kids in Africa. The very ones the organization she leads has thrown to misery. How hypocritical.

    Please, someone put this perma-tanned waste of flesh out of our misery. We’ve had enough of her lies and her country-destroying schemes.

  • Folks, she has a facebook site send all this stuff directly to her., joseph

  • The Greek mentality is a major problem. Introspection has given way to anger, and whatever reform momentum existed has subsided in favor of a search for scapegoats. The relevant questions are no longer: “how can Greece be productive and competitive” or “how can we address the ailments that most of us recognize exist?” Instead, today’s questions are, “what does the victory of François Hollande mean for Greece,” and “is Angela Merkel bluffing or will she kick Greece out of the Eurozone?” Greece’s new motto is: ask not what you can do for your country; ask what Europe can do for you.

    This is a subtle change: after all, there has always been a keen interest in the international environment and how it affects Greece. But for a few months now, Greece has abandoned the internal debate. We have become obsessed over the “memorandum” and whether we will repeal it, abrogate it, cancel it, amend it, renegotiate it or change it. We are no longer discussing privatizations, salaries, taxes, closed professions, and so on. We have turned our eyes on Europe and make our every move with our eyes fixated on the hands of the other side, trying to gauge the next move. We have turned this into a chess game. Except that it’s a chess game on a sinking ship – we might win the game but what good is that if we drown in the end?

    In the process of going so, we are abdicating our responsibilities. We say, “This is all Europe’s fault, we are but a victim. Help us.” In the beginning of the crisis, we understood that this crisis, while certainly influenced by international events, had certain Greek characteristics. It exposed flaws in the way that Greek society and the Greek economy have been organized. To deal with the crisis, Greece had to cut spending, reform the public and private sector and upgrade the functionality of the state. All this is gone now. In a sense, we have disowned this crisis. There is nothing we can do anymore, we are powerless.

    This lack of ownership risks becoming the greatest casualty of this crisis. Greece has changed from being a fat kid that was going on a diet to a fat kid that wants to sue the candy company. In the end, the fat kid may get a check – but will he get any thinner?

    • πτώση

      “We say, “This is all Europe’s fault, we are but a victim. Help us.””

      What? We say “help us”?
      What’s the matter with you?

      “In the beginning of the crisis, we understood that this crisis, while certainly influenced by international events, had certain Greek characteristics.”

      No ,we didn’t. Maybe you.
      The true origin of the crisis has no Greek characteristics what so ever.

    • vss

      Do not forget to also give the thirty pieces of silver ,you who give thanks.

    • @πτώση
      “We have become obsessed over the “memorandum” and whether we will repeal it, abrogate it, cancel it, amend it, renegotiate it or change it.”

      What you call obsession I see it as despair. People are getting desperate. Your fat kid analogy is sound but not complete.
      It is not a diet you have put the fat kid on. It’s starvation.
      The poor kid is trying to send the message to his “doctors” that this diet is killing him.
      But the “doctors” argue that while he will die of starvation, becoming a skeleton accomplices their objective – making him thinner -!
      Instead of realising that, you propose that while starving, he should be thinking what kind of gymnastic exercises would provide a better muscle tone…

  • Greece, as Mme Lagarde correctly observed, will never extricate itself from its problems if the culture of tax avoidance and non-payment persists, and the deficiency of the Greek debt restructuring with respect to bringing its current debt to GDP ratio well below 80% with immediate effect – the election outcome will do nothing to change these facts, and are thus they are primarily a pointer on whether Greece exits the Euro immediately after, or whether it continues to limp towards the exit.

    • fotis

      Very good fotis.
      Too many Nazis in here that have absolutely no respect for the truth.

    • @ Fotis

      Too many Greeks are all the same: Whenever confronted with an ugly truth, they don’t face it but look at who else can be blamed for something which is completely unimportant.

      Taxing Christine Lagarde won’t change anything in Greece. A higher tax collection quote does.

    • Christine Lagarde’s organization favors tax havens. This means it actually condones and encourages tax dodging. Hell, she herself pays no income tax. She just doesn’t have any credibility to lecture anyone.

    • tmk

      You obviously do not know anything about the Greeks ,than what you want to hear.

    • tmk:

      When you have to resort to defaming the rest of us in order to defend the criminal enterprise that the IMF has become, you know your opinion – and for that matter, you – have lost all legitimacy. You are pathetic.

      Just to make sure that you will not miss it again, the following link was posted in a previous thread on how the World Bank and the IMF destroy Africa: read it and weep

      […] Take a country like Ghana for example.

      Ghana is blessed with abundance of natural resources. The World Bank and the IMF are very interested in countries such as Ghana where they can easily control the natural resources and the markets.

      There used to be some prosperous rice farming communities in the northern parts of Ghana and the government of Ghana used to give those rice producing farmers some farming subsidies to enable them produce rice on a large scale to help feed the nation.

      However, the world bank and the IMF stood in and told the Ghanaian government they would not give Ghana any more loans unless the Ghanaian government cut the farming subsidies the government was giving to the poor rice farmers and the main reason behind it was that, Ghana had to import (!) rice from western countries such as the United States (a major partner of the world bank and the IMF).

      Now Ghana imports most of its rice from abroad at huge prices every year. So at the end of the day, Ghana owes the World Bank and the IMF huge amounts of money but the money did not remain in the Ghanaian economy because Ghana had to use the loan to import food from abroad.

      Meanwhile, the rice producing communities in Ghana could have helped produce enough rice to feed the nation and even export some abroad to make more profit. Now the northern communities in Ghana remain the poorest in the country with no better jobs and no opportunities at all in most parts: Young boys and girls some as young as 9 are migrating to the southern parts of the country to major cities such as Kumasi and Accra (a very dangerous journey for kids) all in search for jobs so they can take care of their poor dying families back home. Most of these kids never return home. Some die along the way and some return worse than before…

    • One request to all commentators: Please refrain from abusive remarks. I shall clamp down on them from now on. Thank you.

