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Varoufakis: Olli Rehn “an illiterate, yellow, 3rd category understrapper”

Well-known Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis attacked EU commissioner Olli Rehn, who refused a renegotiation of the Greek austerity program after the IMF officially admitted wrong calculations and false fiscal multipliers.

“The mistake was done on purpose. It wasn’t an accounting error of the IMF, it was a political decision,” Varoufakis told a magazine program of private ANT1 TV.  “They forced the economists to lie about it… this illiterate, yellow understrapper does not admit the error, because in that case an immediate huge haircut of the Greek debt should be done.”

“As third category understrapper, he [Rehn] gets his orders and is obliged to deny the IMF mistake. And he denies it,” Varoufakis stressed about Olli Rehn.

“Greece now has a primary surplus. The country can finally say to Mr Rehn that we will not take the next bailout tranche, if you do not want to change the multiplier, if the Memorandum is not revised,” Varoufakis underlined noting that this would be a threat to Greece’s lenders.

“We destroyed lives so we can have a primary surplus. We must use this as a trump card against Olli Rehn and Angela Merkel. Rehn and Draghi were willing to step back. But if we don’t threaten them, we’ll get nothing,” Varoufakis concluded.


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  1. let the greeks take their courage in their hands and tell them to stuff their next bailout
    our lilylivered politicans might take a leaf out of their books and stop crucifying our population

  2. I fail to understand why Prof. Varoufakis goes overboard in discrediting himself and his professionalism with the language he uses and the content he describes. Perhaps he should read the below article from the Ekathimerini to understand the dimensions of his demagoguery.

    [link redundant – removed, according to KTG policy, no offence]

    No single economic indicator, be that a multiplier or something else, can guarantee any outcome. There are far too many soft facts involved in economics (such as political stability, psychology overall) to predict what would have happened, if.

    If I used the same demagogic logic as Prof. Varoufakis, I could say: If Greece had supported the program in unequivocal fashion and with undivided support of all parties from day 1; if Greece had immediately begun to crack down on everything that needs to be cracked down (and to this day isn’t being cracked down); if Greece had immediately and earnestly started with privatizations; if, if, if…

    Prof. Varoufakis devotes all resources of his undoubtedly brilliant brain to propose what others should do for Greece but, to my knowledge, he hasn’t made a single proposal yet as to what Greece could do for itself. That borders on professional irresponsibility and on doing a disservice to one’s country!

    • Perhaps it is time that people take off the blinkers and see what is really happening here. 27% unemployed, 1.3 million people without a job, God knows how many more living on or below the poverty line…

      The measures imposed by the puppets on behalf of the puppet masters, the Troika, are punative beyond any reason and totally disproportionate to the cause of the mess Greece is in, and is deliberately being kept in by the very measures Prof Varoufakis rightfully lambasts. It is indeed a very conscious, deliberate decision to go down this road. For the alternative is to go after whose who actually caused the mess. Those with wealth hidden outside Greece on which an estimated 70 billion tax is outstanding. Those with yachts parked in Holland, so that they don’t have to pay the taxes they would have to pay if their precious toys were moored in a Greek harbour, etc. etc. Those with proxy accounts in Austria which can’t be touched, etc etc
      Or are you, following the Troika logic, trying to tell everybody that the 1.3 million unemployed, the god knows how many millions more living on or below the poverty line as a result of these measures, are rightfully being punished beyond any level of morality and humanity because THEY are cause of the mess? Or are they just to be considered victims of “friendly fire” instead of victims of a vicious, immoral system trying to surive at any cost?

      It is blatantly obvious that the measures insisted on by puppets
      (if not illiterate, yellow understraping muppets)like Olli Rehn are put in place to first and foremost protect the wealth of elite and fleece the masses of everything they can possibly be fleeced of, in order to “salvage” the real problem, the banking system, which is owned by that very same elite.

      It is the system that is rotten to the core, and needs dismantling. What Olli Rehn and Co are doing is implementing rescue measures devised by a rotten system in an attempt to save that rotten system, with total disregard of its effect on people and complete nations.

      The real professional irresponisibilty and disservice comes from those who know this system and are aware of just how rotten it is, but despite their knowledge insist on constantly using every opportunity and defend the indefensible, ie the rotten system, while discrediting those who stand up for what is really needed and do indeed have the guts to put their reputation on the line rather than walking in line, as dictated by the puppet masters. And that attitude can only lead to one question. Why remain loyal to a proven rotten, immoral system? Why and what’s in it for them?

