Ah, the immune-biology of those wizened “global citizen” types:
The ritual might have made the global citizen crisis resistant. Numbed by incessant blows, it is understandable if the reaction begins with “I do not care” and ends with “I am no Greek”. In this case, not paying attention while assuming that the distance confers protection, does not amount to immunity even if the matter is shut out. To get typhus you do not need to be aware of infectious diseases.Indeed. Which is why Europe has to stop pretending Greece is far away, and socialize enough of their public debts in order to move on. In terms of monetism, economy, and trade, Europe is functionally integrated and acts as a sovereign state would. The idea that it can ignore some part of itself, say, a foot, as though it was someone else’s foot, is delusional.
The idea of “booting poor Europe out” of the Euro is equally silly, as it would still leave those debts held by the part of Europe deemed sane to go unpaid, and with no way to pay the amounts expected. This would be true if they were lending money to Paraguay or Zimbabwe, or anyone else.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Ah, the immune-biology of those wizened “global citizen” types:
Bachmann’s Sin: The media will let Democrats get away with driving a girl off a bridge, but Republicans won’t be given the benefit of the doubt
While the media are trying to paint Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) as a blunder-prone candidate—or “flake,” as Chris Wallace unjustifiably called her on “Fox News Sunday”—Barack Obama and many of his Democrat colleagues have played “Can You Top This?” with their own misstatements and slipups, and yet they do not receive even a scintilla of the scrutiny that Bachmann does.Jason Mattera writes about the double standards of the mainstream media.
Within the last three years, the media’s self-appointed smartest President in modern history has insulted the Special Olympics, mixed up the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, falsely claimed that his American Uncle liberated Auschwitz, signed the Westminster Abbey guest book with the date 24 May 2008 when the date was really 24 May 2011, mispronounced “corpsman” when speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, and perhaps most egregiously, God’s gift to the presidency couldn’t even distinguish between living and dead Medal of Honor recipients.
And that’s just off the top of my head.
[One key item that Jason Mattera omitted was Obama's misstating the age of one of his daughters — imagine if George W Bush or Sarah Palin had done that.]
…Bachmann’s sin is that she has an “R” next to her name. Mistakenly identifying the birthplace of John Wayne should serve as a reminder to all Republican contenders that every word they utter will be dissected under a microscope and debated, a hell of a lot more than their Democrat counterparts. The media will let Democrats get away with driving a girl off a bridge and leaving her to die (Ted Kennedy), but Republicans, especially unapologetic conservative ones, won’t be given the benefit of the doubt, even when it comes to inconsequential errors.
Rather than promise to grill Michele Bachmann’s foster kids or highlight the number of times she used the word “Iowa” in a speech in … Iowa, journalists could turn their sharp pens and cantankerous voices to the growing number of businesses suspiciously exempted from ObamaCare, the expanding number of surveys reporting that employers are dropping coverage because of the President’s health-care law, and the Democrats’ inability to offer any proposals to reform our Medicare system.
Friday, July 08, 2011
I met a traveller from an antique landThe EU has given the normally onanistic Architects and their would-be Medicis-with-tax-monies the chance to embarrass humanity. Not unlike previous edifices we have covered here, we find the "Europa building" championed by Herman Van Rompuy.
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".
Kranmer has baptized it the EUterus. I would call it rather more insular than transparent or open. It’s jug-like form is a perfect place to hide, protected further still by the rectilinear and unforgiving nature of the cube it inhabits, representative of the laws of revenue absorption.
A few brave citizens should likely try to cling to its’ walls to function as an IUD. A continent that has effectively stopped reproducing should be cool with that.
[Cette] affaire … empoisonne depuis des mois l'état-major, l'Eglise catholique et le cabinet du ministre de la défense.Furthermore, Nathalie Guibert and Stéphanie Le Bars give some background in an article about what the army calls life facilitators:
De retour d'Afghanistan à l'été 2010, un aumônier militaire catholique, Benoît Jullien de Pommerol, dénonce dans son rapport de fin de mission la « déférence » et « la crainte presque servile » de l'armée française envers l'islam. Du « cirage de babouches », en langage de légionnaire du 2e régiment étranger parachutiste de Calvi auquel il appartient. Un an et quelques passes d'armes plus tard, le « padre » persiste : « Il n'est pas charitable de taire les scandales », assure-t-il au Monde, tout à sa dénonciation de « l'hégémonie de l'islam ».