    • fotis

      And the last paragraph that you left is ofcourse of utmost importance for the Greeks.
      For this is exactly the goal.

      To drill or to be drilled? This is the question.

  • IMO, Lagarde is a part of the worldwide finance industrie’s conspiracy against humanity. And especially she is a part of the French delta force which has the task to rescue French banks, may it cost the taxpayers of the rest of the world what it wants.

    In this she was rather succesfully supported by French guy Trichet and French guy Strauss-Kahn. She was finance minister, and these two guys the heads of the IMF and the ECB respectively.

    France is playing this game very professionally. Pointing at others to distract the world from what is really going on. One example (data from here: :

    At the beginning of 2010, the french banks were exposed to Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireleand a whopping 33 billion € higher than German banks.

    But the deleveraging was between Q1 and Q4 2010 ten times higher on the french banks’s side: during this period, they transfered 45,5 bn € of risk to the taxpayers, while the German banks shed only 4,3bn €.

    The toxic stuff was transfered to the balance sheet of the ECB (then headed by the French guy Trichet). Didn’t you ever wonder why the ECB bond buying came to halt once Monti took over? I assume: before leaving office, Trichet had the ECB buy almost all of the exposure previously held by French banks. There simply isn’t much left anymore.

    • We have to thank the French for the mess we have today. The whole EU and specifically the screwed up Euro carries French handwriting.

    • You are right. The Euro should end up in the dustbin of history instead!

  • Σας ευχαριστώ κυρία Λαγκάρντ! Σας ευχαριστώ, γιατί για μία αφορά ακόμη βουτήξατε μέσα στο νερό το κεφάλι των Ελλήνων.

    Σε μια συνέντευξη που δώσατε στην αγγλική καθημερινή εφημερίδα Guardian, είπατε: “Πιστεύω πως οι Ελληνες θα πρέπει να ξεκινήσουν μια συλλογική αλληλοβοήθεια”, “πληρώνοντας όλοι τους φόρους τους”, “Οσον αφορά τους Ελληνες, σκέφτομαι επίσης και όλους εκείνους τους ανθρώπους που προσπαθούν όλη την ώρα να αποφύγουν να πληρώσουν τους φόρους τους”.

    Δεν είναι λοιπόν μόνο η κ. Μέρκελ που δεν αγαπά τους Ελληνες. Για σας επίσης οι Ελληνες είναι κλέφτες, μπαταξήδες, άνθρωποι που δεν είναι φρόνιμο να τους κάνεις παρέα.
    Για μια φορά ακόμη η εικόνα των Ελλήνων κηλιδώθηκε από τα λόγια σας. Αντί να τους δώσετε ελπίδα, και να τους πείτε ότι όλα είναι δυνατά, ότι είναι εφικτή η επίλυση των προβλημάτων, εσείς τους βουλιάζετε ακόμη περισσότερο όπως τόσοι και τόσοι άλλοι.

    Μια μέρα, κ. Λαγκάρντ, μια μέρα οι Ελληνες θα σηκώσουν το κεφάλι, αλλά δεν θα έχουν ξεχάσει εκείνους και εκείνες που τους είχαν καταδικάσει πριν από τον ερχομό του δήμιου. Είναι αξιοθρήνητο, όπως είναι αξιοθρήνητο να ακούς Ελληνες, που διαμένουν εκτός Ελλάδας, να κάνουν κριτική στη χώρα και στο λαό τους.

    Δεν γνωρίζετε καλά τους Ελληνες κ. Λαγκάρντ. Οι Ελληνες έχουν μνήμη, αλλιώς δεν θα γνώριζαν την ιστορία της αρχαιότητας απ’έξω κι ανακατωτά. Καλόν είναι να αναλογιστείτε την ελληνική μνήμη κ. Λαγκάρντ, όπως η κ. Μέρκελ, εσείς οι δυο, φαίνεται πως διαθέτετε μικρή μνήμη. Τα ελληνικά δεν είναι μια νεκρή γλώσσα, ούτε οι Ελληνες είναι νεκροί, γιατί διαθέτουν μία ψυχή, την ελληνική ψυχή!

    Jose Manuel Lamarque

    Merci Madame Lagarde !

    Merci Madame, une fois de plus, de mettre la tête des grecs sous l’eau.
    Dans l’interview que vous avez accordée au quotidien britannique The Guardian, vous avez dit : “Je pense que les Grecs devraient commencer par s’entraider collectivement”, en “payant tous leurs impôts”, “En ce qui concerne les Grecs, je pense aussi à tous ces gens qui essaient tout le temps d’échapper aux taxes”. Donc, il n’y a pas que Madame Merkel qui n’aime pas les grecs. Pour vous aussi les grecs sont des voleurs, des tricheurs, des gens peu fréquentables.
    Une fois de plus, l’image de la Grèce est ternie par vos propos. Au lieu de redonner espoir, au lieu de rassurer, et de dire que tout est possible, que l’on peut affronter les problèmes et les résoudre, non, vous enfoncez les grecs comme tant d’autres.

    Un jour, Madame Lagarde, un jour les grecs relèveront la tête, mais n’auront pas oublié celles et ceux qui les avaient condamné bien avant l’arrivée du bourreau. C’est lamentable, comme il est lamentable d’entendre des grecs, habitant hors de Grèce, et critiquant leur pays et leur peuple.

