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by GREYDOG

Deciphering Greece

5:58 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

By J. Iddhis Bing99GetSmart

Occupy shows solidarity with Greece

Where next for Greece?

It’s hard work getting the news from the news these days, especially if you want to know about a country like Greece. Far-away birthplace of democracy, a bit exotic, Mediterranean lifestyle, Zorba, rumored to be different. What does any of that mean? Strange things are happening there but what is going on precisely? The Greeks ran up quite a tab at the bar, or so the financial dailies tell us on a regular basis.

Almost everything we read is filtered through the point of view of the Troika – the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission – or the Greek government. We know that representatives of the Troika – established during the first stage of Greece’s “rescue” in May 2010 – have been in Greece since Tuesday of last week, meeting with the Greek government about the latest round of potential bailouts for that country. Beyond the leaks from either side, the rest, for us at any rate, is guesswork.

As of Tuesday evening, November 12, no decision had been announced. The Troika is typically very business-like with its clients, out with the whip, sign here, see you later – and then the next round of what the press like to call “belt-tightening” begins. The coalition government survived a no-confidence vote on Monday the 11th but that hardly quelled the sense that they are a very fragile edifice indeed. The people are out in the streets on a constant basis. They’re an after-thought, at least as far as the world’s media is concerned.

We do know a few things: that the Troika is a quasi-legal junta, created during the first stage of Greece’s trauma. The IMF was invited to the party at the insistence of Angela Merkel. Readers with long memories may remember that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was on his way to meet Merkel to present his plan to “save Greece,” when he was abruptly detained in New York.

The Troika’s mission is to enforce an austerity program that includes the selling-off of government assets and the decimation of public services, and that even within the IMF, there is dissension over the absurd goal of turning Greece into a productive satellite of Germany. We also know or suspect that any “bailout” of Greece will only impoverish the country yet further. That’s the public record regarding employment, savings, pensions, access to housing and food. You can read it here on Ground Report and find it many other places as well.

Language, meanwhile, gets so knocked around by the pros it throws its hands up in despair. Defeat comes at the price of rational thought: being rescued by the Troika means becoming a pauper in your own country, means your pension has vanished, you are a month or so away from losing the roof over your head and your hand is in the garbage looking for food.

None of the rescues perpetrated by the Troika have successfully rescued their target countries but instead have pitched them ever further into chaos. Bailouts are not a transfusion of money but a way of channeling money from one country (Germany, in this case) to another country (Greece) where the money is then re-routed to banks in, among other places, Germany and France in the form of debt payments.

The conservative government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, along with his coalition partner, Socialist Evangelos Venizelos, is said to be desperate not to tamper with what they consider Greece’s “success story,” one which includes massive unemployment and at least 20 percent of the population dependent on soup kitchens for the next meal. His figure is 700 million Euros to meet the debt payment schedule. The Troika is said to be looking for 2.9 billion Euros in savings from the current budget.

That explains the lack of an agreement since last Tuesday at least in part. The Troika is being held hostage. Round One to Greece.

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by GREYDOG

Greece: Distinguished Physician and Activist Faces Eviction

4:37 pm in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Posted by greydogg and SnakeArbusto, 99GetSmart

It may be difficult for many people, and in particular Americans, to imagine a doctor being evicted from his home for non-payment of rent. But it can happen to a doctor in Greece. And Giorgos Kosmopoulos of Athens is a physician.

And not just any physician. He is a thoracic surgeon who studied under Dr. Christiaan Barnard in South Africa at the Heart Transplant Center, Groote Schuur University Hospital, Cape Town. He has been Senior Lecturer at the Department of Cardio-thoracic Surgery at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and head of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Agios Savas Anticancer Hospital in Athens. He has performed 3,535 operations as a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Giorgos Kosmopoulos is also a founder of StopCartel TV, a most beloved pioneer of the Livestream and one of the only bilingual livestreamers in Greece. Tomorrow morning, Giorgos and his family of six are facing eviction from their home of 14 years.

And where is Giorgos tonight? He is livestreaming, on location in the center of Athens. He said that despite his personal problems, he felt it was his duty to livestream and archive the clashes between the rioting Greek police and protesters who have gathered to commemorate the murder of 16-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, who was shot dead on December 6, 2008.

A lifelong activist, Dr. Kosmopoulos grew up in Greece during the junta and joined the resistance at age 17, when he entered university. During the decade he spent in South Africa, he was an anti-apartheid activist and survived two hunger strikes, one for 26 days and one for 30 days.

A personal family tragedy brought him and his family back to Greece, where they currently reside. At the age of six, his son Christopher, was shot in the head, leaving him blind in one eye and with half of his vision in the other eye. Doctors said that Christopher had lost half of his brain function, as well, and would have a more successful education in his mother tongue.