  3. I would agree with everything you propose as “alternative ways”. I would also guess that the majority of voters in the lending countries would have desired the same “alternative ways” (certainly I would have). But how does one interfere with the wrong ways of a sovereign country? Send in the cavalry, kick out the government and the entire corrupt ruling class and instal a ‘government for the people’?

    The only thing outsiders can do is to apply pressure. Just imagine what would have happened if (what I would have considered a good idea) Lagarde had gone public with her list. If she had said publicly “I have handed over a list of potential tax cheaters and I will follow-up on what the Greek government will do with it”. I think all hell would have broken loose.

    Yes, it was/is a disservice to the Greek people at large that the powers that be did not interfere domestically to make sure that all the wrong ways would be stopped in a hurry. I just don’t see how this could have been done.

    • But how does one interfere with the wrong ways of a sovereign country?

      How sovereign is a country if “one” reserves the right to interfere in what “one” deemes to be “the wrong ways”? And while asking the question, who gives “one” the right to decide that somebody elses ways are right or wrong? And why are they wrong? Because they don’t serve the interests of “one” maybe? So back to the question of sovereignty then…
      As for kicking out the government, who installed Papademos? I don’t recall any election, just a nomination of yet another ex-Goldman
      Sachs puppet, like his colleagues Monti, Van Gucht, and the other 8 now holding influencial, financial top spots in Europe….

      But, when pushed into the situation where the Greek people are forced into paying the gambling debts of banks national and international (just like the Irish (who have coughed up 42% of the TOTAL European banking debt on their own, so far!), Spanish, Portuguese etc), and conditions were set before releasing the money, the demands that were made make it abundantly clear the Varoufakis is correct in stating that this was deliberate act. An act of sabotaging the people of Greece (my words!). The occasion was used to force through pay reduction for the low earners, pension reduction for the low earners, reduction of minimum wages, dismantling of labour laws etc. Not particularly the actions of “one” who has the best ineterest of the people of Greece in mind.
      If anybody in the Troika had been anywhere near serious about actually tackling the root cause of the problems in Greece, the one and only condition for releasing the money would have been the collection of the outstanding 70 billion in tax and complete reform of the tax system to prevent this situation from happening again. And all of that within the same time frame given to dismantle the complete social fabric of the nation. Such a demand would not only have been right, fair, moral and justified, it would in fact have earned them the respect they demand but by no means deserve.
      The demands they did make made it perfectly clear that the name of the game is protection of the few rather than solving the problems caused by the few… These people should not be send back home, they should be send to prison for what they are doing to the people of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland. And once inside, lose the keys!
      The refusal to go back on their decisions, after admitting that they are based on wrong and very damaging errors, only goes to confirm that they have zilch interest in Greece or the Greek people. The whole MoU and resulting policies is nothing short of a scorched earth policy, with no prisoners taken. So far 1.35 million victims, and 2000 or so very safe bank accounts. The facts speak for themselves…

    • Hi Klaus,

      Your views come as a breath of fresh air to some of the typical conspiracy theories against Greece that some posters of this blog emit. I agree 100% with you. Instead of Greeks whining Woe is me, why not take the view that the Irish have and get working to make the country better.

      But, as my Greek American friend tells me, Greeks prefer to have an Ottoman to blame for their misery and won’t ever blame themselves.

      Day after day, I see the Klaus truth….

      • You want to go and talk to the Irish before making rash statements like this…
        Higher suicide rate than Greece, unemployment sky rocketing as fast as Greece and Spain, over 100,000 people in such mortgage arrears they are likely to be evicted any time, bankruptcy tourism to the UK booming (but those going “bankrupt” keep the wealth they stole from the Irish tax payer), horses looking like cows, state sponsored slave labour dressed up as “springboard program”, zombie banks still robbing the place blind with government approval, etc. etc.

        • Indeed I have. I was in Dublin a few months ago and have numerous friends in Cork. So, I would say that maybe the Irish that you know or maybe read about are different from the go-getters with positive attitudes I know. They all talk about how instead of trying to blame everyone else for their woes, they just suck it up and will save their own country. Of course, there are some in Greece who will do the same, but most are looking for an Ottoman as I suggested to blame. I assume you agree with me on that point since you did not dispute it?