    Vous ne connaissez pas les grecs Madame Lagarde. Les grecs ont de la mémoire, sinon ils ne connaitraient pas l’histoire de l’antiquité sur le bout des doigts.
    Songez à la mémoire grec Madame Lagarde, comme Madame Merkel, vous deux, avez peu de mémoire.

    Le grec n’est pas une langue morte, les grecs non plus ne sont pas morts, parce qu’ils ont une âme, l’âme grecque !

  • Yanis, I’m not mad or unmeasured man. I am a descendant of Tito’s partisans, and I know well what preceded the big shit.
    The time will come when people like you have to take us into the hills and mountains with which we will again start to build a better and fairer Europe. I do not advocate violence, but the mediocre who are paid to the violence does not happen push us into it like they did 1914th or the 1941st
    Think about this Yanis. Enough about the analysis of existing cloaca, which stinks to heaven. It should be busy with the construction of a new economic model that will be implemented when all the European bureaucratic mediocrities send Minotur for lunch. Poor Minotur, he will have to be pretty eats shit.
    Death to fascism, freedom to the people

    • “Death to fascism”

      Good idea! The Greeks could actually contribute to kill fascism, rascism and xenophobia by just not voting for the fascist rascist xenophobia party Chrysi Avgi. Unfortunately, they do vote for these nazis.

    • @VSS

      That party got 440.000 votes last time.Obviously if one believes that 440000 people turned to nazis overnight he needs to go see a doctor.Most people didnt really take a closer look on that party.Once the lights turned to their side and they got exposed they lost almost half of their voting power.
      Latest polls are giving them 4,5,all the way down from 8% in the elections.

      Having talked to people who voted for them i know they are not nazis.They (wrongly) dont care about their beliefs.All they care about is that they talk crap to the politicians.Its another populist way to attract votes but thats pretty much the reason most people voted for them.

      Its funny how you try to criticize Greeks for voting for the racists-fascists-nazis,while you are not saying anything about all those nice labels such as “Greeks are lazy”,”Greeks dont pay taxes”,”They are thieves because they cooked their numbers”, that your country has contributed the most to give them widespread publicity all over the world and its an utter form of discrimination and defamation of a whole nation…..
      What a damn hypocrite….

  • Yanis, in a reversal of History the TROYka is starving Greeks by seige! The greeks need a brilliantly constructed Trojan Horse to present to Troyka..what could that be? Or perhaps like Jesus said..`Give unto Rome`….(their coinage)

  • Allow me to dedicate this,to that heartless piece of trash:

    Everybody pass away, the pastor prays, the family mournin’
    Everybody act accordin’ to the season that they born in (You’ll try to change the world)
    You fight in the streets, start bleedin’ ’til the blood is pourin’
    In the gutter, mothers cry ’til the Lord be livin’ by the sword and
    All that folks want is safety, they goin’ gun crazy
    The same reason Reagan was playin’ war games in the ’80s
    The same reason I always rock dog chains on my babies
    The struggle is beautiful, I’m too strong for your slavery

    • Martin Holterman

      “Is she supposed to pity Greeks with a GDP per capita of € 17.500”

      Not even in my sleep have i seen such an amount of money.
      How about 7000 for the majority ,with LIDL products being priced 150% higher?
      Everything in Greece being more expensive ,thanks to people the likes of your government.

      “Plague on all their houses until they realise that”

      This is the true spirit of these people like Martin Holterman.
      They do not have any.

      What the hell do you know about truth. You do not know the meaning of the word.

      Human garbage.

    • Yanis, is ‘Human garbage’ (just one example, there are many) the style you like to have on your blog? Is that how you want the discussion participants adress each other?

      The rasicst hatecomments here are getting more and more sordid.

      Your once respectable blog becomes unreadable and useless, thanks to increasingly more of this stuff.

    • You are quite right. I need to read more carefully the comments. Promise to screen out, as of today, all inappropriate references.

    • Cartels and closed professions are responsible for LIDL products being priced 150% higher than in other countries. Economics does not seem to be your strength.

    • For starters, Lagarde’s truthisms (that you take at face value as “truth” without even trying to see if there’s even the slightest bit of truth in them – the OECD, for instance, immediately proves our dear tax-dodging “lady” to be a liar when it comes to Greek people’s taxes) are fueled by the notion of collective guilt and collective responsibility. I remember someone (an Austrian-born closeted homosexual sociopath who sent about 60 million people to his death camps) who trained an eager Germany into the doctrine of collective responsibility-guilt-punishment.

      Lagarde basically tells us that:

      1. Greeks are ALL tax dodgers. This could not be farther from the truth. The lower and middle incomes are overtaxed. Someone with an annual income of, say, 40,000 euros pays about 35% of it in direct taxes. Then comes the “social security” (as an engineer, I pay 3,807 euros annually for “social security”, i.e. for health coverage that will NOT cover even a relatively decent of my health expenses when I need it and for a pension that I will NEVER receive, because a certain someone who is enjoying a full pension even though he got it when he was only 57 years old, dictates that I’ll get a pension when I’m at least 67 years old (i.e. after 47 years of work, provided I manage to be employed for all of those years), provided that my social security fund has not been looted yet again to save irresponsible banksters who preach the gospel of “private initiative” and “private entrepreneurship” while they themselves keep demanding that the state rescues them time and time again when their unscrupulous gambling fails. I also don’t know how much more I’m going to pay in “urgent” or “extra” taxes or however they might call them – direct or indirect. Mind you, just for the “privilege” of being a freelance professional (which immediately strips me of any eligibility to be considered unemployed if I don’t manage to be employed for any period of time), I have to pay 300 euros per year.

