The Greek “Haircut”; Watching How It’s Done

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Pay attention to Greece.  It seems that the EU countries that have loaned billions to Greece, which continues to hemorrhage cash because of its rejection of “austerity” (austerity: not frittering away a THIRD infusion of someone else’s money on an unsustainable socialist paradise), have the temerity to ask for decent terms for payback of loans.  For the Greeks, that is absolutely unconscionable.

Faux outrage aside, what is of interest is that, in order to prevent a collapse of the banking system in Greece, a “bail-in” is being considered, similar to what happened in Cyprus a couple of years ago.  Where is the money going to come from?  Why, it will be confiscated from private citizens’ bank accounts.  Whereas in Cyprus, the accounts which were pinched were those over €100,000 (at the time nearly $130,000), Greece seems to be shooting for a much lower number.

The plans, which call for a “haircut” of at least 30 per cent on deposits above €8,000, sketch out an increasingly likely scenario for at least one bank, the sources said.

Why accounts so small?  Here’s why:

With few deposits over €100,000 left in the banks after six months of capital flight, “it makes sense for the banks to consider imposing a haircut on small depositors as part of a recapitalization. . . It could even be flagged as a one-off tax,” said one analyst.

Hmmm.  A tax.  That word should be worrisome to Americans.  Seeing as not long ago we have had “taxes” foisted upon us that were not intended to be taxes at all.  As if the Ninth Amendment simply doesn’t exist.

How Greece’s problems approximate ours is a bit easier to grasp if you think of Greece having one giant EBT card, instead of tens of millions of smaller ones.  Greece wants nobody to tell them what they can spend the EBT cash on, despite the fact that the money on the card is someone else’s.  Oh, and when the money on the EBT card runs out, Greece feels perfectly justified in asking for more.  In fact, if the creditors want to have anything to say about how Greece spends their money, or the terms of the next installment on the EBT card, why, it is terrorism.

Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister, on Saturday accused the country’s creditors of trying to “terrorise” Greeks into accepting austerity.

“What they’re doing with Greece has a name: terrorism,” he told Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “Why have they forced us to close the banks? To frighten people.”

That smug sense of entitlement should ring familiar in the ears of middle-class Americans, who hear constantly about paying their “fair share” from the socialist-communist far Left that includes such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, the Occupy nincompoops, and various Hollywood half-wits.  More troubling, though, is that you can bet the Obama Administration (and every leftist candidate for 2016) is watching how Greece plans and executes the out-and-out confiscation of private wealth for the purpose of continuing government largess, while keeping the socialist sheeple placated long enough to get away with it.

The United States is walking a parallel path to Greece, and eventually, the music will stop.  Then, debt will have to be paid, or loans defaulted.  (This, despite record tax revenues for the second year in a row, incidentally.)  When the reckoning comes, we will be subject to the same unfettered, oppressive, and draconian actions that the Greek government will enact (or allow) against its citizens in the current crisis.

We might see sudden limitations or “taxes” or “fees” on large cash transfers or withdrawals, followed by restrictions on ATM or debit cards.  Then, couched in the familiar language of class warfare, the seizure of private wealth from large accounts, the “haircut” we saw in Cyprus and will see in Greece.  When it is clear that such action cannot be prevented by the anger and outrage of the demonized wealthy class, the threshold for expropriation to feed the Great Society Welfare Furnace will be lowered by increments until the redistribution of private wealth by government fiat is completed to the satisfaction of the ardent socialists who so despise capitalism, and insist that prosperity comes from robbing the selected Peter, to pay the collective Paul.  

For those who would say that such actions to expropriate private wealth cannot happen here, because there are laws to prevent those actions, I would offer that much we once viewed as illegal activity by the government in this country is now quite permissible, provided it furthers the far-left agenda.  With a Supreme Court that acts as if the Constitution is a mere list of suggestions, don’t expect such actions as described above to face serious challenge.

