Monday, February 14, 2011

About troikas and more...

Ever since Greece was bailed out by the IMF and the ECB, forcing the Greek cabinet to implement severe austerity measures, the term troika became a word of evil used by local media and politicians as a curse against Greece's creditors. In fact, what Greeks call "the troika" are the representatives of three international bodies, namely, the EC, the ECB and the IMF. All three (the troika) visit Athens during regular intervals to examine progress made in implementing austerity measures and comment upon it. The three 'wise' troika men (or teams) visit, analyse, and express 'best practice' opinions.

In their latest visit a few days ago the troika expressed consultative opinions about strategies the Greek government could employ to recover funds and pay outstanding debt via privatization and sale of government owned businesses and property. I thought they even suggested to sell some tourist property (few beaches here and there in Greece's thousands km long coastlines). What do you expect them to suggest otherwise? I mean, what else does the country have to offer? Raw materials? Gold? Oil? Seawater? Salt? There's no industry or agriculture left anyways...

Responding to troika's recommendations, and per the common Greek phrase "who faced God Almighty and hasn't been shit scared?", every newspaper and politician around jumped to point a blaming finger towards those miserable troika members and accuse them that it was not their job to interfere with Greek affairs... Makes you wonder...

Ok. Fine. Consider this: If there were no EC, ECB and IMF intervention, creditors would have stopped pumping funds back to Greece and buying Greek treasury bills at reasonable interest rates, and the country would have ceased to exist economically in a heartbeat. No more goods could be imported from abroad as there would be no cash to pay suppliers. Airplanes and busses, not to forget private cars, would come to a halt without fuel indeed. Those with donkeys and mules would be the lucky ones... No kiddin'! There would be no cash to pay for public infrastructure maintenance. Law and order? Forgetaboutit! Where's the cash to pay officers of the Law? Without fuel no heating, no electricity, no cooking. Jurassic park with only the dinosaurs missing. In addition, Greece's creditors would force all legal means available internationally to repossess their unpaid loans consumed by the Greeks. In other words, International Law would intervene to return to Greece's creditors what belongs to them, in nature or any other form possible! Not only the Elgin marbles, but the entire Parthenon would risk being moved to the Louvre or the British Museum, or even Beijing. The country would be an item of liquidation and ridicule. Apparently present day Hellenes have difficulty to either grasp the gravity of their situation or actually reconcile with the idea of national bankruptcy. Too naif to step out of their dream world and face reality? Who knows... most likely!

Troika members are simple civil servants doing their job. They are supposed to watch the Greek cabinet's management practices of a country in quasi-liquidation, and express opinions about how to improve this restructuring process. Nothing more, nothing less. Their opinion is of consultative nature, not binding in any ways. Not when they are in the middle of a reviewing process, anyway. Binding recommendations will have to carry a lot more weight and authority, and can only be forced upon the Greeks after thorough politics get played behind and in front of international scenery and debates. After their regular progress reviews, troika members will typically travel back and report their findings. Whatever populist Greek media and politicians think and publicly communicate, aiming at feeding local consumption, is totally irrelevant. In a world of 500 million EU Europeans and 6.5 billion earth-people, Greece and its ethnos (including most of us in the diaspora) is less than a rounding error! Like the joke goes, when some Chinese official asked once how many Greeks there were, and got as a response "about 11 million", he replied: "Which hotel are they stayin'?".

Compats of mine, wake up and go back to work instead of striking and burning down the house; pretending nothing will have to change, and that you can continue to preserve your lifestyle at your creditors' expense. Don't be too easily forgiving upon your guilty co-citizens, those civil servants, politicians and private businessmen (doctors on top), who brought down the nation by their abuses and corruption; think of the Chinese 'Communists', who are not afraid to literally condemn to death and execute corrupt individuals (incl. cabinet ministers), to set the example. You don't have to shoot yours dead these days if you don't want to (based on human rights grounds), but putting them behind bars for life and keeping them there (like you did with the junta colonels in the seventies), and confiscating most of what they've been stealing for years could help a lot. As incredible as it may sound, you seem to 'respect' and envy your villains instead; you often use them as role models for mimicking, because you think they are kinda cool "mangas" while continue screwing the system shamelessly. And please, start teaching your offsprings the much needed 'fairness' and 'integrity' as key virtues to build upon the foundation of your future social lives. Because without virtues, as Aristoteles taught you, you better quit the EU and join some 'funny' regimes in the third world instead, as their practices are very much reminiscent of yours...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Deleting a Facebook account... next to Mission Impossible

Facebook is one of these services that when you decide to get out of it, they still piss around with your information for ever, even if you terminate your account and want them to wipe out your data for good. It appears you have to navigate to this page to be able to wipe out everything, and even then, they'll take their time, i.e. fourteen days (jee, that's pretty blistering fast these days) before everything's out for good. In these fourteen days you need to stay off Facebook like the pest. Watch out that other services of yours that you use on computers or mobile devices (for instance Flipboard on iPad) don't log you in without you realizing. Because if you log in and use your service, then Facebook in the background pretends you don't wanna get out and the 14 days never come. How sneaky is this?  If you don't follow this page as I mentioned earlier, and do what most people follow (not easy to find for casual users), then your membership remains for ever. Being so hard to terminate helps baby-face Zuckerberg and his Facebook Gold Mountain accumulate millions of naif user accounts to show to the world that they got hundreds of millions of members. Duh? Despite my liking of the movie and script writer's Sorkin phenomenal work I still claim that Zucker and his siblings are plain evil. Who based their success on hundreds of millions double digit IQ below average casual Net users.

Read this blog for more details on termination.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gabby and her iPad.

Watch this video with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the woman shot by an assassin in Tucson, Arizona a short while before the incident. In the meantime she is doing "rigorous" speech therapy every day and her recovery is progressing — thanks at least a little bit in part to her favorite gadget: the iPad.

A few weeks before the congresswoman was shot in a Tucson, Ariz., rampage, she told The Daily that she bonded with her husband, Mark Kelly, over their new iPad. Giffords and her husband enjoyed sitting in bed with their tablet computer, she told The Daily in an in-camera interview conducted in the rotunda of the Capitol.

During her recovery, Giffords has been using her iPad to look at pictures — which her neurologist, Dr. Michael Lemole, told reporters two weeks ago was a “fantastic” advance as it showed “higher cognitive function.”

The Arizona lawmaker, who was shot in the head on Jan. 8, was transferred last week from intensive care to the TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, where neurosurgeon Dr. Dong Kim said she is recovering at “lightning speed.”

Read rest of the story here...