      2. The real tax dodgers in Greece are the tycoons: I’m talking about businesses such as shipping, weapons import, public works, banks, mass media (corporate ones), that sort of thing. They simply don’t pay their taxes. They don’t pay their electricity bills; one Greek tycoon owes 100 million euros to the Public Power Corporation. They also don’t pay the legal social security fees of their employees. They don’t pay income tax – or if they do, it’s ridiculously low (an LLC or an SA in Greece pays considerably less than 20% income tax). And don’t get me started on the offshore companies that are located in IMF-approved tax havens such as the Cayman Islands.

      3. Disraeli had said “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics”. He hit the nail on the head: averages LIE. If you want to lie about a population, just invent an “average” example of it. Let’s take the income issue, shall we? Let’s take a city of 100,000 people, of which 40,000 are of an age between 15-64, therefore capable of work. At an average unemployment rate of 22% (Greece’s official – in reality, it’s considerably higher and it’s well over 50% among young people), 31,200 of these people have a job.

      About 50% of these employed people earn the princely sum of 600 euros/month, which is 7,200 euros/year. That’s 15,600 people.

      Then we have the 30% who are underemployed and make – at best – 300 euros per month, i.e. 3,600/year. That’s 9,360 people.

      Then, there are the relatively fortunate ones who make about 1,500 euros/month, i.e. 18,000 euros/month. That amounts for about 19% of the population, i.e. 5,928 people.

      And then, we have the really lucky ones who, thanks to their connections (see: brown-nosing, bribery and greasing of palms) to the political system that is endorsed by the Troika and blessed by the kiss of Divinity (i.e. deities such as Mme Lagarde), make at the very least 50,000 euros/month, i.e. 600,000 euros/year. That’s 312 people. Let’s do the math to get an average of the annual income of this city’s working population:

      [(15,600×7,200)+(9,360×3,600)+(5,928×18,000)+(312×600,000)]/31,200 = 14,100.

      Thus, according to the statistics used by neoliberals (the terms “neoliberal” and “libertarian”, mind you, are euphemisms for “misanthropic half-literate know-it-all parasite”), everybody that works in this city makes 14,100 euros/year!

      What the average won’t tell us is that 80% of this city’s people make less than 7,200 euros/year.

      4. Demonizing a population (like the “civilized” Germans did to the Jews in the ’30s and ’40s) is pure racism. And it seems that, as hard as Germans try to play the “good boy” part and pretend they have abolished their holier than thou attitude that leads them to believe that they are some sort of a genetically (yeah, right), intellectually, culturally, physically and morally superior race (I’ve got news for you: the smartest people in the world are the Jews and the strongest ones are the blacks; therefore, the true Übermensch would be Lenny Kravitz, whether you like it or not), they’re not talented enough as actors and actresses and, therefore, are entirely unconvincing. Besides, they elected Hitler; in other, less civilized and moral countries (such as Greece), fascist dictatorships usually rose to power by using something called a “coup d’état” (a method so loved by neoliberal giants like Milton Friedman). Am I labeling Germans? Yes. Yes I am. “You labeled me, I’ll label you”, to quote Metallica.

      5. Mme Lagarde, like I’ve said earlier, seems to have trouble getting around to paying taxes for her ludicrously high income. I simply refuse to listen to “pay your taxes” lectures that come from a mouth of someone who doesn’t pay income taxes and makes more money in one year than I’ll make in 25. I have an issue with hypocrites.

      And while I’m on Metallica, let me dedicate this song to the “honorable” tax-dodging Madame Christine Lagarde and all the rabid neoliberals:

  • Just a comment about german (internet-readers’) reactions. You wouldn’t believe how many people supported Mrs. Lagarde’s downright ridiculous and mindblowing stupid remark…
    Germany is still full of people who believe what our mainstream media tell them. There are a lot of formerly left-wing-liberal media, who keep the name and ‘just’ changed the orientation to somewhat more Merkel-Lagarde-related. Add a heavy dose of sarcasm and indifference to it (called “postmodern variety” or “coolness”) and you have the mixture.
    It is utterly stupid, but people find it sounded brillant. You can talk until you’re blue in the face, like John Cleese put it^^ – it is horrible. People who don’t even know what austerity politics mean tell you with hard faces “it is the only alternative”. The german word “alternativlos”, used by Mrs. Merkel to say “I’m right and you are wrong” is what describes the feelings of majorities best.
    So I am more than happy to be able to read this blog.
    It really is a problem that our – really not poor now – middle-classes think they’d be secure and should “go with the rich”! Too funny. So they think it’s superb to “squeeze the poor”. There are minorities struggling to fight that neoliberal thinking, but we are not enough, by far.
    You just have to mention “neoliberal” – and some indifferent guys shout you’d be a “do-gooder” (“Gutmensch”) and “deconstruct” the word “neoliberal”, claiming it was some not existing entity only.

    All those people I mentioned are not decision-makers. They just form opinions. But they are the people who Mrs. Lagarde and others need to spread her (name a word here for yourself^^). You’d think people would wake up, just that they don’t…Well, let’s wish Mrs. Lagarde will find the criticism she deserves.

    • @klemperer85

      Very well said, I also see all these MORONS discussing on German newspapers websites about the alleged “Greek sins” demagogicly ranting and insulting a hole nation and even the whole of the Mediterranean peoples sometimes !!!

      It is pathetic to see how quickly the Germans went back to some old negative behavioural patterns like for example penchant for scapegoating and involving in racist pseudoscientific arguments and many other very dangerous antisocial behaviours!

      Thilo Sarazin and his very popular extreme right wing and racist ideas are a warning for the rest of Europe of what might come next out of this country!

    • klemperer85 why don´t you send 50% of your net worth into pits without bootoms?

