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Riots as Greeks protest IMF bailout in their thousands...

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It's really kicking off big time in Greece, but the BBC is more interested in the weather at Wimbledon. :banghead: See what's really going on in Athens LIVE HERE...

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Serious violence ensuing.

Livestream HERE also.

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Been meaning to post about this for a while ghostie.

It looks to me like greece is being raped of it's assets for pennies on the dollar, or cents on the Euro by the usual suspects.

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Massive IMF bailout loan, a loan given basically so that Greece can pay of its debts to German and French banks. So, a loan to pay of loans.

Thing is it's not even the German and French banks that would have suffered if the bailout hadn't gone ahead. See, Germany and France have both taken out CDS's (credit default swaps - i.e. insurance) in case Greece defaults on their' loans. And you've guessed it, it's mostly American banks that they've taken out the CDS's WITH, so if Greece were to default then Germany and France (mostly) would get their money back, and the American banks would be the eventual looser's. And we can't have that, can we? Especially since if Greece got away with defaulting then Portugal and Spain would probably start thinking, 'what the hell' if Greece can default, then fuck it so can we!!'.

It's going to happen sooner or later, probably sooner, and then it's time for a Global Financial Crisis that will make the last one look like a cub scout jamboree.


Try this excellent site by economic journalist Demetri Kofinas for anything Greece related in particular, plus a whole lot of interesting up-to-the-minute information of GeoEconomic stuff in general. You'll find hundreds of great articles a few inches down the right hand side of the Index page. :thumb:

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I'm busy stockpiling cans of food and bottles of water :)

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It's purely a personal opinion, but having lived in Greece for four years, I see things differently. The Greeks have been living way beyond their means for years. In real terms, they produce very little, pay very little tax at all levels, yet expect the country to run normally.
Many people I spoke to, including Greeks, believe the mindset of the Greek is closer to that of the Middle East than Europe, which is why the protests and rioting are more severe than those we are used to in western Europe. Provoked by outside forces? Very unlikely. The Greeks need no provocation to riot, and/or take a day or two off work. All flights to Greece have been severely affected today. Some were as much as eight hours late. particularly those to the island of Kos.
The Greeks care little for anyone beyond their borders. They don't care what the rest of Europe thinks, and their propensity for dodging tax is phenomenal. During the four years I worked there, neither I nor any of the local people I worked with paid one penny (or cent!) in tax, simply because the government was so inefficient at collecting it.
This is precisely why they are in this mess, and there seems little prospect of them collecting sufficient revenue to pay off the loans they are now taking out, and they know it. So the burden moves from Europe to the USA. The USA will ensure that any debt is collected, as they did with Britain after WWII. (It took us 60 years to pay ours off and the US made sure they got every penny).
I believe Greece will default, but that it will have relatively little effect on the western economy. I'll be interested to see how the US reacts, though.

Again, a personal opinion, but having spent a lot of time in Portugal and Spain, I don't see them following the Greek example. They are more pragmatic, have better tax-collection systems, and will swallow the medicine more readily than the Greeks.

On a lighter note, I do agree about the BBC being obsessed with all things Wimbledon. I have long believed that lots of BBC staff get free (or reduced) tickets to the event.

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smeggypants wrote:I'm busy stockpiling cans of food and bottles of water :)



Wot, no wine? :roll:



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Can never stockpile it as I always drink it!!

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I don't mind the Greeks getting a bailout from the EU that much. They've put in a bit of money from what little I know, and they've been an EU member for a while. The ex-Iron Curtain countries can piss off because they've gave and done nowt for the EU.

Places like Britain, France, Germany etc - they could use the bailouts, and they've paid into the EU - so I'll have no problem if they did get one.

Unfortunately, due to the shitty global economy - everyone needs a bailout and there simply ain't enough money or trade to rectify this overnight.

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I don't mind the Greeks getting a bailout from the EU that much.


