Archive for June, 2015

όχι

June 30, 2015
Greece a vassal state of EU

Greece a vassal state of EU

NO

NO

What have the Greeks ever done for us?

Philosophy, geometry, democracy, literature, theatre …

Greece is being treated as a vassal state by the EU, plundering and raping the country.

Greece has suffered five years of brutal austerity. The conditions are those that a country would only suffer during war and occupation.

And yet, not content with bleeding the country dry, EU is demanding more, and accusing Greece of negotiating in bad faith.

Rather than believing EU propaganda, which too many are only too happy to regurgitate, look at what Greece put on the table.

When Greece got nowhere, they called a referendum. This was condemned.

A vassal state is not allowed to consult its own people.

The erozone minsters met in secret, without Greece, they even took legal advice on whether it was lawful to exclude Greece, a eurozone member.

What we are seeing is the Fourth Reich in action. If the EU had an army which it has pushed for, there would now be EU jackboots on Greek soil.

During German occupation of Greece they looted the country.

After the Second World War Germany was propped up by credit from the Allies (which included Spain and Greece). Germany benefited from The London Agreement based on German External Debts. Repayments were only due while Germany ran a trade surplus. Greece gave Germany a 0% interest loan of 476 million Reichmarks. In today’s money that corresponds to $14 billion (in 2012).

It is Germany that owes Greece, not the other way around.

The money that was lent to Greece, did not find its way into the pockets of Greeks, apart from a corrupt elite, it flowed straight back out to German banks.

When banks lend money, they take a risk. It is not for society to bail out the banks.

The argument is not even about debt relief. The banks were bailed out. The argument is about who gets debt relief, for the banks yes, for Greece no.

In the banking crash, $30 trillion went to bailout Wall Street.

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York, the effort went into getting Wall Street up and running, not helping people. It was Occupy Wall Street under the banner Occupy Sandy that was helping ordinary people in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

In one year, US banks under Quantitative Easing had a trillion dollars pumped into them. It helped to inflate record banker bonuses.

In the US, since the Recession began, 95% of the gains has gone to 0.015% of the population. Not 1%, not 0.1%, 0.01%.

In the US, the 400 richest people have as much wealth as 185% of the population, over 60%.

Globally, 85 people have as much wealth as the poorest half of the world population, 3.5 billion people.

Last night, the unelected EU President told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tell your fellow Greeks to vote YES for the destruction of your country and we will give you a little money.

The amount of money being demanded from Greece as a percentage of GDP, is unprecedented.

What we are seeing is a determined effort by the EU to destroy a democratically elected government that had the audacity to say there was an alternative to austerity.

Austerity is a failed policy, it is an excuse for shock doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts to welfare, sell-off on the cheap of state assets.

Five years of EU-IMF-German imposed austerity

  • GDP shrunk by 25%
  • debt increased from 125% to 175% of GDP
  • 25% unemployment (youth unemployment 50%)
  • rise in food banks
  • increase in people living below the poverty line
  • increase in suicides
  • mass exodus of young people from Greece

BBC Radio 4 lunchtime news Wato had further biassed coverage. So-called experts, all bankers or finance related, saying Greece must vote YES to EU crippling terms, basically regurgitating EU propaganda.

Greeks have been accused of being feckless. It was the previous corrupt government that was feckless.

Greeks are told to raise more tax. When the economy has been destroyed, when many are unemployed, when many are living below the poverty line, when pensioners are eking out their reduced pensions to support not only themselves but their children and grandchildren, from where are the taxes to be raised? Though no doubt David Cameron would try with a Bedroom Tax on the poor.

Having threatened the Greek government and got nowhere, the EU is now using fear. Greeks are being told to vote YES, as no matter how bad austerity, far worse than has been experienced to date, is what the Greeks are being asked to agree to, vote NO, and even worse will be brought down on Greece.

EU is trying to bring Greece to its knees, then force a coup, to replace a popular government that is acting in the best interest of the Greek government, with an EU puppet government, a government of Quislings.

Syriza was elected with a mandate to end the imposed austerity that has provoked a humanitarian crisis – over a quarter unemployed (including over 50% of young people), austerity has wiped 25% from economic output, and thousands are struggling to be fed or pay for electricity.