Sur un ton enflammé, l'aumônier relatait dans son rapport des faits auxquels il aurait assisté et qu'il présentait comme des « dérives » : port du voile islamique pour des femmes militaires, construction d'une mosquée « avec l'argent des contribuables français », organisation d'un repas de fin de ramadan pour les Afghans... « Sous prétexte qu'«ils sont chez eux» [les musulmans], nous assistons à une démission de l'intelligence, une trahison de l'esprit, un bannissement effrayant de la conscience », écrivait-il. Avant de conclure sur une « note d'humour » : « Ni rouges ni Maures. »… Le père de Pommerol a été écouté à de nombreuses reprises : par le général commandant la Légion étrangère, par le général de région, par l'évêque, par le chef d'état-major, mi-juin. En vain. Le prêtre prétend, lui, avoir levé « un tabou », et assure avoir reçu « de nombreux soutiens » de fidèles et de militaires. Fin janvier, le magazine Valeurs actuelles a publié le « témoignage courageux » de l'aumônier, alimentant le débat. La hiérarchie n'a alors pas voulu le sanctionner sous la pression. Mais la machine s'est emballée, et, en mars, un groupe de députés de la droite de l'UMP a demandé une « commission d'enquête relative au malaise constaté au sein de l'armée française en Afghanistan ».
CATHOLIQUE, protestant, musulman et juif : les quatre principaux cultes de France sont représentés au sein de l'aumônerie militaire. Cette présence, rémunérée par l'Etat, est prévue par la loi de 1905 au même titre que les aumôneries hospitalière et pénitentiaire. L'aumônerie musulmane a été créée en 2006, dans la foulée de l'installation du Conseil français du culte musulman (CFCM).
Au nombre de quelque 220, les aumôniers militaires, « facilitateurs de vie », selon la définition du chef d'état-major de l'armée de terre, sont présents dans toutes les armes. On compte 141 catholiques, 34 protestants, 30 musulmans et 17 israélites.
La montée en puissance de l'aumônerie musulmane s'est produite dans un contexte de réduction des effectifs militaires, qui s'est elle-même accompagnée d'une baisse du nombre d'aumôniers catholiques. Leur nombre est passé de 180 à 141 en quelques années. Comme dans l'aumônerie hospitalière, ce rééquilibrage a été perçu par certains catholiques comme une perte d'influence, « une prime aux minorités ».
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Sorry, your delusions just cost too much.
EU carbon prices have slumped 15% in one week, as a slew of bearish news took its toll on the markets. “It’s just been carnage these last few days,” said a trader at an investment bank in London. “There has been a huge amount of liquidation from funds, banks and utilities.” [said] Mark Lewis, a Paris-based analyst at Deutsche BankFurther to that new found wisdom:
Britain will have to abandon its carbon emission reduction targets if the public continues to resist higher bills, according to the chief executive of the British Gas owner, Centrica.
According to Le Monde, Pro-Reagan Libertarians and Israel Supporters Are Part of the Far Rightist "Fascist Sphere"
Deux élus concentrent leurs critiques sur le rôle supposé d'Atlantico.fr, un site d'information classé à droite pour lequel Tristane Banon a écrit quelques billets. Des insinuations balayées par Jean-Sébastien Ferjou, directeur du site, joint par Le Monde.fr : "C'est du pur délire. Et c'est diffamatoire. On va voir avec notre avocat si on réagit."
All this comes in the foreground of what seems to be one of the Left's perennial attempts to summarize an entire problem through the means of a graph — as Le Monde publishes a map in partnership with the Linkfluence institute purporting to show the rise of the far right through blogs on the internet .
The problem does not seem to be the methodology, but the fact (among others) that among those dubbed the web's Brown Hussards by Le Monde and among those making up the so-called "fachosphère" are pro-Reagan libertarians ("neo-conservatives") as well as pro-Israel freedom lovers.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Including invoking the Gods in a way that a society where 4% of the population attends religious services can:
the left-liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung urges: "God must be a US rating agency. There's no other explanation for why seventeen democratically elected governments bite their nails in fear when one of these agencies says what it thinks about Greece. ... The American God named Standard & Poor's has let the Europeans know that it does not want banks, insurance companies and pension funds involved in the Greek bailout.There has been much chatter about financial ratings agency. The most offensive parts of that being a) that the three big ones are American, and b) that they can’t be manipulated to tell the stories that the Governments selling their bonds want them to.