    • Yes, I agree. Of course, the problem (as in most countries) is less with the people and more with the media and its ownership. The German media have become very right wing, nationalist and neoliberal in ideological belief. It is they (along with some politicians) who are dragging Germany into a new nationalism — and potentially into a very nasty re-enactment of German history.

      Let me say this clearly here: if Germany embarks on another Nazi period, I do not think it can ever recover. We are obviously some way from that, but the warning signs are appearing. The world will not accept that Germans even have the right to exist if we should ever go anywhere near what happened in the Third Reich. This is a terrible thing to have to say, but it needs to be said.

    • n eu d

      HAHA ,ok at least that was a funny comment. If you know what i mean.
      “50% of your net worth into pits without bootoms”

      Someone can perceive it as a naughty joke.

      Good one.

      Anyway ,the pit is the banks ,not Greece and at least you understand that ,i know you do.

  • The Lagarde rant was no surprise. She is, afterall, a bankster’s bankster.

    For Lagarde, the protection of the banksters (their bad loans must be repaid at all costs — hence the rant!) and the continuation of their counterfeiting (strongly opposes banking regulations) are paramount.

    In other words, in her bankster world, crime pays.

  • I have to admit I’m torn between disgust for what Lagarde has said and a sort of guilty pleasure.

    Disgust because someone making the kind of tax-exempt salary she makes (plus all the other perks that come with the position) for a job no one elected her to missed a golden opportunity to keep her mouth shut rather than running it off the way she did.

    Pleasure because her spiteful and mean-spirited comments might actually allow more people to finally understand what this is really all about. Instead of a morality tale in which lazy, thieving, and conniving Greeks are opposed to hard-working, thrifty, and honest Northern Europeans as the dominant essentialist narrative would have it, Lagarde’s gaffe points us to what should be clear by now to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear – an unelected and unaccountable elite arrogantly thinks they have the God-given right to make unilateral decisions that rend apart the social fabric of entire societies in order to promote and protect the interests and profits of their bankster friends and of their other cronies. While this callous elite bear none of the consequences of their heartless decisions, the rest of us must labor in despondency and hardship to insure that they continue to live in the lap of luxury all the while having to endure their heartless jibes about how we richly deserve what we are getting.

    All this is of course largely meaningless to a woman who, by her own accord, can only stay in luxury hotels that have a pool when she travels since she cannot afford to miss her daily swimming workout – the hotels being paid of course by monies taken from the pocket of the very same people she criticizes for not being thrifty.

    I think – and hope – an angry storm will blow over Europe in a not to distant future if and when working people finally come to realize that, yet again, they are being asked to safeguard the luxurious lifestyle of the “oi polloi” at the expense of their own children’s future.

  • Back then the Jews, now the Greeks. Very sad. And very sad because it started by the same race. The Germans.

    • And exactly in what way is this comment relevant or even worthy of being considered to show that its author has an IQ higher than his/her shoe size (expressed in UK sizes)?

    • It is a free enterprise.
      The banks failed at their jobs ,now they should pay.
      Otherwise it is fascism.

      If you want others to pay for their broken glasses and propagandizing that other people are paying for the Greeks ,just because they made us a money train station for their interests with a train that simply doesn’t stop here ,then you are supporting fascism. Worst than that. You are supporting all kinds of hidden evil.

      It will come back and bite you.
      You can not escape it eventually.

  • You are my destiny….with all the music that acompany…
    Thank you!

  • @tmk

    “Cartels and closed professions are responsible for LIDL products being priced 150% higher than in other countries….”

    How did you get to this conclusion that the closed professions are responsible for LIDL’s higher prices in Greece???

    I guess the greek taxi drivers or the pharmacists and lawyers are the main reason for LIDLs higher prices :-))

    What a nonsense!! You show your blockheadedness and your ignorance nothing more.

    • The only closed (not sure if it really is) proffesion that could affect LIDL prices is transportation.Yet it doesnt explain such wide differences.

    • Ask yourself why truck transports are more expensive in Greece than in any other European country, and ask yourself how products are delivered to the supermarkets. Aks yourself why LIDL has no serious competitor in the discounter segment and why wholesalers can charge so high margins. And then ask yourself how customer prices are made in retail markets.

      You are really an amateur.

      Greeks should seriously start looking at their homemade problems instead of asking how Europe can deliver ever more money and cheap credits for this bottomless pit.

    • Please refrain from insulting one another.(By the bye, it is patently untrue that truck-based transportation is costlier in Greece. It is, indeed, much cheaper per km. Of course one might argue that this is because of lower safety standards. But this is another matter.)

    • @tmk who said this:

      “Ask yourself why truck transports are more expensive in Greece than in any other European country, and ask yourself how products are delivered to the supermarkets. Aks yourself why LIDL has no serious competitor in the discounter segment and why wholesalers can charge so high margins. And then ask yourself how customer prices are made in retail markets. You are really an amateur. Greeks should seriously start looking at their homemade problems instead of asking how Europe can deliver ever more money and cheap credits for this bottomless pit.”

      The attitude which tmk exposes here is the typical German ackamarackus and malarkey which is promoted through the German media and right wing nationalistic political parties all the time!!!

      Instead of trying to be objective they simply make up things and conveniently lie as we have wittnessed TMK doing here: “Ask yourself why truck transports are more expensive in Greece than in any other European country”

      Are they really more expensive than in any other European country Mr. TMK?
      Where did you get this falsehood from Mr. TMK?
      Or did you just conveniently make it up yourself Mr. TMK?

      Next in the typical German smear campaigns is to insult and label all Greeks profligate, lazy, irresponsible etc. etc. etc. as we have wittnessed TMK doing here: “You are really an amateur. Greeks should seriously start looking at their homemade problems instead of asking how Europe can deliver ever more money and cheap credits for this bottomless pit”

      Now let me ask you one thing: Where did you learn this all from? Is Reichspropaganda Minister Goebbels your role model for objective discussion and fact finding? At least it reminds me and many others that you retreat back to old patterns!