So you're happy to pay the Greek taxpayer's contributions as well as your own, which in effect is what the rest of us are doing. If the Greeks had paid their taxes (see my post above), then we wouldn't have to bail them out, at least certainly not to the extent that we are at the moment.

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tango15 wrote:
I don't mind the Greeks getting a bailout from the EU that much.


So you're happy to pay the Greek taxpayer's contributions as well as your own, which in effect is what the rest of us are doing. If the Greeks had paid their taxes (see my post above), then we wouldn't have to bail them out, at least certainly not to the extent that we are at the moment.


In a word, yes.

Though the question remains, could the Greeks have afforded to pay more tax? I always got the impression that Greece was hardly the richest country in the EU. Perhaps they were just paying what they could afford.

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To all taxpayers:

When the USE (United States of Europe) is properly formed and run by the European Parliament we'll be paying even more taxes as there will be more countries to subsidise.

Be warned!...and vote for UKIP, the only party that's prepared to pull us out of the EU, the most dangerous political organisation in Europe at the moment.

Hitler was a muppet compared with this lot.



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Gunner 51 wrote:
tango15 wrote:
I don't mind the Greeks getting a bailout from the EU that much.


So you're happy to pay the Greek taxpayer's contributions as well as your own, which in effect is what the rest of us are doing. If the Greeks had paid their taxes (see my post above), then we wouldn't have to bail them out, at least certainly not to the extent that we are at the moment.


In a word, yes.

Though the question remains, could the Greeks have afforded to pay more tax? I always got the impression that Greece was hardly the richest country in the EU. Perhaps they were just paying what they could afford.


Gunner:

Then you've never been to Athens? All those marinas with the mega-yachts (90% of which belong to Greeks). If you think I'm exaggerating, put Glyfada into Google Earth and have a browse around the coastline. You will see how many marinas there are full of yachts in that area alone. All those rich Greek businessmen with Monaco passports? The Greeks have always portrayed themselves as being poor because it suits their purpose. Of course there are poor people there, just as there are everywhere else, but there are many people who are extremely rich, (I've met quite a few of them), and who freely admit to paying little or no tax either on their own behalf, or of the companies they own. I have no objection at all to people making money, but I object to paying £1.32 a litre for petrol (for example) to help bale out their country, because they're too crooked to pay their own country the taxes which are rightly due.

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What is this Goldman Sachs and why has it caused us so much grief?" is a question they must be asking in even the most remote of Greek villages, as they are throughout much of this economically troubled world. The Greek financial scandal in which Goldman Sachs stands accused of selling dubious derivatives that concealed enormous government debt has sent the Greek economy and European markets into a tailspin. But that's just part of a made-in-the-USA banking hustle that has haunted folks at home and abroad.

At the heart of the worldwide banking meltdown are those mysterious unregulated derivatives that Goldman and JPMorgan led the way in selling. But Greece's case did not involve the usual questionable mortgages packaged into derivatives with credit default swaps backing them up, but rather expected revenue on airport fees and other potential sources of the cashed-strapped government's future income.

As The New York Times headlined it: "Wall St. Helped to Mask Debt Fueling Europe's Crisis." The story described the scam succinctly: "As in the American subprime crisis and the implosion of American International Group, financial derivatives played a role in the run-up of Greek debt. Instruments developed by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and a wide range of other banks enabled politicians to mask additional borrowing in Greece, Italy and possibly elsewhere. ... Critics say that such deals, because they are not recorded as loans, mislead investors and regulators about the depth of a country's liabilities."

As a result of such shenanigans back in 2001, Greece was allowed to join the European Union while running up enormous debt that went undetected. Greece's neighbors will now be forced to bail it out, much as U.S. taxpayers have done for banks as a result of the scams Goldman and other financial houses pulled off in this country. The common denominator is that the packagers of the collateralized debt securities, be they based on subprime mortgages or government airport fees, have no real interest in the integrity of the packages, for they will balance them out with credit default swaps that pay off when the assets prove toxic. And they will make their lucrative commissions coming and going, no matter what goes wrong. Even after all the trouble in Greece, Goldman President Gary D. Cohn was back in that country last November with a new derivative scam based on potential revenue from Greece's health care system.

