Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

Elections In Greece, India, The UK, France: Why Are US Media Relatively Quiet About Them?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 10, 2015

It’s a funny thing, American media coverage of the politics of other nations. The US press (and especially its TV networks) will always let you know when right-wing parties and politicians do well, but almost never when lefties do well – unless it’s to, as in the case of Greece and the Syriza victory, sternly lecture the winners on the alleged dangers of “going too far”.

That’s why I’m willing to bet that, if you get most of your news from network TV or drive-time radio, you likely don’t know that India’s much-vaunted turn to the economic right just got 180ed yesterday, with bellwether elections in New Delhi (h/t chandu):

NEW DELHI: Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has swept the Delhi assembly polls, winning 67 wins out of the 70 assembly seats, about two and a half times the number they won in the last election. The AAP chief won the New Delhi seat, defeating BJP’s Nupur Sharma by more than double the number of votes.

This is the highest share of seats won in the history of Delhi elections.


For the AAP, a young party born in 2012, this is a dream win. It has proved that an alternate politics can be viable. And its victory in Delhi, because of the city’s prominence as India’s capital and its nursery of ideas, will resound across the country.

For the Congress, this adds to the string of its recent failures. If the inability to win a single seat in Delhi, a city it ruled for 15 years till 2013, doesn’t prompt change in the party organisation, it’s unclear what will.

You may also not know that the Tories are in big electoral trouble in the UK, with Cameron likely to lose his PM job before the year is out.

Or that French president Francois Hollande, a Socialist, has seen his popularity, as low as 12% in November, rise to 40% last month (a huge amount for a country that doesn’t use a first-past-the-post electoral system), though it’s leveled off to the mid-thirties since then. The Charlie Hebdo attacks were credited for this, though his numbers had already started to rise in December, before the attacks. (Regardless, both he and the Socialists are now popular enough to beat back the far-right National Front in a recent by-election.)


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US Media Talks Much About German Demands For Austerity, Not As Much About German Wages As Compared To US Ones

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 26, 2011

Betcha you won’t see this on your evening TV newscasts — or hear about it on your drive-time radio news programmes:

In 2010, over 5.5 million cars were produced in Germany, twice the 2.7 million built in the United States. Average compensation (a figure including wages and employer-paid benefits) for autoworkers in Germany was 48.97 Euros per hour ($67.14 US), while compensation for auto work in the United States averaged $33.77 per hour, or about half as much as in Germany, all according to 2007 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For Germany-based auto producers, the U.S. is a low-wage country.

Despite German companies’ relatively high labor costs in their home markets, these firms are quite profitable. An examination of the latest publically available financial statements of BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz cars), and Volkswagen reveals strong sales and profits even in the midst of the currently weak consumer markets in Europe and the U.S. In 2010, for example, BMW, produced 1.48 million cars (63 percent of them in Germany), and earned a before-tax profit from its automotive division of 3.88 billion Euros. The Mercedes-Benz car division of Daimler, likewise produced 1.35 million cars (72.4 percent in Germany) in 2010, and earned a before-tax profit of 4.65 billion Euros.

America’s one-percenters — and the media companies they influence and/or control — are too busy pretending that the 99-percenters, the poor and middle-class people, are a burden that needs to be punished and stripped of whatever pennies they have so the one-percent crowd can get even richer. Anything that contradicts that pretense is generally suppressed by US establishment media, especially the media that most Americans encounter regularly.

That’s why, while you’ll hear and see lots of stories in the US media about Stern Germany Punishing Debt Sinner Countries, you won’t hear about German autoworkers getting paid twice as much as US ones. Or about Greek workers working more hours and retiring later than German workers.

That’s why you won’t hear that, far from dying, Japan is actually doing quite well, thank you very much: because Japan a) has a well-functioning social safety net and b) has reined in its rich people quite effectively.

It’s also why you won’t hear much about how Argentina, which told the IMF and World Bank “Enough!” rather than further hurt its own people at the banks’ request, is now the economic powerhouse of Latin America.

