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Ευτυχώς

June 28, 2011

The Greek word “Eυτυχώς” translates to English as “fortunately”, and fortunately there is at least one country who is willing to tell the oligarchs of the world where they can shove their “austerity” measures. The Greeks have been relentless in their protest and the latest general strike began today. As you can see from the photos, this is not a namby-pamby protest of the type we in the US are accustomed to where all measures are taken NOT to upset the Powers That Be too much. Not in favor of riots generally, but when all other options have been exhausted and the government is not responsive to the will of the people, sometimes it takes a brick through a window to get the government’s attention. This would appear to be one of those times, as the oligarchs continue to spout the nonsense that bailing out criminal bankers at the expense of the citizenry is really for the people’s own good, even though it was already tried once and was an abysmal failure. More on what’s currently going on with video and pics here, here, and here. This one has some good pics and a rather ambiguous headline – They still don’t get it: Tens of thousands of Greeks take to streets for anti-austerity protests as national strike begins.

Not sure whether the “they” in the headline refers to the oligarchs or the protesters, but judging by the conservative bent of the paper I’m assuming that it’s the latter. Being a lowest-common-denominator type British tabloid, perhaps they’re trying to pre-emptively ward off similar events from happening in their own country as the British oligarchs try to put the screws to their populations.

The picture on the right shows a gallows erected right in front of the Parliament building in Syntagma Square. I’m probably losing some idiosyncrasy since my Greek is not all that great, but “κουφα λες” translates roughly as “Deaf you say!”. I’m assuming it means something to the effect that they do hear but still don’t like what’s coming out of Papandreou’s yap.

Check out this video from a member of a group called 300 Greeks who have been peacefully protesting in Syntagma for the last month straight. Very good assessment of the situation. He mentions that some of the more violent protesters may be there as provocateurs to justify crackdowns (which always seems to be the case) and also gives a pretty good defense of the argument that the Greeks brought this all on themselves by asking for too many government handouts.

Since none of the links here mention the elephant in the room, I will remind our vast readership that it was the ratfuckers from Goldman Sachs who constructed all the swap deals that were doomed from the get go and then told the Greeks it would solve all their financial problems. That’s where the majority of the blame for this belongs and the Greek people at least see that quite clearly. Maybe one of these days the oligarchs will realize that the Greeks just aren’t that into Western-style capitalism and stop trying to force it down their throats.

Vasilis Papakonstantinou is one of my favorite Greek musicians and from what I can tell he leans decidedly to the left (whatever that means). His first album from the late 70’s, Ta Agrotika, talks about the plight of small town rural people. This song, also called Ευτυχώς, is from an album from the late 90s and I’ve always liked the sentiment of it, which is particularly apt in light of current events. Here’s a very rough translation of the first part of the chorus: Fortunate is the country that proves itself worthy in the tavernas, plazas, and the streets.

Take us on out Vasili and fuck ’em up Greeks!

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39 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    June 28, 2011 12:00 pm

    For those wanting a more complete translation of that last song, the last line of the chorus translates as “It’s a fortunate place where there are whores”. I have no idea how that is supposed to relate to the sentiment in the rest of the song which decries capitalist culture (“I’m sick and tired of falling to my knees in front of display windows” is a loose translation of another line), but it always makes me smile when I hear it.

  2. cometman permalink*
    June 28, 2011 12:56 pm

    This can’t be good – Wildfire reaches US Los Alamos nuclear facility.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 28, 2011 2:57 pm

      Much of the place doesn’t look that bad. There are large firebreaks, and a lot of the trees involved are pretty short.

      But there are all thousands of barrels stored above ground. Best touch of all is the fabric tents shading them from the heat.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    June 28, 2011 2:55 pm

    Caught one of CNN’s regulars – the bald dick – expressing shock that Greeks refused to accept the necessary little adjustments to make things all hunky dory again, that they refused to take their medicine. He left out, and probably doesn’t even know, the part about auctioning off public marinas, public beaches, public buildings to the highest foreign bank bidder.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 29, 2011 8:36 am

      Not sure who I despise more, the bankers who know exactly what they’re doing or these dickhead media types who read whatever they’re told in defense of the bankers.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 29, 2011 8:57 am

      Looks like this news is just coming in, but apparently the Greeks have set their Ministry of Finance building on fire. Again. Hard to keep track but I think this is the second on third time that has happened in the past year. I’d like to think it made the Ber-nank pee himself a little bit.