The family moved back to Greece and enrolled Christopher in a special school. After one month, the school called and said that Christopher did not belong there. So they enrolled him in a normal grammar school and he did well. He went on to High School and then to university. Christopher is now an economist and ran for Parliament in the last election on the SYRIZA ticket.

When Giorgos was head of Thoracic Surgery at Agios Savas in Athens, hospital workers’ wages began to be slashed. He went to Human Resources and asked if he was eligible to retire with a smaller pension. They told him he was and he resigned. He collected a pension for six months and then the payments simply stopped. The government said he was NOT eligible. Meanwhile, he only had two months to be reinstated in his old job. Since that window of opportunity closed, he started a private practice. But with the Troika’s two austerity Memoranda passing, people in Greece had no money for a private physician, and he had to close his practice. He applied to the government for a post as a doctor and after months of waiting, they assigned him a post far from Athens, in the remote Western Peloponnese. The pay was low and it would have been a hardship to move his entire family there. He asked to be reassigned to a post in the greater Athens area. He is still waiting for a post, but the wheels of the public sector have come to a grinding halt. It could take forever for him to get an assignment. Another 40% of public-sector jobs are on the chopping block.

Meanwhile, under the new “fast-track” eviction procedures that are only one of a multitude of measures – some small, some egregious – that are slowly bleeding Greece’s people through a thousand cuts, this distinguished physician and dedicated citizen journalist has been informed that he is to be evicted from his home. In many European countries, eviction is illegal under any circumstances during the winter months. But not in the Greece of today. Not in the Greece that has become a laboratory of neoliberal doctrine. That is why Dr. Giorgos Kosmopoulos is doing everything he can to inform the world, despite the silence and complacency of the mainstream corporate media, of the plight of his country.

He spoke about the pending eviction tonight on his livestream:

“We will prepare for peaceful civil disobedience tomorrow. We will not tolerate being violently removed from our home of 14 years. If the eviction is imposed, we will resist and express our disobedience. We will not allow them to get inside our house. They may resort to using violence and throwing our belongings on the street. We hope some comrades will come to our house to support us. Online, it’s not wise to say what we will do. This will all be online and live. So keep in mind you who are talking from the US, it will be difficult for you to view because of the time difference.

The world must know of the humanitarian catastrophe in Greece. Thousands of Greek families are homeless and nobody cares about us. Please do your best to spread the word and help raise awareness.”

The Kosmopoulos family is requesting a January 13 postponement for the eviction which will give them time to find a new flat and move their belongings.

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- Fundraiser for the Kosmopoulos family @ http://stopcarteltv.chipin.com/stopcarteltv

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Please express your support for the Kosmopoulos family and call:

Christos P.  Panagopoulos, Ambassador of Greece to the U.S.A.: 202-939-1300

- Konstantinos Bikas, Greek Ambassador in London: 44 (20) 73135600

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- StopCartel TV broadcasts live from Athens, Greece Monday and Thursday @ 6pm Athens time @ http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr

- StopCartel blog in Greek: http://stopcartel.info

- StopCartel blog in English: http://stopcartel.net

by GREYDOG

Greece: Large family with unemployed and disabled members thrown into the street

9:25 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Posted by greydogg and SnakeArbusto, 99Getsmart

From the StopCartel Newsdesk:

The “fast-track” eviction process in Greece supports state terrorism by robbing citizens of their dignity and their homes.

In Athens, a large family of six with unemployed and disabled members are facing the imminent threat of being thrown out onto the street. Their landlord took actions against the family by taking advantage of a corrupt judicial process that places evictions on a fast-track procedure. This means that if a judgement is made against this family, they have 3 days to remove themselves and their belongings from their home of 14 years.

The family requested that the landlord, who resides in the same building, give them more time to seek shelter elsewhere. They just want to leave their home of 14 years with dignity, without bailiffs and police arriving and exerting violence on the family, throwing the family’s possessions onto the street, and violently forcing family members outside of the home and making them homeless with three days’ notice.

This story is characteristic of the humanitarian catastrophe facing Greek citizens. The term defines a country that is without welfare protection for the thousands of families that are thrown into the street with fast-track eviction procedures. At the same time, there are thousands of empty properties belonging to the Church and the State. Fast-track is used to exploit citizens without justification. This does not benefit members of society and only adds to the problem of homelessness.

Some preliminary data on the family of Glyfada who will be left homeless:

- Father – career scientist, age 62, unemployed

- Gyos – severe physical disabilities, university education, unemployed

- Other children with university degrees and unemployed mother

A call for solidarity with all struggling people to be announced later.

A shout out to the judges:

- No citizen in the street

- No homeless in Greece

- End the brutal fast-track eviction procedure

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Original article in Greekhttp://stopcartel.info/2012/12/05/ΚΙΝΗΜΑΤΑ/Πολύτεκνη_οικογένεια_με_άνεργους_και_ανάπηρο_πετιέται_άμεσα_στο_δρόμο/8742.html

Please donate to this family @ http://tinyurl.com/stopcartelpplink

by GREYDOG

GREECE: The Austerity “Cure” is a Humanitarian Catastrophe

5:56 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

By greydogg and SnakeArbusto, 99GetSmart

StopCartel TV broadcasts live from Athens, Greece on Monday and Thursday @ 6 pm Athens time. The following post is a loose transcript of the 26 November 2012 broadcast.