    • I have worked in purchasing for many many years. I do not know how costly transport in Greece is. What I do know is that I cannot recall anyone using Greek suppleirs with one exception in packaing, but almost everyone has Turkish suppliers.

  • Yanis

    “You are quite right. I need to read more carefully the comments. Promise to screen out, as of today, all inappropriate references.”

    Quite right indeed. All inappropriate references.
    I suppose that means also all “civil” insults.
    For the energy of the meaning is more important than the word used.

  • From Greece with Love to all our German readers of this blog!!!

    By Albrecht Ritschl :

    Ritschl: Die Griechen kennen die feindlichen Artikel aus deutschen Medien sehr gut. Wenn die Stimmung im Land umschlägt, alte Forderungen nach Reparationszahlungen laut und auch von anderen europäischen Staaten erhoben werden und Deutschland diese je einlösen muss, werden wir alle bis aufs Hemd ausgezogen. Da könnten wir im Vergleich dankbar sein, Griechenland auf unsere Kosten luxuszusanieren. Wenn wir hier der Stimmungsmache folgen und den dicken Emil geben, der die Zigarre pafft und nicht zahlen will, dann werden irgendwann die alten Rechnungen wieder präsentiert!!!

    The Germans are not amused these days. Look everywhere from tabloids to the blogosphere, and it seems that the public mood has reached boiling point. Loth to shoulder another national debt increase and finance another bailout, the Germans have started questioning everything from the wisdom of supporting Greece to the common euro currency, or indeed the merits of the European integration project altogether. This might be strange for a country that is nudging ever closer to full employment, and which is about to recapture its position as the world’s leading exporter of manufactured goods from the Chinese. But the Germans say they’ve had enough: no more underwriting of European integration, no more paying for this and that, and certainly no more bailing out the Greeks.

    What is truly strange, however, is the brevity of Germany’s collective memory. For during much of the 20th century, the situation was radically different: after the first world war and again after the second world war, Germany was the world’s largest debtor, and in both cases owed its economic recovery to large-scale debt relief.

    Germany’s interwar debt crisis started almost exactly 80 years ago, in the last days of June 1931. What had triggered it was Germany’s aggressive borrowing in the late 1920s to pay reparations out of credit. A credit bubble resulted, and when it burst in 1931, it brought down reparations, the gold standard and, not least, Weimar democracy.

    Having footed the resulting massive bill, after the second world war the Americans imposed the London debt agreement of 1953 on their allies, an exercise in debt forgiveness to Germany on the most generous terms. West Germany’s economic miracle, the stability of the deutschmark and the favourable state of its public finances were all owed to this massive haircut. But it put Germany’s creditors at a disadvantage, leaving it to them to cope with the financial aftermath of the German occupation.

    Indeed, the London debt agreement deferred settlement of the reparations question – including the repayment of war debts and contributions imposed by Germany during the war – to a conference to be held after unification. This conference never took place: since 1990, the Germans have steadfastly refused to reopen this can of worms. Such compensation as has been paid, mostly to forced workers, was channelled through NGOs to avoid creating precedents. Only one country has challenged this openly and tried to obtain compensation in court: Greece.

    It may or may not have been wise to put the issue of reparations and other unsettled claims on Germany to rest after 1990. Back then, the Germans argued that any plausible bill would exceed the country’s resources, and that continued financial co-operation in Europe instead would be infinitely more preferable. They may have had a point. But now is the time for Germany to deliver on the promise, act wisely and keep the bull away from the china shop.

    • Dear Aristoteles

      I can see and understand your frustration. Being German myself, I can also easily understand the German view, though.
      I think it’s striking that trying to extract reparations out of a beaten, domestically highly indebted (due to the cost of war) and demoralised country after World War I wasn’t a clever idea.
      First of all I don’t believe it was fair to say Germany was 100% to blame for 1914-1918 and secondly, even if it was, it makes no sense and is morally wrong to subject a country to this kind of treatment, for generations to come, after having cut off 16% of the territory and all the suffering that the war had brought over the Germans, too (millions of soldiers dead and famine at home).
      So after World War II (which is unthinkable without WW I and the harsh treatment Germany was subjected to), one would have expected that the treatment was much harsher than after WW I.
      On one level, it was – even more territory was cut off, 12 million Germans were subjected to ethnic cleansing, for the first years after the war Germans lived under total control of the occupying forces, famine (again).
      But unlike after WW I, this was not permanent. There was hope for the Germans. Even though this time, the Germans themselves would agree that Germany (under Nazi leadership) had committed incredible crimes and was truly to blame for WW II, this time they were given a chance to nevertheless get on with their lives.

      Reparations were estranged but that stopped after the occupying authorities realised that this way, Germany would either starve to death or be dependent on foreign aid for years to come.

      So the approach was pragmatic.

      The results were incredible and now, as we all know I think it’s safe to say that this approach lead to better results than the treatment after WW I.

      What can we learn from this for the current crisis in Greece?

      Not too much, I guess because Germany in 1945 is not Greece in 2012.

      Greece has enjoyed decades of peace, EU transfers and had plenty of opportunity to become a highly developed society.

      By many measures, it was and still is that. It just happens to spend more than it can afford. While the economic strength is around that of the Czech Republic, Greece’s living standard was significantly above that.

      For a while, this worked very well due to a debt-fuelled boom in Greece, the economy was growing even though it was becoming less and less competitive.