  4. artemis54 permalink
    June 29, 2011 8:49 am

    An interview with Christian theologian Eugene Peterson (Bono is among his fans) and Peter Harris, founder of A Rocha:

    The Joyful Environmentalists

    Harris: Every Christian leader I’ve ever met in poor parts of the world understands that they live an unmediated relationship with the creation. That means that if there is damage done to the creation, there is damage done to the human community. I would argue that the economic possibilities lie now in the building of a sustainable economy; that’s where the smart money is today. In any case, an economy founded on degrading the creation is theologically incoherent. The old model that you can make your money any which way and then give some of it away when you’re rich enough is lacking biblical warrant. A much better way is to make money in a way that impacts the poor and the planet beneficially.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 29, 2011 9:33 am

      While I don’t necessarily agree with their rationale for doing so, I am really glad these people are doing what they do. This part was spot on and speaks to my frustration with those “environmentalists” currently tilting at windmills –

      There is a radical environmentalism that wishes people were not on the planet. That’s not the biblical view at all. A Rocha in the United Kingdom actually works in the most polluted, urban borough of the country, because creation isn’t absent just because people are there. The challenge is how to restore a right way of life, rather than escaping to some wilderness paradise.

      The Israelites may have been provided for in the wilderness when they left Egypt, but I don’t too many people would really want to live in those types of conditions if they actually thought about it for more than 30 seconds or so.

      If, or more likely when the shit really hits the fan and people’s lives are really disrupted by the economic changes brought on by climate change and overpopulation, I think it’s inevitable (unfortunately) that people will turn to religious leaders for answers as government leaders fail. Hopefully A Rocha will be in a position to help.

      Regarding economics and religion, I’d like to see Xtians of all stripes hammer home 1 Timothy 6:10 [yes, the devil can quote scripture for his own purposes! :) ]. It’s the love of money that is the root of all evil and that lesson couldn’t be any clearer to anyone paying attention to what these bankers and corporate types have done to this planet and its people in the last few years. All this death misery and destruction just so a few can have more than they ever need.

  5. cometman permalink*
    June 29, 2011 10:19 am

    αι στο διαολο!

    The Greek government passes the latest round of austerity measures.

    Looks like the freedom dog has more work to do.

  6. artemis54 permalink
    June 29, 2011 11:57 am

    Eco notes from the west:

    Western Division American Fisheries Society has taken a stand:

    RESOLVED that if society-at-large wishes to restore Snake River salmon,
    steelhead, Pacific lamprey, and white sturgeon to sustainable, fishable levels, then a significant
    portion of the lower Snake River must be returned to a free-flowing condition by breaching the
    four lower Snake River dams

    _________________

    For quite some time now, the Canadian government’s answer to the problem of declining caribou population is that more wolves have to be shot. Indigenous groups have the whole time been saying no, that is bullshit, it is the tarsands development that is the problem.

    The science is in, and let’s see if you can guess who is right.

    _________________

    Questions abound as the pronghorn migration into Grand Teton straggles in late and missing the normal contingent of females and newborns.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 1, 2011 9:22 am

      Judging by how maintaining infrastructure seems to be a very low government priority these days, I suspect the American Fisheries Society will get their wish for the dams to be destroyed eventually. But yeah, considering how little power they actually produce, a little investment in other sources of energy ought to make them unnecessary if there was any political will to do so.

  7. cometman permalink*
    June 30, 2011 3:26 pm

    Some links –

    Washington’s blog has a good update with links on the fires near Los Alamos. One former security official tried to make the fabric tents you described seem a little more substantial –

    “It’s not contained within a concrete, brick and mortar-type building, but rather in a sort of fabric-type building that a fire could easily consume.

    “Potential is high for a major calamity if the fire would reach these areas,” he added.

    Very disturbing that the US government seems to be giving the wink and nod to Israel to shoot first and ask questions later at the flotilla bringing aid to Gaza.

    Evidently that rather transparent attempt from one British tabloid to deflect any protests in the UK failed miserably as hundreds of thousands hit the streets to protest UK austerity measures.

    On the contrast of European protests as compared to Americans for the most part sitting on their thumbs- Why Europeans Are Better Americans Than We Are. The author mentions the UK strike and –

    “National strike.” What a lovely, progressive sentiment. Imagine, a government that listens to its people and when it stops listening to its people, it suffers a strike. And while some people complain, because so many of them end up on the picket lines, they all comprehend the reasons for the strike and support it.