And that is the problem, Syriza is showing there is an alternative that they will overthrow the corrupt oligarchies, work with the people on the street. It is a contagion that may spread (look what is happening in Spain), and must be destroyed at all costs.

Advertisements

Lancashire says NO to fracking

June 30, 2015

In what could well be the death blow to fracking, Lancashire has voted NO to fracking.

The fracking industry had hoped to get approval in Lancashire, then use that to gain leverage across the country.

Councillors ignored how their officials told them to vote, and for once voted how the people told them to vote.

Questions need to be asked, why officials were in bed with Cuadrilla.

Cuadrilla claim will impact upon energy security. Like everything else from Cuadrilla complete and utter nonsense. The amount of shale gas small, its impact negligible, it would also be sold on the open market, thus just as likey to be shipped to Europe.

Energy security will be achieved when we have locally owned and controlled power grids, fed by renewables.

FoE claim the success was theirs. It was not, any more than it was down to 38 Degrees (who also claimed the credit). The decision was won by the hard work of the people of Lancashire, supported by people across the country.

The vote was 10-4 to REJECT. Who were the four councillors who voted for fracking? Name and shame in order that they may be kicked out at the next elections.

Greek Solidarity demo in Trafalgar Square

June 29, 2015
Greece Trafalgar Square protest

Greece Trafalgar Square protest

Troika is afraid of alternatives to austerity. — Caroline Lucas

Austerity is not only destructive it is economically deluded. — Caroline Lucas

This evening saw a big demonsration in Trafalgar Square in London in soladarity with Greece.

Greece is urged to stand firm against EU-IMF-Gernam bullying and vote NO to EU propsoals

Greece has said no to asterity. Fiver years of suffering is enough.

EU wishes to destroy Greece.

Earlier today the EU President launched an unprecedented attack on Greece, calling their government egoists. Who is the EU President? A has-been politician who represent no one, who was not democratically elected.

EU, having bullied Cyprus two years ago, thought they could do the same to Greece. They have bee proven wrong.

Tonight saw big demonstrations in Athens in support of the government standing firm against EU bullying.

What we are seeing is a democracy Greece, standing up to the corrupt EU.

It has sent a very clear message to all the countries in the EU. It is time to break up the EU. Two years ago it was Cyprus, today it is Greece. Which country next will be subject to the EU jackboot?

The behaviour of EU to Greece, will not be forgotten when UK votes to leave the EU.

Lunch at Caffe Macchiato

June 29, 2015
Peroni

Peroni

Pollo buscaiola

pollo buscaiola

side salad

side salad

Caffe Macchiato

Caffe Macchiato

Excellent lunch at Caffe Macchiato.

Pollo buscaiola, breast of chicken cooked with wine, peppers, served with porcini mushrooms in a garlic and tomato sauce, chips and a side salad.

Portion size always generous,and I struggled to finish.

I washed my lunch down with a bottle of Peroni.

Caffe Macchiato is usually quiet, this afternoon very busy, poor waitress literally run off her feet. I think the reason why, hot sunny afternoon, it had its windows wide open, and thus was tempting to go in.

Everything freshly cooked with fresh ingredients.

Caffe Macchiato is an Italian restaurant at the top end of Union Street. The only attractive building in the street.

Union Street was an attractive tree-lined street, pleasant to sit outside Caffe Macchiato on a warm afternoon. All the trees have been cut down and uprooted, leaving an unpleasant stark urban street.

For the last six months, traffic has been blocked from the pedestrianised street whilst work takes place. This needs to be made permanent, as the absence of traffic has much improved the street.

Aldershot is infamous for its disgusting fast food outlets that dominate the town centre, that and pound shops, gambling joints and boarded-up empty shops. Caffe Macchiato is a rarity being the only decent place to eat in Aldershot. Indeed it is even worth making a trip to Aldershot.

End of last year an idiot left a very nasty review on TripAdvisor claiming poor service, unpleasant staff, not freshly cooked or fresh ingredients. Nothing could be further from than the truth.  TripAdvisor needs to do more to eliminate fake reviews.

Free newspapers, wifi.

The walls are used as an art gallery. Worth a visit for the art.

Occasional live music in the evening.