          • There are always people who will point the finger elsewhere, just look at the current horsemeat scandal. However, not everybody who points elsewhere does so to deflect attention away from the real problems. They are often in fact pointing at the real problem being ignored.
            There are also always “go-getters” as you call them. In the vast majority of cases these are the problem rather than the solution.
            And then there are those with less opportunity and ability who are being used an abused by your go-getters to advance the go-getter status at any cost, regardless of even its human cost (1.35 million unemployed in Greece being a good indicator of that cost).
            And then there is a society, which contains all 3. Any society will always be judged by how it treats is most vulnarable. And neither Ireland nor Greece shine in that department.
            The Irish I know are the people I was born amongst, lived with, argued with, got drunk with and stood shoulder to shoulder with when needed. They are also the very same people who pick up the tab for your “go-getters sucking it up”, not to save their country, but their own sorry greed-driven arses… check out the so called “Spring board” program, and you will no doubt see how your go-getters manage to get the profits they believe they deserve by using their fellow country men as forced cheap labour. Work for peanuts, or starve is the message, both in Ireland and in Greece, Spain, Protugal and soon enough Italy and France. As a direct result of the Spanish go-getters “sucking it up”, 4 people committed suicide over the week-end because in order to “save their country” the go-getters had them evicted from their homes…
            In my rather long comment on the horsemeat scandal is a very typical example of how your so-called go-getters operate. The CEO of ABP was one of Ireland’s heralded go-getters. His go-getting antics ended up costing the Irish tax payer over 80 million back in 1996. And low and behold, the same go-getter now ownes ABP, the company that is up to it’s neck involved in what the British Environment Secretary Owen Paterson called an “international criminal conspiracy”. Who is “sucking it up” and what is “being saved”?

  4. I think you are answering your own complaints. Just remember that every cent of the 70 BEUR overdue taxes which you allege could have been collected if only the Troika had put the srews on the right targets would have meant less funding on the part of the Troika. So you don’t believe that the Troika had an utmost interest in this happening? Then go back and read up the first MoU from May 2010 and check what it said there about collecting outstanding tax debts. And compare that with the latest Troika report of last December where one of their major complaints was that Greece had dragged its feet as regards getting serious about collecting outstanding taxes.
    Just ask yourself the question why the Troika would have an interest in doing something which would mean coming up with new money from abroad if that money could easily be collected in Greece?
    It was back in 2010 that the first stories came out about pensions being paid to the dead and blind, about hundreds of illegal rooftop swimming pools in Athens, etc. and as late as last December a headline said that it was discovered that pensions were paid to 50.000 people whose existence could not be confirmed. What happened during the 2 years that had elapsed?
    Mind you, I am with you as regards your criticism about the way many things have developed but the question you have to ask yourself is why they have developed that way. A ‘deliberate act’ by the Troika to protect the corrupt elite of Greece? Sounds great in the ivory tower, blogs and tweets of Prof. Varoufakis but wouldn’t convince the man on the street.
    Again, as a foreigner I can assure you that voters in the lending countries would have been most happy if Greece had done those things which you call ‘alternative measures’. Much more than that: foreigners got emotional about Greece because they couldn’t understand why these ‘alternative measures’ were not being pursued by Greece with great effort. Some governments have paid bribes to obtain stolen lists of Swiss accounts of their citizens and within months of receiving them, they collected billions of Euros from those citizens. Greece was given a list free of charge and, to this day, has not collected a cent on it.
    I think many foreigners get sick when they hear what corrupt Greek elites do and get away with, just as many Greeks do. And I have heard more than once Greeks tell me that ‘the EU should send a commissioner to Greece who makes sure that the mess gets cleaned up’.
    Yes, it is awful to watch the misery which has overcome Greece and if anyone outside Greece intentionally caused that misery, I might agree that he should be put into prison. But people outside Greece have lent Greece new money, not only new money to service debt but also new money to finance primary and current account deficits to the tune of about 70 BEUR. What you are saying is that instead of 70 BEUR, it should have been, say, 100 BEUR. What I am saying is ‘get realistic!’
    One never knows for sure how a society will react to problems and to (painful) corrective measures. One society might say ‘hey, we srewed up; we better get our act together quickly and pull ourselves out of this mess’. Another society might, instead, analyze to death who srewed up and why it wasn’ them, who would be most capable to fix it and without reaching agreement on anything, never get to the point where it could pull itself out of this mess. Choose for yourself in which of the two catogories you would put Greece from mid-2010 to mid-2012.

