"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
(Leonard Cohen)
"Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"
(Michael Moorcock)
"Look for your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
(Andre Gide)
"I want my place, my own place, my true place in the world, my proper sphere, my thing which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my life-time."
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
(Franz Kafka)
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated"
(John Donne)
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
(Robert J. Hanlon)
"Life is beautiful, but the world is hell"
(Harold Pinter)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Berlin Demands Yet More Austerity

EXTRACTArguably, overall the biggest loser from the summit was Spain. Effectively, the EU leaders have reneged on the decision taken at the June ‘make or break’ Brussels summit, when Merkel appeared to back down at the very last minute and finally consent to the use of bailout money for bank recapitalisation. Previously, as our regular readers will recall, she had insisted that any rescue money doled out by the European Financial Stability Facility/ESM could only be channelled through the actual states themselves. Governments in receipt of such monies would be “fully liable” for any payment defaults or lapses.
At the time, Merkel’s concession was hailed as a glorious victory for the ‘Latin bloc’ and the new Hollande leadership - Spain, and the euro, was saved. Rejoice. However, even before the ink was dry on the agreement - so to speak - it was engulfed in deliberately engineered confusion, with Germany and ‘triple-A’ allies denying that they had signed up to an imminent EU-financed clean-up of Spanish banks and lenders. What an absurd idea. Do you really think we are going to throw our money down a Madrid black hole?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Awarded for Services Rendered

EU: a 'force for peace'
EXTRACTQuite Kafkaesquely, last week the European Union bureaucracy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its “advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights”. In fact, according to the prize committee’s citation, the European Union represents the realisation of the “fraternity of nations” and its disappearance would see an ominous return to “extremism and nationalism”. Obviously no stranger to hyperbole, Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, rapturously described the EU as the “biggest peacemaking institution ever created in human history”. You see, the prize proves it. Just look at my halo.

However, the EU’s uniquely peaceful and humanitarian mission came as news to the working class, hammered by wave after wave of austerity. An assault spearheaded by the EC, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank troika - the dreaded men in black and their cruel demands. Putting the record straight, Panos Skourletis - a spokesperson for Syriza, the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left - explained that what we are experiencing in many parts of Europe “really is a war situation on a daily basis, albeit a war that has not been formally declared”. Greece to date having suffered most from the austerity blitzkrieg. There is, he added, “nothing peaceful about it”.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Troika Demands Yet More Austerity

EXTRACTInevitably, Spain’s social fabric is starting to fray - 500,000 homes have no breadwinner, while half of all under-25s and migrants are jobless. And, with one-third of them not qualifying for unemployment benefit, despair is setting in amongst large swathes of the population. One telling consequence of this breakdown is the removal of old people from care homes, with families either unable to pay the fees or just desperate to have the stable - albeit meagre - income provided by a pension ‘relocated’ back home.
Almost all welfare sectors can tell similar stories. Hospital wards are being closed. Madrid’s state schools have started the term with fewer teachers and some secondary schools have closed their science laboratories. The Catholic church’s Caritas charity, which hands out food packages, says it is now aiding one million people. In some neighbourhoods of the capital, increasing numbers of people root through bins at night hoping to find food - a pattern being replicated across the country. As austerity and poverty envelops greater parts of Spain, squabbling over increasingly scarce resources is bound to intensify - potentially threatening breakaways from national minorities. Bluntly, Spain could disintegrate. If so, a break-up of the euro zone’s fourth largest economy - and the world’s 12th biggest economy - could kindle nationalist feelings in the rest of Europe. Numerous unresolved national questions still remain on the continent.