Counterproposals have included “starting a European ratings agency”, which was shot down on both ends: first, there is a fear that they will tell the truth and thus be no different than Moody’s Fitch, and S&P. From the other end, is the fear that it won’t be taken seriously because all it will do is provide a false portrait of the assets rated.
Apparently, investors should not be warned of anything, ever, if a government is peddling bonds it might never pay out on. Don’t these crypto-commie clowns insist on investors somehow magically being protected from the forces of the market?
This is what some Europeans want the ratings agencies to say at all times about the bonds European governments are selling:
Their sophistication is so great, it’s largely unintelligible to the rest of us:
The Greek austerity package, is the voluntary participation bank also. Since transmits the rating agency Standard & Poor’s between them and threatening to “D” rating for Athens. This cross-shot but could backfire -. When making policy and ECB ErnstGot that? Think what you will, but DON’T you DARE RATE IT!
The head of the Hamburg World Economic Institute (HWWI), Thomas Straubhaar, said the “Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung”, the rating agencies played a “very dubious role”. The policy had gone into the hands of a few monopoly pricing services. It is necessary to limit the power of rating agencies and to return to different standards of evaluation.So, what exactly does that mean? Selectively limiting their speech rights and tell them that they can only criticize the coldness of your headquarters building? Rate the coffee down the street from the place? Investors will LOVE that! – especially those retirees who want to put their money into something SAFE like a Greek 10 year bond!
They might actually take it seriously enough to figure out that their motives: which is to tell you something other than what the market will. This will guarantee that they won’t raise anything from those bond auctions.
Further with the Vogon poetry:
same time, the ECB wants to reject Greek government bonds, according to “Financial Times” only when all three major rating agencies to determine a default. Accordingly, the ECB will be based on the highest possible credit rating, will receive papers from the Greek S & P, Fitch or Moody’s.Got that?
While at least one of the three agencies is no payment default (default) stated, Greek bonds could then be accepted by the ECB repo transactions as collateral.
A Le Monde article on Martine Aubry by Ariane Chemin details her family background (a brother died of leukemia at 29) and especially her relationship with her father, a VIP in his own right (Jacques Delors was head of the European Commission) who refused in 1994 to be the socialist torchbearer to succeed François Mitterrand and run against Jacques Chirac in the presidential election the following year. The relationship between daughter and father is complex, to say the least:
Le jour de septembre 1972 où elle est reçue à l'ENA, la réaction est en effet des plus sobres : "Pour lui, c'était normal. C'était la moindre des choses, compte tenu du milieu d'où je venais. Jamais il ne m'a dit qu'il était fier de moi." …Jacques Delors n'hésite pas à contredire Martine Aubry en public. "Comme il l'avait toujours fait à table à la maison – tradition de débat familial oblige", minimise un proche.
… Longtemps complexes, les relations entre le père et la fille semblent apaisées. "Mais dans la famille, le vrai clan, c'est celui des femmes, remarque un proche. La mère de Jacques Delors, aujourd'hui décédée, sa femme ; et Martine, évidemment. Plus l'unique petite-fille, Clémentine."
Face à elles, un homme : celui qui a dit "non" à la présidentielle de 1995. "Pas à cause de ma mère, comme on l'a dit, s'agace souvent Martine Aubry. Mon père pensait qu'il ne pourrait pas faire ce qu'il voudrait s'il était élu. C'était pour lui une question de responsabilité politique et de cohérence."
… En 1994, Mme [Marie] Delors avait " l'intuition " qu'il fallait freiner son mari pour laisser un jour " la chance " à sa fille.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Leftists and Feminists, French and Foreign, Bemoan the DSK Case Risking to Discredit Future Reports of Rape
Anne Mansouret, the mother of a young woman who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in 2003, said Saturday that she was “revolted” by the gleeful reaction of many men in France to the news that the case against him in New York had been compromised by credibility questions surrounding his accuser, a hotel housekeeper.That is how write Steve Erlanger and Katrin Bennhold start their article about Frenchwomen weighing the impact and fallout of the Strauss-Kahn case, with leftists and feminists everywhere bemoaning that the inconsistencies that have apparently emerged in the account of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s accuser — her name is Nafissatou Diallo, by the way — risk discrediting future reports of sexual violence. Apparently, it would not be too much of a bad thing to punish an innocent man in order for women to be able to continue portraying themselves as martyrs and victims. The latest development, incidentally, since the International Herald Tribune article was published, is that Mansouret's daughter, Tristane Banon, effectively filed a criminal complaint against Strauss-Kahn, whose lawyers, a few hours later, countersued the young woman for calumny.