      But it was a risky path and 2009/2010, this growth model collapsed. Having borrowed way to much in good times, Greece must now consolidate in a downturn. Not a pretty situation – but that is exactly the risk it took when it took the decisions it did – most fatally when the Euro was introduced: to use the lower interest rates for piling up even more debt instead of reducing the dangerous debt level.

      Now we know that was not clever.

      What can be done? Greece has to live within it’s means – which means living more like the Czechs (still with better weather and the sea, though) and not so much like the, say, Netherlands.
      This is obvious.
      But Greece has so far delayed every step in this inevitable adjustment process that it is now in a truly unbearable situation.

      I think Germany and all the other economically stronger nations need to help. But Greece should start to accept the realities. And no, Germany will not pay any reparations. Nazi Germany is not why Greece is in the mess it is today.
      Greece had all the chances – transfers from the EU, tourists wanting to spend time (and money) in Greece, low interest rates through the Euro. But they blew it. And they still don’t get their act together but instead blame everybody else. Like this, it won’t work. It’s better to return to the Drachme and default on your debt. The money is gone anyway – but throwing good money after bad is what’s really depressing from a German perspective. German money so far has bought time – but Greece did not use this time wisely but is still discussing about the basics.
      Of course Greece needs debt forgiveness – but they should also show that they take some responsibility for their own fate and not only blame everybody else.

    • You are funny Martin but in a way you are representative for the typical German John Doe’s stance towards the Greeks and the rest of Europe.

      I will try and keep my response short 🙂

      You said: “Greece….had plenty of opportunity to become a highly developed society”

      Do you consider your own country highly developed my German friend and Greece an underdeveloped society?

      You must be jocking, you might have a higly developed industry and technology but from a cultural and even human perspective I suggest you better get a few private lessons (Nachhilfeunterricht) from the Greeks! If you doubt what I say why don’t you read this German article:

      Also you said this: “And no, Germany will not pay any reparations”

      Martin let me ask you just a simple question here: Who do you think you are to decide this?
      Do you think you are God or the President of the World? Come on try to be more serious and realistic here. You are simply not the one to decide this matter. The Greeks can decide to demand the outstanding reparations and war loans from the Germans and than your country will have to decide if it wants to be considered a civilzed nation and pay what it owes or if it wants to fall back into a pariah status as it did not long ago.

      “Greece had all the chances – transfers from the EU, tourists wanting to spend time (and money) in Greece, low interest rates through the Euro. But they blew it. ”

      Martin please excuse me but I am not going to argue with you about the root causes of the Greek crisis since you expose here a kind of tabloid economic “knowledge” 🙂

      Professor Varoufakis blog has tons of interesting analysis and profound knowledge about the root causes of the crisis. I recommend that you read them and try to brush up your economic literacy.

      “German money so far has bought time – but Greece did not use this time wisely but is still discussing about the basics.”

      Again no comment from me on your amazing truth here. But do yourself and us a big favour and try to get better educated about what the German inflicted austerity program has caused in Greece. Otherwise just continue reading your German propaganda and at least don’t bother me and the others here!

      “Of course Greece needs debt forgiveness ”

      Oh gosh your boastfulness is unbearable. Hey get yourself a beer and try to relax a bit.
      We don’t need the forgiveness of the likes of you 🙂

    • Well Martin you are right about the debt.
      I hate to repeat but there is nothing that we haven’t admitted that was wrong in Greece.

      You leave outside many parameters though.
      For as you gave a historical analysis that excuses Germany ,you should do for Greece too. Because all these things you say we enjoyed ,we didn’t.

      It is easy to say we blame others and trying to portray us as irresponsible. But exactly the same irresponsibility your own leaders have. The difference is they were cunning enough to buy off the Greek politicians who were corrupted enough to accept.

      One thing i always say and i will never stop saying is that the northerners wanted the southerners to cut production in order to get in the union.
      Everyone was in it.

      Do your own math.

    • Debt relief is one thing and I have no problem with that. But eternal fiscal transfers official or back door is quite another.

      After all even a fixed income investor is an investor and has to swallo his losses.

    • Dear Aristoteles

      As you might have already suspected, I am neither god nor am I “the president of the world”.
      All I’m saying is that I don’t think that Germany is going to pay any reparations to Greece.
      I think that bringing this up now is just a symptom of what I think isn’t helpful in this situation: blame game. Sure Nazi Germany did terrible things. But I do not see much connection between that and the problems in Greece right now.
      Reparations weren’t high on the agenda when Greece was allowed to join the EU and then benefitted from EU subsidies for decades. It was also not an issue when Greece was allowed to join the Euro which enabled it to borrow for way too little interest.
      The EU / ECB has just, on top of the dozens of billion Euros sent to Greece over the last decades, helped Greece out with dozens of billions Euros in trying to help you get through this mess you got yourself in.
      And in this situation you are bringing up reparations for what happenened 1941-44?
      Very convenient, isn’t it? How many billions would you ask for?
      Plus, from a pragmatic view, it is not helpful to come up with that now. It may have the opposite effect in Germany, believe me.

      I strongly believe this reparations thing leads nowhere so you may as well just stop it and focus on what you can do now instead of what Germany did 70 years ago.

      Greece has just received a multitude of what reparations would amount to as emergency aid – but you are still complaining and see nothing wrong with what’s been done in Greece in the last ten years and believe it’s Germany’s fault because of what it did 70 years ago? That’s a bit ridiculous.

    • @Martin,

      “Dear Aristoteles As you might have already suspected, I am neither god nor am I “the president of the world”. 😉 All I’m saying is that I don’t think that Germany is going to pay any reparations to Greece.”

      This is a very easy one to answer. If Greece brings up this issue than the UN will have to rule about this according to their statutes and the international laws!!!
      Its not up to Germany or some Germans to decide if and how much Germany will have to pay to Greece.