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German Insistence On ‘Punishing’ Europe Is Slowly Killing German Economy

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 25, 2011

Angela Merkel wants to punish the rest of Europe for not treating its people like dirt:

Angela Merkel was unmoved by another roller-coaster day that saw Portuguese debt being downgraded to junk status, Italian bond yields pushed into the bail-out zone, and doubts cast over France’s AAA rating: the German Chancellor refused to allow the ECB to become Europe’s lender of last resort.

Ms Merkel instead used a three-way summit with France and Italy in Strasbourg to insist that new treaty powers to intervene and punish sinner states remained the key focus of Europe’s rescue efforts. She said: “The countries who don’t keep to the stability pact have to be punished – those who contravene it need to be penalised. We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

That’s right, Angela! Punish those Frenchies and Italians and Greeks! Payback for being made a pariah state after World War II! Hoo-rah!

Except, of course, that it’s slowly strangling the German economy (h/t David Dayen): “Germany’s central bank on Monday cut its forecast for German economic growth in 2012, projecting gross domestic product to expand by 0.5% to 1% versus an earlier prediction of 1.8%, Dow Jones Newswires reported.”

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Surprise! “Lazy Greeks Lolling In Luxury” Is A Lie

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 15, 2011

If this surprises you, you haven’t been paying attention:

Athens’ international lenders have pushed for cuts to the 750 euro minimum monthly wage to boost competitiveness, a welcome call for Germans, French and other voters in the currency area who have bridled at having to bail out Greece.

But for people like 33-year-old magazine editor George Theonas, that wage floor is a myth, as his and other companies use the crisis to skirt legal pay rules by tearing up collective wage deals and forcing employees into contract work.

“I can’t pay my bills and I can no longer live without my parents’ support,” said Theonas, 33, whose employer moved him from permanent to temporary status, making 700 euros a month working 12 hours a day, seven days a week instead of the four days on his contract.

“I’m not looking for a new job. There is nowhere to go. This is Greece,” he said.

Theonas is one of the lucky ones. Others at his company earn as little as 300 euros a month under trainee schemes that are extended for years, even though they do the work once bestowed only on full-time employees.

With Greek unemployment now at a euro-era record high of 18.4 percent, workers are forced to stay put, as their employers say thousands more people are standing in line for their jobs.

“Most of my friends are unemployed. I only hear of people losing their jobs. What choice do I have,” said Theonas.

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DSK Replacement Coming From Deutsche Bank?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 17, 2011

Ever since seeing Eliot Spitzer taken down just as he was about to get medieval on Wall Street, it’s hard for me not to wonder about the timing or intent of sex charges filed against certain prominent people who are almost never conservatives. (Google “arnold schwarzenegger rape” and you’ll see that all sorts of dark stories, going far beyond his serial gropings, followed the Gropenator all throughout his time in office, yet he never had to do a perp walk. He was so well protected that he was able to wait until after he left the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento before he confessed to Maria that he’d fathered a kid by their longtime housekeeper. This triggered a divorce, but of course Arnold doesn’t need Maria’s Kennedy money any more — he’s got lots of his own by now and since he’s retired from politics, he doesn’t need her for window dressing any more either.)

As is well known by now, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, as IMF head, favored restructuring the debts of debtor nations like Greece rather than forcing them into economy- and people-destroying austerity plans just to please various German banksters. So now that he’s been taken down in a sex/rape scandal — something he predicted back in late April, by the way (though whether he did so to pre-emptively cast doubt on charges that might have been true is anybody’s guess) — he’s probably going to be replaced by the CEO of Deutsche Bank:
Handelsblatt is saying that Josef Ackermann, the CEO of Deutsche Bank, is being considered for the head IMF role

Pardon me while my eyebrows are raised a few inches. No wonder Nouriel Roubini thinks this stinks to high heaven.

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