“He’s lied a lot in his life,” said Ms. Mansouret, whose daughter, Tristane Banon, has signaled that she would file a criminal complaint in France against Mr. Strauss-Kahn. “I know exactly what he is.”
“We question automatically this young woman’s testimony,” she said. “But we don’t question a man who lied extravagantly.”
Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his male allies, she said, “don’t want a world where you can’t force a woman” to perform sex acts.
For Ms. Mansouret, who for years had urged her daughter not to speak out because it might damage her career, and other women here, Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s arrest in New York in May seemed to be a turning point, a chance to break the code of silence about sexual harassment and aggression by powerful figures. But the question in France after his release without bail on Friday was whether that moment was turning yet again.
… Olivia Cattan [the head of a feminist association called Paroles de Femmes, or “Women’s Words”] said she was surprised by the reaction of many Socialists.
“They give the impression that they will welcome him as a hero,” she said.
She is sure Mr. Strauss-Kahn will lose support among many voters if he runs. But what worries her more is that “victims of rape who take legal action against their perpetrator will now have to prove that they are moral, don’t have a police record and never lied.” She fears the case “will cast more doubt on the testimony of victims in a country where women’s rights are already ridiculed.”
What worries Olivia Cattan is that alleged rape victims "will now have to prove that they are moral, don’t have a police record, and never lied”?! Well, it turns out that maybe that used to be a good thing! Is the head of Paroles de Femmes the mother of a son? Whether yes or no, maybe she should read the post of the feminist veteran of the 1980s (her fight for the rights of a woman to be believed helped bring about a culture of “women don’t lie”) whose perspective changed somewhat when her own son was falsely accused decades later of attempted sexual assault: "If you think that women don’t lie to get back at men, how naive can you be? And who is going to protect our sons?"
Writes Michel Fize in Le Monde:
Hélas, de même qu'il existe aujourd'hui des "anti-sarkozystes primaires", comme il exista naguère des "anti-communistes primaires", il existe aussi à présent des féministes que j'appellerai définitivement "primaires". Pour ces femmes-là, il ne fait pas de doute que tous les hommes sont, par définition, des salauds (au moins sexuels), et les femmes, globalement, des vertueuses nées, qui ne mentent jamais, ne manipulent personne. Par ce raisonnement, la gent masculine représente naturellement, à leurs yeux, le sexe dangereux, la gent féminine incarnant, du coup, le sexe glorieux, celui des amours simples et des désirs toujours honnêtes. Sexe animal et machiste d'un côté, sexe sentimental et "végétal" (de jolies fleurs en tête) de l'autre.As summarized by James Taranto:
C'est bien mal connaître les hommes et être dans un profond "désamour" à leur égard, c'est bien faire lourdement offense aux femmes elles-mêmes, que de penser pareilles vilaines choses.
Rape is a despicable crime. Falsely accusing a man of rape is despicable as well.
Terrorism as popularly seen from the perspective of the German political complex is proving to be rather absurd. On the same day that the U.S. Government is asking for the extradition of a Bosnian raised in Germany who killed two U.S. troops at Frankfurt Airport, the German legal system (which is entitled to keep people in prison beyond their prison term for preventative purposes,) will be releasing another member of the Baader-Meinhof gang who was convicted of murder.
The delusional RAF terrorists — also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang — sought to abolish capitalism and crush American imperialism To this day, segments of Germany society continue to romanticize the anti-American terrorists as a kind of contemporary German version of the Bonnie and Clyde gang.Writes Benjamin Weinthal in National Review’s The Corner.
The extradition of Arid Uka will require that diplomat channels be used. Germans will tell themselves that they need to please those unreasonable Americans as usual.
The flippancy is nothing new. To not ask for Uka’s extradition is to leave him to the whims of the German propensity to set aside right and wrong in favor of worrying about any bug that gets dropped into their ear. Uka the victim. Uka the misguided youth. Uka the cause of the
Rote Morgen Junge Welt types.