Just as it did with mortgages in the U.S., Goldman in effect bet against the collateralized Greek debt obligations. The basic issue is the same. The thing being sold need not be understood or correctly assessed as to its value. In his recent memoir, former Goldman Chairman Hank Paulson confesses that as late as August 2006 when as the newly appointed treasury secretary he briefed George W. Bush on the impending derivatives crisis he did not even know that the packages that Goldman and others had sold were based on mortgages. "I misread the cause, and the scale, of the coming disaster," he admits, adding, "Notably absent from my presentation was any mention of problems in housing and mortgages." In recalling when an obviously perplexed President Bush asked him "How did this happen?" Paulson says in his memoir: "It was a humbling question for someone from the financial sector to be asked--after all, we were the ones responsible."

He got that right. The financial sector was and is responsible, but it still resists increased transparency and other necessary regulations over the derivatives that gamblers like Paulson themselves don't understand. As Peter Eavis writes in The Wall Street Journal: "How many more crises will it take? The Greek emergency is a reminder of how little has been done to fix large, potentially unstable parts of the financial system. ... The banking lobby is resisting efforts to overhaul the $605 trillion market for derivatives that don't trade on exchanges."

The U.S. comptroller of the currency estimates that Goldman Sachs has a derivative "credit exposure" that is a whopping 858 percent of its risk-based capital and that JPMorgan Chase is in second place at 290 percent. That statement calls into question the savvy of President Obama, who crowed just last week in defense of Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon, his old Chicago buddy who heads JPMorgan Chase, "I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen." Tell it to the Greeks.





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The answer is to kick these countries out of the EU until they can get their own houses in order.

Why should Britain, Germany and France subsidise these irresponsible European governments such as Greece, Portugal and many more yet to come because they can't handle their own finances.

Better still, tell the European parliament and the IMF to get f***ed..we don't them. We have survived as an island nation for a thousand years without these c*nts dictating to us, and we were once one of, if not the richest nation on the planet. Now we're skint because mass, uncontrolled immigration is costing this country millions of pounds a week and what little cash we have got left in the government coffers is being swallowed up by these economic immigrant as they all jump on the handout bandwagon, not to mention the billions we spend on foreign aid and illegal wars.

Queen Victoria would be turning in her grave if she could only know how our nation's wealth is being squandered in the name of charity.



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Good post Annie, and it explains the issue succinctly. The problem is that these derivatives scams are completely unregulated because folks like Paulson and Greenspan firmly believe in the old free-market adage that left to itself everything finds its own level. It doesn't.


@ Tango

You're not wrong in what you're saying about Greeks living above their means, and being shody in matters of taxation, but is the ordinary tax-paying person really the problem? You said it yourself, whilst you were living there you yourself paid little or no tax, and hell, who amoung us would, if nobody insisted? Nobody is going to go up to the government offices with a wad of cash, and say, 'Excuse me, you forgot to tax me ...here, take this!'. The thing is, if Greece had a government that functioned, first and foremost, then the problem would never have gotten so out of hand. Isn't THAT the real issue here?


Huh, hey Smeggy, I tried to copy and paste an article here, but can't. Getting that FORBIDDEN thingy Zap mentioned!!

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The Great Gamble: is the Federal Reserve preparing us for a derivatives nuclear holocaust?
MarketSkeptics has published incredible information detailing what is not only fraud by the Federal Reserve, but something that has the very real potential of blowing up the entire financial system on a scale previously unimagined. The information comes almost exclusively from a June 24-25, 2003 Federal Reserve meeting, where it was explained in very clear terms, that the Federal Reserve had actually seriously contemplated using derivative products, specifically put options on US Treasuries, as a means of pushing down long-term rates:
The alternatives that could be adopted while changing only the composition of the balance sheet are listed in the top panel. These include extending the average maturity of the outright holdings in the SOMA, (2) setting explicit ceilings on longer-term Treasury yields, and (3) using derivative instruments.