    *sigh*

    We’re Americans, yet we behave like scared little children, cowering about as the Corporatocracy eats our lunches, takes our retirement funds and pays us pennies for our sweat. We are satisfied for the crumbs that Scrooge will drop off his tables and we’ll ravage each other in a fight for those scraps, when there are enough of us to stand up on our feet and take the feast for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

    Also from The Agonist – Everyone’s a Helot Now. Well worth reading in full but I’ll highlight the part that is so often left out of the narrative by the corporate media –

    How did Greece get to borrow so much money in the first place? It was a new member of the euro club, giving up the drachma for the privilege of joining Europe’s currency. That gave it the stamp of approval, since everyone knew that Greece had to meet very steep EU guidelines for fiscal prudence, including evidence that its public debt was kept at minimal levels below the EU ceiling. Except, it was all a lie. Goldman Sachs, and maybe some other banks, secretly engaged with the Greek government in a deception. The bank entered into off-market foreign currency derivative transactions that made it look like Greece’s debt repayments were within EU requirements. They weren’t, because hidden from the public eye, and even from the EU regulators, were billions of dollars of long term FX contracts that would have blown through the EU guidelines if they had been counted as debt obligations, which is what they really were.

    Greece got into this mess through massive deception, conniving with major global banks. And when the deception was unveiled a few years ago, the details were suppressed by Greece, by the EU, by Goldman Sachs, by US regulators – by every government that had any information about it. The Greek people have had to pay for this deception – they are paying for it even today – but no one in government or the banking industry involved in the fraud has been disciplined or fired or even publicly identified. When fraud of any sort, much less on this scale, is allowed to succeed, you must conclude that the system is rotten at the core.

    You can see, then, why the drama surrounding the Greek debt situation appears manufactured, since the problem was the result of a deceit in the first place. When governments talk about terrible consequences, they are really talking about the terrible consequences to themselves if a corrupt, secretive, and predatory financial system is allowed to collapse. The important thing for them is to keep the system going.

  8. artemis54 permalink
    July 1, 2011 9:27 am

    Let’s see if this works

    • artemis54 permalink
      July 1, 2011 9:29 am

      http://www.youtube.com/user/TheDailyConversation#p/u/13/jzMN2c24Y1s

      • cometman permalink*
        July 1, 2011 10:01 am

        That ad was absolutely perfect!

  9. cometman permalink*
    July 1, 2011 12:15 pm

    Some notes –

    The prosecution of Strauss-Kahn on rape charges is on the verge of collapse, with prosecutors citing the reliability of the alleged victim as the reason. Evidently they have her on tape calling an imprisoned man asking about possible financial rewards right after the alleged attack occurred. Sounds like Monsieur Chaud Lapin might actually be innocent which raises a whole bunch of new questions about the whole affair.

    Hugo Chavez has cancer. Funny how he didn’t rush to the country with the “greatest medical system in the world” for treatment but went to Cuba.

    The Greek coastguard has stopped a boat of US citizens from joining the Gaza flotilla. From what I can gather, the government order that no boats leave Greece for the occupied territories was just issued. What with all the Greek austerity measures needed to keep US bankers in Armanis and the Israel-can-do-no-wrong doctrine of the US government, one has to wonder whether Uncle Sugar didn’t have a hand in this Greek government directive. Maybe something along the lines of an extra point added to the vig for every boat they allow to set sail.

    • artemis54 permalink
      July 1, 2011 12:52 pm

      It doesn’t stop there with DSK’s accuser. She has quite a history of lying about her income to get subsidized housing and a dozen other things. Sad in that even if she is telling the truth in this one case, no prosecutor in his right mind wants to put a witness on the stand after stipulating that she is a serial liar and fraud.

  10. cometman permalink*
    July 1, 2011 12:25 pm

    More signs of the times from Maine, following the example of Greece and others of selling off government assets to make budget – State sells land for $283K less than assessed to prison warden. But this deal didn’t even go to the highest bidder as it was never made public –

    The state sold three houses and 5.2 acres next to the former Maine State Prison in Thomaston this month for $175,000 – $283,000 less than the assessed value without marketing the property.

    The buyer was Patricia Barnhart, warden of the Maine State Prison in nearby Warren, who now plans to develop a seven-lot subdivision.

    Betty Lamoreau, acting director of the Maine Bureau of General Services, defended the sale Wednesday. She said properties across Maine have been selling for less than their assessed value and the state got the best deal it could, considering the unusual nature of the property.

    ~snip~

    To help balance the two-year budget that began on July 1, 2009, the state has sold $1.5 million worth of surplus property over the last two years. The sale in Thomaston, which closed June 9, was part of that effort, Lamoreau said.