So watch Greece, just as we watched Cyprus.  You can be sure this Administration and its potential successors are taking copious notes, for when it is our turn in the barber’s chair for our “haircut”.

“Let Facts be Submitted to a Candid World”

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security… To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

When one thinks of our wide-open borders, and the IRS, EPA, and Justice Department being weaponized to persecute political opposition extralegally, Obamacare, the Drone Memo, the race-baiting agitation engendered, the massive numbers of apparatchik “czars” having been appointed, the militarization of law enforcement, the violation of our 4th Amendment rights by NSA and FBI, and (if one substitutes “Muslim extremist” for “Indian”) the influx into our cities and towns of violent men who are sworn enemies of our country and our people, the above text resonates quite loudly even when the Obama Administration replaces that of Mad King George.  Unfit ruler of a free people, indeed.  No coincidence that the demand for political correctness has destroyed that candid world.

The Progressive Paradox!

*Snort!*

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It would appear that the Progressives have painted themselves into an “-ist” corner.  President Obama’s criticism of Elizabeth Warren, according to NOW, is sexist.  While we have been told incessantly that any criticism of Obama, which would have to include Elizabeth Warren’s disagreement, is racist.

As Nelson (the Admiral, not the Simpsons character) once said, “When you see the foe committing a mistake, do not be in a rush to interrupt.”

But it is fun to watch them spray their corrosive bile all over each other.

H/T

The lovely DB

At Least the War on Whites is Going Well

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Doesn’t seem like Barack Obama has much of a stomach for fighting America’s enemies.  He panders to Iran, and backs the Muslim Brotherhood.  He shows his spinelessness (flexibility) with Russia, while China continues to get the upper hand in the Pacific.  The Unites States continues the drastic military cutbacks in order to fund the welfare machine that fills campaign coffers and ballot boxes.

There is, however, one place where Barack Obama’s Administration has shown a penchant for war.  That is the one waged against his political and social enemies, to include the war on Whitey.  His race-baiting Attorneys General (Loretta Lynch is of the same ilk as Holder) and his bigoted loud-mouthed rabble-rousing friends, like Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson, and Jeremiah Wright, continue to agitate their special brand of racial hatred, virtually without challenge by the media or any on the Progressive Self-Loathing Left.  The result?  Predicable.

In the last week of April, a 61-year old white man named Richard Fletcher was savagely beaten by a large group of black thugs.  The perps were reportedly all from the local “second chance” high school, Baltimore Community High School, located nearby.  Fletcher suffered skull and eye socket fractures, a broken nose, and a brain bleed, along with broken ribs.  He was in critical condition, and spent time in an induced coma.  Not a peep in the national media, not until a few days ago.  Then, when the sickening incident was reported, the race of the gang of thugs was conveniently omitted.  I doubt severely if Loretta Lynch, she of the same racist bent as Eric “my people” Holder, will have anything to say about the incident.  Certainly First Lady Michelle Obama mumbled not a word about it when she was decrying the hardscrabble path she’s had to take because of her race (private schooling, Ivy League education, and $300k make-work job notwithstanding). You can be certain that, had it been a 61-year old black man beaten by white thugs, such would have been at the very lead of Michelle’s remarks after having been headlines for weeks in every major news outlet.  Along with the concomitant burning and looting.

Anyone who tells you that such behavior by this group of black hoodlums is not encouraged and inflamed by the race-baiting of Barack Obama, Holder, Sharpton, and the enabling of a thoroughly subservient MSM, is either a liar, hopelessly naïve, or abysmally stupid.

By the by, Barack Obama and Loretta Lynch are actively working with others on the Progressive Left to disarm the country’s law-abiding populace.  For our own protection.   The kind of protection so helpful to Richard Fletcher.

The Revolt of the Generals

We’ve been unimpressed with the senior leadership appointed to four star rank by Obama, virtually without exception.