This Blackmail-ultimatum

June 29, 2015

Alexis Tsipras Address to the People of Greece

Democracy is not negotiable

Democracy is not negotiable

My fellow Greeks,

For the past six months the Greek government has been giving battle in conditions of unprecedented economic asphyxiation, to implement your mandate, of Jan. 25. It was a mandate to negotiate with our partners to end austerity and to restore prosperity and social justice to our country.

(It was) for a viable agreement which would respect both democracy, common European rules and would lead to a definitive exit from the crisis.

Throughout this negotiation period, we were asked to adopt bailout agreements which were agreed with previous governments, even though these were categorically condemned by the Greek people in the recent elections.

But we did not, even for a moment, contemplate yielding. That is, to effectively betray your own trust.

After five months of tough negotiations our partners, unfortunately, concluded at the Eurogroup the day before last with a proposal, an ultimatum, to the Hellenic Republic and the Greek people.

An ultimatum which contravenes the founding principles and values of Europe. The value of our common European structure.

The Greek government was asked to accept a proposal which accumulates unbearable new burdens on the Greek people and undermines the recovery of Greek society and its economy, not only maintaining uncertainty, but by amplifying social imbalances even further.

The proposals of the institutions include measures which lead to a further detribalization of the labor market, pension cutbacks, new reductions in public sector salaries and an increase in VAT on food, eateries and tourism, with an elimination of tax breaks on the islands.

These proposals clearly violate European social rules and fundamental rights to work, equality and to dignity, proving that the aim of some partners and institutions was not a viable and beneficial agreement for all sides, but the humiliation of the entire Greek people.

These proposals prove the fixation, primarily of the International Monetary Fund, to tough and punitive austerity.

It makes it more imperative than ever that leading European forces rise to the occasion and take initiatives which will draw a line under Greek debt, a crisis which also affects other European countries, threatening the future of European unification.

My fellow Greeks, we are now burdened with the historic responsibility, (in homage to) to the struggles of the Hellenic people, to enshrine democracy and our national sovereignty.

It is a responsibility to the future of our country. And that responsibility compels us to answer to this ultimatum based on the will of the Greek people.

A while ago I convened the cabinet, where I suggested a referendum for the Greek people to decide in sovereignty.

The suggestion was unanimously accepted.

Tomorrow the plenary of the Greek parliament will convene to ratify the proposal of the cabinet for a referendum next Sunday, July 5, posing the question of the acceptance or rejection of the proposal by the institutions.

I have already communicated my decision to the President of France and the German Chancellor, the President of the ECB, while tomorrow in correspondence to the EU leaders and institutions I will formally request a few days extension of the (bailout) program so the Greek people can decide, free of pressure or coercion, as is dictated by the Constitution of our country and the democratic tradition of Europe.

My fellow Greeks,

To this blackmail-ultimatum, for the acceptance on our part of a strict and humiliating austerity (proposal), and with no end to it in sight nor with the prospect of allowing us to ever stand on our feet economically or socially, I call upon you to decide sovereignly and proudly, as the history of Greeks dictates.

To this autocratic and harsh austerity, we should respond with democracy, with composure and decisiveness.

Greece, the cradle of democracy, should send a strong democratic answer to Europe and the world community.

I am personally committed to respect the result of your democratic choices, whatever those may be.

I am absolutely certain your choice will honor the history of our country, and send a message of dignity to the whole world.

In these crucial hours, we must all remember Europe is the common home of its people. There are no owners or guests in Europe.

Greece is, and will remain an indispensable part of Europe and Europe an indispensable part of Greece. But Greece without democracy is a Europe without identity or a compass.

I call upon you all to take the decisions worthy of us.

For us, future generations, for the history of Greeks.

For the sovereignty and dignity of our people.

Alexis Tsipras

Magda’s tale

June 28, 2015
Democracy is not negotiable

Democracy is not negotiable

Greece No Deal

Greece No Deal

Capital controls within a monetary union are a contradiction in terms. The Greek government opposes the very concept. — Yanis Varoufakis

Last winter, I stood outside the Opera House in the centre of Athens looking at the posters in the window. I was approached by a well-dressed and immaculately groomed elderly lady. I moved to the side. I thought she wanted to pass. She didn’t. She asked me for a few euros because she was hungry. I took her to dinner and, in generous and unsolicited exchange, she told me her story.