    And we’re just supposed to take it at face value that this backroom deal was the best they could get, even after they admit the land was never offered publicly. Riiiiiiiight.

    And all this over a few hundred thousand bucks, money which could have quite easily have been generated simply by taking away a few of the ludicrous tax breaks handed out in recent years which led to the budget shortfall in the first place, and then the state could have held onto its assets to boot. Perhaps someday when the incarceration craze abates, that land could have become a park. Now the prison warden who just moved here not that long ago gets to use it as a cash cow. Once she makes a few bucks, something tells me she won’t be sticking around in cold as hell, northern rural Maine prison territory for very long. Nice work if you can get it. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

  11. artemis54 permalink
    July 1, 2011 12:58 pm

    Oy of the day: Private jet manufactureres are bitching about Obama singling out looholes for purchasers of their products. Kills jobs, doncha know. This is the absurdity of where we are now. Everything is judged on whether it adds or subtracts jobs.

    So if I manufacture windows, surely I should object to any measure that suppresses rioting, as it might lower my sales and cost jobs?

  12. artemis54 permalink
    July 2, 2011 5:27 pm

    The excessive heat and absence of light on the subject of Israel/Palestine never ceases to amaze. It is like magic. For example the very strange case of alleged Israeli “reverse pinkwashing” the Gaza flotilla can even fire up a shitstorm at towleroad on a quiet Saturday.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 5, 2011 11:09 am

      Always amazes what logical pretzels people can twist themselves into to defend their views on this. All sense seems to go right out the window.

      Couple updates on the flotilla –

      The Greeks are still intercepting boats and stopped a Canadian boat but the sneakier French made it through. This bit from the 2nd link makes me think I may have been onto something with my comment above speculating that the Greeks were blocking boats to keep their vig to the bankers from being increased even more than it already is –

      The flotilla’s planned departure coincided with the news that the president of the debt-ridden country, Karolos Papoulias, is set to visit Israel in an effort to strengthen their diplomatic and economic ties.

      Sounds like somebody is in need of some Israeli $$$$$, and they won’t get it by defying the Likud and Uncle Sugar.

  13. artemis54 permalink
    July 3, 2011 2:08 pm

    David Suzuki, James Hansen, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and others call for civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 5, 2011 11:01 am

      More of that please!

  14. triv33 permalink
    July 4, 2011 6:31 pm

    Stopped by to say hello! I wanna see if I still remember how to embed a good link. If I didn’t …well, you should still be able to get there.
    Happy 4th!

    • cometman permalink*
      July 5, 2011 11:00 am

      Nice to see you triv!

      Have to say I don’t see what the big deal is with that link. Human males can generate quite a bit of noise by rubbing their genitalia appendages too, although the noise is generally an effect of rather than directly caused by the rubbing. Messrs. Strauss-kahn and Weiner come to mind as recent examples…

      Hope you and the rest of the vast cephaloblog readership had a nice 4th. We went to an oceanside park to watch the city-sponsored fireworks but they were largely fogged out from our vantage point. After the first few minutes, the crowd was just sitting on their hands and quite a few party poopers got up and left. But we are very close to New Hampshire where anything goes and I had faith that at least some of those in attendance had brought their own arsenals. Wasn’t long before quite a few people started setting them off from the shore or their boats, much to the delight of the squidlette and the remaining throngs. During the evening I found out that next year we will be able to buy fireworks right here in Vacationland as LePage just signed new legislation of Friday making them legal in Maine.

      My initial thought was that the idiot had done something right for a change as the 4th is probably my favorite holiday and I really like the fireworks. But as we were walking out of the park, one mariner started launching a huge display off the back of their boat which rivaled the city’s own grand finale. Evidently the fireworks you can buy today have come a long way from the bottle rockets and roman candles I used to get my hands on as a kid. Now I’m not so sure that putting that kind of firepower into the hands of your average drunken 4th of July reveler is really such a good idea….

  15. triv33 permalink
    July 5, 2011 11:22 am

    I didn’t get to see any damn fireworks this year, but we had a real nice little cookout. Glad to hear the squidlette had a good time!

  16. cometman permalink*
    July 5, 2011 12:34 pm

    Some links-

    Another day, another industrial disaster. Just saw this morning that a ruptured oil pipeline is fouling the Yellowstone River and the river is on the rise due to summer melt off. Don’t bother reading the links. Same old promises that the government will make sure Exxon/Mobil cleans up their mess while Exxon/Mobil tries to downplay the disaster blah blah blah and meanwhile all the wildlife and people who live in the area are fucked.