But civilian control of our military is one of the bedrock principles of our nation. As it should be. Senior officers get their orders, and execute them to the best of their ability.

But one other role, by custom and law, is for the senior leadership to provide to the Secretary of Defense and the Commander in Chief their best advice on how operations should be conducted.

Having given that advice to the CinC, and seeing it rejected, the generals are getting a might touchy. They have a vested interest in keeping the military going strong, both as a budget issue, and as an esteemed institution in the nation.

And so they’re pushing back against the White House.

Even as the President is telling anyone and everyone that there will be “no boots on the ground”* in our fight against ISIS, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, GEN Martin Dempsey, testified before Congress that he thought it should be a viable option. Such a clear break in policy positions between the White House and the CJCS is rare. And there’s not a lot that Obama can do about it. His options are either downplay the pushback (which is what he’s doing now), or fire Dempsey.

But Dempsey is hardly the only one that’s letting the rest of the government, and the people, know how the military feels about being tasked with a mission, but no reasonable means to accomplish it.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Friday that ground forces remain an option for military planners.

“I did not say we need U.S. divisions and brigades on the ground to do this,” he said. But “if sometime, someday, that means U.S. forces [and] we think that’s the right thing, it might be something we recommend.”

So, that’s the two top guys in Army Blue.

He also acknowledged that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander for the Middle East, had already recommended doing so in the case of at least one battle in Iraq, but was overruled.

Make that the three top guys in Army Blue.

That doesn’t even touch on GEN James Mattis’ testimony Thursday.

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who served under Obama until last year, became the latest high-profile skeptic on Thursday, telling the House Intelligence Committee that a blanket prohibition on ground combat was tying the military’s hands. “Half-hearted or tentative efforts, or airstrikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foes’ credibility,” he said. “We may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American boots on the ground.”

Mattis is probably one of the most respected general officers around, even if he is retired.

Another recently retired senior leader, ADM James Stavridis weighed in:

“Without question we will see our young men and women engaged in combat. I don’t think they’ll be given a primary, direct, combat assignment initially, but I think it’s entirely possible that as events change and morph, the situation may ultimately require that,” said former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis.
“If we’re going to be honest, we ought to start by saying we’ll send in troops and they’re going to advise, train, ,mentor, and they’ll stiffen the Iraqi security forces and they’ll stiffen the Peshmerga in the north, and we’ll do the bombing in the west and initially no combat mission,” he said.

Stavridis might not enjoy the personal popularity of Mattis, but he’s a deeply respected strategic thinker. Obama isn’t.

Coupled with Congressional skepticism over Obama’s response to ISIS, I don’t know how much, if any, effect this will have on policy going forward. I tend to think Obama’s “no boots” promise is like every other promise of his. It comes with an expiration date.

We’ll see.

But to my recollection, this is the loudest disagreement with a President that the uniform leadership has shown in a generation.

Obama’s Capitulation in Iraq

To be sure, when the last US forces left Iraq in 2011, the American population was ready for it. And the US forces had achieved most of their goals. The Hussein regime had been toppled, and a nascent viable government and security force were in place. 

Militarily, a small contingent should have been left to help build the Iraq forces, and to continue to reinforce their technical and tactical capabilities.

But during difficult negotiations with the Iraqi government over the Status of Forces led the Obama government to exercise its preferred option, and simply leave Iraq completely. After a fashion, it allowed Obama to proclaim victory. And the proclamation was far more important than any actual benefit or cost to the nation’s long term security interests.

And so we see today that Iraq has slowly been shuffling toward sectarian civil war. And now, the resurgent Al Qaeda group in the region, ISIS, has achieved significant victories in the last two days, seizing both Mosul, and today Tikrit.

This is, of course, precisely the situation critics of the abandonment policy warned of in 2011.

And not a few veterans are livid that the administration has squandered the chance for stability that their brothers in arms bought with their blood.