Her name was Magda and she was in her mid-seventies. She had worked as a teacher all her life. Her husband had been a college professor and died “mercifully long before we were reduced to this state”, as she put it. They paid their tax, national insurance and pension contributions straight out of the salary, like most people. They never cheated the state. They never took risks. They saved. They lived modestly in a two bedroom flat.

In the first year of the crisis her widow’s pension top-up stopped. In the second and third her own pension was slashed in half. Downsizing was not an option – house prices had collapsed and there were no buyers. In the third year things got worse. “First, I sold my jewellery. Except this ring”, she said, stroking her wedding ring with her thumb. “Then, I sold the pictures and rugs. Then the good crockery and silver. Then most of the furniture. Now there is nothing left that anyone wants. Last month the super came and removed the radiators from my flat, because I hadn’t paid for communal fuel in so long. I feel so ashamed.”

I don’t know why this encounter should have shocked me so deeply. Poverty and hunger is everywhere in Athens. Magda’s story is replicated thousands of times across Greece. It is certainly not because one life is worth more than another. And yet there is something peculiarly discordant and irreconcilable about the “nouveau pauvres”, just like like there is about the nouveau riches. Most likely it shocked me because I kept thinking how much she reminded me of my mother.

And, still, I don’t know whether voting “yes” or “no” will make life better or worse for her. I don’t know what Magda would vote either. I can only guess. What I do know, is that the encounter was the beginning of the end of my love affair with the European project. Because, quite simply, it is no longer my European Union. It is Amazon’s and Starbucks’. It is the politicians’ and the IMF’s. But it is not mine.

If belonging to the largest and richest trading bloc in the world cannot provide dinner for a retired teacher like her, it has no reason to exist. If a European Union which produces €28,000 of annual GDP for every single one of its citizens cannot provide a safety net for her, then it is profoundly wicked. If this is not a union of partners, but a gang of big players and small players, who cut the weakest loose at the first sign of trouble, then it is nothing.

Each one of us will have to engage in an internal battle before Sunday’s referendum. I will be thinking of you, Magda, when I vote. It seems as honest a basis to make a decision as any.

— Alex Andreou

We can cite the statistics for the last five years of IMF-EU-German imposed austerity on Greece

  • GDP shrunk by 25%
  • debt up from 125% of GDP to 175%
  • high unemployment
  • high suicide rate
  • increase in food banks

but what brings it home are the personal tales of the suffering of individual Greeks like Magda, which adds up to the pain of a nation.

Which is why Greece must give a resounding NO in next Sunday’s referendum.

This is not about debt or refinancing this is about destroying Greece.

Today ECB announced it would not be increasing its help to stave off a liquidity crisis for the Greek banks, which means Monday their doors will remain closed.

We are seeing a repeat of what happened to Cyprus two years ago.

Lunchtime BBC Radio 4 The World This Weekend had an interview with Greek Finance Minster Yanis Varoufakis.

Yanis Varoufakis took the opportunity to set the record straight and demolished the many lies being propagated about Greece and its negotiations (especially by the BBC).

Whilst Yanis Varoufakis was exemplary in the interview, the same cannot be said of the BBC interviewer Mark Mardell who came across as a moron reading from a script. He did not appear to understand his own questions, let alone the reasoned answers.

Greece has put realistic proposals on the table, it is the bullies who are not listening.

The decision of the European Central Bank to not increase funding to Greek banks whilst they have liquidity problems, is an example of  further stepping up the pressure on Greece.

Last week the eurozone finance minsters met in secret without Greece. Greece is a eurozone member.

There is no mechanism for Greece (or any other country) to exit the euro.

Yanis Varoufakiscan can walk down the street, and get a pat on the back, words of encouragement, stand firm. Can anyone imagine the same happening to George Osborne? More like a slap in his smug face.

This is not an argument about debt write-off. That was settled during the banking crisis when the banks were bailed out. The banks had their debts written off, a few bankers walked out the door with their pot plants, for everyone else it was business as usual, even more obscene bonuses for the bankers.

It was like  a computer game. You get killed by the baddies,and you hit the restart button.

For the banks, the game was reset.

For Greece there is no reset button.

Some get a debt write off, others like Greece do not.