    Greece tries to sell off its assets at fire sale prices and finds no takers. The article cites “strong unions” as one factor keeping the oligarchs from pillaging the country’s resources and buying on the cheap. Boo-fucking-hoo.

    NJ Senate president calls the governor a “rotten prick” after the said Senator backed the republican’s austerity measures against his own party in exchange for some say on the budget which he was later denied. The governor may well be a rotten prick but this only proves that the senator is also a rotten prick for voting with the governor and a retarded blockhead to boot for believing that Lucy surely wouldn’t pick up the football again this time.

    Hackers breach FL voting database and publish info.

    Physicists get closer to figuring out why our universe is made of something rather than nothing.

  17. cometman permalink*
    July 5, 2011 12:40 pm

    One for the “credit where credit is due” department.

    The Red Sox have joined the “It Gets Better” project and released this video –

    I’m a little surprised since a few years ago the Sox had quite the republican, war loving, bible-thumping contingent on their team. Most have moved on or retired now but I think a few are still around. And Youkilis is featured in the video. Kudos to him, since from what I’d heard about him previously he’s kind of a dink on a personal level.

    Now if only the radio announcers would stop saying things like “everyone is thankful for the great job our soldiers are doing” as they did during yesterday’s broadcast. Love ya Joe Castiglione, but the US military, not so much.

    • artemis54 permalink
      July 5, 2011 3:48 pm

      I like this one because its inclusion of fans and others makes it much more human than the ones that are just players. Come on Mariners, where the hell are you?

  18. artemis54 permalink
    July 5, 2011 3:51 pm

    Oy.

    Not sure I’m ready for a 500-page novel consisting of a single sentence on the horrors of war. This very laudatory review of Zone notes it will leave the reader
    exhausted and battered
    Um, maybe in the fall.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 6, 2011 12:45 pm

      Yikes. Definitely not a beach read…

  19. artemis54 permalink
    July 6, 2011 9:31 am

    I’m just not any good at this. It’s the thinking “out loud” that is the problem.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 6, 2011 1:03 pm

      Heh. You disagreed fairly politely IMO. Can’t say I understand exactly what the diarist was on about to begin with. Much like the I/P issue, the abortion issue seems to make people lose all sense. Often seems people either go to the pro-female extreme like this guy or do the byronesque take which I find equally ridiculous.

      I could go on, but a blog comment just doesn’t do any argument on the subject justice so I’ll leave it there.

      • artemis54 permalink
        July 6, 2011 11:58 pm

        It was largely my fault. Just by chance there were enough of my hot buttons in about two sentences that my hair was on fire before I could even understand the argument.

  20. artemis54 permalink
    July 6, 2011 12:22 pm

    Naked mole-rat genome sequenced.

    Not unreasonable to wonder why. Besides a very bizarre metabolism, no one has ever found any trace of cancer in them.

    • cometman permalink*
      July 6, 2011 12:53 pm

      The whole hive mentality in a mammal is pretty fascinating too.

  21. cometman permalink*
    July 6, 2011 1:07 pm

    Some weather notes –

    Another Icelandic volcano (which I might even be able to pronounce this time) is set to blow and it’s shaping up to be a much bigger eruption than those in recent years.

    And then there was this –

  22. cometman permalink*
    July 6, 2011 1:16 pm

    Couple other notes –

    Looks like the reports we’d heard about GM recovering were just more “extend and pretend” type announcements. Zerohegde mentions that they made a lot more cars however they just dumped them all on dealerships where they are not selling, creating a glut of inventory, and putting GM just about where they were before the huge bailout that fucked over all the auto workers – making large automobiles that nobody wants. But hey, they got a couple good quarters of manufacturing numbers out of it!

    And here one a long one well worth reading in it’s entirety on the plight of India’s vultures. I’d read a few years back that the Parsis who allowed vultures to eat their dead were having difficulties with declining populations but I hadn’t realized it had gotten this bad – India’s Vanishing Vultures: Can the world’s fastest growing nation restore its prime scavenger before there are untold human consequences?

  23. artemis54 permalink
    July 6, 2011 11:55 pm

    Very nice article on vultures. Similar crashes in Africa, esp masai mara where they are poisoned by carcasses laced with furadan and intended for lions, etc. bad enough in itself but one carcass can kill a hundred vultures. Restaurants are being set up there too, and in SA.

    In the western, forested parts of Yakima County and also Klickitat there are large numbers of turkey vultures. It is the only place I know where you will probably see several just sitting in trees if you go out for a walk. I once saw a group feeding on road kill between Prosser and Richland, but they are not very common here.

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