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If You Invested in Greece, Sucker – You Lost

ATHENS -The professional beggars in Greece, the gypsies who rent babies and drug them to elicit sympathy and money, the regulars who’ve perfected their patter and modus operandi to prey on people’s weak hearts and open their wallets, the fake unfortunate who pass out the same computer printouts claiming all their children have cancer and need simultaneous operations, the people at Syntagma Square who hold up X-rays of the brain tumors that were supposed to kill them a few years ago, are amateurs compared to Greek politicians who’ve managed to pick the pockets not only of amateur investors and those in the Diaspora who believed in their country and bought bonds, but the bank sharks who’ve now been taken too.
The great American huckster P.T. Barnum made a fortune in his circuses based on his belief that, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” and Greek politicians elevated that to a new dimension of hucksterism after forcing otherwise savvy bankers and speculators to take losses of 74 percent in the loans they gave to a government that had no intention of paying them. There’s no sympathy for the devils here, or for those Greek-Americans or others in the Diaspora, or people gambling on Greece who bought bonds that after the conclusion of a debt write-down deal became as worthless as Confederate dollars and Greek toilet paper.
If you bought $10,000 in Greek bonds, you’re going to get back only $4,750 – in 30 years if you’re still alive, and that’s just the way outgoing Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, a snake oil salesman, liked it. He didn’t want Greece to pay any of its debts, none, nada, tipota, zero, zilch, because he comes from the rich elite of Greece who believe they are entitled to use other people’s money without touching their own. He had plenty of practice in pitching fraudulent Greek bonds after doubling income and property taxes to get more international aid that will go to foreign and Greek banks and not to Greeks, and didn’t flinch when he imposed taxes on Greeks making $6,700 a year, nor oppose more pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions, the coming firing of 150,000 workers, the end of collective bargaining rights, which, if it happened in the United States, would make Joe Hill rise from the grave in protest. And you can bet he had a big glass of champagne to celebrate the cutting of the minimum wage of 22 percent – 32 percent for Greeks under 25, although there won’t be any of them left pretty soon because they’re hitching rides to Germany, the U.S., Canada, Australia and other places where their talents are appreciated. Of course, if you believed the hype and bought Greek bonds, you deserve what you got anyway, just like those who bought into Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
Rolling Stone magazine reporter Matt Taibbi said in a new piece about the Bank of America’s thieving executes that they were “some of the very biggest assholes on Earth. They lie, cheat and steal as reflexively as addicts, they laugh at people who are suffering and don’t have money, they pay themselves huge salaries with money stolen from old people and taxpayers – and on top of it all, they completely suck at banking. And yet the state won’t let them go out of business, no matter how much they deserve it, and it won’t slap them in jail, no matter what crimes they commit. That makes them not bankers or capitalists, but a class of person that was never supposed to exist in America: royalty.”
They are minor leaguers compared to the Boardwalk Empire conspirators of Greece who want everyone else to pay for their luxuries and don’t mind that pensioners will have to fend off dogs in the dumpsters and didn’t have the guts two years ago to fire the 150,000 deadwood public workers and put them in training programs to find real jobs and instead opted to punish millions of people because they had – quote – no “political will.” That’s code for cowardice.
Dora Bakoyianni, who formed the do-nothing Democratic Alliance party after being kicked out of the New Democracy conservative party where she served as Foreign Minister, said Venizelos, who is stepping down to take over the leadership of the floundering PASOK Socialists from failed former Prime Minister George Papandreou, deceived small investors when he said they would be protected from a Private Sector Involvement (PSI) deal that would save Greece but scam its investors as a condition of keeping international aid coming.
“We cannot betray the people who put their trust in us and purchased Greek bonds,” Bakoyanni said in Parliament, accusing the government of “making a mockery of small bondholders.” About 11,000 people saw a big chunk of their investments go up in smoke under the PSI that the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank said was a condition of getting a second bailout, this one for $172 billion. Greece is surviving on a first round of $152 billion in emergency loans.
Bakoyianni, like everyone else in Greek politics – or politicians anywhere – is a rank opportunist and said what she said only to gain some sympathy and support from voters who are going to be suckered again and will bring back a New Democracy-PASOK coalition – the same one that’s ruling now and has agreed on the austerity measures impoverishing Greeks, who would have been Barnum’s best customers.
Not too long ago, Greece was planning to issue $3.95 billion in Diaspora bonds, correctly believing that those of Greek heritage living abroad would line up to be scammed because they believed in the myth of Greece. For reasons unfathomable, the Diaspora Bonds were withheld, but the truth is that even after the PSI deal that ripped off investors, they could have been sold because the circus masters in Greece are better at convincing people to part with money than Barnum ever was.

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