      “I think that bringing this up now is just a symptom of what I think isn’t helpful in this situation: blame game.”

      The Germans started with blame games and insults did you forget that? So you better advice your German compatriots and media that it is a dangerous game as Fritschl correctly mentioned in his article 🙂

      I guess there is an old German saying something like: Wer selber im Glashaus sitzt sollte nicht mit Steinen werfen / Don’t throw bricks when you live in a glass house 🙂

      You might have forgotten that but I justed wanted to remind you of that.

      “Reparations weren’t high on the agenda when Greece was allowed to join the EU and then benefitted from EU subsidies for decades. It was also not an issue when Greece was allowed to join the Euro which enabled it to borrow for way too little interest.”

      Guess why my friend? Because the Germans loved the Greeks so much? Ever heard the word Realpolitik? No it was just because Germany was trying to avoid that the Greeks demanded the reparations which are outstanding since the reunification of Germany but were never legally annulled.

      “Plus, from a pragmatic view, it is not helpful to come up with that now. It may have the opposite effect in Germany, believe me.”

      To be frank we know about the negative German attitude towards Greece and the stereotypes which go round in your country. I don’t care any more about that. Germanys public oppinion is already so negative that we can ignore it altogether!

      Again it reminds me of a funny German saying: Ist der Ruf mal ruiniert lebts sich gänzlich ungeniert 🙂 / You live freely if you haven’t a reputation to lose 🙂

      “Greece was allowed to join the EU”

      Just a quick reminder for you Martin since you might ignore here some important historical facts: Greece allowed Germany to join the United Nations and become once again a civilized nation since Greece was a founding member of the UN and Germany was a Pariah state at that time because it killed more than 50 million people in WW2.

      Also another quick historical fact for you is: Greece allowed Germany to join the NATO in 1955 since Germany was still the enemy back than. Did you forget that as well?

      You should be a little more grateful for all our generosity towards you Germans 🙂

      “Greece has just received a multitude of what reparations would amount to as emergency aid”

      We received compensation from the EU for opening up our market to German and other products and secondly for closing down our own factories and even giving up our agricultural production! That has led partly to the current problems!

      Furthermore this was EU money from all the members and not just money from Germany! What does this has to do with the outstanding German reparations for WW2?

      If I am not mistaken your country is also receiving a lot of money from the EU for East Germany isn’t it? What a joke to bring this up now.

      “but you are still complaining and see nothing wrong with what’s been done in Greece in the last ten years and believe it’s Germany’s fault because of what it did 70 years ago?”

      No my friend don’t confuse things here. We allowed you to respite the reparations untill after German reunification. I guess Germany is reunified so now you have to pay what you owe our land! Our legitimate claims haven’t been waived!

      Now having said that I am not saying that its just Germanys fault. No I am saying that the Euro was created from the very beginning to strengthen the North and weaken the South of Europe. One can see the negative influence on the current account deficits in Greece already in the decade of the 90’s but our own stupid policians were all eager just like all the other brainwashed nations to join the teutonically insired EMU!

      Of course during ERM2 Greece was able to devalue at least a little bit within some bandwith and had its own monetary policy. Stupidly enough our own brainless politicians just like the rest of the periphery countries gave up the last instrument which they had to cope with German mercantilism! I hope you know what mercantilism and beggar thy neighbour means in economic terms:-)

      They all thought that at the end the Germans would play ball and behave like a partner!

      That was all wrong and we can see the results now very clearly:

      Berlusconi: Deutschland soll aus dem Euro-Raum austreten

      Silvio Berlusconi hat einen Austritt Italiens aus dem Euro-Raum für den Fall gefordert, dass die Europäische Zentralbank (EZB) nicht massiv die Notenpresse anwirft.

      Alternativ solle Deutschland aus dem Euro-Raum austreten.

    • Dear Demetris

      Of course there are reasons why Greece got into this mess – and for sure it’s not exclusively Greece’s fault. The EU should have better monitored the statistics that were shown by the Greek government and I am sure that the subsidies paid to Greece by the EU had some very negative side effects.

      I think that going forward, the situation cannot continue like this: Greece is in this downward spiral, unable / unwilling to do anything. The EU obviously doesn’t quite know what to do either, force- feeding the Greek patient a few bailouts while generally, they recommend a diet scheme.

      What’s confusing me is why doesn’t Greece mobilise any more internal resources in order to at least tackle a part of this mess on their own? As I said in another post, energetically enforcing tax compliance plus maybe charging a, say, 20% “national emergency solidarity tax” on assets above e.g. EUR 100’000 might have made this crisis manageable. Why didn’t it happen? Do you love your rich so much that you rather sacrifice the economic future of a whole nation? You are a democracy – why don’t your politicians do what would be in the interest of the Greek people and the whole of Europe?

    • Martin

      Quite right

      As i said that is exactly why we are trying to change the political scenery here.

      You see ,European leaders want the Greeks to vote for the pro-memorandum parties ,while this is exactly what will allow existence of the events we should avoid.

      They want their own partners in crime to have the power. We do not trust them for doing what they must. Also get taxes from the rich.

      Do you see the contradictions here? There are other solutions and the leaders too ,do not want them. Ofcourse they do not.

      I only hope that people do not give in to terror and fear.

  • It’s quite natural to feel more sympathy for African children. Africa has humanitarian problems that make Europe’s problems pale in comparison.

    One should also have in mind that Lagarde needs to secure funds to the IMF and there has been an increasing concern among humanitarian agencies that the euro-crisis eats away government budgets at the expense of poor countries in Africa.

    But still, it was an unnecessary remark from Lagarde.