Let me explain, first, why this may have been more than a theoretical proposition, and second, why it is even important to begin with.

The above excerpt from the 2003 transcript quotes System Open Market Account (SOMA) manager Dino Kos, who was in the process of proposing a series of policy tools that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) could use in order to drive down long-term interest rates. Traditionally, the Federal Reserve only targets the short end of the yield curve, and we are actually taught in economics that central banks are incapable of affecting 10, 20 or 30 year interest rates (no need to go into why right now). I never bought into this argument, and anyone who watched the yield curve flatten, and subsequently invert during the late Greenspan era will find plenty of reason to exercise similar skepticism on the subject.

Now, in reference to Kos’ specific suggestions, points (1) and (2) have already been implemented. “Extending the average maturity of the outright holdings in SOMA” simply means buying a greater share of long-term treasury debt. The Fed has already been doing this for some time. Meanwhile, “setting explicit ceilings on longer-term Treasury yields” simply means that the fed won’t allow interest payments on newly issued US government debt to exceed a specific target, presumably by stepping in as a buyer to fill the demand gap in the treasury market that would otherwise drive rates higher. This is pretty much what the Fed does in the short-term money markets by setting the artificial federal funds rate target. To put this another way, points (1) and (2) are both influenced by the Federal Reserve monetizing the long-term debt obligations of the United States, which is what QE1 and QE2 were all about.



Figure 1 – short-term US government debt is replaced with long-term debt

The chart above shows how the Federal Reserve began to unwind its position in short-term government paper in the beginning of 2008, only to expand dramatically its purchase of long-term paper at the start of 2009. The reason for the lull in buying by the Fed that you see during the last three quarters of 2008 is probably a result of natural market pressures driving up prices for US government securities as people were rushing out of riskier assets into the “safer” short-term US treasury market. This would have freed up the Federal Reserve from having to make the type of large-scale asset purchases in treasuries that have subsequently characterized QE1 and QE2. This “freedom” is also reflected in the giant spike that you see for other “credit programs.” The buying of long-term US debt has subsequently taken up an increasing amount of room on the Fed’s balance sheet.

In other words, people were losing interest in holding US treasuries at prevailing market prices. When this happens, the natural effect is for prices to drop, signaling to the government that it needs to raise rates (the yield on its newly issued bonds) in order to compel buyers to purchase more treasuries. In order to prevent this natural rise in rates, the Fed rushed in to make up the difference, serving as a buyer and thus creating artificially high demand for treasuries. This put a floor on prices and worked as a cap for long-term rates. This is what QE1 and QE2 were meant to accomplish.

Ok, so now we have established that points (1) and (2) have already been implemented. This is important to recognize because it makes it all the more likely that point (3) would have, at the very least, been seriously considered as well. Now, we will turn to why the implementation of point number 3 (the use of derivative products) is such a scary prospect.

When Dino Kos proposed the use of derivative products in this 2003 fed meeting, he specifically made reference to the use of treasury put options. Without going into great detail, a put option is basically a derivative product used as a means of selling-short a particular asset. If you buy a put option on wheat, it means that you are expecting the price of wheat to decline, and so you are entering into a bet to that effect. Of course, every trade has a counter party, and so, if you are buying a put option on something, it means that there is someone else on the other side of that trade who is writing the option. This other party, in a free market at least, would be writing the option because he/she expects the price of the underlying asset to rise above the strike-price.

Buying put options on US government debt is essentially a way of selling-short the treasury market. You are basically betting that the price of government debt is going to drop and that yields are going to rise. If the demand for put options on US treasuries is growing, then pressure begins to build on yields. In short, the market for treasury put options is just another way for bond traders to provide an up or down vote on the US credit rating, and thus on benchmark interest rates in the economy.