Then, by declining to provide a long-term security assistance force to an Iraq not yet able to handle the fight itself, we pulled defeat from the jaws of victory and increased the peril our Iraqi friends would face. By not training and equipping Syrian freedom fighters in the summer of 2012, we provided an opportunity for al-Qaeda to rebuild strength in the region. The renewed Sunni insurgency in Iraq joined with the worst of the anti-Assad forces in Syria present a threat greater than the fragile Iraqi government can handle on its own.

We are reaping the instability and increased threat to U.S. interests that we have sown through the failure of our endgame in Iraq and our indecisiveness in Syria. There is a clear lesson here for those contemplating a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Having given al-Qaeda a new lease on life in the Middle East, will we provide another base where it began, in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

This is not the end state my friends fought for and died for.

I understand that there is currently no popular public support for a recommitment of US troops to Iraq. But that isn’t the only option on the table.

It isn’t like the attacks on Mosul and Tikrit were wholly unexpected by the Iraqi government.

In fact, the Iraqi government requested US airpower, both manned and unmanned strikes, on ISIS assembly areas to blunt their attacks.

And Obama turned them down.

As the threat from Sunni militants in western Iraq escalated last month, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas, according to Iraqi and American officials.

But Iraq’s appeals for military assistance have so far been rebuffed by the White House, which has been reluctant to open a new chapter in a conflict that President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011.

The swift capture of Mosul by militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has underscored how the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have converged into one widening regional insurgency with fighters coursing back and forth through the porous border between the two countries. But it has also cast a spotlight on the limits the White House has imposed on the use of American power in an increasingly violent and volatile region.

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan, declined to comment on Mr. Maliki’s requests and the administration’s response, saying in a statement, “We are not going to get into details of our diplomatic discussions, but the government of Iraq has made clear that they welcome our support” in combating the Islamic extremists.

As I mentioned to a friend in relation to this topic either intentionally or through incompetence, the Obama administration has virtually always sided with the most islamist faction in every issue.

And a pretty fair amount of support could be provided to the Iraqi government without substantial presence of US forces inside Iraq. And while the American public is quite wary of any entanglements of troops on the ground, they’ve shown a remarkable complaisance toward US airpower being used. How many times has the US used drones in Yemen or Pakistan with little or no reaction from the general public?

Shift your eyes from the chaos in Iraq to Afghanistan, and we see the administration striving mightily to again flee the field. Look at the ability of the US to depose a mostly neutered Libyan strongman in favor of radical islamists, and to consistently back the most radical parts of the Muslim Brotherhood against popular opposition in Egypt. The administrations dithering and incomprehensible approach to Syria (admittedly, not a place with a lot of good options) hasn’t improved matters much.

Obama has repeatedly touted his “successes” as having “Al Qaeda on the run.” Sadly, it appears Al Qaeda is indeed running, sprinting for the finish line, while Barry trots to the locker room.

Obama will do anything to end  a war. Except win.

War News Updates: Can The U.S. Administration Keep A Secret?

The level of detail spilling out through media reports about crucial national security operations is raising the question of whether President Barack Obama’s administration can keep a secret – or in some cases even wants to.

In just the past week, two tell-all articles about Obama’s leadership as commander-in-chief have been published, dripping with insider details about his sleeves-rolled-up involvement in choosing terrorist targets for drone strikes and revelations about his amped-up cyber war on Iran.

via War News Updates: Can The U.S. Administration Keep A Secret?.

I’m getting just a little tired of the Obama gang leaking just about every secret we have.

Sharing ABM data with Russia, compromising operational information on the Bin Laden raid (leaving a key source open to prosecution in Pakistan), and taking credit for a cyberattack that the Bush administration planned with Israel. I’m sure my smart readers can recall other instances.

Look, I expect politicians to take political credit for their actions. But apparently asking the current administration to weigh the risks and benefits of compromising information is just too much.