There is a determined effort to destroy Greece. Austerity has failed. It was never likely to succeed, it was a cover for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts to welfare, sell-off of state assets. Greece is willing to try an alternative, needs a breathing space, but this is not being allowed, the idea may spread.

We are all Greeks now

June 28, 2015

The referendum is the opportunity for Greeks to reject EU-IMF-German bullying.

Greeks must stand firm against EU-IMF-German bullying, and the rest of Europe must stand with them.

Michel Bauwens:

To general astonishment, the response of the “institutions”, led by the IMF, was to demand even tougher measures to achieve the same targets. These include more severe increases in VAT, a lessening of the tax burden on enterprises and greater pension savings. If these demands are met, the government will not even be able to claim that it has shifted some of the increased tax burden away from workers and the poor.

For Greece as a whole, the prospect of a deal achieved on this basis would be simply appalling. The country would be forced to adopt harsh austerity measures dictated by the lenders, without any realistic possibility of substantial debt relief, or of a significant investment programme. The “institutions” are once again attempting to impose the policies that have failed abysmally since 2010, causing huge contraction of GDP, vast unemployment and mass impoverishment. It would be a national disaster accompanied by the complete humiliation of the Syriza government.

EU, is a Big Business lobby group, nothing more.

Common standards, open borders, free trade, common currency, trans-European highways, are all there to benefit Big Business.

For the last five years, IMF-EU-Germany has destroyed the Greek economy:

  • GDP shrunk by 25%
  • debt up from 125% of GDP to 175%
  • high unemployment
  • high suicide rate
  • incraese in food banks

Now IMF-EU-Germany are trying to put the jackboot in.

They did the same to Cyprus two years ago (I was in Athens at the time, then Cyprus).

It is not for society to bail out the banks when banks take a risk and it fails.

IMF-EU-Germany are determined to crush Syriza as they do not want their ideas to spread.

Greece is prepared to face down EU, something Cyrus lacked the courage to do.

If Cyprus had stood firm, as the Greeks must, it would have caused the euro to collapse, and Cyprus was only 5% of the euro.

If Greece is forced out with heads held high, yes, like Iceland they will have a few bad years then like Iceland they will recover.

Cyprus has no future whilst the EU jackboot crushes the life out of the country.

Greece is being told, agree to destroy your country or we will do it for you.

Greece has had the audacity to consult their own people which was more than Cyprus did.

Farnham Carnival

June 27, 2015
Farnham Carnival 2015

Farnham Carnival 2015

It could not have been a better day for the Farnham Carnival, lovely warm and sunny, hazy sun, but not too hot.

I arrived a little later than I would have wished, as I diverted to Aldershot to have a coffee with a friend.

Saturday market in Aldershot, last week six stalls, few people on the street, today four stalls. The imbecile leader of the council claims the Saturday market a huge success.

I alighted from the bus and walked along the River Wey to Gostrey Meadow. A quick look around, then up Downing Street to butcher and greengrocer before they closed (that was Sunday dinner sorted).

I popped in Phyllis Tuckwell. This is by far their best shop, always interesting items on sale, and not rip off prices (unlike Oxfam or British Heart Foundation). I complimented them on the fact their shop peace and quiet. They thanked me. It is a sore point with Phyllis Tuckwell shops, they have been forced to install sound systems that blare out awful music, no one wants, but no one is listening. No consultation with the shops. Some cretin at head office to justify a waste of their salary and charitable funds, not only forced it on the shops, but a long term contract and they cannot get out of until at least April 2016.

The argument being it is cheaper than paying for the right to play music. Yes, if you have a shop not selling music, but do you have to pay if selling music? But even if you are forced to pay, put on what you like, have on display and it sells. It then pays for itself. Whereas, the system now, does not only not pay for itself, it annoys customers and drives them out of the shop, and creates it stressful and unpleasant working conditions for those working in the shops.

Whoever imposed this crass system on the shops should do the decent thing and resign.

Crap food at the Farnham Carnival, but good food too, for example Curries from Home.

If you have never eaten Curries from Home, you have never had a decent Indian meal.

I had butter chicken with rice. I asked, and they gave me a little from the other dishes too. It was excellent.

What was also good, served in a card box, wooden fork.