During the shooting spree, in which Uka wounded two additional servicemen, he shouted “Allahu akbar!” (Arabic for “God is great”).One need not wonder atheists and Christianity haters will not see anything they don’t like in this, because their programming is complete.
While a search for his name presently yields nothing, you just wait. The object of irrational hatred of someone else’s object of irrational hatred is their friend, even if their new-found friend is killing in the name of God.
It all looks like trutherism-lite. Any new thing that will feed the same elation will do.
Monday, July 04, 2011
A few hours after Tristane Banon announced she would sue Dominique Strauss-Kahn for attempted rape, report AFP and Le Monde, the former IMF director's lawyers have declared they will sue the young journalist for calumny.
M. Strauss-Kahn "a pris connaissance de l'intention de Mme Tristane Banon de déposer plainte à son encontre". Or les faits qu'elle évoque sont "imaginaires", affirme le communiqué des avocats de DSK. Par conséquent, Me Henri Leclerc et son associée, Me Frédérique Baulieu, "ont été chargés de rédiger une plainte en dénonciation calomnieuse contre Mme Banon".
…with the case appearing to collapse over questions about the credibility of the hotel housekeeper from Guinea who accused him, and Mr. Strauss-Kahn freed from house arrest, the French are feeling a kind of bitter jubilation of their own, and renewing their criticisms about the rush to judgment, the public relations concerns of elected prosecutors and the somehow uncivilized, brutal and carnival nature of American society, democracy and justicewrites Steven Erlanger in an Independence Day article about how the "stunning reversals in the criminal case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a putative French presidential candidate, have reawakened a dormant anti-Americanism in France, fueled by a sense that the raw, media-driven culture of the United States has undermined justice and fair play." (Among other things, we have one (pro-American) French writer asking whether the DSK scandal is not the 21st Century's Dreyfus Affair? Incidentally, the French press is starting to reveal the identity of Strauss-Kahn’s accuser — the maid's name is Nafissatou Diallo.) UPDATE: DSK and Tristane Banon to counter sue one another…
…there was a sense that it was not just Mr. Strauss-Kahn who was being so jauntily humiliated, but France itself.
… Noëlle Lenoir, a former European affairs minister, said many French felt insulted. “People were shocked by the media circus,” she said. “They thought the prosecution was making common cause with the tabloids. So there is a bit of revenge for what is seen as very anti-French behavior.”
… Though it was the American prosecutors who revealed the housekeeper’s various fabrications about her background, her asylum application and her taxes, the turnabout “does wake up this slumbering anti-Americanism, and the great losers are American justice and the New York police,” said Dominique Moïsi, a longtime analyst of French-American relations who has studied and taught in the United States. “The case does damage to the image of America and recreates negative stereotypes that existed before.”
Even in the 1990s, “when we were so close, when the cold war was over and before the second Iraq war, we were divided along the line of the death penalty,” Mr. Moïsi said.
“There is a sense in Europe that you can’t be fully civilized with the death penalty,” he said. “Now this feeling is reinforced — that the United States is not a fully civilized country with a police that behaves like that, that wants to humiliate,” he continued. “There is a sense that it’s a dangerous country.”
…The French writer Bernard-Henri Lévy, an outspoken friend and defender of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, … scolded the United States from a particularly French intellectual height. “America the pragmatic, that rebels against ideologies, this country of habeas corpus that de Tocqueville claimed possessed the most democratic system of justice in the world, has pushed this French Robespierrism, unfortunately, to the extremes of its craziness,” he wrote, invoking the ideological bloodletting of the French Revolution. “All this calls, at the least, for serious, honest, and substantial soul-searching.”Reminder: What is the difference (if any) between French-bashing and anti-Americanism?
… Patrice Randé, 50, who was visiting Paris from Bordeaux, said that if Mr. Strauss-Kahn turned out to be innocent it would reveal “the colossal error” made by the American justice system — and, he feared, stoke more anti-Americanism. “For French-American relations it would actually be better if he was proven guilty,” Mr. Randé said.
… Mr. Moïsi thinks that Mr. Strauss-Kahn, whose next hearing is set for July 18, may end up politically ahead. The Socialist Party wants to win at all costs, he said, and they may decide that Mr. Strauss-Kahn has a new cachet. “If D.S.K. returns triumphantly as a victim of American justice that may change everything,” he said.