    • The nature of the answers depends on how you perceive the problem. If you are going to be gullable enough to believe the political spin that this has everything to do with “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” amongst EU partners, and rich friends helping out the poorer ones, then you are unfortunately follishly mistaken. the rich friends only help out themselves, and don’t give a flying f**k about anybody else.

      As KTG points out in the post on distribution of the anticipated European Cohesion Funds, the only thing the Greek government, at the behest of the Troika, is interested in, is “big business”. By extension they can therefore only be interested in those behind that “big business”.
      We are being told at nauseum that Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain etc is being helped out and the oh so good and honourable “lenders” are preventing a sovereign default. Again, nothing could be further from the truth, and recent developements in EU wide policies enforced to “tackle the crisis” all point to the same thing. The “sovereign problems” are a direct result of real malaise, the rotten, corrupt, immoral financial systems driving this excuse for democracy called EU.

      What the oh so good and honourable lenders are in fact doing, through their debt collecting agency the Troika, is making sure that everybody but the lenders themselves pays up for the losses the lenders incurred through their suicidal get-even-richer schemes which backfired on them them.
      And they find only too willing puppets in the Greek, Irish, Spanish and Portuguese governments to help accomplish this. Why is it that e.g. the quarterly published lists of defaulters in Ireland name almost exclusively small business owners who can’t make ends meet, while the real culprits owing the Irish tax payer millions can all disappear to the UK or the USA, have themselves declared bankrupt there and return to Ireland with a clean slate, no debt owed… In Ireland thefasted growing export product is bankrupcy tourism.
      It is the same mindset that is at work in Greece. The simple reasons for not going after the 70 billion outstanding tax (a figure mentioned by the Troika) is that firstly it would not be enough to bail out banks (the real purpose of the bailout programs), and secondly, it would target those who hold the interests in those very same banks. And the idea is, as is made perfectly clear on a daily basis, to make everybody else pay. Whether they can or can’t is totally besides the point, pay they will, one way or the other. Helped they will not be, under any circumstances.

      • Silberschwinge (Germany)

        I disagree, maybe it is mentioned in other sources, but in the KTG article you mentioned there is not a single hint that the Troika is limiting the fund to big projects. It is only Samaras this, Samaras that.

        Like Klaus I think that the biggest problem is in the greek government.
        A similar case is the action on shipowners. The Troika demanded a taxation for shipowners. The result? Instead of a hard defined tax the government choose this dubious 140mil “contribution”.

        I would really like to know the differences of what the troika is really demanding and what the greek government makes of it.
        I do believe that the Troika wants privatisation to collect money, but I do not believe that it is explicitly demanding that the lottery is sold off for only 300mil to some government pal.

        • The European Cohesion Fund has nothing to do with the Troika. However, the attitude displayed by the Greek government in distributing the funds is a mirror image of the policies imposed on, and happily complied with, that same government. Neo-liberalism gone completely bonkers.
          Every policy the Troika has ever insisted on implementing to the letter has been aimed at reducing Joe Soap to a level of poverty that denies him the basic standards of life. 1.35 million people out of work. As a direct result of the imposed polices. Thousands of people forced to live on the streets and beg for food in food kitchens. As a direct result of Austerity, imposed on behest of the Troika. The tax on shipping is and always was a token gesture, never to be forced through. As the 140 million “conbtribution” goes to prove. There was NEVER a demand to go after the 70 billion outstanding tax on wealth stashed in foreign bank account. However, hell and damnation would follow if the minimum wage was not slashed and pensionioners did not have their pensions reduced to levels impossible to live on…
          The government (and not jus the Greek one) is indeed the problem because it hasn’t got the balls to stand up to the Troika and tell them where to go. In fact, that would be letting the Troika and their masters get away very cheap. Is justice was to be served, the lot of them should be put in jail for life, convicted of crimes against humanity…

        • one cannot find the truth about what Troika wants exactly and how this is implemented by the governments (Greek, Portuguese, Irish etc.). One factor Troika does not take into consideration but the gov’t does is : the political cost, translated into :being elected again. Therefore, gov’ts have problems in “touching” their voters, friends and supporters.
          I don’t know and can’t tell if the Troika sets the prices for each statem item to be sold. Certainly it does set the total amount to be collected from privatizations. Many state-run enterprises (and banks) lost on value due to the repeated losses in the stock exchange since 2008. Shares went down to a couple of euro cents. And of course, if a Greek business consortium it to buy it, why have our brothers pay very lots of money?