The organisers must set higher environmental standards (assuming they set any at all), other festivals do, so why not Farnham Carnival?

No polystyrene burger boxes. Everything must be recyclable. Different bins, compost, paper, glass, aluminium, other.

Whilst I was eating my excellent lunch from Curries from Home a flypast by the Red Arrows.

Curries from Home a must for Godalming Food Festival (next Saturday) and Staycation Live (sometime end of July or early August).

old Citroen van serving coffee

old Citroen van serving coffee

Coffee off, no idea, an unmarked battered old Citroen van. It was ok, better than Costa or Starbucks (which does not say a lot), but could have been much better. No cookies, no idea where the coffee was sourced from, coffee ground in advance.  Cup was paper, but what was the lid? They did not know. If cellulose, plant-based plastic, can be composted. Lemonade served in plastic.

Is there a bad back epidemic in Farnham, or symptomatic of a national trend? Two chiropractors peddling their wares, and another man offering massage.

I learnt from one chiropractor I was lopsided, which can be fixed, for a fee.

Man on a tanoy was bloody irritating. He had nothing to say, but irritated everyone by saying it. During the parade, even worse, but luckily most of the time inaudible due to the music. Would someone please tell him to put a sock in it, or strangle him.

Music was ok but not great. I would have expected better from organisers of Weyfest. Maybe ask West End Centre next year. Far better than Aldershot Live Music Day (which is dire), but not in the same league as Staycation Live in Godalming.

Jewelia would have been ideal headline act.

Food, several good food stalls, but they need to be more selective and kick out the rubbish.

Find someone else to run the bar. When a bar serves Carling then not up to scratch. There is locally, small breweries, that is what should be on sale.

Why the dreaded Tony Fresco ice cream vans?  And why the engines running all day? The exhaust is at the height of small children. Ideal for brain damage for formative brains. Invite Dylan’s Ice Cream for quality ice cream.

For coffee, invite HoBo Co or Jimmy Bean.

People selling what can only be described as tat. They have to have a licence. Do not issue the licence.

I decided to have a massage. It would have been better on a flat table. The massage chair was very uncomfortable after a few minutes. I was booked 20 minutes, but it seemed much longer. Afterwards I was given a  bottle of water. Apparently it is important to rehydrate, good for the bone and muscles.

I stayed longer than I have in the past. Usually, a quick look round, watch the procession, shop in Waitrose, then pass through on the way to the station.

As it was a pleasant day and evening, I stayed until evening.

I do not know how many at Farnham Carnival.

On leaving I chatted to two police (strictly speaking one cop and a PCSO). Not a lot to do I said, no one to arrest. I mentioned the anti-austerity protests in London last weekend, 250,000 and not a single arrest.

As is should be they said. And I agreed. No excuse whatever for the antisocial behaviour that blights our town centres. People should be able to go out, have a nice time, in a pleasant environment.

With a few minutes to spare, I caught the train.

By the time I got home, I ached all over, as though hard work in the garden. Hard physical work exercises the muscles, but then so does massage.

Farnham Carnival put to shame VE Day 70. last month in Aldershot.

Next Farnham event: Parish Church Summer Fête, sometime in September.

Next Godalming events: Godalming Food Festival next Saturday (Saturday 4 July 2015) and Staycation Live (sometime end of July or early August).

Everything Falls Away

June 27, 2015

Gretchen Peters today Glastonbury, Holy Trinity in Guildford in August (2 August 2015).

A must to release on bandcamp.

Lunch at La Casita

June 26, 2015
 fillet of sea bass with white wine and garlic served rice

fillet of sea bass with white wine and garlic served rice

La Casita

La Casita

La Casita

La Casita

I had intended tapas, but chose instead sea bass covered in sauce with rice,  fillet of sea bass with white wine and garlic served rice.

I thought maybe the sauce would spoil it, as quite strong, and mask the flavour of the fish, but no, it was excellent.

The owner told me the sea bass  was fresh that day.

Very pleasant ambience, service good.  The owner, if not busy, is only too happy to talk about the food, how prepared and cooked, which is always a good sign.

Two recent fake reviews on TripAdvisor which not only stand out like a sore thumb, but bear no resemblance to my experience of La Casita (I have eaten there a few times).

La Casita is one of the few places worth eating in Guildford.