An 'Austerity Ahead' road sign

The crisis of austerity continues in Greece.

- From Brussels:

The IMF wants Eurozone finance ministers to agree to a cut in Greece’s debt by €40 billion, but German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble remains opposed to further cuts to the country’s ‘debts.’

After months of political theater, a green light is expected for the next dose of money to recapitalize the Greek banks. The funds will be swallowed up by the black hole of the Greek banks – aiding a clear and continuous theft of public funds.

The Troika’s manufactured economic crises and its prescribed ‘cure’ of austerity have plunged Greek society into a humanitarian catastrophe. The so-called third Memorandum (M3) demands further austerity measures and the mass privatization of public assets, forcing Greek citizens into an unsustainable position of paying the odious debt of the banks with their lives.

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Predictions and polls:

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by GREYDOG

Friday READ – 7 September 2012

2:07 am in Uncategorized by GREYDOG

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* ATTIC AMNESIA: THE CONVENIENTLY FORGOTTEN CONTEXT OF THE GREEK CATASTROPHE

By Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque

The catastrophic situation in Greece has disappeared from the headlines in recent weeks, replaced largely by lurid reports from Syria, where religious extremists aligned with al Qaeda are wreaking carnage with suicide bombers in the capital — to the cheers of America’s adamant anti-terrorists.

[Such hypocrisy doesn't mitigate the hideousness of the current Syrian regime, of course. Why, I'm so old, I can remember when Washington sent innocent people to Assad's torture chambers for a little outsourced "rigorous interrogation." But as the hapless ophthalmologist teetering atop the slagheap in Damascus is now learning, no good deed -- or evil favor -- done on behalf of the Potomac Poobahs ever goes unpunished. Then again, the aforesaid hideousness does not gainsay the unsavouriness of the other side in the vicious Syrian civil war. I strongly recommend that readers consult As'ad AbuKhalil -- the "Angry Arab" -- for a clear-eyed view of both these plagued houses.)

But even though it is now off the media radar, Greece continues to groan under the draconian conditions imposed on it by Europe's financial elite. As always, everywhere, the weakest are going to the wall: the poor, the workers, and the middle class are being brutally punished so that the rich and powerful can escape the slightest consequence for their own monumental greed, their own ravenous crimes. […]

READ http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2266-attic-amnesia-the-conveniently-forgotten-context-of-the-greek-catastrophe.html

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* THE ”PAUPERIZATION OF EUROPE”

Source: Testosterone Pit

It started on Monday. “Poverty is returning to Europe,” said Jan Zijderveld, head of Unilever’s European operations, in an interview. The British–Dutch consumer products company, third largest in the world, was adjusting its commercial strategy to this new reality, he said, by redeploying to Europe what worked in poor countries of the developing world. Now the stars of the industry are affirming it. “The logic of pauperization,” L’Oréal CEO Jean-Paul Agon called it on Wednesday.

“If Spaniards are down to spending on average €17 per shopping trip, I can’t sell him detergent for half of his budget,” Zijderveld explained. “In Indonesia we sell individual packages of shampoo for 2 to 3 cents and still earn a fair amount.” […]

READ @ http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2012/8/29/the-pauperization-of-europe.html

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* JUDGES PROTEST PAY CUTS IN GREECE

Source: youtube

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* GREECE: PROTESTING POLICE VS. RIOTING POLICE

Source: youtube

VIDEO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVHl92saxbg&feature=player_embedded

READhttp://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/06/us-greece-police-idUSBRE8850IW20120906

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* WORK THOSE GREEKS! ADVENT OF MODERN SLAVERY?

Source: Daily Bell, Staff Report

EU Says Greeks Should Work Six-Day Week: Report … In the leaked letter, reported in The Guardian newspaper, the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund call for Athens to implement the measure as part of the bailout agreement with lenders. According to the paper, the letter states that more flexibility must be implemented to work schedules, including working into the weekend by increasing the number of maximum working days to six. The paper printed the following extract from the letter: “Increase the number of maximum workdays to six days per week for all sectors. Increase flexibility of work schedules; set the minimum daily rest to 11 hours; delink the working hours of employees from the opening hours of the establishment; eliminate restrictions on minimum/maximum time between morning and afternoon shifts; allow the consecutive two-week leave to be taken anytime during the year in seasonal sectors.” – CNBC […]

READ @ http://www.thedailybell.com/4256/Work-Those-Greeks-Advent-of-Modern-Slavery

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* GREECE 2012 : SOCIAL WORK IN AUSTERITY 

By Dora Dimitri Teloni