As we already mentioned, the Federal Reserve can influence interest rates by buying up US bonds, thus driving up prices and pushing down yields. This is what quantitative easing means. However, the policy becomes increasingly ineffective with every purchase. It stands to reason that if the Fed wants to continue to keep rates artificially low in the face of market sentiment to the contrary, it must find new ways to influence prices. One such way would be through the derivatives markets, specifically using treasury puts. According to Dino Kos:

Alternatively, we could sell put options on longer-term Treasury securities at strike prices associated with desired longer-term yields…[The] ultimate success would hinge on the quantity of options sold—that is, how big a bet the Federal Reserve were willing to make. The more options sold, the greater the chance they would have the desired effect on longer-term rates even if not associated with any policy commitment, either by raising the costs to the Fed associated with options being exercised, or by lowering risk premiums on longer-term rates.


What Kos is saying here is plain as day: issue put options on long-term debt at artificial strike prices that are likely to produce the sort of yields that the Fed is looking for. This is just another way of manipulating the interest rates in the economy. However, Kos recognizes that, in order to have the desired effect, the Fed would need to issue an increasingly high number of these put options. Here is the kicker:

[O]f course the risks to the portfolio, to reserve levels, and of capital losses would rise in equal measure. And an exit strategy for options may not be as straightforward as it seems, even apart from the possibility of their being exercised. Of course, the Desk could stop auctioning new options at any time. But a decision to stop selling more options or not to issue new contracts with later expiration dates as time passes likely would be interpreted in the market as a statement about future policy intentions. The resulting rush to unwind market positions would likely be very disruptive and send yields sharply higher.


So, unlike traditional policies of buying and selling the underlying asset (as is the case when the Fed buys or sells treasuries in order to add or extract liquidity and thus raise or lower the Federal Funds Rate), a strategy of issuing put options to counter parties interested in hedging against an environment of rising rates puts the Fed in a dangerous trap of having to supply ever more derivative contracts in order to suppress the price of long-term yields – the very yields that they are issuing insurance against.

First of all, this is fraud. The Fed is effectively issuing credit protection against itself. That’s like me taking out a $1 million loan and then issuing another $1 million in credit protection against my own default. This is absurd. If I default on my debt, then this means that I won’t be able to make good on the insurance contract either. This is just a fraudulent means by which to borrow more money.

Second, and more importantly, this has the potential to blow up the entire financial system, and I will explain why in as simple terms as I can. If the Federal Reserve is issuing more and more insurance contracts, effectively betting against a rise in long-term yields, this means that it is also increasing its exposure to a fat tail event that would drive rates suddenly higher. In order to prevent a rise in the rates, the Fed can only do one thing and this is to continue issuing more and more put options (insurance contracts against default). However, just like with bond purchases, there is a point at which the issuance of ever more insurance through put options will prove ineffective.

At this point, the Fed would be left with two options. 1) it could start to buy up all the options it has outstanding, which would probably cause hyperinflation and thus a break down in the economy or 2) it could default, in which case the entire financial system would blow up. In either case, the outcome would be a total catastrophe the likes of which none of us can comprehend.

It all comes down to just how involved the Fed is in the derivatives market for treasuries, and if this activity is large enough to scale back without blowing up the entire system. I am not a bond trader and do not monitor this market, so I don’t have any idea if the Fed is actually doing what MarketSkeptics is implying. The guys at ZeroHedge seem to give this scenario a great deal of credibility, and as traders they are in a better position to express an opinion on the matter either way. Still, no one really knows, and the prospect is so apocalyptic in its consequences that even if I had an answer I wouldn’t know what to do with it.


from http://coveringdelta.wordpress.com/2011 ... holocaust/

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Oh, I see, had to remove the 'article source' link as well.

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After seeing this all I can say is it'll be a miracle if no one has died yet.


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ghostgirl wrote:Oh, I see, had to remove the 'article source' link as well.


I've fixed your post above, put the link in and removed the (1) :thumb:

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