Here is one answer: French ugly attitudes came about (they have been existing forever, as we have seen) while sitting passively without risks on the sidelines [during the Iraq war]; America's anger comes at somebody sitting on the sidelines offering gratuitous slander (not advice, thank you very much) while their (America's) politicians, their people, and their troops took risks (good ones or ill), took action, and put its citizen (soldier)s in harm's way, i.e., in mortal danger.
Sunday, July 03, 2011
In the NYT:
Europe’s unraveling is also a problem for Americans. A fracturing of the euro could drag down the global economy. A breakdown of NATO would mean the United States would have to bear an even bigger security burden. More than a year into their debt crisis, major European leaders are still unable to make the necessary tough decisions. The constructive way out would be to restructure excessive debt, recapitalize affected banks and relax austerity enough to let debtor countries — Greece, Ireland and Portugal are most at risk — grow their way back to solvency. No one country could afford to finance such a solution, but Europe as a whole could.As it should. Having handed the Greeks Versailles-treaty-like terms, they will likely default unilaterally anyway, and if not, exhibit what I like to call "powerful weakness", wherein every time they suggest default, the public and private financial institutions of the EU get a chill in their neck. Politically, they could behave like Hamas.
Look at this shambles for what it is: a river in Egypt. The EU is effectively one sovereign state when it comes to finance, markets, and economy. Member state nationals can point to one another and tell them to "take one for the team", but what they need to do is print some Euros in a classic devaluation move, and use them to dissolve debts that are at a risk of default internal and international.
Greece then goes into financial receivership. Italy and Portugal might have to join them there too, but if you're a bum and owe people money, then too bad. The intervening years will turn these places into a great investment once prices align with value.
Remember that Greece has in its high-borrowing years used it to show a per-capita GDP figure as high as Germany, but with an economy akin to Bulgaria whose GDP/capita is a third of Germany. The borrowing and sprinkling of this moolah on the 'starving proletariat' is what did this. They need to own up to that by not doing it again, but "demanding reparations" will not work for them.
Consider for a moment the postwar German "Wirtschaftswunder". It is a direct result of the US dissolving their past debts, and was willfully done to restore their economy and feed people. Can these people who tell us that they are mature students of history actually take a lesson from their own history in this regard? Pshyeah right! They won’t, but the markets will.
Siemens' stock fell 4% this past week on the entirely founded suspicion that things will not be wonderful in approximately 90-120 days when the world as a whole stops buying their goods all at once, and the reparations for Greek government, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese borrowing are considered.
Siemens is one of the bellwethers of the northern European economy, just as Kimberly-Clark is a bellwether of what the South American economy will do, and as the EUR-USD exchange rate almost always foreshadows what the S&P 500 will do. Things could certainly be looking better, and they may be trying to price in the stagnation that austerity and debt freezes in a number of European states will cost.
Nonetheless, the German financial entities will themselves do well by the implementation of this Versaiiles treaty in reverse. They will borrow from the Bundes-Godhead-dudes at about 3%, and lend to Greece at the bargain-basement rates of about 5%. Cha-ching, for them. Money for nothing, chicks for free.
That does not mean it will have any effect on a European economic contraction. In fact it might create stagnation where there isn't now. It's a disincentive to lend businesses operating capital, and to individuals for mortgages.
The same dynamic has been going on in the US to bolster the balance sheets of the banks when they were at risk of failure from 2008 onward. It resulted in them not lending money to people and businesses because it was riskier and less profitable than the return on buying government bonds with money borrowed from the Fed and near-zero interest rates.
Ultimately, this is also a socialization of cost associated with the effort. So the talk of “making Greece pay” and “not hurting the taxpayer” are mere distractions. The only way out is to eat the cost, and pass out free haircuts to all, either though default agreements where partial repayments are accepted, and/or a currency devaluation takes place.
For the first time, "Fernando", the Columbian officer in charge of the military operation to save a handful of FARC hostages, including Ingrid Betancourt, has told the top-secret tale of Operation Jaque, recounts Nathalie Guibert in Le Monde. It comes out at the same time as the Juan Carlos Torres book, Libération des otages en Colombie (Ed. Lavauzelle).
…une fois le feu vert donné par le président Uribe, le militaire s'interroge toutes les nuits : "Toutes les nuits je me suis demandé : est-ce qu'on les trompe ou est-ce que ce sont eux qui nous trompent et vont nous faire tomber dans un piège ?"